It’s been a minute! Hope you are all hanging in there and staying safe. I have something really exciting to share today! Skip to the field report section for a cool review of Black Midi’s radio play by my former classmate and theatre critic extraordinaire Rebecca Slaman!
What else have I done these past few weeks? I made the banner above (what do we think?), I binged watched all of Superstore, finished Into the Night (a solid 6, but after a certain point we’ll have all watched the good stuff and will have to subsist off of 6’s so…don’t be picky), dyed my hair, and made the switch from coffee to matcha. Oh, and I had the last classes of my undergraduate education ever! Now you’re caught up.
I won’t be bringing back this section for real until live shows happen again, but I have decided to start a Google Calendar for live-stream shows! I’ll be updating it each time I find a live-stream, so click the link to gain access!
A quick tip: you can edit the settings of the calendar to send you automatic notifications for each event, as well as notifications for when new events are added. I’ll be using this instead of listing shows in my newsletter.
in my queue 🎶
Shared a few of the songs that I’ve been listening to with my campus’ student-run radio station, Wavelengths LC (WALC). Before the pandemic I was going to be hosting my own radio show through WALC, but they’ve pivoted to running a blog due to the pandemic. Check out playlists from other hosts and more on their website.
I happened upon this album from the NYPL by chance, and I’m so happy I found it. What a cool project that really captures some of New York’s most iconic sounds (although missing some of the more colorful, obscenity-laden noises). My favorite thing about this project that it’s even got New Yorkers asking for a vinyl version.
Okay, one more because I can’t choose (and because it’s been ages since I last wrote one of these). I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been enjoying listening to radio recently, and I happened to catch this set from collective 6a6y 6 on Slow Dance Radio. Check out the radio during the week from 7am-12pm EST, or view their archive on Soundcloud.
I also listened to some of the NTS Remote Utopias broadcast and I’ve decided to plug some of my favorite shows from the stream.
what i’ve read 📖
The saga of Punkin’ Donuts ~ by Leor Galil
I really love reading articles like this that zoom in on a subculture and provide a history, especially for scenes or landmarks that have since disappeared. It’s made even more special by the fact that it’s set around Dunkin Donuts, which is very near to my heart.
keywords: commercialization, gentrification, subculture
Same as It Ever Was ~ by Daniel Nester
Despite the fact that writers are pretty much available on Twitter 24/7, there is so much about this field that is shrouded in secrecy. And I don’t want to get into it too much, but if you follow writers on Twitter for a while you start to notice that there’s enough infighting, factionalism, and back-stabbing to rival that of a historical drama. This article, which covers a lot of those secret clashes, reminds me of a CJR article I read about the Real Media Salaries list that said: “When journalists want to talk among themselves about something difficult, the anonymous Google Doc seems to have become the mechanism.” One of my vices is that I love gossip—not harmful gossip, but petty gossip, and this retrospective on the “Rock Critical List” is all of that and more.
Caroline Calloway by The White Pube (Zarina Muhammad)
The White Pube are among the few writers I follow that can channel all the thought and depth of a 700-page book or 30-page theory text into 3k words or less. I’ve definitely mentioned their work here before, and how profound and necessary I find it, but in case you missed it you absolutely should be reading their criticism. This review is about Caroline Calloway, a person that was once described to me as someone you wouldn’t have to know unless you were unfortunate enough to be on Twitter. Luckily, if you have no idea who that is, you can read this piece without any prior knowledge of Caroline Calloway (CC for short).
p.s. in the off-chance they read this I would love to participate in a virtual art date, jsyk.
Untitled Zine ~ by O.K. Fox, Charlie, and David Turner
A different one! As I’ve mentioned many, many times I subscribe to David Turner’s Penny Fractions newsletter and in it, he advertised this zine he had done in collaboration with Charlie and OK Fox of the Art and Labor podcast. It’s a different medium than what I’m used to, but it was still a fun read, and I’ve been meaning to read more zines so there you go.
what i’ve written📝
We’re playing catch up on a few weeks, so I’ve written quite a lot.
