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    The following is a fictional personal anecdote about the hydraulophone. The anecdote is designed to incorporate interesting facts about hydraulophones (and bonus facts too!) and leave you with an understanding of an instrument you may have never heard of... Read More
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    The first time listening to Women’s Rights by Childbirth was a great moment for me. It takes a while for me to discover the next piece of music I’m going to fall in love with for a couple of months at a time, but when I know, I know. You know? Read More
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Lesbian Love Anthems of The Carter Family (Or at Least Feminist Jams from the 1930s)

When most people think of the Carter Family they usually think of June Carter Cash, and if they are particularly savvy they recall that they first popularized many songs that Woody Guthrie would go on to rewrite—‘When the World’s on Fire’ became ‘This Land is Your Land’ and ‘Jesse James’ became ‘Jesus Christ’. While these moments of historical context are useful they do not fully explore what The Carter Family means today. Upon a second listening and with an open mind, many of their songs reveal themselves to be more than quintessential folk songs and emerge as heartthrob anthems about the love between two women.


I first came to know the carter family when I downloaded some 60+ songs from a blog hosted in the U.K. years ago. At the time I appreciated these recordings for the miracle that they were still readily available and maintained relevance 80 years after their creation. Their simple and sentimental ditties, with a little crackle and distortion underscored for me the eternal struggle of love, which persisted then as it does now.


Soon it dawned on me that while these songs follow many of the conventions of folk songs as we know them today (they were the first vocal group to achieve mainstream success as country musicians, recording from 1927-1956), two of the three members were women and with songs about family, death, love, and faith, this resulted in women singing about their love for other women, and empowering and praising women in general. Gender perspective in these songs becomes incredibly subjective and fluid, in a way that transcended dominant ideologies at the time and today. In the opening lines of ‘My Texas Girl’ the lyrics go:

All my life I've wondered/
If what I done was wrong/
All I ever cared to do/
Was ride my pony on.
I never had no heartaches/
Was always happy and gay/
Until I met a Texas girl/
Who stole my heart away.


Now of course ‘gay’ here is meant only to express a state of joy, but the effect of one woman, Sara Dougherty Carter, singing this tormented song about the love of her life dying at the hands of jealous angels is a powerful one. Occasionally her fellow band mate, and husband, Alvin Pleasant aka ‘A.P.’ chimes in with back up vocals on a few songs, but then again those songs tend to position male figures as the object of desire (see ‘I’m Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes’). Now at the time this music proliferated, it is nearly impossible to image that anyone gleaned impressions such as this from these songs, but in our modern era, I think a retrospective projection of this inference adds more charm to the music (Though of course the homoerotic nature of rock 'n' roll is apparent later on; see 'Jailhouse Rock' by Elvis).


I know this argument will be a stretch for many people and you might’ve stopped reading by now because you think this point absurd, but in case you’ve gotten this far and are still interested, here are some more examples of lyrics that suggest an undertone of queer romance.

If it wasn't for the love of your daughter and your men/
I would do unto you as I did unto them. (‘Sinking in the Lonesome Sea’)


Less sensational, but still amazing is the song ‘Single Girl, Married Girl’ a song that Sara sings solo about how much better it is to be single than married (mind you her husband is in her band!).


The song ‘Kissing is a Crime’ details the taboo kisses she can’t help, but exchange. A song, which most would presume to be from the male perspective is sung by a woman, and a deeper understanding of why these kisses might be taboo is supplied if you interpret these kisses to be between two women who have not come out.


Even when songs don’t come across explicitly as homosexual love songs, they often carry an air of promiscuity, as in the song ‘Black Jack David’ which ends on the verse:

Last night I lay on a warm feather bed/
Beside my husband and baby/
Tonight I lay on the cold, cold ground/
By the side of Black Jack David.


Additional Songs That Reinforce this Position:

‘Amber Tresses’

‘Two Sweethearts’

‘Worried Man Blues’

‘No More The Moon Shines On Lorena’

‘Happiest Days of All’


If you still can’t be convinced of the argument above, hopefully you can appreciate the other unique features of this music. First, the gender-bending narratives. Second, the matriarchal power structure (‘I Have an Aged Mother’, ‘Picture on the Wall’, ‘Will the Roses Bloom in Heaven’, ‘My Little Home in Tennessee’). And third, the promiscuous, deviant, and radical behavior (‘Kissing is a Crime’, ‘Black Jack David’) that is emblematic of the impulsive and desirous nature of youth that persists throughout all time.

