The Paranoid Style was a special committee convened in 2012 in order to address our country’s many pressing problems. Elizabeth Nelson (Bird Of Youth) and Timothy Bracy (The Mendoza Line) are at the forefront of this unique brain trust.
A symposium was recently held at Misra World Headquarters. Mid-function, it became wildly apparent that Misra needs to disseminate The Power of Our Proven System—a new extended play (EP) recording by The Paranoid Style. The new tracks will be endorsed alongside The Purposes of Music in General—a previously released EP. Both recordings will be available on Black Friday (November 29) of this year.
(((PRE-ORDER))) a limited-edition cassette (100)
MSR074: The Power of Our Proven System EP (Side A) + The Purposes of Music in General EP (Side B)
Release Date: Black Friday (November 29, 2013)
Dick Hofstadter wrote that the paranoid style in American politics is marked by “movements of suspicious discontent”—convictions that the natural or authentic unfolding of history is subverted by cultural or corporate or catholic conspiracies—that ancient committees or unholy novelties connive to ensure that Things Are Not As They Should Be.
In the Manichaean mind of Hofstadter’s paranoiac, control over this world is vested in a pre-specified enemy who “is a perfect model of malice… sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving.” Juxtaposed with our constrained heroes, this Devil is “not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations.” Rather “he wills, indeed, he manufactures, the mechanism of history.”
The paranoiac—her faculties addled, ever on the lookout for these Demons greasily fingering the levers of conspiracy—is tragicomic because, of course, Entropy reigns. The Devil is neither red nor scaly; no bifurcated tail, no hayfork. The Devil is the places you end up no matter what you do. Or don’t. The Devil is it didn’t matter. The Devil is there’s nobody looking out for you, no ten-year budget window. The Devil is inertia, cold and dumb.
Hofstadter had in mind Goldwater—and by implication and breeding, the Tea Party, too—when he wrote the Paranoid Style. Though we see just as much of the paranoiac’s rage against her own inefficaciousness, projected this time onto Windsor-knotted totems, in the inert gyrations of the Occupiers.
But more than Right and Left, Entropy reserves its heartiest guffaw for the Hofstadters themselves—for the Brylcreemed technocrat Friends of Archimedes who thought if they could stand far enough away, with a big enough lever, they could lift the very Earth from off its foundations and diagram its armature for posterity with a steely detached clinicism. That somehow because they could look upon the abyss they were free of it.
One can imagine the parties, in the vague years between Eisenhower and Reagan, where ordinary people first borrowed, as Hofstadter did, from the DSM, and enunciated terms like “codependence” with a skilled labor. Now, the psychobabble is so much a part of the grammar we don’t notice it, but then it must have been so comforting—if only for that transitory disenchanting moment—for self-loathing deviants and hysteric housewives everywhere to expose in medicinal language the causal structure of their most fearsome despairs.
But to have named something is not, as it is sometimes suggested, to have power over it. Indeed, it was the most perverted assumption of the Hofstadters of the world that if the jointure of determinism were laid sufficiently bare, they could find room therein for Free Will.
And it’s these very boomer bastards—clueless and compromised and inexorable—who run the world Elizabeth and Tim and You and I stand to inherit. Our Paranoid Style, as opposed to theirs, is provisional and contingent and contextualized. It is self-delimited, rooted in the small-c conservative conviction that Man is neither perfect nor perfectible—and don’t get us started on Woman.
It was incubated in New York, where nobody cares about anything, and birthed in D.C., where everybody cares about Nothing—but it eschews the bipolar, all-or-nothing fight between God and the Devil, in favor of confronting the rabble of lesser deities of deprivation and excess who constitute the pantheon from which our generation poaches their boutique metaphysics a la carte.
And the beauty of lesser gods, as Saul Bellow had it, is you can take their names however you like.
—Dan Foster, Fall, 2013
Crooks on Tape is on MAGNET Magazine’s “What Record Are You Most Looking Forward To Next Week?” poll. Fingerprint—their debut album—is out next week. Please do VOTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
The wonderful folks at The A.V. Club have premiered Crooks On Tape’s debut album Fingerprint in its entirety (((LINK to listen)). Crooks features members of Enon, Brainiac, Mannheim Steamroller and Anthrax.
Fingerprint is out 10/22 (CD/Digital) + 11/5 (LP/Cassette). You can order all formats from the Misra Store now, however, and receive your order by 10/22 (((LINK to buy))).
The wonderful folks at Stereogum premiered Crooks On Tapes’ “If Feelings Means a Thing”. The song is track two off their forthcoming debut record Fingerprint. “Feelings” is a dark, brooding, atmospheric number set in 3/4 time. It asks and tells. It’s a beautiful song. As with many Crooks numbers, “Feelings” picks up where Enon (the former band of Crooks members John Schmersal and Rick Lee) left off.
