"That's my 'favourite' thing about music: encountering in the moment each artwork, however humble, already dignified by the sheer distinction of being incomparably human and thus, irreducibly, itself." 13 Reasons Why I Can't Pick My 13 Favourite Records, By Drew Daniel
Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit
that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird
gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy
Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos
destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments
, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations.
It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time
-- an eccentric, richly produced
, and incredibly catchy blend of funk
, bossa nova
, experimental electronica
, bamboo flute
, hair metal
, buoyant parade music
, soaring children's choirs
, Macintalk fanfares
, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros
Called a consumerist critique
by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi
(who after one sequel
moved on to Glitch
, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy
, and playground design
), the series has inspired much celebration
] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit
. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
Lou Reed's New York
LP hit the quarter-century mark earlier this year. "Meant to be listened to in one 58-minute sitting as though it were a book or a movie," New York
couples an unusually accessible rock style with some of most topical lyrics of Lou's career. "Protesting, elegizing, carping, waxing sarcastic, forcing jokes, stating facts, garbling what he just read in the Times, free-associating to doomsday, Lou carries on a New York conversation--all that's missing is a disquisition on real estate." - Robert Christgau
Get caught between the twisted stars, the plotted lines, the faulty map that brought Columbus to New York. [more inside]
Do you miss the music fanzine culture of the 1980s and 1990s, when publications like Forced Exposure
cataloged the under-the-counter culture? Fuckin' Record Reviews
brings you highlights from all of these zines and more!
Check out the early writings of musicians like Steve Albini
, Bill Callahan
, Alan Licht
and David Grubbs
, as well as veteran rockcrits like Byron Coley
, Gerard Cosloy
, Tom Lax
The A.V. Club
asks readers What’s your cultural dealbreaker?
which they define as "cultural products that someone can profess to enjoy only while losing all of your respect."
His deluded music of the eternal present will sadly have little future.
writes an inflammatory screed
taking on the prolific composer Elliott Carter
What makes the music critics at Collapse Board
more interesting than the ones at Pitchfork or Rolling Stone or the AV Club? Well, for one thing, they have more fun: witness The Audacity of Barry Manilow
, or their take on Kimbra's "Vows"
, written as a response to the outrage they received after a negative Gotye review
. When they love something, they love it with relish – they think Micachu understands 2012 like no other musician
, argue that Nirvana was the biggest thing since the Beatles
, and think Lana Del Rey is more interesting than her lips. And when they dislike something, they make no qualms about disliking it – they rip into Titus Andronicus
something good, describe a Matt & Kim album as "an excellent litmus test for weeding out fluff-eating imbeciles
", and express more ambivalent opinions about My Bloody Valentine
and The Mountain Goats
. They also, predictably write frequent critiques of music criticism.
Julian Cope's "Album of the Month"
series brims with personal, passionate, and often mind-expanding writing about records like James Brown's The Payback
, Nico's The Marble Index
, and a bunch of stuff you've never heard of. (previously) [more inside]
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]
Jay-Z and Kanye West collaboration Watch the Throne
, as reviewed by Ghostface Killah
. Words: they are not minced.
and unashamedly pro-Goldsmith
, Christian Clemmensen has reviewed modern movie scores at Filmtracks
Greil Marcus writes Real Life Top Ten
for the Believer Magazine, in which he lists "anything that remotely has to do with music, a dress Bette Midler wore at an awards show or a great guitar solo in the middle of a song that otherwise wasn't very interesting." But he's been writing this column online
for just about 10 years. [more inside]
Dude, You Stole My Article
They say everyone's a critic, but in this case, the critic is everyone. Today in Slate, Jody Rosen uncovers what just might be "in purely statistical terms ... the greatest plagiarism scandal in the annals of American journalism".
Stolen from Zoilus
Stylus Magazine is closed
Home to some of the best writing about rockism
, and Rasputin
and The Stranger
Greatest hits/bluffer's guide here
one of the first rock criticism magazines, has made a comeback online, including some selected articles
by the magazine's founder, Paul Williams
. The SF Weekly
has mixed feelings about the magazine's return. (via largehearted boy
No language, just sound:
How writer Ned Raggett came to ignore the lyrics.
They Are Confabulators!! They Write About Music!! They Have Come From The Decemberists Board!! Ahhhh! It began on a message board
(reg. required). All the latest news about The Decemberists
, Sufjan Stevens
, and now, more! Their latest entry: A review
of Pitchfork's review
of Sufjan's Illinois
. That'll teach 'em.
The Shins Will Change Your Life
A collection of fawning music "criticism" updated a few times a week. No commentary from the author, just excerpts from reviews.
"It was hard on the ear, and my dog hated it too."
The Robot Rock Critic generates album reviews. "Type in an artist name. Pick from a list of ten music genres, from 'teenage pop' to 'frighteningly loud music.' Specify whether it's a band, a male solo artist, or a female solo artist. Then click 'review.'"
[via Easy Bay Express]
Music crticism in weblogs:
Chat rooms and vanity sites seem so mid-’90s in internet terms, but the future of music criticism is lurking deep in the blogosphere. An article from Toronto-based free magazine, Exclaim!
Dixie Chicks Pulled from Air After Bashing Bush
Dude, these Texas people didn't find criticism of the president unpatriotic when Bill Clinton was president. They thought it was a sacred duty...Apparently country stations in Texas and elsewhere are pulling Dixie Chicks albums because their lead singer, while on an overseas tour, criticized Bush, saying she was ashamed to be from the state as him.
People who want to criticize the critics of the critical comments are supporting the Chicks by buying their albums and requesting their songs.
I never thought I'd buy a Dixie Chicks album
, but that's what I'm going to do tonight, and I'm paying full price!
Fuck Hip Hop.
Title of a block-rockin' essay by dj, filmmaker and cultural activist Pierre Bennu.
I think the time has come to bid a farewell to the last black arts movement. It’s had a good run but it no longer serves the community that spawned it. Innovation has been replaced with mediocrity and originality replaced with recycled nostalgia for the ghost of hip hop past, leaving nothing to look forward to. Honestly when was the last time you heard something (mainstream) that made you want to run around in circles and write down every word. When was the last time you didn’t feel guilty nodding your head to a song that had a ‘hot beat’ after realizing the lyrical content made you cringe.
Tough questions, Pierre. And the whole piece is even tougher. Here's a few responses from Nettime.
Rock band Creed is not fond of free speech.
Creed was slammed on this site
recently and their actions toward this music critic in Cleveland doesn't help their cause. In this case, Creed seems to be doing a lot of "Do as I say, not as a I do" speak. I was at the Cleveland show Sunday night and I enjoyed the concert, but this story is disappointing.
The rock-critic "community"
Jack Saturn and Jack Saturn manqués, ahoy! A young fella runs an entire site, Popped
, dedicated to the art of rock criticism. And despite being from Toronto, he's not so prissy as to pretend he isn't a fan. Because those are the worst
rock critics. If rock even matters anymore.