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Purple Mountains "All My Happiness is Gone"

4am outburst from the mountain damp with pillows. It's the last memento fit into the tupperware of taste, giving in to giving up. Forty Feelings waterskiing the mobius strip, comforted to revisit my own wake. Shake the same way, and the tears come out different, different spatter pattern on the wall, or when they don't even come at all. The softest word spoken is louder than all my thoughts, music is far louder than all my own thoughts, I'm waiting to think, waiting until it's necessary, come out of retirement for one last thought. Something falls away, is baked off, rots from within, chips away, incrementally, silently, your teeth a scam artist thinking they'll never get caught, behaving like a criminal wanting to get caught.

And then dancing.

Not like, planning on dancing. Just, sudden, car-crash, how-did-i-get-here dancing. All these things I've loved are not nostalgic because they are not past, they are Old and Present. They have worth. Their worthlessness is clear, chipped, haggard. Their beauty is spinning, and toppled. If this is what a body looks like, then here is where Montreal left its mark. Filter by "date modified" and it all blends into one. My heart is melted and dissolved, it's in the air now, catch a whiff.

[out July 12 on Drag City]

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Said the Gramophone by Mitz - 4M ago

Shintaro Sakamoto- "Matomoga wakaranai" [Buy]

How have everyone been doing!!!!????

wow, I haven't written so long. I hope everyone is well. My internet friends. I had a lot of things happened to me since last time I wrote. To be honest, I don't even remember last time I was here just like you don't remember myspace password or even email you used for. Time sometimes freezes online.

I met a girl 8 years ago. She offered me salted fish at friends' birthday picnic. No one ever did that to me.

We shared netlifx account.

Got a 1998 Subaru Outback together. Drove around til it died.

We had a cat named, Moses. We had to put him down sadly.

I met her family. We went to Japan and she met my family.

We got cheap washer and dryer finally in our apartment.

Our last dryer was making our clothes dirtier.

I made her dinners
She made me dinners

I did dishes
she did dishes
I forgot dishes
She forgot dishes.

Got dresser through Craigslist, from someone whose mother passed away recently. Went to pick it up at empty room in old folks home. As we said goodbye to the lady, she told us about her mother and she cried, we cried and hugged her.

we got a cat, Bowie. She like her but doesn't like me much. Only wants to be fed. Its ok.

Our 2004 Subaru died 3 months after we got on highway on Christmas eve. Her dad came to pick us up at Tim Hortons at 2am.

Went to Japan and proposed her at this fall in my hometown She was wearing Adidas track pants because it was a little hike but I asked her "are you wearing that?" She said, "yep. why?" I couldn't say anything to blow up my cover.

my aunt passed away a month before our wedding.

we got married last summer.

My friend got a puppy.

Got swamped with work. My boogers were sawdust from my shop for 2 weeks straight.

My friend's puppy is a dog now.

So many things happened and happens, will happen.

Yesterday, I turned 38.

OH! Last week went to IKEA and their water pipe was broken so couldn't eat frozen yogurt!!!!!!

anyways, ill try to write more.

take care everyone.

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When I was 18 years old I moved to Montreal and set up a music file-server. I was there for university, the internet was fast, I didn't even know yet what I liked. How free that felt - not to even know yet what I liked. I knew I knew very little; I knew there was still so much to hear. The purpose of the server wasn't just to share the little music I had already discovered - artists like Sloan, Belle & Sebastian and Neutral Milk Hotel - but for visitors to share their own favourite music, so I could learn what else was out there.

Belle and Sebastian - "The Stars of Track and Field".
Dave Matthews Band - "Lie In Our Graves".

My server was called "Into the Grove." I called it that because I liked the image it evoked - entering a hiding-place, ducking uner boughs. I had never heard of the Madonna song. I was 18 years old, I didn't even know yet what I liked. After logging in, users could see all the music on my computer: everything I had bought and ripped myself, everything other people had uploaded. Instead of Napster or KaZaA I used a service called Hotline, which allowed users to upload and download complete albums. There was 69 Love Songs and Tom Waits' Rain Dogs, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds' Live at Luther College and Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations. Dozens - and eventually hundreds - of records, which you could download yourself, unlimitedly, as long as you were a member.

