can i just say that the first is always the hardest? like i’m not sure what this newsletter will look like, i just kno that i’ve wanted to do it for a while. right now i’m planning on focusing it on music, but if ur reading this now ur taking the chance that this will probably change! to understand how it was birthed, pls refer to this tweet:
a little about me: my name is alyana and i’m a senior political science and english major, and an arts and culture journalist with an interest in music, fan culture, digital media, all thru a racial/ethnic lens! whew long one.
a new decade is coming up (duh) and i decided to stop saying i was gonna do stuff and just do it — sometimes a leap is all you need. anyways, read further for more music related stuff:
probably the section of this newsletter that will be the most coherent! rejoice, there will be no typos below. i’ll try and post a few weeks before they happen/when they announce, and if anything changes/something else comes up i’ll try to update u all
12/6 | Marinara, Jadeworm, Stem Sells, Homunculus Boogie @ Jurassic Thunderdome
12/7 | Twin Peaks @ The Dance ~ text 773-345-7203 for tickets & more info
12/11 | The Wants, Godcaster, Safer, Extra Special @ Our Wicked Lady ~ 21+
12/12 | Noisey Nights w/ Frankie Cosmos and Sir Babygirl @ Villian ~ 21+
12/12 | GRLWOOD @ Alphaville ~ 18+
12/12 | Bottoms, Crickets, Macy Rodman, Nemesister @ The Broadway ~ 21+
12/17 | Model/Actriz w/ Patti and The Silk War @ The Dance ~ 21+
12/20 | Surfbort w/ Bodega and Weeping Icon @ Market Hotel ~ all ages
1/2 | Abu Nights Vol. 2: Perfect Blue - The Release Party by Ntu @ Goldsounds Bar
1/15 | THICK w/ GYMSHORTS @ Rough Trade ~ 18+
2/15 | Habibi (record release) @ Market Hotel ~ all ages
3/12 | Sorry @ Union Pool ~ 21+
3/12 | The Murder Capital @ Knitting Factory ~ all ages
in my queue
this one is pretty literal, but i’ll try to keep it to an album or song that i like.
lately i’ve been listening to purple albums a lot — idk why, they’ve just been purple. one that i’ve really enjoyed, even tho its been out a while, has been ‘family party’ by knife wife. i’ve written a short blurb about it below, feel free to give it a spin!
Knife Wife are a DC trio who craft minimalist punk - but not in the Marie Kondo-esque cathartic and tidy sense of the word. They don’t want to get rid of all the things that don’t bring them joy; they’d rather wallow in the filth. Spoken word lyrics ripple with underlying disgust as they move from deadpan to nearly painful shrieks and yelps. Bratty and apathetic, Knife Wife strip back the melodrama of being a teenage girl to reveal something truly sinister underneath.
song recc: the new double ep ‘caught in the webb’ by nyc punks gnarcissists is the right combo of angry and judgy (nearly satirical). while i love “eat your young” because the opening bit is just a frustrated groan that splits into a scream, and “suffocate” has this pummeling energy to it that makes me want to get into boxing, “buzzin” has been the song i’ve been streaming nonstop during my morning commute. i have no idea what the singer is snarling into the mic, but its catchy. fun fact: i got kicked in the face at one of their shows, and i would still highly recc you see them live
what i’ve read
i think the best way to learn something from an article is to write the keywords that provoke the most thought. these are things that i want to think more about in my own work, and get added to the big brain map about the way i think of culture. i’ll write the article and an intro, a quote from it that i loved, and the words i’m taking away from it. i’m gonna try and keep this short, but for more reading reccs follow my twitter!
Normani and the Work of the Pop Princess ~ by Doreen St. Félix
a review of normani’s vmas performance that was actually more of a thesis on what makes normani so interesting as an artist (gagging cuz the headline makes me think of “pop princess” by the click five)
“Normani is interesting because she forgoes the faux-subversive pose of winking at her own packaging. She sweats showmanship. Entertainment is her world view. She believes. And that’s a risk.”
keywords: pastiche, revivalist
harry styles has literally been this year’s poster boy for “ending toxic masculinity” and i thought it would be good to put this article on his adoption by the queer community in conversation with this other article, and some tweets on the conversation about ‘new masculinity’.
“With our investment in Styles or other celebrities who are likely straight but exude “queer energy,” it feels as if we’re looking for a mirror of ourselves, seeking to claim the most popular public figures as our own, and in turn feel more normal and accepted.”
keywords: queerbaiting, queer icons, presentation
Before Syracuse, There Was Mizzou ~ by Tomi Obaro
i’m a senior in college and i’ve been thinking a lot about what happens to student movements after i graduate — how do we keep the urgency long after the leaders graduate? this piece really keys in on that with the 2015 Mizzou protests
“So what happens to a student movement after its leaders have left campus? And what has — or hasn’t — changed for black students and faculty on campus since 2015?”
keywords: campus activism, Concerned Student 1950, accountability
honorable mention: Why Is Everyone Always Stealing Black Music? ~ by Wesley Morris
i wrote this newsletter at the beginning of the week (during the break) and honestly i’m going to be talking about this piece and related ones in my next issue (stay tuned)
what i’ve written
i write and whenever there’s a new article i’ll link it here, along with a song that i think you should listen to with it!
this time i wrote about the sudden surge of tweets about sex trafficking, harassment, and other gender-based violence. i wrote almost all of it in a rage at 2am in the morning because i was tired of hearing people say “stay safe” and then try and tell me what i can’t do. you can read the article here on the fordham observer.
anyways GRLwood had a song that pretty much encapsulated how women are taught to shrink themselves so that men won’t hurt them:
“Stay inside at night or you might get shot
Be real nice to mad boys or get shot”
this isn’t an original thought (cuz nothing is on the internet) but i truly believe that discourse is born on twitter and then goes to die in someone’s CMS. so this section is to highlight twitter posts/threads that have made me think more! also i saw this last minute and wanted to shoehorn it into this newsletter cuz, wow i need to read more about it!
Osita Nwanevu is a staff writer at New Republic and recently wrote this tweet and then published some sources that they were reading from about this topic. i personally love following Osita because they talk about music and politics, and then as this tweet shows, the intersection of both. please go to the thread for more info, and maybe expect me to be chewing on this info well into the next newsletter ; )
this section is for people who inspire me, and today its Fatimah Nyeema Warner (better known as Noname). i’ve seen Warner really grapple with her platform in the past few months, and how she wants to use it. watching her grow, learning from her audience and solidifying what she wants to do with her platform, has been really inspiring. so many times artists get called out for their attitudes/behavior and they don’t use it to grow — Warner definitely has, changing her name and stance on capitalism in response to fan feedback. i’ve been thinking a lot about the discourse of ‘cancel culture’ (not real) versus ‘accountability’, and what artists/people in the public sphere are required (expected?) to do with their platform.
also been thinking about how fan culture has always operated on a sense of entitlement to an artist’s work, and how this year has seen fan twitter drive multiple black women away from what they love because they’ve made it a toxic endeavor (re: summer walker). warner has said that she will be deleting her twitter account and has promoted her book club, feel free to follow.
you know those songs that have a call and response bit that make concerts fun and participatory? well, this is like the newsletter section of that. sometimes i’ll ask for feedback or ask specific questions just becuz. this newsletter’s question(s) is:
“Do you have any purple albums you’ve been streaming?”
“What song will you be listening to as the new year rings in?”
you already kno the purple albums i’ve been streaming, so here’s the song that has really encapsulated my twentys and i imagine the upcoming decade (not to be a downer)
this has been fun! thx for subscribing and reading to the end. this is mostly for fun right now, and if it gets too stressful emails may be infrequent but right now i’m enjoying putting all my thoughts in one place. expect the next newsletter to have a field report of a show i went to! and maybe i’ll use this section as a short thesis on what i want this newsletter to do, or where i imagine it going:
do you remember old school salons where people would go to talk about literally anything they were interested in? this is more inclusive than that, esp. because most people i know don’t always have time to meet up like this on the regular. with that in mind, pls feel free to message me about anything — if an article makes you want to think further on an issue or you have something similar you think i should read, or if you’ve heard new music you want to talk about, send me a message.
disclaimer: i make no money from listing these shows (yet!) or posting about any of the music here; i’m actually interested in this stuff. if i list a show it’s becuz i would actually go! i also am not in charge of events taking place unless explicitly stated, so always double check any info here.