April 13, 2023
‘Larissa: A Playlist’ –– Music Recommendations From Author Eirinie Carson
by Molly Donovan
We are delighted to share a playlist from Eirinie Carson, author of the debut memoir The Dead Are Gods. Much like her book, this playlist is also a tribute to Larissa, who was Eirinie’s best friend, roommate, and fellow lover of punk and alternative music. Inspired by their time working as fashion models in the early aughts and partying their way through London, Paris, and New York, this is a playlist for wild nights out with friends.
I’ll Do Anything – Courtney Love
Larissa loved Courtney; we were Hole fans first but Courtney was the ONE. This song was the HIT, maybe tied with “Mono,” but our faves were a little slower, a little sadder, like listening to your ex’s drunken voicemail begging for you back (shout-out Life Despite God). America’s Sweetheart was a time, the album cover alone just top tier. I saw Ms. Love backstage at the Distillers LA show in 2018 and immediately texted Larissa. A very good celebrity sighting.
No Not Now- Hot Hot Heat
Everyone remembers Bandages, which was great and an impossible song to karaoke because of the zero fuckin’ pauses for breaths, but this was a good ’un too. Strokes adjacent (music aficionados, please don’t @ me about who was influenced by who, I simply do not care), v. sexy, the swag every guy in the 00s aspired to.
C-C- Tom Vek
My early years of friendship with Larissa are evoked when this song starts. I can see our friend, Maddy, shaking around our tiny Finsbury Park apartment to this song. I know nothing about Tom Vek’s greater discography but this song I know backwards and forward.
The Rat- The Walkmen
I cannot recall ever actively listening to this song when it came out, but somehow listening now it takes me to that specific moment in time when the guys would wear white tees with the collars stretched out, second-hand leather jackets too small to zip up and severely unwashed hair and the girls would be wearing … the exact same thing. I used to wear this cut-off denim skirt, criminally short, with a white tank top and these black cowboy boots with silver detailing and I thought I was such hot shit. I miss thinking I am hot shit. Maybe I need a new denim miniskirt.
Take Me Out- Franz Ferdinand
Ok this song was so very mainstream and back then I would rather have died than be seen enjoying it, but it is included in this playlist because I remember EXACTLY where I was when I first heard it. We were at a house party we hadn’t been invited to, in a room with a lofted roof, kind of like a finished attic. Couches were draped in scraps of fabrics and I was drinking something alcoholic and lukewarm. It came on and everyone, including Larissa, started dancing the weird stomp foot dance that was popular then. Dancing is a strong word; you just kept your upper half very static and stomped your foot with flair while looking bored. It doesn’t sound it, but it really was very cool.
Six Barrel Shotgun- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
A song that had a heavy rotation on our afterparty playlists. This reminds me of all the boys in our social orbit back then- grimy and skinny with hair in their faces. I am a bit embarrassed to think about the specific men who used to get my knickers in a twist, the hygiene was low and the booze levels were high, and the trend then was for men to pretend to be completely uninterested in you. Gross.
Venus in Furs- Velvet Underground
Once, in our small flat above a corner shop in Finsbury Park a few of our friends and I decided to take acid. It was my first (and last) time, I was nervous but my French boyfriend held my hand and we did it anyway. This song was playing and I cannot think of a less appropriate song, the strings alone are enough to send you spiralling into a bad trip. Someone who will remain a nameless monster put on Apocalypse Now!, the blonde laminate flooring in the kitchen turned to sand beneath my feet and I turned to my boyfriend and said “this is Vietnam.” Larissa was in her room ascending to another plane, her face made of geometric patterns, and I was in ‘Nam.
I Can’t Hardly Stand It- The Cramps
Larry and I first heard this song on a skate video a former friend left at our flat. I wish I could remember the name of the crew, but it was a Black skater and he was super funny and super smooth and we played this song endlessly, thinking of him. I think this was the song that introduced me to The Cramps.
Warm Leatherette- The Normal
What a fuckin’ odd song. 1978 was a weird old time, wasn’t it? We thought this song was so cool. Playing it at the afterparty was a surefire way to get the aux cable taken out of our hands with a swiftness.
Sugar on my Tongue- Talking Heads
If I close my eyes, I can see Larry singing “She’s my neighbor/Fill my cup-ahhhh.” We were always getting ready when this song was playing, putting on my MAC Lady Danger lipstick (that I still wear occasionally), and charging the digital camera for the night out. Shortly after Larissa died, I was in an airport duty free shop and this song came on and it felt pretty important that I buy some lipstick. Thanks Larry.
Sex Beat- The Gun Club
Ending on a bittersweet note- Larissa and I would share songs and artists and reminisce about bands all the time. Often, she would be listening to one band on repeat, very symbolic of her mood. The last text message she sent me before she died was one about The Gun Club, a band that somehow passed me by. Started by Jeffery Lee Pierce, the former president of a Blondie fan club, it is gritty and dirty and just a true jam. I was distracted by life things and didn’t reply, but I’ll reply here: Larry, I listened to The Gun Club, you were right, I love them.
Eirinie Carson is a Black British writer, born to a Jamaican father and Scottish mother and raised in South East London. Her work is published in the Sonora Review and she is a frequent contributor to Mother Magazine. A member of the San Francisco Writers Grotto, Eirinie writes about motherhood, grief, and relationships. She lives in Northern California with her musician husband and their dog and two daughters. The Dead are Gods is her first book.
Molly Donovan is the former Marketing Assistant at Melville House Publishing.