Said the Gramophone - image by Daria Tessler
by Dan

Nick Thorburn - "Bad Dream (theme)"

The lines of his face. The crest of his lip, the rise of his jaw back towards his ear, a stubbled lift that seems to hold the rest of his face on display. His eyes positioned perched in their place, as if on a branch or a ledge, prepared to let themselves fall off and fly. His eyebrows like thumbstrokes, like prints, like tribal markings. His forehead the weighty blankspace, that seems to tell the weather with its movements. The temples seem swathed in perfect concrete, as if covering some ancient passageway, some route that was once needed. His hair, of course, the flourish, the sky that seems to disappear as perfect and natural but if unpainted would render the whole thing meaningless.

[buy from Nick]

(music from Serial)

by Dan


Lowell - "The Bells"

Frank, 12, learns to text. And the eyes of his mind widen, this is a treasure. The way little love notes, and they are all love notes, pop up in just his cradled arms at 10:30, 10:41, 10:55. They could go forever, he can hold Lindsay from his class right in his bed and she lights up. Poof. Poof. Poof. He writes back anything, any combination of letters and spaces is enough to say i love you and it bounces over and back in their neighbourhood. Sometimes three in a row, they can say goodnight for an hour and a half. It seems like the air is helping them, like all of nature wants them to kiss their messages back and forth over their neighbourhood. [Buy from Insound]

Sparks - "The Rhythm Thief"

Alison is sitting up in bed and her arm is aching. THe light is jagged across her face, like a ripped letter .The curtains are too long. The eggs are going bad, they could be bad in the mornig. The door isn't locked. Showever showever showever showever.. That's a lackadaisical shower. Frank's joke book, with the genie coming out of the lamp wearig the naked man's clothes, that doesn't make any sense. Cancer . It shouldn't take that long to search on Apple TV. But also hopelessness for humanity. Slow Heat Death. 6:30: early enough? *scratch* "One Million Cases". How come women don't report their ebola to authorities? --Something seems to reach up through her crotch, right up through her cold stomach, and shake her rib cage like a fruit tree. Palm out, waiting for what falls. [Buy]

by Sean

Natalie Prass - "Why Don't You Believe In Me". Is this a song from 1971? It is not. Is Natalie Prass your sister, singing in her bedroom? She is not. Are those flutes? Yes. Are those horns? Yes. How much of this is real and how much is pretend? You would have to ask Natalie. Instead, I suggest you forget such questions: jettison the theory, dump the analysis, just turn up this song and watch Prass's song push against the burlap of your speakers. Feel what it's like to have this song come into a room, like lamplight, like a remedy, a song for your own heart's questions. [pre-order]

(image from The Artic Sea - Erte)

by Sean

Fortune teller

Jonnie Common - "Better Man". What begins as an shaky nod to a club classic reveals itself as something more handsewn and cockeyed. Common lives in Glasgow but as much as he's indebted to his Beta Band countrymates, there's an even stronger kinship to Beck's sunny, gritty dilettantism. Again, "Better Man" begins like a wink to Dance Mix 96 until soon it's drowsy, brogued bedroom pop; but at the halfway mark it changes again, the gentle shuffle giving way to something almost metal-tinged. From leftfield there's the braided film-loop of an African music sample - then horns, horns, a glossy sax that's all refraction, prismatic gesture. The music feels expansive, like it contains multitudes; it feels surprising, curious, avaricious. I wonder if kids today can ever know the joy we got from those first sample-heavy hip-hop and pop records - that feeling of filleted newspapers, scrambled sequencers, genius emerging from life's modern rubbish/racket. I wonder if this will feel, to them, like a return to a tired form; or whether, as it is for me, like sheer giddy possibility, thrilling song, daft renaissance. [buy Trapped In Amber]

(photo source unknown)

by Sean
A bay in Iceland

EMBASSYLIGHTS - "Inside-Outside". It is too easy to overcollaborate. Working with someone else, with someones else, it doesn't take much to fill every gap, plug every hole, fit another new idea into every open space. So all credit to EMBASSYLIGHTS, which unites Icelandic musicians Benni Hemm Hemm and Prins Póló with Canadian songwriters Samantha Savage Smith, Laura Leif, Clinton St John and Woodpigeon's Mark Andrew Hamilton. This is an album with a lot of space; whole swathes, plains, pages of space. "Inside-Outside" is a song that starts sparse and then in fact becomes sparser, its serenade diffused into loose groove and mumble. It's that second part where I want to reside, like a comfortable granny under a shingle roof. I want to look out onto the bay, glassy water interrupted now and then by leaping fish, silver kicks, knowing that later I'll step outside, or inside, and have a different kind of fun. [buy / and check out the limited edition flexidisc book]

(image source)

by Dan


Leonard Cohen - "Samson in New Orleans"

Edmund imagines himself dying. He is in a white-linen bed or some such thing where the points of his feet show at the bottom and there is a plant in the window. He is somehow able to address everyone in his life at once, he can speak in their head like God's voice, a voice that drowns out all other sounds. And he imagines himself saying the right thing. A lengthy address, poetic, that would bring them all to tears and they would see his jagged beauty for just that, beauty, and not a thing that saws at everything that tries to grasp it. It would include many things, he thought, but definitely a phrase like "I guess that's how it goes" placed perfectly and given the right weight. The voice would be so powerful that, in death, he would crescendo, his last breath would correspond to his last note. And he wouldn't die like the rest, panting, wrung slowly into cardboard, furtive, embarrassed, unfinished.

[Buy directly from Leonard Cohen]

by Sean
Bat face

Dva - "Zoppe". Are you a trumpet or are you a man? It is one thing if you ask this question of a person; it is another if you ask it of a trumpet. Would a trumpet say, "I am a trumpet! I am a trumpet! I am not a man I am a trumpet!"? Or would the trumpet try to pretend? Would the trumpet say, "I'm a person! I'm a woman! I am!"? Would the trumpet confirm or deny? Perhaps there are trumpets among us, pretending. Perhaps that pal with perfect mouth-trumpet is not a human pal at all: she is shiny brass, she is curved metal, she is a soundmaker lifted to lips.

Dva's "Zoppe" is an acapella fugue, a pliant cacophony, a summer's day flowing backwards into spring.

[buy / thanks Jonathan!]

(image source)