Thursday, March 31, 2005

Unrest / Imperial f.f.r.r. / 8.2

Ok, so let me get this straight. Nitsuh loved only 9 of the 20 tracks found on the Unrest resissue, less then one half of it total number of songs found on the record yet it still got a rating of 8.2.

Keeping that in mind, I liked 5 out of the 6 paragraphs in Nitsuh’s review but the final one, the summery throws a wrench in the works. Most of this review graciously reflects Unrest’s characteristic angle as well as places the reader in the time period of which this music was made. I appreciate that kind of set up, especially knowing full well that a huge percent of the people reading Pitchfork are probably too young to be all that familiar the band.

But then comes the below line.

“Imperial's littered with tracks you'll wind up skipping; even with those eight bonuses (more prototypes and variants than anything else), I can only whittle it down to a nine-song Perfect Album. But when it's worth it, it kills: This stuff is pure style, and unlike just about anything around it.”

So it has me thinking….

If I didn’t own this record already, after reading this review I may have opted to borrow the record from a friend and tape only the good songs because recording the rest would be a waste of time. Even more so, buying it would have been a waste of precious teenage dollars. Modern music fans catching up on indie rocks wealthy past can now download the tracks suggested in a review and ignore the rest of an artist’s entire body work.(Thank you Ipod.) 20 years later I suppose some things don’t change or improve with age but who am to talk? I still only own a few songs by Oingo Boingo and they are hiding in a dusty pile of mixed tapes from 1985. Are Unrest records any more worthy of ownership then Oingo Boingo ? I can’t even call that a good question.

I think more than anything Nitshuh’s review made me wonder just how many other people are out there listening to music and listening for only “the kill” rather then also enjoying the chase that brought them there in the first place.

I hope the media’s obsession with only hits on a release doesn’t further contract the rest of the world’s already shrinking attention span.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Louis XIV - shitty shitty bang bang

I don't care that they reviewed the Louis XIV record and it received a 1.2 from Pitchfork because the record is actually easy to fake fun of and it is not appauling to listen. Which makes it even better because then you can listen to it and make fun of it at the same time. So we listen to it and readily make cracks at it, imitating the lead singer, or singing it's stolen riffs. However, the Pitchfork review is not funny. I think that it tries and probably read slightly funnier if you use voices but the content is incredibly juvenile. Now the only thing that could possibly make this acceptable would be that the writer, Mr. Nick was thinking I am going to put as much time into my review as they put into their songs, and that's all they deserve. End result is a stupid shitty review which is not funny. My entire staff read it and not one of them laughed while reading... and I've got some funny people that work for me. One of my employees who is of the high school persuasion read it and said "I wish I was in Louis XIV."

New Order : Waiting For The Sirens' Call : 7.9

“First and foremost, New Order is a pop band-- just ask Frente!-- and for them to try their hand at loud guitars and loud beats doesn't play to the group's strengths “

I feel dirty. I feel like the inventor of champagne was just compared to a no-name grape juice and then cursed for having bubbles. I don’t care what you think of New Order or their new record but such an obtuse blanket statement proves only surface knowledge of a groundbreaking band and or lazy journalism. If David Raposa thinks N.O. no longer cares to make groundbreaking music then I think somewhere a pot is calling a kettle black.

New Order said fuck you to playing the role of average pop in 1983 and if anything helped to redefine what pop could mean ever since. Is a band supposed to reinvent the wheel with each release or just make art as they see fit and necessary? I actually pity the bands that accidentally established themselves as one of the first of their kind because critics and fans assume this band owes them just that for life. Making art isn’t supposed to be a jail sentence is it ?
Other than that terrible Frente comment I once again humbly raise my hand to ask a question. Why after comment like “Waiting for the Sirens' Call-- is a continuation of the underwhelming competence of the band's previous album “ does this record still get a 7.9 ? That seems like a pretty ok score for a thumbs sideways review ? Talk about underwhelming competence.