How did you become a member? You had to upload an album I'd like. Something that wasn't yet in my collection - plucked from your own CD shelves or hard disk. I remember the server had a document laying out some of my favourite things, as loose inspiration. LIKES: The Beatles, Mogwai, Ben Folds Five, Beck; DISLIKES: Led Zeppelin, Limp Bizkit, Dr Dre, The Deftones. I hadn't yet wrapped my head around pop music, or hip-hop, or country, or dance - then again Into the Grove was how I started to do that. A user who saw I liked Odelay uploaded OutKast's ATLiens; someone answering my call for stuff that sounded like Smog gave me my first taste of Gillian Welch. I had lists of requests based on things I had heard of (but usually not heard). Without enough life-experience, without context, I didn't know what was obscure and what wasn't - whether Elliott Smith was more famous than Björk, or Björk than Clem Snide. I didn't know that my first Joy Division album wasn't supposed to be Les Bains Douches. I didn't know that no one else was crazy for the Hungarian fiddler Félix Lajkó. People uploaded treasures, their own private treasures, and everything sounded new to me, a thousand revelations - as if the ground was covered in gemstones, more than I'd ever pick up.

Lajkó Félix - "Etno Camp".
King Geedorah - "Fazers".

Into the Grove ran off a graphite-coloured iMac G3 in my dorm room. The computer would slow to a crawl when there were too many users connected, so I'd shut it down when I was on deadline - pulling an all-nighter for "The Social Imaginary of Tokugawa Japan." I didn't think of it as stealing music, even though it was. I was still buying new CDs several times a month. There was too much music to imagine paying for it all.

It wasn't long before I had filled the iMac's whole drive with songs. Since external hard-drives were too expensive, I bought a CD burner. Now I could back up albums to blank CDs, re-importing the music as I needed it. Each 650 MB CD could hold eight to ten albums: soon I had five, then ten, then 20 of these supplementary CD-Rs, carefully catalogued, stuffed with Radiohead B-sides, the Uncle Tupelo back-catalogue and Belle & Sebastian EPs. As the server became more popular, I started to go through more and more of these discs; paying $3 or $4 a pop began to take a toll, and eventually one of the Into the Grove regulars offered to meet me at a métro station and drive me to Kahnawake - where blank CDs, tax-free, sold for less than a dollar each.

Joy Division - "Disorder" (live at les Bains Douches).
Cat Power - "The Leopard and the Lamb (White Session)".

I said yes. One Sunday I took the subway to a stop I'd never been to before. The guy was waiting in a little Honda, the interior littered with kids' toys and Pepsi cans. I never learned his name but I can't even remember his username any more - Pedro or something like that. I don't know if he was an immigrant or Indigenous or Québecois; I didn't even ask him about his kids. Our real lives seemed taboo, like events we had witnessed in a war. Pedro (?) wasn't the first person I had met from the internet but he was the first peson I had met from Into the Grove - someone linked to me not by lengthy correspondence or hours of conversation but simply by shared interest, mutual obsession, a passion for diverse recordings and their accumulation. On the long drive to the reservation we talked about the Foo Fighters and Radiohead, HMV and Cheap Thrills, and Sam the Record Man's going-out-of-business sale. We passed signs for beer, fireworks and tax-free cigarettes. No thank-you, I thought to myself. We're here for blank storage media.

That media? We bought it. Entire spindles of CD-Rs, discount spoils - room for many months' worth of music. Or at least it should have been, but by then I was greedy. Albums arrived online every day and I was gobbling through them, discovering new artists by the hour. Looking back, I know I must have become less discriminating - but it would have been difficult to separate my appetite from my curiosity. My taste was expanding at the same rate as my hoard - gigabyte by gigabyte, discography by discography - as if each new upload was an invitation, or a dare.

Can you like this? What about this?

Let's be clear: none of this story is special. I'm telling the tale of Into the Grove not to hoot about taste but to commemorate a place that gave me an education. I didn't have a local record-store guy or world-wise older sister. I was just a teenage music pirate.

At the turn of the millennium, the internet seemed full of heartfelt pitches. Millions of users singing the praises of their favourite things - crowding around them, talking about them, calling for others to recognize their charms. Not the sturm und drang of social media: just clear-throated whoops, and echoes. Strangers like Pedro logging on to share their passions, not just once but every week, long after they had earned their Into the Grove membership rights, as if they couldn't help themselves.

