Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "punk rock"
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...
a Toronto/Martha & the Muffins annotated bibliography

a Toronto/Martha & the Muffins annotated bibliography

For the Martha and the Muffins book project, the first task I’ve set for myself is to dive into the literature. Toronto is fairly terra incognito for me; to contextualize the geographic sensibilities embodied in the band’s music and career, an appreciation of its urban history and geography is in order. Also, Canadianness and ‘Canada’...
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,...
listening to home, encountering the other: book review of "Migrating Music"

listening to home, encountering the other: book review of “Migrating Music”

The settlement of foreign-born ethnic migrants has to be the oldest source of urban vitality. It’s also a wellspring of musical innovation. Might the latter connection offer insights into the modern city? That’s always my hope when I read books like Migrating Music (Routledge, 2012). Edited by Jayson Toynbee and Byron Dueck, this volume addresses the cultural...
weird scenes from the 5 and the TCH: metropolitan structure and rock in Canada

weird scenes from the 5 and the TCH: metropolitan structure and rock in Canada

It was November 1977, and it was the first time any of us had traversed our home and native land. We soon found out what a big-ass country Canada is. The ground in Saskatchewan was covered with snow, and it was so fucking flat that you could see a grain elevator miles away. It looked...
whey we don't hear the city in Siouxsie and the Banshees

whey we don’t hear the city in Siouxsie and the Banshees

  Currently I’m revising and expanding an essay I posted here a year ago, about how Joy Division came to sound like Manchester, to present at the 2012 EMP Pop Conference next month. The artistic connection between Joy Division and their city of origin is clear and powerful for many listeners, but my argument is that the connection isn’t...
Tito Larriva: the hombre secreto of L.A.'s culture industry

Tito Larriva: the hombre secreto of L.A.’s culture industry

As a central destination for musicians, actors, filmmakers and artists, Los Angeles has more than its share of unsung, forgotten or behind-the-scenes figures who have made a significant mark on the city in the course of their careers. In this category, one of my favorites is Tito Larriva, who readers might recognize if they review...
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...
totally PV, "Totally Go-Go's": the ambitions of Los Angeles new wave

totally PV, “Totally Go-Go’s”: the ambitions of Los Angeles new wave

It’s Friday night, December 4, 1981, in Palos Verdes Estates, California, and tonight the Go-Go’s — the Los Angeles band of the moment — are playing your high school. OMIGAWD! Palos Verdes Estates was probably not a big stomping grounds for the Go-Go’s. A tiny, coastal municipality sheltered from the rest of Los Angeles County...
uncovering the underground: Ladbroke Grove

uncovering the underground: Ladbroke Grove

As someone who’s been seeking out underground rock music for over 25 years, punk rock really fucked me up. Specifically, the punk rock dogma I internalized by reading the English music weekly New Musical Express religiously between 1983-85. Punk rock in England was largely over in these years, unless you were talking about groups like...
out of the valley of the dolls

out of the valley of the dolls

Since we’re talking about Legs McNeil and Gilliam McCain’s Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, one of the most colorful quotes in a book chock full of them comes from Peter Jordan, the oft-forgotten replacement for bassist Arthur Kane in the New York Dolls. Jordan describes the 1971-74 milieu in which Kane fell...
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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