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Carter Tanton: Return Of A Wild-Eyed Boy

Former Tulsa frontman Carter Tanton references a David Bowie song in the transcendent "Murderous Joy."
Courtesy of the artist
Former Tulsa frontman Carter Tanton references a David Bowie song in the transcendent "Murderous Joy."

Carter Tanton was lead singer and guitarist for a promising band called Tulsa in 2007. But, thanks in part to a discouraging legal struggle that stood in the way of its sophomore album being released, the group broke up, leaving Tanton at square one. He left his role as a bandleader and began working as both a guitarist and a producer for other musicians, including Marissa Nadler, Lower Dens and Twin Shadow. Now, Tanton once again returns to his role as frontman with Freeclouds, his solo album out Nov. 15.

Tanton recorded Freeclouds in his apartment and employs varying levels of production, resulting in tracks ranging from alt-country to electronic. Throughout the album, including "Murderous Joy," Tanton references David Bowie's 1969 song "Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud." Bowie's song tells the dramatic tale of a boy from a mysterious mountain, sentenced to die because the villagers fear him and the things that make him different. Though the "wild-eyed" boy resigns himself to death as he's about to be hanged, the mountain saves him and destroys the village in revenge while the boy looks on in horror. Bowie's narrative adds clarity to Tanton's words; for example, both Bowie and Tanton's subjects are outcasts. The full meaning, however, is less clear, hidden in Tanton's crisp, transcendent voice.

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Jess Gitner
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