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by Tyler Gould

7 Oct 2009

“Feet of Courage”, the first single from Nancy Elizabeth’s Wrought Iron, has a very unassuming way of building on itself. The drummer starts off with a sultry beat supporting hypnotic looped vocals, and by the time the song was coming to a close I was enjoying a veritable a cascade of sweet, simple melodies draped over that same beat. A cascade, I tell you! Marissa Nadler might be the closest comparison, but, to make a totally not-insane analogy, Elizabeth is the Mage to Nadler’s Warlock: the aesthetic difference, for this particular song, anyway, is the difference between casting (Elizabeth) and channeling (Nadler). Nadler is possessed by some woozy musical spirit, while “Feet of Courage” is a tool to possess others. This all makes sense to somebody. Nancy Elizabeth joins Efterklang on some U.K. shows later this month, and heads to Italy in November.

by Eleanore Catolico

7 Oct 2009

Faust, eat your heart out. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is Terry Gilliam’s highly awaited new movie, which is set to be released in the U.K. October 16th, and Stateside December 25th. Gilliam’s imagination reaches new transcendental heights with this latest fantasy thriller. Doctor Parnassus, played by Christopher Plummer, makes an infamous deal with the Devil in exchange for immortality. As a leader of a traveling theatre troupe, Doctor Parnassus showcases to the world his Imaginarium, a magical mirror that lets people explore stunning dreamscapes. Soon, the Devil (Tom Waits) comes to get his due and sets his diabolical clutches on Doctor Parnassus’ daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole). When a mysterious stranger, Tony (the late Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law), joins the troupe, he and Parnassus must rescue Valentina together. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is cinematic shock therapy at its most spectacular level.

by Allison Taich

7 Oct 2009

Come January 2010, Animal Collective will re-issue their classic Campfire Songs on their label Paw Tracks. Collective members Avey Tare and Panda Bear conceived the album while in college some years ago. The songs were written and constructed in a shared apartment by Panda, Avey, and Deakin; member Geologist did not play on the album.

The concept was to record five songs, straight through, in one take. It was originally recorded live in 2001, on a screened-in porch in Monkton, Maryland. In order to capture the fresh sounds of trees blowing in the wind, birds chirping, and insects stirring, the band recorded the session on a portable mini-disc player. Campfire Songs was officially released in 2003 on Catsup Plate Records.

According to the band, the album’s goal was to “give the music the feeling and atmosphere of the outdoors and warmth of a fire, so people could bring it indoors.” Complete with flowing melodies and natural ambiance, Campfire Songs is bound to take you on an outdoor adventure this winter.

“Doggy” (fan video)

“Two Corvettes” (fan video)

by Rob Horning

7 Oct 2009

In the New Yorker, James Surowiecki writes about his skepticism of the much-ballyhooed new frugality. (He expands the column on his blog here.) After some zigging and zagging, he concludes:

But the evidence for a radical shift in the way we consume seems more like the product of wishful thinking (there’s a palpable longing among pundits for Americans to become more frugal) than anything else. In many categories, spending has dropped only slightly, if at all. And, while these are very tough times for retailers who believed that spending could only go up, retail sales rose briskly in August. Before we go proclaiming this the age of the American tightwad, a little perspective is in order. Even after the worst recession of the past seventy years, retail sales this year will be about where they were in 2005. Does anyone really think that four years ago Americans were misers?

His point about wishful thinking extends beyond pundits; it seems as though we all would like to see some more frugality from everyone else—this would ease the pressure on us to spend more to keep up, and make what we purchase more distinctive. I suspect that many Americans carry around an idea of how much the U.S. should be saving, and that we would like to see as much as that as possible done by other people. Frugality is one of those traits we piously praise in others because we secretly believe that takes us off the hook for exhibiting it ourselves.

by Lara Killian

7 Oct 2009

It has been an irrepressible activity since the dawn of man: to heap insults on enemies, rivals, neighbors, and even friends.

Despite the ubiquitousness of expressions of disgust and frustration, just because one may be well versed in Anglo-Saxon cursing doesn’t mean you’ll be ready to call out a Russian or an Italian while traveling through this increasingly multicultural world. Not only do authors Dodson and Vanderplank want to give you the tools you’ll need to understand that Swede when he invokes the devil, but also the understanding of where many colloquial put-downs come from.

Dodson, creator of the LanguageHat.com blog, and Vanderplank have gathered an admirable representation of the wide variety of Untranslatable Insults, Put-Downs, and Curses from Around the World. In his introduction, Vanderplank notes that:

For me, insults and curses are the “dark” side of manners and customs and all the more interesting for that, as they may inform us about what lies beneath the social codes, what verbal games men and women play with each other.

The quest to bring obscure insults to English-readers starts in the ancient world, where many Roman insults have to do with sex, and Greek ones with drunkenness. Some of the insults culled from modern vocabularies may be quite familiar; for example readers in the US may have heard someone on the playground tell someone else they’ve been ‘beaten with the ugly stick.’ The Brits have many ways to refer to someone as an idiot, too many to list in this collection, but a favorite Britist insult of mine is ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ to describe a woman who uses clothes and makeup to try to hide her age.

In my experience, calling someone a mama’s boy is usually an insult meaning that he has been coddled and isn’t able to take care of himself. In Italy, sons are traditionally quite close to their mothers and this insult bears no weight—so instead they have figlio di papá, meaning daddy’s boy, implying that the person has left his father behind as he moves up in the world. ‘Scum of soya paste’ wouldn’t have meant much when thrown around at my elementary school, but in Japan misokakku is a popular children’s curse to describe someone annoying.

Translating the ‘Untranslatable’ presents a challenge even for Vanderplank, the Directory of the Oxford University Language Center, so the contextual notes are key to making this guide worth flipping through. Whether you’re looking for an unusual way to taunt your older siblings, or you’re something of an armchair linguist, you’ll find something unique and possibly useful within the pages of Uglier.

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The Moving Pixels Podcast Discusses 'Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2'

// Moving Pixels

"Our foray into the adventure-game-style version of the Borderlands continues.

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