I give this 3 out of a possible 5 sod offs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Snow patrol review 214.21/2158

Once again Pitchfork shows an uncanny ability to hide secret messages in thier reviews. The culprit this time is one "Marc Hogan". In his review of the new Snow Patrol comp album, he uses 387 words. I know what you are thinking, didnt St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, die in 387 a.d.? Of course he did. And where is Snow Patrol from? IRELAND! So let us find the deeper meaning here. Is Marc Hogan so bold as to suggest that Snow Patrol is the band to lead Ireland out of the Pagan wilderness of the current rock scene, and "convert" them to a more popular sound? Clearly he is. I find this argument flawed on many sides, the most obvious reason being that Snow Patrol is a servicable band with run of the mill craftmanship and shrugg-worthy lyrics. How dare Hogan try to pass this logic off on his readers. For shame Hogan!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Telemachus (guest writer ) : Kaiser Chiefs "Employment"

written by : telemachus

Hey there. I'm not sure how to submit a review directly, so I'll just leave it here and somebody else can post it if they deem it worthy...Joe Tanagri: Kaiser Chiefs' "Employment"Remember when Pitchfork reviews used to be short? Way back when? Seriously, just look up their review of Ben Folds Five's self-titled debut. We're talkin' two, three paragraphs, max. Drop a couple song titles, make your point, and done. Finito. Recently, it seems like each writer on the staff is searching for ways to waste more and more e-breath on tangential and often completely misleading comparisons, cheesy autobiographical anecdotes, and all other manner of verbally masturbatory tricks and treats. In a way, then, it's quite refreshing to see Joe Tangari getting back to his roots, turning in a review of the Kaiser Chiefs' new album "Employment" that clocks in at just under 400 words. Yup, a skant four paragrahs. Surely, we're in for a concise, astute bit of journalism.It becomes obvious very quickly, however, that Tangari's brevity is no gift. As with all Pitchfork reviews, this one still commits the cardinal sin of not talking at all about the actual music. It's just much more efficient at not talking about it.The review reads like it was probably conceptualized, written and submitted in 6.7 minutes (I think that's how he decided on his rating, btw...), and is a sloppy excuse for a review by today's excrutiatingly pretentious Pitchfork standards. He opens with the paper-thin premise of British bands hiding their accents since the days of The Clash. While I admire his intense determination to forget the decade of 1990-99, I can't help recalling an ever-so-slight Mancunian flavor to the voice of one Liam Gallagher as he serenaded me relentlessly over the radio about some wall...or something. Honestly, I couldn't understand him. The accent was too thick. Spend five minutes, and you too will be able to spew forth a list of about a hundred bands who fly in the face of Joe's contrived introduction.Ok. So that's half the review down already.But perhaps the clearest sign of Tangari's haste is betrayed by his very attempts to actually incorporate some kind of musical analysis into his review. He goes out of his way to mention three...THREE...whole songs from the CD individually. This is the kind of attention to detail that gets most Pitchfork writers a fat holiday bonus. But take a closer look at the songs he chooses to review. They occupy track numbers 1, 3, and 4 on the CD. Perhaps 6.7 also represents the number of minutes he took out of his day to listen to the CD before scribbling down his review onto a napkin. C'mon Joe...If you're going to do something, you've got to give it 100%, not 6.7%. As it stands now, the review is a meaningless piece of drivel that reads like some 7th grader's book report, scrawled out in haste moments before the start of 3rd period. Its only saving grace is that its over before you can get too upset about it.Rating: 3 incredulous looks at my computer screen out of 10.
11:21 AM

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Kills : Now Wow

“ A raw immediacy that fits the band's tempestuousness and sexual tension “

What the….does anyone remember Alison the now singer of the Kills from like 4 or 5 years ago ???? Could Peter Macia be talking about the same gal ?

I can’t blame just Pitchfork for this but I would love to read a review, any review of a Kills cd where the writer is actually deeply disturbed by the transition Alison Mosshart has made from her days as the singer to Discount to now. She used to look like the round faced character Hopey from the Love and Rockets comic book and now she looks like Jennifer Herrema from Royal Trux aka a heroin sheik dirt rocker meets super model.