Dad Bod Is Haunted by Loneliness in Their New Music Video: Premiered Dad Bod’s music video for “Spirits”! The band is expected to release both a quarantine EP and debut album later this year, so stay tuned and check out the video!
Tall Juan Hops Between Continents on ‘Atlantico’: I got to write about and premiere Tall Juan’s second album, which he self-released early to provide people some comfort during quarantine. It’s a fun exploration of the sounds that make up South American traditional music and their roots in Africa—my favorite is the title track “Atlantico,” the fluttering synths on it are so swoon-worthy.
Artists Share What It’s Been Like to Have Their Album Cycles Derailed by the Pandemic: I got to catch up with members of Porridge Radio, Peach Pit, Talk Show, Trace Mountains, and Peel Dream Magazine on what it was like releasing music during a pandemic. While it’s great to hear from all of the artists, the tidbit I found most interesting was Peel Dream Magazine’s Joe Stevens’ comment on how music coverage has shrunk during the pandemic.
COVID-19 Relief Resources for the Independent Music Community: I got to do a quick write-up for this list of different active funds that musicians and other music professionals can apply to—it’s getting updated as more funds become available (we just added the CORPUS fund) so make sure you refer back to it!
NIVA Campaigns Congress to Give Independent Music Businesses A Lifeline: Over 800 venues and promoters (including AdHoc) have joined together to become the National Independent Venue Association. They’re lobbying Congress for more music-industry specific relief plans, and their mission is becoming even more urgent as venues like The Troubadour in Los Angeles and the Great Scott in Allston come close to closing their doors. A UK counterpart was launched shortly after by the Music Venue Trust, although the #saveourvenues campaign is primarily focused on combining fundraising efforts across the country.
field report 🚏
I’ve asked my classmate and theatre critic Rebecca Slaman to review Black Midi’s rendition of the 20th century play The Beggar and the King from their NTS Remote Utopias set. Here’s a preview of the article:
Clearly, the members of Black Midi felt this play would convey a message. Listening to it reminded me of what Samuel Beckett had to say about radio dramas: he believed “radio comes out of darkness”; this distinguishes it from theatre, which he posited must have a visual element. But Beckett lived at the height of radio dramas, before Broadway shows like The Encounter were winning Tonys. Developments of the medium have proved that audio design, (yes, including pre-recorded audio,) can be just as theatrical as visuals. Likewise, though The Beggar and the King offers no visual element, the drama is nonetheless transportative due to the type of play it is, the dedicated actors, and sound design.
Interested in contributing to this newsletter? Reply to this email to get in touch with me directly. No prior experience necessary!
Bandcamp has announced that they’ll be waving their fee again for the next two first Fridays of the month (so June 5th and July 3rd). I participated in the last one (May 1st) and thought I might share what I bought:
Live at the Windmill: A compilation album of 16 live recordings to benefit the venue and Brixton Soup Kitchen
Use Me by Hank Wood and the Hammerheads - I actually bought the record off of Toxic State’s website because Bandcamp only has the digital version, but I bought it the same day so it feels like it counts?
Also! Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst have started a new podcast called Interdependence, which is a buzz word that’s getting thrown around a lot in music journalism right now.
Feel like this is a weird place to put this thought, but I’ve been thinking about my relationship to music more. I’ve found it really hard to listen to the music I usually enjoy and have been leaning into radio streams so that I’m not the person curating what I’m listening to. Why? Well, I think a lot of it is that I don’t listen to music to relax, I listen to music to rev me up. To get me really amped up!!! But right now I want to be able to unclench my jaw and enter a more relaxed state, so listening to radio takes the stress out of picking a song. I feel like people are trending this way generally, enjoying music they wouldn’t normally and exploring curated music—and not curated in the way a Spotify playlist is, but one generated by an actual human being.