Crank up the tunes; Hook Club is in session

Hook Club, a UMN student group, puts their own musical spin on a classic book club.

Morgan La Casse

Morgan La Casse

by Alex Strangman

On most days, room 209 in Akerman Hall houses some of the best and brightest minds on campus. It sees the likes of the TC Rocket Team and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. On Monday nights at 8 p.m., room 209 hosts a different crowd. 

Established in the spring of 2016, Hook Club is made up of an eclectic mix of music lovers from all over campus.

The club applies the same concept of a book club to albums, turning the dreary second floor classroom into an open-ended forum about everything from hip hop samples to the evolution of R&B.

In past meetings, the group dissected albums from Tyler, The Creator’s “Igor” to Harry Nilsson’s “The Point!” This past week, Hook Club discussed Curtis Mayfield’s debut offering, “Curtis.” 

As Mayfield’s soulful voice filled the air of Akerman 209, a quiet buzz flowed through the room. Like the calm before the storm, everyone was locked and loaded ready to share their thoughts on the week’s album. 

With everyone on the edge of their seats and the excitement for the night’s meeting bubbling on the surface of people’s faces, Hook Club President Marty Stock kicked things off. 

Following Stock’s brief introduction, the group of more than 60 people took turns naming an artist that’s been in their weekly rotation. The answers ranged from the Butthole Surfers to ABG Neal, a nod to the diversity of Hook Club’s musical palate. 

For members like Corinne Pease, half the fun of Hook Club is expanding one’s own musical library.

“Since I started coming to the club, I’ve heard so much more new music than I normally would hear about,” she said. “It’s really opened up the type of stuff that I’m listening to.”

After introductions, the club spent the next hour and a half discussing every aspect of “Curtis.” In many ways, a Hook Club meeting is like improvisational jazz: it’s over when everyone says what they needed to say.

For Stock, Hook Club is all about creating an open dialogue surrounding music.

“I just want everyone to feel welcome so that they actually do feel like they can perpetuate the conversation and contribute whatever they think or feel about something,” he said. 

Following the discussion, Hook Club spent the remainder of the meeting deciding what the next week’s album will be, in a truly democratic fashion.

After a few members pitched their ideas, the whole club voted on what they wanted to listen to for the week. Included in this week’s honorable mentions were “All My Heroes Are Cornballs” by JPEGMAFIA and “The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane” by Jeffrey Lewis.

The winner, by a slim margin, was the self-titled album by French artist Melody’s Echo Chamber. 

What: Hook Club

When: 8 p.m., Mondays

Where: Akerman Hall Room 209

Listen to the Hook Club’s picks: