The Carl Online


’08 Favorites – A supplement by Tom

First off, I’d like to second a few of Greg’s picks – No Age, Times New Viking, Fucked Up, and Santogold. Alright. Click the links below to download individual tracks, or here for the mediafire folder.

The Magnetic Fields – California Girls

This could be the catchiest song I’ve ever heard. I don’t even listen to it that much, because every time I do, it sticks in my head for days afterward (along with fantasies of rampaging through Hollywood with a battleaxe).

Arthur Russell – I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face

Arthur Russell didn’t write many songs like this one. It’s a shame; “I Couldn’t Say it to Your Face” is as immediate and heartfelt as anything else I’ve heard of his (which, in the scheme of his monstrous output, is very little). Everything, from the stop-start chorus, to the understated horns, to Russell’s deceptively soulful vocal performance, is just right.

Big Boi – Royal Flush feat. Andre 3000 and Raekwon

Lil Wayne and his (totally awesome) nonsense are the big story in rap this year, but ‘Dre’s scattered guest appearances over the past two years, most recently on “Royal Flush,” serve as a reminder that off-kilter, virtuosic flow is nothing new. And then there’s the song’s heavy-ass beat and those other two solid verses from Big Boi and Raekwon. Wayne may be the future of rap, but the old guard is aging gracefully.

White Denim – Don’t Look That Way At It

The first song off of one of my favorite albums of the year (Exposion). Like most of the rest of the album, “Don’t Look That Way At It” sounds like three songs having a fight until about halfway through, when it pulls itself together and rocks your fucking face off.

Grizzly Bear – While You Wait For The Others

I’m not sure anyone expected Grizzly Bear to become one the tightest rock quartets playing after the meticulously arranged folk of Yellow House, but after a couple of years on the road honing their “live” sound, that’s exactly what they are. The first song to debut off of their forthcoming album, “While You Wait For the Others” is not only the best representation of the band’s new sound, it’s the best song they’ve ever written.

Deerhunter – Never Stops

I’m assuming that there are more casual Deerhunter fans than indie rock critics want us to think. Does everyone really think that Microcastle is that great? I don’t, and I’m skeptical. I do, however, think that “Never Stops” is awesome. Forget that it’s about inescapable depression; that wordless chorus slays.

Harlem – South Of France

“I hate every book I’ve ever read.” The battle cry of this compsing English major.

Tonisitcs – Holding On

Off of another great release from master crate-diggers The Numero Group, Soul Messengers from Dimona, “Hold On” is the “I Want You Back” of Jewish soul. Yeah, there is a serious novelty factor in play, here (see the collection’s backstory here), but the song stands on its own as a great soul record, and ought to make contemporary Christian music fans everywhere totally jealous (not that most of them would know a good song if it punched them in the ear).

Katy Perry – My War (Black Flag Cover)

-Tom Fry

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08 FAVORITES – A Carl Mix by Greg Hunter

To download mp3s, copy and paste the link provided in a new window

AC/DC – “Rock ‘N’ Roll Train”

Come on.  It’s amazing they can keep doing this.

http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=check_download&ufid=Q01FYUp5Tk05eFZMWEE9PQ&key=f0725ccfa02555503269eb0c8b84542e788747ed&bid=TTZra0ZYcHZ3NUlLSkE9PQ&rcpt=hunterg@carleton.edu

Be Your Own Pet – “Becky”

A lot of Get Awkward, BYOP’s second and last album, apparently sucked.  The lead single, “The Kelly Affair,” definitely did.  But not “Becky,” a smart, funny punk pop song that exists somewhere between Mean Girls and “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell.”  The song was stricken from the US version of Get Awkward because of concerns over subject matter (it’s about school violence like a Roadrunner cartoon is about animal abuse).

http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=check_download&ufid=Q01FYUp5Tk1lcEozZUE9PQ&key=242f712becc1b3a5a6e210dc96fd0a2aa881c87d&bid=TTZra0ZYcHZEa1dGa1E9PQ&rcpt=hunterg@carleton.edu

Boston Spaceships – “You Satisfy Me”

It’s a relief and surprise that Robert Pollard is aging so gracefully.  In 2008, Fantagraphics put out a book of his collages, and his album with Boston Spaceships is thought to be his best since dissolving Guided By Voices.  On “You Satisfy Me” he sings like a big shaggy dog.  How do you make “seven in the morning” sound like that?

