Said the Gramophone - image by Daria Tessler
by Mitz
(photo source)

Nick Nicely - "on the beach(the ladder descends)" [Buy]

Summer. I was daydreaming in the elevator of my studio building. Just thinking about sunset on the beach and eating nice seafood or Okinawa Soba. My mom is from Okinawa which is an island in Southern Japan with warm weather all year round. One time I remember my cousin was wearing winter jacket in December on a day that it went down to 13 degrees Celsius but all I was wearing was a light cardigan and a Kurt Cobain t-shirt (I was a huge Nirvana fan, I relate to those "I miss you, Kurt" comments on YouTube. He understood me and I understood him. In my mind, we were on a first name-basis) I remember going to Okinawa in the summer time to visit my family. My grandparents both passed away on the same day a couple of years apart. My aunt said it was shortly after midnight that my grandma went to sleep forever. It was peaceful. When they passed away they were both close to 100 years old. They lived through two wars and so many new inventions like the telephone, TV, washing machine, Beta, VHS, DVDs, vinyl, cassettes, and CDs. Oh ya, and I forgot, laser-discs and mini-discs. Oh, also Fax machines. They still EXIST! some companies or government offices still ask me to fax stuff!

I will fax my grandparents in the afterlife and tell them that "my mom, my aunts, uncles, and my cousins miss them and love them." and also written,

"p.s. I miss you too, Kurt!"

by Jeff

A pile of garbage on fire in front of the Barcelona stock exchange

Barcelona - "Pasión"
Barcelona - "Seguidores del Orden"

I don't really know anything about Barcelona. I've read books set there and seen movies filmed in in its streets. I've read articles about the grassroots anti-eviction movement and the indignado protests against EU austerity. But this doesn't count as true knowledge. I've never wandered the city's neighbourhoods, seen how the sun falls across the sidewalk at midday, or heard Catalan spoken at the marketplace. I can't tell you anything about the place known as Barcelona, but I can tell you a little about the punk band who take their name from the city: they destroy.

There's a brashness to naming your band after the city you live in, a kind of "we run this town" swagger. Barcelona are made up of members of the city's best punk bands and the seven songs on their debut EP epitomize the dense, meticulously-constructed HC sound that has emerged in the city over the past decade. The bass-heavy rhythm of "Pasión" echoes Una Bestia Incontrollable, and the air raid siren guitars of "Bomba" and "Seguidores del Orden" sound like sped-up Destino Final riffs. But they also bring something new to the table, a female singer spitting hellfire all over these tracks. Her enraged, emotionally-raw delivery is the beating heart of this band.

[buy LP / download]

(image source)

by Sean

Tyler, the Creator - "Buffalo". Tyler jacks Pusha T's abrupt and cheering sample to offer his own disorienting, deteriorating cri-de-coeur. You have the feeling that Tyler's spirit's all scoured with Tide and Mr Clean, flecked with white powder, the give and weave fighting whatever cleaning agents got admitted to the studio. Self-doubt and criticism swing like medallions around his neck; every time his head droops to stare at them he distracts himself with another cheer, blurt or crash. A haunted house with a funk band in every rickety room, a hundred James Brown impersonators trying to keep you from looking at the ghouls. See here, see here, kinder glints than all the cruel flash on those swords. [buy]

Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons - "Grease".
Neil Cicierga - "Imagine All Star People".
Bee Gees - "Night Fever".

There were two perfect disco-related moments on my recent trip to New York. One was when I was running down Avenue A because it was raining and I didn't have an umbrella, so I kept trying to position myself under store awnings and billboards so I wouldn't get soaked. I had just bought a pair of high-waisted mom jeans that I tucked into a wife beater that I was 80 per cent sure I was pulling off and all the rain had slicked my short hair back, David Bowie style. (Now I'm like 8 per cent sure I just didn't look like a depressed Portuguese landlord, but whatever.) Anyways, suddenly I hear the Bee Gees' "Night Fever" blasting out of a hair salon, a purely iconic 70's New York disco song that sounds like someone whispering a compliment right into your ear. It's pretty much impossible not to feel crazysexycool while listening to it, even if you're wearing said recently acquired $10 mom jeans. Anyways, this Hispanic teenager suddenly runs out of the store and starts dancing hard in the rain to "Night Fever." I was feeling it, too. I watched him at the corner and as the light turned green I started bolting down the street in the rain as life felt pretty much perfect. Shout outs to the universe and Barry Gibb.

The second moment involved driving in my cousin Kent's car through Brooklyn, listening to the radio, windows down, an inexplicably hot May day. The song "Grease" by Frankie Valli comes on the FM gold station he's particularly into, a track that I literally haven't listened to in years. My cousin tells me that for months he thought this was just an incredible 70's disco song. And I can feel that. Like the best pop songs, it evokes a powerful feeling while having particularly dumb lyrics. For instance, I remember saying "H to the Izzo" for years. Just casually, to like parents and teachers and stuff.

Anyways, my cousin Kent didn't know that this was obviously from the hit musical Grease, a song therefore loaded with signifiers like Bad Sandy and how a hickey from Kenickie's like a Hallmark card. Now every time I listen to it, I like to imagine hearing "Grease" in its absolutely pure state, free from meaning. "Grease is the word" could mean sex, power, cash, hair oil, a sweat-slicked dance floor or even a possible Studio 54-related STD. I always feel like people give each other songs like presents and my cousin Kent just bequeathed me an impossible summer jam.


