Friends!

Here is the brand new video for “Promiscuous,” the second single from our record, Time To Deliver. “The video finds the band as the playful arbiters of psychic violence and emotional terrorism, victimizing a colorful cast of unsuspecting characters.” Ha!  Directed by James PM Lee

Here’s some more exciting news: we’re going on tour next month! Here are the details of The Anatomy Tour. It kicks off September 17th in Cleveland, OH and we’ll be traversing the US Midwest, landing back home in Brooklyn, NY September 27th at Radio Bushwick. 

NOT BLOOD PAINT

ANATOMY TOUR 2014

WED 9/17 - Cleveland, OH - Now That’s Class

THU 9/18 - Kalamazoo, MI - Rupert’s

FRI 9/19 - Chicago, IL - Cole’s

SAT 9/20 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrew’s Hall

SUN 9/21 - Columbus, OH - Woodlands Tavern

MON 9/22 - Muncie, IN - Be Here Now

TUE 9/23 - Cincinnati, OH - Win Place or Show

THU 9/25 - Baltimore, MD - Club K

FRI 9/26 - Philadelphia, PA - Chill Collins Art Space

SAT 9/27 - Brooklyn, NY - Radio Bushwick

Be with us.

We’re on this Sunday at 5pm.  Here’s a map of the grounds, replete with giant dome.  
https://www.facebook.com/events/463988857036807/
http://outinthestreets.com/

We’re on this Sunday at 5pm.  Here’s a map of the grounds, replete with giant dome.  

https://www.facebook.com/events/463988857036807/

http://outinthestreets.com/

Friday night at Kings may have been the closest we’ve come to touching the full-frontal Goldsmith. What magic there was! Thank you for being there and bringing exactly what you brought.
This Sunday we play the Out In The Streets festival (Outside! In daylight!). It will be our last show in New York for a while. Please come hang.


F.book Event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/463988857036807/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

Friday night at Kings may have been the closest we’ve come to touching the full-frontal Goldsmith. What magic there was! Thank you for being there and bringing exactly what you brought.

This Sunday we play the Out In The Streets festival (Outside! In daylight!). It will be our last show in New York for a while. Please come hang.

F.book Event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/463988857036807/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

We’re in New Haven, CT tonight.  Let’s keep this summer snowball rollin’.  
Poster by Alex Saraceno.
https://www.facebook.com/events/264462780406156/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

We’re in New Haven, CT tonight.  Let’s keep this summer snowball rollin’.  

Poster by Alex Saraceno.

https://www.facebook.com/events/264462780406156/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

We’re on at 10:30 tonight. Free show. Be with us.
https://www.facebook.com/events/482241728588876/

We’re on at 10:30 tonight. Free show. Be with us.

https://www.facebook.com/events/482241728588876/

Friday Endorsements 05.30.14

Have you met The Saint? This Sunday, Not Blood Paint will be returning to Asbury Park to absorb and radiate some saintly vows in the name of rock & roll. What’s even more exciting is that we’ll be playing with our great friend Steve Nelson, the musical mage for the ages bringing it back home to Jersey.

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Are you from Jersey? Are you from elsewhere in proximity to Jersey?

Then you need to get with us! Doors open to thee at 8:30 p.m.

\Now WE (EK) ENDo! Go!


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Uncle Dougie’s Tomato Heaven Small Batch Ketchup

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I’m endorsing a ketchup. No, I am not bored. This is the first time I’ve felt compelled to endorse a condiment, and let me tell you, this is the one for me.

Now, I’ve always been a ketchup kinda guy – Midwest style. Sloppy Joe, meatloaf, and using potato chips as a scoop for maximum ketchup delivery. The food items that require ketchup require cups and cups of ketchup and the brand is always HEINZ. Well whoopty doo. Now, everything gets compared to the monolith that is HEINZ. So, I want to avoid high fructose corn syrup? Tough luck! Artisanal ketchups are all “interesting” but aren’t the ketchup I crave. Same thing happened with Prego brand spaghetti sauce. It wasn’t ground beef spaghetti unless it was MOM’S ground beef spaghetti, and only Prego would do.

