As Van Hammersly and I were discussing the possibilities of setting up this blog, we automatically knew that music would be a big part of it. Yet here we are, a little more than a month in to it, and he and I have barely posted about music thus far. A little bit surprising to us both. But then we are both musicians who play in a variety of projects (some together, some separately) and have a lotta fellow musician friends as well. So it appears we are a little gunshy right now in starting the music stuff. I think this is partly related to the fact that while we both read pitchfork quite a bit, we’ve both been – like many of you probably – struck by how pitchfork’s style of writing seems largely to be trying to fit a musical project into a series of asthetic requirements and, when those requirements are not met, coming up with creative (and often pretentious) ways of slagging said musical project.
The purpose of a review, the way I see it anyhow, is to get some sort of description of the music, film, book, etc, and from the information, ascertain whether the piece in question is for you. Of course, it helps if you know the asthetic preferences of the reviewer and can factor that into your judgement. People who don’t like hiphop probably aren’t gonna dig a Roots record, or at least be open to it hear it. Likewise, people who don’t dig metal aren’t gonna get down with Mastodon.
So when it comes to pitchfork, the worse they slag a record, the more I figure I’ll enjoy it. But, for a new band to get a bad review in pitchfork these days seems to be similar to a new play on broadway getting a bad review in the NYTimes…. it’s over. DOA.
So when that happens, is it possible to overcome this? Well, Boston blog Ryan’s Smashing Life has a great account, I just discovered, of Airborne Toxic Event’s response to pitchfork’s crushing review.… and how they seemed pretty poised to be the next big indie thing despite that bad review. I still have yet to listen to Airborne Toxic Event, but plan on checking it out as soon as I finish this post and my current listening selection (the Isley Brothers if you must know. I will blog about them soon, as everyone should know some classic Isleys….).
But in the meantime, bravo Airborne Toxic Event, and bravo Ryan’s Smashing Life for blogging about the whole thing.