(no subject)

A lot has been happening that I sometimes forget to update this. I've been finishing off a conference paper for the POPCAANZ conference next month and finishing off another chapter of my thesis. It's strange, the closer I get to the end of each of those, the harder they seem to be to finish. I have been really slowing in motivation which makes me think I probably need a proper break, even just for a few days, but I can't really afford to take the time off until the end of June. No fun.

I like being out at uni and working from there; however, it's a bit of a shame that I work in a completely empty office. One of the things I was looking forward to when I moved here was to feel like I had more of a research community but unfortunately none of the other post grads really use the office (or at least, use it in regular hours). Some of the undergrad students have been quite nice, popping in and saying hello. At first I was quite excited about this, having someone to talk to after working alone in my office at home for so long. I am actually pretty lonely up here on the Gold Coast so having someone to talk to about things, music, assignments, helping, or whatever, was actually kind of nice. Thinking about it now, I feel like I might be getting too involved with them, so I'm making a conscious effort to pull back a bit. It's a funny balance for me because I am a student on one hand, and want other students to hang out with or make music with, but I also really want to be more involved in marking or teaching, and to do that properly I need to exercise some professional distance. I'm still learning this stuff. Back to my empty old office.

I need to kick myself in the ass to get these things done but I know my motivation is waning a little at the moment. I was doing so well for a while...

Some nice news is that I was accepted to a conference in NZ at the end of the year, so I am excited to go to that and excited just to visit NZ! I have never been and really want to visit. I didn't really think I would get in so it was actually a really nice surprise to open that email. I will try to be good and write in here more often...er, um, at least I would be writing!

"The Beach Boys"

Dear Mike and Bruce,

Fuck you both, seriously. You are assholes.

That girl who is dedicating four years of her life to your music,

Let's see who can make the most fun. It's hard to top MC's comment about "it being easy to make fun of a 70 year old dude singing about woodies", but have a go. Seriously Mike, we know you're bald, just stop wearing the stupid hat all the time. You've had it on in various incarnations since 1968.

When I saw their show on Monday night, Mike spent most of the night looking down the dresses of their girls in the front row. These girls were all of 16. Maybe even younger. I know this because I was in the second row and saw it all. What a creep. Did I mention he is over 70 years old?


Another day, another rejection letter:

Dear Ms. O'Regan,

The Program Committee for the 2010 IASPM-US Conference received many proposals this year and worked to create a cohesive program based on the conference's themes. Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that we could not include your proposed paper. We truly appreciate your interest in the conference and hope that you will consider IASPM again as a potential forum for your work.

Daniel Cavicchi
IASPM-US 2010 Program Committee Chair

Seriously. I feel like I'm going absolutely nowhere with this. No one wants to give me a break here. I know my chances were slim, but I really did think I put in a good abstract. It was well written and it fit the conference theme perfectly. That trip to the US would have been a huge help to me, not just because of the conference, but because of the interviews I could have set up while I was over there, maybe even with Brian himself, but it's just never going to happen in my research now, there will be no other chances to go overseas for my research and I certainly won't be able to afford it when I'm out of a job and a university by next year. All I wanted was to get to the US while I am studying American music.

I know this is just how it goes and you win some and lose some, but seriously, after the Beach Boys' canning my interview at the last minute yesterday and now this, along with all the other junk I am experiencing right now, it's just another kick in the face while I'm already down. Not even the band itself cares to even hear about my research. Remind me why I bother with this again...?

Charts Charts Charts

Tim just sent me a link to this amazing chart about the Beatles from this website. It lists all of the key signatures for each album over a circle of fifths.

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I am ALWAYS looking for useful/interesting ways of displaying the data for my PhD. I have LOADS of it and looking at lists of numbers is not only boring, but often not really illustrative of what's going on. This key sig chart manages to do that, however it must have been a bit easier for the guy doing it as other people had already done the number crunching for him (unfortunately not the case for me!). The interesting thing is... my gut feeling thinks that the Beach Boys chart (if done in this fashion) would not only be all over the circle of fifths (the Beatles don't appear to use C# much at all, for example, except on 'Pepper'... not like my friend Bryan Estepa, ha ha!), but would favour the other side of the "dial" to the Beatles. The Beatles seem to use the right side, between F and E, where as many of the Beach Boys' early songs were in strange keys, like Ab and Eb. Who writes a blues in Eb, seriously. Brian Wilson does.

Maybe I should try to get in touch with this guy? It appears these charts are part of an ongoing project called "Charting the Beatles" where all different people add charts to the flickr pool, however none of the other charts are as useful, detailed and interesting as these ones. Hrrmm!


I got this email yesterday:

8th January 2010.

Dear Jadey,

We are pleased to invite you to present your paper at the inaugural PopCAANZ Conference in Sydney June 31, July 1, 2.

Registration information and further details are available at the conference website http://www.library.uq.edu.au/ipswich/popcaanz/. Registration will open in January.
A draft programme will be available at the end of January.

The VIBE hotel offers an accommodation package which includes breakfast - $165.00 per night.

