Said the Gramophone - image by Matthew Feyld
by Mitz

Chevalier Avant Garde - "Nowhere" [buy]

Recently I tried to log into my eBay account which I had abandoned for about 6 years. A lot of things happen in 6 years. Winter and Summer Olympics, World Cups. Two girls one cup. An indie singer-songwriter becomes mature and turns into an adult contemporary singer songwriter. Around six years ago, I had a fire in my kitchen from cooking tempura at 3 in the morning after coming home from a party and forgetting about it, which I note in my mind as the 'Godspeed You Black Tempura'-incident (please do not try this at your home). Around the same time, I started my own business, in which I call myself CEO even though I'm the only employee to make myself feel better. There are more things like getting 2 parking tickets in one day.

Anyway, the point is that I couldn't figure out the password and didn't even remember the username or email I used. It felt like a deleted scene I made up from the movie, Memento, where he farts and asks the guy beside him, "Did you just fart?" It was annoying, like a breakdancer on a busy, narrow street, spinning on his head like a Vertical Horizon album cover. But in the big scheme of things I guess it's not that big of a deal, I forget passwords all the time. It is nothing compared to a vegetarian in Medieval times or 2 parking tickets in one day.

Then, I realized I should check how much $$$ I have in my bank account before I spend it.
"What is the cutest thing?" is the question asked as my online banking security question and the answer is the name of my cat who passed away this January. It is just a security question, but it brings up so many beautiful memories with my cat. One time, I went to a party at a friend's house and saw some cute kittens. When I got home, I had to tell my cat. "I just talked to them. That's all! Nothing happened! I swear!" At this point, I didn't care how much money I had, or that I couldn't log in to make a bid on ebay. That memory was priceless.

(photo source)

by Jeff

Cat lying on a pile of zines

X - "Suck Suck"
X - "Police"

My cat makes noises in the morning. She squeaks and yowls and worst of all scratches the wicker basket on the other side of the room. Sometimes she jumps up on the bed and punches me in the face with her giant paw.

"Why do I love you?" I ask as I get up and step into my flannel-lined slippers.

Every morning it's the same - she demands to be fed.

I always make her wait though. I pull down my stovetop espresso maker from the top of the fridge, fill it with coffee and water, screw on the top and put it on the burner.

I am filled with joy and gratitude every morning. Thank you O durable stainless steel coffee maker. You cost me $24 at Milano and I've had you for eight years of mornings and you've never let me down.

"Meow?" my cat asks. "Meow meow?"

I open the fridge door. "Meow meow meow meowmeowmeowmeowmeow!"

"Get a grip," I tell her. I get out the can of food and slap some of it onto her dish and she's on it like she's never eaten before.

I leave the cat, go into the bathroom and notice some truly ghastly bedhead in the mirror. I can hear my cat scampering down the hall, her feast ended, as I pick up my toothbrush squeeze on the toothpaste, run it under the tap for a second, and then begin to brush.

[I was not prepared for the powerful churning bass and perfect hollering vocals on X (Australia)'s first LP when I picked it up at the mighty Birdman Sound last week. Recorded in five hours in 1979, the ingredients of this raging foot-long from the first wave of Australian punk are equal parts piss, vinegar, snot, and spunk. Toronto's Ugly Pop Records wins the gold medal for reissuing Aspirations and X Spurts, a collection of the band's 1977 demos. Get them before they're gone! / buy]

This was written in a writing exercise that I lead in Anna Leventhal's class "How to Write Good: The Aesthetics and Practice of Creative Writing" at Dawson College New School last month. Thanks to Anna for inviting me in and thanks to her students for listening and sharing their own writing.

by Sean
Kanye at Nandos

Gaps & Spaces - "Oration". Gaps & Spaces call this an oration, which is to say a speech. There is no speech in it. Instead, the piece begins with a strain of plain violin, dipping and persuading like the opening sentences of a-- well, a speech. There are already signs of discontentment: crackles and drones, electroncis that bring to mind the flecks on an old photograph, the sepia melt of antique film. But then all of a sudden the drums are coming, a mob of drums that crashes into the strings' weak speech and overwhelms it, tumult everywhere. It's the sound of furious progress, and as soon as there's a pause some new voices cast out from it: saxophones singing, hooting, cheering, and finally simply fading, while only the dumb mob lives on.

[On Synoptic Optiks, Gaps & Spaces' Caleb Willitz and Greg Ward are joined by Jeff Parker, Dave Miller, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, Makaya McCraven and Dominic Johnson. / buy]


In case you missed it, I've begun writing about songs in a weekly column for the Globe & Mail newspaper. You can see my recent articles here: 2/20, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/28, 4/3. I also recently wrote a profile of national treasure Michael Feuerstack.

If you're interested, I also have a few appearances coming up where I'll be talking about Us Conductors (full dates always on the website):

Would love to meet any readers of the blog.

(kanye photo source)

by Emma
Half city

Bill Callahan - "Spring"
Fiona Apple - "Anything We Want"

Patterned glass. Thick mist. Grey everything still, a cold so your fingers dissolve like static at the tips. Cigarettes blooming up from the gutter. Dusk that bleeds into everything, dusk you breathe in until your eyes swim with it, until you find yourself mouthing words that aren't quite your own. On the way home you'll watch an airplane cut through the fog, but it looks more like a car with a busted headlight towing the whole sky behind it. Dragging the day over. You'll dream like a skipped record about being the last person on earth and then when you wake up it'll be true. That swift forward pull in your stomach like you've hit turbulence - you'll walk around carrying that feeling in your throat for a day, for a week, for until you find someone to take it back from you.

