Said the Gramophone - image by Neale McDavitt-van Fleet
by Dan

Shane Carruth - "I Love to Be Alone"

Edmund is alone. Like, alone-alone. No contact with his exes, no contact with his children, the only people he's talked to all week have been handing him food over a counter, usually wrapped in foil. And he walks around at night, all night almost, because it feels more like he's in charge at that hour and maybe someone will beat him up and get his pulse going. Empty pockets, except for winter grit and pieces of pieces of pieces of receipts. Unshaven, he wonders how mustaches are supposed to raise money. The second-hand these days is undecided, like a metronome. Grudges like canker sores. Forgiveness like an ATM withdrawal, each one leaving him weaker than the last. Amazed at people actually able to go to work. Amazed they don't arrest you if you don't. He tried to write a letter at least a dozen times and every time "don't make it like a gravestone, you're making it sound like a gravestone." He itched his scalp like it was alive. Secret brain-fed cockroaches that live between the skull and that Bobby Fischer coif. At the bar, seemingly digging into his phone with one finger, as if uncovering the world's greatest goddamned mystery. There is only one opening, and that opening has closed.


by Sean
Plants by Aurelia Deschamps

Alexis Zoumbas - "Tzamara Arvanitiko". The man became rich with his crying violin. He took the instrument from hall to hall, from town to town, showing its weeping to the people. He cradled it in his hands, bowed and plucked, and everybody wept great silver tears. They piled money into his arms, gave him luxurious gifts and held huge dinners. They recited speeches in honour of the man with the crying violin. They called him a hero. He lived in a huge apartment in the city, with oils on the walls and cabinets full of jewelled samovars. He was happy.

And then one year there was another man, a stranger, who came to these lands with a different violin. His violin could also cry. Perhaps not as well as the first man's crying violin, No, the people said, perhaps not as well. But in addition to crying, the second violin could sing like a songbird. When its owner raised it to his chin, dipped the bow across its strings, it would cry and then it would sing out, like a jay or a cardinal, or like a nightingale. And the people held their breath; they marvelled. They wept great golden tears. They piled money into the stranger's arms, they made him rich. And the first man, all he had was a crying violin.



Montreal: This Thursday, April 24, I will be launching my novel Us Conductors at the Cardinal Tea House. Join me from 7pm for a reading and signing, plus performances by theremin-players Aleks Schürmer (Syngja) and John Tielli (Hydrothermal Vents), accompanied by members of Gambletron, Miracle Fortress, Silverkeys and Suuns. It's free.

(image by aurelia deschamps)

by Dan

Thee Oh Sees - "Penetrating Eye"

And this is stranger sex. Edmund walks into an apartment where the ceiling looks like a tent sagging in the rain, and the only decorations are nail holes and a thin flag. If "alone and awake at 4am drunk" had an apartment, this would be it. Something that smells like wet toast. Something that feels like a begging ritual. Something that sounds like tenderizing meat. And then waking up without having slept. "What are you doing here?" "I could ask you the same question." This was life without May. This was life with a May-shaped hole, gaping and yawning and black and endless. Outside, he wondered when the soonest appropriate time would be to get a beer.



Tomorrow is Record Store Day. There will be many amazing releases, from Sam Cooke to Devo and from Chvrches to Haim. But among my favourite will be a vinyl release of
Scharpling & Wurster's Rock, Rot, and Rule
, the very first Best Show bit. Support your local record stores, and enjoy the treasures.

by Sean
Photo by Guy Sargent

White Hinterland - "Baby". Anyone who has watched the sea for long enough knows that it is unsentimental. Forget the lapping surf and the perfect sunsets - this is an expanse of churn and thrash, ungoverned violence. It could drown you or carry you, lift or fall away; it could rise like a wall or seem to vanish, mirrored, in the afternoon light. Don't fuck with it, this grey, blue, green, silver, indigo force; nor, "Baby" suggests, with Casey Dienel's grey, blue, green, gold, pink, clear heart. On Baby, White Hinterland's music is crashing and unkind R&B; I've long loved Dienel's vocal trills, her undersung hooks, but here she pants like a tide and groans like a pipe-organ. She's noisy cacophony, retching love. She's club-drunk and bedroom-hungry, choirgirl and part-harpy. This album is a hardship, in a way; it's heavy as hell, unabating. It demands to be reckoned with. But you listen to the hoarse closing seconds of this title track, Dienel's bare broken breath, and you are reminded of what's at stake with these gestures - this monstrousness is music, this hardship's a singing, these currents of voice and beats, eros and fury, are an artist's bare work. Forget the question of whether the sea is beautiful or ugly; remember only that it is coming for what it wants, and always will be. [buy / White Hinterland plays Montreal on Friday, April 18]

(photo by Guy Sargent)

by Dan

Screamin' Jay Hawkins - "I Hear Voices"

Edmund in a basement apartment. Unable to return to his place with May, he took the first thing he could find, just so he wouldn't have to go anywhere else. A house with six other people. "We share expenses here, we live communally." He wondered how long he would last in the face of mandatory dinners and the shared smells of bodies and a decaying house. He was in his mid-forties, and this was supposed to be some kind of badge of honour, the feather in his cap that was actually nailed to his head. He imagined Frank, his 11-year-old, coming here. He could see the boy's normally scared face downright petrified of the sheer height of these people, their confidence, their beaded everything. He lay on his mattress on the floor of the basement, the power out, and headlights cutting along the ceiling in jagged scrapes. He seemed to sink like a chemical burn into the ground.

[28 days left on the auction]

by Sean
Frozen lighthouses

Will Stratton - "Gray Lodge Wisdom (ft the Weather Station)". A long gleam interrupted by shorter gleams; a morse code of gleams; a smouldering coal and twenty lightning-bolts. At brunch on Saturday we looked at the plate of cream-filled éclairs and remembered that éclair also means lightning bolt. "Gray Lodge Wisdom" is a languorous song fettered by quick fiddles and some kinda dulcimer, and by Tamara Worden's slow coal voice, and by a thousand éclairs - comforts and lightning-bolts - come to the door as parcels, wrapped in brown paper. It gestures toward wisdom like a skater skating toward a distant point, knowing he could fall. Stratton owns a pair of mittens but here his hands are bare.

[buy / Gray Lodge Wisdom will be celebrated at a New York record release show, April 16 at Brooklyn's Union Hall]

(photo source)

by Dan


Angel Olsen - "Lights Out"
K's Choice - "Not an Addict"

Edmund walked out on May. He walked out on May and into the slanted streets at two in the morning. The late March ice was collecting in slanted flat puddles, like the whole world was tilted on its side and frozen that way. It seemed like there was nothing in his chest, no heart, no lungs, no ribs. Nothing but an electrical buzz. A buzz that seemed to be propelling him forward into the night and away from his fourth marriage. Carolyn, Alison, Jen, and now May. And the women in between, of course. And the women during. He grimaced into a donut and let it surge through him like his blood was sewage. There is no such thing as a normal mental state. There is no word that exists that isn't constantly being contorted into letters. There is no such thing as nature. There is only the buzz. The clicking, insatiable buzz.

[Buy Burn Your Fire for No Witness]
[Buy Paradise in Me]