How many people get to do a total 180 and still be a press darling ? That kind of voodoo deserves a 9.99999999 in my devil-woman handbook.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Ten Silvery Digits

Before I address the March 9 review of the album “Fear of a Black Tangent” by Busdriver, as written by Cameron McDonald on the Pitchfork Media Web site (with an apt duet of opening sentences, I daresay), I must pause briefly in order to dip my fingers into this inkwell of liquid silver. These fingers deserve nothing but the most precious of treatments as it were, as they deliver the proverbial shower of gold to the mercurial Pitchfork Media, in the incarnation of these words upon the monitor. Or – is it I who am the monitor? In which case, I would lay these ten silvery digits upon myself. But what a scandal that would be! Aha. Aha. Ah, yes.

So before I commence to commentating, like a mushroom cloud of isolated magnesium flung slipshod into that whole two-hydrogens-and-one-oxygen cliché (I know people say we need it to live, but I survived for twelve long years between Kevin Shields projects, so why don’t you just sell me some phlogiston with that) in a barrel tighter than the latest Greg Goldston joint – and I’m about to – I must summon my servant girl Danae to swab my brow for me. Gently now, Danae. That’s it. Now validate me, won’t you? Tell me I have cred. Yes, yes. And I think you are special as well, Danae. But not really – seeing as how you are unfamiliar with Prefuse 73, a notion I cannot even fathom. So run along now, and try to make some trifling semblance of a life for yourself. I wish you luck, as your battle will be truly Sisyphusian. What with you never having heard of Prefuse 73 and all. I cluck my tongue derisively for you, Danae. And I lament this meaningless void in which you presumably exist as a result of these unspeakable shortcomings of yours. Hopefully the bittersweet mysteries of Darwinism will soon spirit you away to the land of Coheed and Cambria, and put you out of my misery forever.

So now allow me to return my attention to the Pitchforkians, who are as Goliath to my David upon those fabled hills near Bethlehem. Or if you prefer, they are – with a nod to The Decemberists and the Pat Speights of the world – the Balor to my Lugh, the Concubar to my Cet.

And I will battle them here, not for lordship over the Philistines et cetera, but rather over an issue with slightly higher stakes – the quality of indie rock commentary on the Internet. And instead of a single humble stone, I unleash now these ten silvery digits, which will dash upon the edificial forehead of the mighty Pitchfork as a wave against the famed (and, I might argue, dubiously so) White Cliffs of Dover! For I am a modern day Hobbehod, truly a man of the proletariat, and I will stop at nothing to see that satisfaction is rendered, to myself.

I have just realized I didn’t mention anything specific about the Pitchfork review in question. What a frustrating and anticlimactic waste of time this must seem to you. Well – ho hum. These kinds of issues must not be allowed to congest a mind of such consequence as mine. Ask the Pitchforkians – for they appear to feel this way as well. So eat cake, Danae, and everyone else out there. Eat cake. And let me know how it tastes. No wait, don’t. I don’t care. I don’t eat cake anyway. Unless it’s a raw food cake. Now that’s good eating.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Final Fantasy: Has a Good Home

Now, I do not read the Pitchfork reviews much. I do not read the Pitchfork much at all. I used to, but the yelling at the screen that inevitably occured was scaring my coworkers.

Today, after returning from holiday in a town without computers, I was asked if I had seen the Final Fantasy review. "Will it make me yell?" "Yes." "Then I will go look at it now."
For the record, I did not yell. I just sweared a lot. Also, I said something about Pitchfork being up the Arcade Fire's ass, but that has already been talked about enough (in less vivid terms).

On Jeopardy the other week, one of the categories was "Canada, eh?" (people/places/things in Canada that begin with the letter A). I live in Toronto, but my Canadian history knowledge is limited due to the majority of my high school history being taught by a senile man who constantly asked us where the tape dispenser was. But even that man, were he still alive, could have answered those Jeopardy questions. This lead to more yelling.
"Since when is Canada so very exotic and mysterious?"
This was yelled at Jeopardy (sorry, Alex Trebek), but today I yelled it at the Pitchfork review. Then I asked where the tape dispenser was.

