Vivre Le Sulking, Let's To The Corner!
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.


Alexander "Skip" Spence - "Diana"

Skip Spence was 22 years old when he recorded Oar, his one and only solo album. Spence was the original drummer for Jefferson Airplane and a member of the California sunshine psychedelic pop/rock band, Moby Grape. He was also a lunatic who recorded "Diana" just after being released from the psychiatric ward at Bellevue Hospital, where he had been incarcerated for attacking Moby Grape's drummer with an axe.

So, keep that in mind.

The fact that this song was written from within the hospital, lends an eerie quality to Skip's off-kilter incantations of the subject's name. Maybe he sees Diana as his chance at a normal life. Or his chance to communicate, finally. He wants her to understand him.

"Oh Diana, I am in pain. This is my heartbeat."

The song slips in and out of key. Solos come from all directions, often seemingly unrelated to the rest of the song.

He barely keeps it together, and it can be painful to listen to, but out of all the hurt and discord, the disorganization and opaque lyrics, emerges a stumbling, ham-fisted, yet trenchant love song. [Buy]


Arcade Fire - "Rebellion (Lies)"

I remember reading an interview with the Arcade Fire in which Win Butler (the band's frontman) said something about not thinking of the band as being part of the indie-rock genre, but as part of the broader pop tradition. At the time I didn't think much of this beyond it being just another example of the band's bravado. But now, after having listened to Funeral tens of times in the last week, I understand. These songs are not about experimentation or new directions, they were not written in the traditional sense. They were simply plucked, fully developed, from wherever it is that perfect pop songs like these are kept. Funeral is ten close approximations of the Platonic form of the pop song. The Arcade Fire has access to that very special room, a glorious song shop, visited in the past by The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye and New Order among a very select few others.

"Rebellion (Lies)" is a linear forward push. Only down strums and alternating bass drum and snare hits. A perfect pop bass. Though they are weighty and metallic (heavy metal?), the guitars (in cahoots with the piano) don't rush you forward, they just put their hand on your back and guide you faster and faster. Win's vocals ebb against the instruments' flow and you can always keep the pace up.

"Sleeping is giving in."

The instruments are sleep and the vocals are trying not to give in. The resulting clash is a dense shimmering piece of pop tumult.

At 3:18 there are two hand claps and "Rebellion" starts shimmering harder.

At 3:34 the chorus shifts into the minor key, it implodes on itself, and the guitars and strings turn to wind, pushing out in all directions.

The girl sitting across from me at the computer lab as I write this, saw the cd case and said:

"Are you listening to that right now?"
"Fucking epic, man."
"Yeah, it's good."

What else can be said? [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at October 6, 2004 12:23 AM

I lucked out and picked this up the week it came out. It's gotten so much bloody hype that I had a hard time believing it was as good as everyone says... but dayum... it is.

Posted by Trachalio at October 6, 2004 8:51 AM

I like all the Arcade Fire songs I've heard so far, but... man, I'm starting to feel like the hype is getting a little strong. I don't hear them as doing anything *that* different, in either direction or, really, quality, from a lot of bands. Comparing them to the Beatles, Beach Boys and Marvin Gaye (you can keep your New Order, thanks) seems kind of over the top to me. Sorry to be contrary, but I'm kind of getting a "this week's album of the year" vibe. (They're still good, don't get me wrong!)

Posted by rodii at October 6, 2004 9:03 AM

Wow, Jordan is topping Sean's praise! But having Sean talk to me about the band, and hearing the MP3s, I really agree.
Thank Bush for the low dollar! Great for us brits.

Posted by Matthew at October 6, 2004 10:01 AM

One of my favorites off the album too, thanks for putting it in the spotlight.

Funeral is the first time in long time, that the songs demand subjectivity, and refuse to be merely analyzed, to be picked apart, boiled down to their composite elements. The songs seem musical monoliths, not mere trinkets, sprung full-formed and realized, like some musical Athena from the head of Zeus. Real expressions of a beating heart, translated directly and cleanly into song.

