the places i go to without you
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.


Via Zoilus comes the exceptionally sad news that Three Gut Records is packing it in, later this year. Three Gut was (is) a fantastic label, warm and enthusiastic, totally without pretense. They released good music. They contributed a great deal to the indie rock in (Central) Canada. And from what I understand, they were very good people. I really wish them all the best in their future projects.

My favourite Three Gut band is Royal City.

Royal City - "O You With Flowers". On Royal City's debut, from which "O You With Flowers" is plucked, they were a simple band in white, silver and ink-blue. Their fragments of songs were sung as if they were whole ones, what's left out somehow getting left in. The band became something else, mustier and more alive, for their middle album. And then they came back to the white, silver and blue for Little Heart's Ease. (They added gold, too.) But I'm speaking in clumsy metaphors; let's turn to the matter at hand. This is a song as thin as Neil Young might write, and as beautiful. There's a harmonica that sounds sad but is as happy as you'll ever be. There are notes that ring out. There are words - "flowers", "wayward", "rain", "colour", "beloved", "crocodile". Aaron Riches sings: "I stumbled in / to the iris of your eye." Do. Do, please. Do.

(Win Butler once wrote a love-song called "Alligator Mine". He also once considered signing his band to a label called Three Gut. This is synchronicity, and it makes me glad.)

Royal City - "Bad Luck". I can't believe I've never posted this to Gramophone, this blinging scary-glad track - with skulls bending to kiss, skeletons rattledancing, last breaths joining in song. It's as if we're stomping the vegetable patch and staring at the gnarls of deadvined crops, the piles of earth, trying to be wry instead of sad. It's time to look Bad Luck in the eye and tell it to get lost. No more whispers: we'll sing its name out loud. "Bad Luck, Bad Luck, Bad Luck!" "Bad luck is a terrible laughing god," sure, but we'll say it with half a laugh, a whole grin. And here's the kicker, big guy (moan all you like), we're going to have a fluttering electric guitar and the ding-ding-ding of a piano, we're going to name all your hiding places, we're going to tell you all the things you can't do. "You will never know / the places that I go to without you!" Never! Tell him, banjo! (From 2001's Alone at the Microphone.)

More Three Gut mp3s, including Royal City's take on The Strokes' "Is This It".

[Buy At Rush Hour the Cars, Alone at the Microphone, or Little Heart's Ease (which I like a lot, too). Heck, buy the whole Three Gut discography.]



I've got two articles in the June/July issue of Plan B magazine, which hit shops last week: a capsule review of last month's Edinburgh Micah P Hinson gig, and then a longer piece about contemporary Canadian (indie-rock) identity, with words on/with Final Fantasy, The Diskettes, and Wolf Parade. After writing the two articles I was very happy with the former and less so with the latter, but seeing them in print my feelings have mostly reversed.

I'm extremely proud to be involved with Plan B, as it's the best music magazine I've ever read. Passionate and personal writing, full of conviction. Do pick up a copy if you can - and not for my sake.

They've also published online a review I did of Joanna Newsom's appearance in Glasgow on April 13.



One of the strangest things I've heard in a while is Bjorns Vanner's version of Weezer's "Across the Sea" (from Pinkerton). No idea if it's a cover or a spoof, as, well, it's in Swedish. Catch it at the quickly-becoming-essential swedesplease.

Carl's "Outsider music" piece in the Globe this week, is (like I said in the comments,) "tidy and insightful". That is to say, it's graceful and thoughtful. I like the way he was able to get a little wise on us. Better still, check his blog-post on the subject for a couple of replies from Irwin Chusid himself. I hadn't imagined Chusid to be so deferring, tolerant, or thoughtful (just passionate!).

Posted by Sean at June 13, 2005 8:45 PM

Nice write-up on Royal City, Sean- they are a favorite, and especially 'Bad Luck'. The video that they made for that song was beyond great, featuring a teddy bear, a doll, and a field of flowers. Catbirdseat tracked it down a while ago, but it looks like the link doesn't work anymore- too bad.

Posted by Kevin at June 14, 2005 9:36 AM

The Joanna Newsome review is awesome. More, I beg you, my friend ...

Posted by garrincha at June 14, 2005 9:41 AM

I can't believe -I- never posted Bad Luck. I assumed that you already had. It's one of the best songs I've ever heard (and I've heard upwards of 25 songs).

Sad news about Three Gut. Royal City is a very great band.

Posted by Jordan at June 14, 2005 12:32 PM

That cover of the Strokes' "Is This It" is really fantastic. Interesting and different than the original, but maintains a distinctly Strokes-like feeling from the original: the ennui, the resignation. Kind of daring, in a way, to strip down a big, reverb-drenched original into essentially just banjo, bass, drums, and voice - each piece is so clear that any misjudged or misinterpreted playing would seem glaringly awful. But that isn't the case - it's really a beautiful version of what is just-another-pop-song.

Posted by Sam at June 14, 2005 1:52 PM

I can't say I feel very sorry about Three Gut Records..
Ordered the 2 first Royal City cd's from them a few years ago, but they never arrived. Even after several emails and them claiming to resend them twice... I just gave up in the end.
The only negative experience I have had with online stores.

But Royal City is a great band though :-)
But never got my hands on "At Rush Hour The Cars"

Posted by Erik at June 14, 2005 3:58 PM

I actually really, really feel shaken up about Three Gut folding. I can't think of a label that provided me with a more memorable soundtrack over the past few years. They will be very sorely missed.

Posted by adam at June 15, 2005 6:15 AM

congrats on the articles! yay!

Posted by amy at June 15, 2005 1:16 PM

wow. Three Gut will be sorely missed. I can't believe it really, they seemed like they were still on their way up with no sign of slowing down.

Thank you Three Gut! can't wait for the Cons new one.

Posted by Matt at June 19, 2005 9:06 PM

Years ago, when still supported up-and-coming artists, Tyler from TGR used to email me about my own music, about participating in or giving songs to compilations for Three Gut. I always liked him and his label, love Royal City, and I'm sorry to watch it go.

Posted by EJ at June 21, 2005 8:25 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.

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