spaces: White Foliage and The Rollercoaster Project
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 White Foliage - "Drug Song". The White Foliage used to be just "Foliage". I can understand why they changed their name. If this music were a tree it would be a single birch in a grove of spruce; if it were a fish it would be from deep deep deep; if it were in a wardrobe it would be a ghost, and not a fur coat.

The band is two people, a boy and a girl. They're not brother and sister but I like to imagine that they are. If the Fiery Furnaces hadn't been weaned on The Who, epic poetry and sugar-bombs - if they'd grown up listening to Richard Youngs and Born Heller, watching 2001 and collecting perfumes. If if if - if Bruce Springsteen was raised in an 18th Century court, this is how he would play piano, circa Nebraska. But he wouldn't have played it with all the rest of this rattling racket: it's as if someone dumped him out on the prairie, asked him to play his song, listen to his muse, even with a storm moving in from the west.

I don't know how they made this track work so well, what thread they used. It must have been gold thread, or silver thread - a rare substance plumbed from some rare place. I wouldn't know, see, how to make a blanket from these things, let alone a warm one: homeless synths, gale-caught vocals, a filligree of electric guitar.

[buy the White Foliage's debut EP (and grab the new Page France while you are there) | listen to more White Foliage]

The Rollercoaster Project - "If the Man Says Burn". We last heard the Rollercoaster Project in the form of a remix of The Cribs' "Another Number", the song made all bent-around and lanky. Johnny White's first album, however, is another story: forget goofs, forget awkwardness, forget play. Wait, wait - don't forget them. No. Put them where they came from and then remember them. The Rollercoaster Project make electronic music that sounds like memory. Not like memories -- like memory. Synth drones overlap and bleed, sounds and voices intercut and get confused, revelation's there - it's there, - but it's also just out of reach. This is a song about loss (of childhood, of spirit, of inspiration), but it's also about how easy it is to hang onto these things, how they remain caught up in the warm white ice of remembrance. When William Basinski's riding a Ferris Wheel, he can still remember that DJ Shadow song from last night, he can still remember his best friend's steady serious gaze.

[buy Hatefield | listen to more]


Happy New Year to those for whom it is a new year. Happy Year to everyone else.


Odds 'n ends:

This piece by Eppy starts off talking about freakfolk (Wooden Wand: blech), but really it's about kindness in music and musicians, about the danger in it, about the knife-edge that is compromise. And it didn't get nearly the attention it deserved.

Daring Fireball, the best written mac-nerd blog in the world, is once again holding a renewal drive. Consider investing in John Gruber's strong, sage prose.

Robin writes in with word of Kangaroo Alliance's excellent animated video for a mediocre Of Montreal song. (Click "Work".)

Catbird Records is a new label launched by the inimitable Catbird Seat. Their first release, a hand-made split CD with SSLYBY and Michael Holt, is now available for ordering. Holt plays summer-sighing folk-pop while SSLYBY flash their gums and do a rockin' shimmy. (I've ordered my copy.)

The second song to leak from the upcoming Strokes record, "You Only Live Once", is (as opposed to "Juicebox") extremely awesome. My friends' early reaction has been mixed, but me I love the sloppy vocals and stubborn guitar riff, the Rolling Stones at a roller-rink, and I can't wait to hear this all winter long. I've put up a YouSendIt download for those of you who are quick-and-interested.

Late to the party: The first half of Amir Nezar's review of Spoon's Gimme Fiction is some of the best music writing I have read this year. Outstanding (and it made me laugh).

I was astonished to discover in a mass email last night that Greg Macpherson, seriously one of Canada's most potent musical artists, is on a quick euro tour. He's even visiting Edinburgh in a couple of weeks (venue TBA). Although he's coming off of a rather weak record, please please please please do yourself a favour and go out and see him in person. The live show's incendiary. Tour dates here. (I last wrote about Greg here.)


And finally --

This week comes the news that Paul Ford, author of ftrain and one of my favourite writers in the world (he is deft and good and sure), has published his first novel.

The surprising part is not that he has done so - it was a happy inevitability, to be honest, something I've been awaiting for years. What's unexpected is the subject matter. It seems, you see, that Paul Ford was the nom behind the nom-de-plume of The Morning News' "Gary Benchley" series.

If you missed it, "Gary Benchley" is "a callow, indie-rocking youth who must find a way to live--and rock out--in the hipster neighborhoods of the East Village and Williamsburg, Brooklyn". In a series of missives to TMN, he wrote of band drama and girlfriend trouble, dodgy managers and the Arcade Fire. It was snarky, silly, human - and whipcrack funny. Then Gary announced he had a book deal, and he disappeared.

He reappeared, of course, as Paul Ford.

Gary Benchley, Rock Star, by Paul Ford, is now out on Plume, and in your bookshop if you live in the USA (or maybe Canada?). I am ordering a copy across the ocean. I suggest - with unwavering conviction - that you do the same.

Posted by Sean at October 4, 2005 3:00 AM

We (Dreamboat Records) have just put up a couple more Rollercoaster Project tracks, if anyone's interested. They're both rather different to If the Man Says Burn. One is a remix of Peking Saint by Cat Power, and the other is a beautiful, naively ambient track called Drone 1.

You can get them here. I recommened Drone 1 in particular, but your mileage may vary.

P.S. Glad to see your a fellow Daring Fireball reader Sean. John is exceedingly wise. I particularly like his uncommonly effective outbursts of foul language. They're all the more powerful for their rarity. I will be renewing my subscription.

Posted by Michael Williams at October 4, 2005 8:06 AM

hey sean, when are you gonna publish YOUR first novel??

Posted by george at October 4, 2005 9:17 AM

I'm workin' on it!

(thanks george)

Posted by Sean at October 4, 2005 9:28 AM

This White Foliage stuff is great.

Posted by thevoodoowop at October 4, 2005 8:22 PM

Sean, I actually really liked that Of Montreal video and song....hmmm....

Posted by (Aunty) Debbie at October 7, 2005 5:13 PM

In a not particularly improbably coincidence, The Rollercoaster Project is supporting the aforementioned Of "So Hot Right Now" Montral at the Faversham in Leeds on November 16.

Posted by Michael Williams at October 11, 2005 2:52 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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