Said the Gramophone - image by Danny Zabbal
by Jeff

an abstract field of lines and colours

Earth Girls - "Say Goodnight" [buy]

Alex drew jagged lines on the scratch pad attached to the pen display. Other shoppers at the papeterie before her had left their marks behind, zig-zags, spirals, and squiggles in every colour. She dropped the purple gel-point back into its slot and picked up the neighbouring green felt-tipped marker, took off the cap, and drew a straight line. This one, she thought, and carried it to the cash register.

by Mitz

(photo source)

Tzusing - "4 Floors Of Whores" [Buy]

I have been listening to this song a lot. I thought this gives me energy since I have been out of shape and feeling tired all the time.

I imagined this would be a great work out song.

But I'm lazy that I have new years resolution for next year already to start working out in 2018.

Meanwhile, someone was getting rid of Nintendo Wii and I thought maybe I would use Wii Fit to lose weight at home! Then, I realized I tried that already 7 years ago and sold my wii.

I just lay in my bed and close my eyes and imagine myself lifting weight with this song. It's a good start!

ps. I dont like the song title though:( I looked up and it references to this building. Not sure intent of the artist. I hope it's not sexisim intended.

by Jeff

The band Moon playing in a living room in Mineville, Nova Scotia in 2013

Moon - "I Come From Downtown" [buy]

The moon is always changing. Sometimes we see it as a thin crescent, a celestial toe-nail clipping. Other times it's a little wider, a big white grin staring down at us. In the fall it hangs full and orange, only a few feet above the farm fields. And a couple nights out of every month it's brilliant and bone white, lighting your walk home from the show.

Halifax's Moon have taken direction from their lunar namesake and embraced this perpetual change. I've seen them play live as a five-piece psych gang and also as a down-to-business power trio. But while their personnel is variable, groove is in the heart of all their songs, a funky tide-pulling force propelling them forward.

Drawing on the mid-90s Thrill Jockey catalogue, but subtracting its jazz affect, "I Come From Downtown" on Moon's new Paradise String EP is their funkiest cut yet. The tight rhythm section is filled out with chorus-laden guitar, synths, and tape effects. The un-rock, almost conversational, vocals invite the listener downtown for a visit. Come check out the different way things are done over here, the song summons us. This is the spiritual downtown, of course, the traditional home of artists and others. A spikey solo late in the song is a further enticement. And while you're downtown you might look up, notice the moon, and see it differently.

(photo by Spike)

by Emma

The Beach Boys - "Surfer Girl (Take 6)"
Migos - "Bad and Boujee (feat. Lil Uzi Vert)

Sometimes the future works perfect. Like, last week, an app I was using saw through my playlists and directly into my mood and, via some chain of algorithms I could never possibly even pretend to begin to understand, delivered unto me this fucking wonderful Beach Boys demo I'd never heard before. The Beach Boys in February! What a gift! They all sound like they're standing in an empty California swimming pool, harmonizing at the moon under an impossible blanket of blinking stars. Plus that melancholy licking all faint and sweet just along the edges? Come on.

Beach Boys outtakes in particular are fascinating because they capture these songs in moments before their sadness and their pure glittering wonder have been totally balanced, so things always list a little to one side or the other. Some songs sound a little corny, kinda naked; others feel too echoey, like you're walking around your bachelor apartment trailed by a pack of velvet-tuxedoed ghosts who won't stop crooning lonely anthems in the background while you heat up a frozen pizza or whatever. Good harmony, the kind that rings you like a tuning fork, might make you feel bigger than anything else in the world, but it's a tenuous thing - the incomprehensible, un-fake-able product of luck and intent and technical skill and emotional charge. That's why charmless pop songs (or any songs, really) can leave you feeling like you ate a bag of steak-dinner-flavoured chips when you thought you were gonna have an actual meal; that's your very soul rejecting bad harmony, the disingenuous kind. The flatness of it.

Anyway. The point of all this is that sometimes algorithms don't work at all, because I listened to nothing but Beach Boys demos for like a week solid, and ever since, the robot brain has been trying to sell me on all these monotonously sun-dappled beige-y floating-guitar bands, the kind whose "jangly hooks" play in the background of the TV version of your life while you're out for a pleasant bike ride. I do not have anything against this type of song per se - I like a nice bike ride as much as anyone, and every single night of my life I dream about summer - but its recommendation as a Beach Boys chaser feels a little narrow-minded. As if the thing that gives me goosebumps about that music is primarily its sunniness. What I want is is for real harmony to run through me like a charge; I want to get the wind knocked out of me by convergence, by a song that feels joyful and haunting and sharp and familiar and brand new all depending on which way the light hits it, because it contains all those things at once, and more. The kind of balance that feels fragile and temporary and present; entirely, perfectly itself.

[buy Culture / Becoming The Beach Boys]

by Mitz

British Sea Power - "The Lonely" [Buy]

When I was a kid and went to visit my grandma, my brothers and I slept upstairs of her house. It's an classic style old Japanese house with the stairs probably about 50 degrees.

It was so steep and dangerous. My grandma used to put a bucket on the top of the stairs so that us, kids can pee in the middle of the night. Life hack!

I just remembered this bucket. that is all.

by Jeff

an image of the milky way among the mountains

Tinariwen (+IO:I) - "Ténéré Tàqqàl" [buy / beautiful music video]

A warm welcome to travelers. Fresh water and food. Coffee from the stove. Directions given when asked. Soap and shower. Listening without giving unasked-for advice. Tea, if desired. Sugar in the cupboard. Sitting at the table together. The pull-out couch, clean blankets. The warmth of conversation. Sharing what little. Preserving. Making-do and mending. Helping with the load. Love.

Attention to the small: the lit-up sunset, pollinating bee, occasional rainbow, ravens on the rooftops. Finding the pace, it may be slow, of getting through and moving on. Supporting what makes life shine. Laughter, song. Walking at night. Walking at day. The first warming sun in winter. The moon, emptying and filling like a well. The distant stars. The ragged cloth. These technologies will not steer you wrong as you travel through your years.

(image source)

by Emma

Mulatu Astatke - "Tezeta (Nostalgia)"

I have nothing clever to say about this song, no thoughtful way to write around it - just the plain fact that I have not yet found a single activity or mood that is not made a little better, a little brighter, by putting it on in the background. Packed into a streetcar, late for the late shift, walking through drifting snow or perplexing mid-February spring air, brushing the cat when he likes being brushed or when he doesn't, baking muffins instead of writing, reading, late nights when you're so far past should have been asleep that you're the most awake you've ever been, conducting stray memories with your bones the way some houses' wiring pulls radio signals out of the air. The small static at its edges, how free and thoughtful that piano is, the sweetness inside every pause. This song fits perfectly into everything, or maybe your life just fits perfectly along its track.

[buy Ethiopiques - Vol. 4]