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Sound Team didn't think much of the review that Pitchfork gave them and replied via YouTube. [via] (which also reports on the winner of the Moo & Oink contest).
posted by tellurian (94 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Wouldn't it be cool if Pitchfork actually liked music?
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:09 PM on July 5, 2006


Also, Sound Team has a web page.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:12 PM on July 5, 2006


Wouldn't it be cool if anyone actually read Pitchfork?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:24 PM on July 5, 2006


Wouldn't it be cool if Sound Team just shrugged it off instead of acting like a puppy that's been kicked one too many times?
posted by 23skidoo at 8:33 PM on July 5, 2006


Some friends of mine who got a good Pitchfork review just finished up a tour with Sound Team when they heard of their panning. Apparently it made for some dire times on the road.
posted by sourwookie at 8:35 PM on July 5, 2006


I can't wait for Pitchfork's review of Pretty Flowers.
posted by mathowie at 8:41 PM on July 5, 2006


kicked puppies? they oughta be proud. hell, i'm proud of 'em. i like sound team. they're not great, but they're good and i like 'em just fine. hell, i like pitchfork too. and i'd be proud to get panned by them or anybody else that cares to jump on the snobby indie rock bandwagon du jour. the band's response was clever
posted by puddles at 8:44 PM on July 5, 2006


Pretentious reviewers reviewing bands that take themselves and the reviewers way too seriously. Just another slow day on the internets.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:04 PM on July 5, 2006


Something tells me you'll be waiting quite a while, matt.
posted by puke & cry at 9:15 PM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


oh right, insert chicken gif here.
posted by puke & cry at 9:17 PM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I intend to use a still from that GIF as my next album cover as soon as I figure out who gets the royalties.
posted by sourwookie at 9:26 PM on July 5, 2006


I saw Sound Team live once; they were pretty good. (Also, I have a persistent fantasy that someday I'll make an album big enough to get panned by Pitchfork and make a fortune selling T-Shirts that say PITCHFORK HATES ME.
posted by Tlogmer at 9:37 PM on July 5, 2006


Man, Pitchfork would be the best music criticism rag in the world if they just had good taste in music, and could write their way out of a wet paper bag...
posted by stenseng at 9:50 PM on July 5, 2006


Honestly, there are many times in my life that I look around, relieved to see no wet paper bags in sight.
posted by sourwookie at 10:03 PM on July 5, 2006


The who did the what now? Before I saw this video, I didn't know who these guys where. Now I think they're a bunch of crybabies.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:08 PM on July 5, 2006


I intend to use a still from that GIF as my next album cover as soon as I figure out who gets the royalties.

Better yet: use one of those ridged plastic type images that seem to be used for souvenirs & not much else - y'know, the ones that give the appearance of motion as you tilt them back & forth...
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:15 PM on July 5, 2006


sourwookies, you ever seen the cover of Slutarded's Gobble Gobble Hey!
posted by dobbs at 10:21 PM on July 5, 2006


sourwookie: Tell those Boris Yeltsin lovers that their song "house fire" was stuck in my head for weeks. Weeks! Effing brilliant. I was bummed I missed their recent show/tour.
posted by shoepal at 10:28 PM on July 5, 2006


UbuRoivas: what, you mean like A Tribe Called Quest did in 1996?
posted by 1adam12 at 10:31 PM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I hope someone invents a really, really strong paper bag that gets even stronger when it gets wet just so I could totally throw it iover someone and dare them to fight their way out. Then I'd taunt them until they cried. Then I'd take them out for ice cream and let them know that it'll be okay.

The review was trying too hard to be all clever and SAT wordish. The response appears to have been thought up while really hungover or something. Bad and stupid are only two words among many that can be used to describe it.

PS. Your favorite band sucks.
posted by fenriq at 10:31 PM on July 5, 2006


Life of Zane wrote to the reviewer Marc Hogan [summary: "wtf Marc?"] who actually wrote back. With Hogan's permission LoZ posted his reponse [with LoZ's rebuttal to Hogan's letter] .

"Let's agree to disagree?" Is that the best you got, Mr. Hogan?

PFM founder Ryan Schrieber himself posted the news of the Soundteam video, concluding, "In the band's defense, the music backing up the visuals here is a vast improvement over their record. A bit more focus and you'll have it, guys..."
posted by yeti at 10:50 PM on July 5, 2006


"They're giving them too, much credit, Mikey! Too much credit."

