Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Leonard Nevarez
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...
favorite music of 2017

favorite music of 2017

Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent Unsettling, noisy, bleak, wrathful, feverishly pored over by those who scrutinize the fine print… 2017 was a hell of a year, am I right? Oh, we’re talking about the Protomartyr record.   Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination Urgent reportage transmitted via globally sourced sounds and Nadine Shah’s authoritative, ass-kicking rock....
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...