Thursday, September 28, 2006

I love it when my friends win awards, especially with things they showed me before publication. (And who have a really good column this week.) Congratulations, Tricia.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Heads up:

Waking Up From History: Music, Time, and Place

The 2007 Pop Conference at Experience Music Project
April 19-22, 2007
Seattle , Washington

Music happens, then it ripples. What is the relationship between the circumstances that produce music and our swirling notions of pop's past, future, and zeitgeist? How do the times affect the notes? What factors literally and figuratively change the beat of a city? Some decry postmodern "pastiche," while others defend pop concoctions as multiculturalism in action or intoxicating aesthetics. But what are the power relationships at work when music stops time and lets us dance in place?

For this year's Pop Conference, we invite presentations on music, time, and place. This might include:
*Reading time and place into musical innovation. The breakbeat as a refunking of sonic structure and origin myth; or the social history of changing time signatures.
* The racial, class, and gender components that constitute a pop place or time's "we"; the mutating New Orleans of the hip-hop, funk, R&B, and jazz eras, for example.
*Evolving notions of musical revivalism: retro culture, questions of periodization in music, and the validity of the concept of youth culture as a sign of the times.
*Geographies of sound, or how place is incorporated sonically. Lise Waxer called Cali, Colombia, an unlikely bastion of salsa revivalism, a "city of musical memory."
*The dematerialization of the album into the celestial jukebox and other new media. Does the Chicken Noodle Soup dance live on 119 and Lex or on Youtube?
*How dichotomies of nearness/experience and farness/history affect music fanship, music writing, and music making.

*The "place" of pop now, culturally, professionally, and certainly politically.

Proposals should be sent to Eric Weisbard at by December 15, 2006. For individual presentations, please keep proposals to roughly 250 words and attach a brief (75 word) bio. Full panel proposals and more unusual approaches are also welcome. For further guidance, contact the organizer or program committee members: Jalylah Burrell (New York University), Jon Caramanica (Vibe), Daphne Carr (series editor, Da Capo Best Music Writing), Jeff Chang (author, Can't Stop Won't Stop), Michelle Habell-Pallán (University of Washington), Josh Kun (University of Southern California) Eric Lott (University of Virginia), Ann Powers (Los Angeles Times), Simon Reynolds (author, Rip it Up and Start Again), Bob Santelli (author, The Big Book of Blues), and Judy Tsou (University of Washington). We are excited to announce that presentations from this year's conference will be considered for a future issue of The Believer.

The Pop Conference connect academics, critics, musicians, and other writers passionate about talking music. Our second anthology, Listen Again: A Momentary History of Pop Music, will be published by Duke in 2007. The conference is sponsored by the Seattle Partnership for American Popular Music (Experience Music Project, the University of Washington School of Music, and radio station KEXP 90.7 FM), through a grant from the Allen Foundation for Music. For more information, go to and click on "Pop Conference."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

So as you may have heard, Gawker started a new music blog today, Idolater. That's not news in itself, though it's only been announced for a couple hours as I type--every other blog on the block seems to have jumped on it--and I know the Idolaters, Maura Johnston and Brian Raftery (know her well--I work with her fiancee, Joe Keyes--know Brian less, like both). One of the announcements, Gothamist's, is really kind of lamely catty, though: "According to editor Maura's Myspace page, she is currently listening to Andrew WK and Annie." Heavens, no!

Actually, the Gothamist snipe, if that's what you'd call it, reminds me of something Tom Ewing wrote ages ago about Andrew W.K. It sort of ties in with the anti-rockist thing I mention below; in fact, it's probably my favorite piece of anti-rockist propaganda, especially given how much it takes that stance for granted and is really, really funny. May it haunt the dreams of anti-anti-rockists for years to come.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I like the new Bob Dylan album a lot.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sure sign "rockism" as a subject is dead dead dead: Glenn Kenny's back-page rant about anti-rockism on the back page of the new issue of Spin. His second Joshua Clover quote is meant to prove that Clover is smug, only the quote is pretty damn harmless (there are acres of others that would do the job just fine, starting with the first one Kenny uses, which he seems to applaud, oddly enough); then he misconstrues the tone of his Douglas Wolk quote of choice ("agonized"? Hardly) and tells us that "one trait the anti-rockist shares with his or her natural enemy, the so-called rock snob, is a petulant refusal to 'lighten up'"--the scare quotes an easy demonstration that Kenny, as much as anyone else under discussion, is both smug and unable to lighten up. He winds up: "And so, a few ill-advised letters to the editor and e-mails aside, I've been happy to stand on the sidelines in this struggle." In other words, "I care about this so little that I just wrote 1,000 words about it for a national magazine." Loan me the world's tiniest violin.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Goddamn, I miss Tim Finney sometimes.

Friday, September 01, 2006

D minus.