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

Charlotte Cornfield - Big Volcano, Small Town

A memory - the kind that's so close to being a dream the edges blur, the kind that floats unmoored from context in your mind, weighed down by tiny bits of detail, just enough. 2010, I think, or maybe '11; summer or almost-summer night, dress but no jacket on, bare arms against the air which in Montreal especially at the beginning or the end of the season is a feeling so good it seems like it should be illegal. Someone's impossibly gigantic house way up Sherbrooke, kinda near my old-old place, someone's house or maybe their girlfriend's. A party, a big one. Half-finished basement, pentagrams and aphorisms on the walls in red paint, giant chest freezer with boys perched atop it passing cigarettes back and forth. Christmas lights, loose dirty rug, people sitting on the floor. Girls from my writing classes in beautiful, effortless, slightly mirrored outfits; girls I always saw in line for the free vegan lunch at school but never talked to, girls who looked like girls I knew but weren't. At some point I lost Mike; at some point I talked to a guy for 15 minutes before realizing we'd gone to the same high school together for 6 years. I felt foggy, I was going to go out for some air. But on my way up I got turned around, walked down the wrong hallway, and opened the door to a bedroom; in there was Charlotte, perched on a bed and holding a guitar, singing this song or another one like it in her perfect voice, a voice I could not describe to you if you paid me, a voice that has only ever belonged to one person in the world. I leaned in the doorway and listened, felt something settle in my chest that I did not know had needed settling. I might have taken a photo, but if I did I could not find it for you now, or tell you what it looked like; where I went after the song ended, when the rest of the night dissolved back into itself. A great relief, now, to have this album in the world, to have these songs to listen to and carry with me; still real, still dreamy, somehow both.

[buy Future Snowbird]

by Jeff

a painting of people moshing

Gorilla Biscuits - "First Failure"

Where to start with Gorilla Biscuits? On the outside, everything about them is ridiculous. Their mascot is a smiling cartoon gorilla wearing a Champion hoodie, for cripes sake! I mean, late eighties straight edge hardcore is kind of inherently mockable. Their 1989 Start Today LP is like a self-help book for hardcore kids, advising them to avoid procrastination, to respect others, to not eat meat or talk smack, to stay focussed and clean their rooms (and not play Donkey Kong). And it's amazing.

At just over a minute and a half long, "First Failure" is a motivational anthem showcasing everything that makes the band great. Essentially they were a hardcore Voltron, fusing NYHC toughness with melodic Dischord bass lines, a riff or two cribbed from The Descendents, and lyrics from a sympathetic but tough life coach. "Cheer up!" he sings. The sweet gang vocal breakdown halfway through inspires the immediate pointing of fingers in the air. This is prime training-montage soundtrack for dorks right here.


(image: Byronesque 2012 by Dan Witz)

by Mitz
(photo source)

Soft Boys - "Kingdom of Love" [Buy]

There are so many condos poping up in Montreal. I'm sure most of cities are. I often overhear conversations like,

"yeah, I think he bought that condo for pretty decent price."
"I love my condo! You guys should come over!"
"My wife left me. She took my condo too."

well, didn't hear these exact lines but just for fun, every time you hear the word, Condo, you can replace it with condom. and your life becomes magical. As Forrest Gump said, "Mama always said Life is like a box of condoms, If you don't wear it, you will have babies." or something like that.


by Mitz

Taiko Super Kicks - "hikui gogo" [their older album available vis bandcamp If you'd like to buy their latest with this song, you need to write them directly. ]

低い午後(direct translation low afternoon)

I remembered last night when I was looking at discount flights to tropical islands which I can't afford lol.

At low tide, sky seemed lower. I got same feeling I get when I go to someone's semi-basement which has a miniature model trains and sound proofed room. Basically nerd paradise which I admire.

My dad was there and we are just walking around looking at sea creatures like crabs trapped hiding in their semi-basement suite playing Mario Kart, secretly smoking. My dad told me all of sea creatures but he made up some names like baby shrimp, grandpa shrimp, mama crab, papa crab etc. Basically, same idea as A&W burger names. Smells like Teen Burger. He was talking to me who was a little kid. I understand.

Then, we found a spiky hedgehog looking thing. I wasn't SEGA kid, more of a Nintendo kid so I didn't think it looked like Sonic the Hedgehog at that time. I don't know what I thought it looked like. Maybe, I didn't compare with anything like I do now. I just took it as is like a brand new hard drive on your computer and just saved into the memory. But now, whatever I see or hear new bands, I compare with replace over the saved files in my brain. I need to stop that. I need an external hard drive for my brain.

anyways, it was a sea urchin. my dad picked it up and used his beach sandle on his feet and opened it. he showed me inside. It was so Sci-Fi looking. It looked like Alien vs Predator made a new one Rom-Com version called "When Alien met Predator" and they fell in love and make a baby.

here is the storyline,

"Alien and Predator meet when she gives him a ride to New York after they both graduate from the University of Chicago. The film jumps through their lives as they both search for love, but fail, bumping into each other time and time again. Finally a close friendship blooms between them, and they both like having a friend of the opposite sex. But then they are confronted with the problem: "Can a man and a woman be friends, without sex getting in the way?"

any woo, my dad said to me, "eat this part" I was horrified but took a bite. It was amazing and I told him, More! More! more!

a couple of years ago, I was a fish market here in Montreal and I saw sea urchin. I brought them home and ate them. They were rotten.....

the end.

by Jeff
Cartoon dog snoopy, dressed as an orchestra conductor

Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Claudio Abaddo - "Mahler: Symphony No. 9 in D: IV. Adagio (Sehr langsam)"

A couple of years ago I was looking for new music to listen to while I wrote, so I started listening to symphonies on YouTube (which is a pretty twenty-first century sentence). In an interview with Bjork when her latest album came out I read that she was ride-or-die for Mahler's posthumous tenth symphony, so I listened to it and then started working my way back to the first. But I never got past the ninth, which I've become kind of obsessed with. The video that sparked this devotion is performed by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abaddo - in this MP3 he conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker.

