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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 The City Has Ceased Its Singing

City Sleeps


New York's been gray for months, and citizens grow concerned. It was spring for a day, but that day was forgotten. I came out of the L Train in Bedford yesterday, and five people in consecutive order came to ask me where to go. Lucy set up a sign that said 'Information'. In order to deter this, I am considering some kind of jewelry, perhaps a necklace that says, "Thug" or "BroKilla" or "MollyLambert.Tumblr.Com."


When Danish came to New York, I went out to JFK to meet him, lest he become seamlessly absorbed into the greater Queens' area's Pakistani community. He was upset when I asked him if we should become doctors like in Scrubs.

An airport bathroom attendant screamed at a German woman for not flushing her loose stools, and we just laughed and used the word tumblr inappropriately (as an adjective). Danish did New York the right way. But this was before the crash.


I realize now that I took my hectoring of Wall Street's zombie finest not seriously enough. It used to be fun to yank on squares' ties knowing they had no real recourse, but now that desperate expression already adorns their faces. There is no joy in this place.


New York's affability belies its most prominent characteristic. It is the mood ring of cities. When I came here in the summer women were flushed in the heat, admiring themselves and wearing Adidas tennis shoes and considering taking up the harp.


Here was a fine place, the bright avenues announced. It is where those of meager means can bang, blackmail, or whisper sweet "I love you's" all the way to the top. At one time, in this place, a man could commandeer a sizable fortune simply by giving George Steinbrenner's daughter a particularly strong orgasm.


For every town there is a team, and the Yankees are the bloated winsome echoes of a more flush economic age. New York will rid itself of them, but it will take time. Though this city is a chameleon in its wherewithal, its colors change slowly, and when it's beige it strongly resembles a penis. Above all there is a whispering, New York doesn't belong to you. You're not from here.


Over time, there is a familiarity. Everyone native to this place is such an unremitting asshole, your barest niceties are charm in comparison. Last week I took a cab home from Brooklyn, a rare luxury I afforded myself because I believe we'll be eating each other's brains for sustenance before the decade is out. An immigrant cab driver railed incomprehensibly, and then clearly asked, "you must think I'm an incredible leftist." I didn't know just what to say.


In such a state, outmoded and extreme ideologies start looking rather reasonable. They are heard daily here, because nothing seems terribly real. Stores are closing so rapidly there is not even time to go out of business. In fact, there is no going out of business -- there is just business, and the absence of it.


The history isn't good -- not only did all empires crash, but all successful states lost their power and economic influence eventually. They knew hundreds of years ago that economic power was more important than any other kind of power, but we seem to have forgotten it in our latest loan from China. We are too indebted to defend ourselves, if it came to it, and the people who make the policies seem to think that raising more money for the government coffers is the answer. The Soviet Union felt much the same way.


third avenue car barn

I spoke to an economist friend about the city's problems. "We don't make anything," he said. "We don't produce anything. We're a service economy, and no one can afford the services." What happens after that? I asked. "Anarchy," he said. "Basically, Gaza. If only we had something to rail against except ourselves, as Arab peoples do. What a relief that must be!"


That we're already this far on the pathetic continuum is cause for some concern. But New York acts like it is a place apart from time immemorial. Everything here is beholden to a belief system that no longer applies. New York was America first, a Dutch loosening of the Puritan tie, and it will also be America last. When there is nothing of any substance around it, it will become a museum to excess. A small town can divest itself of the past, wipe the slate. But a city remains.

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

"River" - James Taylor (mp3)

"Don't Interrupt The Sorrow" - Brad Mehldau (mp3)

"Free Man in Paris" - Sufjan Stevens (mp3)

"Dreamland" - Caetano Veloso (mp3)


Sophie's Choice is meow.

I don't know where we are all going to.

So many reasons why.


In Which We Go Native


I New York More Than You

by Sarah Goldstein

Except for four years when I lived three hours up I-95, I’ve lived in the City. Growing up here and moving back after college is like being the precocious kid who spends his childhood looking down on his peers and then wakes up one day to find everyone’s caught up to him and actually his opinions about Sung Tongs aren’t that interesting or original at all.


Even after all these years, it takes very little for my native pride to swell. The other day I was reading a profile of the actress and fellow Upper West Sider Martha Plimpton. Interviewed for the story, Ethan Hawke recalled meeting Plimpton shortly after he’d moved to New York when they were young actors coming up together. “I remember meeting her and feeling like she had the keys to the city,” he said. That’s how I felt growing up when friends from out of town would visit; that they needed me to let them in. If kids think the world exists just for them, then I felt like it was my job to give them the tour.

