vibe check 💯

two free shows, music tweets about politics, and chill beats

Hi! It’s been a minute (or it feels like this week has lasted forever?). There is so much stuff I want to include in this newsletter, but it can only be so long, for my sake.

Let’s do a quick round-up though, just to get caught up together.

So what happened this week? There’s been an update on Spin’s acquisition, Billie Eilish made some foot-in-mouth comments about rap music (which I might write more about), the Iowa caucuses, The Grammys, Bojack ended, and a lot more I think? Been a blur. But in honor of the Iowa caucuses, you can find some *chef’s kiss* gorgeous tweets at the edge of music and politics in the discourse™️ section.

Oh, I almost forgot! The Super Bowl happened. The Patriots weren’t playing, and therefore couldn’t win, so I didn’t watch it or the half-time show (which if we are being very honest is hard to watch knowing that several black artists turned it down in solidarity with Colin Kapernick, only for Shakira and J Lo to get offered a spot).

But this newsletter isn’t about that! For now! Instead, I have a ton of new announces (some tied to new albums!!!), and a free show to boot, the second one this week if you read my last minute tickets newsletter. The Bojack Horseman screenshot will make a lot more sense by the end of this newsletter, so stick through it!

upcoming shows  🎟️

You can find out what shows are happening this week in here!

2/7 | Pure Adult, Grim Streaker, Flasyd and more @ Baby’s All Right ~ free, 21+

2/10 | Godcaster, Bug Fight, Venus Twins, Threesome @ Trans-Pecos ~ all ages

2/29 | BIB, Krimewatch, Twisted Thing, Dogbreath and special guest Show Me The Body @ 329 Broome St ~ all ages

3/5 | Control Top and Weeping Icon @ Union Pool ~ 21+

3/6 | Dry Cleaning w/ Control Top @ The Dance ~ 21+

3/6 | P.E. (LP Release), Gauche, Macula Dog, DJ Montana Simone @ Trans-Pecos ~ all ages

3/7 | Dry Cleaning @ Union Pool ~ 21+

3/7 | Cory Sterling, Sipper, Brewster, Joyce @ Tar Heel Lounge No. 2 ~ house show

  • There isn’t an event page yet, but I linked to their FB for now.

4/15 | Jacuzzi Boys w/ The Cowboys @ Market Hotel

5/7 | Pottery w/ guests @ The Dance ~ 18+

5/20 | Still Woozy @ Brooklyn Steel ~ 16+

6/17 | Hinds @ Webster Hall ~ 16+

in my queue 🎶

Been listening to this EP on repeat recently. Dark brooding grunge about unsettling topics (they have a track called “School Schooter”, & “Susan Smith”, about a real woman who murdered who two children by drowning them in a car.) Current favorites are “Monkey Jaw” and “1983”, but honestly every song on this EP is worth a listen. God I hope they come stateside soon.

This song is me trying to speak about the Super Bowl — actually, most sports. I don’t pay attention but I’m sure sports involve something like basketballs, weiner dogs, and short shorts.

what i’ve read 📖

Here Are the Fare-Evasion Enforcement Data the NYPD Fought to Keep Secret by Laura Wagner

  • I participated in the FTP3 protest this past Friday, and while I was en route I heard a fellow commuter get very mad at the protesters by arguing that they were ‘defacing’ the very property they wanted to be made free. I think this argument comes from a place of ignorance, not only of the efficacy of mass movements but also of the actual reason why people were protesting. I figured this article will help put into context the movement’s goals, as it’s increasingly clear that the NYPD should not be in public transportation, and fare/fees associated with riding the transit system are hurting poor, black people the most. When black and brown people are being pushed to the farthest reaches of NYC by gentrification, in areas that the city is not invested in and many people live below the poverty line, fare evasion enforcement effectively criminalizes poverty. Why should these people pay a fare for a system that is crumbling and subjects them to surveillance and violence?

  • “Fare-evasion enforcement rates are higher in high-poverty neighborhoods, and there is far more fare-evasion enforcement in high-poverty neighborhoods that are predominantly Black and Latinx compared to high-poverty white and Asian neighborhoods.”

  • keywords: fare evasion

Burna Boy’s Grammy Loss Highlights The Issues With The World Music Category by Ivie Ani

  • This piece, ostensibly about Burna Boy is actually more about how the “world music” genre is an orientalist, throw-away category that does little to recognize music from around the world by conflating acts that span genres simply because they came from a place outside of the Western world (which is figured here as the default).

  • “The Grammys are not thoroughly engaging in the current scope of music from around the world. ‪There isn’t one singular global sound, so the world music category can’t possibly encapsulate what’s happening in the world. But where did it even come from?”

  • “It is by and large a determination of any type of genre or sound that Westerners consider ethnic, indigenous, folk, or simply non-American music. And then there’s the advent of digital music production, which threatened the original definition of world music that sought to instill an authenticity identifier and distinction between indigenous music traditions and modernized, digitized pop music.”

  • “The provincial parameters of the term world music introduced non-Western music to Western audiences as “exotic” imports. Under this framework, America functions as the nucleus of music while the rest of the world’s vast and varied genres exit on the periphery.”

  • keywords: world music, The Grammys

What happens to your records when you're cancelled? ~ by Dan Ozzi

  • In his Reply Alt newsletter, Dan Ozzi interviewed a used-records store owner about what it says on the tin. It’s a quick, fun interview and I think an extension of what happens when you are a fan of an artist that is canceled. What do you do? Do you burn their merch, sell their records? We all deal with the news differently, and I like this piece because it talks about what happens to physical purchases. For me, when an artist I like is canceled I just stop streaming them. But if I had a record, what would I do? Honestly, probably throw it out, but still worth a think.

