Repulsion and Attraction
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.


Yellow Jacket Avenger - "Little Thief"

1. Among the bands that list Yellow Jacket Avenger as an influence on their MySpace pages are Kepler, the Wooden Stars, and Clark the Band.

2. Yellow Jacket Avenger lists Joan Armatrading as an influence on his MySpace page, and in the chorus of "Little Thief," this influence is unmistakable.

3. Sometimes YJA's music is fierce, mathy post-punk; sometimes it's easy instrumental. Sometimes his music is entirely organic; sometimes it's exclusively electronic. At its core, however, there is always a pure, delicate, pop sensibility.

4. Several years ago I was driving to Halifax, where The Cay was to play with Yellow Jacket Avenger later that night. The car was entirely enveloped in fog and we couldn't see anything beyond our windshield, save for an occasional high beam. What came over me, as we listened to John Coltrane, and moved at high speeds with zero visibility, was a combination of fear and awe at the otherworldly beauty of the grey nothing beyond.

It wasn't until Yellow Jacket Avenger played his first notes that I was jarred out of my zombie trance. The precision of the music, along with the vulnerability buried shallow underneath, were familiar reminders of the Ottawa sound - co-invented by YJA - that was so definitive in my aesthetic education. [Info]


Roy Harper - "North Country"

Hear hear: Roy Harper's wonderfully off-kilter take on the traditional English folk song that also served as the basis for "Scarborough Fair." I imagine that Harper's version has the exact opposite effect on children as does the S and G version. The way over-the-top string section has the occasional elemental force of Van Dyke's arrangements for Ys, and the inexplicable final minute can be explained as simply the perfect ending to another Roy Harper masterpiece. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at January 10, 2007 3:33 PM

that's a great YJA track. i've heard about him for years from tim kingsbury and other associates, but never came across it or remembered to seek it out. thanks for the introduction! likewise with the woodpigeon and jetplanes to abraham, two acts i'd like to hear a lot more of.

Posted by mmmbarclay at January 10, 2007 8:35 PM

"Trad Eng folksong"? Bob Dylan?
See an old My Old Kentucky Home blog for versions

Posted by J at January 10, 2007 9:01 PM

J - Interesting that you should raise those questions. Harper felt that Dylan was remiss in giving himself credit for the composition of "Girl From North Country." When Harper recorded it ten years later, he changed the name and treated it as a traditional, denying Dylan any credit. Based on the similarities, both lyrically and melodically, between "Girl From North Country" and "Scarborough Fair," it would seem that the source material is likely the same.

Posted by Jordan at January 10, 2007 10:17 PM

I will gladly agree that S&G took, without credit, Martin Carthy's "SF", but Dylan's "GftNC" is more than just another version of the "NC" song. It has both a new setting and situation; the lover who left is not demanding tests of a lover who may yet come to him, finally deserving of his love, but rather he is a lover who has spent his life in regret for leaving the girl 'who once was a true love' of his.
The core song was and is magnificent, and all of these new interpretations delight me; I suppose its the folk process in action. But if a solar flare or a nuclear pulse takes away all of our recorded library, do you think some singer is gonna intro the song by saying "whose" it is, or will she just say "here's a nice song I remember..."?
Hey, and by the way, upon a new year, thanks again to all of you guys. I love this site!

Posted by J at January 15, 2007 9:14 PM

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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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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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Back to the World
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Ill Doctrine
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