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.


Kepler are a band from Ottawa. I'm from Ottawa. Am I Kepler? No. I am not the band Kepler. But I am indeed Johannes Kepler, who discovered how planets work. My friends call me Kep.

Kepler - "The Changing Light at Sandover". A modest pattern of guitar and drums, a pigeon-toeing toward something. The something: loudness. Chekhov (the playwright, not the ensign) used to talk about introducing a gun into a play. That if there was a gun on stage, the gun must be shot during the course of the show. If you show me the gun, you must use it. If Kepler pigeon-toes toward loudness, they must eventually be loud. And they are - they luxuriate in the cymbal smash, the guitar growl. Then it's quiet again, and Samir sings some words. And then they show us the gun again, black and shiny in their hands, and although they take their time, melancholy stretching out over the horizon, Kepler do bring the loudness for us. They put it in the clouds so that when the time is right it can rain down. As Jeremy Gara hits the drums he is thinking only of bringing what has been promised; he does not think of the Arcade Fire as in these days he has not even heard of them; no instead he just plays with his band, Samir's band, and they sing a song of noise. (This song is better than the new Mogwai album.)

Kepler - "Broken Bottles, Blackened Hearts". Lots of people quit Kepler and the band almost broke up. When Samir put things back together again - with Snailhouse's Mike Feuerstack, among others, - the band was different. When I first heard Attic Salt (which was released in the US/Canada last year but which has only now reached the UK), I thought it was a quiet record. And it is. But what I've realised is that it's a quiet record that needs to be played loud. It's when you play it loud that you understand a song like this - the way each tremble of Samir's voice ought to hang in the air, just like those piano chords, just like the jagged guitar drone. Here they don't promise loudness. No. They promise something full and fullfilling. Something full filling. Something that will catch you up in its hands. Is this rock and roll? Naw. It's just the roll.

[buy 2000's Fuck Fight Fall and 2005's Attic Salt here.


90 old, mostly b&w movies (scifi, bruce lee, dr jekyll and mr hyde!) that you can download for free!


Because of a Toronto wedding, there is now a free berth in one of the two Said the Gramophone chalets at All Tomorrows' Parties (UK). Are you interested in joining other Gramophoners for a weekend by the sea with Destroyer, Joanna Newsom, Herman Dune, The New Pornographers, Spoon, Sleater Kinney, Dinosaur Jr, The Shins, Broken Social Scene, Mt Eerie, Clinic, Edith Frost, Dungen, The Decemberists, etc? If so, read this and then get in touch. Update: A few people have written in, expressing interest. If they all fall through, I'll let people know.

Posted by Sean at March 10, 2006 3:00 AM

Kepler was crazy. Like CRAZY. Brilliant though-- likely because he was CRAZY.

If you pay for my flight to the UK I'll pay for the accom!!!

Posted by ru at March 10, 2006 5:22 AM

beautiful tracks.Thank you

Posted by trifonas at March 10, 2006 12:17 PM

Very nice.

Does the Blackened Hearts track just end suddenly or should I try again?

Posted by Tuwa at March 10, 2006 12:50 PM

I just clicked on "Sandover" to check it out, and went back to work, and suddenly my attention gets diverted by this incredible blast of the loudness you speak of that I wasn't listening intently enough to know was coming.
It was really (unexpectedly) amazing. Welcome, too.
Really, thanks so much for that.

Posted by mox twelve at March 10, 2006 12:57 PM

"Changing Light at Sandover' is a very large and flawless poem by the late James Merrill, written partly with an oujia board, allegedly, oujia parts all in caps. Wonderful to hear heavy band so erudite; the poem is a masterpiece criminally under-known to many self-described poets ...

Posted by j frank parnell at March 10, 2006 1:02 PM

thanks for that context, mr parnell. i will emphasise that i am not a self-described poet. :)

tuwa - yes, the song sort of cuts off as it goes into the next track. you must buy the record to hear the rest.

glad these are being enjoyed!

Posted by Sean at March 10, 2006 1:08 PM

i'm a huge kepler fan and have been following them from the west coast for a long time now... good call on these tracks, sean.

Posted by eric at March 10, 2006 3:11 PM

They did kinda beat Mogwai at their own game, didn't they? It's refreshing to hear a band that infuses volume with a sense of purpose and melodic delicacy instead of just vein-poppin' testosterone.

Posted by Seb at March 11, 2006 5:37 AM

Kepler (& Sean). Bravo!

Posted by Ajit at March 11, 2006 10:23 AM

Thank you for the amazing tracks. I discovered, on accident, that if you open several links to Broken Bottles, Blackened Hearts and let the 2 or 3 of them play at the same time, the result is fantasic! You can't tell where one track ends and another begins...they just melt together in your mouth.

Posted by Clare at March 13, 2006 12:52 AM

What an amazing song "Changing Light at Sandover" is. I thought I'd heard it all in terms of loud/soft/loud nineties-style post-hardcore, but this is really on a different level. It reminds me a little of Sunny Day Real Estate in the LP2 phase. SDRE is just about the only band that could compare in intensity--or, rather, the only one that ever produced any recordings. There was a band called Sleeping Body (I believe from Louisville?) that I once saw play in Baltimore in 1993 that was doing something very very similar. But I don't think they ever went anywhere.

Posted by Jess at March 13, 2006 8:37 PM

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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.

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