I love Final Fantasy, live and on record, and I have never wished Joanna Newsom were a man. Still, I don't expect it to get a perfect review. I just didn't think it would get such a quaint review. Owen is not writing songs from a fishing shack in Newfoundland. Please, quit it already with the magical and foreign Canada crap. Every year, a new province is the new Seattle. C'mon. Just listen to the record and quit staring at the map.

Owen makes reference to Canadian culture, just like people everywhere make reference to things relevant to them. Pitchfork's claim that the "gems of genuine Canadian lyricism" on the album are "she has not been able to sleep/ Since the days of Trudeau" is crap. "I'd rather give my life to god-as-man than have to line up at the bank again" is the true gem. Either that, or "don't let your cock do all the work/NO NO NO!"

The last time Owen played, he explained that "That's When the Audience Died" (the song from which the Trudeau line is taken) is about Canada. No, he didn't sail away on the HMS YAY!CANADA!
It was about the whole cultural patriotism that says being Canadian is special. Yeah, we live in Canada and, yeah, it's a good place to live. But that doesn't mean Margaret Atwood is royalty. It's like we're the retarded country, mittens pinned to coats, and isn't it incredible when we do something great? Have you seen the Canadian Walk of Fame? Sorry, no, it's been covered in snow for ten months. Even when the snow melts, though, you'll be wondering "who the fuck is this star for?" and then you'll remember that they were running low on CanCon and just included that one guy who was on that one show that one time.
I'm not Owen, and I'm not going to say "That's When the Audience Died" is a more lyrical summary of the above paragraphs. Still, it's not so far off. The fact that Pitchfork called that particular song a gem, drawing attention to its (OOH! EXOTIC!) Canadian lyricism, completely misses the point. Okay, you like Canada right now. Great. Picking a song that points out the shortfalls in supporting something just for a sense of national pride isn't a great way to prove your point.

What in the hell do I know?
I still can't find my mittens (or the gddm tape dispenser).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Evens : S/ T

To be fair, it all can't be negative.

Matthew Murphy’s Evens review makes me want to revisit the cd even though I had already placed it in the give-away to friends pile. Determining and defining the distinction between the alter egos of one artist is not easy to do, especially when trying to tackle an icon as serious as Ian MacKaye. I am genuinely impressed by how tactfully Matthew approached Fugazi’s limitations and placed the Evens’ music in a separate context without over manipulating the obvious connection to the band’s legendary roots.

I don’t have a sassy grading comment but I am going to give the Evens record a few more spins.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Checking Facts

I read Jamin Warren's double-Madlib review and did a double-take. Here's the blurb in question:

"Madlib's remixes push his differing tastes in hip-hop through his personal beat appliances. As he's done with the The Third Unheard and bootleg Remixes 12", Lib adds a patented new spin on classics and unclassics alike."

Maybe I'm wrong here about The Third Unheard: Connecticut Hip Hop from 1979-1983, but where is Madlib's handiwork on this thing? It's a collection of nearly lost cuts that was compiled by Peanut Butter Wolf. The tracks are the originals. They haven't been remixed by today's producers like Verve Remixed or some shit. I don't have the CD on me, but I'd wager the comp isn't even mixed by a DJ.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Down From Upon Sinai: A Review of the Pitchfork Reviewers

Well, well, well. We see that David Raposa has released his latest column on the Pitchfork Media Web site. And after distractedly reading the review no less than one time, we have no choice but to conclude that Raposa – like so many of his Pitchfork contemporaries – has once again unwittingly invoked the old careworn dilemma regarding the dual loyalty – in essence, the very location – of the reviewer. Permit me to elucidate.

Interested in my bullshit ramblings? Of course you are. I love the sound of my own literary voice. So everyone else must as well.