"That's right, Dog!"
posted by Alexandros at 10:57 PM on July 5, 2006


I knew it, they're from Austin. That was filmed in the Barton Creek Greenbelt. I used to bike that every day. Awesome, especially in the spring when the water's flowing. I sure miss Austin sometimes.
posted by crunchyk9 at 11:01 PM on July 5, 2006


The review was trying too hard to be all clever and SAT wordish.

Welcome to Pitchfork. It's rare to find a review there that discusses music at all - just hipster cred and anti-cred. It's only cool to reference something older than 15 years (retro irony!), or newer than 6 weeks (the latest thing! A musical revolution!). That's what most of their reviews are about, when it comes down to it.

In this case: "Oh, this kinda reminds me of U2, mixed with a bunch of bands who were cool 3 months ago. Therefore, it sucks".

Very little discussion of music at all - just whether this is a CD case you'd want your cool friend to see sitting next to your stereo, or appearing on Last.fm.
posted by Jimbob at 11:01 PM on July 5, 2006


Sound Who? Pitchwhat?
posted by mrnutty at 11:04 PM on July 5, 2006


I didn't read the review. That video is moronic.

Also blah blah Pitchfork is snobby blah blah obligatory YouTube sucks comment
posted by spiderwire at 11:07 PM on July 5, 2006


what, you mean like A Tribe Called Quest did in 1996?

I dunno - did that album cover involve a chicken being internally marinated with tadpole yoghurt?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:13 PM on July 5, 2006


you mean like A Tribe Called Quest did in 1996?

Yeah, but the Stones did it before them on the early releases of Their Satanic Majesties Request back in 1967.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:14 PM on July 5, 2006


Tell those Boris Yeltsin lovers that their song "house fire" was stuck in my head for weeks. Weeks! Effing brilliant. I was bummed I missed their recent show/tour.

I'll just be happy when they get their own gear so they'll stop bumming mine.

I love them, but they're a crew of uberslackers.
posted by sourwookie at 11:14 PM on July 5, 2006


I've never really understood the concept of getting upset about what a reviewer wrote. What exactly is the point? Many an album I love has been slagged by the press and I've often ignored highly praised bands after finding their work not to my liking. Do your own due diligence. What does it matter if Marc Hogan didn't like Sound Team's new release?

A review is one person's take on a record, nothing more, regardless of their diction or their stance or their association with a particular publication. I know the thing to do these days is to "hate on" Pitchfork, but what does that achieve? If you can write better or have better taste in music, start your own site.

More importantly, stop reading Pitchfork if you dislike their style. They don't owe you or your band anything and that's the way it ought to be.
posted by shoepal at 11:25 PM on July 5, 2006


More importantly, stop reading Pitchfork if you dislike their style. They don't owe you or your band anything and that's the way it ought to be.

So it's OK for pitchfork to critique music, but not ok for us to critique pitchfork? Try to be a little more consistent next time.
posted by delmoi at 11:38 PM on July 5, 2006


That said I hate this sludge metal or whatever it's called. Ought to be called bore-core.
posted by delmoi at 11:38 PM on July 5, 2006


Delmoi, et al. critique Pitchfork all you want. I mostly hear whining and complaining and the like in almost any thread that references pfork.
posted by shoepal at 12:17 AM on July 6, 2006


I don't always agree with PF, but they've got more than a handful of talented writers with interesting things to say about music. I've never thought them to be particularly wordy, pretentious, or concerned with cred; maybe I'm missing out on the reviews that are that way, but I genuinely believe that PF reviewers are smart music fans. Obviously, some can write better than others, but it's an independent record review site on the internet, not the Village Voice or something.
posted by maxreax at 12:22 AM on July 6, 2006


I listened to the Sound Team album a couple months ago, and it did absolutely nothing for me. I agree with the reviewer's score, but for different reasons.

Otherwise, yeah, it's kind of lame to take a review so personally. If you're making music for critics and acclaim rather than for yourself and your fans, you're not in it for the right reasons.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:22 AM on July 6, 2006


(Believe me, I'm like the last effing person to actually DEFEND pitchfork, but I'm just so tired of people complaining about how they write, rate, influence, etc. I know it is inevitable and a testament to their unfortunate pervasiveness, but it is just so damn tiresome. I'd rather read their worst, most unreadable reviews than suffer through the piles of vitriol spewed in their general direction.)
posted by shoepal at 12:28 AM on July 6, 2006


I know the thing to do these days is to "hate on" Pitchfork, but what does that achieve?

