Natalie Portman tuned me on to The Shins and their song “New Slang” in Zach Braff’s 2004 film Garden State. “Phantom Limb” is probably my favorite song by the band–even though James Mercer says that it is about a lesbian couple dealing with high school life, it holds a lot of relevance and energy for anyone on the margins.
Last night, I caught the ending of Oliver Sacks’ Musical Minds on NOVA. According to the website here, it originally aired in 2009. Luckily, you and I can watch the complete episode online and we can learn how the brain processes music and how important music is to the human brain. There are also special features available on the Musical Minds website.
Yesterday, BoingBoing began hosting a sweet dance mix of science fiction that you can dance to by Claire L. Evans and her band YACHT (Many thanks!).
Besides the freely downloadable mix that she posted on BB, she also writes a lot about science fiction and science on not one, but two blogs: Universe on ScienceBlogs.com and Space Canon: A Life in Science Fiction.
You should consider downloading the tunes above and adding Claire’s blogs to your RSS reader.
My colleagues Professor Babacar M’Baye and fellow PhD student Alex Hall have sent out the following cfp for a collection of essays on American popular music. If you study the cultural significance of American music, you should consider contributing. Read on for the full cfp:
CFP: Critical and Transnational Approaches to American Popular Music
Babacar M’Baye & Alexander C.O. Hall, eds.
Critical and Transnational Approaches to American Popular Music is an ambitious project that examines both the local and transnational significance of American popular music such as Blues, Rock and Roll, and Hip Hop. The first part of the book will situate these musical genres in the large and complex framework of American popular culture in which language, utopia, and traditions have played major roles in the construction of identity, activism, and social change. The second part of the book will put American Blues, Rock and Roll, and Hip Hop in conversation with similar or different musical genres from other parts of the world in which identity, resistance, and social transformation are also crucial parts. By inviting contributions about the local and transnational significance of American popular music, this edited volume wants to encourage original and theoretical analysis of American musical genres such as Blues, Rock and Roll, and Hip Hop while recognizing and studying the connections between such genres and their parental cousins or progenies from around the world.
Theoretically, Critical and Transnational Approaches to Popular Music is a collection of essays whose project is to study popular music using critical theory, equaling a collection of essays that is rooted in what has come to be known as “new” or “critical” musicology, but is also known simply as critical music studies. This book will employ a variety of critical perspectives in its treatment of the works it deals with, thereby widening the book’s audience via its interdisciplinary and transnational situation within the discourse of critical music studies. Looked at another way, the book fits comfortably under the umbrella of cultural studies—indeed, the book will be dealing with the cultural ramifications of the musical works. Nevertheless, each essay will employ a critical perspective relevant to the study of its musical subject. Some of the essays will, for instance, use literary theory to examine works at the level of narrative, while others will be interested in the political critique inherent in certain works. Still other essays in the collection will deal with the cultural collisions that result in, for instance, transnational forms of American popular music genres such as Rock and Roll, Hip Hop, and Rap.
All manuscripts must be original (hence, not under consideration for any other journal or book) and submitted in MS Word format. The entire essay (including endnotes and bibliography) should not exceed twenty five double-spaced pages and must include a concise title and a 200-word abstract. The essay must follow the conventions of The Chicago Manual of Style (latest edition). Articles in languages other than English will be considered; however, they must also be presented in English. All submissions must include the author’s current affiliation and contact information (e-mail and postal addresses, etc.) as well as an up-to-date curriculum vitae. The deadline for receipts of contributions is May 31, 2011.
Please address queries and papers to:
Dr. Babacar M’Baye
Department of English
113 Satterfield Hall
Kent State University
Kent OH 44242
Alexander Charles Oliver Hall, M.A.
Department of English
Kent State University
Satterfield Hall 209-F
Kent, OH 44242-0001