But anyway, before I ferret any further, let me try to make you understand something, okay? You see, to truly be a reviewer – and, therefore, we may posit, a cultural steward – we must always inhabit space upon the correct side of that famous Rubiconian line of demarcation – the line between being and becoming. We see the consciously successful treatment of said boundary line in the works of many of our most well-known thinkers and critics – from gentle Hesiod (particularly in his heart-breaking and essential Works And Days) to razor-sharp Sidney Blumenthal. From intellectual colossus John Henry Newman and The Idea of a University to, of course, the so-called “obscure” 19th-century poet and personality Walter Pater (only his early material, though, obviously). We find it in our brightest lights of punditry and formulation, but sadly, we do not find it here. And at this point, I will bolster my ostensible street cred by keying in some gratuitous curse words. Fucking fuck! Shit Cock!

I would venture to conclude that Raposa’s review is not merely a study in putrefaction, but is downright execrable. How much more phraseology can we exhume to express the sentiment of “self-indulgent, solipsistic drivel?” Plenty. But I don’t want to confuse or soporify you.

In any case, you may ask – is this a valid or supportable conclusion? Well – I’ll let me be the judge of that. But suffice it to say – we witness repeated violations of accepted journalistic style, as comma after comma appears outside the quote marks, rather than within them. Needless to say, this is an editorial blunder the likes of which could confound the eternal patience of even old James Reston himself! Need I say more? The prosecution rests, your honor. The prosecution rests.

And for all those subhuman troglodytes who maintain in their sublimating brains the “inclination” to disagree with this by-definition highly subjective exercise – I say that I will fight you right now! Because you plebians are either with me, or you are with the terrorists. And you don’t want to be a terrorist now, do you? Or be thought of as lame?

But what important point was I making? Ah, yes – I will fight you right now! So be afraid! Fucking fuck! Shit Cock! This oh-so-deliberately tattered knit scarf transmogrifies into quite the formidable garrote, while these three-inch-thick horn rims function also as a fearsome flying bludgeon, in the long tradition of the “boomeranging” weapons of Java and ancient Sumatra (what, you thought they originated in fucking Australia?). So pay no attention to that insecure nerd behind the curtain. FOR I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ! What’s that word you say? Word up.

Just a reminder

All I ask is reviews remain tasteful to some degree... I am not looking for endless below the belt hits. First and for most I am hoping to keep this about the music and pitchfork's often lack of attention to just that. Don't get me wrong I like sarcasm, actually I love it, but I don't want to see posts just for cruelty sake either.

"You stay classy San Diego"

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Rob Mitchum: Fiery Furnaces/EP Review: .005

Tuning Fork
There's an old theory that Robert E Lee: head general of the confederate army, did not completely agree with the ideology of the South during the Civil War. Still, despite having clear-cut scruples about the institutions that enslaved black men and women below the Mason Dixon Line, Lee's heart was ultimately with his home state of Virginia. After reading Rob Mitchum's review of the new Fiery Furnaces EP I can now sympathize, if not empathize, if not totally agree with his Lee's heartbreaking decision. Let me first say that I love the Fiery Furnaces and agree that their records are creative, tuneful and wholly original. And I also agree that their fans are individuals with the highest levels of good taste and judgment. This is why it will be very difficult for me to look my brothers and sisters in their eyes; eyes that are no different than my very own, and kill them. That's right, kill them in the homes of their wives, on the inherited property of their fathers. If Mitchum truly believes that anyone in this country that doesn't particularly care for the Fiery Furnaces are worthy of nothing more than, "loathing, utter disdain, and approximately one tablespoon of pity!" and furthermore that he would like to take "the few of you that cannot handle the frenetic uber-medley that is a Fiery Furnaces live set and make a provocative documentary films about your inept and offensive taste and take them on the festival circuit," well then, I must stand, and say enough. In fact Mr Mitchum I assure you that I can, with minimal effort, assemble an army of angry Mudvayne fans to defeat your all too polished, post-prog rock loving, Yankees. And when we rise up, Mr Mitchum, from proud cities such as Richmond and Charleston and we bring the fight to your door, and you're forced to come out from what ever condescending rock you live under; we will then, and only then, truly see what you are made of. Oh, and Godsmack's fans just signed up. And they're drunk.

My Goodness !

