Said the Gramophone - image by Ella Plevin
by Jeff

a rcoky beach by the edge of a forest

Unwound - "Arboretum" [buy]

(Read part one and two here and here)

Lin came to in a tangle of rope. She could hear the waves crashing on the shore and smelled salt in the air. For a moment she thought this was the afterlife, but the stories all said that it was an infinitely long mead hall, not a seaside chasm.

Somewhere below her a bell was ringing, slowly.

She was still reeling from the dizziness that had suddenly overtaken her on the mountain pass. A moment ago she was flailing, reaching out for Barnabas. Then blackness. Now this. Lin felt defeated. She thought of Mica and a lump formed in her throat. He would die without the potion.

"Are you alright up there?" a voice called.

"Yes," she answered. "Where am I?"

"This is Nameless Chasm. I'm Alonso."

From the corner of her eye, Lin saw the man climbing up a ladder on the steep cliff face.

"Now hold on tight to this rope," he said as he tossed her a long rough line. Lin grabbed it, and when she gave the sign the net supporting her give way. She hung in mid-air.

"When I'm on the ground, swing over to the ladder and climb down."

Lin followed his instructions and twenty feet below she found herself on a beach. The narrow chasm opened to the sea.

"You've had quite a fall." Alonso was short, wiry, and deeply tanned. His hands were strong and his fingers calloused.

He noticed her gaze. "I used to be a fisherman, but now I mostly catch people," he laughed. "You'd be surprised how many folks tumble off that pass every year."

He motioned to the small hut nearby. There was a table and chairs outside it. "Can I interest you in a cup of tea?"

Lin looked up the cliff but she couldn't see the path she'd fallen from. "I have to get back up there."

Alonso shook his head. 'I'm afraid the wizard's made it quite impassable. The only way to the Northwest is through the Caverns of Crane. But it's a treacherous journey--"

A scream came from nearby, a terrified shriek that immediately sent Lin and Alonso running in its direction.

(image by Spike)

by Emma

Sylvan Esso - "Die Young"

A slow ocean wave plus a sweet pop song. A late night walk home across the bridge plus a fax machine giving off sparks. A thin whisper plus a shelf of heavy books collapsing spectacularly to the floor. A real sad secret plus some searing singing hot pink neon. A promise plus a threat, which is just sex. A cat staring out the window in springtime making little tiny sounds with the front part of its throat plus a whole forest on fire, from above. A day of hot desert sun plus a whole-night dream of melting Tetris. A stream of radio static off the edge of a song from your childhood plus a calculator you don't remember swallowing in your sleep. A secret plus a slogan. A dark thing plus a sweet thing. Night plus something else that looks and feels like night but isn't, not exactly.

[What Now comes out April 28]

by Jeff

London Oi! band Hard Skin looking moody and tough in front of an old brick building

Hard Skin - "Skinhead" [buy]
Hard Skin - "Council Estate" [buy]

Until I heard Hard Skin, the sum of my knowledge of Oi was limited to two Cock Sparrer songs, the few sets I caught by excellent Montreal skins Jeunesse Apatride, and a Sham 69 song I heard on a mixtape when I was a sixteen. Since then I've listened to some early Blitz and been obsessed with French Oi-revivalists Rixe, but on the whole I still know practically nothing about the genre.

But I friggin' love Hard Skin. Repping for their London neighbourhood of Gipsy Hill, they've written four albums and a bunch of singles of catchy skinhead anthems delivered in a furious cockney growl. Firmly mid-tempo, with giant guitar leads, Hard Skin's songs rescue the golden age of working-class rock n roll from the dustbin of history. Hard Skin play into the proudest traditions of the sub-genre: celebrating boozing at the pub, glory days and lost friends, and endlessly slag off the coppers in songs with ominous football hooligan gang vocals.

And if this all sounds tough as hell, there's also a self-mocking, tongue-in-cheek character at the heart of their songs. They're not necessarily joking, but they're not entirely serious either. And it's the black humour of their approach that makes these songs about the bleak conditions of life in working-class England (is a Brexit concept album forthcoming? we can only hope) get under your skin.