  • What happens to the physical releases when someone is cancelled? After all that awful shit about Jesse Lacey came out, I remember seeing fans saying they’d be dumping their Brand New records. Maybe it’s the skeptic in me, but I couldn’t help thinking: Are you really, though? Are people really tossing their copies of Deja Entendu into a bonfire in protest?”

The economics of 24/7 lo-fi hip-hop YouTube livestreams ~ Cherie Hu

  • The day I send out a newsletter, I usually catch up on unread emails (of other newsletters) and my twitter feed in order to see what has come out that is interesting. Coincidentally, I read this piece by Cherie Hu, where she talks about lo-fi hip hop. It’s a genre I’m pretty unfamiliar with, outside of the jokes made about it and that weird Adult Swim program in like the middle of the night. But it was fun to read about this, because I’m really interested in the artist-fan relationship which is virtually non-existent in lo-fi hip-hop — people are passively listening. So how do people make money off of this music? Read to find out!

  • “In this landscape — where songs are interchangeable, indistinguishable commodities, and artists are unrecognizable to the average ear — it’s arguably larger content aggregators and curators, not artists, who are at the top of the food chain. And now several companies, some with venture-capital funding behind them, are racing to claim their own share of the lo-fi aggregation market.”

  • keywords: leanback culture, lo-fi hip hop

Against Chill: Apathetic Music to Make Spreadsheets to ~ by Amanda Petrusich

  • The piece above links to this article which talks about leanback culture. While it isn’t described as such in the actual article, leanback culture seems to be the ultimate goal of services that create “frictionless” (borrowing again from Liz Pelly’s piece on SoFar Sounds) experiences. Why bother to discover your own taste in music when Spotify uses algorithms to provide you with tailored playlists, playlists that cater to whatever mood you are in? This piece talks more about the advent of ‘chill’ music, and how it is made to consumed but not really listened to. I especially like the attentiveness to how this music is supposed to aid us in productivity, as it calls into question (although not in these words) why our lives have become based on productivity, always in search of productivity, centered around our jobs, etc. Much like SoFar Sounds, this music isn’t really about the music, but rather about making us “better” consumers and producers.

  • “Although I recognize the utility of listening to non-distracting study music, I nonetheless find it disheartening to see art being reconfigured, over and over again, as a tool for productivity—and then, when the work is finally done, as a tool for coming down from the work. It’s especially disconcerting to see the practice of active listening (which can be a creative act as well as a wildly pleasurable one) denigrated, dismissed, or ignored.”

  • keywords: productivity, active listening, passive listening, chill music

what i’ve written📝

I got the chance a while back to interview Lori Majewski, who co-hosts the SiriusXM show Feedback. She’s an alum of my university, as well as a life-long fangirl — in fact, her love for new wave artists blossomed into a book she co-authored, Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs that Defined the 1980s. We spoke a lot about her journey through the industry, hopping from music zines to magazines to, now, radio.

Read the article

I think the most interesting thing about our conversation was her struggle to keep pace with new journalistic expectations — meaning that she had been taught as a journalist to never put herself into a piece, and radio sort of necessitates a bigger personality. It’s sort of a question I think a lot of journalists are wrestling with, especially in the deeply politicized times we find ourselves in. Anyways give it a read!

the discourse™️

field report🚏

I’m back with another project from my Audio course. This time we had to do a “VoxPop” recording — essentially you ask a bunch of people the same question (a la Billy on the Street) and then edit them together. The question I asked was, “What music are you listening to right now?” While it’s mostly just a fun question, I was inspired by Liz Pelly’s article on SoFar Sounds where she said:

“It’s the lean-back listening of live music, where everything from the aesthetic of the space to the sound of the music is flattened in order to create the most seamless, frictionless experience possible. Similarly, you don’t have to select an artist on Spotify to listen to; you can choose from playlists like Chill Vibes or Mellow Dinner. With the “secret shows” being offered by Sofar and other tech companies, users don’t look for an artist to see on a Friday night; instead, they select “Indie Pop in an Underground Speakeasy” or “Hip-Hop Night in Dumbo.”

My bigger question was “Has the rise of streaming services like Spotify resulted in a playlist culture where people listen aimlessly to music, without any sense of investment in the artists they are listening to? Do people know who they are listening to?”

I find that often when I’m asked to name what I’m listening to on the spot, I can’t. I have to go back and look at my Spotify in order to find out! I wanted to see if that was true for everyone, or if this phenomenon is more complex. The actual results are skewed because almost all my friends are into music (in a way that is more than casual), but it was still an interesting little thought exercise. Anyways, you can listen to the recording below:

Thanks to everyone that sent submissions!


What music are you listening to right now?

Obviously the question I’m going to ask will be this one. It’ll be fun! Tell me what you are listening to, and I’ll give it a spin. Right now I’m mulling over a few recent releases from Pottery, Jockstrap, LICE, Jerskin Fendrix and Hinds.

concluding remarks

This newsletter is already pretty long, but I think I’ve enjoyed writing for this a lot more. Felt kind of weird about writing this for a while, but it’s started being fun again. I could have included a ton more reading suggestions, but I try to keep it short here.

For my audio reporting course, we have to create a longer project at some point in the semester. I was thinking of what it should be based around, and I’ve been mulling over the idea of centering it on DIY spaces or fan-run music zines. I haven’t decided yet, but those are my two ideas right now. If something is going on in your music scene that you think people should hear about, let me know!