Enter Uncle Dougie’s. This ketchup doesn’t taste like HEINZ, and it certainly doesn’t taste overwrought in the attempt to be unique. It’s subtly layered yet still as bold as a ketchup should be. It is chunky (usually a turn off for me), sweet with a perfect vinegar kick, and it has a hint of orange peel and burbon. Add to that the fact that Dougie keeps his sauces small batch and clean label, and the distinction between overly processed and fresh becomes screamingly obvious to the previously addicted t-buds.

It’s one of those ideal food times where you don’t find an alternate solution to satisfy the specific taste for which you’ve developed a habit, but instead find that the taste door has been blown wide open again. Ketchup doesn’t mean HEINZ. Ketchup can go anywhere! However, I’m gonna roll with Uncle Dougie for a while. Dude also make bloody mary mix, wing sauce, marinades, etc.

Summer tomato, tomato summer here I come!

FRIDAY ENDORSEMENTS 5.23.14

Tomorrow, we’ll be emerging from the core depths of the Mckibbin Lofts to do an assessment and make some vital rearrangements, get the details up to code. We’re teaming with the )((BROOKLYN WILDLIFE))( crew for this one, and we plan to shake the foundation!

You’ll be there, you say? Great!

That’s what we hoped you’d say. We like you.

Sets from

SOUTH SECOND,

HEENEY,

MERIDIAN,

and BROOKLYN WILDLIFE.

We’ll play an hour long set, wherein we make the aforementioned necessary adjustments, and then we dance the night away.

DJ: JX Cannon

Dollars: $10.oo USD
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST
Coordination: 255 McKibbin St. BK, NY 11206 (Between Montrose and Morgan L stops). Entrance via Boerum Street.

«»>

To Endorse Time!


Mozes and the Firstborn - ‘Bloodsucker’
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http://www.rollogrady.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Mozes+And+The+Firstborn+++Mozes.png
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I listened to this song many times this week.  The sound is so warm and classic, like an old Yardbirds tune. The slow simplicity of the verses makes me feel darkly satisfied and comforted somehow, the way music can do that. I’m fond of the dude’s voice. There are a few other choice cuts on the album but some duds too. Listen at your own risk.  
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This video below probably doesn’t serve the song very well. Don’t worry about it. Here’s what I’ve heard about this band: they’re young and Dutch.
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— Joe

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Season Finale of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop

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…Wherin Brian Henson goes from being a mildly awkward and informative guy to full blown Willy Wonka CEO in the space of one segment.

My main thought pertaining to Brian Henson up to this point in this new series was that his “eliminator/challenge winner” pointy fingers seemed like some sort of boardroom decision (whether his own or someone else’s).

“You know, we can’t just eliminate the competitors. We need a good pointing motion, that’ll make it an official signature!”

Sure. It’s a little flat, though. I personally don’t think it’ll catch on, Mr. Henson. 

But, oh! What strange and subtle television magic takes place when Brian invites the 3 remaining competitors to his office for a one-on-one sit down: some advice and a presentation of their final challenge. The way his office is set up (big man important desk, but SURROUNDED by puppet guts and awards), his presentation of a mini scene craft set that he whips out of nowhere, and his little hand gestures, all these details seem delightfully familiar. It’s something of the essence that Gene Wilder captured so brilliantly with his Willy Wonka: Joy and whimsy, but with dark under currents flowing. This is someone you want to play with, embrace with abandon, but when you do, you find there is some deep well within that is evasive and a little scary. It made me nervously giggle, just like a child in a chocolate factory, and I was all “where was THAT GUY in the other episodes?”

Of course, I’m just having fun with about a minute of TV. I actually endorse this show for similar reasons that I endorse its predecessor Face Off on Syfy – it’s a legitimate learning experience. There is a steady flow of brilliant and creative problem solving in a highly specialized field, and anyone who has a knack for imagining and bringing life and creative expression to the fantastical and other-worldly (whether with professional ambition like these cats, or not) will assimilate technique after technique into their arsenal.