Except then I graduated college and a flood of people I knew—people from places like Fresno and Akron and Cherry Hill—moved here. Some of them even moved to Bed Stuy, which was farther out than I’d ever lived and where I didn’t feel comfortable walking alone after dark. Now everyone had a copy of the key and I’d become just another recent graduate living in New York.


But it was worse because a) I lived, at least at first, with my mom to save rent. And b) Everyone around me seemed to be experiencing constant euphoria about the City, and for the first time didn’t seem so interested in hearing about when the Upper West Side was hard because…yeah right, or that I’d been eating burgers at Corner Bistro since eighth grade, or that there’s a taco truck on 96th and Broadway as good as any taco truck in East L.A., because they’d already found one out in Bushwick.


Reading this series I could feel my mouth twitching into a smirk at non-native’s writerly observations of the city. Their musing at the way the sun reflects off the Jehovah’s Witness headquarters in DUMBO so that on the train over the Manhattan Bridge it looks like maybe god really will save them first. Descriptions of post no bills signs covered up by posters for 2007 Summer Jamz bleeding through those for Coke Zero beside Shepard Fairey’s Obama. Urban detritus is crazy.


But rolling your eyes at people who find poetry in a subway car kind of misses the point, I know. Because if this City exists for any reason it’s to be discovered by others (plus all those things it says on the Statue of Liberty). Still, as a New Yorker I’d be betraying my roots if I didn’t scoff some at the greenhorns. For those of us who have been here for Rudy’s Quality of Life and the Yankees when they truly fucking sucked, it can be hard not to be a little possessive, and yeah, a little resentful of bright eyed transplants brightly taking my home as their own.

I had lunch with someone the other day who scolded me for thinking New York can’t take you by surprise anymore. He was right of course. But then, he’s from Chicago. What if everyone he knew moved to Chicago, so that his being from Chicago became like his having brown hair?


Still, I took his advice. I went on a dumpling crawl in Flushing. Even though it was inspired by the Times, bible to the urban adventurer from Fresno, Akron, Cherry Hill, and came with a map and travel guide-like tips (“to squeeze as much flavor as possible from one meal it’s best to stay on your feet”) it was still exciting. We took the 7, a train I’ve only taken to Mets games. We ate at six different places. One of us took pictures and posted them on Facebook in an album titled “Trip to Beijing.” We were giddy with foreignness. Later in the week I talked to someone else who’d followed the guide. We traded dumpling spots and talked about how only New York does that, expands for you. You know, Flushing used to be Jewish, she told me. Not being able to help myself, I said, Yeah, it’s certainly different than when my mom was growing up there.

Sarah Goldstein is a contributor to This Recording. She still lives in New York, where she works for GQ.


"Education" - Mirah (mp3)

"Shells" - Mirah (mp3)

"The World Is Falling" - Mirah (mp3)

"Country of the Future" - Mirah (mp3)



A series of essays exploring the history, architecture, art, film, music and culture of New York City.

Part One (Will Hubbard)

Part Two (Matt Lutton)

Part Three (Brian DeLeeuw)

Part Four (Molly Young)

Part Five (Alex Carnevale)

Part Six (Rachel B. Glaser)

Part Seven (Brittany Julious)

Part Seven (Andrew Zornoza)

Part Eight (Bridget Moloney)

Part Nine (Nancy Jo Sales)


Our fanbase is young, naked, and stalker-ish.

Bringing you hope in this transitional month.

Owen went to Maui to kick his habit.


In Which All of Williamsburg Is Grey


Curing Your Seasonal Depression

by Alex Carnevale

Will called me up yesterday asking how to cure his seasonal depression. Despite subsisting entirely on sunshine like Tara Reid, Will spends his winters in the northeast. This is entirely a mistake. He spends the whole season sulking and complaining his sexual partners are wan and ghostly. Because there are no tanning salons in Williamsburg, he never even gets to see a waxed up miley. Brooklyn is the saddest place in the world in December, which is why I try to stay out of the borough.

Further uptown, where pregnancies past and present haunt the streets, stores are empty or near to becoming so. I took an elevator down into a Circuit City that was going out of business, and when I arrived, all there was left was red-shirted employees in a circle with their mouths open wide, eyes rolled back to the ceiling. And when I went into Burger King to check out those tiny burgers, a prayer circle had erupted near the jungle gym.