Carlo Spidla - "Blackfly Rag".

I didn't appreciate them at the time. At the time, I thought the music mattered most (the quantity of stock-piled files; all those precious, catalogued mbs). It did not. Where are those CD-Rs now? (They're in an Edinburgh landfill.) The part of Hotline that lasted longest is the other people. Without them, in some alternate universe, 18-year-old Sean Michaels went on listening to Sloan and Belle & Sebastian and Neutral Milk Hotel. He went on listening to those, and their correlaries, whatever sounded similar-enough or congenial.

I didn't even know yet what I liked. But here's the thing: I still don't. None of us do. We'll keep changing til we're gone. Til we're cold in the ground. We can learn pleasures, discover - we can like what we don't.

That's the wonder of living, of not being dead.

By now I know: there aren't many better feelings than sharing something beautiful with someone else. I don't mean the crummy kind of sharing - a fleeting power dynamic, teacher/student - but the kind of sharing that reminds you of the ways you love something, the ways it touches you and makes you vulnerable. Sharing something precious is like holding up a mirror. And there's something radical to it too, I think. This gesture's at the heart of romantic love, and parts of parenthood, and maybe even of our responsibilities as human beings. By sharing what we've found, we can all be richer.

Alina Bzhezhinska - "Journey in Satchidananda".
The Blue Nile - "I Love This Life".

True sharing takes generosity. It has to mean something. It requires intention, and the sense that the thing you're offering has value. An algorithm can't be generous, just as a coin-flip can't be kind. My old file-server was a refuge, and also a kind of theft. But I understood the value of what I had. All those thousands of splendours. I thought I was a millionaire.

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These are my 100 favourite songs of 2018: songs I love more than yanny, laurel, and self-destructing paintings.

Said the Gramophone hasn't published much in in 2018. Forgive us: we're very old.

"People don't read blogs any more."
      "People don't read about music any more."
            "Does it make you any money?"

I believe in making things because the making's the thing. I believe in good things lasting. (I also believe in finding the right endings.)

But this blog isn't ending. It's changing.

In 2019 we'll be publishing longer stories and essays, one a month, by writers you love like Emma Healey and Mitz Takahashi and me. Dear old friends and bodacious surprises.

I hope you'll enjoy my Best Songs of 2018

This is the 15th list like this at Said the Gramophone: see 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

I follow just one arbitrary rule: that no primary artist may appear twice.

The best way to browse the proceeding is to click the little arrow beside each song and then to listen as you read. The things you like you can then download by right- or ctrl-clicking with your mouse.

You can also download the complete 100 songs in three parts:

Thanks to Joey there are also Spotify and Apple Music playlist versions. #

Said the Gramophone has had many authors, most recently: Emma Healey, Jeff Miller, Mitz Takahashi and me, Sean Michaels. This list is all Sean's dumb doing - don't blame the others for my bad taste.

If this is your first time at Said the Gramophone, I hope you'll bookmark us or subscribe via RSS. You can also follow me on Twitter or read my first novel (it's about the theremin). A new book, The Wagers, will be published in about a year.

Among these 100 artists, 43 are mostly American, 29 are Canadian, 10 are British and there are 4 Australian, 2 New Zealand, 2 German, 2 Irish, 2 Swedish, 1 French, 1 Jamaican, 1 Korean, 1 Nigerian, 1 Spanish and 1 South African act. 46 of the frontpeople/bandleaders identify as women, 51 as men, 1 as transgender and 2 acts are girl/boy duos. This is the way it worked out; it certainly ain't perfect. Here are some charts of this and past lists' demographics.

My favourite songs of the year do not necessarily speak to my favourite albums of the year. Songs and LPs are entirely different creatures.

My favourite albums of 2018 were:

  • Joseph Shabason - Anne (listen);
  • Kyle Gann - Hyperchromatica (listen);
  • Young Galaxy - Downtime (listen);
  • Rosalía - El mal querer (listen);
  • Madeline Kenney - Perfect Shapes (listen);
  • Tampa - Belated Love (listen);
  • Tim Hecker - Konoyo (listen);
  • John Coltrane - Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (listen);
  • Melissa Laveaux - Radyo Siwèl (listen); and
  • Makaya McCraven - Universal Beings (listen)
  • I promise: all of these are fantastic.

