Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "music criticism"
The World Is A Ball and four Martha & the Muffins albums

The World Is A Ball and four Martha & the Muffins albums

Today I published a review essay of the reissue of Martha and the Muffins’ sixth album, The World Is A Ball, on the music blog Sound It Out. If you landed here from that blog looking for my list of the four superior albums by the band, they are their debut release and the three...
favorite music of 2016

favorite music of 2016

2016: the year everyone died David Bowie released Blackstar on a Friday in January (his birthday), and by Sunday he was gone. Creating his most adventurous music in decades, the starman delivered a eulogy for himself and a lament for the condition of justice in the world. Still, I’d trade in this album of the...
a few words about Glenn Frey

a few words about Glenn Frey

They say the deaths of significant cultural figures come in threes. It seems you don’t get to choose those three, because here we are: Lemmy Kilmeister. David Bowie. And now, Glenn Frey. Growing up a music snob, certain groups you naturally come to disdain and mock. The Eagles and Glenn Frey in particular filled that...
favorite music of 2015

favorite music of 2015

Shilpa Ray – Last Year’s Savage This year there was hardly a more fearless, unique voice in rock music — where my listening preferences once again tended toward — than Shilpa Ray. Her style is quintessentially rooted in a bygone era of born-to-lose rock (cf. “Johnny Thunders Fantasy Space Camp”), but Last Year’s Savage finally...
scenes in the 10.0 era: a conversation with Pitchfork editor Mark Richardson

scenes in the 10.0 era: a conversation with Pitchfork editor Mark Richardson

On April 15, the Musical Urbanism seminar brought Mark Richardson, editor-in-chief at Pitchfork, to Vassar College for an informal conversation about independent music, online journalism, and the relevance of places and scenes in an era of digital music. With hardly any effort made to publicize the event, the lecture hall was packed with Vassar students....
favorite music of 2014

favorite music of 2014

Jane Weaver – The Silver Globe I’m rapidly reaching obsessive levels of play with this adventurous album. Space rock meets 60s British melancholia: if you puzzle over which element is retro and which is futuristic, then this is the record for you. Weaver’s voice is mysterious and spellbinding — just one more reason why she...
putting the Hudson Valley on the musical map: Basilica Soundscape and O+ Festival

putting the Hudson Valley on the musical map: Basilica Soundscape and O+ Festival

Over the last month I’ve been writing for Sound It Out, a new music blog that covers adventurous new music from a snark-free, consumer-friendly point of view. “The music may be evil, but we’ll try not to be” is the motto. Most of my writings there are basic reviews and previews, but I’ve also contributed...
favorite music of 2013

favorite music of 2013

Julia Holter, Loud City Song Holter’s 3rd record has to be the Musical Urbanism album of the year — the title is almost an alternate title for this blog, right?  In the four months since it came out, I’ve been puzzled and intrigued by how an album this composed, in both senses of the word,...
my favorite music of 2012

my favorite music of 2012

I call this list my favorite music of the year, not the best of, because I haven’t heard more than a third of all the music that people have been talking up in their end-of-year lists. Who am I to say what’s best? (Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city is probably the best, but I’m...
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...
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...

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