Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Nothing Painted Blue - "Swivelchair" 7"

Nothing Painted Blue – “Swivelchair” 7”
Kokopop, 1992
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008
Price: $.50
I became a fan of Nothing Painted Blue through frontman Franklin Bruno’s involvement with The Mountain Goats (and the Goats’ live cover of NPB’s “Houseguest”). It got weird when I found out a few of their records (including the ones I owned) were produced by my Western Civ II instructor. It was one of those spooky coincidences. So now every time I put on my Nothing Painted Blue records, I just think of how I was a fucking godawful terrible student in that Western Civ class. It was a bad time. I kept sneaking out of class for long stretches of time to have lunch with my ex-girlfriend in the basement of Wescoe Hall. It’s not like I was a freshman, either. I was a junior and I should have known better. But alas, trying to win back your ex-girlfriend is more important than Friedrich Nietzsche. To the course’s credit, I did end up writing a very stimulating paper on Freud’s searing critique on organized religion The Future of an Illusion and Chris Dick and I used to have long conversations about Rousseau’s “Man in the State of Nature” at the bar. So the class wasn’t totally lost on me.

Nothing Painted Blue’s wry college rock isn’t particularly special (that said, it’s pretty fucking great), but it is particularly enjoyable. The hooks are great, the songs are fun and clever, and when it comes to 1990s alt-rock this stuff is at worst listenable and at best earth shatteringly great. Nothing Painted Blue are in the top percentile of these alt/college rock groups because of their sense of play and a strange charm that comes through in the chorus of “Blooming, Buzzing” via Bruno’s everyman drawl morphing into a sweet little hook. That everyman mentality is what makes this kind of music such a joy. These were just dudes in their 20s, hanging out, throwing together some jams, putting out a 7”, and playing shows. With the best bands, there’s never the pretension of trying to be successful. They’re striving to make good music with what they have, and there is something very pure and very beautiful in that.

"Swivelchair" - Days after writing this entry, this song was lodged in my head to the point where I was quietly singing the line "I wanna sit in your office/ I wanna play with your office supplies" under my breath like a psychopath.

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