    And now, without any more rigamarole, lots of proudly mixed metaphors:

  1. Rosalía - "Pienso en Tu Mirá" [buy]
    My favourite song of 2018 is one of those stunners that reminds you that pop songs can do anything, there aren't any rules. Across her magnificent second album, 26-year-old Rosalía Vila Tobella reimagines (and arguably appropriates) flamenco music, weaving in pop and hip-hop, Auto-Tune and "Cry Me A River," demonstrating the same sense of invention that has marked the careers of M.I.A., Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake. Her videos are ravishing (no surprise Pedro Almodovar has recruited her for his next film) and El Mal Querer is actually surprisingly doleful, declining the temptation to attempt an Andalusian Thriller. Still, "Pienso en Tu Mirá" feels propulsive and magical, carried forward by handclaps, synth stabs and Rosalía's nightingale of a voice. Minor instead of major, dark instead of bright - but luminous with feeling, aglow with possibility, as powerful an incantation as anything I heard this year.
  2. Robyn - "Honey" [buy]
    Robyn's first appearance on one of Said the Gramophone's Best Songs lists was thirteen years ago (!), when "Be Mine!" was my favourite track of 2005. I compared her to Bob Dylan and James Joyce. I said that "Be Mine" revealed "the triumph of acknowledging your sorrow." Sweden's greatest solo pop star has undergone at least two transformations since then, yet these two songs still seem linked. For all its lines about breath and flesh and saliva strands, "Honey" is a song about pleasure that doesn't quite sound happy. Instead it's bittersweet - the sort of bittersweet that Joyce left out of his bawdy love-letters: a sense of Robyn's longing or regret, or maybe just her wisdom. You can hear it in the bass notes, dark and gleaming, and at the end of her phrases. You can hear it in the production (ghostly in spite of cowbell!). Perhaps there's a secret message to a lover un-won; perhaps Robyn's desire's just chronically minor-key. But I read "Honey"'s ambivalence as bigger than that, and more grown-up. Not the anguish of loss, nor the melancholy of falling short, but the sadness of realizing what it is you always deserved.
  3. Drake - "Nice For What" [buy]
    "Nice For What" is a song of plunging orbits, big ellipses, the kind of song that ought to eventually go on forever - an endless New Orleans bounce, an endless loop-around and begin-again; endless starts, groundhog days. Women hustling and hustling and fighting and fighting, Lauryn Hill's "Ex-Factor" sucked into a black hole - reborn as something infinite. If there's an actual song factory somewhere, this is the sound of its machinery. Persistence leads to victories, perseverence to just deserts.
  4. Sandro Perri - "In Another Life" [buy]
    The MP3 here is an excerpt of Sandro Perri's extraorinary 25-minute "In Another Life," which is not so much a song as a weather system, a climate that moves into a room and waits there, changing the colour and temperature. I've long-described Sandro as a musician who makes free music, free as in jazz - but who happens to operate in a genre (singer-songwriteriness) where that avant-gardism isn't obvious. What does it sound like to break apart a Nilsson-esque pop ballad? What does it sound like to make it fizz into nothing or fold itself in two? Can a nice tune still be a riddle?
  5. Christine and the Queens - "Doesn't Matter (Voleur de soleil)" [buy]
    I can't imagine preferring the English version of this electro-pop masterpiece - a song that gathers lustre with every syllable out of Héloïse Letissier's lips. "Doesn't matter (voleur de soleil)" relies on its agility, its swiftness: a song about despair that somehow finds a way to lift off.
  6. La Force - "Lucky One" [buy]
    One day I will make a mixtape about trying to live a good life. I'll call it The Republic and I'll fill it up with songs by Silver Jews, Patti Smith and maybe Iggy Pop; with songs like "Unless It's Kicks" and "We Have Everything" and La Force's "Lucky One." This is a song like an ember burning at the bottom of the hearth. It's a song like the songs we whisper to ourselves. Ariel Engle - of AroarA and Moufette and, now, Broken Social Scene - is more Dorothy Parker than Socrates; her wisdom's tossed-off, stinging. But she is still trying to sing something true here, with a voice like a silver cord. "Don't you forget what's simple / and what's small," she sings, sadly almost, not because it isn't true but because she knows how often she doubts it.