[Buy Dream River / The Idler Wheel...]

(photo's just my own)

by Sean

Safe Home - "Leda". I have been meaning to write about this song since 2006. Nine years it's been sitting like a neglected letter in the folder called blogpost mp3s. Luckily it is exactly the kind of song that does OK amongst the dusty hours, waiting and waiting. It's well-crafted, Dutch-made, with ambitions as humble as Young Marble Giants' Colossal Youth. It's twinned voices, clean claps, guitar run forwards and in reverse. There's the whirr of a synthesizer or of an old film projector. There's a sing-song story like a fallen kite. I imagine this song like a present sitting wrapped upon a table; beside a green potted plant, under a Danish modern fixture, from someone long-loved and distant. Nine years to get here, but the song's not gone stale. It's still good. [buy]

by Mitz

Pheromoans - "Trusthouse Blues" [buy]
Cave - "Ravens Hash" [buy]
Nanimal - "Mother Father" [buy]

"Oh man! It's so cold today! Never ending winter is killing my vibe!" It was 685944 years ago today, Uggo said it to his friend Roko, who was still asleep over by the leftover wild boar corpse they hunted and ate last night. "That was such a feast! Well done! no pun intended, hahah." Roko was still sleeping but Uggo laughed alone anyways, which woke Roko up. "Did you like the Kale salad I made? Did you like it? Apparently, it's good if you make it crispy. Everyone in my cave is into it. I'm thinking about adding dairy and gluten into my diet. What do you think? Anyway, get up! We have to get going!" It was already late afternoon, Uggo and Roko, who were in their mid teens, had told their parents that they were going hunting a couple of days ago, but they were actually just going to this music event called, Mammoth festival. Roko's cousin organized it and Roko asked for a V.I.P.(very important paleolithic) pass, but he didn't get a reply so Uggo had to ask for one from his friend's band, Primal Skream, who were playing the fest, for guestlist spots. He sent a smoke signal asking for guestlist, but he also didn't get a reply. So they were not sure if they would get in, but they didn't want to miss the chance to see their favorite drum circle group, Dinasour Sr, reuniting. "Dude! I can't wait to see them hit the drums! Apparently, they are super loud even though their are only three members!" They only had about 63 more days of walking ahead to get to the Mammoth fest. "Oh man, I'm so excited!" Uggo said as he walked proudly decked out in his new mammoth skin jacket made by a local designer, which he had traded for with an artisan spear that he had crafted from saber tooth tiger canines, and teak.

They walked and walked and were getting close when, Uggo pointed at the sky with a look in his face like he saw a T-rex. "Oh you see that smoke?!" Uggo asked Roko. "I think it's my friend, Bobu from Primal Skream......"

They both realized at the same time the smoke signal saying, "Sorry dudes, we don't have any more spots left......."

".................Mammoth fest is so full of lame people anyways."
"Ya true, kids these days, they just go to party. they don't appreciate real musicians, fxck them."
"I'm gonna send another smoke signal to my friends to find out where the after party is before it gets dark."

(photo source)

by Jeff


Neo Boys - "Cheap Labor"
Neo Boys - "Nothing to Fear"

It was the twenty-first day of the blackout and George was sick of it.

The grocery store where he worked had been closed during the first few days while the city revelled together. Every night there was a party in front of one of the apartment buildings near George's parents' house and he'd skateboard over and hang out.

A week in, a sub-manager in the canned goods section came up with the solution - headlamps - he managed to get in hundreds of them. They were distributed to workers on the first day back. "Business as usual," the manager announced and everyone switched on their headlamps and got to work. Outside the store, a small table was set up and headlamps were loaned to customers who left their drivers licences as collateral.

Didn't anyone find it weird to be shopping for vegetables in the dark George wondered as he misted the lettuce with a spray bottle. Only a few weeks ago electricity was a given, a constant source of light and fun. But now it was talked about as unreliable, even untrustworthy. The cause of the blackout was still a mystery and some people speculated that it might be a year before it was turned on again.

A big part of why George took this job was so he could save up for a DoubleFun console and now what was the point? It had been twenty-one days since he had played a video game and he was starting to lose it. He thought about KillerRealm 3: The Revenge of Pradesh. Today was the release date, but instead of going to the store after work to pick it up he would most likely sit in his dark room reading his dad's old sci-fi paperbacks with his headlamp. Was the game even coming out now? George had followed its development online. He watched the teaser of the teaser and then the teaser trailer, followed by the making of the teaser. Then the actual trailer, which was just wow.

Mitch, the produce manager, noticed him sulking. "You alright buddy?"

"I'm FINE." George didn't mean to snap, but he heard the tone in his voice. "It's just DARK in here."

"I hear you. But we're up here in produce, one of the brightest sections of the store. Think of those poor guys back in the stock room. There's no windows in there. It's like a cave."

"I know."

"Look George, This is hard on everyone."

"I knooow," he whined. "I just really don't understand why there's no power anymore."

"Well, maybe that's a good thing."

"What do you mean?"

Mitch glanced around. The closest customer headlamp was all the way over in the bakery section. "Do you really want to know why there's no power?"

George thought "Of course" but what he said was "I . . . think so."


(image source)