one more; that was close
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Mt Eerie - "Wooly Mammoth's Absence". The opening track from Phil Elvrum's new (very limited) EP, Seven New Songs.

Phil came through Ottawa earlier this summer. He played in a nursery in the basement of a community centre. We sat on wrestling mats. And holding an electric guitar he sang simply, beautifully. The music flowed out of him like water from a cup. He made it look so easy. He sang songs about whale-hunting and being "up his mother's ass". He sang small things and wise things. He wasn't neither melancholy nor glad - he simply sounded like he was trying hard to be true.

My favourite Microphones record is Mt. Eerie, an album that opened before me like a cloud suddenly shaking out rain. But while that's perhaps Elvrum's most indulgent LP*, it doesn't carry his most indulgent songs. (Look to the heavy-handed production that peppers The Glow, Pt. 2.) But neither of these things mark the clean, shining beauty of "Wooly Mammoth's Absence." Instead, the production is almost invisible; you don't think of the time that's been invested in every sound, in every strum. It's like that piece of soft grey glass on the beach, the one you hold in your hand without a thought for the things that shaped it.

Phil sings, of course. There are other blending voices and mirrorpooling guitars. Drums hide deep in the song's chest, bursting out only at its close. As placid as the sound is, however, the track's spirit is live, wakeful. It's got that electric current that runs through all of Elvrum's best work - that pure, attentive kindness. Under the pretty, glimmering song is an unwavering faith in the universe's beneficence. [sold out]

Harry Nilsson - "Save the Last Dance For Me (Demo)". This mostly-unplugged version of "Save the Last Dance For Me" is taken from the deluxe release of Pussy Cats, Nilsson's maligned bender-weekend album with John Lennon. And yet it's wonderful. As the organ pulses, Nilsson sings slowly, confessingly, like a man who is baring his heart. There are places where his voice almost rasps, but it's a beautiful strain - a moment of tension, rough croon against golden Rhodes. The absence of drums means that the song never descends into prom schmaltz - it's always just a little dead, a little sad. It's this reluctance, this lethargy that Nilsson needs to push against; he insists, he calls, he begs. He needs to sing this as truly as he can, or else that's it, c'est tout, the fog will roll in and she'll be gone forever. A dreamer's blues. (Thanks, Mike.) [buy]

* When indulgence works, of course, it's single-minded genius.


Never Came Home continues to do great things, with an especially fantastic track by Yashudi Ide.

As you'll all doubtless have seen, is a nifty mp3blog aggregator. I find it's useful for glancing at after I've visited my regular mp3blog stops, to check for interesting things by people who aren't (yet) on my list, but should be.

Jeff is back with looking askance from '93, a new mp3blog that's getting started with a fine track by No Name No Fame, and, um, KLF.

Posted by Sean at July 21, 2004 12:47 AM

That Harry Nilsson track is pretty good.
I grew up listening to Nilsson via my mother...
never heard this version before though.


Posted by Simon at July 21, 2004 11:55 AM

i've been wanting to get into Nilsson...thanks

Posted by Ambrose Chapel at July 21, 2004 3:49 PM

good one on the Mt. Eerie. phil has been an inspiration to me in many ways. have yet to see him live you recommend it?!?!?!
of course.

Posted by bmr at July 21, 2004 3:53 PM

YES!!! Definately go see him live. seen him 3 times my self. once he sang his songs while sitting in a tree. each show was different and amazing in it's own way.

sean you gotta hook me up wit dat ep, yo. word, dat shit's dope.
...seriously tho, please?

Posted by THE SMACKMASTAH at July 21, 2004 6:20 PM

I know this post is years old now, and who knows if you still feel the same way, but knowing that you cared for "wooly mammoth's absence" enough to write it justice makes me want to write to you.

I wrote in an awkward email to a boy who never understood me that i was feeling like this song; like all the layers moving, electric and muddled and weaved together in confusion and the pure want to get somewhere - to the end, to the answer, to where it's clear. Maybe you know what I mean?

Posted by fleshandbones at August 2, 2007 12:26 PM

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about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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