Sonic Sunday Clips 01.26.20 (MLK, Istanbul, and Stars)

Happy Sunday. I’ve got about 3 new posts brewing at the moment, but returning to a regularly scheduled life has been my first priority of late. I’ll get those out soon, though. For now, here are a few things of interest from this week.

  • Derek Alderman on MLK Streets
    My friend and former PhD Adviser Dr. Derek Alderman has made yet another major news appearance talking about the geographic legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Obviously, this segment aired last Monday on ESPN. Derek shows up at 2:02, right after RFK announces MLK’s assassination.
  • History of Geography & Gender Conference, Istanbul
    This conference in August looks great, and it’s in Istanbul, too. Easily in one of my top ten cities yet-to-visit. Either way, if you’re able, drop a submission, and even see if you qualify for one of their paper awards.

Here is your weekly affirmation: a teenage choir from Vancouver that covers of Canadian indie rock anthems. This one may be my favorite.

 

Your Sonic Sunday Clips 01.19.20 (Vaporwave, Media Geography, Zombies, a Wurlizter Jukebox)

Happy Sunday! Here are a few items of interest to end your weekend and start off your week.

  • evolution__and_life_in_vaporwave_flavours._48475685782Vaporwave
    A widely enjoyed (for good reason) yet little documented (for various reasons) internet subculture gets an in-depth interview in ASAP Journal. Ross Coll (University of Cambridge) chats with Strawberry Illuminati. I learned a lot. I also learned that Grafton Tanner wrote a whole book on Vaporwave recently.
  • Media & Communication Geography Group Paper Awards
    I’m happy to share an announcement on behalf of my friend Emily Fekete, who was chair of the group when they sponsored my Q&A session with Ian MacKaye last year. They just opened submissions for the AAG 2020 paper awards for students (undergrad or grad), and all the details can be found on their wixsite. Deadline 3/1/20.
  • The Sanity Assassins
    Over the years, I’ve discovered my cousin’s old band The Sanity Assassins on a litany of cassette comps in Europe and split 7″s records scattered all over the US. They existed for much of the 80’s and 90’s in various incarnations, all based in the Hartford area, before retiring and reemerging as The Atomic Buddha sometime in the early 2000’s. Somebody has posted a compilation of their 90’s recordings on Bandcamp, and it’s available as a free download. Highly recommended for fans of Naked Raygun, D.O.A. and other thrash-infected punk.
  • Sonic Scope (New Student Journal)
    Via Kimi Kårki: We invite students to join our online community by submitting papers for peer-review (any length up to 12,000 words), video essays (up to 15 minutes) and practice-based research (in any form), but also to participate in interactive discussion spaces and blog debates. Each issue will begin with a Call and Response. Our first question has been proposed by Henry Jenkins and we invite students to respond in any form: text, drawing, animation, sound, video, performance, poetry, comic-strip, anything!
  • New Academic Pub: The Zombie Reader, Kieran Murphy (Ed.)
    This looks fun.
  • Wurlizter Jukebox for Sale! (Knoxville)
    That’s right – a true legend, the Wurlitzer 1050, with a refurbished amp, is on the market, in case any of you are having a good year wallet-wise and also live on a first floor or have an elevator! Also, if you have the means to transport the thing safely from downtown Knoxville, TN. I would absolutely jump on this if I could. Contact my friend Julie if you’re interested, and tell her I sent you: 608-432-JUKE.

Another Sonic Sunday (Clips 01.12.20)

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Happy Sunday, everyone. Just in time for classes to resume tomorrow, I’m frozen under an inch of ice and several inches of snow.

  • Dialectic Sines
    My buddy Ben, who makes quality electronic music under the name Dialectic Sines, just released a new album. Check it out on Bandcamp and probably on K7 or some other physical medium soon.
  • Cultural Geography Specialty Group Awards
    The CGSG, for whom I am excited to be part of the leadership committee this year at the American Association of Geographers, have just announced a pair of awards to be announced at this year’s conference in Denver. They are open to students at the PhD and MA level. Those interested can find the application for the Research Grant here and the application for the Paper Award here. The deadlines are February 16th and 23rd, respectively.

Your Weekly Validation comes in the form of The Outcasts on 70’s French TV. Who said YouTube wasn’t good for anything?

