Said the Gramophone - image by Matthew Feyld
by Sean

Follies - "Drag". This dusty concerto is made of guitars and drums, weary voices, ponging sounds like an elevator that's just come in. I say concerto because there is a stateliness to its ramshackling, a precision to the timbres. Musical notes arranged in a certain order, like colours on a spectrum. ROYGBIV. Never BOYGRIV, never VOYBRIG. Except maybe not never VOYBRIG. Maybe there is a principle by which VOYBRIG is the order of the spectrum. VOYBRIG, BOYGRIV or even the greatest anagram, BY VIGOR. One day, perhaps, we will look at a rainbow and see it ordered BY VIGOR, blue to red. And so this song: musical notes arranged in a certain order, according to Follies' one particular logic, that autumn day they made "Drag" a solid, fading thing that can never be undone. [bandcamp]

by Mitz

Guy Boyer & Jean-Yves - "Speedy Slalom" [buy]

"You are never too late to do anything in your life!" this motivational speaker said confidently to us, dumb, high school students. I'm sure 78% of the guys there (including me) were wearing Point Zero or some other super stylish brand name underwear. Now that I think back, the speaker looked like a bit of a fishy guy. Like one of those guys who would sell broken, stolen iPhones, or bikes on Craigslist and meet you at metro stops or other public places dressed nice with high waisted two tuck khaki pants, and an oversized polo shirt. It was a norm-core look, but with a fishy edge. I would call that style, Albi-core. Anyway, this Albicore fashion leader, aka motivational speaker, insisted that "you can do anything, anytime in your life!". He said this with so much passion that I thought the vain in his forehead was going to pop. I forgot to mention earlier that part of his look was that his neck was really thick like Henry Rollins. You couldn't even tell where his neck ended and his face started--that thick.

I remembered his message years later, one night, after a long day of work. I had no clean underwear to wear the next day (I had grown out of Point Zero and was wearing Haines or some other cheap briefs brand by this point). I looked at the time and it was around 11:30PM. I thought, "it is too late to do laundry" but then I remembered Albicore motivational speaker's voice, "you are never too late to do anything in your life!" (I added reverb and echo onto his voice, like in a soap opera, in my mind) So, I washed all my underwear and my neighbour got mad.
The End

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by Sean
Eye miniatures

Σtella - "Picking Words". The young librarian overestimates her own importance. It is a regal profession, a crucial human achievement - but all the same, Jennifer, you are not yet a pillar of learnéd society. Watch her as she dances through the stacks, putting books away. Watch her as she spins in the reference-desk office-chair, giddy on indexing. Listen to the click of her flats on the library's old tile. Listen to the flick of eyelashes over owlish eyes. The young librarian imagines herself as the treasured heart of a John Hughes film. She imagines herself as the object of your affection. She is named Jennifer, it says so on her nametag, never forget. [Σtella is Greek. / buy]

by Jeff

the painting country cabins at sunset by frederick judd waugh

Gillian Welch - "Revelator" [buy]

The Wipers - "Doom Town" [buy]

John Coltrane Quartet - "Alabama" [buy]

O crushing defeat, O years gone by, fruitless, O long complicated break-ups. Give me these feelings and I'll exchange them for a song. Something you can hold close to your ear, hold close your heart. It will have words that you can mull over or none at all. Either a perfect consolation or an affirmation of just how fucked we all really are.

Do sad songs have a colour? They've been assigned blue, but there are more shades than that. Gillian Welch's songs are bluegrass, something I've never seen in the wild, but I which I imagine as a blue green leaf, fed by tears and shimmering in the breeze. Welch's song "Revelator" is about time and doubt, the things that eat away at us. She sings about running away with resignation, suspecting that it might not make anything better in the end.

The Wipers' sad songs are the steely shade of the perpetually-overcast skies that hang over their "Doom Town" of Portland, Oregon. In their perfect punk rock songs the Wipers sing about being on the right side of history and the wrong side of everyone else. Being at odds with the world is the lifetime struggle of the bona fide punk, one that gets harder with age. They sing the grey blue of isolation, loneliness, and everyday life impinging on dreams of making something better.

And then on the colour wheel of sad songs there's a darker shade. The darkest blue of deep night, of weariness, of exhaustion. It's here in this John Coltrane Quartet song, their quiet hymn to the victims of the bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. So muted and tired sounding. The master of blowing infinite air through a horn is winded here, offering a simple refrain for the departed.

(image: "Country Cabins at Sunset" by Frederick Judd Waugh)

by Emma

Arthur Russell - "The Deer In The Forest, Pt. 1"

Wifi. Warm wind in winter air. Wise dogs, night houses. Empty streetcars lit from the inside (like, silver hush, "SHORT TURN"). Civil twilight. The memory of someone else's hands in your hair. This one spam email I keep getting every 72 hours, like clockwork, from something called the "universal semiconductor association" that just says "CHANGE PASSWORD," in all caps like that, nothing else. Semantic satiation. Wrong numbers. More bikes than you'd think. Most other people's text messages*. About half of the young professionals in peacoats you see on the subway. About a quarter of the used records in every pile of used records you pass by but don't flip through. Not as many cabs as you'd expect, but definitely synthesizers. Each unread email. Your awful, unfinished novel - all its corners and edges. A couple stray winter boyfriends lingering in the alleys, picking at their cigarettes and awaiting directions that won't come. Some beards, most haircuts, most plumbing, refrigerators. All the terrible, tangled old wire in the walls of your perfect apartment. About half of the girls on bikes that swerve to miss you. Every single raccoon.

*You know when you have thoughts that disappear before you get the chance to finish thinking them? That's what those are; just someone else's hey what are you doing tonight, someone else's hey can I come over swifting their way across town, moving through you like an impulse. Sometimes you're a universal semiconductor and sometimes you're a shortcut, but either way it's never up to you, not really.

[buy Calling Out of Context]

by Sean

Garbage men on swings

Astral Swans - "Park Street". There is a herd of lean animals. Lean and clever, given to acts of virtuousness and virtuosity, to sudden darting runs. Their owner has given up on trying to keep them in their pen. The fences are for show, the gate is unlocked. The lean herd will exit whenever they wish to. Later, the herd moves to Park Street. They've found a small house, a cottage, with two rickety floors and a tall porch. There are two birches in the front yard, a mulberry bush, a feral cat. The herd remains lean, clever, virtuous and virtuosic. They remain untamed, relentless, free. But they do begin to fight. Someone sleeps with someone, then an argument, light switches flicked on in the middle of the night. Two messy conversations on the porch. The herd has freedom and limitless power. The herd is lean and clever. But eventually the gang will splinter, half of them trotting away between the birch and the mulberry bush, half of them not even saying goodbye. [buy]

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by Mitz

Karen Dalton - "Something on your mind"

Dance like no one is watching.
Sing like no one is listening.
Blog like no one is reading.


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