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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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Entries in alex carnevale (249)


In Which There Is A History of Space and Time

Too Much Time


We are besieged with a product that is substandard, an imagination that begins and ends with the word 'Romulan.' There is no recourse from our culture, there is not even recourse from the recourse to our culture.

There is a forgetting of what went into the stew before the stew was the stew. Industrious, brilliant immigrants to this country resettled here and made the best, if not the first, American culture. Poul Anderson is one of these such enterprisers. Born to immigrant parents in the middle of Pennsylvania, he was gifted with a superior mind, and made the best of the late space fantasies. Summer won't be the same without Poul.

Tau Zero may be the finest of his high space adventures, slightly ahead of the more optimistic Harvest of the Stars. It concerns a space mission that is going so fast it literally passes all of time by; it is far more difficult to formulate into a pitch than "they fire a nuke into the sun!" Zero shows Anderson's immemorial ability to make you care about a character with more than just the sleight of hand of "his dad died saving his mom's life while giving birth."

kirk's mom's saucy ginger sideTime is a much gentler theme in Anderson, coming and going with the sensitivity required of the subject. In There Will Be Time, he bridges the two themes expertly, using a first person narration, building the entire plot around the idea of witness, crossing it all with an understanding of American history that is entirely lacking from most fiction. Like Dick's The Man In The High Castle, Anderson isn't interested in exploding what exists — he seeks to make ourselves recognizable amidst the roundly alien.

Like any good writer, Anderson kept exploring. In Three Hearts and Three Lions he brought his futurist visions to traditional fantasy and ended up creating an amalgam of both, with humor thrown into the pot. Anderson's Operation: Chaos! fantasies are adult literature dressed up as genre trash, and like all of his work, it creates a rich reservoir of texture surrounding the action.

In Nicholas Van Rijm, a so-called "flamboyant capitalist adventurer", Anderson might have found his most compelling protagonist, a man who explores worlds shaped by fantasy forerunners like Jack Vance and Tolkien. These books are thrilling and genuine, even if they may not be intended for the casual reader. Most of Anderson's work is wildly accessible, concerning itself with darker desires and putting them into the light.

Anderson never ignored the 'science' aspect of science fiction. His scenarios are more than plausible, they're nearly inevitable. While Terminator: Salvation presents an apocalypse that's about as uncomfortable as a strained back, Anderson watches us make our mistakes and do the impossibly probable to work around them.

Like many of his peers, Anderson was a lefty in his younger days, even spending a period advocating the United Nations are a prelude to world government. He later pretty much laughed in the face of these views, and found more inspiration in the model of primitive civilizations, who often get a sneaky kind of triumph in Anderson's tellings. This view led him to his finest achievement, The High Crusade, in which a medieval British population sets out to conquer all of space's civilizations, and pretty much does.

Overarching government control is still palatable to many of Earth's less serious Democrats, and Anderson undercut these views brilliantly, watching the centers of power put at the mercy of the power of the individual. In The Corridors of Time, Earth through history is presented as a battleground between two prevailing forces, with neither completely sure who is in the right or who is in the wrong. You can step into one place, and be changed completely, or the world can be changed completely from what you thought it was. The Corridors of Time shows man as the same in every repetition, makes the identical mistake in trying to dominate all that is around him.

Seen this way history is less a timeline than a bitter moat: difficult to cross and a fucking mess to fall into. There is no greater ideal to head towards, Anderson told us before his death, like so many others, from cancer in 2001. We can know almost nothing of the world we come into, and what we do learn might prove to be meaningless over time. We can only gird ourselves against the future, and hope that we lack the will to change it for the worse.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls to your mother here.

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"I Was My Parents Vision" — Nodzzz (mp3)

"Highway Memorial Shrine" — Nodzzz (mp3)

"Controlled Karaoke" — Nodzzz (mp3)


In Which We Regard Events Outside Our Control



Events continue to occur. The timeline is infinite. The NBA draft lottery occurred, was witnessed. Will never happen in the same way again. Our government owns the largest automaker in the world, possibly also the poorest. Toyota has oodles of cash reserves. Better planning and preparation brought the Orlando Magic to the brink of greatness. They still couldn't improve Stan Van Gundy's wardrobe.

