Said the Gramophone - image by Keith Shore
by Jeff

a broken antique bottle

Minor Threat - "Bottled Violence" [buy]

A screed against getting boozed up and fighting kicks off with the sound of smashing glass. Sounds about right. The bass comes next, followed by the rest of the band, barrelling forward at speed, unwilling to waste any of the song's fifty-four seconds on anything as ornamental as a solo or breakdown. Ian MacKaye's yelling voice is raspy and perfect, delivering even the weakest rhyme in the song - "drink your grain / ... you don't feel pain" - with nothing but the purest conviction. My tape of the Anthology was a security blanket in grade ten.

The Gories - "Rat's Nest" [buy]

In "Rat's Nest" by The Gories smashing glass is just one of several homemade sound effects. The soundscape of a messed-up alleyway unravels behind the band's queasy minimal blues rock; shattering glass, hollering neighbours, clattering rubbish. It's enough to drive someone up the wall, and the grizzled character singing the song seems to be teetering on the edge as he narrates his Sisyphean labours to keep the damn alley clean. As the toms pound hypnotically, and the dual guitars veer in and out of skronking solos, the psychodrama of one citizen trying to keep the city tidy seems doomed to fail.

Royal Headache -"Garbage" [buy]

Beginning with a hail of smashing glass, "Garbage" is a revenge song. Riding in on a churning bass lick, Royal Headache's frontman, the preposterously named Shogun, lets his target have it. In his soulful Aussie voice he shouts "You belong in the GARBAGE!" Yikes! One of my favourite records of last year, High is a polished set of songs dealing with lost love and self-reflection. The wild vitriol of "Garbage" is a perfect intermission from the heavy themes, calling back to the band's scrappy origins and their powerful 2011 debut LP.

(image source)

by Mitz

Clio - "Faces" [Buy Reissue]

I've been face swapping like a teenager on snapchat, lately. It reminded me of the 1997 masterpiece, FACE/OFF featuring Nicolas Cage and John Travolta.

so ya, I looked it up on Wikipedia and it made $245 million world wide!!! Then, I was curious how old John Travolta is now and clicked on his, He is 62!!!!!! oh ya, kinda makes sense. I remembered when I was living in Lethbridge, Alberta, people tell me he often flies to the airport there since john loves to fly and Lethbridge airport was the only one let him come and go? not sure how story went. Is it true? now I'm too lazy to google this info.

Carry on to next wiki journey, now I'm reading his personal life part and oh he is Scientologist. I didn't know that. anyways, I went back and now looking at Nicolas Cage page. But ya, I should stop and go back to work now.

the end.

by Jeff

Basset hound running on beach

Big Eyes - "Wanted Sometimes"
Big Eyes - "Can't Catch a Break"

Almost Famous is a monster of a power pop record, full of riffs to pump your fist to and choruses to shout out loud. This is an album to listen to on repeat in the car, with the windows down on a hot day. A barbed-wire guitar fronting a rhythm section that sounds like a worn-in pair of blue jeans, Big Eyes just feel right.

But this album is all about feeling wrong. A break up album. The best one since Nick Cave's The Boatman's Call? Yup, and it's better because you can tap your feet to it. Singing in a clear voice, Kait Eldridge charts the arc of a break up in eleven of the pop-rockiest songs you'll ever hear. From the initial realization that it's over, to weird looks, numbness, sad bus rides, and outright rage and contempt; all the heartbroken feels are in these lyrics. But don't ever for one second think that it might bog down into misery worship. Heck no. This relentlessly poppy album about heartbreak is actually what you need to listen to when you're broken up and super sad. Not Mr. Cave dragging you down to the sea floor, but songs to bring you back to life, and get you kicking ass again, alright?

[bandcamp / buy]

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by Emma

Nap Eyes - "Stargazer"
Nap Eyes - "Click Clack"

On Friday, I got to see Nap Eyes play a show. I've seen them a few times before - in the Sackville summer sunshine, in an echoey Halifax church, in a thrift store on a gloomy Fredericton Sunday - but this time, in Toronto, at the Garrison, felt different just by virtue of its audience. By the time we got there it was packed and low-lit and I kept doing double takes; the room was sold-out-filled with the kind of people who show up when a band you already like gets a good review on Pitchfork - exactly like the people you already know but each a few molecules removed, somehow. Second choices from the same department of central casting where they sourced your life.