Fees for the conference are AUD300 which includes AUD250 conference registration and AUD50 membership fee. The conference costs include morning and afternoon tea and lunch. Poster session (and cocktail party) and wine and sign night are an additional AUD50 each (two hours includes canapés and alcohol). Please come to these mixers as they are a great way for us all to meet and discuss our research and future collaborations.

Laptop computers will be available but there won’t be any overhead projectors. Please contact me with your AV requirements or any other further queries you have.

This promises to be an exciting conference as we have delegates from all over the world: Canada, India, Europe New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Looking forward to meeting with you in 2010.

Popular Music area chair


I can't believe they actually said YES. Someone is going to give me a chance to talk about my research! I know it's not the most ideal conference because it's not entirely about music, but lots of other pop cultural stuff, but still... it's a start.


As always, PhD Comics says it all in 4 panels. This is pretty much been my day today. Just without the snow and scarf. It started out with really great intentions but I have only got 300 words on the page today. I really need to do better than this if I'm ever going to finish this thing.


After my spectacularly unproductive day yesterday, I decided to give up on my work on rhythms and think about something else for a while. It was becoming so painfully slow to work on it that nothing was getting done. I know I should have finished it but for some reason I just can't seem to do it. The only thing I can think to do is be productive about some other part of my paper.

Instead of doing my head in with rhythms, I have read some interesting papers on structure and the influence of Tin Pan Alley/Brill Building on the development of early 60s rock and roll forms. These papers are all in relation to the Beatles. Because there are no papers discussing the Beach Boys in this way (thank goodness really, or my paper would be pointless), the Beatles are the closest contemporaries and I find myself reading a lot of Beatles papers to find information about the Beach Boys too. I will talk more about these ideas about structure in another post (though I do have an urge to experiment with some AABA structures right now!) but I have been thinking a little bit about a phrase that gets thrown around a lot.


It's used everywhere, even on music that doesn't sound like the Beatles, even to describe structures (formal, harmonic, melodic) that the Beatles rarely used (e.g., anything with a descending chord progression, even though the fabs only used this occasionally it is "beatlesque"). In fact, the term might almost be a bit passé. One of those terms journalists use when they don't know anything about the type of pop music they are reviewing. "Err, it's happy pop, it must be Beatlesque'. Tim and I laughed not long ago about a review (a can't remember what for now) that used the term "badfingeresque" in an attempt to avoid the word "beatlesque" which is kind of hilarious: Comparing music that sounds like the Beatles to.. not the Beatles, but a band that tried to sound like the Beatles?

But what the hell. BEATLESQUE! I use it and I'm sure a lot of my friend do. What is interesting, though, is that there is a term for the influence of the Beatles sound, but there is no term for the Beach Boys. There is no "Wilsonesque" or "Beach Boysian" sound. "Oh did you hear that modulation? That's so Wilsonesque!" People don't use those terms. I wonder why that is? The Beach Boys' had a sound easily as identifiable as the Beatles, but there's no accepted phrase for their influence on later pop music in the "canon" (another one of those passé words?).

What does this mean? Hrrrm.

(no subject)

Okay. I sent off all my abstracts. They are gone. Now I have to play the waiting game. Waiting for my rejection letter! I know you're all going to jump on me about being negative here but I know my chances are pretty slim. I had my hopes up last year and was rejected from 3 conferences so I need to not be so excited about it.

The waiting game sucks, let's play hungry hungy hippos.

300 words or less.

Little abstract to PopCanz conference in Sydney next year. Doubt I will have much luck getting in but we will see...

Won’t Be Long Till Summer Time is Through; The Beach Boys’ Music and the California Myth.

Few other pop groups have an association with a particular location as strong as the Beach Boys’ association with Southern California. The term “California Myth” has been used to describe the fantasy of Californian culture - the sun, surf, cars, girls and endless summer - portrayed in the Beach Boys’ music from 1962-65. This association with the California Myth is explicit in the band’s name, album artwork, clothing, and, of course, the sound of their music. This paper will be a textual analysis of songs from the Beach Boys’ repertoire, exploring the musical attributes, production techniques, and lyrical themes in the Beach Boys’ music which shaped, and were shaped by, the California Myth.

This myth manifests itself in the Beach Boys’ music in three major ways. Firstly, it is evoked by musical attributes such as fast-paced tempos, major keys, specific chordal progressions, complex instrumental arrangements, and musical structures. Secondly, it is evoked by the Beach Boys’ use of particular production techniques, such as the use of triple-tracked vocal harmonies and saturated reverb. Thirdly, the connection between the Beach Boys’ lyrical themes and the California Myth is obvious in almost every song during the 1962-65 period (e.g., “California Girls”, “All Summer Long”, and “Fun Fun Fun”).

Brian Wilson’s deliberate use of particular musical attributes, production techniques and lyrical themes - integral to the Beach Boys’ sound – expressed this commonly perceived notion of Californian culture despite his personal reluctance to engage with it. Through a study of these elements of the Beach Boys’ sound, the complicated relationship of their music to Southern California can be understood.