Nate Mendelsohn opens up about the anxiety, the community, and humanity at the heart of Market’s new album ‘The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong’, a record of raw inner reckoning aching with passion, feverish energy, and restless indie rock.
Stream: “Bag of Jeans” – Market
When am I gonna stop writing songs about being an asshole to my friends, and just start never being an asshole to them?
– “Looking Back On The Spanish Civil War,” Market
Balancing at the breaking point between chaos and order, Market’s latest LP is equal parts tender and intense, soothing and agitating. It’s a record of inner reckoning, processing life’s highs, lows, and in-betweens in real time. Often they find fresh meaning in the void, coming away with more than they started with; and sometimes, they simply come away with a pretty snapshot of a memory, forever frozen in song. Born of anxiety and reflection, The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong is a raw upheaval of the soul aching with passion, feverish energy, and restless indie rock.
i understand we’re all turning into our parents
but you’re not the same as your mom
it’s the thing that you fixate on
i’ve got the psyche of a dropbox or google docs
it’s the thing i get from my pops
and that’s not wrong bag of genes
and just last week you wondered if we were held too tight
maybe that’s why i’m risk averse
unless i’m drunk or it’s summer baby
there’s always a first
you were held but much less tight and for much less time
is that why you lied about the ski team cause
i don’t mind bag of genes
Released April 29, 2022 via Western Vinyl, The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong is an enchanting emotional cacophony wrapped up in a warm, intimately immersive musical blanket. Market’s third full length album (following 2020’s yuy and last year’s demo collection, Marquet Anthologet, Vol. 1) finds frontman, recording engineer, and multi-instrumentalist Nate Mendelsohn diving deeper into (and unraveling) himself more so than ever before in an array of rich, angular, catchy, and emotionally potent content. Together with band mates Natasha Thweatt, Stephen Becker, Duncan Standish, Katie Von Schleicher, and Adam Brisbin, Mendelsohn guides listeners through what he lovingly calls an album of “anxiety, comedy, and family.”
“This is the first record I’ve made that felt like a real live band was at the core of it,” he tells Atwood Magazine. “The recording process really reflected that, and everybody contributed so much. When I think back on this record, that’s what is most present for me. Without a single one of the people involved the record would be completely different and I’m not just saying that. The thing I feel most proud of here is that I knew the right group of people to assemble to make this come out so well.”
“As far as the story of the songs themselves, they all came out of a time where I was sort of struggling with my mental health, and while that time period sucked it also allowed me to push into some things lyrically that felt true. Anxiety is a beast; it forces you to see things vividly, though not necessarily accurately. That vividness resulted in some songs that were more lyrics-forward than in the past. Lots of stream of consciousness observations, intense imagery, funny and sad observations … there is a vibe across the album that I think came out of that time period and ultimately served the album pretty well. But I wasn’t very happy. To be clear, I hate the myth of the sad artist making the best art … I’m much happier now and making songs I think are as good or better. But that mindset and that time period is sort of what congeals the album to me. The “Gong” in the title is the gong that rings when something is off, vaguely. That gong was ringing loud and clear for a long time, for better and for worse.”
Going further into the imagery of the gong, Mendelsohn explains, “The gong rings when things feel off. It is a reminder, an alert, and a nudge. But at the same time, you can’t always correct things, sometimes you hear the gong ringing and you notice it, accept it, and continue on. That’s life … you’re not in a self help book or an infomercial. It’s messy. The gong is ringing. It sucks. But you need it, you get it, you do your best, you get back to work. You cry a little, laugh a little, shrug a lot. It’s brutal! That’s ok. It’s not going to stop! That’s ok too. The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong. Is this making sense?”
Market’s past albums have never failed to enthrall, and yet there’s a particular magic about the communal effort that went into making their latest collection of songs: Each track is a resonant world unto itself, with the band’s compelling vocal harmonies ringing out atop a smorgasbord of colorful, vivid guitars and assorted drums, keyboards, electronics, and even the occasional clarinet.
