Worst Knight Ever
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.


Terry Jacks - "Concrete Sea"

Some of you will have read of my editor, Max Maki. That's because she likes to insert her name into as many posts as she can get her greedy (not to mention greasy) little bearpaws on. Yesterday, she was listening to the CBC (Max likes the radio) and heard an interview with Terry Jacks. Now, I'm not going to lie to you: I'd never heard of Terry Jacks. Max told me that he was the artist responsible for that insipid enemy of a song, "Seasons In The Sun," (best selling Canadian single of all time (boo!)) but that - as evidenced by his extraordinary song "Concrete Sea" - he was not a man of pure evil but a man divided between that extreme and its opposite. Needless to say, having never heard the latter song, I was sceptical (of her dubious claim (would you trust a new invention of Dr. Frankenstein's?) and of her existence (I'm an Ontological Skeptic)).

But, Good Lord! Was I ever wrong? Not before yesterday, I wasn't.

Add some vibrato to the voice, change the 4/4 shuffle to a slow waltz and convince Neil Young that he wrote "Concrete Sea" and he'd be real proud.

Turn it into a book, take out the ham-fisted rhymes and convince H.D. Thoreau that he wrote "Concrete Sea" and he'd be real proud.

It's short and it's simple - a formal reaction against the "concrete sea." Yesterday, Jacks described it as "simple and all acoustic." That, of course, is a lie. Electric guitars are not among the instruments we label as acoustic. But would you expect honesty from the man who brought us "Seasons In The Sun?" [Buy]


A cover of a Frog Eyes song from a Believer magazine music comp:

Wolf Parade - "Claxxon's Lament"

Wolf Parade plays a kind of caustic church music. A church music without the appropriate deference to greater powers. Fittingly, here their voice sounds like the voice of god, tentatively forming prayers in the imperative.

It sounds a bit like Bowie and a bit like Destroyer (the horns at the end are vividly evocative of City of Daughters), and it sounds a bit like a new kind of plainsong: unadorned, yet spilling over with feeling. They sound confident, doing much with little: a reverb-soaked harmony at 0:45, a moment's vocal vulnerability at 1:05, an aimless organ, a simple guitar counterpoint, the repetitive and dissonant interplay of the muted guitar and off-kilter saxophone squawks that bring the song to an end. [Buy/Info]

Posted by Jordan at June 17, 2005 1:43 AM

That Terry Jacks tune is really unexpectedly great. It's as if there's a Brill Building somewhere where countless souls toil away at making Neil Young songs. Dig the piano oompa-loompa.

The Wolf Parade song is so unexpected - "plainsong" is right. So much simpler, calmer than the typical WP fare (or Frog Eyes for that matter!). And the horns are so sad, silken, sweet.

Posted by Sean at June 17, 2005 4:04 AM

Very nice work. But I'd expected a klaxon in the 2nd track (though the sax has about the same effect, coming in where and how it does).

Posted by Tuwa at June 17, 2005 11:30 AM

nice to hear a non-muddy wolf parade recording. thanks for posting it jordan.

Posted by george at June 17, 2005 12:35 PM

Ok, I've been listening to this and forget what I said about the Wolf Parade being "silken": it is very clearly FELT.

Posted by Sean at June 17, 2005 12:50 PM

that believer compilation is amazing.

Posted by Stephen at June 17, 2005 1:51 PM

Good call on the Bowie and Destroyer comparisons, Jordan.

Interesting song. Seems like quite a departure from most other Wolf Parade material. I like the sax part a lot.

Is that a banjo rather than a guitar from 2:14 onwards, or just some strumming/muting technique on the guitar? Sounds like maybe he's strumming up on the neck, far from the pickups.

Has anybody had any luck finding a copy of the June issue of The Believer in Montreal? Chapters/Indigo still don't appear to have received any copies, and they're the only stores that seem to carry it around here. I'm going to check (again) today after work. Please let me know if anyone knows where I can find it though. I'm reluctant to order it because I know that as soon as I order it, Chapters/Indigo will receive a big shipment (but I will order it if I can't find it soon).

Posted by Sam at June 17, 2005 2:18 PM

I'm having the same problem finding June's Believer in Toronto. I've heard that it should show up within the next week.

Posted by Theo at June 17, 2005 7:09 PM

Seems like a ridiculously long time to make us wait. Don't monthly magazines generally come out either at the beginning of the month, or even prior to it? Maybe I'm crazy...

Posted by Sam at June 17, 2005 7:39 PM

i just picked up the believer comp cd today...its really good. if any one wants to trade a burned copy for something else, drop me a line at my gmail account.

Posted by Jorge at June 17, 2005 10:04 PM

i also agree with the destroyer comparison. you should listen to the sunset rubdowwn album. whole thing sounds like destroyer. but not the fun destroyer. the warbly, challenging stuff.

Posted by dan at June 17, 2005 11:12 PM

You should check out "Where Evil Grows" by Terry Jacks' band, the Poppy Family. A bit corny, but a great little pop song. If I had an MP3 blog of my own, I would post it. (I must get an MP3 blog of my own.) For some reason it's always struck me as a song Barbara Manning was born to cover (I can hear her singing it in my head, if that doesn't sound too weird) but it may never even have entered her radar. However, I think DOA did a punked-up cover of it at one point.

Posted by DW at June 17, 2005 11:22 PM

apparently "claxxon's lament" is really an outtake from carey mercer's solo album (under the name blackout beach). but he told wolf parade to just credit it to frog eyes instead. carey's version is going to be released on a single soon.

great song, and one of wolf parades best recordings, i think.

Posted by dan at June 19, 2005 3:29 PM

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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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