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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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In Which You Can't Let The Gloom Get You

With Friends Like These


If Tony Soprano was a fan of Gary Cooper he must have loved Robert Mitchum. Cat sliced off his own finger in Sydney Pollock’s The Yakuza and didn’t make a peep. Just sweated a little and wrapped that bitch up in a napkin. 

When he wasn’t sucking on cigarettes in fedoras and trench coats, he even found the time to cut a calypso record and the sensationally titled country album, That Man, Robert Mitchum, Sings.

Really, who knew? With the May release of The Friends of Eddie Coyle on Criterion DVD, Gen-Y audiences have their first crack at Eddie “Knuckles” in this classic, 70’s crime saga and quintessential Mitchum vehicle.

The movie centers on Eddie “Knuckles” Coyle, a low-grade hoodlum and gunrunner famous for the extra set of knuckles he acquired from the wrong side of a dresser drawer. Such is the price for selling traceable arms to the Mafia. When he’s pinched for hijacking a truck, Coyle turns snitch for Detective David Foley in the hopes that he’ll have his sentence reduced. Because what would his charming, Irish hobbit of a wife do without him?

Meanwhile Jimmy Scalise (Alex Rocco, best known as Moe Green from The Godfather) and his crew are traipsing about the greater Boston area with guns and elaborate masks, robbing banks and taking names. Why? Because he’s Alex Rocco! He made his bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!

When Scalise’s crew is captured by the police, the mob fingers Coyle for setting them up. I won’t spoil the ending but a baby-faced Peter Boyle and a Boston Garden-era Bruins game are involved.

Made in 1973, The Friends of Eddie Coyle enjoys the same funk-infused score and gritty, urban texture as The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3. But while Joseph Sargeant’s caper caught the nostalgic eye of Tony Scott (who’s-gulp-slated to remake The Warriors in 2010), Coyle is the infinitely more stylish of the two films.

Scalise’s crew robs its first bank in translucent masks that look like a cross between John Waters and Ricardo Montalban. Take my word that this hybrid is as chilling as it is hideous. In their follow-up heist, they’re sporting rubber disguises that bear an awful resemblance to the president masks from the 1991 idiot-genius film, Point Break. I see you, Kathryn Bigelow! Your sexy DILF act is fooling no one.

With all the double-crossing, snitching and hammy Boston accents, it’s also hard to think that Martin Scorsese didn’t at least take a peak at Coyle before he started shooting The Depahted.

Yet for all of director Peter Yates’ artistry, this movie really belongs to Mitchum. Watching him stagger about like a man marked for death in the Frankenstein-like company of Peter Boyle, you can’t help but recall his appearance twenty years earlier in the classic film noir, Out of the Past.

Fatalism just agrees with him. But what makes Mitchum so compelling is that he never lets the doom and gloom of his characters drag him too far down. When asked about his approach to acting, he once famously responded: “I have two acting styles: with and without a horse.”

You can see from the still photographs of the movie shoot included on the DVD that Mitchum never took himself too seriously. And really, that’s The Friends of Eddie Coyle—a throwback, crime story long on verve and short on pretension. Arm your netflix queues accordingly.

Jacob Sugarman is the senior contributor to This Recording.

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"Last Nite (demo)" - The Strokes (mp3)

"Meet Me In The Bathroom (home recording)" - The Strokes (mp3)

"New York City Cops (live in Iceland)" - The Strokes (mp3)



In Which This Is The Secret of Dolly Parton's Success

An American, Tennessee-Born


Dolly Parton is a product of Appalachia, USA. From Locust Ridge, Tennessee, she grew up in a one-room shack with 11 brothers and sisters, the daughter of sharecroppers.

I recently visited Dollywood, Parton’s amusement park located in her hometown. At the “Chasing Rainbows” museum dedicated to her life, she has a room set up to resemble an attic. In it are bits of Dolly memorabilia, movie posters, costumes, and old furniture. You enter the room and a film is projected on the wall in front of you. In it Dolly flits about the screen, yammering on about her memories of “growin up poor,” making suggestive comments about her breasts, and generally being delightful. She really does resemble a ray of giggling sunshine, every part of her persona seeming to want to ease pain and bring joy.

Her childhood was burdened by hardship. Her song, “In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)” gives you the general idea:

I’ve seen Daddy’s hands Break open and bleed

And I’ve seen him work till he’s stiff as a board

And I’ve seen Momma layin In suffer and sickness

In need of a doctor we couldn’t afford

A person who grew up in this kind of environment would want to get as far away from it as possible.

Though Dolly is a huge international star, she’s been married to the same man, Carl Dean, owner of a road paving business in Nashville, since she was 19. Building Dollywood has also allowed her to retain a huge influence on her hometown, revitalizing its once non-existent economy.

