Interesting links

A few interesting links

Here are a few articles I’ve been interested in over the last few days:

  • The delightfully scathing Guy Trebay analyzes Lady Gaga’s fashion choices.  I like the comparison to mashups.
  • JDub and Nextbook announce a new partnership.  Interesting for young Jews who like Jewish things that aren’t kitschy, and for me given that both of the artists that I’m using as case studies for my thesis have been nurtured by JDub (note, I promise to discuss this at some point–I’ve been spending so much time on the research itself that I don’t ever feel like writing a blog post about it.  But blog I must.)
  • Check out this NYT lookback at how the rules of the music business have changed over the last 10 years (including an amusing story about the author’s first MP3 player, in 1998).  It’s a bit strange for me to read things like this, as my (and my peers’, of course) musical coming-of-age has coincided with all these crazy and unprecedented changes.  My preschool had a record player, which I used a lot, mostly to listen to Mahalia Jackson and Chubby Checker (!); after that I just rocked out in Suzuki violin training for a while until I developed musical tastes of my own in late elementary school or so.  In between, I was at the mercy of adults’ musical picks (from my 4th-grade teacher’s Concrete Blonde albums to my 5th grade teacher’s inexplicable love of 98 Degrees to my parents’ Paul Simon and Motown) and technological knowhow.  By the time I figured things out a little bit, iPods were ubiquitous (though I did have a well-loved Discman for quite a while).

Thursday links

  • I was pleasantly surprised to find out that composer John Adams has a blog (h/t someone who’s in my Google Reader, I forget whom but will link to you when I find out!).  Here he blogs from AirTran’s in-flight wifi and wittily takes down Glenn Beck (“a pudgy blond Middle American Mussolini”) and describes Adorno’s writing as “those serpentine sentences that smile at you, then curl around and bite your ass like a cobra.”
  • Hipsters, Lutherans and local food enthusiasts mingle at the Greenpoint, Brooklyn Lutheran Church of the Messiah, which has been letting local bands rehearse in its space.  Nice!
  • Despite some interesting new neuroscience findings about music and emotion, we still don’t really get what it’s all about yet (and thankfully, or else all of music academia would be out of a job).
  • Can Gestalt psychology explain why most people like modern art better than modern (European-derived art) music? (This and the link above h/t my partner, Matt.)
  • Rob Walker (of the NYT “Consumed” column) tries to figure out how Pandora Internet Radio knows what you might like to listen to.

Weekend links

  • A perspective from the NYT‘s Happy Days blog (which deals with how we stay sane in these bad economic times) on death metal and how it helped one Ira Gershwin fan get back on his feet after losing his job.  The standard music-scholarship line on metal is that it was born out of white working-class male frustration at the postindustrial lack of economic opportunity.  The fact that this guy was drawn to the sound after losing his job dovetails with that analysis  in interesting ways.

Wednesday links

  • The Source highlights DMC’s work as a role model, covering a recent NYC panel on encouraging schoolkids to explore careers in the arts.
  • The always delightfully kooky Devendra Banhart discusses aleatoric music, his elderliness, selling out, alcoholic suppositories, falling in love with Natalie Portman, harmonium orchestras, and much more (and also makes some incredibly insightful comments about the incestuous relationships between indie and major labels–credibly defending his statement that to go with a major is actually the new anti-establishment) over at Pitchfork.
  • The NYT profiles the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.  Need I say more?
  • Scientific American gives us another sort of silly attempt to impose science upon music.  The only thing that’s good for is acoustics in my opinion.  Anyway, if you’re interested, check it out.

Tuesday links: L’shanah tovah!

This week, more from the Times–an uplifting story for Rosh Hashanah and another article about World War Two music.

Tuesday links

Tuesday links

  • Finally, a music magazine that isn’t self-absorbed!  I love reading music magazines, but at least once per issue the entire enterprise gets on my nerves.  Here’s an article about a new publication, the Journal of Music, that appears to be trying to cut the fawning hyperbole and provide intelligent music news, analysis, and history that takes a more panoramic view than most publications.  I’ll let you know how it is after I check it out.
  • Jay-Z takes down Bill O’Reilly and O’Reilly flounders around for a comeback. Click through for an amusing clip at The Source.
  • Racialicious thinks about the transcendent power of Michael Jackson’s dancing abilities and ruminates on his approach to race.
  • Hooray, something having to do with Woodstock that isn’t mistily nostalgic and overblown!
  • The Walrus checks out Rip! A Remix Manifesto, a new documentary on copyright laws and why and how they’re a mess in the digital age.  It’s inspired by the work of Lawrence Lessig, Stanford law prof and intellectual property revolutionary extraordinaire (and a Penn alum whose book my year was assigned for our freshman reading project), and mashup artist Girl Talk.  Oh, and you can watch the film for free or cheap.  Click the first link in this paragraph for instructions.

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