Give these songs a listen and see if this theory holds true for you and at the very least enjoy them for their broken heart devotion and lyrical prowess.


Op Ed: Carleton NEEDS a Gogol Bordello Cover Band

Over this past summer I lived at home in a Chicago suburb north of the city. Each morning I rode the Metra into the city for work. As the train stopped at each suburb, a flock of old pressed suits boarded with their briefcases and their coffee. They found their seats and chatted with their professional friends. By the last stops the train was full of suits chatting about finance or whatever with other suits. Sometimes they chatted with their pre-grad summer intern initiates who wore khakis and were interested in what the suits were saying. The suits were the khakis parent’s friends and were very impressed with the khakis. The culture was a distinct bubble, a cycle of nepotism that was a phenomenon to me. Except I was on the train wearing khakis and a button down going to work in the city too.



Rap Beef is the New WWE Wrestling

Everyone loves a good rap beef now and then. It’s another way to get some drama into your life when the 2016 election season is lacking. I feel like in the past few months I’ve been living in some alternate reality, because the recent drama in the hip-hop community has been surreal to say the very least.
Rap beef in 2016 is much different than the ‘90s or even the ‘00s. While there have been a few high-profile diss tracks recently (Drake’s “Back to Back” is currently up for a Grammy), a lot of the beef ends up being some tweet or video online. It’s like some pro-wrestling feud: Rapper A disses Rapper B on the main stage, we then cut to Rapper B fuming offstage, who will then be on stage later and talk about Rapper A. The parallel between the two world was even acknowledged recently when Flo Rida competed in a rap battle (or at least, tried) on WWE. But this weird clip is only one of the several surreal happenings as of late. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Deerhunter YouTube Rarities

Deerhunter has been making music, in one form or another, for the last 13 years. Accordingly, their ascension to the top of the indie rock sphere encompasess the entirety of the web 2.0 revolution of the '00s, meaning that a lot of strange Deerhunter music and video is out there on the internet, but is woefully buried in broken Blogspots or abandoned Tumblrs.  As the KRLX board's resident Deerhunter expert, I've decided to take this opportunity to share my personal favorite YouTube content of theirs, as there is a wealth of high quality music out there that has flown well under the radar. Here are my eight favorites:

1. "Spring Hall Convert" 1998 Demo - Yes, you read that right: 1998. Bradford Cox was just 16 years old when he laid this demo down on a 4-track in his bedroom, and it would be another nine years before it evolved into its final form as the eighth track of Cryptograms.  "Spring Hall Convert" is my second-favorite Deerhunter song (behind "Earthquake"), so I was beyond excited when I found this video online. It illustrates how Mr. Cox's tape loops and writing chops were already quite mature... a full four years before the official start of the band.

2. "Spring Hall Convert" Platts Eyott Session - While I'm on the topic of "Spring Hall Convert," I might as well share this fantastic acoustic recording that Bradford Cox laid down all by himself in 2008 on Platts Eyott Island, a nature reserve on the Thames. This rarity was only available on cassette tape to those who came to the Microcastle release party, but luckily it's been reposted in full on YouTube! I love the reworked vocals and the loose "Here Come the Warm Jets"-style playing.


9 songs under 99 seconds in under 99 words: excluding titles


by A Noah Harrison

good short songs tell stories.

9 "news from the heavenly loom" - circulatory system

self-conscious transitory elevator music—misty dimensional shift in the blink of an eye


8. “prelude” – the millennium | 1:18

literally hip-hop from 1968, real j-dilla shit


7. “gilchrist ギルクリスト” – FL  XL| 0:36

the call to action, the battle, the moment of truth, ???


6. “down is up” – moondog | 1:08

wandering moondog briefly reverses verticality of universe.


