Essay Plan



  • In the book ‘Noise in My Head: Voices from the Ugly Australian Undergorund’ and article ‘Underground music scene proves punk’s note dead’ writers Jimi Kritzler and Everett True delve into the music and lives of a number of musicians who are described as being part of an ‘Australian cult music scene’ or the ‘Australian underground’.
  • Drawing from academic works this paper will examine how perceived intersections between youth, music and style are constructed in these texts as well as the role of rock play in shaping representations of artists and establishing the place of artists in music history.

Literature Review

  • An overview of the literature concerned with the entomology of music scenes and the role of rock critics in attaching value and meaning to music.

Analysis of Text  1 and Text 2

  • Here the texts will be analysed in reference to the aforementioned review. Whether this takes the form of a discreet analysis of each text or whether specific aspects of each text are looked at in reference to certain characteristics or trends identified common to both will be determined once findings have been collected to ensure the most logical flow of ideas is provided.


Essay Plan

Annotated Bibliography 2

McLeod, Kembrew. ‘One and a Half Stars: A Critique of Rock Criticism in North America’ Popular Music 20.1 (2001): 47-60. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 5 May 2015.

McLeod’s article explores the role critics play in shaping representations of artists and establishing the place of artists in music history. A focal point of McLeod’s article is how rock critics articulate the values of the networks of musical communities to which they belong and apply these values to evaluate the music they review. The author also identifies a dominant, exclusive and homosocial ‘rock ideology’ underpinning most music criticism. This ideology attaches meaning and value to music which can be considered serious, masculine and authentic while discounting that which is not as ‘pop music’. McLeod also cites Frith’s three aspects of rock ideology; the construct of rock musician as a career, the perception of rock as a complex art form and cultural identity as well as an assumption of a real bond between performers and their audiences. Drawing upon McLeod’s work the key concepts of the article could be applied to media representations of the music, artists and community associated with ‘Australian underground music.’ to illustrate the role critics have in contextualising and attaching value to music.

Weisethaunet, Hans and Lindberg, Ulf. ‘Authenticity Revisited: the Rock Critic and the Changing Real’. Popular Music and Society 33.4 (2010): 465-485. Taylor Francis Online. Web. 5 May 2015.

Weisethaunet and Linberg’s article examines the notion of authenticity within writings that attach value and significance to music. The authors contend that the idea of authenticity takes on a plurality meanings within rock discourse and is also something which may be experienced. While an examination of authenticity is beyond the scope of the proposed paper the article provides useful insights into the role of music critics. A critic is defined as ‘a professional recipient, who has to make verbal sense of an aesthetic experience and who solves the task by recourse to a discursive repertoire.’ The article contends that the rise of the rock critic has led to the evaluative notion that there is music which is worthy of critical attention and that which is not. A worldwide professional discourse found on the internet, in books, magazines and papers is perpetuated by individuals from all manner of cultural backgrounds and genders. The music upon which it has focused has expanded and differentiated, becoming more specialised and attuned to consumer guidance. Contemporary criticism no longer see music as subversive, although it may emphasise and favour traits which are subversive or expressions of subversive ideals. The authors’ view is that criticism is now a search for that which is worthy of approval. Another pertinent insight is highlighting that music history is inherently interlinked to music journalism in that the former is more often than not authored by music journalists and therefore reflective of their subjective values.

Annotated Bibliography 2

Annotated Bibliography

Stahl, Geoff. “Setting the Scene in Montreal.” Ed. Bennet, Andy and Keith Khan Harris. After Subculture: Critical Studies in Contemporary Youth Culture. Hampshire: Pallgrave Macmillion 2004 (pp.51-64).

Preferring the use of the flexible and transient notion of a scene to that of a subculture as a preferable too for the analytical framework for examining the socio-musical experiences, Stahl adopts Straw’s definition of a scene as ‘the formal and informal arrangement of industries, institutions, audiences and infrastructures.’ Stahl places particular focus on the idea of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure, the former comprising of the built environment whereas the latter concerning associative structures and social networks. The author then uses these analytical tools to deconstruct the music scene in Canadian city Montreal. There is certainly a degree of analogy between Stahl’s understanding of the indie rock scene and the ‘underground music scene’ constructed by Kritzler’s text such as salient themes of bedroom production,  boredom, a sense of vanity, the perception of the scenes as a response to an ‘anaemic’ local culture and greater reliance on soft as opposed to hard infrastructure.

Whitley, Sheila. “Introduction”. Ed.Whitley, Sheila, Andy Bennet and Stan Hawkins. Music, Space and Place: Popular Music and Cultural Identity. Burlington: Ashgate 2004 (pp.1-21).

Whitley’s introductory chapter explores the significance of the interconnective relationship between music and geographical location as a means of understanding social and cultural meanings in popular musical texts. Whitley contends that local everyday surroundings shape music making discourses as well as sounds or timbres represent within the musical works. Another key concept is the idea that common stock understandings which involve collective social identities, particularly in the response to the ‘impersonal wilderness’ of everyday urban life. Whitley also notes the function of music as an articulation of collective identities. While the texts focus on international identities as well as diasporic communities which bear less relevance on the local urban focus of the subject matter of the proposed study, these fundamental concepts provide useful analytical tools which can be drawn upon in understand music making and constructions of identities within the Australian underground scene.

Annotated Bibliography

Week 8 Research Proposal

In ‘Noise in My Head: Voices from the Ugly Australia Underground’ author Jimi Kritzler delves into the music and lives of a number of musicians who are described as being part of an Australian cult music scene or the ‘Australian underground’. Emerging following the 1980s, the musicians within this youth group create music falling within an eclectic array of genres, but are unified by an aspiration to create ‘damaged, innovative and unique sounds’ which often challenge dominant Australian cultural values (Kritzler 11). The musical influence of Australian bands such as the Birthday Party, The Go-Betweens, The Triffids and The Saints are cited as widespread, but by no means universal (11). Themes of drug abuse, boredom, rejection and poverty are also associated with the music and lifestyles of those within the Australian underground (24, 35, 41, 44, 51, 63, 110). Drawing from the work of Kritzler and other media sources the proposed paper will examine the perceived intersections between youth, music and style of the musicians and fans which have been identified as belonging to this group. The paper will be informed by the concepts of subcultures, neo-tribes and scenes which provide sociological frameworks for the analysis of the connection between music and youth culture (Hesmondhaigh, 21).


Kritzler, Jimi. “Noise in My Head: Voices From the Ugly Australia Underground”. Melbourne Books 2014. Print.

Hesmondhaigh, David. “Subcultures, Scenes or Tribes? None of the Above’ Journal of Youth Studies  8.1 (2004): 21-40. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 17 September 2014.

Week 8 Research Proposal