One Delicious Note

My obsession with the band Cardiacs isn’t going away. Worse, I’ve found I might not be able to make it to the May 8 tribute/benefit show planned at Cafe Du Nord (gasp!).

But I can make up for that:

This Saturday, March 26, I’ll be playing Cardiacs music on-air at KZSU and am slated to interview Moe! Staiano and/or Dominique Leone, two of the benefit’s organizers. Start time will be sometime after 10:30 p.m. Listen in at 90.1 FM in the Bay Area, or

(UPDATE: That time originally read 9:00 p.m., but my show’s being pushed back to accommodate NCAA basketball coverage. Unfortunately, that means I don’t know what time I’ll actually be on-air, but it should be around 10:30.)

Meanwhile, I’ve been stocking up on some of the band’s catalogue. (Available only on iTunes in the ‘States.) Much of it can be heard on YouTube, including a 16-part posting of a live concert, professionally videotaped. It’s the same concert released on CD as All That Glitters Is a Mare’s Nest, and here’s a good place to start:

I’m also digging some of Cardiacs’ later stuff, after the keyboardist, percussionist, and sax player departed, leaving something closer to a straight guitar band.

They didn’t get to record very often, so one of their chances yielded enough material for a 2-CD release, Sing to God. And it’s from there that the sheet music at the top of this post comes from — it’s the solo to a pretty damn cool song called “Odd Even.” It goes more and more off the rails and ends on that deliciously sour B-flat note that’s highlighted, after which the vocal comes back on a C chord.

Too technical? Basically, that last note is just perfectly wrong, and yet not too wrong. The way it simultaneously ends the solo and transitions back into the song is either a stroke of genius or an accident blessed by the muses. You’ll find that note at 2:44 in this “video.” [UPDATE: Video got taken down once the Cardiacs catalog became available on iTunes. I’m OK with that.]

In an interview archived at (online “museum” for the band), guitarist Jon Poole recalls putting the song together: “Tim had programmed the weird bit in the middle of Odd Even and left me to find a guitar line amoungst the chords so I was sat on my own dropping myself in. When he came back it was done and he was very happy… particularly with my choice of last note!”

In the Documents section of, you can also find the transcription of “Odd Even” that I excerpted above. The transcription was done by a fellow named Dan Schmidt.

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