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

a nighttime scene in downtown Montreal of the 1950s

Keith Jarrett - "The Rich and The Poor" [buy]

This is shuffling music. A song travelling at half-speed with no destination in mind. It stops to look in every shop window. It rolls down the street noticing the orange of summer dawn limning the cornices, wondering where the night went. A wanderer in the almost-morning blue.

This is one of those songs that sounds like it was cut at four a.m. The band is dozy, nearly asleep at their instruments. The bass pulls them along like a tugboat. And they begin to wake up, finding their way into the groove. They pile on the melodies, solos, yelps, and almost gallop to full speed before the gravity of night pulls them back. This song is off-hand and glorious, shambling along to nowhere. It ends with the tinkling of wind chimes.

(image source)

by Emma

Dylarama - "Saison Estivale"

We caught this song on the car radio, coming in static-shot like a transmission from outer space. Stripped down to just voice and woozy guitars, this would be a perfectly fine normal good song, but the synths - especially in the last minute or so - make it OTHERWORLDLY. Summertime on this planet has everything: an arcade cabinet from the '80s in a heated argument with an angry robotic pterosaur; one of those old room-sized punchcard computers stoned out of its mind at the planetarium, finally allowed to dream its own equations; a dying calculator croaking out its last wishes to a room full of lush neon laser beams, all blinking gorgeous constellations in and out, in sympathy.

[buy Saison Estivale]

by Jeff

handwritten lyric sheet from the demo tape

Doggo - "1342" [bandcamp]
Doggo - "Not Bitter" [bandcamp]
(Or if you're in Montreal buy a tape from the band!)

Big feelings, lots of words crammed into short songs, no-bullshit raw pop punk. That's the Doggo formula. Coming straight out of a punk house on rue Saint-Urbain, this is punk verité, capturing real life feels as they happen. Cigarettes, heartbreaks, long workdays, long-distance crushes, and hours in the dark room developing photos. There's a lot of missing going on here: missing far-away friends, missed opportunities, and plenty of missed hangs while you were hiding out in your room trying to keep it together. A solid rhythm-section helmed by scene legend Martin Tensions's hummable basslines and GAZM howler Bill's solid drums lay the groundwork for the wicked guitar attacks by fronters Sasha and Blair. Blessed with two brilliant lead vocalists and sick songs, Doggo are giving me the scrappy summer 2017 pop punk that I need right now. I love this tape! They had me at the hand-written lyric sheet!

by Sean

Goldfish - "Charm". In 1996, a band called Goldfish started recording an album. 21 years later, they finished it. Predictions of the Future is a time-capsule from a departed Montreal - tough, luscious, part-tarnished. Punk-rock from an era when punk was more glinting, when harshness and softness went together like scissors through silk. Like Lush or the Breeders, Goldfish were a four-piece. They were a band with two singer/guitarists, Carrie Haber and Vicky Klingenstierna. They tangled round the city; some nights it seemed like they owned the place. (They are probably the only act to have ever opened both for Natalie Merchant and for Fugazi.) Predictions was among the first material ever produced by my friend Howard Bilerman (who has since recorded classics like You Want It Darker, Funeral, Lhasa and 'Allelujah! Don't Bend Ascend). They laid it down at his parents' house. All this feels like folk-tale, fake history, but it's true. A band I'd never heard of that rocked and toiled, then went away. I moved to Montreal in 2000. By then Golfdish had disappeared. But the marvel of the thing is that they somehow clawed back. Two decades later, Haber decided that her band had unfinished business. "I realized that we're going to die," she told the Gazette's Jordan Zivitz. "I have a lot of unfinished projects, and this is not one I wanted hanging over me on my deathbed." This wasn't so easy: Predictions was recorded to tape; tapes don't last forever; but they retrieved 'em, baked 'em, set about completing that which wasn't quite completed. And now: here. "Charm" and all the rest of this artifact, like noticing a footprint in the sidewalk you've tramped over ten thousand times.

[buy Predictions of the Future from the Dears' label, Ting Dun]

by Mitz

(photo source)

Francis Bebey - "Bissau" (Buy)
Lately, I've been swamped with work and didn't get a chance to write here. My apologies.

It's been eating shit food too. just bread rice and bag of chips.

Again, I go to corner store to pick up vegetables and ready to cook nice meal but for appetizer, I end up picking up a bag of chips and never follow through on cooking nice meal.

and then, I watch fail videos, funny animals instgram accounts on bed while eating chips and fall asleep.

so I figure I need to exercise. I was taking stairs to my studio on 7th floor but it was too much for now. I need to start somewhere less intense. So I though I hold my breath in elevator after read somewhere deep and shallow internet that heart rate goes up and you burn calories. So I held my breath in the elevator from 1st floor.

But on 4th floor, this Canada post man came in. I still kept my breath but it stopped at 5th floor. FEDEX GUY CAME IN!!!

I couldn't hold my breath anymore at this moment!!! I just went, "bhaaaaa~!" and started breathing heavily but trying to hide so breathing through my nose and I looked like Mixed Martial Fighter or Boxer before the important match at the press conference. I couldn't face at Canada Post and FedEx guys.