I like the lush strings and romance of the Andante, and love the jaunty pace and high drama of the Rondo, but the real clincher for me, and what began my obsession with this piece of music, is the ending. In the final ten minutes of the Adagio everything slows down and the volume drops. The big crescendos are done and the enormous symphony orchestra slims down to just a few sounds - mostly sustained notes shimmering from the strings. As the volume dips you have to listen closely to tell if they're still playing. At the end, everything just hovers between existence and nothingness. These last moments of the symphony are whatever you want them to be: an elegy to a lost world, a fading away, a moment to consider life and death.

In the YouTube video, Abaddo appends nearly two full minutes of silence to the end of the symphony. Standing perfectly still, holding the baton tight to his chest, his eyes are closed in an expression of pained concentration, as if he's running the whole thing over again in his head.

This silence is necessary, a pause in appreciation of the departed sound. The eruption of applause when he puts the baton down emphasizes just how quiet the room had been only seconds before.


by Sean

Rostam - "Gravity Don't Pull Me". The syrup wash of heartbreak, certain heartbreaks. Some heartbreaks are syrup wash, others are ice dazzle, others are hail. Some are black hole. At the Planetarium you sit back in low chairs and they sweep you through the universe. Atmosphere, horsehead, milkyway. Syrup wash, ice dazzle, blac hole, hail. Between the shows you sip cold water from a gray fountain, a tall stream. You're gone and floating. You're gone and falling. No, he's the one who's gone. There's a rip in the sky that isn't quite seen, that isn't quite visible, along beside the bare-blue white squint of sun. If you could find the rip you'd go there, you'd slip through. You'd fold in beside the lost parts. There is a button on the side of each chair that lets you adjust the height and incline according to your preferences. [video]

by Emma

Usher - "Confessions pt. II"

Oh my god, this song. THIS SONG. A while ago I was making a playlist for a friend who spent 2000 to 2007 being too cool for pop music and now wanted to know what he'd missed. I had not really thought about "Confessions pt. II" since probably the last high school dance of my mid-teens, but while I was searching for something to bridge the gap between "We Belong Together" and "Country Grammar," suddenly this song appeared before me, shimmering like a beautiful mirage.

I have always had a kind of vague conceptual respect for Usher as a guy who seems to just be very, very good at his job; dude has managed to smooth-chameleon his way through multiple eras of pop music without ever shedding the aura of self-awareness that somehow protects him from the potential consequences of his own slight corniness. Styles may change, but he always manages to land himself right in the centre of whatever newest thing. When the prevailing vibe in pop music was "midtempo pleading" he reached harder than anyone; when it was "beats that grate both your eardrums and the very fabric of your soul into thin shreds" he was like, sure; when it was "we only like Frank Ocean this year" he was ready to THROW DOWN. It's impressive!

All that said, I guess it took over a decade for his work to really occur to me, because up until three weeks ago I had never made a conscious effort to seek out any of his songs. But now, ever since I dropped "Confessions pt. II" into that playlist, I have listened to it more times than probably anyone involved in its production - including Usher Terry Raymond IV himself - ever has or will again.

Look: this is a perfect song. No matter what you want from it, all angles, every level. If you are looking for a music video that combines a very good-looking man with his shirt off, an abundance of direct eye contact, piano dancing, and a mirror shattering in slow motion, here you go. If you need a dramatic monologue that perfectly QEDs a certain vintage of seductive dirtbagginess, hold out for the spoken-word breakdown. And if you need a narrative that bends inward as it pulls you forward, this thing has got lyrics for days: Usher on his knees outside your house in the rain, Usher beating his frantic tight fists against the unyielding locked door of your heart, Usher needing once and for all to tell you the absolute, unvarnished truth - even though you know and I know and he knows that none of this stuff ever really happened to him per se.

But if you don't care for theatre, or shirtlessness, or narrative line - if all you're looking for is handclaps and hooks and a melody that will make the world seem edged in neon, all you have to do is listen. The thing that makes me feel shot through with a million thin beams of pure light starts off in small hints through the chorus - the tiny trilling harmony stacked on top of those "all"s - and then suddenly, in the second verse, when he's riding in his whip, racing to her place, the way the melody just takes off running, perfectly controlled and totally off-road reckless all at once. It's not necessarily anything new, but it's the thing you know from hours and hours of other songs done perfectly. That alchemy of total control and perfect abandon. The fission of form and the chaos it contains, push-pull of his voice and your heart. Pure gold, pure rushing light. Smooth like nothing in this world has a right to be.

[buy Confessions]