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Fucked Up – “Son The Father”

People keep calling Fucked Up’s The Chemistry of Common Life a post-hardcore album, which doesn’t really mean anything (wouldn’t we at least be at post-post-hardcore by this point?).  Some reviewers are also saying it transcends the hardcore punk idiom, but didn’t half the bands on SST already do that 25 years ago?  (The only real innovation here is flutists.)  There’s nothing revolutionary about the album, contrary to the critical party line.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not really good.  Just call it a rock record?  A pretty awesome rock record?  “Son The Father,” particularly, DESTROYS.
http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=check_download&ufid=Q01FYUp5Tk1YSHlGa1E9PQ&key=1c9dcde42c34e29bc98a832ec3e1009c3eb6a309&bid=TTZra0ZSZEs5eFhIRGc9PQ&rcpt=hunterg@carleton.edu

Ghostface Killah (feat. Kid Capri) – “We Celebrate”

This one’s tricky.  The single was released in ’08, but the album came out in December ’07.  Just listen to it, though – it insists on being included.  Ghostface is not gonna be cut from the theatrical release of Iron Man and excluded from a mix on the Carl blog the same year.

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The Hold Steady – “Slapped Actress”

The opening riff here is the sound of a ten-story building collapsing.  “Slapped Actress” makes a bunch of John Cassavetes references, but it makes me think of Leonard Cohen – this is a tower of song.

http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=check_download&ufid=Q01FYUowNXZEbUlLSkE9PQ&key=2f4186561621ad6aa5f2e8e6a9f0295cb15d68b4&bid=TTZra0ZSZEt0d0dGa1E9PQ&rcpt=hunterg@carleton.edu

Jenny Lewis and Elvis Costello – “Carpetbaggers

Enjoying a Jenny Lewis song always makes me feel a little like a high school girl, but there’s a lot to like about “Carpetbaggers.”  The lyrics are corny, yeah, but it’s like everybody’s in on the joke.  And it sounds like someone forgot to tell Elvis Costello he was doing a faux-country duet – those vocals could be from a This Year’s Model outtake.

http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=check_download&ufid=Q01FYUowNXZ0d0ZMWEE9PQ&key=0abbd8997b9660cff36e0a54656b5c17dd3d45d5&bid=TTZra0ZSZEs0b0RIRGc9PQ&rcpt=hunterg@carleton.edu

No Age – “Miner”

“Miner” is a great song from a great album, but No Age don’t fuck around live, either.  This show at Death By Audio was like, everything I want from a rock concert, and someone’s nicely captured it:

http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=check_download&ufid=Q01FYUo4R3MxUUFLSkE9PQ&key=edbc83ec87f98bd2ef1c99f4adf66d525eeca25d&bid=TTZra0ZheFhUME4zZUE9PQ&rcpt=hunterg@carleton.edu

Santogold – “Lights Out”

The Bud Light with Lime remix is also gorgeous.  No joke.

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Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – “Glue Girls”

When Fuctape opened for SSLYBY in spring ’07, they were extremely friendly and gracious.  In spring ’08, Phillip Dickey, one of the band’s lead songwriters, agreed to an email interview with me and then never answered my questions.  It’s paradoxes like these that make such already fun power pop even more compelling.  I hope these big douchebags keep making such great songs.

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Times New Viking – “The Early ‘80s”

Yep!

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Wilco – “Wilco The Song (Live on The Colbert Report

A while ago in The Carl I called Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky album “retirement rock,” and that’s still pretty much how I feel about it – don’t like it and don’t want to like it.  But this gem, played live on The Colbert Report, still makes me really curious about whatever Jeff Tweedy’s gonna put out next.  It’s Summerteeth-style pop plus Nels Cline’s weird ass jazz guitar heroics, and the sum is enough to keep me interested in Wilco The Future.

http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=check_download&ufid=Q01FYUozTWNVVGxMWEE9PQ&key=0da7af4e081bf75da2d1f42ca48d77bc54743d83&bid=TTZra0ZkR0Y4Q1FLSkE9PQ&rcpt=hunterg@carleton.edu

Wire – “One Of Us”

See: description, AC/DC’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Train.”

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– Greg Hunter



Sex, Chicken and Ostensible Symbolism by Greg Hunter
December 15, 2008, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2008_03_19-chicken

Not having a TV in my apartment means, among other things, that usually the only music videos I see are ones I actively seek out.  Recently, though, I was involuntarily exposed to “Sex On Fire,” by Kings of Leon.  It’s a terrible clip for what’s barely a song, but it does feature my favorite music video trope: the ostensible symbol, an object and/or image that’s intended to appear as if it has a codified meaning but almost certainly does not.  Chicken is a metaphorically empty visual motif in “Sex On Fire,” both in bird and food form.  (Previous examples of the ostensible symbol include the flaming trees in Jewel’s “Standing Still” and the indoor rain in Eve 6’s “Inside Out” videos – if you’re stuck on how to feign profundity, turn to the elements.)

[Video available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHhhcKxflMY%5D

The ostensible symbol is an indicator of laziness and pretension, granted, but videos that feature it empower viewers in a way art that’s made thoughtfully and deliberately cannot.  These objects and images signify only that they signify something, meaning we as viewers can actually decide what an ostensible symbol conveys rather than speculating on what the director intended.  We’re part of the creative process!

