strawberry pie and gooseberry pudding
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.


If you are an artist who objects to any music posted here, please please please get in touch with us directly. We are very happy to comply with your wishes - our intent is really not to piss you off. But it makes it much easier for us if you just let us know!


Konono No. 1 - "Ditshe Tshiekutala". What's Konono numéro 1? I didn't really know. I saw it on a few year end best-ofs last year, and then it populated even more this time around. So I investigated. And good golly, would you listen to this.

Konono No. 1 is a Congolese band led by a man named Mingiendi. Mingiendi plays the likembé, aka the thumb piano. Recently, Toronto's indie scene has been mildly buzzing about the thumb piano - Laura Barrett's been plinking around town with her kalimba. Unlike Barrett, Mingiendi plugs his likembé through a distortion box, making his instrument sound more like a blurry staccatto electric guitar, a fast-flashing sound that dances around in the body of the listener. The rest of his band is made up of other likembé players, percussionists, megaphone-yellers and whistlers, and according to this page, three dancers and a "president".

While Congotronics is their most-talked-about CD, this recording is taken from Lubuaku, a live recording from a gig in Holland with unlikely tourmates The Ex. It's very important that it be listened to loud - the band usually play before a wall of speakers, plzzzonking into wooden microphones, the tumbling beats and darting likembé-notes rolling through the air like flurries of dust, sand, heat, spirit. To my ears it's not unlike the rhythmic racket of the DC go-go scene - its roots are after all similar, - but there's this brilliant hazy psych aspect, too; the ceaseless circling elicits an almost trance-like response, a falling into the music, solos driving up the elbows and feet, tossing heads back, scattering smiles, gasps and beads of sweat. It's the opposite of most "Christmas" music, and therefore all the more appealing as this writer goes diving toward Norway, spending a few days near the fjords.

[buy for $18.95 shipped]

Heron - "Yellow Roses". The mighty Goldkixx beat me to Heron earlier this month, but it's too worthy a thing to go unheard. Formed in Maidenhead in the late 60s, Heron were one of the country's hundreds of fresh-faced folk bands - peers of Fairport Convention, the Incredible String Band, Pentangle, etc. Their first, self-titled record was recorded "only in fields", in 1967. It's an appropriately pastoral record, warm as sun and sweet as lakewater, that feels as reminiscent of The Zombies as it does the Incredibles.

"Yellow Roses" is built on a flowerbed, piano and acoustic guitar, voices crisscrossing in a lazy dusk. Each part of the song - chorus, verse, bridge, - is a perfect little delight, and the band approaches each of these sections with a slow, sure pace. It takes its time: relishing the warm voice-on-voice, string-on-string, hand-on-hand, breeze-on-breeze. My favourite folk singer of this period is Nick Drake, I guess predictably, and so I hear "Yellow Roses" and I think of "Northern Sky" or one of Drake's happier songs - the evening's just opening right up, a life opening right up, a song sending you whirling through the million possibilities that lie ahead.

Heron - "Sally Goodin". A twenty second trifle, a clap-clap sing-song that I include because it makes me glad, because she must be quite the gal if you put aside strawberry pie and gooseberry pudding. She's there, in the window of that cottage over the ridge; squint and you'll see her, fair hair glinting.

Remarkably, Heron reformed in the Nineties and is releasing new music. There are lots of mp3 samples, new and old, here.

[buy Heron]


You Ain't No Picasso has a great mp3 mix from another member of Bishop Allen, Justin Rice.

Kathryn Yu's favourite albums of 2005, and the descriptions thereof, are very worthy of your perusal.

And with that, I'm off to Oslo for four nights. See some of you there! I leave you in Dan and Jordan's steady hands.

Posted by Sean at December 26, 2005 2:01 AM

I think I'm in love with the thumb piano.

Posted by Caley at December 26, 2005 2:34 AM

so.. . one MUST ask: "what did the MOGWAi camp do, exactly?"


Posted by k at December 26, 2005 10:14 AM

Ah, thanks for the link :) I'd be lying if I said that the idea for 'Mixmas' didn't evolve from a desire to do something akin to 'Said the Guests.' You guys are seriously the best around, and I (and tons of others) thank you for it :)

Posted by Matt at December 26, 2005 3:27 PM

I first heard of Mogwai from music that you shared with me Sean. They should really get a clue as to how to grow their fanbase.

Posted by dustin at December 26, 2005 6:45 PM

what utter barstards

to think i was to think of even thinking of buying their new album

Posted by bjeck at December 27, 2005 8:40 AM

Mogwai just lost this semi-fan.

Posted by Matt at December 27, 2005 3:24 PM

Suck. At least things are sorted out now. And hey, pissing off a band is one step higher in the fame business, right?

Dan- I had "Look, Wow" in my head for the past 2 days, but I didn't know what it was until I searched STG and saw the band name and found the song. Now I feel better. Thank you?

Posted by Mariana at December 27, 2005 5:25 PM

Before people go overboard, I should specify that the members of Mogwai may have had nothing to do with this, but their management saw fit to send Apple a cease-and-desist. This is well in their right, and I respect the impulse, but I would have preferred it if they had emailed me direct, saving us a whole lot of hassle.

Posted by Sean at December 27, 2005 5:41 PM

thanks, friend. the jon-rae and the river album is a discovery i wouldn't have made without you guys!

Posted by kathryn at December 27, 2005 5:53 PM

Sean, not that my opinion is all that important, but I just wanted to let you know that as someone who consumes a disturbing amount of music and blogs, I find yours to be the best on the internet. Keep up the awesome work.

Posted by nofrontin at December 27, 2005 6:04 PM

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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.

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

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"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.
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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
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