Said the Gramophone - image by Neale McDavitt-van Fleet
by Jeff

print works by Mathieu Trudel including drawings of mom and pop storefronts in Ottawa and two issues of Hulltramar zine

Union of Uranus - "Circumstance"

I'm a slow writer. It takes me ages of mulling things over before I can express how I feel. Nights like tonight I wish I was quicker and could just write some magical words that would adequately honour or even do justice to the amazing Mathieu Trudel, my friend for twenty years.

I'm sure the first time we met was out on the sidewalk in front of an all ages hardcore show when we were both teenagers in Ottawa. Mat and I were never involved in each other's day to day lives, but we had an amazing twenty year conversation. We loved punk, and art, and zines. As we got older we hung out at garage shows at the Dominion Tavern when the room was thick with blue cigarette smoke. He was always a fucking joy to talk to, so full of excitement.

I loved his illustrations and his amazing Hulltramar zine about place and community, and ... I don't know. This isn't an obituary, or even a eulogy, just some thoughts after a long day under a dark cloud.

For a few years I worked as a night watchman overnight in Strathcona Park and Mat worked the same shift at the parking garage in the Byward Market. Sitting in my security trailer writing all night I loved knowing that fifteen blocks away Mat was in the booth of the parking garage, working on his drawings. We were in different parts of the city, but somehow together.

Much love to everyone who knew and loved Mat.

(image: works by Mathieu Trudel)

by Sean

New Dog - "Here All Days".

I have a son now. I don't have the time here, now, to tell you all about it. He's sleeping; he'll be up soon. His eyelids are shiny, like someone's daubed them with wax. His eyes, under those lids, are blue.

Having a kid changes a great many things. I'm only just uncovering all the things it changes. It changes my sense of myself, my vision of other people. It changes my itinerary. When my partner puts on Serge Gainsbourg or Bach or Super Ape, and our little boy is listening, it changes the way I hear that music.

But having a child also changes the music he isn't listening to. He's sleeping now, he hasn't heard "Here All Days", not yet. Yet this is a song I listened to many times before he was born. Lonely and contemplative, silver with dusky light. What I heard before was its melancholy, its rearward reflection, Anar Badalov's poetry like the unspooling footage of a previous evening. All the people that I love / I can count you on one hand / the other one I keep in my pocket. It was a story of letdowns, foreshadowings.

Now I hear it differently. My dad / he taught me never to run, Badalov sings. I hear that word, "dad", and it lands differently. Some trust the moon they've known since birth / Some hang onto their mothers' words. My home, these days, is filled with mothers' words. I remember when my mother-in-law printed out this little boy's horoscope, for fun. We read it. We imagined him.

"Here All Days" is the same song it was. A song of rearward reflection, lonely and contemplative. But now I find that it is also pointing toward tomorrow. It is a person's possible future - not an ugly future, just a dusky one, a little sad, a little true. I can't hear it without thinking of M listening to it, on some long-distant night, wherever he is. My dad / he taught me / never to run. Is that what I will teach him? When will I decide?

[buy the beautiful Teeth Marks]

by Mitz

(photo source)

Ride - "Sight of You(pale Saints cover)" [Buy]

I got a new hobby.

Window Dining.

That is when you go to your corner store and buy a bag of chips and on your way home, you stop by the window of the restaurant and stare at people eating dinner while you snack on your chips. It's like window shopping but dining. You can even join the conversation if it's patio season.

It's gloriously awkward and fun. I recommend it instead of cross fit or hot yoga.

by Jeff

a band playing in a half-empty hall

Uranium Club - "The Collector"

Minneapolis's Uranium Club have ants in their pants. I imagine them writing this song in a tight basement room on the hottest day of the year, playing it over and over until they're collapsing. Their roughshod debut record Human Exploration must be fueled by caffeine, cheap beer, insomnia, and thrift store shirts. Boil those things down to their essence you get some fast, fucked-up garage rock that sounds nothing like Destroy-Oh-Boy!! or Blood Visions or Primary Colours, but carries the same live wire of pure undiluted electricity as those pocket masterpieces.


(image: Jeff Wall, "Band & crowd")

by Emma

Drake - "Feel No Ways"
Drake - "Controlla"
Drake - "One Dance (feat. Wizkid & Kyla)"
(03/05/2016: Removed at RIAA demand.)