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I love these creature creators, fabricators, and makeup artists because their domain of work represents a wonderful intersection between craftsmanship and art, between useful skill and creative expression. There are less and less of these types of folks to be found since post-modernism deeply influenced how art often is made, thought about, and experienced. Quite often as a result, the “skill” aspect is devalued (or eliminated) and much more depends on the intellect, the theory, the philosophy to bring value. I’m thinking of a black line stretched over 3 canvases that represents the ambiguous movement of necker cubes and their relationship to social constructs in 21st century France. You know?

By contrast, I would actually put these creature designers on a continuum with the medieval cathedral builders and Greek sculptors, where specialized skill was the filter (or focusing lens) through which the creativity flowed. This is where knowledge of electronics, anatomy, textiles, etc, commingle to bring to life a moving interaction with an alien being who is weeping over the loss of his race. Earth meet sky. Creative skill can be successful on so many planes, both revealing common practical usefulness and cultivating channels for transcendent communion, ideas ideas ideas!

The artists on Creature Shop are performers and storytellers just as much as they are skilled craftswomen and men. Their success or failure is realized on multiple planes, and it is a pleasure to learn from their challenges in working this way. 

-Seth

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RuPaul on WTF with Marc Maron

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We all know that RuPaul is great. I would have never guessed he was THIS great. This was a really inspiring listen. His perspective is so spot on, so sharp and really realistic. He gets it. And he doesn’t really give a shit if you get it or not, in the best way. “It’s all a fucking joke.” In the best way. Listen and live.


http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/episode_498_-_rupaul_charles

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-Mark

Friday Endorsements 05.16.14

Hey, you. Whatcha doin’ Saturday, May 24th? Oh yeah, that sounds boring. I mean, that sounds cool.

A humble suggestion:
Come to our neighborhood!
Come to our street!

Play with us!

We’ve got music!

255 McKibbin St. BK, NY 11206 (Between Montrose and Morgan L stops). That’s our former home and our current road. Actually, entrance for this show will be via Boerum Street, the next over. Get it.

We’ll be shaking the stage with Stonehenge Parnashnakovsky, Meridian, and Heeney! Maybe you dig that?

5.24.14 // 9:00pm we roll //

NOW WE ENDORSE!

…………………………….

RICK AND MORTY

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I heard terrible sad news recently that Community has been cancelled. This isn’t too surprising, as I suppose the show was “past its prime” what with the loss of Chevy Gambino and everybody, but damn, we’d just got Dan Harmon back! For barely a season!  The world needs Dan Harmon.   Many of my colleagues believe this and one consoled me this week by turning me on to Rick and Morty, a new gem on Adult Swim created by Harmon and Justin Roiland.  
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Rick’s an old, drunk super-scientist who lives with his daughter’s family in suburbia. He takes his nervous grandson Morty on adventures through time and space, drinking and stuttering and saving the world/ putting the world in danger, etc. The best part is that Rick’s expanded view of existence results in impatience or ambivalence toward regular human life on earth, and he sort of drunkenly abuses Morty and his family throughout.  
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The voice acting is superb and the humor is twelve steps ahead of convention. You can watch all episodes on adultswim.com, and because you can you should.  
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JOE

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More Than Any Other Day – Ought

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The spirit of Post-Punk. Does this mean anything to you?

I want to invoke the spirit of Post-Punk at the beginning of an endorsement about an album of music by a band called Ought for a number of reasons. First, this is my attempt to address and circumnavigate a major issue I have with most writing about music these days – crrrritic! – in that it has reduced itself to a litany of genre and personality signifiers, as if this in itself were some sort of service worthy of performing. Is it a worthy office to liaison between musician and listener and essentially inform the latter that any inner value their listening experience may appear to offer is illusory because the music is only composed of and made quantifiable by its list of signifiers? Instead of offering a box of tools useful for orienting oneself to and investigating an experience, the crrrritic! hands us a cabinet of #badges. This type of thinking and writing about music confuses quality and quantity. It robs us of experience, obscures the spirit of the work, and judges that work summarily – a lazy damnation, a bored death sentence. 

No content, no transmutation of information, no experience, and no point. Music is essentially only useful as a cosmetic status symbol or cultural signifier. Personality botox!

How does it feel? “Feelings” should be dulled for such an endeavor. They are a strange and silly nuisance.

