A snowfall of diacritics, an avalanche of röck döts

Like most publications about science news for a general public, the weekly New Scientist has a notable sense of humor: two cartoons about science in every issue (see below), bits of word play inserted all over the place, and the occasional wryly funny news brief, like this one (“Bleak, very bleak”) in the 29 May 2021 issue, p. 56 (a note in “The back pages / Feedback” section):

We are grateful, for some value of grateful, to Michael Zehse for drawing our attention to the music of Nænøĉÿbbœrğ VbëřřћōlöKäävsŧ. We discover, as the extensive use of röck döts [AZ: and other diacritics] was perhaps inviting us to conclude, that this is “an extremely underground band that plays a dank, bleak, light-void music commonly referred to as either ‘ambient cosmic extreme funeral drone doom metal’ or ‘post-noise’.”

Having begun listening to one track, 10^100 Gs of Artificial Gravity, from their album The Ultimate Fate of the Universe, we can’t confirm the accuracy of the first description, but the second seems pretty fair.

The “windy, staticy” tone was achieved by the two band members, researchers who describe themselves as having met while studying carnivorous Antarctic predators, loading a bass, an amp and a laptop onto a dog sled to sample at the precise geographic South Pole during a long winter. Whatever we think of the outcome, this is true dedication to art. Rëspëkt.

Side note: the cartoons. In every issue, a Tom Gauld cartoon — on this blog, a Page about my postings on Gauld.

Also in every issue, a Twisteddoodles cartoon by Maria Boyle. Her brief bio on the magazine’s site:

Maria Boyle works as a research microbiologist specialising in health and hygiene but is best known as the cartoonist and illustrator [of] Twisteddoodles. She has published a number of scientific papers as well as a not-so-scientific book about having kids called The Newborn Identity. She lives in Dublin with her family and one-eyed cat.

röck döts. From Wikipedia,

A metal umlaut or röck döts is a diacritic that is sometimes used gratuitously or decoratively over letters in the names of hard rock or heavy metal bands [AZ: I find the singular usage with röck döts bizarre; actual examples of a metal umlaut is abound, but I find none at all of a röck döts is; I imagine that something like Metal umlauts or röck döts are diacritics that are … was intended]— for example, those of Blue Öyster Cult, Queensrÿche, Motörhead, the Accüsed, Mötley Crüe and the parody band Spın̈al Tap.

On this blog, see the Bizarro parody of Blue Öyster Cult in my 9/9/20 posting “Red Löbster Cult” (with some material on the umlaut in the name):


And then from Eye Magazine on 6/2/11, “Dot dot rock”, a piece by Zoë Street Howe on “the black art of ‘heavy metal umlauts'”, with this display on three röck döt bands (and notes on their names):


a. L.A rockers Mötley Crüe, formed in 1981, were relatively late to the party, but made up for it with two gratuitous metal umlauts in dramatic blackletter script.

b.  Motörhead’s Lemmy insists the umlaut was ‘just there to look mean’. Often seen accompanied by the ‘Snaggletooth’ fanged face logo, designed in 1977 by Joe Petagno for the band’s eponymous debut album.

c. Lääz Rockit, established 1982 in San Francisco. Lesser known but critically acclaimed, their name is a reference to the final scene in Clint Eastwood’s 1976 movie The Enforcer, which featured a M72 LAW Rockit.

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