Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Monthly archive December, 2011
metaphors of the urban-industrial backbeat

metaphors of the urban-industrial backbeat

In 1979, the late great music critic Ellen Willis gave a brief yet compelling explanation for how rock and roll sounds like the city, writing about “rock-and-roll’s oldest metaphor for modern city life—anarchic energy contained by a tight repetitive structure.” Her formulation has two components. First, rock and roll functions as metaphor, not the lyrical...
my favorite music of 2011

my favorite music of 2011

What business does a blog like this have releasing its own end-of-year music list? Well, over any given year I find myself idly speculating about how this new album might compare to this one, and how well that new record will stand up by December. A habitual consumer of other people’s lists, I can’t really...
the hipsterization of global protest reporting

the hipsterization of global protest reporting

Maria came to the Kremlin demonstration wearing her designer eyeglasses. Does that explain why she protests? Many commentators have pointed out how after big American news media (many of them regularly accused of liberal bias) refused to report on Occupy Wall Street for several weeks, they then often sought to explain the movement by characterizing...
on the stroll: a book review of "The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock 'n' Roll" by Preston Lauterbach

on the stroll: a book review of “The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Preston Lauterbach

Cities shape music, we know, but how does music shape cities? To be specific, how can a DIY music industry heat up urban economies, enliven public spaces, foster local idioms and local traditions of artistic practice, and even create jobs? This question suggests the policy criteria adopted by creative-city analysts, as well as the legacy...