Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Generally how i feel

Ok. Since this about Pitchfork i will start there. They are becoming ridiculously harsh. Albums they dont like are no longer brushed aside with a bit of distain, but instead pummeled in a clustefuck of idiotic proportions. Do we really have to refer to the dudley perkins album as an "abortion"? How about next time an album doesnt float their boat they threaten to slit the throat of the artists mother for forcing upon us a child that dared to make music they did not approve of. That would seem to fit right in with their current reviews.

And as Pitchperfect has pointed out, they need a fact checker over there. Not to be a stickler, but if you are gonna slam Styrofoam, unnecessarily i might ad, you should know its 1 guy and not group. as a wise soul once said, " get your head out of your ass, dad!"

Also, unlrelated, i kind of wish i was a wookie. They are so big and strong. and that fur is awesome. anyone else wanna be a wookie?

No extra time + little interest = lack of reviews: sorry

Its just a blog so really who cares but here is the deal: lately I have been busy as all hell and finding time to write thoughtful reviews has been difficult. I have been reading Pitchfork when I can ( don't ask its a work related task) but I can't say I have been inspired to comment in detail on any given one as of late.
As a friend put it " its a sign of the times" but I don't feel particularly excited about a review of a non legit DJ Shadow cd. The review itself has its charm but the final tag line state " Note: Again, this is an unofficial release. It was not sanctioned by the artist and its purchase will not support the artist. It can be acquired through file sharing. " I tried to look up information on this particular release called "One Night in Bangkok" but came up empty handed. Maybe a reader knows just how legit or not this mix is ? As a music fan I understand the idea of seeking out rare / unreleased material from the artists I love but if the artist doesn't want people to hear it then maybe there is a reason for it. The entire subject makes my head hurt but again I don't feel right commenting on a release I know zero about.

There are a few scathing reviews which I don't personally feel that terrible about but perhaps fans / people more familiar with artists like Ben Folds, Alec Empire, or Supersystem will have something to say. I welcome reviews from outsiders : just email them to me at and I will consider posting them.
I never found Ben Folds endearing but I don't think his review deserved this final line regardless " Lest anyone suspect otherwise, I'm completely certain Folds could still kick my ass like one angry piano-juggling dwarf. It takes less guts to sit here and criticize than to go up on stage every night and shill for a mediocre new album, right?" After following Pitchfork's writing so closely each week I can't even pretend this kind of comment surprises me anymore. Maybe writers who aim for a final kick to the crotch in their reviews are hoping to pick up some extra work in Vice magazine on the side.
I remember seeing Atari Teenage Riot at CBGBs about 8 years ago and thinking they were a perfect reincarnation of modern day punk(indeed Digital Hardcore) but Alec Empire and his Associates have long since faded from my radar. Truthfully most of their records are stacked beneath the same dusty untouched pile of 12"ers once filed under Electroclash. I haven't heard this new Alec Empire release but this is at least why it's not high on my to buy / trade / seek out via friends to double check the review list.
Supersytem ( El Guapo) : just read my Edie Sedgwick review. I will go on record to say I am not a fan and am totally not the right person to defend their music.

As it has worked out, much of the more recent Pitchfork reviews cover music I either don't know well or am not terribly interested in / knowledgeable about so I don't want to fake an extended commentary just to have words appear on the screen. Ideally I mostly want to continue to fact check Pitchfork when I see glaring mis-prints and stick up for the records I wholly believe in.

A note to the other writers on the site : Hellllllloooooo out there ? I know we have talked about a few reviews that deserved a response ( Phoenix and Styrofoam to name a few) so get on it people ! Help a fellow record geek out.

One final note, just a few things I am listening to right now and loving :

Arthur Russell (I know I am soooo late on this one)
Gang Gang Dance EfterKlang
Futureheads ( I know its kinda old but its just that good)
and Dungen

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Va / Music from the O.C.Mix 4 / Rating 5.3

Rob Mitchum confesses he is reviewing a soundtrack to a television show he has never actually watched. This doesn’t really bother me but I think if he had seen a few episodes the review would be more about how this collection makes sense or doesn't verse his actual review where he reminds the reader "So if this throwaway compilation has an underlying message, it's this: You're not special. That complex, detached, artfully depressed persona you've cultivated isn't unique; in fact, it's so easily simulated, the network that also brings you "Life on a Stick" can replicate it. " When Rob isn't making people feel bad for watching a show he has deemed below his personal standards, he wastes paragraphs on guessing possible plot scenarios where this music could serve as a background. Per his norm, this isn’t quality journalism, its edgy small talk at best. I know we are talking about an O.C. mix cd and it isn’t groundbreaking but could there be anything more predictable than Pitchfork yawning over its very existence?

