No Joy: Motherhood

A recent interview over at Jezebel was just published that validates the research my colleague Julie Turley and I have been studying in the last two years regarding Motherhood – and that is – the story of how women, particularly women who participate in the musical subcultures of rock and metal feel a multi-faceted sense of loss, grounded in the expectations of what motherhood looks like.

The interview is with musician Jasmine White-Gluz (those of you probably know her sister, Alissa White-Gluz, death metal vocalist of Arch Enemy) and discusses her solo project as No Joy. Her new album, entitled Motherhood is an exploration of shape-shifting, at times heavy (though heavy is relative), dream pop songs. While I usually post about women in the extreme metal music subculture, Jasmine’s album explores an area that mixes said dream pop elements with concept and layers of motherhood both through composition and lyrics that had me intrigued.

The album’s opening track “birthmark” has your standard poppy arrangements but with the second track “dream rats”, multilayered vocals catch my attention and preference for more complexity. Finding out that the additional vocals were provided by Alissa White-Gluz was a plus, as I’ve always been a fan of death vocals.

Another highlight of the album is the track entitled “four”, which starts off with a bit of a shoe-gaze feel that slowly implements dream pop rhythms and repetitive vocals mid-way. I kept wanting the song to go a little darker/heavier but was pleasantly surprised with how the interchanges between dream pop and guitar play kept my ear at just the right level of interest.

While other reviewers relate this album to a 90’s noise-rock feel, some songs felt like I was back in the NY club scene, circa 1988, dancing with goth rain dancers, especially their song, “ageless”. Overall, I loved White-Gluz’s focus on Motherhood; the album offers a trippy road trip through her experiences and vision in discussing a concept so overlooked in the music industry.

Popular Culture Conference, April 1-4 2015


My colleague Angela Washington and I presented at this year’s Popular Culture Association (PCA) Conference in New Orleans. This presentation was more aligned to my first love– art librarianship and not to metal music, though I did attend a metal panel at this conference.

Sailor Moon manga - MMA Dark Kingdom-2We presented our paper entitled, “The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gets Graphic: Building a Collection for the Library” under the Libraries, Archives, Museums, and Popular Research panel. We decided to present on how we started the graphic novel collection at the Met’s Nolan Library when I was working there back in 2010. It was right before we hired the current Public Services Librarian who is now conducting the teen and children’s programming. We were first up on our panel and got to meet and see wonderful presentations from the head bibliographer at Tulane and librarians from  both San Diego State University and Florida International University. Overall, our presentation went very well and Angela did a great job at explaining the Watson and Nolan’s collection policy and its unique nuances involved with selecting, purchasing, processing and programming at the libraries.

Below was our panel line-up:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gets Graphic: Building a Collection for the Library The libraries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art are home to over 900,000 books and periodicals… Angela Washington

Joan Jocson-Singh

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Paper
Poodle with a mohawk: Collecting cat and dog comics in an academic rare books department In New Orleans, with its wealth of distinctive popular culture associations, it may not surprise… Joshua Lupkin Tulane University, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library Paper
NSFW: Sexually Explicit Comics in Academic Libraries Sexually explicit topics have been safely explored in the academic bubble for decades. However,… Anna Culbertson San Diego State University Paper
Doujinshi and Libraries Doujinshi are Japanese publications, usually created by amateurs and fans, though occasionally… George Pearson Florida International University Paper

Of course, I was most excited to attend the Music (metal) panel because of the papers presented (see below). A highlight for me was hearing Victoria Willis’s presentation on The Dialetic of T(werk): Hegel, Marx, and Womanist Agency in Mastodon’s “The Motherload” Video, because of her theoretical framework and it’s relation to feminism.

Title Body Presenter Affiliation Presentation type
Sunn O))) – A Camp Dimension? In a video posted to YouTube, the drone metal band Sunn O))) can be seen performing an… Albert Diaz UCLA Paper
“Rime of a Metal Mariner” “Rime of a Metal Mariner” looks at Iron Maiden’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” as an adaptation… Justin J. Roberts University of Kentucky Paper
The Dialetic of T(werk): Hegel, Marx, and Womanist Agency in Mastodon’s “The Motherload” Video In this paper, I examine the role of twerking in Mastodon’s recent video for “The Motherload.”… Victoria Willis Georgia State University Paper
Hype, Visual Personae, and “Real” Music: The Example of Lana del Rey Before Lana del Rey’s first album, ‘Born to Die,’ hit the stores, she was an internet sensation… Mark Allister St. Olaf College Paper