Hard Skin make two rare appearances in Canada this week. They play Ottawa on Thursday, March 16 and Montreal at the Oi! St. Patrick's Weekend, this Saturday, March 18 at Katacombes (1635 St. Laurent). More info here.

by Jeff

Mural by Ivy Jeanne in 949 Market Squat, 2001; photo Erick Lyle
(Mural by Miami singer Ivy Jeanne in 949 Market Squat, 2001; photo by Miami guitarist Erick Lyle)

Miami - "The City That Never Sleeps" [buy the reissue of the crucial split with Shotwell!]

I've tried and tried to write about Miami, the band not the city, from California not Florida, a band that was hugely important to me at a weird time of excessive feelings and long Greyhound bus rides, but instead I just end up playing this new reissue of The City That Never Sleeps over and over again with a stupid smile on my face.

Here are the approaches I tried:
1) A nostalgic scene of first hearing the record as my pen-pal Cindy drove me to the white sands of Pensacola Beach.
2) Realization that I am old: Can you believe they're re-issuing this record? I remember when it first came out!
3) History lesson: Miami played generator shows on Mission Street in post-tech bubble San Francisco. Its members were (and still are; RIP Matty Luv) squatters, artists, zinesters, anti-gentrification activists involved in creating temporary autonomous zones and free spaces in a hostile, rapidly-changing city.
4) Feels: Listen to that howl. Has there ever been a sound that so perfectly captures the feeling of being young, alive, and flat broke in a soul-crushing city that you love and hate? (Well has there?) AwooooOOooooOOoo

These songs are fire. The City That Never Sleeps captures a tuneful, soulful, raggedy, powerful sound. Miami drew from X and The Minutemen and made something imperishably their own. This record was a beacon in the early 2000s, a bat-signal that said STAY PUNK and DON'T BE AFRAID OF CHANGE. Still good lessons today.

by Mitz

(photo source)

Cerro Verde - "I Lost a Game" [Buy]

(I hope I didn't write this story yet)

Me and my girlfriend, we used to play this game.

When we get home, before we go into our apartment, we both guess where our cat is. And we go in really really really quietly.

point system is set for difficulty of the guess. For example, my cat being at the door greeting us would be 1 point since it's most likely place. On the couch laying down, would be 2 points, on the bed, would be 2 points, by the window laying down, would be 2 points.

However, there are extreme place such as kitchen chair, 4 points. Under the credenza in the living room, 4 points.

Once, he was accidentally locked in the closet(I felt bad:( ) That would be 15 points.

If both of us didn't get it right, our cat gets a point.

I used to go for bigger points since I lost everytime, so I used to guess crazy one like in the oven smelling burned food, 29 points etc etc.

I lost this game.

I miss my cat, Moses RIP.

by Jeff

an abstract field of lines and colours

Earth Girls - "Say Goodnight" [buy]

Alex drew jagged lines on the scratch pad attached to the pen display. Other shoppers at the papeterie before her had left their marks behind, zig-zags, spirals, and squiggles in every colour. She dropped the purple gel-point back into its slot and picked up the neighbouring green felt-tipped marker, took off the cap, and drew a straight line. This one, she thought, and carried it to the cash register.

by Mitz

(photo source)

Tzusing - "4 Floors Of Whores" [Buy]

I have been listening to this song a lot. I thought this gives me energy since I have been out of shape and feeling tired all the time.

I imagined this would be a great work out song.

But I'm lazy that I have new years resolution for next year already to start working out in 2018.

Meanwhile, someone was getting rid of Nintendo Wii and I thought maybe I would use Wii Fit to lose weight at home! Then, I realized I tried that already 7 years ago and sold my wii.

I just lay in my bed and close my eyes and imagine myself lifting weight with this song. It's a good start!

ps. I dont like the song title though:( I looked up and it references to this building. Not sure intent of the artist. I hope it's not sexisim intended.