When the mentally ill return to society, this is the kind of dress they'll adopt. Someone put Stan Van Gundy in a halfway house. Some people are still living large. Madonna just spent $40 million on a townhouse in my neighborhood. The iteration of such events gives one pause. They found a certifiable missing link, and that it was also taking Xanax. It was in all probability Blake Griffin.

Perhaps most importantly of this coming together of American life is the concordance that brings Kobe Bryant back to Denver, the site of his most real trangression. It was almost an Ali-type situation, but then Kobe started acting like a dick, and he just didn't "get" Twitter. I respect Kobe, have you seen his wife?

She's all kinds of crazy, but that's why he loves her. I just finished watching the first season of United States of Tara. It's absolutely awesome, and Toni Collette in particular is tugging at my tear ducts when she's not saying anything. Mental illness is hard, remaking The Adventures of Pelham 123 is easy. They should have just bite the bullet and called it Swordfish 2.

Also quietly sneaking under the radar is the Weinjew brothers adaptation of Alexander McCall's The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The pilot was directed by Anthony Mingella, and stands alone as one of the more gregarious films of the year. I mean, this white-envisioned drama about Botswana is just so clean-cut and exciting.

Jill Scott is absolutely tremendous, as was the adorable actress who played her younger self. Someone get that little girl in a biopic of Rosa Parks.

Besides an end to Saturn commercials, this is all I'm waiting for. In mid-2008, near Svalbard, in the Artic, in the real world in which we live, Norwegian paleontologist Jørn Hurum unearthed the remains of a titantic sea predator. He called the fearsome beast, Predator X, for nothing could combat in the oceans of this world.

No one quite knows why Predator X is going after seagulls in this illustration, but the seagulls are up against over 8 tons of pure predator.

The best show on television for former amateur paleontologists is The Animal Extractors, where those who pose an unwholesome risk to the human spieces are eradicated and released into deserts, or caught in bear traps.

Now that The Animal Extractors have come to Hulu, I can revisit the strategems of these tender creatures, and also bears, snakes, bison, raccoons, and people from Phoenix.

It's coming along. Occasionally things will seem to be getting better, but then they'll come back from 8 weeks without The Bachelor for a tepid version of The Bachelorette. Have you even seen some of the shows that ABC is bringing to television? I half want to drive to Mark Cherry's house and punch him in the face, and I half want to cry.

Predator X died out, was consumed, extinct. If extinction is not so far away, maybe we had better begin to guard ourselves against it. What does the land biome have over the Darwinian advantages of a water setting? What can we take to keep existing, to make sure our children have someplace to lord themselves over? If only money stopped AIDS. If only money stopped AIDS, and we still had our money.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

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"Flaw" — Hot Chip (mp3)

"Sanfrandisco" — Hot Chip (mp3)

"Making Tracks" — Hot Chip (mp3)


In Which We Bring It Back To The State of Pure Hooks

The New York Review of Hooks


It all comes down to what to say, and how.

French people singing in English is at once very sad and very compelling. After It's Never Been Like That it was reasonable to ask if Phoenix could make a better record. Then they went and made the best pop record of the year.

"Love Like A Sunset" — Phoenix (mp3)

"Armistice" — Phoenix (mp3)

"Countdown (Sick for the Big Sun)" — Phoenix (mp3) highly recommended

The only thing better than a woman with a guitar is Molly Lambert and a guitar. Molly had to console me after I got hate crimed becuase of my Two Lovers review. My mother read it and she said, "Your understanding of Jewish male psychology is second to none." Should I view the fact that my mom deliberately didn't marry a Jewish male as a kind of a slight?

Madeline's album, White Flag, is the album you fully expect and deserve after breaking up with someone, a parallel realized by Justin Vernon albeit with a less pop-laden milieu. This is easily better than almost anything else of its kind, particularly "Sorry."

"Shotgun Wedding" — Madeline (mp3)

"Rain, Fire, and Brimstone" — Madeline (mp3)

"Mountain Heart" — Madeline (mp3)

Madeline myspace

Start any sentence you address to me with "Dust Bowl desperation." Those are my three favorite words put together, and so it is with the latest Frontier Folk Nebraska release.

