Thursday, March 16, 2006

Some Girls / Heaven's Pregnant Teens / Rating: 6.8

No wonder they're done with childish things like hooks and being nice to kids at shows.

Passing judgment is as easy as passing wind. Passing credible judgment takes talent, knowledge, experience, a unique insight and I can’t help but ask this: what have you Zach Byron done for anyone lately? Do you have a massive dedicated following built up over years and years of hardwork and thanks to a genuine gift to move people?

The shitty part about a music journalist (besides the fact that anyone with a means to type and the ability to form sentences can call themselves a writer) is they get the final word. No matter how off the mark they are, how uneducated and lazy their string of paragraphs can be, they are the firing line rather than being the gun.

Speaking to PFM writers: It is the musicians who breathe life into your work so before you throw your punches, I beg you to at least not do it blindly. Talk about the music, the actual piece of music at hand, not the people, not their old bands, and not the invisible expectations you have decided to suffocate their new record with.

What exactly does a band owe the listener? I consider this a rule for all artists: You owe those outside of yourself nothing. You make the art you feel that you have to create, the art that is true to you or the chemistry you have with others if you are a band, and if people like it or get it than that my friends is the gravy. Some Girls don't owe Zach or any other listener anything. Got it? They made a record that was for themselves like it or not and none of us should have it any other way.

My disclaimer is this: I am friends with Some Girls or at least members of so while this is personal, the entire PFM review is an insult whether I knew the band personally or not. It takes courage to make art and share it with others but I can tell you this after being on both sides of it, life is EASY behind a desk / laptop. Sitting in a chair musing about others art is a comfortable position to be in, writing music, recording it, and touring behind it is not. I’m not saying you need to be a musician to write a decent review but you need at the very least a thoughtful, intelligent approach to the thing you are reviewing.

There is so much bullshit in this PFM review I am forced to take on several paragraphs.

PFM says: "Some Girls play blast-bleated, quick-moving songs that feature the odd harmonic-driven repetitive breakdown or grisly feedback buzz, and they employ a vocalist who probably loses his voice after loudly spweing stream-of-horror-consciousness, body-fixated lyrics at every show."

Blast bleated? Bleat according to my dictionary says it means a wavering cry of a sheep,goat, or calf. If Zach meant blast-beat meets petting zoo then somebody needs to actually go back and listen to the Some Girls record without a preconceived notion of what should sound like or what the press release tells you it sounds like. Heaven's Pregnant Teens is a thousand times more complex than a steady stream of noise, beats, and screams. There are maddening time changes, dramatic pauses, skipping needle points of repetition and half smile fuck you attack on what we as listeners are used to deeming heavy, noise, or even hardcore. Most bands in this general genre lack the talent to tackle or the balls to experiment with a song's structure and what an ex members of new band is suppose to sound like is an assumption no listener or "writer" has the real right to make. This is an important question to ask yourself every day: Who are you or what gives you the right to judge anyone else fairly? As a music journalist this goes double for you. Have you earned the right to write?

PFM says: "With some alcohol and jaded friends around, you could play battle of the "celebrity" hardcore bands…"

Get a life. At least these ex-members of people kept on making music where most other people give up on making music no less following it as they approach their 30’s.

PFM says: "Here's the thing: dudes want to grow up. Come your late-20s, the adoration of a sea of kids with Crudos back-patches and spock-rocked hair means nil. For scene vets like Some Girls, there's been an ex-band tag on every flyer they've graced: The band members own labels (bassist Justin Pearson's Three One G), maybe own their own houses, and sport fake moustaches (all of them). No wonder they're done with childish things like hooks and being nice to kids at shows."

I would like to think everyone wants to grow up eventually and maybe Zach should consider this as a positive option in his near future. I repeat, most artists make art for themselves and if kids come to applaud it and buy your record… than that is a minor miracle and a great side note. Some Girls don’t owe you or you or you a hook. Oh and I hate to break it to you but we all age. Hopefully with it comes maturity and growth and thank fucking God that with this an artist eventually moves on to try new things. I don’t want any artist I love make this same kind of art year after year. Personally I want to be challenged and surprised.