‘The Last Scene’ Documentary Interview Filming

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Kyle Kilday checking levels before our interview for ‘The Last Scene,’ 12/30/19 Burbank, CA. This accidentally looks a bit like an emo album cover. 

Recently in LA, I sat down with Kyle Kilday, the director of the forthcoming documentary The Last Scene. Kyle invited me to talk about the turn-of-the-millennium burst of mainstream interest in pop-punk, hardcore, emo, and “emo.” We had a great conversation, and I’m looking forward to seeing the final product. If you’d like to support or learn more about the project, you can do so at the official website, here.

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Kyle Kilday, which you can’t spell without DIY.

Another Sonic Sunday (Clips)

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Very Be Careful live in Los Angeles (12/28/19)

Welcome to my new weekly column experiment, Sonic Sunday, where I’ll be posting some items of relevance over the previous week. I thought about posting these on Monday mornings, but Sonic Sunday just sounded better, and I imagine people have more time to browse the web today.

Anyway…

  • BiG MiSTAKE
    Big Mistake (stylized as ‘BiG MiSTAKE’) were a ska/punk/pop/hardcore band from New Britain, CT, active between the mid-80’s and mid-90’s. I was too young to see them play during their heyday, but I recently discovered a website one of their members set up to archive their history as a band. If you’re interested in what may be the single most insane story I’ve read about indie band life before the internet, check out the story behind their single full-length album, i.
  • Very Be Careful
    I spent the holidays in Los Angeles this year, and a close Angeleno friend brought me over to Silverlake to see the local cumbia group Very Be Careful. I could think of fewer experiences more quintessentially “LA.” It gave me hope to see such a party happening in Silverlake, which, on the surface, appears to have completely fallen to the hipsters years ago. VBC have been performing locally since 1997 and touring internationally as often as they could pull it together. You can read more about their history at their website here.
  • IASPM
    Of all the academic organizations I fell into in 2019, IASPM is the greatest. They circulated some new CFPs, one of which was for a conference on Music in the Spanish Civil War. Neat.
  • Brain/Salad Comic
    Popula has emerged as one of my favorite newer opinion sites on the web. Politics aside, they provide cogent analyses that are meant to be read and finished and thought about and discussed. Jef Harmatz wrote a great comic, inspired by Derf’s Trashed (which I include as required reading in my Intro to Environmental Studies course), that breaks down the dilemma every environmentally conscious person goes through when they think about the footprint of their eating habits. Subscription may be required.
  • Vinyl Rants
    If anybody here is interested in such things, I posted some thoughts over on Instagram about recent reissues by The Wedding Present and Paul Westerberg.

Have a great week, and Happy New Year!

The Decade in Music

In case anybody cares…. [deep breath]:

SonicGeography: 10 Favorite Records of the Decade

MY 10 FAVORITE ALBUMS OF THE 2010’S

  1. Mrs. Magician – Strange Heaven (2011, Swami)
  2. Turnover – Peripheral Vision (2015, Run for Cover)
  3. Daddy Issues – Deep Dream (2017, Infinity Cat)
  4. Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want (2018, Ipecac)
  5. Suede – Night Thoughts (2016, Warner Music UK)
  6. Touché Amoré – Stage Four (2016, Epitaph)
  7. Makthaverskan – II (2015, Run for Cover)
  8. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (2012, Top Dawg)
  9. Rival Schools – Pedals (2010, Photo Finish)
  10. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (2012, Fool’s Gold)

(And While We’re Here… my REDUX Top Ten Albums of the Century)

  1. Good Luck – Into Lake Griffy (2008, No Idea)
  2. The Twilight Singers – Blackberry Belle (2004, One Little Indian)
  3. Frodus – And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea (2001, Fueled by Ramen)
  4. Blur – Think Tank (2003, EMI)
  5. Mrs. Magician – Strange Heaven (2012, Swami)
  6. Turnover – Peripheral Vision (2015, Run for Cover)
  7. The Ergs! – dorkrockcorkrod (2004, Whoa Oh)
  8. Piebald – We Are the Only Friends That We Have* (2002, Big Wheel Recreation)
  9. Sondre Lerche – Faces Down (2002)
  10. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound* (2008, SideOneDummy)
*This album was released between 2000-2009 but did not appear on my ’25 Albums of the Decade’ list in 2009. I love it now, though.

60 TOP SONGS OF THE DECADE

(Arbitary Rules: One Song per Artist, Nothing from my Top 10 Albums. I linked a bunch of them but I got tired, and I have confidence your collective ability to google.)

