Archive for March 2011

lamenting the loss of the sound – in proven “rant” format

2011/03/26

Yesterday the Edmonton radio station 95.7 The Sound went through some ch-ch-ch-changes. Instead of playing music by local acts, they’ll now be playing Katy Perry. Instead of providing opportunities to further the careers of local musicians, they’ll now be going to shopping malls dressed in Santa costumes. Instead of the community focus being at the heart of the station, they’ll now just be another frequency transmitting music as a commodity.

The Sound, only a few months old, was already having a huge positive impact in the Edmonton music scene. That has now been replaced with more background noise for people working in cubicles. It’s just another faceless business trying to make a profit.

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Here we are now. Entertain us: The politics of boredom

2011/03/15

Late 1991. A couple kids from an affluent family gets picked up by their parents from soccer practice and are chaffered to their safe suburban home. While the youths are waiting for dinner to be ready, they turn on MTV. But instead of MC Hammer dancing around in really baggy pants denying them even the chance to touch…this…they see something different but at the same time familiar: kids that are waiting for something to happen. Kids that are disaffected and bored. Kids just like them. And then there’s a guy with a guitar on the screen, not wearing Hammer pants or dressed like Gene Simmons or Vince Neil or even Axl Rose.  Hold on  a second – he’s just like them. And he’s screaming out the words, “here we are now, entertain us.”

It seemed like in an instant, these kids finally had a soundtrack for how they felt about their lives.

The beginning riff in the Nirvana video for their song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the exact moment that the politics of boredom hit the mainstream. They’d been around in the underground for ages before that though. Let’s go for a listen through history and see what that tells us.

copyright John Mostrom 2003

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Who Said YOU Could Label Dissent?

2011/03/05

On Tuesday, 8 March 2011- Dr. Michael MacDonald and I will be giving a public lecture at the University of Alberta. As you can see on the poster, it’s called “Listening to Dissent: The Sound of Protest from Woody Guthrie to Rage Against the Machine.”

The talk is going to deal with the role of music in protest – and I don’t know if you’ve being reading the papers lately, but there’s been a heck of a lot of dissent against authority going on recently. So if you’re in the neighborhood, stop on by Tory 1-125 for a discussion on the attitude that musicians from Woody Guthrie to Joe Strummer to Joey Keithley to Tom Morello share.

Oh yeah, and there’ll be snacks!