Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Leonard Nevarez
Martha and the Muffins – "Echo Beach" b/w "Teddy The Dink" (DIN 9)

Martha and the Muffins – “Echo Beach” b/w “Teddy The Dink” (DIN 9)

“Echo Beach” b/w “Teddy The Dink” DinDisc Records DIN 9 (UK) Released on January 25, 1980 Produced by Mike Howlett As the new decade began, Martha and the Muffins had a debut album in the can when they released their second British single. Written by guitarist Mark Gane, “Echo Beach” is exactly the same recording...
Martha and the Muffins – "Insect Love" b/w "Cheesies and Gum" (DIN 4)

Martha and the Muffins – “Insect Love” b/w “Cheesies and Gum” (DIN 4)

“Insect Love” b/w “Cheesies and Gum” DinDisc Records DIN 4 (UK) Released on November 3, 1979 Produced by Mike Howlett Once more, with feeling: Martha and the Muffins re-recorded “Insect Love” for their first release on DinDisc Records, a boutique label established by Carol Wilson under the Virgin UK umbrella. What a difference a producer...
Martha and the Muffins – “Insect Love” b/w “Suburban Dream” (MM 001)

Martha and the Muffins – “Insect Love” b/w “Suburban Dream” (MM 001)

“Insect Love” b/w “Suburban Dream” Muffin Music MM 001 (Canada) Released in February 1979 Produced by Martha and the Muffins This is a self-released single under the band’s DIY label, Muffin Music. The tracks were taken from a June 1978 demo of five songs (the other three recordings are “Teddy the Dink,” “Trance and Dance,”...
dance with me while they sleep: the 7" singles of Martha and the Muffins

dance with me while they sleep: the 7″ singles of Martha and the Muffins

Let’s start with the obvious: Martha and the Muffins were never a ‘singles band.’ The musicians in Canada’s greatest new wave band came of age in the 1970s, a time when the rock album was the format of choice for mass audiences and (in the case of the young Muffins) adventurous listeners alike. The group...
favorite music of 2019

favorite music of 2019

This year marks the first time that some end-of-year favorite albums were enjoyed on streaming platforms only. That probably tells you all you need to know about my old-man embrace of the contemporary listening experience.   Cate Le Bon – Reward The daffy “it girl” from Wales finally recorded an album with deep emotional resonance,...
100 albums for the 2010s

100 albums for the 2010s

Ranked in approximate order of what I would consider most essential listening, these albums comprise a decent playlist of what my decade of new music sounded like… at least from the perspective of the final year. (I see that at least one 2018 album included here didn’t make my end-of-year favorite music of 2018 list...
the shape of the Vassar College music scene: guest blog by Nicole Lipman

the shape of the Vassar College music scene: guest blog by Nicole Lipman

[Nicole Lipman has been my undergraduate research assistant for three years and has helped me immeasurably by transcribing interviews, scanning and indexing press clippings, and doing other work that my book project needed. Nicole is also a musician and music writer, so before she graduated in May, I asked her to update me on the...
the curious case of Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love: guest blog by Thomas Calkins

the curious case of Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love: guest blog by Thomas Calkins

[I’ve wanted Thomas Calkins to write something for this blog since well before I served as external adviser to his University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee sociology dissertation on the life and death of urban record stores. While that project currently evolves into academic journals publications, he found the time to share some thoughts on a quite recent...
the story of DinDisc Records

the story of DinDisc Records

OMD were a perfect fit for what I had in mind for DinDisc — they had a serious, artistic side with real depth, as well as a commercial, pop side. That duality was reflected in all the early DinDisc signings, like Martha and the Muffins, and then the Monochrome Set. – Carol Wilson, head of...
a place where people like us go: how the New York Times reports the Hudson Valley

a place where people like us go: how the New York Times reports the Hudson Valley

I’ve noticed that folks in the Hudson Valley can’t avoid taking the bait when the New York Times puts out a new article about the region. We griped loud and long about that one from 2011, “Williamsburg on the Hudson,” that I even wrote about. And just last month, an especially egregious bit of lifestyle...
favorite music of 2018

favorite music of 2018

Thus Owls – The Mountain That We Live Upon Top billing goes to the stark, incantatory, incandescent fourth album by this Quebec duo. Singer Erika Angell is the most exciting and committed vocalist I heard all year.   Jonathan Wilson – Rare Birds Producer to the indie stars and dude who looks like Jesus achieves...
urban lift-off amid the rural amenity economy: riverfront cities and the "Brooklynization" of the Hudson Valley

urban lift-off amid the rural amenity economy: riverfront cities and the “Brooklynization” of the Hudson Valley

A paper presented at the “Small Cities in the 21st Century” mini-conference, in the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, Baltimore, Maryland, February 23, 2018:   Urban Lift-off Amid the Rural Amenity Economy: Riverfront Cities and the “Brooklynization” of the Hudson Valley by Leonard Nevarez Vassar College   ABSTRACT: What futures and fortunes await...