I had no idea how well schooled my friends and associates appear to be. Maybe put a * next to all the really big words and obscure references and footnote those suckers at the end so the rest of us on a more high school level can follow.
No really.

Pitchfork when drunk

I understand this is not the reason for this blog but this is a blog and I am now a member. Cest la vie.
Try reading Pitchfork when you are drunk and you will say things like - :ha ha you think you are so clever. but you are not - you sat around in front of your little monitor and thought what would be funny - c'mon be funny adn demeaning at the saem time....c',mon think think think finkle and einhorn finkle and einhorn - go home pitchfork you're drunk on high society. the only way to write good reviews is to live them. if you want to sell records then you listen to them for 30 seconds adn you know - this is hot put it on the feature shelf. but if you want to write a review about it then you have to live with it. let it search your persona. if you dig then rate high, if you send to the bush league then rate low. i tend to trust pitchfork reviews if the record has been around more than a day - but then there is no telling when the writer got a jold of it (that's a soft j by the way). i am going to go watch Band of Brothers on DVD cause we just got that shit in used at the store and I want to fall asleep to the sound of preserved freedom. Pitchfork just know that I value you opinion but know that I will rip into the very heart of an organization when business supercedes culture. Suicide Girls are driving me nuts - cannot think with half naked scensters staring at me. I am not against naked chicks but there is a time and a place. Godspeed all who desire a safe destiny for humanity.

- I just read Pitchfork when I asexual?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Mars Volta : This should be its own post too !

a-ron j. said...
i just read the review of the new mars volta album on pitchfork...i couldn't even finish because it was so long winded and annoying to read. the writer obviously knows everything about music, and that's all we need to know. he also knows that he likes mars volta but is afraid to admit it, and therefor must come up with some interesting sounding objections that don't really amount to much insightful criticism. it's a shame he has to pick to pieces one of the few creative rock records to be issued by a major label in many a moon. doesn't he remeber that a lot of bands used to have songs well past the ten minute mark before everything was widdled down to info bytes for ADD morons who have suffered long term damage due to video game over exposure?some of the best zeppelin tracks are the epics....not to mention hendrix, cream, king crimson,etc...he also comepletely ignored the krautrock influence that is apparent in the music of the mars volta (Can anyone?) which detracts from his cool points considerably - i mean it seems like most pitchfork reviews like to throw the term krautrock into a review whenever they get the chance, even if it's inappropriate, and here the guy actually had a legitimate shot and blew it! and what's wrong with the kid with the green ibanez? he's not a valid fan of music because he's not hip to underground indie bullshit? the review get's 3 and half berets and black turtlenecks out of five....suck it trebek.
10:12 AM
a-ron j. said...
"Still, none of that would be so perplexing if the sounds contained inside packed that super-Bore punch. They don't. In fact, if I had to guess, the two tracks on this CD really were leftovers from after VCN. They sound like unedited, marathon jams; the kind that on previous records would have been condensed into concentrated, five-minute mini-trips, and used as part of some electric DJ mix. At best, this sounds like a stopgap."from the review of the new boredomes record....this is an example of a band progressing past the point of a writer's comprehension - he just seems to think the band has dissolved and this is what remains in the aftermath. these two tracks sound like anything but leftovers. it sounds like another step in an ongoing evolution - perhaps one that will remain unclear for many years to come, but one that is very interesting to witness in it's unfolding none the less. and if these 2 tracks serve as any indicator of what is to come i just can't wait for the next installment.... the boredoms have made a lot of diverse and incredible recordings, but this easily stands among their best and most your ears maaaaaaaannnnn....
10:29 AM

