Said the Gramophone - image by Keith Shore
by Sean

Kate Maki - "Before It Began". There is the kind of day, the kind of love, that call for just the simplest songs. A hot day, a deep love. These do not require complexity, riddles, worriment, they need no knots. A sentiment in sharpened pencil - that silver dust. A piano like a still life, in changing light. Pay attention: this is not that song. It may appear that way. It appears that way for fully half its length. But the weather changes; the love lifts somewhere else. The sweetest two minutes you may hear today is in fact bittersweet. Remember: even the prettiest things blow over.

Maki reminds me a little, here, of a chaster John Prine and Iris Dement. This is saying something. I hope you'll buy Head in the Sand.

by Emma

Joey Purp - "Girls @ (feat. Chance the Rapper)"

Here's the deal: it's May and it's warm and there's sun all the time now and in this version of the story, no matter what else is happening to you, every morning when you wake up - with the light singing through your thin curtains, with the clamour of birds arguing and raccoons knocking stuff over and the weed-smoking adult teens your landlord hired to tear up the outside of your home arguing and knocking stuff over, with your weird uncertain future and your weird new love and your weird half-finished work all ahead of you, around - you wake up somewhere along a continuum of infinite possibility. Stop rolling your eyes at me! Not every version of the story works this way! But this one does and "Girls @" is its anthem and its soundtrack.

There are so many different kinds of ways to feel good in this world - the world of this story and the world of this summer - and the cool thing about this song is that it contains most of them. Are you going to feel the way this beat feels, an impossible gift of school-dance (Neptunes??) joy and thump and clatter and bounce and high-control ascending twist-back? Or are you going to feel the way Joey Purp's flow feels running against it, the steady push and rise of someone who knows exactly what he's doing and what he's doing is making people fucking dance? Are you going to be as boundlessly gleeful and knee-weakeningly charm-frustrating as the person who can and does rhyme "Ta-Nehisi Coates" with "SpottieOttieDope" like it's no thing, who writes a verse that's basically just about being a goofy fuckup who asks you to drive his friend home from the club and has no real bedframe at his own house when you get there and is somehow ALL THE MORE ADORABLE FOR IT? Or are you going to carry around the steady, rising glow of being the person with the reading glasses on, getting shook in the club who has finally, as is your due, been shouted out in a song like this - one that just goes and goes and goes and goes forever? All these worlds are yours, and they are all the right one. Put this song on and walk around in it.

[listen to iiiDrops]

by Mitz

Kraftwerk - "Autobahn" [Buy]

I had to move my 1998 Subaru Legacy because there was a street cleaning on my street.

I found another parking spot just next block. It was quite tight in between shiny SUVs like some Class A asshole would drive. Im Class C Asshole since I have a car in the city and contributing to Climate Change. I need my Subaru for my job sadly:( I wouldn't drive if I didn't do what I do for living. or if I had enough money, I would drive electric car and blast ELO, vaping and tell everyone, "Im the future! My vape flavour is called, Student Loan Debt!"

anyways, I parallel parked in this tight spot. First try, it was so bad. I was off curve by 20" on the back, 17" in front. crooked. I was hungry so I went home but I knew I could get a ticket for really bad parking job. I felt like a dentist who pulled wrong teeth. I felt like a magician who threw up on doves coming out from the hat.

So I went back to my car and I tried to re-park. If there was no one was watching, I could just re-park it no problem. Maybe it might take two tries but it would be ok. But there was this Korean restaurant where I parked with people on the patio. I got quite self-conscious, their laughters sounded like they were making fun of me.

After second try, I just parked there and sat in my Subaru and pretended like Im waiting for someone. I just sat there in the car til people on the patio left. I left my phone in the house so I just watched people eating and having great time. Obviously, I looked around and did this face, "where is my wife?" "where is my friend, Bob I'm picking up." "I'm just temporary parking here. It's not a bad parking job. It's like temporary."-Look.

Then, I started to think about this insecurity. I wonder if there is a parallel universe where I'm a Class A asshole who doesn't care about my bad parking or environment or misfortuned people in the world. Just having great time in club and really bad taste in cargo shorts or whatever.

