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Nothing Painted Blue


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Los Angeles, United States (1987 – present)

Nothing Painted Blue is an American indie rock band, sporadically active since the 1990s, led by songwriter Franklin Bruno. Bruno and drummer Kyle Brodie have been the only constant members, as the remainder of the lineup has undergone a number of changes throughout the band’s existence. They formed in 1987 in Los Angeles and released their debut LP, A Baby, a Blanket, a Packet of Seeds, in 1990.

The band sometimes spelled their name as “Nøthing Painted Blue” (abbreviated “ØPB”), a use of notation for the empty set in mathematics. References to mathematics are common in their songwriting and iconography (Bruno’s undergraduate degree was in mathematics; he is currently a visiting professor of philosophy at Northwestern University); for example, their 1998 record was named after The Monte Carlo Method. The cover of the same album depicts pins scattered randomly on a surface, an apparent reference to a probabilistic method for approximating pi. Their album Placeholders features a song called Can’t f(x), an abuse of mathematical notation for the song’s refrain, “can’t function.”

The band’s name apparently comes from one of Ann-Margret’s lines in the 1964 film Kitten with a Whip: “How come you think you’re such a smoky something, when you’re so nothing painted blue?”


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  • AlanQuays

    Does anyone have 'A Baby, a Blanket, a Packet of Seeds' digitised? I have the record and can take a picture of it, but won't be able to listen to it until June.

    2 Feb 2014 Reply
  • Captain_Waffles

    Damn, Placeholders is a legitimately incredible classic indie album, how the hell do these guys have less than 4000 listeners??

    1 Feb 2013 Reply
  • mecbirdhouse

    Mountain Goats live covers of Houseguest are a beauty to behold.

    11 Feb 2012 Reply
  • MikeGTN

    No matter what new music I wander off and listen to, I always seem to come back to NPB. I had the priviledge of seeing the band once, briefly in 1994. Franklin is probably one of the finest lyricists around - but somehow I still prefer the work with the band to his solo stuff. Just seems to make him a bit more bitter and incisive somehow, and that's when he's at his best!

    16 Oct 2008 Reply
  • edith_lunch

    Franklin Bruno is a beautiful song writer.

    12 Oct 2008 Reply
  • stereobread

    I know this is probably frowned upon in the community but I actually own the release so I'm not too concerned. I have what seems to be a cassette only release by Franklin Bruno (of NPB) calle Suggestion Box, well, cassettes don't last forever and I was wondering if anybody knew where I could find an mp3 version of this tape.

    29 Jul 2007 Reply
  • davidleerock

    does anyone have logorrhea or web fluid or any live stuff? if anyone's interested in getting hold of a few rare-ish tracks, message me.

    15 Apr 2007 Reply
  • Mistar_Glass

    I think my top five are: Cathexis, Scapegoat, Masonic Eye, Campaign Song, and Sorely Tempted. Holy shit I loooove Cathexis so much.

    12 Apr 2007 Reply
  • davidleerock

    npb are my favourite band, and it's a tragedy i'll probably never see them play live. the best i'll get is probably the mountain goats performing houseguest, possibly with FJB. still, that'd be pretty good. favourite songs? it's hard to choose, but i'd include Niacin, Spent, Genre Exercise and Another Child Bride. And Missed The Point, 'cause it rawks like a safari park chimp.

    8 Apr 2007 Reply
  • Mistar_Glass

    I'm slowly thinking this was the single best band that made it out of the Inland Empire.

    29 Aug 2006 Reply

    theyre a great, underappreciated band.

    12 Mar 2006 Reply

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