These sound a lot like the conditions that brought about Punk, actually. The unfettered impulse to destruction. Fuck the man becomes “fuck it!” Chaos reigns. Passion for chaos, a real passion that erupts to consume the edifice that sought to smash it. No point? No boundary, then. All gets smashed.

In addition to wanting to avoid “judgement by signifier” type writing about music that I appreciate, I invoke the spirit of Post-Punk in talking about More Than Any Other Day because in this music I recognize the spirit of that which sometimes comes after the impulse to destruction. This is the impulse to synthesis of experience (conscious//unconscious, fact//idea, that which was//that which is to be) wherein one “rips it up and starts again”. This is the creative impulse springing from the depths of despair.

“Everything is fucked, and what does it mean?”

That’s the spirit of Post-Punk to me. There’s work involved, but it is possible for the work to be joyful. Ought is radiant with this energy. I had to break down some obstacles for me to be able to recognize it, but now this music is living with me. I haven’t consumed it. It walks with me. I don’t know where we’ll go next. Here’s how it started:

 

I listened to the above track, embedded in a music blog that told me a few things about which singers the lead singer sounds like, what genres and/or subgenres the band is using, where they are from, and their general age. Ok, fine.

I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. I was excited that the lead singer sounded like _____, who is one of my musical heroes, so I peeled back another listen. Ok, this time I’m hearing the words and my focus shifts there.



There is something

something you believe in

but you can’t touch it and you can’t hold it

There is something

Something you believe in

and you can’t wait for it to take away a bit of time

Wow. So now, I’m intrigued. I listen to the whole album and a similar process as the above happens on the macro level. Now the music sounds like _____ and _______ and, ooooh, that’s just like ______.

Peel back again, those lyrics speak up. The music hasn’t truly soaked in. It feels obscured, hazy, sketch-like: exultant bliss one moment, huge earworm moment, then a stretch where I zone out and lose the tension.

Turn your light on, off again

you know you shouldn’t, but then again


Peel back another layer, and I’m finally free of the signifiers. No more passive listening. I start to sing along, I start to think with the singer. I’m through the door.


We have reached the intermission

and the Lord is in attendance

we can ask him all our questions

I know I will…


Suddenly everything inverts and the music WAKES UP! It vibrates with tension, free to do whatever it wants, no gloss or presentation. It reveals itself as the predecessor to the formation of words. The musicians are its vessels, and they feel each other.

Now the lyrics feel like an investigation of the meaning of the music itself, which simply DOES without fear. The words penetrate from every angle - floating above, drowning within, swimming against. It’s thrilling! I’m laughing, I’m dancing, theatrical gestures everywhere.

I’m not bored, I’m not afraid. I’m open and ready for anything. Today, more than any other day.

I almost dismissed this music. I’m happy that the music was gracious with me through my initial stiffness. Instead of a presentation of a body of facts and a pronouncement of judgment, it feels like we agreed to an adventure that is ongoing.

-Seth

Friday Endorsements 5.9.2014

Three ways:

  1. the pursuit of knowing for the sake of curiosity (the groping trial)
  2. the pursuit of knowing for the sake of usefulness (water in the room, neighbor!)
  3. the pursuit of knowing for the sake of love (the goldsmith is not…)

 

Tools: mantle// lamp//  staff// 

How to endorse, again and again? Let’s see now!

 

No Logo by Naomi Klein

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There are a number of you, dear readers, who will think “Seth is late to the table on this one”. Of course, you’re right. This book made a very large impact in 2000 and the years following, particularly on artists (Radiohead was a big proponent of this work). I feel like I should have read this one when it came out. I wonder where I would be now had I done so. It’s that sort of book.

On the other hand, I suspect that there are quite a few others who are aware of No Logo, aware of the problem it presents, and therefore put the read off for various reasons (it’s depressing, it’s already out of date, etc, etc). It’s to these readers that my endorsement is aimed. I want to convince you that Naomi Klein is a master of presentation of information, which leads one to “see” the pattern with greater depth than previously possible. On the personal end of things, I think that Klein understands that it is only when we plunge into the depth of our experience and begin to think multi-vocally (synthesis of manifold meaning) that we can actually act creatively. I think it includes suffering. This is an argument I make often, and if it is true than Naomi Klein may be thought of as a shaman leading us into the underworld so that we might find the strength to pull ourselves up creatively of our own volition. She helps us boil our bones, separating us from the parasitic conceptual beings that we have swallowed up and have allowed to attach themselves to our psyche. Move the center.