Secondly this is an industry standard: If you are in a another band, a bigger band, or a popular old band 9 times out of 10 your record will be stickered on the cellophane to reflect / promote this. The Witch record (also reviewed the same day as Some Girls) is stickered and promoted as a J Mascis side band. What exactly is the crime there? Your record one sheet will call attention to this fact in an effort to educate the reader and hopefully inspire them to purchase or play on air said record. And lastly band fliers include the ex members of tag because people can be lazy and live in the past. (I am looking at you again Zach) People don’t follow artists as closely as they use to, attention spans are shorter than ever, and getting people to buy music or get them out of their houses to see a band is more difficult than ever. Whatever it takes to bring people to pay a few bucks to support an artist, the venue or label or band is going to do it.

Justin P owns a label. What is the problem there? Did anybody at PFM decide to look up just how long he has been running a label? How exactly does that tie into what this new Some Girls record sounds like?

Are adult band people not suppose to own houses? To be honest, I don’t think 95% of the full time bands out there can afford to do that. I hate to burst the fantasy that playing in a rock band is all about girls, money, and fame and while their might be small % of all of those things out there for some bands, money is usually not a part of the equation. Unless you are Death Cab or Interpol most other bands do not tour in style or have an endless supply of cash for hotels and 4 star meals. Most bands travel in cramped vans, sleep on dirty floors, and eat garbage because that is all they can afford or this is all the venue gives you to eat. Feeling tired of this circus of a music industry just to pimp a record is natural and I am suspicious of anyone over the age of 25 who would dare to disagree. When you grow up you realize that maybe there is a better life, that a body isn’t meant to be treated like shit night after night, and yet as a musician this is what you know and do best it’s almost a cruel position to be in and for the most part it sucks. There I said it. Sure touring when your band makes a shit ton of money is fabulous but that simply isn’t the case for most bands. When you haven’t slept well or eaten well in weeks and you are hung over for the 20th day because drinking softens the absurd blows a touring band suffers through each night than you tell me how you might appear to an audience? If a band doesn’t kiss your ass at show keep the above list in mind. Life in a band isn’t easy and its especially frustrating when people (AKA PFM) don’t seem to get or appreciate these aspects. Seriously I dare any music journalist to take the being in a band challenge. I bet 99.9% of the reviews you read would change if a writer actually knew what the fuck he or she was writing about.

And as for the fake moustaches comment, seriously what the hell does any of that paragraph have to do with a record review? What does over half this PFM review have to do with Some Girls new record. Zach B stop living in the past, stop comparing a band to just the bands they used to be in or other bands in their genre you decided are better then them already and focus on what you are suppose to be reviewing: Heaven’s Pregnant Teens.

Not only does Zach ignore what the music actually sounds like but takes a stab at the lyrics which perhaps as a “writer” thinks he knows something about. EE Cummings wrote poems that often looked like his typewriter had a few keys that stuck and spit out nonsense but for those who actually give a damn about challenging what art should sound or look like, diving into the unexpected or the unexplored is what makes an artist ground breaking and original Something legends are made of. Making safe art is boring and I am grateful to the artists who are willing to take those chances and risk being attacked for it.

Hiding behind 6 paragraphs that maybe took an hour or two to write is slap to those who have spent years building a career and a following, to those who have the courage to step out before an audience live and in person to present their art no less too thousands of hours making music for people who in the end sound ungrateful and thankless.

Think before you write people, is that so much to ask for? Spend a little time with a record and research a band properly before you dare make a public statement about the music they make.

I can respect a 7 ish rating but not the words which fail to back it up. If you care about the music and not PFM's personal issues with the band as people or ex memebers of , go here and explore for yourself. Go where not enough Pitchfork writers have gone before.