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.


Isobel Campbell - "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)". From her recent This Is Just The Same EP, here's the former Belle and Sebastian member doing a feather-soft rendition of Sonny Bono's dark Western tune. This cover is most interesting when taken next to the Nancy Sinatra version, last heard in Kill Bill. On first listen, I'd surely take Nancy's over Isobel's - there's more tension in the former, more steel within the coo, - but there's something affecting in the innocence of Campbell's song, the lurid words in a breathy Marilyn Monroe whisper. The tragedy is underlined, but so too, perhaps, is an element of mystery. What really happened here? Why am I uneasy when that small woman's teeth catch the light? "Now he's gone / I don't know why..." [buy]

The Tiger Lillies - "Reap What You Sow". From the group's 1998 record, Brothel to the Cemetery. The band plays a peculiar blend of russian folk music, falsetto Tom Waits, proto-punk, and um, Bertolt Brecht. This is a dark, woody, almost claustrophobic ballad, its ebb-and-flow of acoustic guitar undercut by string scrapes and the foreboding upright bass. While the lyrics aren't all darkness - there's something reassuring in the tale's conclusion, - there's also a deep and weary sadness. On a dark night, Martin Jacques' chorus - "You reap what you sow!" - seems forlorn, almost desperate, a lie to let you fall asleep. [buy]

(You'll notice I've started doing "buy this album" links. I'll continue to do so, where it's applicable. If you like the music you hear here, you should really, most definitely, fo' sure, support the artists responsible. It's a cliche, but I mean it: please go to their shows! please buy their records!

And as John and Justin have pointed out, I might as well make it easy.

I'll link to the artist's personal webstore where I can (ie, when it exists and ships affordably to North America [ie, me]), but otherwise will use InSound or Amazon. Links to the latter two will be tagged with a code that will give me a tiny commission. If that makes you uncomfortable, please don't use them. Furthermore, if such profits ever rise above basic server costs (which is unlikely, but possible, as I don't pay for the mp3 hosting), I'll change the system. I'm not comfortable earning income through this blog.)

Saw The Unicorns on Friday. They did a good show, but as a studio-recording kinda guy, I gotta say that there were only a few numbers ("I Was Born a Unicorn," particularly) that improved upon the album versions. Noteworthy, however, was a new one towards the end - Alden starting solo before everyone else jumped in. Wistful, suprising, three-legged indie rock. The surprise of the night was Toronto's Controller Controller, who despite their clumsy name played a really tight set of disco guitar-rock, like a much heavier version of Franz Ferdinand (and with lacklustre, "creamy" female vocals). Much, much better live than on CD.

Oh, a new little web project of mine:

Gmail Swap - because people are nice.


Bhangra mp3s out the wazoo. [via mefi]

See you tomorrow!

Posted by Sean at May 17, 2004 1:42 AM

I'm not gettin any success on either of the 2 downloads. Is it just me?

Posted by caley at May 17, 2004 1:51 AM

you caught me with my pants down, caley! :) i'm still touching up the post and uploading the tracks. check back in 20 min.

Posted by Sean at May 17, 2004 1:57 AM

Ok, no worries. I just thought something else was breaking down on this computer and thought the inevitable day of repair was nigh, but now I can put if off for another year or so. *Phew*

Posted by caley at May 17, 2004 2:36 AM

Just a general heads up; the new Vetiver (Devendra Banhart and some friends) album is streamable in its entirety here

Posted by kieran at May 17, 2004 5:12 AM

If G-Mail ever sent me my invites Sean, I'd be glad to hook you. But I've had my account for almost a month now, and still haven't gotten an invite. And yes, I am using it.

Posted by Keith at May 17, 2004 8:41 AM

fair to say i like the instrumental track on the Tiger Lillies song (and most specifically the _tone_ of it) better than the song itself as a whole? fair or not, i do think that's how i feel.

what's odd about the isobel campbell to me is how much it sounds like the nancy sinatra. it could be much more different, but even tempo-wise, for example, it's about the same.

so when's that jonathan richman concert again? you're going, right?

Posted by Hillary at May 17, 2004 12:56 PM

ahh the tiger lillies

I named my cat after this band!

you picked one of my fav songs too.. although the cd "ad nauseum" is sounding better and better these days..as well as the gorey end..

my girlfren won't let me play though.. she says Martin sounds like Julia Childs!!

Saw there show "the sea" in nyc last year, almost got in a fight with some guy who though I was too fucking boisterous!!! I guess you are supposed to sit there and nod to the songs about sex and death.. maybe clap politely????


Posted by bw at May 17, 2004 1:14 PM

ahh the tiger lillies

I named my cat after this band!

you picked one of my fav songs too.. although the cd "ad nauseum" is sounding better and better these days..as well as the gorey end..

my girlfren won't let me play though.. she says Martin sounds like Julia Childs!!

Saw their show "the sea" in nyc last year, almost got in a fight with some guy who thought I was too fucking boisterous!!! I guess you are supposed to sit there and nod to the songs about sex and death.. maybe clap politely????


Posted by bw at May 17, 2004 1:15 PM

that gmail swap is a great idea.

Posted by mike d. at May 17, 2004 9:22 PM

A pleasing coincidence that you're such a fan of the Lillies, Benjamen... I've actually only heard bootlegs of their records - they've only released one of them (the Gorey/Kronos Quartet one) in North America. So that just means i'll have to pick up a whole handful when I go to Europe this Fall. Which is a pretty good thing, really!

Is your cat called Tiger Lily, then? Or Tiger Lilly? Or Tiget Lilli? Or, um, just plain Tiger? --

holy crap. the Canadian Press called about gmail swap.

Posted by Sean at May 17, 2004 11:36 PM

the tiger lillies track is terrific!

Posted by justiny why at May 18, 2004 2:13 AM

I call my cat tiger lilly

my girlfren calls her lilly or tiger, won't do tiger lilly, caus she hates the band... and me!!

I must admit (and I can do this caus I am fucccccccccccked up at 525 am) that I have played tiger lilly some of Martin's songs and she does not like them!!!!

but what does she know!!!!!!


Posted by bw at May 18, 2004 5:27 AM

Hi, love your site. Have you heard the Dresden Dolls? They're another punk-rock cabaret act. I'm very fond of the Tiger Lillies, and I think that's made me unable to appreciate DD; they seem to be not quite pulling it off. They remind me of when I was in college and we all slept outdoors in sleeping bags one night to show our solidarity with the homeless. That analogy probably only makes the remotest bit of sense in my mind. But anyway, they've gotten raves from reasonably reliable sources, so I wonder if it's just me. Any thoughts?

Posted by lara at May 23, 2004 6:15 PM

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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.

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...'

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Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

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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.

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