Keep up the good work, you are bring a very enjoyable new perspective to StG. Thank you!

Posted by yoshinorimike at October 6, 2004 10:12 AM

oh god, please stop. much as i love them, as someone without access to a credit card and doesn't live in canada or the states, i'm currently waiting for the arcade fire cd to be shipped to my favourite record store and i don't think it'll get here for another month or so.

all you mp3 blogs are spoiling the record for me.

Posted by Roz at October 6, 2004 10:26 AM

rodii - I know what you're saying. The reason I decided to post the song -despite- all the hype is because I really love it. And it's not every week that I have a reaction like this to an album. I want to post the songs that mean the most to me at the time.

And, as mentioned in my post, it's not that they're so different, it's that they're so good (I guess it's on this point that we don't see eye-to-eye). They do what countless other bands have done, but they do it better than the vast majority (to my ears anyway).

I'm also (and I know Sean feels the same way) proud that this band that we watched grow and change (Sean, The Arcade Fire and I all live in Montreal, remember), did what we thought they might be able to do; make something really extraordinary.

But, I can appreciate how, at this point, any further gushing praise might be a bit grating. For that, and nothing else ever, I apologize.

Roz - I'm sorry.

Posted by Jordan at October 6, 2004 10:48 AM

Also, poor Skip is lost in the hype. Liberate him through listening and loving.

Posted by Jordan at October 6, 2004 10:56 AM

Good work balancing today's ticket with two solid tracks. One from the indiesnobs'-new-album-to-like & another from a recording culturally lost a while ago. The Arcade Fire track is a good listen, but the Skip song is the real star of the show.

Posted by DeSandro at October 6, 2004 11:40 AM

aw..that came out a bit harsher than i intended. i have nearly all the tracks off funeral now. sigh. sorry jordan, i still love your choices. :) and i agree with the guy/girl above, the skip spence track is an absolute heartbreaker.

Posted by Roz at October 6, 2004 12:10 PM

Wah! I can't post cuz MT-Blacklist thnks I'm spamming!

Posted by rodiii at October 6, 2004 1:17 PM

rodii(i) - Maybe you are. Think about it.

Posted by Jordan at October 6, 2004 1:32 PM

Great post this time around: two very good songs, with lots in common on second glance. Both are very emotional, both are extremely well-crafted, but each initially veils a different face of the coin. Spence's song sounds a mess at first, but ends an introspective symphony; Arcade Fire's comes on like a Grammy-ready overcalculation, but simply refuses not to care. Fine pairing. Keep up the good work.

Quick notes, though.

One, from long experience I can assure you that overhype does not guarantee a band's records will suck. I missed more than a few good shows because I thought I was too cool at the time. Don't do what Donny Don't does. Two, in re Skip Spence, c'mon: Oar has been a kollektorskum totem for eons and has had at least two proper reissues. If you call it 'lost' it had better be 1982, and despite the best efforts of a few overhyped bands the last few years, it isn't.

Posted by wcw at October 7, 2004 12:41 AM

overhype may not make a band's record suck, but with another 10000000000 artists/bands to choose from that aren't grossly (and i mean gross, as in ew) overhyped, i'd probably rather listen to something else than wonder if i'm cool enough.

that said, i still hold my horses when i say that the best thing the Arcade Fire ever did was their first five shows. i find this current album riding the high horses, quite boring. some of us montrealers will have heard the first demo, which was excruciatingly painful...

anyways, i'm glad they're riding the success-wave, win & regine are both great songwriters/musicians... but i think its time to move on.

thnx jordie, but i hope this one's the nail in the coffin (for the overhype, not for the band, whom i hope prosper for a while to come)

Posted by su at October 7, 2004 3:58 AM

The Arcade Fire's album is just amazing. It really is epic. Probably one of the best, most solid-albums front to back in the recent history of pop.

Posted by aaron at October 7, 2004 2:07 PM

Post a comment

(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.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"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.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

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