“The vision was first and foremost to capture the band, and we did that effectively because Adam Hirsch is an amazing engineer and got these gorgeous basic tracks happening for us,” Mendelsohn notes. “Then we went into the woods to do overdubs and flesh things out and Katie Von Schleicher took over as producer and engineer. Honestly, what I envisioned is more or less what happened, process-wise. But I never could have imagined some of it coming out as great as it did. As it was coming together we were all like “…this is good…” There was a conscious recognition that this process was working well for the music, a gratitude that we had the time and space and cast of characters to give it everything it needed. I don’t want to be over romantic about it, I just really feel so lucky that everybody did such an insanely good job. The playing, the recording, Sam’s mixing. The vision was there but what I hear when I listen back is the team effort.”
For Mendelsohn, The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong is so much more than “the next” Market album; it’s a reintroduction to the band’s evolved artistry, showcasing everything they’ve become in the six years since their debut.
“I’m proud of it, and I release it into the world without the reservations I’ve often had in the past. At the same time, I’m working on new music that is pretty different. A lot of samples, drum machines, speaking … it’s feeling distinct. My interests and intentions have shifted, as they always do. But in many ways The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong still feels relevant to me, and it sets the stage for what’s coming next for sure. Lyrically there is a lot in common. I’m still thinking about a lot of the same things.”
Nature, nurture, family, friends, memory, compulsion, attraction, anxiety. I think the album accurately presents who and what Market is.
Market shine from end to end on The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong, setting an instantly compelling scene through contemplative album opener “Bag of Jeans.” “I understand we’re all turning into our parents, but you’re not the same as your mom,” Mendelsohn sings gently, conjuring up memories of old John Lennon records as his voice becomes a beacon of warmth atop the cool haze of guitars. “It’s the thing that you fixate on. I’ve got the psyche of a dropbox or google docs, it’s the thing I get from my pops, and that’s not wrong… bag of genes.” A swarm of sweet, seductive vocal harmonies join in at the word “wrong,” going on to join Mendelsohn every so often as the song progresses and the narrator tries to accept their metamorphosis into their parents (and all the associated baggage). It’s a tasteful and subtle decision, and yet it injects a full rainbow of feeling into an otherwise mellow and moody reflection.
Dazzling, pseudo-psychedelic vocal harmonies are something of a staple of Market’s artistry at this point in the band’s career, popping up again and again throughout The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong as the band swoop low and soar high. Energetic songs like “Scar,” “I Would Do That,” and “Old” marry buoyant melodies with unfettered, surging overdrive, whilst inimitable standouts like “Looking Back On The Spanish Civil War” and “Watergate” thrive in a softer, slower, smoother, and more soothing environment: Both songs are instant highlights worth special attention and repeat listens.
when am i gonna stop writing songs about being an asshole to my friends
and just start never being an asshole to them
i caught on to admitting my faults so i’ll never have to change something
i think i read in college days
you were surprised, you were surprised
things i admitted to revealing my anxieties over Chinese food
you were surprised, you were surprised
but i could not be fooled i’m alright and i’m always fine but i am never good
oh Todd, why’d you let me treat ya like a lesser creature
i don’t want to have to worry bout ya cause i’m the worst around ya
and oh Todd, i don’t wanna teach ya cause i’m a shitty teacher
you’d just nod and i’d just nod
it wears on you, it wears on you
it doesn’t wear on me an easy time,
a healthy mind a hard thing to believe
when is it gonna stop if it’ll ever stop or can i just unsee?
it’s not how it goes unfortunately
did you ditch your ego dissolving it in LSD?
did you ditch the east coast to get a graduate degree?
or was it about other things and are those things the same for me?
