Telephony Cacophony

Thursdays at 8PM EST

Listen in at radio.wpi.edu

More Information

Official answer: a genre of music I like to call "telephony" or "imaginary rock".

More truthful answer: Whatever I like to listen to and think my friends would like too.

Most helpful answer: see the "Past Shows" tab below.

A genre label I just sort of made up. It's meant to represent the nebulous grouping of alt-alt-rock popularized among certain young people on the internet: melody focused like the Beatles, courting an 80s new-wave aesthetic, popular for lyrics that are morbid but playful and a willingness to experiment with their sound. My 3 favorite bands at the core of this sound are They Might Be Giants, Lemon Demon, and Tally Hall; but Jack Stauber, Sparks, Bill Wurtz, and Oingo Boingo are also good examples.

One of the things that makes the genre hard to describe is that the shared fanbase defines it as much as the music does. It's a nebulous label, as it should be. If you're wondering how close your favorite band is to my personal idea of the genre, though, you can try this little diagnostic quiz.

For a couple of years now, I've observed how established this intersecting fanbase is and wished I had a way to describe it. After deciding to start this show, I brainstormed with some friends and we came up with some name options which I put in a Twitter poll. "Telephony" won by a landslide, with "imaginary rock" in second.

"Telephony" is actually a word having to do with telecommunications technology. According to Wikipedia: "the field of technology involving telecommunication services for electronic transmission of voice, fax, or data between distant parties."

The word suggests an internet fanbase or online radio show like this one. It's nonsense-sounding, like "fabloo", and doesn't describe the genre enough to pin it down. It feels silly and fun to say but means something important. I don't know, it's just a word. But it's a nice one.

Highlight the white boxes to see the answer.

What is the name of the man who both toured with They Might Be Giants in the 80s, then went on to be the manager of both Tally Hall and OK Go in the late 2000s?
Jamie Kitman, of the Hornblow Group.

What OK Go album thanks John Flansburgh and They Might Be Giants in the liner notes?
OK Go, their debut self-titled album

Thanks to Felinium (for doing the show art), Bdluejay (for suggesting "telefunny"), OK Glass (for being a cool dude), WWPI (for giving me an hour of their studio), and everyone in They Might Be Lemons for sculpting my entire music taste. This show is for you.