I have already made my case for Nap Eyes's albums here and elsewhere; I've talked about how their record didn't do much for me until suddenly it found its way into my spine and under my breath for weeks on end. But I have not talked about what it is like to see them live. So, gentle reader, here I am now, looking you right in the eye, putting my hand over yours across the table in a way that is gentle but firmly reassuring, saying unto you: if you have the chance to see Nap Eyes play a show, you must take it. If you already like this band the way I like them, then you have probably already done this - but if you are on the fence, or not quite sure, or if you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to make sure that the next time they come to your town, you do the whole terrible thing of leaving your house and going into the world and paying real stupid money to stand in a room full of chattering strangers and let the thing happen to you.

If you like this band the way I like them, then there is a good chance that what draws you in is something about the slow, steady sparking of warmth on remove. On tape, on record, coming through your headphones, Nap Eyes are gentle and kind and welcoming, but they also still hold you at arms' length, a little; there's a lot of space for your thoughts to roam around amid the lyrics, a lot of technical skill just sort of barely holding its breath behind the steady pacing. There's room for your thoughts and feelings to dissolve all the way in.

But live, it's different: the songs are the same, the band is the same, but they let Brad Loughead, their guitarist, do something with all those spaces, all that room. Brad is an amazing guitarist, a shredder with a shiny, expansive heart, and his playing is the kind that rings every bell in me so instantly that it catches me off-guard even when I'm expecting it. You know the type I mean: your Paul Saulniers, your Marissa Paternosters, people where there's no middle clouding step between the feeling they're feeling and the sound they make out of it, just one clear pure playful ringing charge straight through. These solos, these little moments of snarling and scratching and soaring in the middle of Nap Eyes' steady nod, they feel perfect; like a little glimpse, a new articulation, of the feelings glowing in the centre of these songs. Pure, shining. Alive. They feel alive.

[buy Thought Rock Fish Scale]

by Mitz

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Dishwasher - "Thurible Thurible" [Buy]

I was just stepping into the elevator, and there was a guy waved at me to keep the doors open for him, so I did. He was dressed for success. And then, there was a lady who wanted to catch the ride with us so I kept it open. She seemed like a really nice elderly lady who wore little bit too much perfume but she smiled and seemed very pleasant. Then, the building landlord for my studio, wanted to hitch a ride with us. He is just a loud guy who needs to yell everything. Almost seems like he has an earphone and listening to music and trying to talk back at same time.

I pressed my floor, which is 7th and then the first guy pressed 5th floor, and the lady pressed 4th floor and then the landlord pressed 2nd floor...

Of course, everyone got off before me and from 5th floor to 7th floor ride in just 25 seconds, I understood Green Day song, "Nice guys finish last." or not. I mean could be worst. another first world problem.

ummm, so it's snowing in Montreal right now....
but to cheer me up, Ill just watch this video on repeat.

by Jeff

an alleyway in Montreal

Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith - "A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke: A Divine Courage"

Montreal is blessed with a network of alleys and I like walking through them. For one thing, there are more cats back there. Last night I spotted two of them, both striped, sitting just a few feet apart. They weren't yowling or fighting; it seemed they didn't know what they were doing, just enjoying a moment of peace until I came along and they scattered.

Once on a late night walk, I turned down an alley and saw a few cats on the pavement. But as I got further in, I realized that I was surrounded. Ten or more cats were peeking out of the shadows. There were several lurking along the edges of my path and others looked down at me from fence tops and garage roofs. Most were clearly pets but there were a few tough-ass alley cats in the mix, all just sitting quietly. The night was hot, so they must have called a truce in order to catch what little breeze they could. Coming across so many cats in one place felt like stepping into the middle of a conspiracy.


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by Sean

Surf Harp - "POOL BOY". I came to adore this song without ever listening to the words. I heard the words but I didn't listen to them. The lyrics were like geometric objects, floating place-holders, among all of "POOL BOY"'s crisscrossing pleasures. The content mattered less than the sound, and less than the drums' redoubled smashes, the squeaks of sax, the ladders of guitars all lonesome, crowded, west. It was only when I sat down to write about this song that I paid attention to what Surf Harp's singer is singing. Only then did I try to squint with my ears, straining to understand. Only then did I read the lyrics on the band's bandcamp page. And so I come to you from the other side, the land of full comprehension, with advice: the words don't matter very much. They are vivid and melting and good, they are broken and knitted at the same time. But they matter less than the fact of them as geometric objects, the sound of them alone or in chorus; they matter less than the smashes, the sax, the crowded guitars. Talk is cheap, cacophony is precious. You don't need plain poetry with your sweet-and-sourest pop music, your brightest darts of dab. You don't need someone murmuring advice. Mostly you need the song to hit the hot air and soar. To glide and glide, higher, as the sunset turns its colour. To float forever, past the fadeout, into the eye.

[Surf Harp are from Baltimore / they're kinda magnificent / buy PEEL and make them yours]