Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Author Archive
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...
tuff Marian: sociological fiction and other people’s pictures

tuff Marian: sociological fiction and other people’s pictures

One of my most exciting and challenging writing assignments is now available. I was asked to write 150-200 words of text to accompany a photo featured in Other People’s Pictures: Snapshots from the Peter J. Cohen Gift, an exhibit that just opened at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. Here’s the picture...
concert stories: an #aprilconcertchallenge collection

concert stories: an #aprilconcertchallenge collection

Last week, a Facebook meme made the rounds asking users to list “10 Concerts I’ve Been To, One is a Lie.” While I’m game for almost any music list meme, I didn’t participate because I got sucked into into a smaller one on Instagram created by an old punk rocker @bookishlife: the #aprilconcertchallenge. I think...
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...
how to teach Musical Urbanism in three lectures

how to teach Musical Urbanism in three lectures

Thought I would share this for teachers and academics: a guest lecture section that I just gave in an undergraduate Introduction to Urban Studies course taught by Lisa Brawley at Vassar College. Readers are welcome to incorporate or adapt this material into their own teachings.   Day 1: Theorizing the post-industrial city Readings: Richard Lloyd...
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...
David Mancuso at Dub Spot Records

David Mancuso at Dub Spot Records

In this year of awful news, I wonder if we’re currently experiencing what evangelical Christians call the rapture. Only now the evangelicals remain on earth, while great people whose contributions made the world a better place are passing away almost daily. Just reviewing the music world memoriam since January: David Bowie, Lemmy, Glenn Frey, Blowfly...
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...
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...
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...

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