My top three guesses decisions on what chicken means in “Sex On Fire”:

1.  Having sex, like eating chicken, is better with napkins and family members.  (Having sex on fire is helpful in preventing salmonella.)
2.  The chicken is an answer to Freud’s male castration anxiety.  (Cut a chicken’s head off and that sucker will just keep on movin’ for a while, so don’t even worry about it.)
3.  Kings of Leon have their cocks in hand during this song.

What are your interpretations?

– Greg Hunter



Muh-mmhuh-mmy Kennedy Center Honor by Greg Hunter

Earlier in the week, the Washington Post ran this article – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/12/05/ST2008120502765.html – about Kennedy Center honors for Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, of mod proto-punks-turned-area giants The Who. I’m not hating here, really – in a situation like this, the appropriate response is probably, ‘Eh, why not?’ – but reading about the honor took me by surprise.

Formal, mainstream recognition of The Who is nothing new, nor is the corresponding irony of it all.  (Jackie O reportedly went to see them play after Tommy was a hit.)  And yet there’s still, to me, something a little mystifying about it.  It’s a cliché, sure, that Townshend and Daltrey, who wrote and sang “I hope I die befor I get old,” are now, um, old. For as long as I’ve been a fan, “too old to give a fuck/too young to rest” (from “Dreaming From The Waist Down”) always seemed more appropriate.  But the songs we’ll remember the band for were nonetheless fueled anger, confusion and alienation, even into the concept double album phase.  (Hell, the Sex Pistols covered “Substitute.”)

It’s been a long time since The Who did something new or transgressive, and just as long since they’ve made a good album, but whoever Pete Townshend is now, he was also once a dude who would destroy his guitar while on Quaaludes.  Observe the footage below: Townshend, more punk than most punk was, anticipating Richard Hell, Thurston Moore, Kurt Cobain, and almost every other meaningful figure in alternative music for the next several decades.  I can’t be the only one who still finds it kind of incredible that such (fundamentally) aggressive music can be received so comfortably, by so many peopple, with enough time.

Bonus video!

– Greg Hunter



Carl Christmas Present #1 by Greg Hunter

A few nights ago, I sat down to watch Santa’s Slay, a pirated DVD of my younger brother’s. The film, from 2005, stars former pro-wrestler Bill Goldberg as a murderous Santa Claus. Santa’s Slay belongs to the vast body of the direct-to-DVD horror-comedies that are neither scary nor funny, which manage to suggest self-awareness while basically lacking it. What distinguishes Slay from the rest is its baffling opening scene. There are few familiar faces throughout the movie (an unfortunate exception is SCTV alum Dave Thomas, who’s too talented to be in it). For the most part, they’re concentrated in the first three minutes, where Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan and James Caan are seated together at Christmas dinner, the most bizarre collection of cameos I’ve ever seen. Now Caan’s track record isn’t perfect, granted – for every Godfather, there are 88 episodes of Las Vegas – but hearing Sonny Corleone call Mango a “half-a-fag” is still something kind of incredible.

– Greg Hunter



Great Moments In DVD Pirating by Greg Hunter

radio



From the Print Issue: by carlmagazine
October 16, 2008, 3:12 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , ,

Katy Perry: Intriguing to Morons

by Dan Sugarman

Totally Hottie or Bag of Hot Air?

Katy Perry: Totally Hottie or Bag of Hot Air?

Katy Perry is a boring shill for a record industry that is out of new ideas. Amy Winehouse and Lily  llen, the two other charttopping female singer-songwriters of the day, also seem boring to me. (You have to accomplish something musically before we care about your drug use.) But Perry seems  rofoundly boring. Or at the very least, profoundly conventional: the kind of pop star who distracts from the fact that she is exactly like everything that came before by taking on the controversial topics of the day like girls kissing girls and metrosexuality. She is edgy enough to provoke a Fox News commentator, perhaps, but in the end she has nothing especially interesting to say in her songs and has a public persona that will be forgotten months after her career ends.

With the video for “Hot ‘n’ Cold,” her latest single, Perry looks back to her debut single “Ur So Gay,” a screed against pretty boys that called for an American boy more like one of S.E. Hinton’s greasers in The Outsiders than a Fall Out Boy fan. Her husband-to-be gets cold feet at the alter, the latest sign of  ow he tends to “PMS/Like a bitch/[She] would know.” The rest of the video shows Perry as a strong, confrontational female, willing to hunt her indecisive man down, but also portrays her in the same sexualized light as any other pop star, prancing around in a wedding dress bordering on lingerie and a team of dancers with baseball bats. The end result is too confusing to be interesting, and seems like further proof that, American Idol franchise aside, Perry is one of the more boring up-and-coming pop stars.

Read more musical commentary and reviews in the latest Carl.