Said the Guests: Page France
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 best musical suprises are the ones that knock you with a big stick and then leave you on your back, dazed, stars circling. It's like falling in love, heck it is falling in love, and this year Page France are one of my dearest sweethearts. As I wrote glowingly here, the band play a sparkling folk-pop that taps on my heart and jangles my brain. See: Beulah, The Shins, Royal City or maybe Ron Sexsmith, but really just see (and listen to) Hello, Dear Wind, cos it's great. You can buy it here for $10 USD.

Anyway it's with tremendous pleasure that I invite Michael Nau, Page France's principal songwriter and voice, to take charge of today's Gramophone. As you would expect from the lead singer of an indie-folk band, he writes about Sly & the Family Stone. And much else besides. Please show him your rosy faces and smiling smiles. (Many, many thanks, Michael.)

sly & the family stone - "if it were left up to me", from FRESH.
I just couldn't pass on this one. The first fully integrated group in rock history. There was no precursor for the Family stone, and in 1967, not too many people were prepared for birth of the funk genre. When I first heard 71's, There's a Riot Goin' On, I was floored. I purchased a copy, and lost it about two days later, so I quickly snatched a new one, along with Fresh, only to find that the latter of the two proved to be even more moving. I had never experienced such soul and camraderie sonically, and I haven't since.

"If it were left up to me" is a perfect example of that very camraderie. Each time that the song begins, the melody cripples me immediately - the way that the group shifts registers - I just can't help but grin and re-cue the song at least 3 or 4 times before letting the record move along. If I would have heard this record before Hello, Dear Wind, this is how I would have wanted it to sound. I'm not too sure if we could have made the funk and soulfulness work, but I would have loved to try.


margo guryan - "i'd like to see the bad guys win", from 25 Demos.
Alright, so everybody has heard "take a picture", whether it be from owning the record, or simply hearing it serve as the background music for a documentary on the history of pornography - nonetheless, while that record sits in millions of top 10 lists, most folks are not aware that Margo has a healthy number of other gems glowing below sea level - some of these were finally dug up, and released in a compilation filled with demos from take a picture, as well as demos from a record that Margo had been working on at the time. It's the sort of ill-sorted apology for those of us who have acquired the nagging habit of falling in love with artists who only make one record.

If someone asks me what I like about Guryan, I can hardly give them an answer. I'm not certain that I even know. Is it her voice? Is it her bangs? Is it the way that she holds her cigarette? These are questions that keep me up at night. Hell, must I even have a reason?

Likewise, I wonder why I even like this song? "I'd like to see the bad guys win" is a shoe-in for my 'favorite songs' list. Is it because it is just so damn clever?-the funky-bump keys and the sinister wit in her voice when she sings, "wouldn't it be thrilling to see a happy ending ending unhappily"? Regardless, I recall the first time that I heard this song... we were on tour, stopping through New York, where we would nap in central park... I had just picked up the record before we left for tour, so I didn't get to give it a proper listen, but I remember the song coming on... it's one of those songs that ruins your day - in a good way, though. No matter what I did, I couldn't get away from it - it was too sticky. I tried to run and hide but it followed me everywhere. I think that nearly everyone has said to me, at least once... "hey, let's cover that song". I wouldn't dare!


broadcast - "before we begin", from Ha Ha Sound.
HA HA Sound, by all means, is one of my all time favorite records. It's played ad nauseam wherever I go. It's quite strong from start to finish. I like that this album sounds a bit more human than Broadcasts debut - there is just this rare, unmistakable roughness to it, which causes the brilliance of their song craft to become more apparent.

"Before we Begin" reminds me of an outer-space version of a song that could have easily appeared on, Take a Picture. I've developed a sentimental connection with it, simply by beating it into my brain for the past several months. Those who know me best are afraid to sit in my passenger seat while I'm listening to a song that I am in love with, and rightfully so. I totally zone out. I still recall.. about a week after I picked this record up, I was driving through rainfall, and nearly smashed into the rear of a car that I was following... I then hydroplaned out of control and nearly kissed the guard-rail - I've swerved wrecklessly one too many times for this reason. Nonetheless, one of my "Before we Begin" memories involves a near-death experience. Too dramatic? Of course it is!


[Michael Nau is the voice behind Page France. After writing and partially recording two records, those songs were scrapped and Hello, Dear Wind was written in two weeks last May, recorded by a cast of friends over the summer. A series of further EPs are on the way and Nau has also completed a record with his other band, The Broadway Hush, which will see release in early '06.]

(Previous artist guest-blogs, in and out of the Said the Guests series: Hello Saferide, Edward Droste (Grizzly Bear), Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Devin Davis, Brian Michael Roff, Howard Bilerman (producer: Silver Mt. Zion, Arcade Fire, etc.), Damon Krukowski (Damon & Naomi). There are many more to come.)

Posted by Page France at October 26, 2005 3:01 AM

That Broadcast song is just beautiful. To me it feels like the Santo & Johnny "Sleepwalking" of the double oughts! So romantic and dreamy. Great choice. The new release, Tender Buttons is really good too. Check it out!

And how can ya go wrong with Sly and the Family Stone. Great song.

And by the way....I have listened to your new cd, Hello, Dear Wind over and over. I play it on my radio show and plan to play Trampoline on tomorrow's show! ( to listen, 8-10am thursday. Not an ad...just some info.) LOVE that song!

Posted by christine at October 26, 2005 4:15 PM

this is amazing, i love that this happens. I especially love "it ruins your day, in a good way" and talking about the hypnotism that Broadcast puts you in - exactly perfect. excellent work.

Posted by dan at October 27, 2005 1:00 AM

yup. i got turned onto them via your blog..later praised them on my own. gracias.

Posted by Satisfied '75 at October 27, 2005 2:37 AM

I do so love Page France. Good choices :)

Posted by Matt at October 27, 2005 2:20 PM


Posted by cody at October 27, 2005 10:45 PM

I guess this is almost a year late, but I just saw your review of "....Bad Guys..." and have to tell you...thanks...I love it!


Posted by Margo Guryan at June 14, 2006 12:52 AM

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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.

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