  1. Mitski – “Your Best American Girl” (2016)
  2. Robyn – “Dancing on my Own” (2010)
  3. BIG HUGE – “Carnal Pleasure” (2015)
  4. Taylor Swift – “Style” (2014)
  5. Basement – “Crickets Throw Their Voice” (2011)
  6. Ash – “Annabel” (2018)
  7. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Your Type” (2015)
  8. PUP – “DVP” (2016)
  9. The Arcade Fire – “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” (2010)
  10. The Smith Street Band – “Ducks Fly Together” (2013)
  11. Future Islands – “Vireo’s Eye” (2010)
  12. Swearin’ – “Just” (2012)
  13. Blur – “Ong Ong” (2015)
  14. Bob Bucko Jr. – “Heavenly Routine” (2015) – top instrumental
  15. Ex-Gold – “I’m a Man” (2014 technically)
  16. The Varsity Weirdos – “No Life on Planet Mars” (2015)
  17. Ex Hex – “Waterfall” (2014)
  18. White Reaper – “Pills” (2014)
  19. Teenage Bottlerocket – “They Call Me Steve” (2015)
  20. Suede – “It Starts and Ends with You” (2013)
  21. Gorillaz – “On Melancholy Hill” (2010)
  22. Big Boi – “Shutterbugg” (2010)
  23. Merchandise – “True Monument” (2014)
  24. Aesop Rock – “Kirby” (2016)
  25. Direct Hit! – “Werewolf Shame” (2012)
  26. Radon – “Headaches and Bullshit” (2017)
  27. Kanye West – “Runaway” (2010)
  28. Foxing – “The Medic” (2013)
  29. Billy Cobb – “1955” (2018)
  30. Smidley – “Power Word Kill” (2017)
  31. ALVVAYS – “Lollipop (Ode to Jim)” (2018)
  32. The Gaslight Anthem – “’45” (2012)
  33. Kacey Musgraves – “Space Cowboy” (2018)
  34. Jason Derulo – “Want to Want Me” (2015)
  35. Loud Boyz – “4 the Ladies” (2014)
  36. Nothing – “Blue Line Baby” (2018)
  37. Pinback – “Proceed to Memory” (2012)
  38. Mogwai – “We’re Not Done (End Title)” (2018)
  39. Royal Headache – “High” (2016)
  40. Saves the Day – “Beyond All of Time” (2013)
  41. Alex Cameron – “Candy May” (2017)
  42. FIDLAR – “No Waves” (2013)
  43. Paramore – “Rose Colored Boy” (2017)
  44. Teenage Exorcists – “Love Buzz” (2010)
  45. Danny Brown ft. Purity Ring – “25 Bucks” (2014)
  46. Drug Church – “Tillary” (2018)
  47. Against Me! – “Crash” (2016)
  48. Walter Schriefels – “Open Letter” (2010)
  49. The Rentals – “It’s Time to Come Home” (2015)
  50. Sorority Noise – “No Halo” (2017)
  51. Weezer – “California Kids” (2016)
  52. The Sidekicks – “Everything in Twos” (2014)
  53. AJJ – “Kokopelli Face Tattoo” (2014)
  54. Plow United – “Bright Eyes” (2016)
  55. Cullen Omori – “Cinnamon” (2016)
  56. American Football ft. Hayley Williams – “Uncomfortably Numb” (2019)
  57. Hot Chip – “One Life Stand” (2010)
  58. Tender Defender – “FEFE” (2015)
  59. Bleachers – “I Wanna Get Better” (2015)
  60. Post Malone – “Sunflower” (2018)

TEN BEST LIVE PERFORMANCES I SAW THIS DECADE

  1. Davila 666 (Alex’s Bar, Long Beach, 09/09/11)
  2. Lipstick Homicide (Media Club, Vancouver, 07/20/13)
  3. VOIID (The Tote, Melbourne, 7/13/19)
  4. King Kong (The Pilot Light, Knoxville, 11/12/2016)
  5. Merchandise (Ace of Cups, Columbus, 6/7/2013)
  6. Direct Hit! (Surprise Gig, Allston, MA, 4/6/17)
  7. The Dismemberment Plan Weekend (Washington, DC, Jan. 2011)
  8. Mdou Moctar (The Pilot Light, Knoxville, 1/13/19)
  9. Hot Chip (Coachella, April 2013)
  10. Ex Hex (Athens PopFest, May 2018)