One could hope it entirely would erode any vestiges of credibility they have as "critics."
posted by weston at 12:57 AM on July 6, 2006


Responding to negative reviews is for n00bs.
posted by sklero at 1:19 AM on July 6, 2006


Yeah, responding to negative reviews is ultimately a stupid thing to do. It makes you look kinda shallow and overly concerned with things one shouldn't be overly concerned with. That said, it should also be easy to understand why musicians are concerned about what the music press has to say about them. It's often for good reason: the press can be influential and can have an effect on record sales, live bookings, etc. In other words, the things that directly impact on a musician's living.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:53 AM on July 6, 2006


I particular enjoyed the apparently unselfconscious claim that:

As a reader, there's nothing worse than feeling patronized.

When he did not understand a phrase of the reviewer's, while complaining that the reviewer could not possibly have appreciated the music properly because he did not get the clever William Vollman reference. Beautiful.
posted by tannhauser at 2:38 AM on July 6, 2006


In 1979, the Cure, annoyed by an Ian Penman review, did a much better job of biting back: Desperate Journalist, recorded as an [r.i.p.] Peel Session.
posted by imperium at 3:12 AM on July 6, 2006


A much better job indeed! They made some art! Well, I guess that little YouTube thing from Sound Team might qualify as art, but it's a bit too... facile for me.

And Ian Penman, well he is one of the kings of annoying, after all. One of the reasons I let my subscription to British new music rag The Wire lapse was Penman writing "to hell with him" in a review of Will Oldham.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:41 AM on July 6, 2006


Wouldn't it be cool if the pretentious, self-important, grad-student-masturbation over at Pitchfork wasn't taken seriously or reported on at all?

(no offense to grad students in general, just an apt characterization)
posted by inoculatedcities at 3:46 AM on July 6, 2006


See also Half Man Half Biscuit's Bad Review:

You hacks don't know where it's at.
You don't appreciate the master of the strat.
Not that I'm concerned ('course you're not).
Your paper's full of crap ('course it is).
I only read the gig guide anyway.


It's also unfortunate that Zane links to an example of how to write a proper review - his own, of Coldplay's A Sudden Rush of Fists to the Purchaser of this Album's Head - which spends far less time actually talking about the music than Marc Hogan's review does. This doesn't much help his case.

You're in a no-win at this point. If the reviewer's opinion is a ludicrous minority opinion, then by devoting so much attention to it you appear thin-skinned and petty - this is suggested by Zane's protest that:

I think the fact that 3.7 for "Movie Monster" is being considered "laughable" in more places than one suggests that this review won't have its intended effect.

What the "intended effect" is I am not sure, nor am I sure that Zane is sure - I assumed it was to communicate what Marc Hogan thought of an album, but I suspect it is being presented as some nebulous variation on to destroy Sound Team and make Marc Hogan king of all indie-rock.

If, on the other hand, this bad review is seen as something that will negatively and materially impact the success of the band, by persuading large numbers of people not to buy their music, ansd so has been undertaken with a lackk of responsibility considering its awesome moment, should said band not be thinking about why the reviewer's opinion is so influential and perhaps see if they should be taking some of his/her criticisms on board?

Essentially, as soon as you start to fight, you lose.
posted by tannhauser at 4:03 AM on July 6, 2006


while complaining that the reviewer could not possibly have appreciated the music properly because he did not get the clever William Vollman reference.

But don't you know William Vollman is the new James Joyce?! Good thing obscurant, psuedo-intellectual bands and their Vassar-or-Bard-educated, Bedford Ave.-residing reviewers have all powered through The Royal Family.

Oh, and just so you know, if you want to write for Pitchfork, you have to use the words herpetological, adenoidal, and motorik regularly in your everyday conversation.
posted by inoculatedcities at 4:42 AM on July 6, 2006


Dude, if you can afford to live on Bedford Avenue just by demanding that Death Cab for Cuitie uncover either catharsis or cathexis to resolve the thantophiliac whimsy that has paralysed their recent releases, I am in the wrong job.

