Next weekend, various stripes of music nerds (critics, academics, people who just like to think a lot) will descend on New York for the EMP Pop Conference, an annual mind-meld of pro and amateur musicologists that’s taking place in our fair city for the first time. The conference, sponsored by the Seattle rock and roll museum the Experience Music Project (and this year co-sponsored by NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, where I teach), is this year themed around the intersection between urbanity and music, and the weekend has an opening panel starring Angelique Kidjo, Esperanza Spalding, Santigold, and Das Racist’s Heems and a closing talk about crate-digging with ?uestlove. In between are a slew of papers and panels that include a roundtable on mixtape culture featuring SOTC alums Zach Baron and Ryan Dombal, a look at the LA rave station MARS-FM by Michaelangelo Matos, and Jon Caramanica talking to GZA about Liquid Swords.
I have a special place in my heart for it; it’s been a great arena for meeting new people who became colleagues and pals, and for having those parts of my brain that think about music get rewired in fundamental ways. But chat-show host and general provocateur Stephen Colbert has a slightly different take on the whole thing; he used the opening of his show last night to air his peevedness about the conference rejecting his paper (he also riffed on a couple of paper titles). Watch over at Colbert Nation. (And really, Stephen, after this, I think if you asked nicely the organizers would find some way to get your examination of post-reunion Aerosmith in the mix. I especially want to hear your thoughts on “Jaded,” which I think was the band’s response to the late-’90s indie-rock explosion (it always sounded like the result of them hearing the Chicago act Number One Cup to me)! Please?)