And the panel on Music (Gender) was too great to pass up:

Title Body Presenter Affiliation Presentation type
Bring It On Home: Gender and Sexuality in Led Zeppelin Sasha T. Strelitz: “Bring It On Home: Gender and Sexuality in Led Zeppelin”


Sasha Strelitz University of Central Florida Paper
“Bootylicious” with “Love on Top”: Female Empowerment and Performing Sexual Agency at the 2013 Super Bowl Halftime Show In the middle of an exclusively masculine contest of muscle and strategy between the Baltimore… Claire Anderson University of Washington Paper
“Papa, you ain’t got no mama now”: Analyzing Female Agency in Race Record Ads When it comes to analyzing and understanding blues music, many researchers have turned to the… Catherine Gooch University of Kentucky Paper
“What a Great Song…Except for the Lyrics!: Examining Rape Culture in Popular Music”

In this paper, I explore the cultural and social landscape that popularizes music that…

Melinda Mills Castleton State College Paper

I’ve been telling folks for years that the Popular Culture Association is the most interesting academic conferences I’ve been to. Because it deals with popular culture, it really spans disciplines and is one of the more affordable conferences to attend if you’re not a member. You can present as an independent scholar which is also nice. I had a great time meeting other academics and really enjoyed learning about the varied research that’s going on all of the states.

Next year’s conference will be in Seattle – so I’m really looking forward to that.

Monday Musings

Lately, my blog posts haven’t been totally of the academic nature; I’ve realized I’m becoming more and more entrenched in the daily activities of a mom and a working mom at that.

But today, I’ll speak to a balance of both things academia and motherhood.

This Monday morning was done in it’s usual fashion, a quick and then slow progression of doing things on automatic and then having time on the train to contemplate all the things I needed to do or did. I remember sitting on the train not too long ago, praising myself for actually being able to make it to work on time today! I hate being late, but somehow it’s become routine ever since having a baby.

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Rejoice Metal Music Scholars \m/ We’ve got a Journal :)

Just passing the good news around (from the press release):mms

Metal Music Studies
Edited by Karl Spracklen
Intellect is delighted to announce the development of Metal Music Studies. This journal fills a gap in the market – there is no other journal that has the sole focus of publishing research and theory that uses metal music as its subject matter. This is an anomaly, as the number of scholars working on metal music is large, and getting larger, as heavy metal becomes a legitimate focus of postgraduate study and scholarly activity. Metal music is a global phenomenon, with thriving scenes in every region. It is ubiquitous in popular culture and a form of music closely associated with modernity. Intellectual inquiry into metal music, then, is very relevant and timely – and this journal will be the only one of its kind, bringing together the metal music research that is currently otherwise published across a wide range of journals: in musicology, in cultural studies, in sociology and in other disciplines. As metal music studies grows as a truly interdisciplinary subject field, this journal will be in a position to nurture and develop the discipline.
International Society for Metal Music Studies 
The journal will be the official journal of the International Society for Metal Music Studies (ISMMS). ISMMS is a learned society for any scholar interested in metal music, and for anyone involved in metal music who is serious about their involvement: musicians, promoters, journalists, dedicated fans. ISMMS is developing its structures over the next 12 months – watch this space!
Call for Papers
Metal Music Studies is explicitly multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary: embracing both musicological research and music theory about metal music, and social scientific and humanistic research about metal music as a genre. We aim to receive contributions from researchers and theorists aligned with the subject field of metal music studies, but also researchers and theorists from other disciplines. This journal will continue to draw on this inter-disciplinary approach, nurturing the development of an academic combination of metal musicology, metal cultures and metal studies. We would be happy to receive contributions from scholars in the parent disciplines of music theory, musicology, aesthetics, music technology, performance, art, policy studies, politics, cultural studies, economics, pedagogy, sociology, linguistics, psychology, history, regional studies, theology, philosophy, and natural sciences. The journal will accept and commission shorter pieces from those involved in the metal music industry: journalists, label owners and other industry insiders, managers, musicians and fans.
Information on deadlines, styles, word counts will appear on the MMS page on Intellect and in further announcements through 2013 and 2014.
For more information contact the Principal Editor: Karl Spracklen,
Title Information
Full Title: Metal Music Studies
Editor: Karl Spracklen
ISBN: 20523998
Published by: Intellect | Publication: 2015
Territory: World | Readership: General / Academic