The end.

by Emma

The Young Disciples & Co. - Girls Girls Girls

I have not been writing here too much because I am embarrassed at how little new music I've listened to this summer. I know the point of this whole thing is to write about very good songs and that's it, no time limit, but still - it seems like if I cannot come to you with a brand new gem between my teeth each week, some magic misshapen crystal from my travels across the internet and through the terrible world, then I have failed.

By this metric, I am failing the summer and then some. I have been doing a lot of work, sometimes for myself and sometimes for other people. I am writing in every spare moment I have, but not often about music, and in the few moments each day where I am listening to something other than the sound of keyboard on keyboard it feels like I have to re-learn my senses super quick so I can pretend to know how to use them, not freak everybody out. This is how you have a conversation, this is how you eat in front of someone else, this is how you walk when there are other people in the room. Remember? Sort of.

Some summers it's not like this; I'll feel tuned to the same frequency as the world, the same loose handful of top-40 bangers thrumming through every body in the city, moving us all at the same pace. But this month, at least, I'm out of step. I like the new Lorde, but I don't have much to say about it. The other day, crossing the bridge to Carlo's house, I passed through a cloud of teens all holding sparklers and nodding quietly at what I later found out was an Ed Sheeran song, buzzing tinny from a single iphone speaker. In a few weeks, I'll be in a car listening to the radio, and then I'll be at Sappyfest, listening to everything.

But for now, all I want to listen to is soul songs, the same kind I've been listening to since I was a baby. I want to expand my vocabulary of sadness and love and lonely and longing, get my heart dimly lit up at the edges by some new old convergence of voice and metaphor, plain fact and tape hiss and past.

This is how I tripped over "Girls Girls Girls," which might be the best song I've ever heard in my life. It is certainly the best song to ever have this particular title, and the only song I care about right now. It is also absolutely the song of the summer - this whole summer, the summer of the whole world, not just mine. Yours too, even if you don't know it yet. Last night I listened to this song while walking through my neighbourhood at dusk and felt as though I were made of nothing but light wind and stardust, and if that sounds corny it is because there is nothing as embarrassing as being in love.

The best quality a single song can have, I think, is the sense that it somehow contains every possible feeling in the world simultaneously, plus another ten you've never fathomed. A song that has sadness and joy and longing and fear and sex and humour and comfort all threaded through its DNA at the same time, intersecting at angles you couldn't possibly imagine without it. A song like this is a prism that teaches you a brand new colour each time the light hits. Just by putting it on at a different time, in a different light or mood, you can learn something secret and impossible about the world, about what you can think and feel inside of it.

Songs like this do not work on a principle of pure sympathy. If you are sad, they do not make you feel sadder, or give you reasons for your sadness. Instead, they give you a feeling that forms a perfect chord with your sadness - or your joy, your in-love, your weird summer walks through the neighbourhood at dusk, thinking about your terrible poems. They move with you, move you somewhere new.

There is no single second in the entire 2:55 of "Girls Girls Girls" that does not contain an entire world's worth of feeling. Some songs you wring out by listening to them over and over, but here, the more attention you give, the greater your reward. Its first fifteen seconds alone are a perfect sunrise, and if I start listing all the other wonders I might never stop. This song is full of stray moments that float into it as if by accident, that settle so perfectly into the landscape you feel almost tricked by their loveliness. You might need to listen to it on headphones to catch them. Someone hits a woodblock just once, just so. A bridge drifts across the horizon with its perfect horns, like a single parade float passing under your open window. Sometimes there are bongos. Near the end, when everything begins to unlace but nothing falls apart, someone strums a guitar just once, and it is impossible to tell if it is an accident or not.

This is the song of the summer, and the whole point of the internet - and this website specifically - is for me to make sure it arrives in your life in time for you to take advantage of its magic. If you put this song on at a party, everyone will fall hopelessly in love with each other, and also with you. If you put this on a mixtape, it will glow like neon. If you are sitting in your bedroom with the window open, put this song on and turn your speaker out towards the full moon, your dreams will be charged with a gorgeous melancholy and you will wake up feeling more peaceful and rested than you've been in weeks. If you play this song for your plants, they will appreciate it. If you play this song in your headphones, you will write a better poem. Promise.

[buy The Young Disciples]


by Jeff

a long train against the horizon at nightfall

Culture Abuse - "So Busted" [buy]

These are the facts: the ever-present rattle of the wind through the tall grass. The low trickle of the stream across the dry riverbed. The travelling dust, getting into homes and clothes and machines. The long and straight roads carved into the flat landscape. The sun, burning low and pink on the horizon.

After a day of walking the man was beyond filthy. His shirt had gone from white to grey to near black from the sweat and dirt. In a stationhouse lit by a single bulb the man spent the last of his money on a ticket west, to the end of the line.

"You can wait inside," the porter said. "I'm about to light the fire."

The descending night was bringing frost with it, but the man shook his head. "No thank you." His voice was a whisper. He needed to catch that train so badly that he had to watch for it, see it emerge from the distant nothingness. It would start as a speck of light in the deep prairie night and then grow until it was full-sized before him.

The man pulled on his coat and hat against the cold. On the platform he heard the crickets singing. Otherwise the air was still.

"There," a voice from the darkness told him. The man who spoke was only a smouldering cigarette tip floating in the air. He stepped closer, into the dim light leaked from the station windows. "My train, too." He pointed.

The man turned and saw the light in the distance.

(image source)