  7. Ariana Grande - "thank u, next" [video]
    It isn't very often that a #1 smash hit seems to have a different emotional register than every #1 smash hit that ever came before. What sets "thank u, next" apart isn't its sound - an airy, tinsely R&BB - but Ariana Grande's disposition. After a million anthems of self-reliance and reinvention, of overcoming one's exes, it's startlingly refreshing to hear someone just saying thank u to their past loves - not feebly but bravely, wisely, gently, thank us for moments shared and lessons learned, miles travelled to this spot. (And still, also: next!)
  8. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - "Talking Straight" [buy]
    There are times when Australia's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever feel too much like a composite of other guitar-pop bands I love, from the Go-Betweens and the Feelies to Nap Eyes and Alvvays. But that kind attitude of leads to crankiness, not bliss, and I cannot but swoon for the snap of "Talking Straight," its gallop and its bray. Jangle like falling fortunes; riffs like ten-foot cacti, full of flowers; a melody you could hang your hat on all winter; everything picking up speed...
  9. Janelle Monae - "Make Me Feel" [buy]
    Purple-tinted funk like the wet and misting pop! of grape soda.
  10. Tim Hecker - "This life" [buy]
    I've spent dozens of hours with Konoyo, Tim Hecker's ninth album - a work of tinting electronics and efflorescing noise that feels more narrative than anything he has made before, as if it's not raw sound but story. "This life," which begins the LP, is like the opening sequence of a VanderMeer film adaptation, or of a Werner Herzog Heart of Darkness. It's a noise like a secret mission - keening sirens, insects, ghosts - and I feel almost as if I can smell it: scent of jade leaves, dark and vegetal, flexing in the night.
  11. 6LACK ft J Cole - "Pretty Little Fears" [buy]
    So much of a love-letter that I'm surprised it's not a rhyme in the first verse, rhyming with "propeller." 6LACK conceals his raunchy verses in the song's tender sound; from his tone of voice you'd be forgiven for assuming he's reading Neruda. The fit's a bit more natural on J Cole's feature - if only he had spared his wife the Matrix reference. (Thanks Neale!)
  12. Young Galaxy - "Seeing Eye Dog" [buy]
    A song reduced to essences: desire, audacity, moonlight. Such a respite - soft synths, Catherine McCandless's plainsong, everything as light as moths' wings. Taken from the tremendous Down Time, the most overlooked album of the year.
  13. Madeline Kenney - "Cut Me Off" [buy]
    Guitar-pop that's ravishing and askew - prisms twinkling, angles everywhere. Kenney's rosy voice tinges red at the edges; it blots almost, over "Cut Me Off"'s beautifully wrongish hooks, its beautifully wrongish drums. While Perfect Shapes owes something to Dirty Projectors' slanting vocals, Perfect Shapes (produced by Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner) is twice as good as Dave Longstreth's latest - vividly original, utterly delightful, one of the best damn things around.
  14. Connan Mockasin - "Charlotte's Thong" [buy]
    Drowsy, handsome music, with the pong that characterizes all of Connan Mockasin's tunes - that extra-terrestrial scent. An electric guitar prowls the house - searching for somewhere to lie down and sprawl. Drums beat like minute hands. And then Mockasin's mushy mumble: a wimp's voice, vaguely botanical, a stranger at this sumptuous table.
  15. The 1975 - "Love It If We Made It" [buy]