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My introduction to Naomi Klein was a few years ago with her follow-up book, titled Shock Doctrine (endorsements of which you can find by both Joe and myself), and immediately I recognized in it one of the most important politically oriented writings of our time. It synthesizes so much information about a force that looks like chaos and sounds like the Siren: disaster capitalism. “Freedom and Democracy” its often called in presidential speeches aimed at rearing the US population up for an illegal invasion of someone else’s land, or a covert terrorist operation for internal destabilization of “regimes”, all for the sake of domination. Er, “resources”. Shock Doctrine is a terrifying key, and once you turn it the problem becomes impossible to deny: human beings are using the world they inhabit as a stage for the acting out of a mass psychosis. We’re all complicit by degrees, from the fully embodied psychopath to the naïve believer.

Now, No Logo focuses on multinational corps and big label brands and their activity. This is the way that was paved for us and by us. It is by and large why we either “accept” or are too overwhelmed to fight the current of disaster capitalism as it bathes in blood non-compliant societies and ramps up surveillance and personal controls on the citizens of the empire. Even if we consider this force un-ethical, amoral, or alien, we swallowed a piece of it at some point, identified ourselves with it, nourished it, began to make petitions to it, allowed it to grow until it reached maturity and became the independent and living nightmare that we all wanted to avoid confronting in our own minds. Ms. Klein presents endless facts and figures, offering her own route of “political awakening” for analysis, and identifies a pattern. The corresponding psychological pattern, as far as I can see, is the Jungian conception of the projection of the shadow writ large across the globe.

It’s first about identity. Brands don’t sell products anymore, they sell “ideas”. Nike is not about shoes, it’s about SPORTS – a shiny platonic ideal. Therefore it is permitted to “encourage the spirit of sports” in such places as inner city poor neighborhoods, where kids crave the swoosh they can’t afford, during school sports (schools which used to be public spaces before they “got milk” and the corresponding advertisements and vending machines), and in militarized tax free zones in Indonesia, China, etc, where teenaged slave girls are forced to sleep under their “swoosh generating” sewing tables and submit to regular humiliating pregnancy tests all for not enough pennies to send back home.

Once we’ve identified ourselves with the brand (again, even negatively identified), we begin to legitimize it by asking for it to comply to our wishes. We ask it to mirror us better. We can’t do anything about the brand invading every inch of our personal lives, so we must demand that the brand represent us accurately damn it! Of course, the brands are happy to oblige. The brand is endlessly adaptable – it can make fun of itself, it can be a political slogan, it can be culture and art, and it can be our inflatable scapegoat for when we want to get whipped into a frenzy and kill kill kill. All is safe for the brand as long as the “consumer” is certain that the evil is fully separate from him/herself, that they are righteous in identifying said evil and condemning it. Why? Because all it takes is a little time in this scenario for the “consumer” to go right back to the mechanical function of eating (or clothing themselves in, if you like) ideas for the sake of image. Identification facilitates roving blind spots in our awareness.

This is largely why such a phenomenon has been so difficult to address in a pro-social sense. It is a phenomenon that has likely been with us for thousands of years, and yet I’m not convinced that it is a fundamental part of our nature. It is perpetuated by the actions of abuse, and the reaction of fear.

This leads me to conclude with a reiteration of one of the core features of Naomi Klein’s writing, perhaps the most healing aspect of her work. It is the task, after having amassed a truly daunting pile of facts and figures relating to a core problem, of highlighting and encouraging true creativity in action and thought. Ms. Klein is very wise in accepting that she does not have the answer that will solve this problem, and so never falls into the trap of overreach. However, she is fully aware that she has the ability to point toward a way, to cultivate fertile ground for growth that will always remain fearlessly unpredictable. In No Logo, we learn of ad busting, pop-up gatherings centered on the reclamation of public space, the internet opening the instant connection of endless watchdog and activist groups around the world, each fighting related but distinct battles, eggs inside of eggs inside of eggs. We learn of the Zapatistas in Mexico, of Marcos, masked and anonymous, who assures us of the following:

Marcos is gay in San Francisco, Black in South Africa,

an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro,

an anarchist in Spain, a Palestinian in Israel,

a Mayan Indian in the streets of San Cristobal,

a Jew in Germany, a Gypsy in Poland,

a Mohawk in Quebec, a pacifist in Bosnia,

a single woman on the Metro at 10pm,

a peasant without land,

a gang member in the slums, an unemployed worker,

an unhappy student and, of course, a Zapatista in the mountains.


