sadness and so much lamplight!
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.


First -- the "My Funny Valentine" contest. Thank you all for your submissions - wow and holymoly. Strictly speaking, there are two winners, as the winning entry was submitted by two different people. Matt Christie and Dave Federman, I salute you! In order to settle the stale-mate, the prize will go to Matt C - who was (by a large margin) the first to submit the song. Matt, please email me at so we can arrange matters. David, I salute you again.

I will talk about the winning rendition on Thursday, as well as the other submissions. Sorry to make this such a prolonged affair, but so it goes! :)


Happy Halloween. I don't have any good halloween music.

But you should support UNICEF and rock out to the remixes by buying the Do They Know It's Halloween single/EP. Now with purchasing info for canadians/europeans/etc!


Nina Nastasia - "Bird of Cuzco". This song was written for John Peel, the late BBC Radio DJ. It is a modest song. Nastasia sings it with her usual tilted voice, sings lyrics that move like silhouettes. A shadow-play; shadow-forms that glimmer into colour, a white backdrop that blooms into a sunrise. Nina Nastasia asks questions, asks for help. She supplicates, quietly; she takes the answers where she can. She plays her guitar and she listens for the piano notes. She squints in the night and watches a bird.

I spent most of my life as a Canadian. I continue to live it as a Canadian, really, although I live in Edinburgh. But this is just a long way of saying: I didn't know John Peel. I didn't listen to the BBC over the net, or download almost any of his Sessions. I didn't - and don't - know him. But I need to say that as someone who dwells here now, who rubs shoulders with musos and critics and musicians, John Peel is perhaps the figure around which there is the most warmth. Not respect exactly; not reverence - but warmth. An affection that borders on love. People talk of him like a beloved friend. They stick up for his memory. They get into fights when John Peel Day seems to have been usurped. They talk about the way he taught them to love music - not just to appreciate the weird, to embrace the unexpected, but also to take full real pleasure in everything that gives you pleasure. The way he loved the songs he loved, the way he loved to love them, the way he made loving a piece of music a thing of triumph, of joy, of central human importance. The way that even if you didn't share his taste, you envied it - because it seemed so fierce.

I wish I knew John Peel. RIP.

(thanks jef jed)

[read about Nina and John at Spoilt Victorian Child]

[buy John Peel: A Tribute at]


Stars - "Ageless Beauty (Most Serene Republic remix)". It's only a week and a half since we wrote about Most Serene Republic, but here they are again because they've lit all the lights, the hundred-candle chandeliers, and they've made me very happy indeed. On Set Yourself on Fire, Stars make "Ageless Beauty" a bionic pop-song, a press of synths that seems thicker and stronger than any life I've ever lived, and I think I've only lived one. Imagine my glee when I hear what Most Serene Republic have done with the tune: they stripped the synths away, stowed them in the closets, then wheeled out the stringy guitars and threadbare pianos. They made Amy Millan stand right there in the middle of the ballroom as the candles were getting lit, they asked her to sing just the same, but now it's not a superhero's song. Now it's a song for the scale of my life, for all the goofs and the joys, for the way beauty sneaks up out of dusty corners, the way it manifests itself as glints in peoples' eyes. The song has got today's loveliness and not some shiny tomorrow's: it's got friendship and revelry and good craic. It's got a voice sweet as honey cake and some friends who will gobble it up.

[hear the original for free]

[buy the "ageless beauty" single us/uk]


Toronto Life has a marvellous interview with Dave Newfeld, Broken Social Scene producer. Dave is an enormously friendly character, bubbling-over with ideas and enthusiasms, passionate without being bossy. The interview's special because Dave is so honest, so forthright. A great read.

"It drives those guys nuts when we make an album; we’re not going to make any more albums like this one anymore."


"Because I spend so much time on my own that they feel I’ve taken a chunk of their soul and said, "Here, let me fucking groom it while you’re not looking," and then they come back and I go, "Look at your soul, I’ve put platform shoes on it, what do you think? Looks nice and tall now." Aagh! (laughs) Whereas their attitude is now: you’ve worked on this one, finish it this way, but on the next one we want you in not as producer, but we want you in as a band member. We want you to come in and play—I’ll play on this one, too—we want you to have input; it’ll be like a group thing. You’re not going to take this and fucking monkey around with it, and then let us hear it..."

Hopefully we'll hear more from Mr Newfeld soon... [via zoilus]

A little over a week ago, Drag City released a 7" called Mr Jews: In search of Silver Palace. It was ostensibly a toe-dip into the long-rumoured collaboration between David Berman (Silver Jews) and Will Oldham (Palace). 500 copies were pressed, and I suspect all 500 have been snapped up. Fret not, however - you can hear this very strange thing here (click on "media"), and see the MAD Magazine-like cover art here. For those who don't mind having the surprise of the album spoiled, click through to this post's comments and I'll lay it out.


update: I nearly forgot.... Some of you may know of November as National Novel Writing Month, but it is also NaSoAlMo: National Solo Album Month. Write and record an album in November - go on, do it! Other people are!

Posted by Sean at October 31, 2005 12:55 AM

So "Mr Jews" is a weirdo record where Rian Murphy 'interviews' David on one side, Will on the other, but the musicians' answers are entirely clips from their songs. It's certainly hilarious the first time through, but also deeply frustrating. (that must be the point!) :) So does this mean the Silver Palace record WILL happen? That it WON'T? Damn you O Oblique Label People!

In the meantime I guess there's that Bonnie Prince Billy/Tortoise covers collaboration...

Posted by Sean at October 30, 2005 8:07 PM

"Mr. Jews" is pretty much entirely a tribute to the "break-in" genre of records started by Buchanan and Goodman's "The Flying Saucer" (here's a good overview of it). In the late '50s, there were TONS of them... but this is the first one I've heard of in at least 25 years...

Posted by Douglas at October 30, 2005 11:55 PM

I agree with Sean. What a cocktease! (the record, I mean)

Posted by Andy at October 31, 2005 9:10 PM

that most serene republic remix is soooo good...

Posted by tristan at November 1, 2005 1:15 PM

yes! that version of ageless beauty definitely made my day. thanks sean!

Posted by liz at November 1, 2005 2:07 PM

i've had this version of ageless beauty in my head for two days now. and it's fantastic.

Posted by dylan at November 2, 2005 2:33 AM

I'm late to the party, but just want to add my big thumbs up to Ageless Beauty. You half expect the likes of Leon Redbone to join in (not meant in any sort of disparaging way...just an observation). The layers of vocals, piano, strings, and something you can't quite put your finger on seem to compete yet flow together perfectly. Makes you want to smile and cry and the same time.

Posted by Alex at November 9, 2005 6:24 PM

sorry..."smile and cry at the same time"

Posted by Alex at November 9, 2005 6:25 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.

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.

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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
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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
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