Those Generous Robots: Daft Punk and Musical Nostalgia

I was initially content to let the 56th Grammy Awards pass me by. Until, that is, I learned that the French electronic music duo Daft Punk -- who would go on to win four Grammys, including "Album of the Year" and "Record of the Year" -- would be performing their hit single "Get Lucky" with Stevie Wonder. The combination seemed like a match made in heaven, and was all the more intriguing given the duo's enigmatic persona and reticence when it comes to television performances.Daft Punk have … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Nostalgia, Alienation, and Home

I tend to be somewhat nostalgic. When I daydream of running away from my everyday life (come on, you know you do too) I usually picture myself settling in some imaginary picturesque southern town circa 1928. I imagine a place without iPhones or Netflix, what would seem to be a comfortably conservative culture, and lots of old-timey string bands. Now, this small pre-Depression southern town isn’t a real small pre-Depression southern town. In my mind there aren’t racists and somehow there is a pol … [Read more...]

Music Made Physical: In Defense of the Humble Cassette

If you were born after the mid-1980s, chances are the word "cassette" will evoke a blank stare. And if you're older than that, your first thought might be, "Thank goodness they're gone." But as we learned with vinyl, a musical format never truly dies: it just acquires a cult following. For example, the Wall Street Journal reveals that a surprising amount of love is still being shown for the humble cassette: [C]assette devotees say that tapes are underappreciated. They see cassettes following in … [Read more...]