We’re in this together. Our psychosis is shared, our neighbor is the same, and our love can be simpatico and voluntary. As long as a light shines, The Shadow can never overtake it. Naomi Klein has got a hell of a lamp to pass…

Seth

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THE RESIDENTS’ videos

I’m hesitant to endorse these videos because I have a plan to blatantly copy them. What a bunch of eye-poppingly masterful forays into the bizarre!

http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2008/lookingatmusic/images/residents.jpg

Constantinople




Third Reich





The imagery and style of the Residents’ videos inform their music perfectly. I don’t generally enjoy Residents albums on their own (not for more than about 30 seconds at a time) but I can usually appreciate what they might be “getting at.”  And now these videos propel the sincere dark absurdity of their art to a new plateau of Residential clarity!  The band’s real gift is in the marriage of A and V, which, as someone who exalts multimedia and live presentation, I accept greedily. I wish other bands married those two letters better, and it’s hard to imagine why they don’t try.  Maybe I’m just watching the wrong youtube channels. What am I missing out there, endorsers?  Whose audio and video are on equal footing, serving each other so well? R. Kelly’s? Name me some.

Hello Skinny



One-Minute Movies




JOE
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Maria Konnikova
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Maria Konnikova came into my life by way of two different podcasts I happened to listen to on the very same day. The first was on Slate’s The Gist where she exposed the bullshit that is online quizzes (which she’s also written about). And the other was a New Yorker Out Loud interview with her, which is great. She writes a lot about psychology and human behavior. My favorite aspect of her writing is how she uses a psychologists approach to examine the things we do quite mindlessly in our daily lives how they effect us deeply (eg. yawningsnoozingmultitasking and, in fact, mindlessness). For instance, did you know that yawning has nothing to do with oxygen? That it is a psycho- or physio- logical desire for a change in our current state of being? And that in the same way, so is contracting an ear worm?
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Anyway, her whole blog is pretty fascinating. Thought she’s written much more for the New Yorker than whats on her blog, which is relatively new. If you’re interested in spending a whole day on her stuff, just search her name at the New Yorker website. 
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-Mark

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Friday Endorsements 5.2.14

We might have to isolate you if you stay elected enemy. However, submit yourself to this battery of tests and we shall be able to deduce which anti-path will best suit your needs in congruence with the Society. The Society welcomes any questions you might have regarding your choices. Do not fear. This is a kindness.

Hold please.

(25 second pause)

Congratulations! You’ve been approved to Endorse Every Friday among a quorum of your peers. Let’s begin…

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Let England Shake by PJ Harvey



I love the tone of this record. Dark and big and quiet. The musicians play relatively simple and reserved parts, droning or charging calmly forward to outstanding effect. It sounds very mature but if I didn’t know any better I would’ve believed this was a cool new indie band, like Here We Go magic. Modern/Timeless. She really nailed it with this one (back in 2011 when it was released).

I tried to like PJ Harvey a years and years ago but it didn’t really take. I have an entirely new respect for her now and I’ll be happy if she keeps on in this vein.

Here’s the one thing I wonder: why the bugle in “The Glorious Land”? It’s such a great song otherwise, I don’t understand that choice at all. But hey, it’s all good, baby. Let England Shake, excellent record.



Joe

Bécs by Fennesz

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In 2001, Christian Fennesz tapped into a technique for creating “experimental” music that has since become instantly recognizable as only originating from him. A simple guitar, layers upon layers of static feedback fuzz, and a computer are essentially the only tools here but in the hands of Fennesz they are magic, they are rays of sun pushing through the mesosphere, stratosphere, troposphere.

