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Falling together in 1994 as a loose conglomeration, Doldrums quickly honed a bracing twin-guitar attack, as played by Justin Chearno (ex Pitchblende) and former Rake bassist Bill Kellum, with Bill's brother Matt Kellum (who also plays with Chomsky and the Death Ray Davies) on drums. Taking off from the launching pad of Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia, Doldrums debuted with the "XA" 7" and quickly began refining a style that combined blissful and twisting guitar journeys with the nuts and volts of cerebral rock outsiders like Ash Ra Tempel and This Heat. With Matt's shifting, pulse-pounding rhythms as anchor, the group launched a series of memorable albums on Bill's VHF label in 1995. Following their debut, Secret Life of Machines, the trio shifted between VHF and Chicago's Kranky, issuing Acupuncture (Kranky) in 1997, the outstanding Feng Shui (VHF) in 1998, and Desk Trickery (Kranky) in 1999. Despite not touring behind the releases, the group has earned a devoted following of discerning musicos who value the trio's intelligent uses of both the electric guitar and the rock form as something more than a hackneyed cliché.
The doldrums is a colloquial expression derived from historical maritime usage, in which it refers to those parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean affected by the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure area around the equator where the prevailing winds are calm. The low pressure is caused by the centrifugal force from the rotation movement of the Earth which is most important at the equator, which makes the air rise and travel north and south high in the atmosphere, until it subsides again in the horse latitudes. Some of that air returns to the doldrums through the trade winds. This process can lead to light or variable winds and more severe weather, in the form of squalls, thunderstorms and hurricanes. The doldrums are also noted for calm periods when the winds disappear altogether, trapping sail-powered boats for periods of days or weeks. The term appears to have arisen in the 18th century – when cross-Equator sailing voyages became more common.
Colloquially, the "doldrums" are a state of inactivity, mild depression, listlessness or stagnation.
The word is derived from dold (an archaic term meaning "stupid") and -rum(s), a noun suffix found in such words as "tantrum"."Doldrums" on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary site Dictionary.com, based on the Random House Dictionary, Random House, Inc., 2011.
The Pacific doldrums were notably described in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:All in a hot and copper sky,The bloody Sun, at noon,'Right up above the mast did stand,No bigger than the Moon.Day after day, day after day,We stuck, no breath no motion;As idle as a painted shipUpon a painted ocean.
The colloquial expression was used in Norton Juster's children's book Phantom Tollbooth, in which a place called "The Doldrums" is inhabited by the Lethargarians who follow the same list of activities every day, which mostly include lounging around and sleeping, just like the colloquial meaning of the word.The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster