Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "urban ethos"
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...
living the urban crisis at the new wave rent party

living the urban crisis at the new wave rent party

I recently downloaded the reissued Human Switchboard album, Who’s Landing in my Hangar? Anthology 1977-1984, which set me off again obsessing about a subgenre of new wave that I’ve never really seen recognized.  I don’t even know how best to name this subgenre, although I’m convinced it has a musical coherence.  I’ll call it new wave rent...
under the shadow of Woodstock: listening to the Hudson Valley

under the shadow of Woodstock: listening to the Hudson Valley

Another problem with the “Brooklynization of Hudson River Valley” thesis that I discussed in my last post is that the music in these parts isn’t very hip.  That’s not a judgment, just a statement of fact if by “hip” we mean the product or embrace of 20-something hipsters who disproportionately reside in Brooklyn. However, the Hudson Valley...
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...
sons of Norway: scratching at the local myth of the Replacements

sons of Norway: scratching at the local myth of the Replacements

The Replacements are in the ether again.  Do they ever leave?  Their legend has hardly faded since they broke up in 1991, but it seems now that popular culture, having cycled through late 70s/early 80s new wave and post-punk, is in the midst of a nostalgic phase for late 80s/early 90s college-radio music.  There was...
the urban ethos on a Saturday night

the urban ethos on a Saturday night

My considerations of musical urbanism owe a good deal to the work of Adam Krims, particularly his book Music and Urban Geography. Like much scholarly work on popular music, at times it’s a little weird to read his highly academic language (I had to look up one of his favorite terms, “cathexis”) applied to the Wu-Tang...