The album is ‘Endless Summer’ and it is one of the most gorgeous, mysterious, and texturally dense albums I have ever heard. The fact that it is also a meditation on the soul of Beach Boys summer jams solidifies it as a classic that will live with me for my whole life. 

Here we are, almost 14 years later. Fennesz, 14 years older, 14 years removed from the inspired synergy of Endless Summer and yet somehow, miraculously (for us) in a nearly identical headspace with his new work, Bécs. Well, never identical - though we may long for recaptured magic, if it were truly presented back exactly as it was it is bitterly discovered that the context has changed - and Fennesz acknowledges and embraces the new perspective that he enjoys while still delighting in tones, shades, and currents that overlap with the past.

Bécs is perhaps darker than Endless Summer, but that makes sense. Too much sun can be painful. However, this darkness would have us more fully earning the ecstasy resulting from exposure to layers upon layers of grating feedback until WE release, scales falling from our ears, and discover the beauty, depth, and space in the stifling and oppressive environment we experienced moments before.

It wasn’t the environment that changed, but our listening.

-Seth

This Years Polk and Pulitzer Awards

This is sort of old news, and I don’t know that it’s necessarily surprising news, but it’s surprisingly heartening for two separate bodies to award Glen Greenwald, The Guardian and The Washington post the two most prestigious awards in journalism for their NSA reporting and their work in releasing the Snowden documents. They were certainly deserving of the awards, as far as I’m concerned. It was a hell of a thing to pull off and expertly analyzed, as well as being a great service to the US and civilization in general. But I was not expecting the committees of those two awards to go out on a limb and give them the highest prizes. To me, it seems like they are not only rewarding these people for their difficult and daring work, but also saying to the world at large, “pay attention to this.” I think after a few months people may have stopped listening to this very important story that has huge ramifications on all our lives. In an act that can be labelled “activism,” the Pulitzer and Polk bodies are bringing it back to the forefront and imploring us not to fall asleep. I hope we can listen.

-Mark

Friday Endorsements 4.25.14

Hello Newark, NJ: Get ye ready for tomorrow! We’ll be joining you at the Index Art Center with Tawny Blooms, Evan and the Early Birds, Makeout Vertigo, and Perennial Reel. Tell your favorite friends! Bring your boys and girls! The event page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1478024899079164/?ref=3&ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

And back to the BK: This Sunday, we’ll all explore the roll of “Pool Shark” at Union Pool (484 Union Ave, Bk 11211). Problem is, what happens when the room is filled with all Shark and no Mark? We’ll be flanked by new allies Rifle Recoil and Reindeer. This week, our besties Bad Credit No Credit confirmed that they would join us as well! Here’s THAT event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/430143497122458/?ref=22

And now we Endorse like the wind!


Nymphomaniac Vol I and II by Lars Von Trier

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I’m going to go ahead and endorse this, even though I am still very much digesting it. I just finished part II last night. Those who are familiar with Lars Von Trier know he likes to get all the machinery humming along really nice before he throws a wrench in. In other words, this one will take significantly more reflection, so I’ll be light on the specific commentary.

Part of why I want to endorse this sooner than later is cause I want to appeal to those who are planning to see it to wait for the 5 ½ long director’s cut. I will be rewatching in that format for sure, possibly also revisiting his last three films from the point of view that they are all pieces of one overarching existential trilogy (Antichrist, Melancholia, Nymphomaniac), which, taken together, probably represent the finest work of Von Trier’s career. I watched Nymphomaniac in two 2 hour chunks on iTunes, and found the format perfectly fine. In general, I am totally into directors experimenting with the duel theater/digital release thing. It’s worked really well for Dupieux, all of who’s films I’ve seen online.

However, with Von Trier, it felt clear to me that splitting the film in two and presenting it online at the same time as in theaters was merely considered necessary from a commercial standpoint. It wasn’t done to serve the film. I get it, but I am immediately reminded of Steven Soderberg’s Che. Seeing that film in it’s originally intended format – as two distinct halves spanning over 4 hours split by a 10 minute intermission – in the theater, was one of the best film going experiences of my life. It was demanding, to some degree, but the overall effect was certain confirmation for me that a film that is made for the long form can build to emotional heights and atmosphere unparalleled. You live and breathe with a long-form film, and the good ones have an uncanny ability to stay with you and become part of you. This is one of the most secret corners of the art form these days, as most filmmakers work to make things more compact, flashier, shocking. GUYS, PEOPLE DON’T HAVE ATTENTION SPANS ANYMORE. EVERYBODY KNOW’S IT.

