The Mailbox Bomber's band sucks
May 9, 2002 5:37 PM   Subscribe

The Mailbox Bomber's band sucks, according to Pitchfork Media, one of the most intellectual and pretentious music review sites on the web. "Can you feel the pain?" Helder implores on "Back and Black," a passable stab at Incesticide-era Nirvana, albeit with horrendous lyrics and a gratuitous punk-rock stomp at the coda. "Stop the game!" Helder winces, as though squeezing out a fat one, and we really can feel the pain. Related issue: the band's webpage (also discussed here) has been taken by Angelfire down for "violation of terms of service." Still, Google's cache of the page reveals nothing objectionable. Is Angelfire right to take down the webpage of a nationally known criminal (the first time I can think of that the issue has arisen)? Or do their Terms of Service really have a "no domestic terrorism" clause?
posted by tweebiscuit (28 comments total)
By the way, here's Luke own page which is referenced in the Pitchfork review. What a moron.

And just for the record -- I really love Pitchfork. I mean, they don't get Belle & Sebastian, but they write a damn good IDM review...
posted by tweebiscuit at 5:46 PM on May 9, 2002

Umm...Anglefire doesn't need a "domestic terrorism" clause. They pretty much can do what they want, and for good reason - you get what you pay for. Or in this case, you don't get what you don't pay for.

This kid's choice of "domestic terrorism" is right in line with his choice of ISP.

From the Angelfire (Lycos) TOS

You acknowledge and agree that the Lycos Network and its designees shall have the right (but not the obligation), in their sole discretion, to refuse to publish, remove, or block access to any Content that is available via the Products and Services at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all, with or without notice.
posted by lampshade at 5:54 PM on May 9, 2002

Is it just me or is all this mp3 nonsense the same as those women who want to marry serial killers? Anything to be associated with the infamous celeb of the hour.
posted by skallas at 5:59 PM on May 9, 2002

After perousing Pitchfork, I can conlude that these guys are far too smug and arrogant to be telling anyone what to listen to.
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:05 PM on May 9, 2002

Rock critics are supposed to be smug and arrogant, Messiah. Hilarious review. I hope the whole CD makes it to the file-sharing services.
posted by rcade at 6:11 PM on May 9, 2002

skallas -- are you referring to the band itself or to the articles about it? Pitchfork doesn't really care about the news -- this is the first current events-related story I've ever seen them publish -- I think they just saw an opportunity for a funny story.

And Dark Messiah -- yeah, they're smug and arrogant, but all critics are supposed to be. Even if you believe (as I do) that what's important in music (and art in general) is almost wholly subjective, that doesn't mean that there's no value in criticism. I don't like reading Pitchfork's negative reviews (and they give a lot of them), because often they end up lowering my estimation of a band I genuinely love (see the B&S review linked to above), but I definitely value their evaluations of, for instance, the innovativeness of various artists. Plus, their reviews come the closest to giving my kind of music ("indie-rock," IDM, etc.) the kind of intellectual credibility I feel it deserves, simply because a lot of their reviews include some incredibly intelligent analysis. Compared to the everything-gets-a-three style of Rolling Stone, I appreciate their asshole-rock-snob attitude.
posted by tweebiscuit at 6:19 PM on May 9, 2002

There's smug and arrogant, and then there's this. (Avoid reading that link unless you absolutely must.) Pitchfork is in a class all of its own, thank goodness.

And before you ask, I don't believe that said review was ironic, either.

A wizard's cap, indeed.

(That being said, I thought the Mailbox Bomber newsclip was pretty funny.)
posted by one.louder.ash! at 6:21 PM on May 9, 2002

Oh, come on, don't knock Pitchfork! It is great criticism. Back in its heydey Rolling Stone was just about as pretentious as Pitchfork is now -- and Pitchfork is the only place a lot of great records get reviewed (along with the equally excellent Brainwashed).
posted by josh at 6:41 PM on May 9, 2002

Pitchforkmedia's good, in part because of sheer quantity.

If we're talking about indie/IDM reviews, it's important to remember Splendid. Less well-known, but updated daily, and with more reviews than Pitchfork. The writing's generally a little poorer, but it's also a hell of a lot less smug. They also review everything they're sent, so it's an interesting insight into the state of really indie music right now.
posted by Marquis at 7:41 PM on May 9, 2002

<OT>I have a love/hate relationship with Pitchfork, but they are one of the few places with reviews I trust these days. Pitchfork trumps corporate crap like Rolling Stone and Spin. I can't relate to any of the reviewers for RS and haven't been able to for years. Like Robert Hilburn of the LA Times, they are all well past their clubbing years and looking at music with a jaded and very mainstream directed eye.