Mitchum openly states he owns 7 of the 12 songs on this comp in his personal digital archives but apparently thinks little enough about his own taste that he gives this cd a rating of 5.3. Maybe he is taking his own not feeling so special comment to heart. Eh whatever. Indie rock is at an all time commercial high. Why? Well Rob at least got something spot on. Indie rock in its present state is for the most part very safe sounding pop music. It doesn’t make it bad; it simply makes it more accessible than ever. We hear it in television commercials now where Karen O can sleepily sing for Adidas as easily as the Elton John can sell us satellite radios. ( Thanks to bands like Superchunk, Velocity Girl, Spiritualized, and Polyphonic Spree for leading the way )

The truth is indie music is affordable. What I mean by this is yeah sure hipster rock may fit the characters on the O.C. but its also costs WAY less for a show, movie, or commercial to license a track by a band on Sub Pop or Ninja Tune or whatever indie label of the week. More often than not only the big budget productions can afford stars like Madonna or 50 Cent. You don’t even want to know how much it costs to use something like a classic Frank Sinatra song so enter the Concretes for Target or the Flaming Lips for Mitsubishi.

After pondering all this I got curious about who exactly picks the music for the O.C. and I found my answer on Here you can find an interview with Alexander Patsavas who is the music supervisor for the O.C. and who came out of the 80’s specializing in, guess what….indie rock. ( AKA there is some viable credit there) and

Pitchfork may thumb indie music exposure to the masses but as you might imagine, indie bands and labels see it a little differently. If more people get to hear this stuff maybe they will like it enough to buy it and in turn the labels, the bands, the indie community who work these bands to press and radio will actually be able to live like real human beings who don’t have to work three jobs to pay their bills. We happen to live in a country that doesn’t really like to sponsor the arts on smaller levels so these bands and those connected to them need to get creative in order to make a living off it. Maybe people have this glamorous idea of what it means to be in some underground band but 9 times out of 10 you show me an indie rocker and I will show you a dishwasher, a housepainter, and cold side cook. Sorry Rob Mitchum but if a cd like this allows the bands I love to pay their rent and afford health insurance then I am willing to put up with a 10th grader knowing the words to a Death Cab song.

Rob is right. I am not special. I am a music fan and there are lots of people just like me. If an artist happens to get popular I’m ok with that but Pitchfork on the other hand clearly isn’t.

I give Rob’s review a 2 out of a possible 5 Zog’s sex wax.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Basement Jaxx / The Singles / Rating 9.5

“Collective jaws (okay, two) dropped at my workplace when it was revealed Basement Jaxx were free agents in the U.S. Could Astralwerks really be that stupid? How much coke did Radio 4 need? What sort of stygian rider clauses did the Air contract contain? Did Stormin' Norman have nekkid pitchers of their mama to get them to put out Palookaville?

Though they never moved Chems-at-their-height numbers, I had assumed the Jaxx would have been one of the label's best sellers. Yet Astralwerks never seemed to know how to market a studio duo with a revolving cast of singers and players to a personality-ravenous U.S. audience. To date, no Basement Jaxx album has sold 40k in the states. This can't be blamed entirely on the suits. "

Yikes! Sarcasm is amusing and all but these comments are beyond over the top. It doesn’t strike me as smart, cool or in the know. Instead it sounds more like a painful music industry conversation I might overhear in a Brooklyn bar at 2 am by somebody who doesn’t really know what they are talking about. This comedy routine fell flat with me, sorry. This is suppose to be a review of the cd not the people who did or didn’t put it out. I am also not sure where Jess Harvell got his sales numbers from but here are some real soundscan #s, certainly not the less then 40k amount given in his review.

Kish Kash - 69,201 / Remedy – 165,814 / Rooty – 176,185

Otherwise, yes, this is a really great collection and the only real flaw is the missing “Get Me Off” track. There is no question that it’s a shame Astralwerks lost such an amazing band but I do question how Pitchfork went about making this point.

BTW: Who are these suits mentioned ? For anyone who knows this label directly the very idea of a suit running things is about as far from the truth as can be but then again maybe the truth doesn’t sound as funny in print.

Out of a possible 5 bumps of coke I give this review a 2. I really can’t overlook the lack of fact checking on the 40k comment.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Edie Sedgwick / Her love is real ( BAD) / Rating 7.6

Oh my God oh my God oh my God I hated every second of this record. Its not ironic and weird in all the ways somebody like Gary Wilson or Harvey Sid Fisher is. Somebody with a better sense of humor than me might find this funny for a minute but a whole record ? A 7.6 David Raposa, are you sure ?

Perhaps Edie Sedgwick will appeal to all the men who were afraid they might look bad in drag but then saw this record cover and thought dang I can’t look worse than this guy. The cross dressing thing must work live because it distracts the listener from noticing how pointless his lame dance tributes to famous people really are but on disc there is nothing to distract me from the suck factor.

This seals the deal, I will officially never take anything David says seriously ever again.
P.U. has two letters so I am giving this review a 2 out of ten possible scrunched up noses.

As far as Desoto Records in concerned our relationship is now seriously in jeopardy.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Crain / Speed / Rating 7.5

The worth of my original Crain “Speed” lp just dropped from like 8 bucks to 4.

Dinosaur Jr./ Dinosaur / You're Living All Over Me / Bug / Rating: 6.2 / 9.1 / 7.3

When the press review a re-release and ponder the lack of appreciation and hype surrounding it… isn’t that a double standard? Aren’t they part of the snowball that makes or breaks a release? Reviewer Jess Harvell states his shock at the lack of attention the Dinosaur Jr. reissues are getting in the first sentence of his mega 12 paragraph review.

Irony number 2 : I would call twelve paragraphs dedicated to the band pretty damn decent coverage. Who needs more press attention when Pitchfork practically offers an essay on the band and their history? Seriously, this review makes up for all those other delinquent music journalists who are busy telling us about Bloc Party’s hairstyles and which member of Interpol is the shyest. Dinosaur Jr. should rightfully be placed along side all those other bands surrounding "The Year That Punk Broke"( sonic youth, nirvana, pavement) but for some reason it never happened. Not just now in 2005 but ever. Jess doesn’t reverse this trend but at the very least offers the band some well deserved accolades.

To celebrate one of the strangest, craziest, longest reviews ever to grace their website I offer a word search of sorts. These can all be found at

carpetbagging grunge chancerbad
loud-quiet-loud by guys in gas station jackets
puffy paint Black Flag t-shirt
unreconstructed doofuses like Collective Soul
Nice pendant, dungeon master
Matrix-rocking girl-pop

If I wasn’t such a slacker I would give this review an 8 out of a possible 10 “tank treads flipped in the mud”

Books / Lost and Safe / Rating 7.0

I should have seen this coming.

Once pitchfork raises a band profile to the next big thing, the only place to go from there is down.( “Lemon of Pink” received an 8.2 and “Food for Thought” got an almost never heard of at the time 9.0) From the onset reviewer Mark Richardson had high expectations of what this record should sound like and by saying the first two releases felt like “gifts demanding little from the listener but paying out handsomely “ he was looking for another hand out. Bands are not slot machines with a guaranteed pay out so why treat them as such. Mark goes as far to explain the template of the first two releases but then condemns the band for moving one step forward, away from the tried and true formula he admittedly says they have already mastered. Vocals have not been predominately featured in the past and apparently the bands decision to change that on “Lost and Safe” deems the Books a genre bending failure in Pitchfork's eyes.

The Books are not a band with a SINGER in the typical sense as Mark is trying to sway us into believing. There is no Mick Jagger strutting with a microphone or a Morrissey with roses tucked into a back pocket. Nick Zammuto structures his vocals around its musical environment like an attentive architect dedicated to building a structure that truly reflects its natural environment. His vocals are often so delicate they carry the sheerness of lace rather than a wool blanket smothering any one given track. The reviewer is correct there IS more singing to be found on this particular record but in no way does it detract from what the Books have musically done best all along.