I sense that Von Trier is an admirer of Andrei Tarkovsky (there may or may not be multiple references to Tarkovsky’s films in Nymphomaniac), and it seems he is tapping into a meditative atmosphere that shares more than a few parallels with the Russian master’s work. I say this in reference to the long-form spiritually infused storytelling, but also as a warning to those who have already dismissed this movie as too perverse, sadistic, or disturbing before having seen it: everything about the set-up and pitch/spin/advertising of this film is one giant bait (red herring, if you like) for certain pre-conceived notions about what it is to be. Again, typical Lars Von Trier. He loves to play the antagonist out the gate, I imagine in an effort to guard his work from superficial engagement. Again, I get it.

However, it may also keep some folks safely away from taking the dive into what is actually an often times lighthearted and humorous, sometimes theoretical or contemplative and sometimes visceral and painful, exploration of the word ‘nymphomania’, the condition itself, femininity vs. masculinity, the sex drive and the limitless build up of cultural/spiritual/social edifices that we compulsively add to it.

"Perhaps the only difference between me and other people was that I always demanded more from the sunset — more spectacular colors as the sun hit the horizon — that’s perhaps my only sin." Says Joe, the titular self-professed nymphomaniac, recounting her story to the a-sexual Seligman (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard respectively)

"Fill all my holes." the younger Joe pleads with Jerome, the man who she loves in spite of her anti-love ideology.

Nymphomaniac is about power vs force, about being vs. non-being and the void. What disposition do we take toward our feeling, our life - victim or lover? The void is limitless, yes, and as such is also the space from which springs absolute freedom. Nature has a horror of emptiness but the spirit has a horror of fullness.


Seth

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The Punk Singer a film about Kathleen Hanna by Sini Anderson

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/rftmusic/KathleenHannaThePunkSingerFilm.jpg
Nothing like a good music doc to make you fall in love with an artist whose real value lies a little deeper than their sound. Kathleen Hanna is a Force and I’m counting myself among her loyal supporters. I’m only sorry I didn’t know until just now. Good film.
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It’s these real solid rockers —who embody righteous belief, whose energy comes from a place of fundamental understanding and will, whose resolve and message are so clear and intelligent that they don’t need to sell or convince you of anything— who really get me ramped up and remind me that we get to decide on our own who wins the battle between good and evil. These rockers fuel me. I want my art to be honorable and progressive, not time-killer.

http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2013/11/25/-3---kathleen-hanna-playing-the-drums.-photo-courtesy-of-allison-michael-orenstein_wide-85e15369ca3aa6f644dc72a1eb270345a5ba78e9-s6-c30.jpg

Hanna’s contribution to feminist advancement is one thing (one huge thing) but her ethos can be applied to any sphere wherein small-mindedness/greed/FEAR/etc. threaten individual/societal/human potential and well-being. That’s rock & roll for me, dude. Rebelliousness not for the sake of bratty self-indulgence, but as a stand against faulty standard practice and accepted cultural shortcomings.
What a voice, wow. I shouldn’t try to write about it. The sound and lyrics really do sum it up in the best possible way. Her positive charge astride the indignation is my favorite part. From “I Like Fucking”:
Just ‘cause my world, sweet sister, is so fucking goddamn full of rape—
Does that mean my body must always be a source of pain?
No. No. No.

Just ‘cause I named it right here sweet
chickadee
don’t mean for a minute you should think I’m the opposite of anything—
but if you wanna know for sure I’ll tell you
We’re not gonna prove nothing nothing
Sittin around watching each other starve
What we need is action/strategy
I want I want I want
I want it now.
I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure, babe.

I do, I do, I do.


Here’s some footage of “Don’t Need You” live (featured in the doc at higher quality— streaming on Netflix, btw) that has me mesmerized.
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Joe

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