Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "urban ethos"
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...
new publications

new publications

I’ve had a couple of articles published in the past month. First, and most relevant to my musical urbanism project, an article about the proto-EU visions traced in the career of Simple Minds, “Sound in 70 Cities: The European Urbanism of Simple Minds,” has been published in a new edited volume: Unsichtbare Landschaften/Invisible Landscapes: Popular...
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...
the greatest reinventions in pop-music careers, #50-41

the greatest reinventions in pop-music careers, #50-41

Today I take up a question of pop-culture history: which performers made the most unexpected left turns with their careers?  I farmed this question out awhile back to readers of this blog, and today I start filing the results based on my own subjective assessment.  Debate and criticisms are welcome in the comment section (or,...
how the sound of New York came from four Brooklyn high schools

how the sound of New York came from four Brooklyn high schools

One of the great eras in New York City music comes not from a ‘scene’ of musicians and audiences as we normally think of this term, but from the very mercenary activities associated with the songwriters, publishers, and promoters associated with the city’s Tin Pan Alley.  In Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and...
sound in 70 cities: the European urbanism of Simple Minds

sound in 70 cities: the European urbanism of Simple Minds

Dream, dream, dream It’s the eighties’ youthful theme Loving the city A theme for great cities And loved ones And love – “Wonderful In Young Life” (1981)   Americans know them mostly as “that Breakfast Club band” from the 80s, but Scotland’s Simple Minds have carried on in one form or another long enough to...
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,...
cherchez la femme: Tommy Mottola and Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band

cherchez la femme: Tommy Mottola and Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band

I’m fairly immune to the musical charms of the many recording artists whose careers were launched into stratosphere by Tommy Mottola, “one of the most powerful, visionary, and successful executives in the history of the music industry.”  Mariah Carey, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, New Kids on the Block, Shakira, Jennifer...
network southeast not SXSW: guest blog by Andrew Stevens

network southeast not SXSW: guest blog by Andrew Stevens

[Very pleased to feature Musical Urbanism’s first guest blogger, Andrew Stevens, a writer and researcher living in London. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Stevens is a Member of the Regional Studies Association and Urban Economics Association. -LN] I read about a band in South East 23, I thought it was me, I...
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...
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...
between champagne and eviction: more new wave rent party

between champagne and eviction: more new wave rent party

My last post introduced an imaginary sub-genre that I call new wave rent party and covered the basics of its aesthetic principles and historic urban context. Here, I continue that discussion with some more material from 1977-81 era. Well, maybe a couple of years further on as well—the sub-genre went on a few more years past its historic sell-by...

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