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.


The Underpainting - "The Underpainting".

First let us talk of "underpaintings".

An underpainting is a painting that lies hidden beneath another, on the same canvas.

If we add capital letters & definite articles to the above, we can get metaphysical: The Underpainting is the painting that lies hidden beneath The Painting, on the same canvas.

Or in other words, The Underpainting is the meaning of life.

The Underpainting is also the name under which Brian Michael Roff now records. Furthermore, The Underpainting is his new album, due soon (with artwork by Matthew Feyld). And "The Underpainting" is the title track.

So. Is "The Underpainting" the underpainting of The Underpainting's The Underpainting?


But listen, before I get too lost in my own silly circles, let's pay attention to the song. It's a gentle, thoughtful work, perhaps the best track Roff has ever composed. "Hey there Bobby Kennedy," he begins, "I wrote a song for you." It's a song, he explains, about "the long winter, small spring, and the persistent incumbent summer". And there it is: so much of my own work, encapsulated. Grappling with the long winter, small spring, and the persistent incumbent summer.

In a great run-on sentence, Roff then sings the "contour figure", the body of the song, the image that distracts us from the small secret of that opening. And a saw sings, and a piano plays, and an electric guitar makes things so simple - a man's hands singing all the loose parts together, whole.

[more information]


Groom - "Waking Up Before Her". "The Underpainting" is a song of great maturity. It says nothing foolish. Whereas the appeal of "Waking Up Before Her" is entirely in its foolishness. It's childish, playful, not-at-all wise. A guitar waggles through a barnyard, handclaps join shakers, someone ye-hoo-hoo-oos like it's his birthday every day of the year. And here's the dumbest, falsest, most naive line (and they make it the centrepiece of the song!): "I'm in love with you, and that's really all that matters!" By the end of the track, Groom have almost realised the lie - but still they're yelling it, all together, like fools, like fools, like lovesick fools.




  • J D Salinger's "Uncollected Writings" - namely the many out-of-print short stories and some things that are in print, too. Salinger has intentionally kept most of these works off the market (and we could be here all night arguing why), so it's important to note the following: this webpage not only infringes on Salinger's copyrights, it makes certain material available against Salinger's will. And yet... !!!!!!!!! Many of these are fucking marvelous.

  • I've not managed to download it, but someone's mp3-ified the cassette version of Little Wings' Light Green Leaves. Light Green Leaves is a funny, gentle folk record, and Kyle made three slightly different versions (for CD, vinyl and cassette). I've never heard the cassette renditions. Maybe you haven't either. (And maybe someone who successfully downloads could send them to me?) Yay for the internet!

  • Shearwater's magnificent 2006 album, Palo Santo, is now for sale for a ridiculous $4.00. Apparently they've now signed to Matador and will be releasing a "deluxe" version, but the original was one of the finest albums of last year and well worth four bucks!

    Posted by Sean at February 23, 2007 8:23 AM

    $4.00 (or €3.22)? How can I say no! Thanks for the heads-up.

    Posted by Robert P at February 23, 2007 12:23 PM

    Thanks for the Salinger.

    Posted by Tim at February 23, 2007 5:02 PM

    This is a wonderful post. I'm in love with The Underpainting and I've always loved that Salinger link.

    Posted by Alicia at February 25, 2007 4:00 PM

    Post a comment

    (Please be patient, it can be slow.)
  • 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.

    To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

    All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

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

    If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
    Montreal, Canada: Sean
    Toronto, Canada: Emma
    Montreal, Canada: Jeff
    Montreal, Canada: Mitz

    Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

    If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

    "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.

    Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
    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.
    our patrons
    Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
    watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

    our favourite blogs
    (◊ means they write about music)

    Back to the World
    La Blogothèque
    Weird Canada
    Destination: Out
    Endless Banquet
    A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
    Ill Doctrine
    A London Salmagundi
    Words and Music
    Petites planétes
    Gorilla vs Bear
    Silent Shout
    Clouds of Evil
    The Dolby Apposition
    Awesome Tapes from Africa
    Matana Roberts
    Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
    i like you [podcast]
    Nicola Meighan
    radiolab [podcast]
    CKUT Music
    plethoric pundrigrions
    Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
    The Clear-Minded Creative
    Torture Garden
    Passion of the Weiss
    Juan and Only
    Horses Think
    White Hotel
    Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
    Uno Moralez
    Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
    my love for you is a stampede of horses
    It's Nice That
    Song, by Toad
    In Focus
    WTF [podcast]
    The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
    My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
    The Hood Internet

    things we like in Montreal
    st-viateur bagel
    café olimpico
    Euro-Deli Batory
    le pick up
    kem coba
    le couteau
    au pied de cochon
    mamie clafoutis
    tourtière australienne
    chez boris
    alati caserta
    vices & versa
    + paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

    drawn + quarterly
    + bottines &c

    casa + sala + the hotel
    blue skies turn black
    montreal improv theatre
    passovah productions
    le cagibi
    cinema du parc
    pop pmontreal
    yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

    Cult Montreal
    The Believer
    The Morning News
    The Skinny