Fuck, you guys, I just love Drake so much. I can't help it! I don't want to help it, and also I can't. Even when he does things I don't necessarily like I still love them, and when he does things I love they take me apart cell by cell. That's family, I guess, or the place you came from and can't escape, or pop music when it's done right, or the kind of crush that's not really a crush but something that lives deeper inside your marrow and has nothing to do with the crush-object at all, really, when you get right down to it.

My favourite thing about this music is the way the pieces never quite fit together, not on first listen and not in theory: everything's coming from opposite poles, surface-skipping beats and deep high-drama heartbreak, damp cold and blinding sunshine, goofy and straight-faced and how he means all of it the same way, with exactly the same amount of power, every time. With Drake no matter what he's saying there is no apology for meaning it as much as he means. You just let yourself be pulled in different directions by all of it - the smooth beats and the sharp edges and the simmering slow burn of just how much he wants - until you can't help feeling a way about it that's exactly as sincere as he is. That's the magic. Other people have better bravado, flows that are loopier and lovelier to trace, other people do better at playing vulnerable for views. But Drake is the best in the game at letting it all rush in.

I have no hot takes about this new album; I do not begrudge the boy his hubris or his lyrically lopsided approach to romance. I am just grateful for the silvery rush and low kick of "Feel No Ways" (that BEAT!) the warm waver of "Controlla" ("Jodeci Cry For You"!) and literally every single thing about "One Dance" (the perfect little handclap trip-up in the first two seconds! The simple magic of his voice against those chords!). All of these songs sound like springtime in Toronto, and they will sound like summer too, wherever it is that you live - the stark skittering cold melting into something brighter, newer, fuller, lush. Dissolve of one season into another, neon blooming into nighttime, something lifting while something else settles, a new charge in your bloodstream, a new way to see the city. Yes yes yes.


by Mitz
(photo source)

Jim noir - "Look Around You" [Buy]
I broke my glasses last night at soccer. I care barely see my screen right now. ISo Im writing this as a test and even without spellcheck. I
Im expoxying my glass frame right now. its 5mins set epoxy so I will soon find out.

I remember first time I got eye exam and bought glasses. I was 16 and grungy. I hated the world like my friend, Kurt. I thought no one understood my deep thoughts like how birds always shit on me. I just hated everything.

Then, I put my glasses on and I could see everything clearly. I remember "clearly" I thought "wow what a wonderful world! the mountains, birds, river! people smiling! old man faxing documents!" everything was beautiful!!!

Ok now my epoxy has dried and my glasses are good. I can only see a couple of mistakes I made. Oh well, same thing as my teenage years. A couple of mistakes.

the end

by Emma

Chuck Jackson - "Any Day Now"*
Z.Z. Hill - "That Ain't the Way You Make Love"**

One of the rarest and most magical kinds of songs is the one that taps into a feeling so universal everything in your body rises to meet its meaning when you hear it - but that also, at the same time, tells its own story, shades it in with details that couldn't ever belong to anyone else. Soul music is the greatest genre for this, and one of the best things about getting really into its most obscure corners and crannies is that the more songs you know, the more expansive and sympathetic and complex your vocabulary for talking and thinking about love becomes. It's true that there are only so many ways to say you adore someone, that you want them or that they are breaking your heart, but it's also true that there are one million different sets of circumstances that can give rise to those emotions and each one deserves an anthem. They exist; all you have to do is go diving. The more soul music*** you listen to, the more your knowledge of love and heartbreak expands, gains texture; your record collection becomes an index of subtypes, theme and endless variation.

I had heard this Chuck Jackson song a lot of times without ever really listening to the lyrics, and then a few weeks ago it came up on shuffle and I stopped. It lingers like an average love song - a little longing, plus that organ at the beginning, come on - but it's really a song about what it's like to be in love with someone when a basic unit of that feeling is the bitter conviction that someday that person is bound to see you for what you are and leave you for someone better. The Z.Z. Hill song is about being in love with someone so desperate to avoid you that she asks her brother to tell you she's not home when you call, but still, here you are, writing her a song, pleading while you try to play it cool; there's that low float of desperation in the background, something a little darker underneath the smooth, smooth surface. So many ways to conjure and configure it. So many different ways to dissolve love into heartbreak, or do it the other way around. Anthems for a single feeling each, parts of a whole that always shifts but never changes.

* This is a rip from a video because I'm having a tough time tracking down an mp3, but the video itself is very worth watching if you have a minute - the stage! His suit! Burt Bacharach!
**M.F. Doom - "Fancy Clown"
*** Or pop music, or music, or poetry, or art; the more people you kiss, the more sweet-hearted dogs you make eye contact with, etc. etc. etc.