The Same Song Twice
by Dan
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.


Alden Ginger/Penner - "Untitled"

Ginger, Penner, whatever he's going by these days, it's Alden from the Unicorns. I'm posting this for two (2) reasons:

1) the lyrics are simple, and you can sing it all day.

2) I wanted to compare it to yesterday's Devin Davis song. A commenter (my namesake) linked the Unicorns and Devin Davis quite strongly, saying that all fans of one will be fans of the other. Now, I would have agreed wholeheartedly with dan before I heard this song (and all of Alden's solo stuff), but I can't un-hear it now. It gives a window into what kind of music this man is trying to make and what kind of breakthroughs he's accomplishing. This is true death folk. Not since Isaac Brock have I felt a writer (of lyrics, music) to be so conscious and at peace with death, impermanence, and coping. "I know you control the radio / so crush the pill into the show". Marvelous. I would have also posted "Suicide is a Shame", one of the new Unicorns songs that never got recorded (or maybe it did) but I have to find a better version first.
So, applying this retroactively to Unicorns songs, for me, they take on a greater weight, the lyrics are no longer flippant, they're a sneer before the execution.
How does this come back to Devin Davis? Well, I'm not a huge fan (yet), but I'm still a huge Unicorns fan. Devin Davis is anthemic, wailing, and raucous where the Unicorns/Alden are haunted, smirking, and aloof (seemingly not of this world, but actually the complete opposite). Plus, guy's voice sounds too much like either Blue Rodeo or Northern Pikes for me.


The Robot Ate Me - "Bad Feelings"

I like it, I do, but I feel like someone quit the band between albums. Like, the "glitch" girl. I liked her. You should apologise about whatever fight you had.

most fortunate thing: the song gets better for its entire duration, it never gets worse or lags.
most unfortunate thing: now that I can hear his voice clearly, it reminds me too much of Ben Gibbard (same song twice).

Stan Brakhage made an hour-and-a-half long silent film about the decision to start a family, the day or week (if it's even measured in time) that it takes for that decision to take shape. He uses a lot of solar flares and super novas to describe the epic feelings that go on. The utter happening of things, and how important that is. Then I think of this song, and the singer (or his 'character') throws around forever and always and love like they don't or shouldn't really matter. It feels so naive, like watching someone climb up shelves the way you would climb a ladder.


Posted by Dan at May 17, 2005 2:41 AM

I have heard both of these songs before, but Dan I am now very, very excited to get home and hear them again, differently. I'll report back.

Posted by Sean at May 17, 2005 6:57 AM

the Alden Penner track sounds great, thanks for posting it. is there a way to listen to the whole radio session?

Posted by peter panic at May 17, 2005 9:16 AM

I found them originally at Click on the middle Unicorn and you'll be sent to the Bootlegs page of that site.

By the way, if anyone has Alden's "The Ghost of Creaky Crater" (is that even the right title? I can't remember it), could you please share? I don't have a record player, and I figure that the limited pressing of the single is gone already anywho. I'm dying to hear it. Well, not dying, really. Eager.

Posted by Sam at May 17, 2005 2:48 PM

Listening again to that Alden track, I hear a greeeat deal of Devendra Banhart. (Good, not maudlin, Devendra Banhart.) It's the sort of death that's wrapped up in a burlap cloak so you can't really see it. Maybe that cloak's just a body? (Interesting.)

And I hear you on this new Robot Ate Me record. I miss the glitch girl too (ha!)... All the same, I feel like this album might be their most consistent ever, their most beautiful. I don't know if it's what you were getting at - but it does feel like a really naive song, everything made so easy-and-simple. (But there's something magic and true in that, the way there are times when everything IS that easy-and-simple, when the shelves are just there for climbin', when you don't second-guess or stutter, you just shruggingly go along with the love you're used to. And it's still true. You even take those drums (thum-thum!) for granted.)

I do not understand why other people have nothing to say about these songs!

Posted by Sean at May 17, 2005 8:10 PM

"Untitled" sure be a wonderful ramblin' summer strummer.

...what a choice of words I'm making tonight.

Posted by Jore at May 17, 2005 10:01 PM

I had a class by Stan Brakhage one summer in college. It was called Sex, Death, & the Cinema. Thoughts of how f*#^king brilliant he was are splintered with flashes of a silver flask and chewing tobacco drool trailing from his mouth....

Posted by Jessica at May 17, 2005 11:21 PM

you are the luckiest jessica i have ever met.

Posted by Dan at May 18, 2005 2:10 AM

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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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