Calling “Lost and Safe” “conventional” and “pleasant enough” makes me wonder if Mr. Richardson and I listened to the same record at all. The music may not be obtusely unusual but the Books have absolutely retained their haunting sparse compositions and they firmly hold my attention from start to finish. Found samples, sound collage, and unusual instrumentation could have easily grown stale and predictable by the third release but with vocals playing a more important role than ever, there is scintillating new life to this band. This is exactly what makes this record so refreshing to me.

I am taking away Pitchfork’s library card for one month. They don’t deserve the Books.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Prefuse 73 / Surrounded by Silence / 6.8

That’s funny. When pitchfork reviewed an older Prefuse cd ( it scored a 8.7!!!) they said this:

“Forget subculture, hip-hop is its own nation now. And to those who say it's the new rock and roll-- at least compared to the spineless alternadultery on the radio these days-- I concur. The hip-hop artist is best posed for stardom right now, free to be the mouthpiece of a community or the avatar of a corporate brand.”

And :

“Repeat: the hip-hop nation is not under attack. Prefuse 73 reimagines the genre in a collage of half-remembered rhymes and hazy static, letting us in on a dialogue with his soul. Through his fusion of hip-hop and soul music with electronica's current passion for the blip, he's also painted a portrait of the peculiar state of our urbanity. The bomb he's dropped will resonate outwards, hopefully even shaking up P. Diddy a little as he chills in the suburbs, per his recent video, trying like hell to keep it real.”

Please note the bounty of associations to hip hop in reference to Prefuse.

Now onto quotes from the new Prefuse review

“Scott Herren's best-known pseudonym, as the Prefuse 73 catalog has been distinct among its IDM environs for being emotional, intimate, and focused affairs.”

And :

“Much of the blame for this unevenness lies with Herren's attempts at hip-hop production, a role with tantalizing potential that so far had only been teased at with isolated, underwhelming efforts for Diverse, MF Doom, and others.”

So how about that, Prefuse is now a failed hip hop producer better suited for electronic stylings. I understand Scott is a difficult artist to pin down because he records under so many different aliases but this new review practically discredits his deep connection to and with hip hop.

To add insult to injury there are also two different interviews with Prefuse on Pitchfork ( from 03 and 05 ) that contain introductions where his name is first and for most linked to hip hop.

“On record, Prefuse 73 sounds like a cyborg creation caught in a time trap somewhere between the hot buttered soul of the 70s and the Mantronix-era vintage hip-hop of the mid-1980s.”


Pitchfork: How did you start out with rap? (which goes on to talk about his motion towards making glitch hop but Scott actually even says that came afterwards AKA after hip hop. )

Surrounded by Silence may be a failure because it offers surprisingly weak tracks from such star studded collaborations but to refer to his past with such ignorance and indifference is a crime. Rob Mitchum’s review hardly reflects any of Pitchfork’s previous insight about the artist at all and it is these kinds of inconsistencies which lead me to question nearly everything they write these days. A failed combination of talents appears to be catching.

I give this review a 6 out of 10 possible backpacks.

Yo La Tengo / Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003 / 8.2

I don’t mean to pick on Davis Raposa (since his my last few reviews have been of his work) but I feel like he missed the point of this record and opted for a wordy run down of the release rather than get to the heart of the matter of appreciate the spirit of why this retrospective exists at all.

Function: verb
1 : to speak with spotty or superficial knowledge
2 : to dabble in

Function: adjective:
brilliantly lively, stimulating, or witty

Function: noun1
1. the state of being old : the process of becoming old
2 : the growth phase in a plant or plant part (as a leaf) from full maturity to death

The title of Yo La Tengo’s retrospective, “Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003” is an apt choice. Witty with pretentious leanings, there is also an undertone of humor which wonderfully steers this collection from being too self important. To put it simply, this 3 cd set is a celebration of a bands 20 year career and has a unique perspective because a) it is the band who complied this material an B) Yo la Tengo is still very much an active band.

"Prisoner of Love" is not stiff, predictable or perfect and this is what makes it so personal and charming. The collection as a whole feels like a sentimental anniversary gift to the fans that candidly shares their musical history, ALL of it. It may not be the usual platinum or china one gives after 20 years together but this Hoboken trio really are romantic at heart and have three discs to prove it.

I give this review a 300 out of a possible 600 verbal SAT score.