After 30 mins or so, people left from the patio and it was quiet. No one was judging so I did excellent parallel parking. It was so sexy with my right arm on the passenger seat headrest.

The end. Have a great weekend.

by Jeff
cover of a 1950s science fiction comic

Can - "Future Days"

The worst thing about the outpost was the recycled air. It dried out Paul's hands. There was a tube of moisturizer on the console of his work station, and he splorged it into his palms. It was viscous and cold, and as he rubbed it disappeared into his hands, which were fissured by tiny white cracks.

The botany department of a university Paul had never heard of had an experimental greenhouse set up adjacent to the outpost. The students were the same age as Paul and he made an effort to befriend them. But lately he'd been more reticent. He saw himself as a strange person who was only getting stranger from all this isolation.

Broadband was terrible out here on the outer Ecrustean line, it took forever even to load in his emails. Paul struggled with his devices for weeks after he arrived until one day he found himself pulling volumes off the shelf in the commissary. Their spines had faded from long years of exposure to the suns, the pages dry and brittle. Paul knew how to work a book, of course, but couldn't remember if he had ever actually held one in his hands.

And so his watch shifts began to pass quicker. For twelve hours he drank terrible simulated coffee made with reclaimed water and read books that not only collapsed the long lonely hours of his shift, but also made his life, far away from everywhere and everyone he'd ever known, almost enjoyable. He was alone, but he was learning to like it.

Paul avoided the massive tomes about the war. There were stacks of them, full of gnarly pictures detailing the major battles. The staggering losses of the Union were solemnized in these doorstoppers. Paul knew he should care, but all that was over a hundred years ago now. And although this outpost was set up after the truce with the Pincers as a kind of line in the sand, an early distant warning station for the planets back towards the centre, it was now more like a museum. The alarm that hung over the console Paul sat at for twelve hours every day had never rung once in a century. He wondered if it could even ring, the thing was so old, but the engineer insisted it was primed and ready. "She's a classic," he told Paul when he had expressed his doubts.

Paul was sitting at the console - coffee, book, low-simmering loneliness - when it rang.

Continued in Part Two


by Mitz

Jef Elise Barbara - "Sexe Machin/Sex Machine" [Buy]


Once, someone told me, "your accent is sexy."

So I replied, "lrearey? you lrearey sink so?"

and she said, "Sorry, what?"

it was awkward and funny moment, ill never forget.

by Jeff

Description of image, for blind people

Sam Cooke - "You Send Me"

They fell in love on the telephone. One was an insomniac and even though the other worked early in the morning they'd stay on the phone until four, sometimes six. They'd fall asleep, receivers on pillows still cradled next to their ears. They lived in different cities and racked up huge phone bills in the days when long distance was expensive, transmitting their young lives to each other one word at a time. Voices, late at night.

by Sean

Man Meets Bear - "Odeno".

It's nice, sometimes, to imagine musical artists as varieties of tropical fish. I don't know much about tropical fish but I figure that people who do have clear preferences. They're like: "I'm an angel-fish kind of dude." They're like: "Me I prefer rays." Two lovers of tropical fish may find that they are incompatible because they prefer different sorts of groupers.

Me I like lots of kinds of tropical fish but I have a particularly soft spot for the phylum that comprises weary, careworn rock'n'roll. In this section of the pet-store there would be tanks full of Velvet Underground, Bedhead and Microphones, maybe a fresh shipment of Frankie Cosmos. Lots of the aquariums would have been filled back in the late 90s. You could wander the aisles with a clear plastic bag and water inside, plucking out riffs and tom hits, little squalls of distortion. Mumbled crumbs of fish food. The fish would have names like rambles and shambles and grouches.

This is a roundabout and stupid way of coming to "Odeno." But it is my way of speaking about its silver bands and purple spots, its tiny mouth and jagged teeth. This is a beautiful, noisy song that one ought to find at the darkened back of the tropical fish store, under neon lights, oxidizers, filtration systems. A song that ought to live, alive and swimming, among elaborate processes that do not pay adequate attention to it. Solitary and strong, like a fish in a tank. Surprising, if you observe it carefully. Surprising as any living thing, with a flicker in its tail.

[from Volume 4 of the ever-inspiring Berlin Songs compilations / procure here]