“[It’s] my favorite song on the record, maybe the centerpiece or whatever,” Mendelsohn says of ‘Looking Back On The Spanish Civil War.’ “It’s long, pretty, and lyric-forward–it has a choir of clarinets. It’s about being hard on your friends, especially when they are reflecting things you don’t like about yourself. Hiding and fighting your own insecurities through lashing out. And subsequently, whether being self-aware about that ultimately makes it any better if you don’t make efforts to change. It’s a pretty song about an ugly thing and hopefully there’s some funny to go along with the sad. I try to package the funny and the sad as much as possible throughout the album.”
“‘Looking Back On The Spanish Civil War’ and ‘Old’ capture the two poles of the album, I think,” he continues. “They’re probably my two favorites.” He goes on to share a few of his favorite lyrics from throughout the record; Market’s songs have always given special importance to the words, and Mendelsohn’s writing this time around is second to none, considering just how much life this album processes in its 40-minute run:
“When am I gonna stop writing songs about being an asshole to my friends / and just start never being an asshole to them?”
“2 hours early to the gate and still forgot my medication, fuck”
“I go to Montana, bring back a bandana / that’s got a map on it, you take a crap on it”
“I was standing on the train car, a guy walked in through the door / He sat and I thought I saw his hand slide to comfort the arm of his neighbor / Do they even know each other? Is this such a rare sight? / Til I noticed it was her left arm just resting on her right / Oh, I comfort myself too”
“I have always wondered if sitting on a couch would help / like gangster movies on my shelf, I guess I’ll try it for a change”
“Why did you start to cry while sitting on the couch / Is it the infinite, impossible, small things to worry bout?”
“I’ve got the psyche of a Dropbox or Google Docs / It’s the thing I get from my pops and that’s not wrong”
“Ask me how it connects / Ooh you’re such a skeptic / I’m a skeptic too, I just won’t admit it”
“Half of these feelings aren’t my feelings anymore / but I guess I can still enjoy the notes and chords”
The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong is a visceral and vulnerable roller-coaster of a record.
Market spared no expense on their third studio album, and the result is nothing short of a magnificent joyride – albeit one that goes to hell and back a few times. Still, the band manage to make even the darkest themes (death, aging, insecurity, self-loathing, inner strife and upheaval) shine with an uncanny light. They leave no stone unturned, and ultimately Mendelsohn’s singing candidly and from the heart makes it feel like he’s not some far-off singer in a band, but rather a friend unloading his baggage on familiar ears. That’s what this album is, in the end: A dynamic, charged, comforting, and ultimately cathartic therapy session.
Joining in means you might find some inner peace as well.
i’m not that religious about things
i mean i am not religious at all
but i know better than to look past the little wants,
the moments i find words
the old man at the party said take good care of her
well it’s the 21st century, she can take good care for sure
am i the selfish one? i no longer need to know that i’m being good
i was standing on the train car a guy walked in through the door
he sat and i thought i saw his hand slide to comfort the arm of his neighbor
do they even know each other?
is this such a rare sight?
’til i noticed it was her left arm just resting on her right
oh, i comfort myself too
i no longer need to know that i’m being good
– “Little Wants,” Market
“I just hope people like it, give it repeat listens, listen to the words, stuff like that,” Mendelsohn shares. “Give it a depth of attention and time. That’s all one can hope for, really. And it’s a hope, not an expectation. I’m excited for it to be out there and to move on to the next thing. I’m grateful to everyone that worked on it and I think they did such a beautiful job, that’s about it. I love making songs and I’m always excited about the next thing, so that’s where my head is at right now.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Market’s The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong with Atwood Magazine as Nate Mendelsohn goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s latest album!
Stream: ‘The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong’ – Market
:: Inside The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong ::
Bag of Jeans
This was the first song that came together for the album, and always served as a sort of mission statement / flag pole / whatever. It’s about becoming your parents as you grow older, and all of the good and bad that comes with that. Ultimately you accept it and appreciate it and laugh at it. It’s a nature vs nurture song. The bass and drums nailed this one, set the feel for the whole album I think.
