Getting physical (in Maisonneuve magazine)

If you follow me on Twitter this isn’t news to you, but I realized that in the wake of my decade-in-review coverage that I never actually blogged about my new gig that I’m quite excited about – the results of which are currently on newsstands now.

I’ve recently taken the reigns of the “Music Room” column for Maisonneuve magazine, a quarterly of arts, opinion and ideas based out of Montreal. It’s an absolutely awesome publication full of provocative essays and feature articles, including this issue’s rather compelling cover story by Les Horswill that I’ll have more to say about (with a musical dimension) later this week. I’m frankly honoured just to be a part of it, and I promise to do my best not to sully its great name.

The Music Room is an interesting writing challenge. Every issue, I offer my extremely concise thoughts on 10-12 records worth listening to; a few sentences each, at most. I don’t have endless paragraphs to offer up a thematic idea or conceptual foundation, so I have to get to the point and get there quickly while still doing justice to the record. I also have to write in such a way that someone who picked up the issue for a particular feature story, who may not have the slightest background on any of the bands, albums or genres in my column, can still get a sense of what these records might sound like to them.

Then there’s the other challenges of the gig. One of them is working to get records far enough in advance so that the column is relatively current; not the easiest task all the time for a quarterly publication in the leak-sensitive digital age. Another is working to break out of my own genre preferences to try and find a greater diversity of sounds; I’m not sure how well I succeed in this first column (though I confess that the scarcity of good hip hop records in the late fall didn’t help matters) but I’m excited to try and stretch myself as a music listener, not just as a writer.

Though Maisonneuve has a bunch of great content at their website – including, often, re-posts of some of my McNutt Against the Music content – the column itself is print-only, so if you want my thoughts on records from the Flaming Lips, Woodpigeon, Cold Cave, Tegan and Sara, Said the Whale and more, you should pick up a copy at your favourite newsstand.

At the request of my wonderful editor-in-chief, Montreal publisher and poet Carmine Starnino, I also sat down with my Dalhousie colleague and former/occasional Halifax music journalist James Covey for an interview about everything from blogging and Canadian music to 21st century criticism. There’s nothing unfamiliar here if you’re a regular McNutt Against the Music reader, but it’s a good primer on where I’m coming from in my writing (plus, it was a good excuse for brunch). You can now read the interview in full at the Maisonneuve website.

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2 responses to “Getting physical (in Maisonneuve magazine)

  1. That was a solid interview from both sides of the equation, nice job.

    I feel pretty much 100% the same on the physical format question. I like the immediacy, selectivity, and slightly lower cost that come with digital, but there is that unique feeling of tangibility and having a collection that comes with the physical disc. I hate when I buy an album that I end up loving (this year, It’s Blitz and Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix fit the bill) online and don’t have the physical disc.

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