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

a wild rose, with a few droplets of water on it, on the shoulder of a road

Gun Outfit - "Expansion Pact"

The lyrics to "Expansion Pact" are full of riddles. Who is the stranger at the door? What is the darkness that was invited in? Who are the familiars that protect our narrator from the blues? It's fitting that a song about being confused would make us scratch our heads, refuse any simple resolution. At the end Dylan Sharp sings in his baritone that "I alone know what I intend," making it clear that he isn't going to share any answers.

For a song whose lyrics examine confusion, the construction of "Expansion Pact" by Gun Outfit is perfectly clear, streamlined and concise. The intricately tangled guitars are high-strung and buzzy, sounding almost like a sitar at certain points. As they shamble on the drums follow close behind, along with gentle backing vocals. Mid-way there's a few seconds of colourful organ, and a well-behaved guitar solo at the end. This song has the fragile sound of something which came into existence in a few moments, and resisted revision. A single moment in time, perfectly preserved.

[Gun Outfit's Two Way Player EP is out March 18 / soundcloud]

(photo by Spike)

Elsewhere: I wrote about how my obsession with zines made me a writer for QWF Writes.

by Emma

Kanye West - 30 Hours

Wake up cross-legged in a concrete room. The length of the world and twice as tall. Flat gray with variations. No windows. No doors. Somehow squares of daylight still scattered before you. Descending order. Soft. Sit there for a very, very long time. Nothing. Do you still have a body? It's hard to tell. Occasionally a flutter, like a breeze except pure darkness, a feeling that comes from nowhere with nowhere at its end. Are you okay? Have you tried to scream yet? Try. No sound. Instead: beams of different-coloured light, four or five of them, flashing and lovely, all dark-laced with stutter and shimmer and echo. Very beautiful. Very useless. Try again. Stop trying. Never.

[stream T.L.O.P. // soundcloud]

by Mitz


Nisennenmondai is a Japanese trio. Nisennenmondai directly translates to 2000 problem. I think safe to say it Y2K problem they are talking about.

I graduated my high school in Grad 2000. I remember the grade above us Grad 1999 thought they were cooler than us. We had a heated argument in the parking lot with Grad 1999 who already graduated but stuck around in town. We even brought up "The Anthem for Year 2000" by Silverchair, that we were gonna use as a grad song and Grad 99 said they had a better one which "Time of Your life" by Green Day so the argument never settled.

This band name Nisennenmondai makes me think of that time of my life in year 2000.

Miso Ramen

by Jeff
Description of image included in text

Lemonheads - "Mallo Cup"
Lemonheads - "Luka"

When I was fourteen I sent away for a t-shirt. When it came all the way from California I took it out of the package and looked at it. Was this the one I had ordered from the tiny picture in the catalog? It was hard to remember, it had been six weeks or more. On it was a photo of someone licking a bald head. Above the photo was the word Lemonheads and below was the word LICK. It all seemed mildly licentious - could I wear such a thing? Yes, I could. I did, a lot. (There's a hilarious photo my mother took of me and my brother standing in front of a birch tree in Algonquin Park. I'm wearing that shirt and ripped jeans and my brother's wearing a shirt that says Canada. My mom liked it so much she blew it up. It's still hanging on the wall in the den.)

When I got the shirt I hadn't heard the album Lick yet. Actually, I'm not sure I even knew it was a record - band t-shirts were so mysterious. But It's a Shame About Ray was a classic for me, and still is, really. And I knew they had a past, a prehistory before they got big, records I couldn't find at Music World.

Weirdly, considering how much I wore that shirt, if I ever did listen to Lick back then I don't really remember it. But I just listened to it this week. It sounds a lot like The Replacements, even a bit like Husker Du in parts. There's a brilliant cover of eighties mega-hit "Luka" by Suzanne Vega on it. Evan Dando's voice is golden to me, poppy and smooth, but with just the right amount of rasp. I love it.

by Sean
Sword in the stone

Shearwater - "Stray Light at Clouds Hill". Sometimes you take strength from something you are not expected to take strength from. It is as if you are reaching into the sky and taking hold of the sunbeams, bringing them with you. Something powerless lies upon the ground, or inside your heart; something impotent flickers in the water; and you pick it up. It is yours now, an amulet or a weapon. In this way I think of King Arthur's sword in the stone: here is a hilt, what is it worth, what is it good for, until the right person lifts it? Look at your life. There are hilts everywhere.

"I rode in the crosswinds," Jonathan Meiburg sings. "I sleep in the open / I slide through the fences." He is a bodiless singer, invisible and armoured, glitter in his eye. "I move in starlight," he says, over echo and echo, over a bed of shining darkness. We are weak until we are no longer weak. We are passed through and over until abruptly that passing-through, that passing-over, becomes our greatest strength. We are no longer weak ghosts; we are comrades, walking through walls.

[buy Jet Plane and Oxbow]

by Emma

Rihanna (feat. Drake) - "Work"

There is a lot of good pop music out there in the world right now, and that means we all get to do the most pleasurable kind of work that exists in this life - sifting the firework-songs from the ones with a steadier, stranger fluorescence, finding new angles in our selves for all these sounds to press against. So much persona to sift through! So many synthesizers reaching their glowing tendrils out toward you from the darkness! So many invisible pulses of wanting and having and having to sing their way through you, wash across the lattice of your smaller bones.

One of the greatest delights of listening to the radio lately is that people are finally getting the hang of repetition again - appropriately (and maybe necessarily), this is an instinct that crests and recedes through pop music in decade(ish)-long increments. Something we all know instinctively for a while, that laces every single lovely song, and then somehow we all manage to forget it again, over and over and over. You can see it creeping in and out of the charts in time-lapse, songs that know how to work magic with it and then a new wave of songs that forget, in a round, forever and ever. I'm not wrong about this. In dry years, you will hear a chorus or a hook and feel very distinctly as though you are just watching some guy suck the air out of a kiddie pool, like someone is poking you in the same spot on your upper arm with the business end of a paperclip for an hour-long three minutes. In these times you still grit your teeth and party through, because what else is there? But it's joyless. No undertow, no float.

In lush years, when we all remember what it really means to repeat yourself, pop music gets good again. You get to give yourself up to its enchantments without hesitation or reserve. These are the times when we remember the difference between a list and an incantation - how every word has a new dimension hidden inside of it, one that you unlock by saying it enough, with the right melody threaded through. That's what a dream is. That's how you call it.


by Mitz
(photo source)

Lantern - "We Are Here" [Pre-Order]

I saw a skunk last night around 3AM when I was walking home from my studio. I love it when everyone is asleep and there are just alley cats and occasional animals like that skunk and myself. I just falked(verb; fart and walk. example, My brother falked into the reception of his wedding with his wife. No one noticed but me.) and I didn't have to worry about offending anyone behind me.

If it's weekend, after 3AM, I encounter so many obnoxious drunk people. I think I mentioned before but drunk bros scare me so I never make eye-contacts with them. But if I see some cats on the street, I say hi to them. I know there are cat cafes around but they should make cat bar. maybe not. I'm not sure.

Anyways, back to last night 3AM, I saw skunk and I falked almost all the way home but I just wanted to listen to this song before I get home. So I pulled my earphone but as usual, it was tangled up and I have no idea how it was like that. Almost same feeling as watching True Detective Season 2. So I started to untangled while gently falking on the water like Jesus or Moses or whichever the dude walked on water. Then, I got home.

The end. Good night.