Bring me my pen of burnished gold! Bring me my emo of desire!
posted by tannhauser at 4:51 AM on July 6, 2006


Gah! Cutie and thanatophiliac. Now I'll never write for the Wire.
posted by tannhauser at 4:56 AM on July 6, 2006


Kudos to Sound Team and the dude with the blog who blogged the back & forth with Hogan: they've done something very special, very rare.

They've actually made me take Pitchfork's side, something I never thought could happen.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:59 AM on July 6, 2006


Can any one reviewer still have power to make or break an album here in the age of the internets? I find out about new music mostly in passiing conversations on forums with people who I tend to share similar opinions with about other things.

I guess Pitchfork dominates the realm of teen/20 something kids that still haven't refined their tastes enough to make their own decisions about what is cool so they fork over that responsibility to a bunch of music snobs who know a lot about very little.
posted by any major dude at 5:09 AM on July 6, 2006


Whoa, some dudes reply to a website through a video website? This has got to be at least Web 3.0.
posted by Eideteker at 5:16 AM on July 6, 2006


That video is seriously one of the least clever things I have ever seen.
posted by Dr. Wu at 5:27 AM on July 6, 2006


I don't know what any of this is about because I do not own a tv.
posted by glenwood at 5:48 AM on July 6, 2006


...so they fork over that responsibility...

I see what you did there.
posted by Zozo at 5:56 AM on July 6, 2006


The video is not very good or funny and it does make Sound Team seem a little whiney. But, on the other hand, it's engendered a MeFi thread in which the majority opinion is that Pitchfork are pretentious, and lots more people now know who Sound Team are. Conclusion: Karl Rove is now working for Sound Team.

Very little discussion of music at all - just whether this is a CD case you'd want your cool friend to see sitting next to your stereo, or appearing on Last.fm

For real. I can't stand reading reviews by writers who don't love music, or by writers about whom it is impossible to tell if they love music. Plus, it's much easier to trash something than it is to praise it, because trashing means one gets the easy comedic tools of irony and sarcasm to work with, whereas praising something means being sincere, which, I was told when I wrote for an alt-weekly paper back in the 90s "doesn't sell ads."
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:59 AM on July 6, 2006


Eideteker the cromulent wrote: This has got to be at least Web 3.0.

I know man. Maybe even like 3.2 or 3.3! But it's fucking no where near eleven.

delmoi wrote: Ought to be called bore-core.

Fuck that shit. Snoozecore is where it's at. Robert Rich motherfucking represent, yo!

Fenriqa the Pretty wrote: The review was trying too hard to be all clever and SAT wordish.

I'm so, like, fucking sure. I refuse to describe, like, anything that uses that bastard's whoreson of an interjection in any written piece as "SAT wordish". But I agree with you. Bad and stupid really are only two words. Shit would be a third, and for a fourth we could go with inconsequential, which has five syllables.

Also, fuck Austin. Dallas may be the stinky armpit of Texas, and Houston its unwashed asshole, but Austin is the steamy, cheesy, linty navel - perpetually self-obsessed and reflecting on very little of anything at all. Omphalos obtruistic.

Also, from the comments on the centipede-twatted YouTube link:
deadaluspark (9 hours ago)
yeah, because no one ever writes mean reviews because albums actually suck. its just total spite. oh wait. no, sound teams album its a fucking pile of shit. i found that out the hard way by downloading it instead of reading a review on pitchfork. good thing i hated it and deleted it. im glad i didnt spend any fucking money on that worthless shit. because most records stores dont let you return albums because they are piles of shit.

mortonbairdiii (7 hours ago)
well, if you bought a "pile of shit," sorry bout that. we'll put a special sticker on our future releases.

redsatyr (9 hours ago)
so it's like, all that music in the beginning of this decade where we were like, "hey, maybe rock is back" ...Sound Team is the point where it turns back into shit again?

mortonbairdiii (7 hours ago)
hmm. no. though never a stated aim, i'm pretty sure we're working on making music that doesn't "turn rock back into shit again."
Such brusing wit. Fuck both of you and your guitars. Rock is long since dead, motherfuckers. Long since co-opted, integrated since birth, dogmatic and codified from the start. It's about as rebelliously creative and free as buying toilet paper. Any pretentions otherwise is just so much all-singing, all-dancing contortionist, self-suckling onanism to assuage your fears of becoming indistinguishable from the crushingly overwhelming banality of commodification. You're just too preoccupied with enthusiastically gang-raping its putrid worm-eaten corpse to understand this.
posted by loquacious at 6:32 AM on July 6, 2006


If, on the other hand, this bad review is seen as something that will negatively and materially impact the success of the band, by persuading large numbers of people not to buy their music, ansd so has been undertaken with a lackk of responsibility considering its awesome moment, should said band not be thinking about why the reviewer's opinion is so influential and perhaps see if they should be taking some of his/her criticisms on board?