It's no surprise that people grow angry and bitter after paying money that will go to fuel Chrysler and General Motors' dying, pathetic last days. But a cult is not the answer! Trust me, I've read a lot of websites, perhaps more than you can reasonably contemplate, about the subject.

The easy answer sedates the doubt that's always on the edge of our perception. For example:

Meow, L. Ron. Me. Ow.

Before jumping onto a train that will end with your wife, Katie Holmes, conceiving an incubus child that will have to be destroyed, know all the facts.

You see, Stan, there is a reason for people feeling sad and depressed. An alien reason. It all began 75 million years ago. Back then there was a galactic federation of planets which was ruled over by the evil Lord Xenu.

Xenu thought his galaxy was overpopulated, and so he rounded up countless aliens from all different planets, and then had those aliens frozen.

The frozen alien bodies were loaded onto Xenu's galactic cruisers, which looked like DC-8s, except with rocket engines. The cruisers then took the frozen alien bodies to our planet, to Earth, and dumped them into the volcanoes of Hawaii.

The aliens were no longer frozen, they were dead. The souls of those aliens, however, lived on, and all floated up towards the sky. But the evil Lord Xenu had prepared for this.

Xenu didn't want their souls to return. And so he built giant soul-catchers in the sky.

The souls were taken to a huge soul brain-washing facility, which Xenu had ALSO built on Earth.

There the souls were forced to watch days of brainwashing material which tricked them into believing a false reality.

Xenu then released the alien souls, which roamed the earth aimlessly in a fog of confusion.

At the dawn of man, the souls finally found bodies which they can grab onto. They attached themselves to all mankind, which still to this day causes all our fears, our confusions, and our problems.

Stan: I wrote that um, our followers shouldn't fly in DC-8s anymore because they're too much like Xenu's evil cruisers.

President: Yes, of course! So wonderful!

Stan: And I wrote that the evil Lord Xenu was recently broken out of galactic jail.

President: Yes, of course!

Stan: And best of all, I wrote that all the Scientologists should no longer have to pay money to belong.

President: What?

Stan: I realized that to really be a church, we can't charge people for help.

President: What are you, stupid?! Then how do we make money from those people?!

Stan: ... Well, it's not about the money, it's about the message, right?

President: Waait a minute, whoa, whoa! You don't actually believe this crap, do you? Dummy! Brainwashed alien souls? E-meters and thetan levels?? Those people out there buy that crap and I thought YOU were smart enough to see what was really going on!

Stan: But you said that there were-

President: What's better than telling people a stupid story and having them believe you?! Having them PAY you for it, stupid!

Stan: But then, why me? Why do you need me to write something so badly?

President: Because if those people all think you're the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard, then they'll all buy your new writings, and you and I together will make three million dollars!

Stan: Three million dollars?

President: That's how the scam works! But this is a scam on a global scale! Do you fucking get me now?!

Stan: Yeah. Yeah, I get you.


"Cellphone's Dead (Eileen Allien Remix)" - Beck (mp3)

"Blue Clouds" - Daniel Johnston (mp3)

"Filmed In Front of a Live Studio Audience" - United Nations (mp3)

he is our prophet now


Ellen Page: looking good girl.

That long train you take.

I generally have nothing to complain about.


In Which No New York Is Our New York

Our series on New York continues today. Brittany Julious takes on the No Wave scene of the late seventies and its many musical antiheroes.

Familiar Contortions

By Brittany Julious

No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980

By Thurston Moore and Byron Coley,
introduction by Lydia Lunch

Lydia Lunch has wonderful cherub cheeks and a sparkling mouth - a sparkling smile - that draws you in. Looking at her picture - and this is about all I can tangibly connect to the icon besides a collection of mp3s - makes even the weariest of music fans feel enthralled by the all-too short New York City cultural movement of No Wave.

That New York was a breeding ground of cultural entities: the gaggle of young things ripe with ingeniousness in the city was such that, although occasionally tragic, the music and emotional impact is still felt today.

Blinding Headache

Thurston Moore and Byron Cooley's No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980 feels a tad overdue. The zeitgeist of this millennium's revived post-punk is effectively over, as the ambitious roaming the streets of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg relocated due to gentrification.

The burgeoning music scenes are now situated in the spastic cornucopia of WHAM CITY and their friends in Baltimore with the likes of Dan Deacon and Blood Baby, or in the spritely all-ages scene of The Smell with No Age, Mika Miko and HEALTH. Interpol and Yeah Yeah Yeahs released albums on major labels. The creativity is still there, I'm sure, but the scene, if there ever was one, is a mere fraction of what it once was.