Fingerprint is out 10/22 (CD/Digital) and 11/5 (LP/Cassette). Crooks were recently picked up by Windish Agency as well and will tour in the coming months. Stay tuned!
Holopaw were featured on Deadspin—the sports website owned by Gawker Media. The site slows down the recent OSU vs. NW game to a ridiculous speed and accompanies it with an older Holopaw track—one from their Sub Pop days.
The premise: strange sports moments are slowed down to ridiculous speeds and matched with indie music. Thanks to Timothy Burke and the fabulous folks at Deadspin!
Via Deadspin (Saturday, October 6):
“We’re not entirely sure how, but as of this writing Ohio State’s only put up one touchdown tonight—and they got it on a punt block that exhibited such dominance you wonder how they’re losing to Northwestern.
Regardless, this is a highlight at any level. We appreciate that ABC/ESPN used a proper camera to film this angle, and giving us the ability to slow it down to something truly stupid.”
This is a Deadspin Video, in which strange sports moments are slowed down to ridiculous speeds and matched with indie music. This video features “Shiver” by Holopaw.
Hallelujah the Hills were recently mentioned in the New York Times in a feature titled “A Presidential Pub Crawl.” Check out the section under “Charlie’s Kitchen” and you’ll find the following:
“’Everybody goes to Charlie’s,’ said Helen Metros, who at 83 has been waiting tables there for 54 years. She recalled slinging burger specials to Mr. Bush and countless other political names. ‘Some students can be know-it-alls,’ she said, but Mr. Bush was ‘always a gentleman.’ On the main floor, Charlie’s has tables with distinctive red-and-black tops and the aura of a classic dive. Head upstairs for a more bar-like feeling and a jukebox featuring local bands like Hallelujah the Hills. Jaap Overgaag, the manager, said that people try to persuade him to move to a digital jukebox, but he’s resisted since the smaller local acts would be excluded. Try the double cheeseburger.”
Hey, awesome. Boston’s favorite sons are busy at work on music videos, recordings, and more. Also, dig the new Spotify playlist HtH frontman Ryan Walsh just put together [link]. HtH!
While Southeast Engine has been quiet these latter months, the band recently received a couple thoughtful write-ups. One is from a *very* focused blog called Lonesome Whistle (Songs About Trains). They write about songs about trains… and that’s all. Pretty sweet, really. The site hones in on SEE song C&O Railroad—a track off last year’s Canaanville EP.
Here’s another from Something Else! Reviews. It’s part of a feature called “On Second Thought”. In it (and above), you get to witness an *extremely* rare performance by Northwest Motor (Southeast Engine Lite). It was filmed at the old Bruce Manor in Athens, Ohio.
SEE frontman Adam Remnant has been working on solo material as of late. He recently got to do a mini-tour with fellow Ohian Bill Fox. It was a real treat to witness.
Lastly, below is a picture of a grandmother eating spaghetti. Happy autumn to all!
The wonderful folks of Dayton City Paper did a cover a story on Misra. The full feature details the label’s past, present, and future, as well as its recent move to label manager Leo DeLuca’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Dayton-tied Misra artists R. Ring (Kelley Deal), Motel Beds, and Crooks on Tape (John Schmersal) are also highlighted. Nearly 20,000 of these are circulating in the Gem City. If you’re in the area, do pick up a copy!
Spineriders—the old band of the late, great Jason Molina (Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co)—has seen some phenomenal press (some below). Misra co-released Spineriders Hello Future Tinglies with Aquabear Legion. AB is the Athens-OH based art collective of Molina’s boyhood friend and Spineriders/Songs: Ohia founding member Todd Jacops + Lorain, OH native/Admiral King H.S. Alum (Molina’s boyhood home/alma mater) Brian Koscho. Spineriders drummer Carl Raponi made some prints for the occasion (on sale as well) and provided some (forthcoming) video footage.
We pressed the album on cassette—an effort to stay true to the times in which this music was made. There are only 300 of these puppies in existence and they are going quick. Head here to purchase and support. All proceeds to Musicians Emergency Medical Association (memafund.org).
Holopaw head down to Miami, FL to play a show this Saturday… but it’s not just any show. Roger Beebe will provide 16mm visuals during their set. “The Congress of Beauty”: 8 songs + 5 16mm projectors. This is a Grade A treat.
Thanks to Jose Duran, Liz Tracy and the wonderful folks at both Miami and Broward/Palm Beach New Times for great features on Paw. Head (((here))) to read Jose’s “Holopaw’s John Orth Talks Queer Identity, Working as a Visual Artist” and (((here))) to read Liz’s “Holopaw’s John Orth on Whether Gay Can Still Be Edgy and the Beauty of Gainesville.”
WHO: Holopaw with Roger Beebe on 16mm visuals
WHAT: What? 8 songs + 5 16mm projectors
WHERE: Gramps Bar >> Miami, FL
WHEN: Saturday, August 31