down a rock music rabbit hole

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(Image above from a Birdeatsbaby video)

This is how an entire afternoon can disappear. Recently I was perusing a long list of rock music genres and sub-genres when I came across this one:

Italian Occult Psychedelia

How could I not look into it? Before long I was on Spotify listening to a band called Cannibal Movie.  Imagine if you dumped a beat up old carnival organ into a swamp, and then the Creature from the Black Lagoon sat down and began to play. The sound burbling up from the water is their song, “Fame.” 

Take a less distorted organ and add somber drumming and gothic chanting and you’ve got Capra Informis. Music to play at a goat sacrifice – “Tunnels of Cliphoth.” From here I moved on to …

Math Rock

I listened to music from several bands in this genre and really couldn’t detect a common denominator (ha ha) among them. One British group called Three Trapped Tigers had an album called “Numbers: 1-13” with songs labelled 1, 2, etc., as befitting math rock. I like a lot of this music. Another group, from Japan, called Ruins was utterly different and berserk. I recommend this inspired weirdness called “Skhanddraviza,” which must be a homage to Frank Zappa.

Folk Metal

I started with Finntroll. I don’t know why, but this combination of black metal and a type of Finnish polka music was hard to take seriously. It kept reminding me of the Stonehenge scene from Spinal Tap. Much of this genre is Scandinavian. However, the Orphaned Land is out of Israel, mixing metal with Middle Eastern folk music. Here they are live, doing a number without the deep growly voice technique they use on other songs. Finally, I’ll end with:

Dark Cabaret

Picture a group of young circus vampires trying to look menacing while playing squeezeboxes. Face makeup, accordions, and a theatrical style create the cabaret and lyrics about death and destruction make it dark. The Tiger Lillies recommend mindless insurrection in “Start a Fire.” I really like the stop motion style video for this Birdeatsbaby song called “The Trouble.”

You can have the same adventure I did by following the links to the music videos above. As an avant-guard metal band, Gorguts, says, “As spleen takes over me, resound, the echoes of my threnodies.” Live at the Brutal Assault festival.

(Avant-garde metal band, Giant Squid.)

futility closet & you are not so smart

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Here’s a shout out to Futility Closet, a fine podcast that presents something mysterious, quirky, or unusual each episode. And puzzles. I bet the co-hosts didn’t suspect that listening to them challenge each other with lateral thinking puzzles would be so entertaining for listeners. But it is. Interesting webpage to go with the show. Also on Facebook.

futility

You Are Not So Smart (A Celebration of Self Delusion); another excellent podcast. If you’re interested in psychology, behavior, habits, memory, and the like, this one is a treat. Expert guest speakers, cogent commentary, and cookies. Here it is. Also on Facebook.

notsosmart

ta-nehisi coates

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Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about the black experience in America with clear, compelling prose. Here are small excerpts from “Letter to My Son,” published in The Atlantic. These two quotes are designed to persuade you read the whole article. Better yet, get the upcoming book from which this is adapted, Between the World and Me. Critics are favorably comparing his work to that of James Baldwin.

It had to be blood. It had to be the thrashing of kitchen hands for the crime of churning butter at a leisurely clip. It had to be some woman “chear’d … with thirty lashes a Saturday last and as many more a Tuesday again.” It could only be the employment of carriage whips, tongs, iron pokers, handsaws, stones, paperweights, or whatever might be handy to break the black body, the black family, the black community, the black nation. The bodies were pulverized into stock and marked with insurance. And the bodies were an aspiration, lucrative as Indian land, a veranda, a beautiful wife, or a summer home in the mountains.

The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never redeem this.

When Coates says, “Enslavement was not destined to end,” I know the same is true for the horrors that have continued since emancipation including the ones we see in the news on a regular basis today. Liberty isn’t a destiny, it’s an endless struggle to achieve and maintain.

the “woo” in woo-woo and the “sigh” in science – educational oracle cards

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After a brief hiatus, the amazing spectral zoology cards are back on Amazon. Click the giraffe, please. Meanwhile the reliable Spectral Zoology home still holds all the precious information you need as well as a secondary site for ordering. Discover if, as you always suspected, the nematode is your spirit animal.

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is it sick weather?

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When the sky looks gray and droopy, is that sick weather?

I guess not, because according to the map at sickweather.com, almost no one is sick here. I looked up the Seattle map and discovered  that someone on the west side of Green Lake had a fever 11 days ago. Also, a person at the U.W. had one two days ago. Brace yourself for this next bit – one person in the Ballard neighborhood reported having a cough yesterday!

Either this is a really healthy city or not many people know about sickweather.com and are reporting in. I feel like I ought to report some symptoms just to populate it, but that would be wrong. Wouldn’t it? If I said that one ear was itchy and my toes felt hot, would that skew everything?

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spectral zoology – a preview

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OMG. ROFL. Holy Toledo.  A new website is born. And it presages the greatest animal-spirit-guide-oracle-card event in history. 

Spectral Zoology

The card decks, stuffed with magic and packed with celestial animal soul power, should be available by the end of October. Check back frequently at this location:

Spectral Zoology

The card deck of the future, and of the deep past. These 35 cards will rock the very foundation of the animal-spirit-guide-oracle-card industry.

Spectral Zoology

The invisible hand of the market will place a deck in your pocket when you aren’t looking.