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Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail)

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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Tuesday
Jul142009

In Which We Describe The State We Were In

God Help This Girl

by ELEANOR MORROW

After a faith healer 'cured' his chronic fatigue syndrome, Stuart Murdoch formed Belle & Sebastian in 1996. He worked as a caretaker until 2003. In between he out-indied himself and made several great records.

Along with compatriot Stuart David recorded some demos with Stow College music professor Pilar Duplack, which were picked up by the college's Music Business course that produces and releases one single each year on the college's label, Electric Honey. As the band had a number of songs already and the label were extremely impressed with the demos, Belle & Sebastian were allowed to record a full-length album, which was named Tigermilk. Murdoch once described the band as a "product of botched capitalism."

Although a lot of people think he's gay because of his lyrics, Murdoch is straight.

My friend Anna loved Belle & Sebastian, and when I expressed my skepticism (I was 15 years old and extremely self-involved) she refused to speak to me until I listened to them. Afterwards, we found great satisfaction in growing weary of the world together and singing in a comforting falsetto.

In my high school, driving around a lot and acting depressed was the main source of entertainment. Occasionally a keg would be present, more often one would be mentioned but never actually appear.

"Ease Your Feet In The Sea" - Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

"Sukie In The Graveyard" - Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

"The Blues Are Still Blue" - Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

We didn't know, we couldn't know, that our laissez-faire existence would be shattered by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the entire questionable 2002-present period. Our shattered illusions had yet smaller pieces to separate into. Eventually they became electrons, and caused an economic collapse. I should testify before Congress.

I still remember seeing a joint for the first time. It was 1996. I cut my foot on a rock I was so high. We listened to "The State I Am In" over 7,000 times in a row, then went to get breakfast.

When we first got our hands on If You're Feeling Sinister we drove around in Anna's Volvo (she was a year older than I was, and much prettier) and screamed at people like it was the new AC/DC. Soon enough we had memorized the lyrics to "Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying" and during the following school year we used lines from the songs as cagey rejoinders to boys. At least Anna did — she was coming into her prime. I still found it hilarious when she answered anything I asked by singing, "It may as well be me!"

"For the Price of A Cup of Tea" - Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

"To Be Myself Completely" - Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

"The Fox In The Snow" - Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

Murdoch came in and wrote more music for Todd Solondz' Storytelling after the film had already been cut. They didn't really get along with Todd.

When we first saw it, it was a rambling two-and-a-half hour thing in two parts and we couldn't really understand where the two parts came together. I don't think the director could either, but we still liked the film a lot. Over time, about an hour of the film was cut. We knew as we were working how much of our music he would use.

"Dirty Dream Number Two" - Belle and Sebastian (mp3)

"Is It Wicked Not To Care?" - Belle and Sebastian (mp3)

"Morning Crescent" - Belle and Sebastian (mp3)

Stuart and Co. kept running against the capitalist mix-up. I'd moved onto college, and Anna was working as a waitress in a local coffee shop. I hated school, Anna hated her life. This, I suppose, was the natural progression of things, but we did not know at the time that the glories of the late 90s had passed through our fingertips and we weren't even in a position to appreciate it!

Now Murdoch's written a movie like Glen Hansard:

The main protagonist is Eve, the girl who sings most of the songs on the record. She starts off in a mental hospital, at her lowest ebb. She’s not too crazy but she’s crazy enough. She’s in there for a long time and she discovers that she can write songs and she sees that as her way of getting out of the trouble she’s in. She makes it out of hospital eventually and runs into James and Cassie and the three of them make music over the course of a summer and become really close.

I'm sure I'll be running out to see that one. But whatever, someone has to write nostalgia. I guess the 1990s are now the 1970s. It depends on where you're staring at them from, and how hard you're looking. There's no wave rolling back, as Hunter S. Thompson put it, there's just a wave rolling over everything and everyone.