At least I can identify with the critics at Pitchfork. I drink and hang out with guys like them. Of course they're pretentious bastards about music, but at least I know where they're coming from and know why they'd dump on a band I like. Hell, I agree with all the reasons they can't stand The Get Up Kids and Jets to Brazil, but I love those bands all the same. I know what I'm getting with them and know that when they give an album a 10 (Modest Mouse, Radiohead, And you will know us by our trail of dead...) that they really mean it and I should perk up and listen. Mainstream critics give high ratings to crap like Jimmy Eat World's new cd and Linkin Park that seem based totally on record company hype.</OT>
posted by eyeballkid at 7:49 PM on May 9, 2002

...Helder's surprisingly able guitar solo.
this i have to hear.
posted by quonsar at 8:07 PM on May 9, 2002

Angelfire probably yanked the page because is was over its allowable bandwidth limit.
posted by khisel at 8:13 PM on May 9, 2002

I had not heard of Pitchfork Media until just now. However any site that gives an 8.0 Rating to Roky Erickson is my kinda place. Perceptively written review too. Thanx for the link, guys.
posted by jonmc at 8:20 PM on May 9, 2002

Pitchfork rocks. If you're looking for IDM reviews though, another good place to check is absorb.
posted by atom128 at 8:41 PM on May 9, 2002

If you're looking for electronic and/or indie reviews (and/or subgenres of each), I (warning: self link) write some reviews as well. I try not to be too pretentious, though, and I'll be the first one to admit that I suck.
posted by almostcool at 9:28 PM on May 9, 2002

Hey, we're obviously all amateur record reviewers. Amazing how this thread turned into a pro- and anti- Pitchfork discussion, though... 'course, the editors are probably savvy enough to know that Metafilter's opinion, while hefty, is crap.

And yes, the best thing about Pitchfork is that when they give a 10, they fuckin' mean it. Hell, anything above an 8.5 is "one of the reviewer's top five albums of the year." They don't kid around, and their reviews mean something.
posted by tweebiscuit at 10:46 PM on May 9, 2002

I'm thinking they would have liked it more if he'd done more damage or died somehow. Bin Laden's rock band would probably do well.

Oh and you can get the songs off of The Smoking Gun here along with lots of other information.
posted by frenetic at 5:10 AM on May 10, 2002

hey- almostcool is almostcool. cool.
posted by kahboom at 5:54 AM on May 10, 2002

Their songs are still available from their mp3 website (which is still up), and it seems that Last Minute Records which was reported as their label is distancing themselves from Helder. I wonder if all this publicity is gonna help them or hurt them?
posted by mikhail at 6:38 AM on May 10, 2002

The guitar stuff on "Back in Black" isn't bad Nirvana. If Luke hadn't gone on his vacation from sanity, I could've seen a future for him with Puddle of Mudd.
posted by rcade at 9:07 AM on May 10, 2002

Correction: "Black and Back."
posted by rcade at 9:08 AM on May 10, 2002

Pitchfork may be pretentious, but I'm not sure if its intellectual...but these people like to discuss that fact every day...Who watches the critics critic?...or something.
posted by schlomo at 10:17 AM on May 10, 2002

With better production (especially more vocal takes), Apathy could have easily passed for all the nu-metal currently raking in the big bucks.

I'm trying to remember which Nirvana riff that is in Black and Back without getting out any albums. I'm failing.
posted by frenetic at 11:18 AM on May 10, 2002

Woo, first guess! It's very, very similar to the riff in 'Aneurysm' off of Incesticide.
posted by frenetic at 11:21 AM on May 10, 2002

because tony pellum rocks slowcore, is a great reviewer and has awesome epinions, i'd just like to plug culturedose.

oh, and anewnoise! and if you haven't heard it yet, budonkadonk :)
posted by kliuless at 11:39 AM on May 10, 2002

Critics don't have to be assholes. I try to think I'm not, when I review records. I've also found a whole slew of sites that review music without sounding like they're "too cool for the room".
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:01 PM on May 10, 2002

I live in a cave and had never scoped out Pitchfork before reading the metafilter link, so this is just a first impression, but, jeez, what a bunch of bloated fucks. The "Kid A" review was unintentionally hilarious, there's a real dearth of punk rock reviews (I guess it's beneath them), and I just can't shake the feeling that behind this website is a guy in a black turtleneck smoking stinky French cigarettes and combing through indie catalogs so he can be the first in town to buy the new Death Cab for Cutie T-shirt. Must check back to see what they think of Palace Bros......a positive review will confirm all my suspicions. I do like the harsh rating system, though. But giving the new Wilco record a 10.0 strains credulity. And I thought they were about INDIE music...or does selling Warner Bros the same record twice make one indie these days?

Oh. And it's ironic that you'd name your band Apathy and then run around planting mail bombs.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:37 AM on May 14, 2002

Hah. 10.0 to the Bonnie "Prince" Billy "I See A Darkness" shite. I suspected as much. So let's see. If:

a) No one else has ever heard of the band.
b) It's really, really hard/painful to listen to.
c) It confuses obscurantism with profundity.... must be good.

And it helps if it features musicians from equally obscure bands. (All props to Slint, however...)

I'm gonna go listen to Slipknot and drink a can of Budweiser to restore my equilibrium. Then I'm gonna go out and beat up some record-store clerks.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:47 AM on May 14, 2002

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