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

by Jeff

anatomical drawing of a skunk

TV Freaks - "D.Y.O.T."

Skunks! I don't know where they came from but one summer I saw them every time I went out, mostly around the tracks. Maybe they got tired of hopping trains and set up a hobo jungle. This was back when the fences were always cut and passage over the tracks was guaranteed. We would see them, shadows moving in the night, and stand back to give them passage. They move in a wiggly side to side fashion, loose hips, like they're dancers. When you're packing that much heat you can shake it any way you please.

One night Relic and I were out walking and saw a cute cat with a white stripe coming towards us down the sidewalk. "Moufette!" some folks hanging out on a balcony warned us and POOF he was gone. Relic high-tailed it, knees flying in the air, like he turned into a cartoon for a moment, leaving a puff of smoke behind him.

Coming home from a show a few weeks back I saw one a ways ahead of me on the sidewalk by the lumberyard. This time we were walking in the same direction. She was just getting on with her life and I gave her a wide berth. It was a cold night, but she looked well fed. We were two nocturnal creatures, neighbours living our own ways by the train tracks.

Montreal: TV Freaks are playing with fellow Punk Scrapbook 2015 alumni Heathers, plus some other great bands at Brasserie Beaubien on Saturday night. Be there!


(image source)

by Sean

Mitski - "Your Best American Girl". People tell you, when you're young, that music moves in cycles. They say that your favourite new band sounds like their favourite old band; they say it's retro, re-heated, re-hashed. You say no. You say no this is a bit like that shitty dusty old band but mostly it's different; this is fresh and utterly, absolutely alive. Your favourite new band is the most important thing in the world and it is like a jewel hidden in the cabinet of your chest, something no one who is older can fully understand. You say this with absolute certainty, staring them straightly, darkly, in the eyes. Your gaze does not waver. It doesn't drop. You know it. This is young and whole and wholly mine.

But then of course you yourself get older. After ten years of listening, fifteen, twenty, you have the same straight, dark gaze. You have the same seriousness of listening, you hope you do. Yet there are more lines around your eyes. A skepticism has set in, or a weariness. You have heard so much music, so much whole and transformative music; so much music has meant so much to you; and now the cycles have come round and round and there are things that sound so much like the things you discovered at the beginning, and the feeling you have is that this music is redundant. That it is attempting something that others already attempted. (It's attempting something that others already attempted and, perhaps, others already solved.)

Perhaps you say so to the kids. You tell them their favourite new band sounds like your favourite old band. You say it's re-heated. And they stare at you with their dark young eyes.

Because you're wrong.

You're not mistaken but you're wrong. Because listening to music should not be a conversation about knowledge, a conversation about taste. It should not be a conversation about evaluating a song's antecedents. Those conversations run into dead-ends: stubbornness, defensiveness, distrust of elders, contempt for youth. Fundamentally they run into the dead-end of each of our accumulated sets of experiences, unique and incomprehensible. "Knowledge" starts with self-knowledge, "taste" is secret, incontestable.

Instead, we should come to these conversations the same way we come to weddings.

We sit and listen. With flowers and booze, manners, affection, our gladdest garments. Our friends tell us about their love and we try to let that love light and fill the space. We do not question it; we do not compare it; we do not challenge it against the other loves we have known or witnessed. While the wedding lasts, until the last toes leaves the dance floor, we do everything we can to feel each other's happiness.

Everything new is also old. In youth we should try harder to understand the way we are linked by our loves to all the songs and singers and listeners that came before, the string of dark straight looks that leads back through yesterday to long ago. In older years, with that flimsy experience, we should be humble enough to learn that the shadings of a new thing matter: that the smallest aspects of its reinvention can amount to transformation. It matters that a synthesizer is playing this part; or it matters that the line is about an email, not a letter; or it matters that a woman is singing these lines. It matters that a young person is singing these lines, a young person more like you.

Mitski's "Your Best American Girl" is a wondrous song. It sounds like music I have heard before and it is also a transformation. Loving and rending, wisely demanding, rock'n'roll with its furnace in the grass. Measured syllables, guitars as loud as bagpipes, the flash of a ring as it's thrown through the air.


by Emma

Vince Staples - "Loca"
Vince Staples - "Lemme Know"

Summertime '06 is called what it's called and it came out last June, but really it's an album for the sharpest corners of winter, the way it keeps lacing the spring's slow approach, even when the light starts to change over for real. Cold splintered in the wind like stray glass, all kinds of whisper and drift in the air. Staples raps with this clenched-teeth diamond-throated supernatural jittering leanness, a calm that's half a molecule away from total chaos in every syllable. An object lesson in how stillness and frenzy aren't anything as simple as opposites. His anxiety, all through these songs, all through this album, is so pervasive that every other impulse starts and ends inside of it. You can hear it in the background even when he's pausing, in the echoes that skitter across each song, you can hear it when you're walking home with your headphones in at night along an empty street in a cold that wants to claim you even as it's beginning to dissolve. Sexy in how bad it wants to teach you a lesson or grasps to be taught one, sexy in its stainless steel, its strobing. Staples can't rap over a beat if it doesn't sound like a stuttering heart. He can't ask if you wanna fuck without checking to see if you're down to die in the same steady, gasping breath.

[buy Summertime '06]