Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "indie rock"
the day before the Brooklynites come: Basilica Music Festival in Hudson, NY

the day before the Brooklynites come: Basilica Music Festival in Hudson, NY

Hudson NY: the day before Basilica Music Festival, a set on Flickr.  For best results, view this set as a slideshow with captions on (click “Show Info”). One of the more interesting new festivals to launch this year is the Basilica Music Festival. Running three days starting tomorrow in the Hudson Valley city of Hudson, in...
the dull ubiquity of placeless music festivals

the dull ubiquity of placeless music festivals

Some questions for investigations here, presented in the form of a rant. As part of my research in musical urbanism, I consume a fair amount of music coverage in print and online. Jesus Christ, all I seem to find these days is “writing” about generic touring festivals headlined by Coldplay/Metallica/Fiona Apple/Beach House/you name it. News about new music...
swimming in the music ecosystem: an interview with Scott Reitherman of Throw Me The Statue

swimming in the music ecosystem: an interview with Scott Reitherman of Throw Me The Statue

Scott Reitherman is the singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and main guy behind Throw Me The Statue, an indie-pop band based in Seattle. They have two albums out on Secretly Canadian, an independent label based out of Bloomington, Indiana, and are currently in the studio recording a third one. Their 2007 debut Moonbeams got a warm reception...
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...
creatively exploiting the Austin scene: a review of "Echotone" (pt. 2)

creatively exploiting the Austin scene: a review of “Echotone” (pt. 2)

[This is the second part of my review of the documentary “Echotone” (2010, dir. Nathan Christ).  For the first part, go here.] Technically, no one in Echotone ever says the phrase “creative class.”  However, the filmmaker’s marketing materials invoke it regularly, starting with the DVD’s back-cover description: “Echotone is a cultural portrait of the modern American city examined through...
losing Austin's weirdness: a review of "Echotone" (pt.1)

losing Austin’s weirdness: a review of “Echotone” (pt.1)

A 2010 documentary that just graduated from the film festival circuit to DVD,Echotone captures the Austin music scene at a moment of transition.  The film is a pleasure to watch and listen to, with great photography, fantastic sound (plus great sound editing, not something I usually notice), and an effective yet easy-going narrative style mercifully free...
Pitchfork urbanism

Pitchfork urbanism

The award for Fun Read of the Week goes to “On Pitchfork,” Richard Beck’s smart, caustic review of indie rock’s überblog Pitchfork.  You can’t find this lengthy essay anywhere but the latest issue of n+1, an NYC-based journal of politics, literature and culture, and yeah it’s worth the $10 PDF download.  (The issue also features a...
what's local? a review of "The Dears: Lost in the Plot" by Lorraine Carpenter

what’s local? a review of “The Dears: Lost in the Plot” by Lorraine Carpenter

Does it diminish a musician’s accomplishments to view them through his or her place of origin?  Does the prism of the “hometown” assign the stigma of parochialism or, worse, artistic failure, implying that the musician never got out of the minor leagues, or never wanted to? Consider how we don’t find it fundamentally necessary to...
under the shadow of Woodstock: listening to the Hudson Valley

under the shadow of Woodstock: listening to the Hudson Valley

Another problem with the “Brooklynization of Hudson River Valley” thesis that I discussed in my last post is that the music in these parts isn’t very hip.  That’s not a judgment, just a statement of fact if by “hip” we mean the product or embrace of 20-something hipsters who disproportionately reside in Brooklyn. However, the Hudson Valley...
the end of the line in Sheffield: Sex City? a review of "Uncommon: An Essay on Pulp" by Owen Hatherley

the end of the line in Sheffield: Sex City? a review of “Uncommon: An Essay on Pulp” by Owen Hatherley

With the horribly regressive debt-ceiling legislation passed by the U.S. Congress today, the West took yet another step toward making the neoliberal dream — gutting social programs, enshrining the market as the means and end of social well-being, idealizing upward mobility and the consumer good life, and leaving the lower classes to their own fate...
sons of Norway: scratching at the local myth of the Replacements

sons of Norway: scratching at the local myth of the Replacements

The Replacements are in the ether again.  Do they ever leave?  Their legend has hardly faded since they broke up in 1991, but it seems now that popular culture, having cycled through late 70s/early 80s new wave and post-punk, is in the midst of a nostalgic phase for late 80s/early 90s college-radio music.  There was...
please skill me: the growing credentialism of NYC's rock underground

please skill me: the growing credentialism of NYC’s rock underground

Using an admittedly unscientific sample of 38 indie-rock groups from Brooklyn, I poked around the bands’ Wikipedia pages and their underlying sources to look for any members’ college affiliations. In no time at all [update: and with further information from my sources; see below], I found information for 26 groups. Even if we assume the remaining...

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