No New York band DNA

With that said, the book as a tangible object and not as an arbiter of the re-emergence of a long lost music genre, is invaluable. The photographs (most have not been published previously) are shot in black and white and their compositional simplicity works strongly against the visceral punch of the musicians in the images.

Lance Loud and Lydia Lunch

Lydia Lunch is aglow – her face wrapped around the bony fingers of Lance Loud – and appears innocent and suburban. Her demeanor is positively sweet. In its truest form, the snapshot works as a means of capturing a moment in time and giving the audience the ability to re-live said moment whenever they please.

Contrasting the image of Lunch with her music, most notably Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, one can't help but feel disconnected. That's not to say that the book fails in any way. Rather, it helps introduce new layers of intrigue to the near-mythological status of New York City during those brief four years.

James Chance and The Contortions

James Chance, in contrast, stands on a stage, all awkward limbs and brilliance, and suddenly the cliché of a picture and a thousand words seems apt, although a little more abstract. Instead, the images work to provide the audience with, if not words, at least the auditory cues of a thousand eager yelps such as in "Contort Yourself" or a thousand screeches of the trumpet in "Designed to Kill," or a thousand incomprehensible time signatures and key changes.

And although the photographs are the selling point for the book, the numerous interviews collected to form the oral history are what truly set the book apart. The narrative, collected from oral history and interviews conducted by Moore and Coley, works. Not surprisingly, there is a lot to say about the brief four years, namely in regards to the cultural luminaries who were entwined within the scene and the effects of the musical movement.

There would be no Jean-Michel Basquiat without No Wave. There would be no Jim Jarmusch without No Wave. There would be no Talking Heads or Sonic Youth without No Wave. Moore and Coley are insistent upon letting the reader formulate the connections to the many bands, artists, and filmmakers that are idolized in contemporary culture. What one gets from the book is not just a look back but an urgent declaration of a time that was a cataclysmic force of imagination, both then and now.


No Wave mixes to download here

The Post Punk Tumblr

No Wave Photo Archive

"Clinch" - Lydia Lunch & Clint Ruin (mp3)

Creem's Review Of No New York

"Serpentine" - Lydia Lunch & Clint Ruin (mp3)

"Don't Fear the Reaper" - Lydia Lunch & Clint Ruin (mp3)


Ted Berrigan's New York

Matt Lutton Sees A Darkness

Molly Young At Fashion Week


In Which We Want To Be A Part Of It

This is the latest entry in our ongoing series on the city of New York. You can revisit the archive of that series here.

It Happened In New York

by Rachel B. Glaser

By the year 2004, even my mom used the word "retarded" loosely. Hollywood kept banking on American fears: AIDS/Aliens. New York was spilling into New Jersey. But through it all, The Port Authority Bus Terminal kept getting more and more beautiful.

The poolball sculpture was covered with dust. The 400 gates looked as close to dreams as reality can pervert. Archiac red tiles, dirty 1980s escalators; the bus terminal was a combination of brick and linolium, foggy glass and scratched metal beams.

Outside the abstract limbo of the gates, little kids called each other fags. Late-night cartoons had gotten so nilistic and revolting, reasonable people felt disgusting. No one believed the mad cow articles. They just ate hamburgers.

But classical music flowed through Port Authority. Toilets flushed on repeat. Twenty color-unbalanced televisions were stacked like an Nam June Paik piece, to assist with security.

Does all get redone in the "new" style? Penn Station looks like a titanium Powerbook (so does Newark airport, and all airports?) This phenomenon struck me most when I visited Reykjavik, Iceland and found it reminded me of Windows 97. It was a gorgeous interpretation of Windows. Windy, modern, organized, ducks. Any coldness was from the climate, and the shining reflections in glass.

Since 2004, Port Authority has renovated their 200s gates, doing them up in all white tile, like a bathroom, or a music video, a good set for spilled blood, or Mr. Clean cleaner (or both).

Breaking news: The Port Authority, will, one day, be renovated.

I guess the architects are at it again. Good-bye bricks and browns and yellows. I sense that white and silver will be prominent in the "new" design. What an empty aesthetic trick. Is all architecture parallel to our hearts fated to be replaced with "Millennium Sleek"? See you in the future.

Rachel B. Glaser is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Amherst, Massachusetts.

"Honor Amongst Thieves" - These United States (mp3)

"We Go Down to That Corner" - These United States (mp3)

"Pleasure & Pain & Pride & Me" - These United States (mp3)


Wes and Pauline.

The Coates family.

I'm sorry I'm not always there for my son.