Stuart Murdoch talking with Terry Gross on NPR (mp3)

"It Could Have Been A Brilliant Career" - Belle and Sebastian (mp3)

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording. She lives in New York City, and she tumbls here for your pleasure.

"A Space Boy Dream" - Belle and Sebastian (mp3)

"A Summer Wasting" - Belle and Sebastian (mp3)

"Chickfactor" - Belle and Sebastian (mp3)

Stuart Murdoch's Ten Favorite Albums

These are from a 2004 issue of The Observer.

1. FELT: Poem Of The River

Perhaps my favourite LP. It's short, six tracks. The two standout songs are seven and eight minutes long respectively. I don't even particularly love the short tracks. It feels like they're just little tugboats for the long songs. But then the two long songs are perhaps the most seductive and satisfying music I've ever heard.

2. COCTEAU TWINS: Victorialand

More seduction, the Cocteaus have gone up and up in my estimation since the time I actually listened to music. So much else has fallen behind. I like this LP so much that Victorialand has become one of my favourite words. Listening to this LP I waved goodbye to school, to work, to every day ambitions.

"The Thinner The Air" - Cocteau Twins (mp3)

"How To Bring a Blush To The Snow" - Cocteau Twins (mp3)

"Feet Like Fins" - Cocteau Twins (mp3)

3. FELT: Forever Breathes The Lonely Word

Poetic, ambitious, amazing. Lawrence rightly points out that the production on this LP is terrific. I think it was Mayo Thomson. It's hard to imagine this record ever having been released. Hard to imagine it was ever new. I'd like to propose that it was an indie fossil, and that some Bowlie kid just dug it up. Hence it became an instant and unquenchable classic.

4. ORANGE JUICE: You Can't Hide Your Love Forever

Still the only fun in town. In my time they were the four young lads you wanted to be. Floppy, spoilt babies with all the best looking girls around. They posed like aristocracy. They were aristocracy! They had the records to back it up; this spectacular first LP for instance. I wasn't around to see it come out. I pulled my copy out of a bargain bin for a quid. It was signed by Edwyn! In my mind their myth grew and grew!

"Upwards and Onwards" - Orange Juice (mp3)

"Dying Day" - Orange Juice (mp3)

"L.O.V.E. Love" - Orange Juice (mp3)

5. THE CLASH: London Calling

A friend of mine gave me London Calling for Christmas this year. He gave it to everyone! He was standing on Byres Road handing out copies like religious pamphlets! My old copy was at my mum's, so I was glad to stick it on again. It's more Springsteen than punk, and that's what gets me. The flashing pianos, the barrage of words. A terrific band performance.

6. THE SMITHS: The Smiths

Aah, their best record. Consistent, a completely original and magical style arising from the longed-for meeting of Morrissey and Marr.

"Shoplifters of the World Unite (last ever live performance)" - The Smiths (mp3)

"Sheila Take A Bow (last ever live performance)" - The Smiths (mp3)

"Sweet and Tender Hooligan (John Peel session)" - The Smiths (mp3)

7. THE SPECIALS: The Specials

It's funny, I remember the aforementioned Orange Juice slagging off The Specials and the whole mod revival. "It's like a cross between King Tubby and Dick Emery! Why not get a King Tubby record and a Dick Emery record and play it at the same time!" they said. They were wrong.

8. THE POP GROUP: Y

9. THE RAINCOATS: The Raincoats

"You're A Million" - The Raincoats (mp3)

"Life on the Line" - The Raincoats (mp3)

"Black and White" - The Raincoats (mp3)

10. YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS: Colossal Youth

After Victorialand made me drop out, I drifted into second hand record storedom. When people brought their old records in to sell, I used to stick the ones I liked the look of behind the cistern in the toilet. These were three I liked the look of, and I wasn't wrong. All on Rough Trade. I don't mean to be a sook, but you've got to hand it to my boss, Geoff Travis!

Download it here.