Whoa, dude! For a moment, I thought I was reading Pitchfork and not Metafilter. Hippy trippy.....
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:48 AM on July 6, 2006



posted by Wolfdog at 6:55 AM on July 6, 2006


On reflection, why do web sites post reviews, anyway. You could just have a reviewer pick out the three songs they feel reflects the band best, stick them up for streaming audio play and leave it at that.
posted by tannhauser at 7:16 AM on July 6, 2006


Um...how do you say...errumm....ah yes tempest in the teapot, no?
posted by Skygazer at 8:06 AM on July 6, 2006


Ah, I love the smell of armchair quarterbacking in the morning.
posted by blucevalo at 8:13 AM on July 6, 2006


Oh, and just so you know, if you want to write for Pitchfork, you have to use the words herpetological, adenoidal, and motorik regularly in your everyday conversation.

One of the great, if short-lived thrills of writing rock reviews comes from license to use whatever absurd or invented adjectives that happen to strike your fancy. It does, however, get old.

Dude, if you can afford to live on Bedford Avenue just by demanding that Death Cab for Cuitie uncover either catharsis or cathexis to resolve the thantophiliac whimsy that has paralysed their recent releases, I am in the wrong job.

Writing record reviews wouldn't even buy you a cardboard box on Bedford Avenue, let alone pay rent on anything with a roof. You can, in a pinch, use the profits from selling back promos to buy macaroni and cheese.

Plus, it's much easier to trash something than it is to praise it, because trashing means one gets the easy comedic tools of irony and sarcasm to work with, whereas praising something means being sincere, which, I was told when I wrote for an alt-weekly paper back in the 90s "doesn't sell ads."

Full disclosure: I used to write for Pitchfork about four years ago. Early on, I developed a reputation for writing nasty reviews. I could say that I wrote bad reviews, because I was sent bad music to review, but that's probably not fair. Fact is, writing a nasty review is actually pretty enjoyable, and way easier than writing a positive review, and there's a huge audience for it. Only problem is, after a while, people start expecting you to eviscerate every record you write about. I started getting as much hate mail when I didn't dis a record as I got when I did. You start writing reviews in character instead of as yourself, because you feel like that's what the audience expects, that's what the editorial standard is, etc. The last month I wrote for PFM, I found myself spending almost equal time writing reviews and writing emails back to genuinely disappointed bands who didn't understand why I wrote a bad review. And that's when I quit. The whole thing felt so disingenuous and I felt so fatuous that I'd sort of forgotten why I wanted to write record reviews in the first place. You know, because I liked music . . .
posted by thivaia at 8:32 AM on July 6, 2006


Pitchfork is often on the money. Suck it, haters.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 8:35 AM on July 6, 2006


All this hand-wringing over pitchfork but not one damn comment about Put It In My Mouth? I've listened to this thing five times now.
posted by skallas at 8:43 AM on July 6, 2006


tannhauser: Now I'll never write for the Wire.

Ha! Now there's a publication that can teach Pitchfork a thing or two about pretention.
posted by NemesisVex at 8:54 AM on July 6, 2006


Pitchfork is often on the money. Suck it, haters.
Word.
posted by Flashman at 9:04 AM on July 6, 2006


Pitchfork is often on about the money.

There, fixed it for you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 AM on July 6, 2006


PFM writers get paid to listen to lots of new music and write about it whilst sucking very little corporate cock. Why is that a problem for so many people? My first guess is jealousy.
posted by bardic at 9:35 AM on July 6, 2006


Thivaia: The whole thing felt so disingenuous and I felt so fatuous that I'd sort of forgotten why I wanted to write record reviews in the first place. You know, because I liked music . . .

