Said the Gramophone - image by Ella Plevin
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]

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.

[buy]

(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.

amen.


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. taikoband@gmail.com ]

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.

[buy]

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]