David Raposa: Clogs/Stick Music Review: 26.3

A Pitchfork writer is one driven by extremely specific fame. Beyond this,they are, no doubt, seminal architects of musical critique. Notice how David Raposa explains, to the common reader, the baffling definition of percussion."A percussion instrument is one sounded by striking or shaking. This definition covers the usual suspects-- drums, maracas, washboards, xylophones. If you're willing, this also qualifies instruments that aren't considered percussive-- the guitar, the piano, even the violin."Now if your mind wasn't blown by the startling revelation that drums are a percussion instrument, and you got past Mr. Raposa's mastery of foreign language (maracas? Xylophone?) you would immediately be floored by his ability to save his notes from his freshman year music theory class. How else would we: common internet review readers, understand such words as legato or vibrato. Thank god Mr. Raposa has taken the time to school us in these important musical puzzles - for if he had not, we may have never truly grasped why Clogs:Stick Music is so important to the survival of not only our country, but Europe as well. Beyond that, he does not shy away from the adjective "Sublime" and yet asks us: newly devoted disciples of Stick Music, to understand that he owns a thesaurus, and will not hesitate to fearlessly not use it.

Arcade Fire point made by Marc

I am going to cut and paste the comment left by Marc so it can have its very own topic post. The Arcade Fire review is really the thing that drove the music industry to believe Pitchfork does make or break or record. For those who don't know the back story : Before or right around the time of the Arcade Fire's " Funeral" release Pitchfork gave it an ultra positive review , an almost perfect score of 9.7 . The legend has it that because of this one review A.F. suddenly became the number one seller at every music retailer. For any Merge record artist to sell over 100,000 records is remarkable and I am amazed to see it continues to sell over 5,000 a week. In the indie rock world that is number almost unheard of and to give everyone an example to compare it to : the last sonic youth cd sold just about half that number. Crazy right ? I would love to believe that the hype machine works in mysterious ways and that maybe for once people are buying the A.F. record because its great and not because they feel like they are supposed to or that some website brainwashed them into it. Is really one review capable of owning such power in the indie rock record buying community ? Did Pitchfork create a domino effect which caused a larger press frenzy which in turn helped to sell even more records ? It makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

Marc said...
Perhaps the most embarrassing moment in Pitchfork history, from the Arcade Fire Q&A that came out a couple weeks ago. Setting a new standard for self-importance, and the interview was conducted by the guy who runs the site...Pitchfork: It's pretty weird that we keep getting tied together in the press. Like, a lot of the features I've read on the Arcade Fire mention Pitchfork and vice versa. Win: They could be asking you a lot of the same questions you could be asking me: How does it feel? How's the hype? Is it weird to be mentioned in the New York Times and the L.A. Times? I'm like, "No, how's that feel?" Pitchfork: It's really funny. It's like we can't exist independently in the press. I mean, are you as sick of that as we are? Win: I don't know. I think that people have a narrow view of things. You definitely get a lot of lazy, weak features. And I'm sure you guys probably experience that as well. Pitchfork: I suppose people need their angle. But I almost just feel bad for you guys. Like we tend to get really carried away when we love a record, and while that tends to help a lot of bands we think deserve attention, there can also be negative repercussions if we go too nuts. Win: It came across to me as if you liked the record, and if you really like something, you kind of expose people to things you think are good. That's what we're trying to do. Pitchfork: On some level, it does suck for us to love a record, praise it, and then have it be instantly perceived as overexposed by some people. But to me, it's an incredible record that would have been going places regardless of what we said or did. Win: There's a segment of people who are very sensitive to overexposure and really like the thrill of knowing things that other people don't know about. But we're not ramming it down people's throats. I mean, most people in Montréal haven't heard of our band. Régine has friends calling her like, "I didn't know you were in a band! That's great! I heard you on TBC!" The overwhelming majority of people have no idea who The Arcade Fire are or have heard of Pitchfork.

Thanks Gang

So far this is going EXACTLY as I had hoped and I really look forward to everyone's "special" input. Keep up the good work.

Funny how this is even the same font as Pitchfork, lucky us.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mogwai review: 897.54/ 1000

I find Joe Tangari's review of the Mogwai album intensely fascinating. Particularly interesting is Tangari's use of hidden messages within the text of his review. If we examine the text we find that it contains 1026 unique words. The significance of that word count? Well Mahiipaala I, King of Nepal died in 1026 A.D. Obviously Tangari is making a not so subtle reference to the fact that the Mogwai live recordings demonstrate a mastery, or Kingship if you will, over their chosen genre, but like all mighty lords they will wither and die. This is an interesting accersion, especially considering their well received last album, Happy songs for happy people. But much like Mahiipaala I they have become to confident in their abilities, too sure that none will overthrow them. Could we be poised to see Tortoise rise up and murder the members of Mogwai? This is obviously what Tangari's review. Like i said, fascinating. I would give his writing a higher grade if only he hadnt made all of this so obvious.