Kudos to you. Because it is awfully easy to destroy bands that aren't great and don't have any street cred or big $$ behind them yet. Many a f*ckwad journo has built a career around it because there's nothing more fun than watching someone destroy dreams and hopes and toil with some pretentious adjectives from the ole MW Thesaurus. It translates into readers and that translates into ad sales. That most bands suck mooseturds is a given. But there are those exceptions, there are bands that aren't fantastic yet, but are working steadfastly towards something excellent and yet they too get taken out back and shot in the head because it's so cool to do that. People who've been in bands understand that and it's why I made it a point to only write reviews of bands I liked when I was a critic for one of the bigger art punk tomes of the 90's. I had the luxury to do that because I could chose to write about and got paid fuck all for it, as I worked f/t while I did that and played in a band (Gasp! Don't get me started on trust fund indie rockers and the trust fund parasites who sick their dicks). Ignoring a band is harsh enough and if you are going to be harsh, how about doing it constructively as in making suggestions and providing some insight into for what could improve the sound etc. And there ladies and gentlemen is the rub. The big sore bleeding stinkhole of an indian burn that makes most music journo's such lowly human beings and hypocrites. They have no idea how music works, aren't musicians and wouldn't understand what it takes to be in a band if a posse of snakes on a plane ass raped them. Because a band, a real living breathing uncynical uncontrived working band that's writing and playing music regularly is a wonderful thing. Period. And an exceptional band that has captured a unique essence and is blowing minds and impacting lives through it's recordings and live shows, well that's just a fucking miracle.
posted by Skygazer at 9:37 AM on July 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Only musicians should have opinions about music?
posted by bardic at 9:39 AM on July 6, 2006


Only musicians should have opinions about music?

Preferably, yes. The same way I want to hear advice about cars from a mechanic or an engineer nor the local ricers in my neighborhood who are more worried about the scene and looking cool.

Granted, wishing for professionalism from reviewers of the arts(especially from self-styled rebels) is probably asking too much. The conflicting loyalties of credibility, self-promotion, and subjective favoritism are all too real and in the end do hurt acts seemingly for no other reason than to sell more ad impressions at pitchforkmedia.com. How that isn't 100% evil heartless corporate a la Capitol/Time Warner is beyond me.
posted by skallas at 9:52 AM on July 6, 2006


PFM writers get paid to listen to lots of new music and write about it whilst sucking very little corporate cock. Why is that a problem for so many people? My first guess is jealousy.

Because they write like precocious seventeen year-olds who just discovered Ayn Rand and equate obscurity and substance?
posted by inoculatedcities at 9:57 AM on July 6, 2006


Only musicians should have opinions about music?

No, but expertise makes a big difference between being able to produce good criticism and poor criticism, however entertaining.
posted by weston at 9:59 AM on July 6, 2006


Preferably, yes. The same way I want to hear advice about cars from a mechanic or an engineer nor the local ricers in my neighborhood who are more worried about the scene and looking cool.

I think the Ricers probably know a lot about cars.
posted by maxreax at 10:15 AM on July 6, 2006


See, I don't think so. I'm sure I'd get more than an earful about brand loyalty (like the old chevy vs ford nonsense) than any of the information I'm looking for. Not to mention the judgement of someone who puts a giant 300 dollar wing on a civic might not be too hot.
posted by skallas at 10:17 AM on July 6, 2006


Only musicians should have opinions about music?

It's not as black and white as that. I'm not talking about being classically trained or any elitest thing like that, it's about knowing what it's like to write/create music and get 2, 3 or 4 or whatever amount of people in the same room (on a regular basis) making a joyful noise and sharing a vision. It's about loving music.
posted by Skygazer at 10:18 AM on July 6, 2006


I don't think that most people (especially indie types) want good reviews. PFM long figured out that the catty bullshit of high school politics works equally well on the general population well into old age. To me pitchfork is the gossipy rag that talks about how hot David Beckham is and the music is the actual game of soccer. These two entities have little in common.
posted by skallas at 10:35 AM on July 6, 2006


What thivala and Skygazer said.
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:49 AM on July 6, 2006


No, but expertise makes a big difference between being able to produce good criticism and poor criticism, however entertaining.

And not only that, but having been in the ring and tried to produce something -- something sincere, not just self-pardoying songs that aren't supposed to be good and so you automatically insulate yourself from criticism -- gives you a kind of heart for the whole thing that will take the worst spurs off your criticisms of anything better than "My Humps." You know the process of producing crap because you're just too clumsy and not good enough yet to produce something better -- but you also know what it's like to get better. So you avoid what Skygazer mentioned in his awesome comment -- taking them out and shooting them in the back of the head early.

I wrote reviews for a little website on local music I ran for a while. If I thought they had weak points, I'd mention them, but rarely make them the focus of the review. It's the same kind of criticism you'd offer honestly to a friend who asked. If I just disliked the music enough, I generally didn't review them. If someone asked why I didn't review their music, I told them, but *always* included a caveat something like "This is just my take. And even if I'm right, I've seen so many bands start from a place I didn't like and turn in stuff I thought was fantastic a few years later. Don't even think of giving up just because of my opinion."

You can't write every review that way. Even with my softhearted ways, I have nothing but contempt for some particular productions. And writing good criticism is about as difficult and time consuming as working on a song itself. And heck, maybe sometimes you just don't want to encourage somebody at all. And you do have an obligation to people who are trying to make listening decisions based on your work.

But overall, it's the balance of being able to not only identify with the listener, but also with the artist that I think makes a significant difference.
posted by weston at 10:58 AM on July 6, 2006


The same way I want to hear advice about cars from a mechanic or an engineer nor the local ricers in my neighborhood who are more worried about the scene and looking cool.

Pretty weak analogy. I drive a car everyday and can do little to fix it beyond changing a tire when necessary. I like to drive though, and like cars a lot.

I used to get paid (very little) to write music reviews. I do it for myself now. I used to play in bands too, and I agree that empathy is an important ingredient for a critic. But let's face the awful truth--there are plenty of sincere yet horrible bands and musicians out there. Sure, when it works it's great, but world enough and time yadda yadda--I just don't have the time to listen to (nor the money to purchase) as much new music as I'd like. But I do care, perhaps too much, and I do appreciate what bands have to go through to get anywhere.

PFM is certainly not without flaws, but would you prefer it if people took their cues from more obviously corporate publications like Rolling Stone or Blender?

That said, a bad review from PFM is more press than most bands can ever hope for. No such thing as bad publicity and all that.
posted by bardic at 11:20 AM on July 6, 2006


Substituting a rake for a pitchfork is not cool
posted by grobstein at 12:30 PM on July 6, 2006


bardic, that's assuming that the pool of freelance writers that work for PFM aren't also submitting work to more corporate publications like Rolling Stone or Blender as well! While there might not be that much published overlap, I don't think there's much of a difference in the writers, only in the focus the review takes and the way things are rated.

I'd only be really annoyed if I were in a band that got a bad review and publications opted to not review our next album. Criticism should be given with the opportunity to change.
posted by mikeh at 12:38 PM on July 6, 2006


Well, their video was a bit uninspired, but I like the effort. I'll give them this, though - they put on a good show and an even better house party.
posted by blendor at 12:58 PM on July 6, 2006


PFM is certainly not without flaws, but would you prefer it if people took their cues from more obviously corporate publications like Rolling Stone or Blender

I'd prefer it if the whole genre of the review died in favor of writers conversing about music they love.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:59 PM on July 6, 2006


So musicians should be the only people listening to music and mechanics the only people driving cars. Apparently they're the only people qualified to do either.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:06 PM on July 6, 2006



I'd prefer it if the whole genre of the review died in favor of writers conversing about music they love.


Works in theory, but Hornby in practice.
posted by tannhauser at 1:09 PM on July 6, 2006


eustacescrubb, I'm sure we'll end up agreeing to disagree, but look at what you just wrote--people should just ponitificate about what they already like? Uber-snarkiness can lead to hurt feelings I'll admit, but I'll take it over sycophantic raving any day.