One area in which she has strayed from reality is her looks. She has created an exaggerated version of herself – with the platinum wigs, balloon-like breasts, facelifts and over-the-top costumes. She looks like an actual doll. Another line from “In the Good Old Days” provides a clue as to why she’s gone this route:

And I couldn’t enjoy then Havin a boyfriend

I had nothing decent to wear at all

Deprivation made Dolly feel unattractive, so it’s as though she’s done everything in her power to prevent that feeling from returning. The title of Dolly’s latest album, Backwoods Barbie, acknowledges both her hillbilly upbringing and this subsequent adoption of a doll-like persona. Another of Dolly’s trademarks that has developed over time is her giggle, a seemingly air-headed tic that peppers her speech as well as her singing.

While it might seem annoying coming from someone else, with Dolly you know she is in on her own joke, playing on the stereotype of he Dumb Blonde – fully aware that it’s a caricature. As she’s said, “I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb... and I also know that I'm not blonde.” Basically, “I enjoy the way I look, but it’s a joke.” By making fun, she prevents herself from being hurt. But beyond that, she is a source of sheer positivity – the giggle seems to stem from a deep desire to make everything all right, spread happiness and forget adversity - that you have no choice but to giggle with her.

Her song “Joshua” is a primer on positive thinking. Her first number one hit, it’s a tale about traipsing onto the land of a mean old recluse, refusing to believe that anyone could “be that mean” and subsequently marrying him.

Even the somewhat dark “Jolene” manages to praise the other woman’s looks and instead of expressing anger over this woman trying to take her man, she simply pleads for her not to, “even though she can.” This simple approach is the key to Dolly’s popularity, and it's made her the richest country star ever, worth about $600 million. (Much of her financial success is due to her decision not to sell the rights to her song “I Will Always Love You” to Elvis and the song’s explosive success years later when Whitney Houston covered it for The Bodyguard soundtrack.)

Her songwriting reveals another kind of genius, the ability to capture profound truth in charming golly-gee-whiz colloquialisms. This is probably the best thing about Dolly and about country music in general. In under three minutes, Parton's hit "9 to 5" accomplishes the lofty task of illustrating the frustration and emptiness of contemporary American life but somehow making you feel okay about it, all while rhyming “kitchen” with “ambition.” How can you not love this woman?

Anna Dever-Scanlon is the senior contributor to This Recording. She blogs here.

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"Release Me" - Dolly Parton (mp3)

"I Will Always Love You" - Dolly Parton (mp3)

"Letter to Heaven" - Dolly Parton (mp3)


In Which All We Want Is Someone To Be Nice To

Looking For The Nice Guy


I consider myself to be a Feminist in the sense that I've always thought, "Yeah, ladies are just as good as dudes, right? I mean, why not?" I never was one to shout about it, though, mostly because I've never been a very politically correct person. It's pretty hard to be politically correct and hilarious. I'd much rather be funny than someone who pretends to respect everyone.

But seriously, folks: womyn really got it rough these days! And not just in the political, economic, and social departments. Fuck the glass ceiling; I'm talking about how the guys that try to date girls are dumb shits.

Now I feel like I can write about this because, even though I'm not a girl, I do date guys, and right now I am severely anti-men. Sure, that's mostly gay guys, but generally, I don't like men very much. Also, I've been reading Jezebel a lot lately, and all of that feministing has really started to affect me. This Recording favorite Julie Klausner once had an essay in the NYT's Modern Love column. I spent all day thinking about it because I've been there, lady.

Julie describes a brief, unsatisfying fling with "an indie rock dreamboat," which began in the most modern way: emails and text messaging. If you're a gay man living in a city, you've most likely gone through this routine, and I found Julie's descriptions of her first impressions pretty damn accurate:

"He already annoyed me, and we hadn’t even met. I would soon learn a lesson men have known for years: that it’s possible to be attracted to somebody you don’t like."

julie & smiley muffin

I wasn't really aware of that until recently. I'm admittedly new to the gay thing, having spent most of my post-adolescent awkward stage (which, um, just ended about two years ago when I was somewhere between 22 and 23) thinking I liked girls. When I had crushes on girls, I fell hard, spending months pining after them with, obviously, very little success.

I didn't think I'd ever want to date a guy until I found myself in my first relationship. It turned out to be a disaster, but part of me kept that relationship going because I liked the challenge of having to make an effort to get what I wanted. I wanted this guy to like me. And I realized later that when I entered into those courtship rituals with other guys, I was more interested in the ones who didn't like me than those who put a lot of effort into the pursuit.