"Song for Sunshine" - Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

"Seeing Other People" - Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

"We Are The Sleepyheads" - Belle & Sebastian (mp3)

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Monday
Jul132009

In Which True Blood Rolls On Through Its Second Season

The Secret History of Blood

by ALEX CARNEVALE

True Blood

creator Alan Ball

Yes, the vagaries of the underworld, once they come to your doorstep, can be exciting. But pretty soon that party's getting out of hand. And there's one thing that Tara's cousin Lafayette can tell you after being unbearably tortured at the hands of the Sheriff of Louisiana Eric Northman.

Calling your cousin 'hooker' is common parlance in the salty town of Bon Temps where a half-bull, half-human claws people half to death, more spiritual creatures egg on the party spirit with three-clawed hoofs, and a young vampire can just order a tasty human treat to her door. Most likely, though, you'll end up like Tara:

For awhile, it's good. It's great. The appearance of normalcy can give purpose to any situation. Best friends shack up with each other and life seems on the upswing. A vampire 'maker' calls his ward his 'progeny.' If you have the right word for something, you could potentially turn things around. Even for a moody, tortured vamp life's not all bad.

Molly gets her kicks from comparing True Blood to Buffy. While I grant you that Buffy was tremendous for its time, it was for kids. This is serious business, so serious that Anna Paquin can't be bothered to act beyond filling out her latest outfit. As one qualified ONTD critic put it, "The fact that Anna Paquin won a Golden Globe for acting proves that anything is possible." It's now an axiomatic proof, True Blood doesn't care about the finer points.

In fact, as shit collapses around her ("I almost died...again!"), Sookie's remarkably calm...for some reason. "I know Bill wouldn't want me to do this," she says before she does something she knows will earn his disapproval. My golden retriever Rosie learns quicker. "God dang it if I didn't love the taste of your blood so much Sookie!" Bill will likely respond to another Sookie mishap in a future episode. These two are either on their honeymoon or they're Honeymooners.

I'd rather be a fly on the wall for the cutest couple in six counties — the 1,000 year old vampire known as Eric Northman and his favorite homosexual pet. I can't wait for this parasitic pair to go to their house in the country. For christ's sake, Hollywood has been begging for an interracial Withnail & I for longer than I care to remember.

did she happen to see Jack or Hurley on that flight?Eric and Lafayette are now bound to each other by virtue of sharing blood. Remember how Bill was so able to come to Sookie's scream in the airplane hanger? It's because he tasted her sweet necktar before. Now Lafayette has a dangerous monster at his beck and call. Oh right, he's not in a partying mood.

working theory is that she is what has been powering al gore

Michelle Forbes' one-note performance as the party animal is starting to grate on me, though. Each episode will she reveal some new superpower? Not even Al Pacino in Scarface was this distracted from the business at hand. I don't want to see her literal claws, I'd prefer her metaphorical ones and maybe an upskirt for shits and giggles. Every creature of power has a plan, or else how did they get their power?

Perhaps it came to them when they were young, before they were truly ready for it. The Center for Disease Control reports that one-third of all young vampires are staked before getting to sample hotel-provided B-positive ass. In the books Sookie and Bill visited a human hotel modified to cope with vampires; here vampires are afforded separate but far better treatment. Bill, Sookie and their ginger ward have come to Dallas to find the vampire Godric, fearing he may be imprisoned by the Fellowship of the Light.

The sexy group of vampire haters has employed Jason Stackhouse in their quest to rid the world of everything disgusting and alien, preserving the all-American sexuality we have come to expect from God-fearing sprites of the world. Jason has become the unwitting protagonist of this series. Sometimes you plan for someone to be the main character of your show and it turns out to be another person's story. In this case, the afflicted is the sibling of the main characters, and with a full 55 minutes to fill every week, they need all the backstory they can get. A slow burn heats best.

you don't really eat sarah's ribs, it's more like you take a bath in themWould I disavow all my previous beliefs and the welfare of my sister's bf to get with a Southern woman who was once a vegetarian and knows how to cook ribs? The answer is yes.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here. You can find his review of the first few episodes of Season Two here.

