Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "documentary"
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...
a video playlist of Pulp and other Sheffield music

a video playlist of Pulp and other Sheffield music

In preparation for the Musical Urbanism course readings on Sheffield, England, we’ve put together this playlist of music documentaries and promo videos to get you further acquainted with the city, its music scene, and our point of departure, the band Pulp.   PULP VIDEOS When reading Owen Hatherley’s book Uncommon: An Essay on Pulp, it...
a history of rave: from the UK to Ultra Miami

a history of rave: from the UK to Ultra Miami

Almost six months since the Ultra Music Festival held its ninth annual event in Miami, an official “aftermovie” was just released two days ago.  It’s so bonkers and over the top in how it depicts the state of the art in rave culture, it calls for a juxtaposition with an earlier moment in rave culture,...
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...
Poughkeepsie and America's musical hinterlands as seen from British eyes

Poughkeepsie and America’s musical hinterlands as seen from British eyes

Thanks to the Slicing Up Eyeballs blog, I’ve discovered a new BBC Four music documentary, “How the Brits Rocked America: Go West,” about the three generations of British musicians, from the Beatles to Duran Duran, who scaled the walls of American pop culture. Some of them made their fortunes, many more failed, and a few just wanted...
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...
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...
branding alienation with Tony Wilson

branding alienation with Tony Wilson

I recently watched Joy Division (2007, dir. Grant Gee), an exciting documentary that carries more intellectual heft than maybe any other film about a rock group.  Great interviews not just with the surviving band members and others who knew them, but also early followers who were deeply affected by the band’s records and performance.  I’m struck, for...