Talking Heads and Wooden Stars
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.


I'm Jordan Himelfarb and I will be taking care of Said The Gramophone for the next several months.

Is everything working?

Sean had to teach me how to use a computer last week, so that I would be able to do this. I don't want to speak for Sean, but I think it's safe to say that we were both shocked by my general ineptitude in the operation of the ordinateur.

If anyone notices any technical problems, please let me know and I will have one of my many capable friends (Dan Beirne) fix it.

There is also another area in which I hope that you, Sean's readers, will help me. Over the course of this week I'm going to post ten songs which hopefully will communicate my background as a music listener and the breadth of my taste. You might notice two things:

1) That it seems that many of these songs are not commiserate with Sean's taste; and
2) That most of these songs are old.

After this week I plan to keep as in line as possible with what I think Sean would like, while still only writing about songs I love. I also plan to post as many new songs as old ones, and it is in this respect that I hope you will help. I know significantly less contemporary music than Sean does and most new artists who excite me, I either found out about through (Joanna Newsom) or love slightly less than (The Arcade Fire) Sean. So, if you would like to hear more contemporary indie rock and less free-jazz and prog-rock, then I urge you to send me good songs. I'm excited about this aspect of the job, for despite my various incompetencies and lacunas of knowledge, I do love music. I spend a good part of my days playing, listening to, thinking and writing about music.

Talking Heads - "Stay Hungry"

Last night I dreamt that my friend Zach was telling me that the lyrics I write are "moronic." He used that word. It cut real deep. In my elaborate (and highly articulate) defence I referred to the lyrics of David Byrne and the power of this invocation was such that Zach immediately abandoned his position and my words were vindicated. Byrne's lyrics, grounded in mundane everyday life, obliquely hint at something more. Even if we can't agree on an interpretation, we all feel it (don't we?).

Stay Hungry may be more disco than is representative of the Talking Heads' oeuvre, but when, at 1:56, Brian Eno's impressionistic keyboard line emerges from the dueling disco guitars, it brings with it a perfect example of an obscure Byrne lyric. My friend Joel (typically)
is convinced the song is about sex.

Here's that rhythm again
Here's my shoulder blade
Here's the sound I made
Here's the picture I saved

Like a strobe lit memory of a sexual encounter. He actually seems kind of bashful about the picture he saved. [buy]

Wooden Stars - "Baby Barn"

If at first you think Baby Barn is ugly, listen closer. The verse is taut contained energy with electric guitars providing a clunky metallic framework busting open suddenly into the quickly ascending, surprisingly tender and even more surprisingly catchy chorus.

This song is from the Wooden Stars' first album, The Very Same. Though possibly harder to get into than subsequent albums, their debut is their most rewarding. Throughout The Very Same, the Stars do what they do best; berate us with an onslaught of nearly falling apart instruments and clumsy words and just when we're most confused, they reveal the answer which was submerged just beneath the surface the whole time: a gossamer image ("I can see your breath") and a clear melody.

Notably, I think they were, like, six years old when they recorded this (or, at least really young), adding a certain precocity to their question "How can I reconcile myself to die?" [order from label]

I, like the rest of you, will be missing Sean's writing and sage advice. I hope to provide something of the same service. Any advice at all would be much appreciated.

I would also like to thank Sean for this opportunity. In addition to having had the pleasure of reading his writing every day, I've been lucky enough to have him as a friend and worthy Scrabble opponent. Both he and his trusty traveling companion will be missed.

Posted by Jordan at September 20, 2004 9:29 PM

That's one of my favorite Talking Heads song. Great way to start things off Jordan!

I hadn't heard of Wooden Stars before, but this song is pretty damned good.

Only word of advice is you seem to have forgotten links to buy albums in this post. It's not a requirement by any means, but it's definitely become a point of MP3 blog ettiquette (and one which Sean observed.)

Welcome aboard! and if you need any advice or help (or specific technical help since We share server space, just drop me an email or an IM.

Posted by Keith TTIKTDA at September 20, 2004 9:50 PM

i second the welcome, jordan. it's really great to have you here and i am really looking forward to it. very excited to see what you will do, and i'll try and help you whatever way i can. good luck!

Posted by cody at September 20, 2004 10:26 PM

welcome, jordan. those are two excellent songs you've posted. in fact, very timely for me, i am going to see dear mr. bryne tomorrow night in new york with the tosca strings and gilberto gil--should be a smashing night.

in addition to "buy this album" links, as keith observes above, dropping a link to an artist's official site, label site, or past related posts are also helpful (such as wooden stars collaborator julie doiron).

Posted by kathryn at September 20, 2004 10:42 PM

Big fan of Talking Heads. Hadn't heard the other band--interesting track. And welcome to the gramophone.

Posted by Tuwa at September 20, 2004 11:14 PM

welcome aboard Jordan. You dominate.

- Games Night

Posted by Neale at September 20, 2004 11:55 PM

welcome! you'll do great.

Posted by badger at September 21, 2004 1:58 AM

wooden stars are great. they're from montreal, too, right? way to represent...

old or new doesn't matter to me as long as it's worth listening to.

Posted by paperfingers at September 21, 2004 6:44 AM

'More Songs..' is my favourite Talking Heads album and I'd not heard the Wooden Stars before, but the song sounds good. Welcome, Jordan and bon voyage, Sean, wherever you're reading this.

Posted by Dave at September 21, 2004 6:59 AM

Oooh, nice to hear a song from my distant youth ...
plus a fine, fresh breeze of quietude via Wooden Stars - from Ottawa, if i'm not mistaken. More please!

Posted by jb at September 21, 2004 3:55 PM

Welcome, Jordan!

Posted by rodii at September 21, 2004 5:20 PM

1. Great opening salvo. Thanks!

2. I think it's "lacunae".

3. Why are the most interesting music blogs either Canadian or German? Does it have anything to do with decent public health care? Clean elections? Cool northern light? Disconsolate Yanks want to know.

Posted by richard at September 22, 2004 1:14 AM

A prog-rock fan? Fuckin' A. Looking forward to your posts.

Posted by JKelly at September 23, 2004 5:58 PM

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(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
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.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

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

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

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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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