"The Devil's Tree Pt. 2" — Frontier Folk Nebraska (mp3)

"Buying My Time" — Frontier Folk Nebraska (mp3)

"Parker Browne" — Frontier Folk Nebraska (mp3)

FFN myspace

Arcade Fire released a concert album. Now you look back on what I can only term The Arcade Fire era and you realize it was like three singles long. I think in the end Til Tuesday will end up with more staying power. Whoa, I am joking Win Butler. Don't make that face! Win Butler sounds like his voice is a little shot. Let's hope he gets that fixed.

"Neon Bible (live)" — Arcade Fire (mp3)

"Ocean of Noise (live)" — Arcade Fire (mp3)

"Wake Up (live)" — Arcade Fire (mp3)

Placebo is a British band that's been around for awhile. Here's their new single.

"Battle for the Sun" — Placebo (mp3)

The new Graham Coxon is one of the most exciting projects of the year. It sounds like something really old, and it is really melody driven. I can't recommend it highly enough. What's even weirder is that it's a concept about a man living from birth to death. Despite the intentional or unintential channeling of Roger Waters, this album delivers on every single track.

"If You Want Me" — Graham Coxon (mp3)

"Sorrow's Army" — Graham Coxon (mp3) this is the single

"Far From Everything" — Graham Coxon (mp3)

The new Maximo Park is out in May and it sounds upbeat, nothing too memorable.

"Shiver" — Maximo Park (mp3)

"Wraithlike" — Maximo Park (mp3)

This is my idea of a dream act:

They perform live using a Macbook Pro laptop as the heart of the act, along with a Behringer BCF2000 MIDI controller, a KORG microKORG, an AkaiRoland V-Drums, along with some other synthesizers (such as the KORG MS-20), and various drum machines (such as the KORG Electribe ESX-1 and EMX-1) drum pad.

"Science Experiment (born 2 jacke test tube remix)" — Digitalism (mp3)

Barzin is Barzin Hosseini. He came into my life through this video for "Leaving Time", and now he shall never leave. He is like Burial if Burial sang more and didn't make you want to kill yourself.

The new album is called Notes From An Absent Lover, and it is all I can tolerate listening to after 7 pm on the East Coast.

"Queen Jane" — Barzin (mp3)

"Words Tangled in Blue" — Barzin (mp3)

"Stayed Too Long in This Place" — Barzin (mp3)

Barzin website

cover for DustlandThe new Gentleman Losers album is too inaccessible for most users, but there's just no reason not to be a fan of what is undoubtedly the greatest elevator music album ever conceived. I am just so gratified that this exists someplace in the world. Great for long walks!

"The Echoing Green" — The Gentleman Losers (mp3)

"Wind In Black Trees" — The Gentleman Losers (mp3)

"Pebble Beach" — The Gentleman Losers (mp3)

the band's website

The Maccabees myspace

"Love You Better" — The Maccabees (mp3)

"Bag of Bones" — The Maccabees (mp3)

"Dinosaurs" — The Maccabees (mp3)

This is a very tight release by this band, it will be somewhere in the year's top 20 easily. It's so catchy and yet dark, like Wolf Parade without the Wolf, Fleetwood without the Mac.

Reconstructed from the elements of mclusky, Future of the Left released a 2007 album Curses that is well worth tracking down. Travels With Myself and Another is a great title for an album, and it's the name given to this sterling new release. Don't miss their WOXY session either.

"Lapsed Catholics" — Future of the Left (mp3) highly recommended

"Throwing Bricks at Trains" — Future of the Left (mp3)

"You Need Satan More Than He Needs You" — Future of the Left (mp3)

"I Am Civil Service" — Future of the Left (mp3)

Future of the Left myspace

More from this already legendary act is even better than the last album, with plenty of choice moments and moments inside moments, like snow globe infinity musical enjoyment.

"Useful Chamber" — Dirty Projectors (mp3)

"Cannibal Resource" — Dirty Projectors (mp3)

"Stillness Is The Move" — Dirty Projectors (mp3)

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

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