Said the Gramophone - image by Danny Zabbal
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.

by Jeff


Yusef Lateef - "Sister Mamie"

She looked out her window into the dark night, the lit-up convenience store and the old park with its stone fence posts. She couldn't sleep so she turned on the radio. It was set to the oldies station, songs she knew too well. She was sick of them and the ads and the DJ voices, so she turned the dial. The DJ on the college station knew not to interrupt the late night thoughts of their listeners. And so she lay in bed listening to music from different times and places. Some heavy-bottom funk with Portuguese voices, mournful mountainside music, slow-burning soul ballads, and some high screaming instrument in a hard-swinging jazz band. She listened through the night, and the DJ never said a word. They were out there, somewhere in the city, awake, playing records, keeping a watch on the night. Dawn was breaking by the time she finally drifted off. She didn't hear the DJ, when she finally said "That's it for me everyone, thanks for listening. I'm off to Dusty's for breakfast."

(image source)

by Sean

We/Or/Me - "Always/Sometimes". We/Or/Me's Bahhaj Taherzadeh is a man who is comfortable with slashes. He is able to meditate on two possibilities at the same time. He is fond of the either/or. (I suspect he is also fond of Either/Or.)

This is a quiet/seeking song - content, settled; but searching at the same time.

It is patient/impatient.

When quoting poems or song-lyrics you place slashes between each line, to indicate a line-break or a pause. This is a strangeness. Why do we not use periods? Why not semicolons? Commas? No: slashes. "Lately / I find / years disappear in the blink of an eye." With the slash it is as if the line-break or the pause can mean "or this". Lately or I find or years disappear in the blink of an eye.

And perhaps this is true. Slippage happens in a song's pauses. There are moments when you forget the syllables that have just been sung and you are ready to consider a new thing. The lyrics are slashed apart in the same way clouds get slashed by sky. Or this...

And always / and sometimes," Tazerdeh sings, always and sometimes / I can leave them behind.

The lyrics in a song like this are a sort of broken-up sentence, sentences that aren't sentences, slashed next to each other. Each is a moment waiting to begin and then, once it has begun, it's waiting to begin again. You can play the same chords over and again; you can play the same song on repeat. They're all there, the chords and their songs, always and sometimes; and the more they're there, the more always, the more sometimes, the more the always and the sometimes start to feel like the same thing. Constancy feels intermittent, or the intermittency constant; and then a finger across guitar strings and the lullaby begins again.

[buy Everything Behind Us Is A Dream / see We/Or/Me at London, England's The Harrison on February 17]

by Mitz

Lambchop - "Steve McQueen" [Buy]

I wish I had a really deep deep voice. I can say anything and sound awesome.

"Would you like porkchop or lambchop?"

"E.A. Sports. It's in the game."

or even

"I'm sorry baby. I farted." it sounds like a gentleman!


"Trump for president!" that would sound dumb.

by Jeff

back cover of The Desperate Bicycles' second single

The Desperate Bicycles - "The Medium was Tedium"

"The Medium was Tedium" by The Desperate Bicycles begins with a two note bass line, followed by a wheezing organ vamp, and percussion provided by what I think is a kick drum and tambourine. This is bare-bones instrumentation, but they prove that these basic ingredients, along with spoke-sung vocals full of conviction, are all you need to make a killer song.

This is primordial UK DIY from a self-released seven inch. No glitz and glamour, just a belief that every song that played on mainstream radio in 1977 sucked so bad that literally anyone could do better. The Desperate Bicycles say go make your own band, because for them "it was easy - it was cheap." Go to your grandmother's house and borrow her organ and figure out how to make some noise with it, hell, recruit her to jam if you can.

(First heard on a mixtape from Warren Hill circa 2001. Thanks again, buddy)