THREE FAVORITE MUSIC VIDEOS

Dan Deacon – ‘True Thrush’ (2012)

Suede – ‘Life is Golden’ (2018)

Julien Baker – ‘Sprained Ankle’ (2015)

 

 

 

The City is an Open Score (Crafting a Sonic Urbanism, Paris 2019)

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Hey, I’m back. I also gave no real indication that I was gone, since finals made that fairly difficult. I’ve also been working on my end-of-decade music lists, which I’ll post here next Monday. A lyric in one of my top 10 records of the decade says, “the city is an empty glass,” but this week’s retrospective says that “the city is an open score.”

Last week, I was privileged to join Theatrum Mundi for their annual Crafting a Sonic Urbanism conference at EHESS (Campus Condorcet) in Aubervilliers (Paris) on Friday. It was exactly what one would want out of a conference: laid-back, collegial, thoughtful, and concluded with a mind-melting talk by Saskia Sassen.

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Saskia Sassen at EHESS (Aubervilliers, France 13.Dec.2019)

At the beginning of my talk, I cited a portion of my 2016 interview with Ian MacKaye where he reflected on Fugazi’s success in France. He said (to paraphrase) that he felt like the French and some other European punks had a certain appreciation for what artists were doing outside of the capitalist paradigm of production, and that finding that appreciation for your efforts was simply a universal human desire. For similar reasons, I appreciated the opportunity to present my research across the pond.

Theatrum Mundi have no qualms about pushing various envelopes, drawing heavily on abstract thought and experimental art to propose new ideas or ways of thinking about landscape. Even if some of it went over my head (especially as a ostensible non-musician), everyone there was eager to learn from one another. I was grateful to be able to join some of the conference family on Thursday for a “Scoring the City” workshop:

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Scoring the City workshop, Porte de la Chapelle (12.Dec.2019)

The main colloquium on Friday ran from 9.30 until 17.00, with Dr. Sassen’s presentation ending the evening at 20.00 (I’m still somewhat on the 24-hour clock). I was introduced to several musical experiments, thought exercises, and moments in sonic political history, among the most notable being Lin Chi-Wei’s Tape Music (Jonathan Packham) and Ella Finer’s discussion of the use of vocal noise at the 1982 Greenham Common protests. It was also my first bilingual conference, including a handful of talks and presentations in French. I wish my French comprehension were better, but it forced me to practice, at least.

While I was in town, I also had the chance to catch up with a pair of my top Capitals of Punk informants (though of course I won’t play favorites). With new things coming for the book and the greater surrounding project in 2020, it was rewarding to hear more stories and approach future collaborations that may actually bring me back to Paris before too long.

I’ve also been fortunate to experience Paris in moments of political upheaval: one was an isolated incident (anti-austerity, Greek solidarity protests in July 2015) and the other was a protracted mass-scale industrial action this past month. Due to the strikes, almost all of the Metro lines were closed or profoundly compromised, and the (limited) buses were rolling sardine cans:

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Still, save for a handful of participants who had difficulty making it into Paris from elsewhere in France (the SNCF was on strike as part of the greater grève), the Sonic Urbanism conference went off without a hitch and I was able to get around the city and Ile-de-France with little incident. I joked with one friend that being an American used to relying on public transit in a variety of cities back home had prepared me for bad public transit. Even on Paris’ worst day, it was still not that bad, comparatively. I did not come across any protests around Les Halles, but I did not spend too much time down around there. The footage from cities like Bordeaux on the news every night was pretty harrowing, though, and it was a welcome change to see protesters presented in a marginally positive (or at least objective) light on a National platform, which is more than can be said for most any 24-hour American news outlet.

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Paris, December 2019

All that being said, and despite how lovely France was in the Holiday Season, I’m grateful to be back in the States. 2019 was an amazing year for me. Cumulatively, I spent over a month of it overseas, and coupled with an affiliation switch and big move, suffice it to say I’m still exhausted as I write this. It’s a good exhausted, however, and I’m eager to relax over the Holidays and return to Central Michigan in 2020 with a head full of steam.

Thank you for reading and thank you for your support through this past year! To you and yours, I wish you:

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Mantes-la–Jolie, Île-de-France (December 2019)