Doves : Some Cities : 7.8

I know what you are saying, 7.8 ain’t that bad but damn it the opening line to the review enrages me : " Doves' frontman Jimi Goodwin can't sing. His voice, often derided for its slovenliness and liberality with pitch, lends the Manchester trio's songs a coarseness for which they're left to compensate, or not, with more adventurous instrumentals. "

What???? Who exactly do you think can sing ? Isn’t there a more appropriate place to direct that insult ?

Jimi's specific kind of crooning rasp is so good it should practically be trademarked. Upon my very first listen of " Some Cities" all I could think of was how hauntingly reminiscent his voice was to the master of all that is sad Mark Eitzel… the same Mark Eitzel that Pitchfork loves and has given 9. something on MANY of his releases. What makes a singer great could be cause for endless debate and I know we could all list a million artists we love and whom many might say can’t sing. ( Nancy Sinatra, Wedding Present, Lee Hazlewood, Lou Reed, Tim Kinsella, Mark Arm… me I know this list is ENDLESS ) Sorry but the Doves have never been on my list of questionable but loveable vocal artistry.

Sam’s meandering opinion ping-pongs from paragraph to paragraph often enough that it becomes difficult to follow the proverbial ball. He starts with a jab, makes nice nice in the middle and then ends somewhere in-between. For using clumsy word couples like “mutually exclusive, downright impregnable, and aseptically beatific “ I am left wishing I had a decoder ring to follow this review rather then wondering if I should go ahead and check out the new Doves record.

Honestly, does calling “Some Cities” plucky and resilient inspire you to give it a listen? That sounds more like something Tripper would have said the down and out camper Rudy in the movie Meatballs.

I give this 3 “ It just doesn’t matter ! ”s out of a possible 5 and if you don’t know what that means I think somebody needs to make a quick run to the video store for some sweet 70’s cinema.

Slits : Cut : 9.3

I always wanted a parent to sit down and walk me through my first listen of a seminal post punk gem. With all of Pitchfork's typical 4 syllable , look that word up you high school level reader, this review seems almost too basic and polite. After reading it I thought for a second maybe I had stumbled across an Other Music review…oops ! So that being said I offer a one slap of the ruler ( out of 5 possible slaps ) to an open palm because come on... this Slits record DOES rule the school and I can't curse the kid out for spreading the word.

Grading system

I believe A-ron j is onto something here lets try to personalize each review with your very own clever point system : see his Mars Volta post to get the idea.

Bravery = STP?

David Raposa's review of The Bravery's "Honest Mistake" confuses the hell out of me.

"The Bravery hype is outpacing the actual output of the group," he wrote. As if that's a bad thing? Pitchfork exists to hype bands. They live for it. As long as it's hyping different bands than BBC, CNN and Rolling Stone, the site is happy with itself, I suppose. But The Bravery sound like The Killers (if the Killers had more balls and less O.C. in their blood) and thus are tossed into P-Fork's stack of bands that deserve to be pummelled.

(But hey, not every band can be influenced by Can, right?)

The site has its schtick, and it has to oppose anything that hints at commercial success. I get it. (But somehow they review maintream hip hop singles on a regular basis. Odd.) Cred is important. The cred brings in ad revenues.

I've seen The Bravery live--many times. I've heard the album. The Bravery are a great band. Maybe they'll be this decade's Gay Dad and will sound dated six months after the album was released. Why worry? Right now, they sound great. Just enjoy the music...if your indie cred will allow it.

Welcome All

This site will be a safe place for upstanding members of the music community to review the reviews found on Pitchforkmedia's website. Yeah, I thought that idea ruled too.

Go on now, make mama proud.