    A glittering, millennial reimagining of "We Didn't Start the Fire" or "It's the End of the World As We Know It." You get everything you need to know from the self-mocking opening lines, as the snare comes Phil-Collins-ing in: "Fucking in a car / shooting heroin / saying controversial things / just for the hell of it." I'm on-record as a 1975 fan; they continue to make a case for themselves as the UK's most interesting contemporary pop band, sucking the marrow from the Talking Heads and Radiohead, Danny Brown and Bright Eyes, Michael Jackson and The Streets. They integrate their influences in a way that feels almost anachronistic - and there's a similar out-of-time-ness to their (outstanding) big-budget videos, which seem lifted from MTV's heyday. Like most of my favourite diatribes, "Love It If We Made It" is really a declaration of love: to an algorithmic singularity, to the end of the world.
  16. Laura Jean - "Girls on the TV" [buy]
    I don't know what it is about this soft-focus indie pop song (or maybe I do - the grace of the singing, the unusually elaborated guitar-line, the chorus, the performance, the arrangement, the songwriting, everything).
  17. Mount Eerie - "Tintin in Tibet" [buy]
    Like last year's "Real Death", this song should not be on a ranked list; it should not be on a list at all. It should be at #1 or #100 or unnumbered, set apart. Its goal as a piece of music isn't the same goal as the other tracks here. Why count these things together, or measure them against each other? As Phil Elverum carries on, singing present and past, his vision somehow grows ever clearer.
  18. Lydia Képinski - "Premier juin" [buy]
    Sock yourself with this song, take it like a conker to the temple. A pipe-organ and a string section; a synth and a guitar. A song that tastes so ripe and raw that it's partly bloody iron, partly strawberry jam. Képinski's Montreal pop points right back to Arcade Fire's "Tunnels," Charles Burns' Black Hole, Frankie Barnet's An Indoor Kind of Girl. Today at full gallop, bolting toward the new. (And get a load of this.)
  19. SOPHIE - "Immaterial" [buy]
    Bouncing like a ball-peen hammer from ecstatic, sample-driven pop to something harder - shiny and warped. Featuring vocals from Montreal's own Caila Thompson-Hannant (Mozart's Sister, Cecile Believe).
  20. DJ Koze - "Pick Up" [buy]
    A midnight-coloured circle with Gladys Knight at its centre."[It's the] counterbalance of the sad voice and the disco loop," DJ Koze told Resident Advisor. "You find one loop, and if it's magical, you can hear it forever. But they're not easy to find. ['Pick Up' is] the only track I've made in one night -- in three or four hours, with a bottle of red wine."
  21. Mélissa Laveaux - "Lè Ma Monte Chwal Mwen" [buy]
    A song that erects its own fanciful, radiant universe - with Laveaux's elastic voice and winking Creole, the junkyard feel of the electric guitar. Like Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" reimagined on a Haitian beach.
  22. Nicholas Krgovich - "Spa" [buy]
    A man's hushed yet wry confessional - a break-up song that pulls no punches, beats around no bushes, itemizing the ending of a thing its singer did not wish to see end. Tragic and also somehow charming - it must be the saxophone.
  23. Thus Owls - "My Blood" [buy]
    Thus Owls' live performance of this song on 9/29 was probably the most moving performance I witnessed in 2018. Erika Angell sings about motherhood with a wisdom that seems visceral, not learned but felt - felt and then sung out, as if she has found the right words for these impossible feelings. (And Simon Angell beside her, strumming away, every chord a kind of vow.)
  24. Maggie Rogers - "Light On" [buy]
    A song like this makes songs like this seem easy: just verses, a chorus, a melody and harmony, drums. Mid-tempo and handsome, nothing to set it apart. Yet: marvellous. An ordinary pleasure to cherish and repeat.
  25. Boygenius - "Me & My Dog" [buy]
    Phoebe Bridgers leads all my favourite songs on the debut record by Boygenius - a group that brings together Bridgers, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus. She has a gift for writing tracks with a little sourness to them, an antidote to the sweet; it gives a break-up song like this a sort of seductiveness, as if the end of things is somewhere you might choose to stay.
  26. U.S. Girls - "Rage of Plastics" [buy]
    Meg Remy's
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Said the Gramophone by Sean - 7M ago