Back when I was going after girls, I considered myself to be a Nice Guy. You know the type: the nice guy is the dude who is your friend, who is a little too shy to make a move, whom you would never call "a player". Look at Coop from Wet Hot American Summer, for example: Michael Showalter's character is the quintessential nice guy pit against Paul Rudd's bad boy.

The nice guy is the cute, skinny, nerdy guy who listens to The Decemberists instead of Dave Matthews Band, who would rather watch Amelie and cuddle than drink and beer and watch "the game." Of course, the nice guy is full of shit, and this is coming from someone who thought he was that guy.

Sure, I'm no philistine, but that doesn't mean I didn't break my fair share of hearts. Did I end brief, month-long relationships by not calling someone back? A few times, actually. Yeah, I feel bad about it now, and try not to be such a jackass and consider the thoughts of others occasionally. I wasn't doing it before on purpose, or out of some sociopathic game I was playing. No, I was just a dipshit who didn't know how to treat the guys I was courting.

From Leigh Dragoon's Nice Guys 101 Series

There's a great quote that is floating around from an interview with author Amanda Marcotte:

"The Nice Guy syndrome arises from men who are really conflicted about women’s equality. They get angry real fast when, after being 'nice,' they don’t get rewarded, or they are rejected. Guys are oblivious to the fact of their entrenched privilege, the very notion that women are there as available eye candy for them. It is unnerving and uncool."

It's almost as if sometimes men think they should be rewarded with sex simply because they didn't actively (or at least aggressively) pursue it.

But that idea is completely the opposite of what one looks for in the nice guy. The nice guys shouldn't be calculating and manipulative of your feelings just to get you into bed! That's the bad boy, the one you're not supposed to like. So why is it when someone like Julie Klausner falls for the unassuming, sensitive musician, she gets spurned just as if he was that bad boy in disguise? That's because nice guys are the bad boys in disguise.

Now, I'm not saying all guys suck; I'm sure there are a few out there that are genuine and respectful of whomever they pursue. But if you're with someone who calls himself "nice," nip that shit in the bud. And if you're uncertain, here are some helpful tips to see if your potential mate is an actual dickhead nice guy:

1. Does he think he's awkward? If he describes himself as awkward, there's a problem. (To quote Edith Wharton: "[T]he inner vanity is generally in proportion to the outer self-depreciation.") We're misusing that word most of the time anyway. If everyone's awkward, then no one's awkward, okay? (That's the closest I'll ever come to Ayn Rand Objectivist thought.)

2. Is he a currently attractive former geek? That's a red flag. He's probably not looking to settle down, even if he plays you Sufjan on his guitar. He's most likely looking for help discovering his newfound hotness.

3. Does he perform improv and have a huuuuge crush on Tina Fey? Look out! You might think those loose-fitting khakis paired with Nike sneakers are endearing and the prospect of having a guy watch Mean Girls with you sounds like a dream come true now, but it's only because he thinks she's a hottie on 30 Rock. Would he have dated her in college?

4. Does he still listen to The Shins? All I'm going to say is that the dude from The Shins roughed up his America's Next Top Model girlfriend. I didn't even see that one coming.

5. Does he have a blog? YIKES.

Be wary, ladies, of the seemingly sweet, inexperienced guy who declares his emotions, because beneath that nice guy exterior is a guy who just doesn't know how to be around - or, hell, even respect - women (or other men, for that matter). Klausner wrote about this on her year-end blog post, where she included "Emo guys who have crushes on Pam from The Office" in her list of enemies. She said:

I get it, fellas. She's not intimidating, like one of those women who wears make-up and styles her hair, and has a good job that she enjoys, and confidence, and a...what do you call it...an adult woman's sexuality. There's nothing scary there, because there's no mystery: she's just like you! Mousy and shy. And one day your fantasy will come true. You'll meet a nerdy, cute girl just like that (like you), and NOBODY BUT YOU WILL KNOW SHE'S PRETTY! Shhh! It's a secret! And she'll melt when she sees your record collection, and she'll swoon when you play her the song you wrote, and she'll never want to go out to a party where you'll be forced to talk to people of social status, or comb your hair, or buy grown-up shoes, or demonstrate a hearty handshake, or make eye contact, or basically act like a man.

So what's the moral here? Does a guy have to spout out misogynistic bullshit about women to reveal some kind of deeper evil? Absolutely not! Take this speech from my favorite movie, Broadcast News, for example:

What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No, I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing. He will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he'll get all the great women.

Tyler Coates is the contributing editor to This Recording. He tumbls it all right here.

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"Little White Lies" - Deer Tick (mp3)

"The Ghost" - Deer Tick (mp3)

"Houston, TX" - Deer Tick (mp3)