5. “chapter ten” – kendrick | 1:16

syncopation to a fat beat and a turning point




What Would Have Happened if I Had Gone to Shakey Graves


This past Wednesday, I almost went to go see Shakey Graves (my favorite musician) up in Minneapolis. I bought the tickets ($25!!! the most I’ve ever spent on a concert) a month ahead of time, I had at least two people willing to drive me, and I was super excited to see Shakey for a third time. Unfortunately, one of my friends got tonsillitis and the other had too much work, so I ended up having wasted $25 and getting wasted because I was pretty bummed. The lesson was learnt: Never get your hopes up, for you will always be disappointed and have to resort to drinking.  Luckily, as implicitly stated before, I’ve seen him two times, so I will now deduce how this concert would have been like.

We get to the concert venue at 8 o’clock, about half an hour after it actually starts because I’m cool and also I don’t care about opening bands a lot of the time. I have no idea what First Ave looks like so I can only assume it is a huge ballroom with a lot of chrome. There is a slight mist in the air, like an 80s music video. In the distance, we hear music playing. We get closer. It’s pretty good. I think to myself: “maybe I shouldn’t give opening bands such a hard time. These guys are great, and it’s only fair that they get exposure with a more popular artist. They probably work just as hard. And now I have someone else I can obsessively listen to.” I will forget the name of the opening band by the end of the night.

My friend and I stand in the periphery, not too close, nodding our heads and occasionally giving each other glances in which we raise our eyebrows. As time goes on, I look at my watch more and more. These guys are going on for way too long. All their songs sound the same. I just want to see Shakey Graves. Opening bands suck.


Things I Learned from The TOPS Show at the Cave (Interview)

Interview With TOPS



I had a great time at the TOPS show. I think everyone who was there had a great time and I have been doing my best to rub it in for those folks that left early or made no effort to attend. I learned a lot that night through interviewing David Carriere and Jane Penny before, dancing like I was possessed during, and hanging out with the band after the show when they came back to Steak house to crash on our couches. Here is a nearly comprehensive list of what I learned:

²  Jane Penny has a great laugh—it almost verges on villainous, but is overwhelmingly positive and reassuring.

²  Childhood never ends (according to David)

²  The erasure of Silly Kissers’ albums was an unintentional casualty of how the Internet works and not part of some conspiracy.

²  Riley Fleck (Drums) is insanely good at Bananagrams.

²  People in San Francisco love Tupac Sweatshirts.

²  Jane is shy talking about loogies, but not hawking them.

²  When things get rough black pantyhose has a secondary function.

²  Everyone loves music, even sober, uniform-clad, Sprite-drinking, Southern boys.

²  Alana DeVito (Bass) is the most excited about Canada’s new prime minister.

²  Tops’ sound engineer is a master of his craft. He also wears tighty-whities.

²  Your favorite musicians are just people, knowing that can make it more fun to talk to them.

²  Jane is actually Adam Sandler’s Daughter

²  Marianne Faithfull made a cool fantasy album with Angelo Badalamenti in 1995.


These things and more are better contextualized in the embedded interview below.






Hierophants -- Parallax Error


Hierophants is the latest in the trend of lo-fi semi-comedic bands, and they’re pretty great. They’re unique, however, thanks to their more 80s influences and cleverer than usual lyrics (“Every bridge, there’s a troll”). Filled with fuzzy riffs and even fuzzier synth, Parallax Error is a tour de force of short, catchy songs that you’ll be humming the entire day.


RIYL: Chastity Belt, R. Stevie Moore, White Reaper, fuzz

Top Tracks: Stress, Change, 321, White Bread, Nothing Neu



Darkstar -- Foam Island


Pretty mellow, occasionally dancey semi-minimalist electronica. Kinda sounds like it would be in a very hip commercial for something really vague like headphones or a website for cheap airline tickets.


RIYL: Howling, Apple commercials

Top Tracks: Pin Secure, Stoke the Fire, Through The Motions, Go Natural



Chapin Sisters – Today’s Not Yesterday


Today’s Not Yesterday is the third full length by the sister duo Chapin Sisters. Backed up by tight songwriting, and interesting instrumentation featuring the occasional organ, Today’s Not Yesterday is a solid modern folk album. The beautiful vocal harmonies from the two sisters however forms the backbone of the album. The vocals float breezily through most of their tracks on the album, making up for any other blemishes there might be.


RIYL: Over the Rhine, Martha Wainright, Joni Mitchell

Top Tracks: Autumn, Getaway, We Will Not Stop