Tune in later this week for Said the Gramophone's 15th annual Best Songs list.

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Lydia Képinski - "Premier juin". Sock yourself with this song, take it like a conker to the temple. A pipe-organ and a string section; a synth and a guitar. A song that tastes so ripe and raw that it's partly bloody iron, partly strawberry jam. A sprint down the alley, a flight through the woods. Churn and boil and run, run, run - hearstroke and klaxon and wolves' matted fur. Képinski's Montreal pop points right back to Arcade Fire's "Tunnels", Charles Burns' Black Hole, Frankie Barnet's An Indoor Kind of Girl. An idea of future, the singer's self coalescing. An idea of past, all these names crossed out. And finally here, now: present (present, sir!). Today at full gallop, bolting toward the new.


Mata Hari - "Easy". A song about living in a bull's-eye. Maybe he moved there six months ago, maybe it was last week. His whole adult life he lived in some other building, some shoebox apartment; then finally he hired a van and brought his boxes to the bull's-eye, signed a lease. His friends had warned him against it. He didn't know if it would work out. But: of course it did. It was a bull's-eye! Concentric circles, red and white stripe. A target. He had been there only days when the first dart came flying, direct from cupid's bow - pow. Maybe "pow"'s the wrong sound. Zing, snap, STRUM. The luckiest days feel like hitting a target; one step down are the days when you are the target, or feel like it, or feel like you live in a bungalow erected on a target. When it feels as if the whole world, or all the things you want, are convening on the place where you're at, the place you're now standing - right on the threshold, hunched, fiddling with your keys.


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Said the Gramophone by Mitz - 1y ago

Maria Takeuchi - "Plastic Love" [Buy]

It's been a while! wow time flies!

Thank you for kind comments/emails! I just got really busy with my work.

Nothing really changed for me since last time I wrote here.

I watched a lot of World Cup. When France won, here in Montreal, people drove around with french flag and honking really loudly. I was annoyed. But then, when I was at the light, I saw one lonely guy, who looked like American Pie actor, driving around with a flag. He was alone in his car, with flag, just driving around by himself and honking.

I felt bad for him. So I gave a little thumbs up. Then he started honking really hard and loud!!!!!! What have I done!? Oh well.

Anyways, how do you not rip pita bread? I don't think I ever successfully opened pita without ripping in my life.

Here is nice summer track by Maria Takeuchi, from 1984. Sorry I could only find CD at Amazon US store:(

take care and see you around.


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Tierra Whack - "Hungry Hippo"
Tierra Whack - "Bugs Life"
Tierra Whack - "Black Nails"

I wanted to write about Drake. I keep trying to listen to Drake, I keep trying to think about Drake. But honestly? It's like 800 degrees outside. Even here in the air-conditioned indoors, the whole enterprise just feels smothering. 25 tracks! Are you kidding me? Like a wall of angry text messages that keeps coming and coming - even after you put your phone down, even after you tell him you're at work, even after you say please and fuck you and okay, okay, okay, I'm sorry, fine, can we please just talk about this later? And still there's 15 more to work through.

This, I guess, is the not the dark but the exhausting side of the gorgeous, goofy, Ginuwine-tinged thirst that Aubrey's persona throws off in its best single moments. The sheer volume of content on Scorpion - all this A-side/B-side shit, all this empty title talk of feelings-plural - is just this dude trying literally every trick he knows to get a grip on your attention so he can twist it back around towards him. Like a little kid mashing all the buttons in an elevator. Hey. Hi. Hey sexy. Hello? Why are you mad at me? What about all the bad stuff you did to me? This is stupid. Why don't you just come over? What are you doing right now? What are you wearing? Are you ignoring me? Can we please just talk? Hello? Hello? HELLO?????

Maybe that's just how I feel about this album right now, or maybe it's how I feel about Drake in 2018, or maybe it's how I feel about Drake in a heatwave: that the only good reason to enter into a relationship with someone like the person at the centre of his stories is that it's fun, and the second it starts to feel like work you have got to cut your losses and duck back out into the sunshine. Leave him to his darkened studio, his blue-black beats, his endlessly deepening mythology of him; let him tell all those same stories to someone who hasn't had time to get tired of them yet. Probably, though, I'll feel different about it in a few weeks - when I've cooled down a little, when my patience rebounds.

In the meantime, Tierra Whack provides an antidote so perfect it almost seems too perfect. It's not fair to compare her complex, freaky, singular project to some dude's eight-hour double-sided Song Of Himself, but if you happen to listen to Whack World for the first time the same way I did - right after you listen to Scorpion for the third or fourth - it's hard not to notice everything this album has that that one lacks. Each of its fifteen tracks is exactly one minute long, and like a good poem, each one is a completely self-contained galaxy of mood and style and voice and subject; a tiny space that feels infinitely vast both in spite and because of what constrains it.

Whack's voice doesn't sound the same on any song as any other, and yet this whole thing sounds like her. She never repeats herself, and she's certainly not trying to prove anything to you except that whatever she has to say deserves your attention. This is not just an album - it's a collection, the kind that gives off a double glow: first each object on its own, and then the thing they do when you string them together. A handful of crystals, cartoon-coloured, charged and ready to change you. Something really and truly unreal.

Watch all of Whack World here.

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