If people just want to make music, they can play in their basement to their heart's content. If they're going to try and sell albums and/or make a living as musicians, people have every right to point out what they do or don't like. I happen to think that in doing roughly 25 album reviews a week, along with decent music news coverage, PFM is the best resource out there for info about new music. But it obviously bothers a lot of mefites. I suggest you email matthowie with your home address so the cops can be called out to rescue you from whatever madman has broken in and put a gun to your heads and forced you to read that the posthumous Johnny Cash got a 7.8.
posted by bardic at 1:14 PM on July 6, 2006


Hurt feelings are a pretty bad reason for not reviewing music.
posted by maxreax at 1:19 PM on July 6, 2006


So musicians should be the only people listening to music

No. Musicians are probably better at reviewing music, and almost certainly make better critics.
posted by weston at 1:28 PM on July 6, 2006


bardic,

It's not a matter of hurt feelings, it's just that I rarely find music reviews persuasive, one way or the other. What I do find persuasive is reading/hearing well-articulated thoughts about music coming from someone who loves that music. Obviously poor writing will lead to syncophantic raving, but I'm not talking about your typical "OMIGOD GNARLS BARKLEY ROOOLZ!!!" comments, I mean that, for example, what encouraged me to check out Gnarls Barkley was that I overhead two older fellows comparing the album, which was playing in the background at a coffee shop, to Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. I don't even know if I agree with their actual premise, but I reasoned that if two longtime, intellgient fans of Curtis and Marvin were digging the band, I might too.

And, I don't understand your last sentence. I wrote about what I would rather see, in response to somone else assertion regarding same, and your response to characterize me as pro-censorship? I am now not allowed to have an opinion about what kind of writing I'd like to see?
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:28 PM on July 6, 2006


I don't get the censorship thing. Sorry to leave that impression. I'm just saying that it's amusing to see mefites froth about PFM, kind of like the old joke--"The food here is awful. And such small portions!"

PFM is a resource among others for finding out about new music. There are others, so take it or leave it. But it's disinegenuous to say PFM hates all music. Honestly, I tend to ignore those comments because it's obvious that the person doesn't, you know, actually read PFM (or perhaps hasn't read it recently. Given an actual budget and office space, the reviews are much better, and maybe a bit blander, than they were five years ago. Consistent is probably the word I'm looking for.).
posted by bardic at 1:34 PM on July 6, 2006


No. Musicians are probably better at reviewing music, and almost certainly make better critics.

So you're saying that PFM should hire David Hasslehoff and everything would be cool?
posted by eyeballkid at 1:36 PM on July 6, 2006


Only musicians should have opinions about music?

Preferably, yes. The same way I want to hear advice about cars from a mechanic or an engineer nor the local ricers in my neighborhood who are more worried about the scene and looking cool.
- Skallas

...

So musicians should be the only people listening to music

No. Musicians are probably better at reviewing music, and almost certainly make better critics.
- Weston

These are two very different statements. I disagree strongly with the first and find myself agreeing with the second. The arts of reading/listening/driving are very different from the arts of reviewing, but it is possible to become a master of them without knowledge of the mechanics behind them. To be able to contextualise those mechanics in a critical manner, however, does require some nuts and bolts knowledge, and probably more than you would just pick up by osmosis/association.

Though I applaud both Skallas and Weston for making me think about it.
posted by Sparx at 3:37 PM on July 6, 2006


dobbs: Never in a hundred million years did I think I would see a reference to Slutarded on MetaFilter. You have single-handedly made reading this otherwise incredibly depressing thread worthwhile. Well done.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:31 PM on July 6, 2006


So you're saying that PFM should hire David Hasslehoff and everything would be cool?

To the extent that Hasslehoff is a musician, he could probably help Pitchfork out, yeah.

These are two very different statements...

It's true. :)

The arts of reading/listening/driving are very different from the arts of reviewing, but it is possible to become a master of them without knowledge of the mechanics behind them.

I agree that it's possible. All you really have to do to be a reasonably good reviewer is get a strong sense for the narrative of how a piece of music affects you and develop the means for articulating that. A good reviewer simply has to give a sense of the experience of listening. Hence my qualification "probably," rather than the stronger "almost certainly" applied to critics. I do still think it's more probable a good musician is able to get inside the experience of a piece (and a wider variety of pieces) than a non-musician... but I acknowledge that there's probably a good number of talented though untrained listeners.

This feels hit and miss to me at PFM, tho'. Or I feel like the pieces the reviewers there are able to get inside represent a narrow set of musical experiences. And as real critics, much of the time, they don't even seem to really try.

The one piece of credit I will give them: the mere fact they're talking about soooo much music makes it likely that if you pay attention, you'll find something worthwhile.
posted by weston at 4:47 PM on July 6, 2006


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