Post Academic

The Post Academic Overeducated Rockers Virtual Music Fest

Posted in Absurdities by Arnold Pan on July 18, 2010
Tags: , , , , , ,

One of the tell-tale signs of a grad student is an eccentric taste in music.  That can manifest itself in various ways, from being a jazz archivist to classical experimenalist to indie rock snob to some combination of all-of-the-above.  I’m going to tackle indie rock snob because that’s what I am.  So in honor of all the great rock festivals that happen over the summer months all around the world, we’re gonna have the first annual “Post Academic Overeducated Rockers Virtual Music Fest,” with a lineup of esteemed underground bands that feature PhD types.  Play the YouTubes and just imagine the fest, complete with vegetarian food booths and a new-and-used book concession flanking the stage.  I’d totally go see this bill, probably because I’m the one who came up with it.

Delorean: Let’s start with the hottest, most current act in our lineup–if you wanna know more, you can see the review I wrote on their latest album, Subiza.  Frontman Ekhi Lopetegi earns these dance-influenced Spanish indie rockers some geek cred as a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy.  Apparently, his research interests are in Foucault, though the band’s feel-good technoish rock doesn’t exactly bring to mind structuralism or biopower.  Considering Delorean’s dancey-moves, let’s call it Post-Foucault, the sound of body and mind freed from biopower.

Matmos: How many English Ph.D.s can say they’ve toured with Bjork?  Probably fewer than those who’ve made concept records based on sound clips from plastic surgery (A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure).  But Matmos’ Drew Daniel is the only one who’s done both, while also achieving a high degree of success as an academic, graduating from UC Berkeley and taking a job as an Asst Prof in the English dept at Johns Hopkins.  Matmos’s stuff is pretty high concept and the stuff of experimental art, which evokes, in my mind at least, a musical soundtrack to Deleuze’s notion of the rhizome, for whatever reason.  The band has a new album that came out recently, Treasure State.

The New Year/Bedhead: Matt Kadane is an Asst Prof in History at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in NY State, specializing in early modern Europe.  He’s also one of the mainstays of two of the more underrated and underappreciate indie bands of the last 20 years, Bedhead and (currently) the New Year.  I guess you can slap a “slow-core” tag on both bands, which means that they create songs that start our slowly and patiently, building up to some intense, frenetic moments, before slowing it back down.  In that sense, history isn’t a bad disciplinary equivalent for either band, as moments of action pop up through mostly dormant  times.  You can check out an interview with Kadane about his day job on Stereogum.

Tender Trap: Last but not least is Amelia Fletcher, a trailblazer among the cute-punk cuddlecore set and an Oxford D.Phil. in economics.  In fact, Fletcher has the lofty title of Chief Economist of the Office of Fair Trading in the UK.  You wouldn’t have known Fletcher had such an official sounding occupation is you heard her music, which combines the sweetest girl-groupish melodies with a Do-It-Yourself aesthetic and barbed-wire-sharp wit.  Tender Trap is her latest musical endeavor (with an album out now!), but her best and best-known work was with Talulah Gosh and Heavenly during the mid-1980s through the 1990s.  I’d say the theory equivalent of Fletcher’s bands would be UK cultural studies, fun and cleverly trenchant at the same time.

2 Responses to 'The Post Academic Overeducated Rockers Virtual Music Fest'

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  1. Jane said,

    What about the guy in Bad Religion?

  2. Jane said,

    Oooh, I thought of another good pop culture and academia-related topic. Celebrities whose parents are academics: Matt Damon and Jon Stewart, to start the list. . .

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