This is probably the most charged up song, high energy and a chaotic ending and a lot going on. It’s about a month in my life where I was supposed to be in a house upstate making music with friends but my grandma died, my relationship was dissolving, and a tick bite put me in the ER overnight. It was simultaneously a month of great fun, relaxation, and luxury, but also one of the most tumultuous for me, ever. Pure hot summer chaos. Country punk fever dream, etc. In the music video I wake up with an overgrown middle finger and we play laser tag.
Looking Back On The Spanish Civil War
My favorite song on the record, maybe the centerpiece or whatever. It’s long, pretty, and lyric-forward–it has a choir of clarinets. It’s about being hard on your friends, especially when they are reflecting things you don’t like about yourself. Hiding and fighting your own insecurities through lashing out. And subsequently, whether being self-aware about that ultimately makes it any better if you don’t make efforts to change. It’s a pretty song about an ugly thing and hopefully there’s some funny to go along with the sad. I try to package the funny and the sad as much as possible throughout the album.
Not really about Watergate, more about connections between myself and my parents. Different ages, different historical events, getting older, finding parallels. Again I feel so grateful to my band listening to this. They made it work the way it does. I love the harmonies, and Katie’s “ooohs” at the end. I almost made this the last song on the album because it’s that type of vibe, but then I felt it needed to be front and center.
I Would Do That
The lyrics to this one are different, much less detailed and personal, more of a mantra. It’s a weird, complicated, sort of start and stop song for the band, but then Steve played this lead guitar all over the thing and I think it tied it together so well. He’s amazing. After “Looking Back…” and “Watergate” it was important to pick the energy back up and I think “Old” and this song do that nicely.
A short, funny country song. When I first sang this to Katie while working on it, she laughed, and we tried to keep that energy in the forefront. Zany, spontaneous, winky. There was a wild moment where we had the tape rolling and we were all sitting around the room shaking and hitting random percussion instruments and I picked up my clarinet which was sitting nearby and honked out just a few random notes in a weird atonal ecstatic burst. And it doesn’t make any sense but we kept it on the record. I like those moments, I like when it’s loose and kind of fucked up. This song used to be a joke and now it’s one of my favorites.
Back to spacious, sad, pretty songs. This is probably the saddest, but hopefully it makes it worthwhile. Lots of images of trying to find yourself in moments where you feel lost, reminding yourself of truths you know but are having trouble holding onto. The lyrics zoom out and in and out and in which is something Duncan pointed out I do a lot. Searching for meaning, something to act as an anchor. This is one of my favorites to play live because it’s loose and sparse and sort of raw, it works well on stage.
This is the weirdest song on the record, the most constructed in the studio. I like searching for things in the overdub phase, finding weird layers and making decisions that really create or change the vibe of the song. Steve takes such a crazy solo here, with Katie changing the guitar pedal settings with her hands while he plays. And then we did this big gang vocal thing with Steve and Natasha singing way off mic during the weird bridge, it has this playground energy that I love. Also “Douggie” makes an appearance here. “Douggie” is the weak, evil, mean, stupid, generally bad version of me. He pops up a fair amount.
A song about therapy from before I ever went to therapy. In it I wonder aloud when I will need to go to therapy to stay emotionally healthy and when I will need to eat better to stay physically healthy. Now the music is coming out and both of those things have become true. It makes it a funny time capsule. I love Natasha’s harmonies here, and the build up at the end of the song, with the little robot voice in the background.
Ultimately this song needed to be last. It’s sort of an epic: really long, multiple scenes, very emotional. I talk about my grandma’s death, my mindset while commuting, my need for my friends, my favorite TV show (Bojack Horseman). It’s a lot, by any measure. Duncan anchors it on drums through many different moods and energy levels. It’s exhausting but hopefully exhilarating too. A big one to finish on.
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📸 © Ebru Yildiz
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