Yesterday, I gave a talk at the EMP Pop Conference, entitled "Why Doesn't the 'Brooklyn Sound' Sound Like Brooklyn?". It's an argument that's been sitting in the back of my mind for a few years, but this was the first time I've actively tried to organize and present it. The basic premise is that the media narrative surrounding the "hipster" bands located in and around Williamsburg – Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend, etc. – is a form of sonic whitewashing that doesn't merely reflect but actively legitimizes the gentrifying annexation of Brooklyn by the economic elite, as well as the increasing racial and economic segregation of American cities, and naturalizes the growing gap between the "1%" and the rest of us. Conversely, the relegation of multi-racial and black-led bands such as Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Antibalas (as well as my own band, Brave New Girl) to the category of "retro" effectively consigns black agency and multi-ethnic collaboration to the cultural past.
The audio of my talk is available here [12MB audio file], and you can view the presentation I gave here: