In the last decade, no organ of music criticism has wielded as much influence as Pitchfork. It is the only publication, online or print, that can have a decisive effect on a musician or band’s career.... [W]hatever attracts people to Pitchfork, it isn’t the writing. Even writers who admire the site’s reviews almost always feel obliged to describe the prose as “uneven,” and that’s charitable. Pitchfork has a very specific scoring system that grades albums on a scale from 0.0 to 10.0, and that accounts for some of the site’s appeal, but it can’t just be the scores.... How has Pitchfork succeeded where so many other websites and magazines have not? And why is that success depressing? A lengthy history and review of Pitchfork [Media], from an inexpensive online alternative to a music zine, to "indie" music kingmaker, and thoughts on pop music (criticism). [more inside]
Not to judge an album by its cover or anything - see larger image! - but Animal Collective's latest, Strawberry Jam, looks to be as weirdly delicious as ever. Pitchfork gave it a glowing 9.3, but you can listen to two of their new songs and decide for yourself at the BBC's less enthusiastic (but still positive) review. You can also watch the video for the first single, "Fireworks", here. Panda Bear, one of the group's four members who released a widely-acclaimed solo album in March, was interviewed recently (also by Pitchfork) about the making of Strawberry Jam, as well as his thoughts on that cover... [more inside]
Krautrock: From the hypnotic rhythms and melodies of Can, to the revolutionary electronics of Kraftwerk. Krautrock was a genre that spawned many genius acts. The communal bands like Amon Duul II and Siloah that were soon to be emulated by cult-like restaurant owners, Ya Ho Wha . There were the obscure acts like Zweistein whose sound evokes thoughts of current bands like Animal Collective and Wooden Wand. And there were albums the ground-breaking albums like Tangerine Dream's dark, ambient, Phaedra and the Manuel Gottsching record E2-E4 which is considered to be the first techno album ever produced. Needless to say, Krautrock's influence has been lasting and monumental.