Picture yourself at my funeral. Stop crying. Okay, please cry harder, it would be nice if somebody looked really upset about this 'cuz I'm not coming back, okay? Pull all the hotties to the front. Tell my mom to be cool and stop messing with the catering. (BTW if there is lasagna or mac and cheese being served, I will literally ghost-flip the table. I understand those are the carb-y comfort foods that might be needed during the truly traumatic fact of my early death when I resembled a young Catherine Keener and my ass was in fact a badonk-a-donk, but I think both foods are disgusting and I would appreciate if you respected my wishes, okay? Why not serve clubhouse sandwiches with like, a ton of mayonnaise to piss off my ex-boyfriend? Or just like a giant malted milkshake served in a bathtub that everyone drinks out of with cute little pink straws? Even though I currently have a problem digesting milk, I'm sure ghost-me will not be lactose intolerant.)

Then at just the right moment, let the priest or John Stamos or whatever, dim the lights and ask for a moment of silence at the request of the deceased. Tell my aunts and uncles and Maltese grandmother to shut it. I mean, really Tommy, is this the right time to tell everyone you used to be a rodeo clown? This is my moment! Get one of my autistic cousins to hit play on my iPhone and then this jam kicks in. At first, listening to all those soft pianos, the people weep respectfully. "Chandler's really classy," they think. But then, slowly but surely they realize it is Smash Mouth's "All-Star" being played over John Lennon's "Imagine" in the most necessary mash-up of our time. The brutal irony is not lost on anyone because this is the perfect Tim and Eric-ish track to go out. Mic drop. We out. I will haunt you all forever.

Love, Ghost Chandler

by Mitz

Kryzys - "Mam Dość" [Buy]

I wish I spoke every single language in the world. Every time, I listen to songs in a foreign language, I always wonder what they are singing about. I remember when I was growing up, I listened to The Smiths. I didn't understand the lyrics but still enjoyed the melody and Marr's guitar work, but when I learned English I realized the brilliance of the lyrics and I enjoyed it even more. Sometimes though, it is better to leave certain songs untranslated like the first line of the song 'Stand by me', which goes "When the night.." but to japanese ears it sounds like "benza nai..." which translates to "there is no toilet seat".

I listened to this Polish band, 'Kryzys', their song "Mam dość", (there are accents on S and C so I had to copy and paste) and as I was listening I wanted to know what the lyrics meant. So I auto-detect-language-Google-translated the song title and the result came up "I've had enough". So then, I started to wonder what has he/she had enough of? Ate too much ice cream? Ate too many Camembert cheese slices and Rice Krispies before starting to cook dinner because he/she was hungry when he/she went grocery shopping and bought too many snacks? Maybe it wasn't about food, I don't know. It could have been about a Centaur who has had enough of people telling him/her, that he/she has bad posture. Since birth, people had been telling the Centaur he/she has bad posture, his/her mom Centaur told him/her to sit up at dinner table, while studying, and while riding on the bus. Kind of like human moms do everywhere in the world, but when he/she became an adult Centaur and people were still telling him/her to stand up straight! Maybe he/she became fed up and said, "I've had enough!" then went to get wasted at a bar, shit on this dance floor, danced really crazy and inspired this song. Then accidentally kicked some bouncers and got booted out of the bar. Then went to eat pogos and pizza at a late night diner but ran into some mean people who saw him/her, pointed, and said "Oh my god! that Centaur has such bad posture! I've never seen a Centaur with such bad posture!"

This song is probably not about that, but it is good, I think. (<--worst song review line in history)
The End.


(photo source) <--proof of Centaur, right here.

by Jeff

A cat with glowing sitting on top of a fence at night

METZ - "Spit You Out"

This is queasy-making music. "Spit You Out" is built on an unrelenting bass riff that bores a hole straight into your brain. Churning along with the giant drums is a slimy guitar riff, and ragged vocals that teeter between belligerent and vulnerable, before resolving into sweet harmony.

There's a loping menace to this jam that makes me feel tough, like I'm a mutant in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. I almost wish I was still a suburban teenager so I could listen to this while walking around my shitty neighbourhood late at night, hating everything, and stopping to cuddle the local housecats.

METZ are the current standard-bearers for a whole lineage of bands I listened to on my Walkman as a teen - Jehu, Unwound, Fugazi - masters of repeating a part, upping the tension, until it feels like you're going to rip your eyes out if the song doesn't hit the rock-out part soon.

--

Dang, METZ totally did it. The new album is even better than the first, which was a tall order. They're on tour until the end of the world so go see them if they're in your town. You will not be disappointed.

[buy]

(image source)

by Sean
Nicki Minaj and pals


David Thomas Broughton - "Ain't Got No Sole". A song of losing your shoe. Maybe it starts as something more than that - a song of dark heart, fatal intention. But before long it's haphazard and scrapped, distracted, a loafer bobbing away in the water. I think it's the story of a narrow escape, a near-miss. Life's daft logic can lead you to the end of your rope but by the same token it can save you. Every day we get fucked by unfair, arbitrary and incompetent moments; then sometimes we get rescued by them. Broughton's tune feels light as a schooner, uncapsizing. It feels as giddy as a backwards clock. [buy]