Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "alienation"
how the Queen Street West scene began, pt. 2: OCA bands

how the Queen Street West scene began, pt. 2: OCA bands

How did a bunch of kids in suburban Thornhill ignite a Toronto music scene and bring new energy to Queen Street West, now a hip urban neighborhood? My last post introduced the key players and forgotten bands in the so-called Thornhill sound, but their network, activities, and energies would need to relocate and expand in...
how the Queen Street West scene began, pt. 1: the Thornhill sound

how the Queen Street West scene began, pt. 1: the Thornhill sound

THE EVERGLADES are ambassadors of the Thornhill Sound, a sound long fermenting in the rec rooms and condo apartments just north of STEELES AVE. Among its proponents include: Martha and the Muffins, Johnny and the G-Rays, the B-Girls, and the now defunct Dishes, Cads, E-Static and the legendary Oh Those Pants! Even Canada’s songbird Anne...
nu-metal, affective masculinities and suburban identities: guest blog by Niccolo Dante Porcello

nu-metal, affective masculinities and suburban identities: guest blog by Niccolo Dante Porcello

[Here’s the second 2016 senior thesis in musical urbanism I’m pleased to share on this blog. Too young to experience nu-metal when it first came out, Niccolo Porcello produced this provocative hot-take on the 1990s subgenre and its roots in heavy metal and hip hop subculture. His other senior thesis adviser and I gave this...
the commodification of Appalachian music: guest blog by Julia Simcoe

the commodification of Appalachian music: guest blog by Julia Simcoe

[This past year, I had the delight to supervise two Vassar College senior theses that, through no effort of mine, were inspiring and insightful examples of research in musical urbanism. With these students’ permission, I’m going to share their theses on this blog. The first comes from Sociology major Julia Simcoe (‘16), whose work reflects...
in exile: the rootless cosmopolitanism of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the Gun Club

in exile: the rootless cosmopolitanism of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the Gun Club

I’ve never quite understood why the Gun Club, one of the all-time great Los Angeles bands, had an estranged relationship with their city of origin. It seems to me no local critic or serious music fan can deny their impact on L.A.’s music legacy. One of the great cult bands of rock music, the Gun...
metro music: creativity, place and alienation in the career of Martha & the Muffins

metro music: creativity, place and alienation in the career of Martha & the Muffins

[Presented at the University of Toronto Department of Sociology on May 1, 2015. Thanks to Judith Taylor and John Hannigan for this opportunity.] It’s a pleasure to speak today on a new research project I’m working on. In anticipation of this talk, I had a couple of other topics I could have lectured on with...
now I have a Lou Reed story

now I have a Lou Reed story

Driving my 7-year-old daughter home from her gymnastics class tonight, we’re listening to the radio.  Bruno Mars’ “Gorilla” comes on, and I use the confused irritation she expressed the last time we heard this ode to intoxicated sex (“Why is he singing about gorillas?!”) as excuse to turn the station.  I’ve discovered recently that I’m...
the view from suburbia: Dead Kennedys, Washington DC, 6-5-83

the view from suburbia: Dead Kennedys, Washington DC, 6-5-83

It’s been said 14 is the influential age in the development of our musical tastes.  That was the case for me: I find I regularly return to the music that I explored and embraced as my own back around 1983.  It wasn’t just what I heard that has shaped my ideas about ‘good’ music, though,...
the misanthropy of solo metal

the misanthropy of solo metal

In some regards, the development of heavy metal over the last 40 years can be understood to chart key phases in pop-music consumption under late capitalism: from mass culture to subculture to individualized culture.  This arc can be seen, first and most obviously, from the vantage point of heavy metal fandom. As Will Straw has...
a place that is lost: the geographical visions of Martha and the Muffins

a place that is lost: the geographical visions of Martha and the Muffins

  I’ve been drawn instinctively toward the music, aesthetics and story of Martha and the Muffins since I heard their debut album some 30 years ago. In my teenage years I would have ranked their 1983 album Danseparc one of my desert island discs (I still might, come to think of it). My tastes evolved toward the...
remembering the serious triviality of pop music

remembering the serious triviality of pop music

Something left unelaborated in my review of Echotone (from the last two posts: here and here) is a larger uneasiness with the instrumentalization of independent or underground music — the reduction of pop music culture from an end in itself to a means for other ends.  Although this isn’t a new critique of post-punk music (i.e., music groups inspired...
punk-rock dads in suburbia: reflections on "The Other F Word"

punk-rock dads in suburbia: reflections on “The Other F Word”

I’m still thinking about “The Other F Word,” Andrea Nevins’ new documentary about punk rock musicians who became fathers, since I saw it a week and a half ago at the Woodstock Film Festival.  Featuring the dads who play in Pennywise, NOFX, Blink 182, Rancid, Bad Religion, Black Flag, Rise Against, U.S. Bombs, and Fear (represented by...

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