Telephony Cacophony

Thursdays at 5PM EST

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A genre label I just sort of made up. 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.

Official answer: a genre I like to call "telephony" or "imaginary rock". 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 electronic and acoustic sounds. 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.

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

Most helpful answer: Check out the playlists under "Past Shows".

Sometimes during shows, we have a segment where a listener calls in and introduces a set of songs they like, getting a minute or two to talk about them. If you would like to call in some songs, pick a week on this sheet.

If you have more than 4 songs or a whole playlist you want to share, then talk to me directly and I can work out a week for you to co-DJ.

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.

Past Shows