the curtains turn to beating wings
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.


Computer troubles mostly fixed, but it looks like I'll stay stuck with OS 10.2.8 for a while yet.

The Weakerthans - "My Favourite Chords". A sweet, deceptively drab song from The Weakerthans' 2001 Left and Leaving. Fingers pass over strings like a comatose John Darnielle, nothing but voice and acoustic guitar till the drums, electric and lap steel appear in those last minutes. John K. Samson is as good a poet as Winnipeg's produced, and this is an urban love song that invents all sorts of new cliches; that paints new scenes instantly familiar. A pair descend upon an empty construction site. She brings her "swiss army knife" and "a bottle of something"; he, "some spraypaint and a new deck of cards." They write "notes to tape to the heavy machines." "'We hope they treat you well.' 'Hope you don't work too hard.' 'We hope you get to be happy sometimes.'" It's beautiful, soft and strong, full of treasured moments for the glow of dawn. While the Weakerthans often tend toward a sort of folky emo, this is a plain open hand, a slow waltz, an honest smile. [buy]

Brown Feather Sparrow - "Shadow Queen". This wonderful Dutch band was introduced to me by Sjaak. Brown Feather Sparrow do blippy folk-pop, reminiscent of Lali Puna or a female-fronted Notwist. "Shadow Queen" is deliciously light, like sun through leaves. It lifts into your ear and then flickers away. Organ synths wander about Lydia Wever's voice, horns calling from down the street. The band exercises terrific restraint, letting the emotion be expressed in the mutedness of the notes, the quick fade. Why wail and flail when there's nostalgia in the pauses between words, passion in the gaps? [buy]

Posted by Sean at July 7, 2004 1:22 PM

That's the Weakerthans song that I always put on mixes; I think it's one of their most effective songs, for just the reasons you describe. You're right-on about the deceptiveness of this song: it almost doesn't grab your attention, but the lyrics are so evocative--JKS's gift for imagery is rare & considerable. When quoting favorite lines, it's hard to resist typing out the whole song, but I love these: "You are a radio/You are an open door/I am a faulty string/Of blue Christmas lights/You swim through frequencies/You let that stranger in/As I'm blinking of and on and off again". Oh, and the lines about the smallest bones... but I better stop there! :D

Posted by la1itree at July 7, 2004 5:01 PM

By the way, did you do an upgrade or archive install? It seems to make a big difference with installing 10.3 (if that's in fact what you were trying to do).

Posted by la1itree at July 7, 2004 5:03 PM

The BFS song is great great great. Thanks for sharing. Now I'm really glad I can share some of my stuff back! :)
Much much better voice than both LaliPuna and the Notwist...

Posted by Matthew at July 8, 2004 4:56 AM

Yo, drop me an email if you want. Maybe I can help with your computer issues.

Posted by dustin at July 8, 2004 12:29 PM

That song was probably my most transcendant live music moment ever. The entire band save for Sampson took a smoke break, so he started playing "My Favourite Chords" all by his lonesome, as he played, the band slowly finished their smokes and filed back in, and right when the band kicks in on the song, they all kicked in live, as well. I don't know if they'd timed it but I swear I almost swooned, haha.

Posted by caley at July 8, 2004 4:42 PM

that weakerthan song was fantastic! thanks.

Posted by duus at July 9, 2004 12:47 AM

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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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"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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