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"No Fun" - Vitalic (mp3)

"My Friend Dario" - Vitalic (mp3)

"The Past" - Vitalic (mp3)

Sunday
Jul122009

In Which We Are Proto Liz Lemons

You Can Have A Town, Why Don't You Take It

by MOLLY LAMBERT

Proto-Liz Lemon Selma Diamond wrote for Groucho Marx, Ms. Tallulah Bankhead, and Your Show Of Shows. Some of her peers didn't take her seriously on account of her gender and diminutive size. We have no idea what that's like.

A ravishing beauty in her youth, Ms. Bankhead was well known for being a totally awesome slut who fucked everybody.

Carl Reiner based his (proto-Curb Your Enthusiasm) sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show on his experiences working as a writer on Your Show Of Shows. Selma Diamond was reputedly the inspiration for the indelible character of Sally Rogers, as portrayed by Rose Marie.

Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) and Sally Rogers (Rose Marie) were writers working for The Alan Brady Show, and Carl Reiner played Alan Brady. Brady was based on Reiner's former boss at Your Show Of Shows, Sid Caesar. Rob's wife was Laura Petrie, played by then unknown Mary Tyler Moore.

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Later, when Mary starred on the groundbreaking Mary Tyler Moore Show, her single woman character was originally a divorcée, but the suits at the network feared viewers might think that Mary had divorced Rob Petrie. It became a broken engagement instead, her ex-fiance Bill played by Angus Duncan.

Test audiences for MTM's pilot HATED the Rhoda character. She was seen as too "pushy", too "loud", too "Jewish", and worst of all "mean to Mary". Apparently the writers got around it by having Phyllis complain about Rhoda, and her daughter Bess defending her.

Layout of Mary Richards' Apartment

One thing I really love about TV is how you can accumulate so much breadth of knowledge about characters. It approximates knowing a person in real life. It's more like serialized novels than movies.

Valerie Harper, not even a little bit Jewish in real life. She's a Catholic from Oregon! Nevertheless, she is Golda Meir.

The MTM Show was ended while the ratings were still high, because the staff didn't want to risk diluting the quality with further seasons.

This is a great formula that more shows should follow. I think Arrested Development was great, but by the end of the third season I didn't see where else it could go. I think it finished at the right time.

As much as I would have loved a second season of Freaks And Geeks or My So Called Life, I think that having one perfect season is preferable to say, six or seven progressively more mediocre ones. On the other hand, some shows get better with age. Friends didn't hit its stride until very late, and I like the weirder seasons of Seinfeld.

moore0430.jpg

Head Betches In Charge: Rhoda, Mary, & Phyllis

I'm a big fan of the British system, where shows will do only a few series and then copious specials. It stops people from flogging dead horses (there are a finite number of dramatic situations in any environment) and creates demand for their next projects.

It also allows room for comedy that is more ridiculous and absurd, and for characters that have no real depth or redemptive qualities. I can't believe they produce such awesomely weird things like Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and Nighty Night over there and it airs on BBC Two or Channel Four.

I didn't realize until now that Dick Lemon (father of Liz) was (legendary screenwriter) Buck Henry! It's not a Lemon party without Old Dick!

workplace2.jpg

LOU: Divorced?
MARY: No.
LOU: Never married!
MARY: No.
LOU: Why?
MARY: Why?
LOU: Do you type?
MARY: Mr. Grant, there's no simple answer to that question!
LOU: Yes there is! How 'bout 'no I can't type' or 'yes I can'?
MARY: There's no simple answer to why a person isn't married.
LOU: How many reasons can there be?
MARY: 65.
LOU: Words per minute. My typing question!!
MARY: Yes.
LOU: Look miss! Would you try answering the questions as I ask them?

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She tumbls here.

maryhat.jpg

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"A Man Needs A Woman or A Man To Be A Man" - Bill Callahan (mp3)

"Night" - Bill Callahan (mp3)

"Day" - Bill Callahan (mp3)