Tim Perlich's music blog
December 4, 2009 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Tim Perlich was the senior music writer for Toronto's NOW Magazine for 20 or so years. The two parted company for unexplained reasons earlier this year. For those who love or hate him (and there are plenty in both camps), he's now blogging about all things music at The Perlich Post.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Perlich was a terrible, terrible reviewer and I can't believe it took NOW so long to fire him. He wasn't respected by musicians or other writers, had a hipper-than-thou attitude towards virtually everything, was insufferable as a fan (bringing 30-odd records for artists to sign at interviews to increase the resale value of his albums and then slagging said artists (Sonic Youth in one case)) and was incredibly out of step with the times. Take a look at metacritic sometime and see album scores skewed time and time again by Perlich's insufferable need to slag everything that wasn't some obscure Ethiopian jazz-fusion experiment. He's a joke in Toronto and unknown everywhere else. It was well known that he would leave shows early then review them as if he had seen the entire performance. Now he's just another blogger...which is really all he ever was.
posted by antihostile at 8:41 AM on December 4, 2009

Ah, Tim Perlich...the music nerd Toronto loves to hate! I've never spoken to anyone who actually likes his writing or thinks he's a good critic*, but I'm still kind of surprised NOW finally gave him the heave-ho...it seemed like he was a Rosie DiManno-style love-him-or-(mostly)-hate-him eyeball attractor. There were usually two or three letters to the editor per issue complaining about how much he sucked, so people were at the very least paying attention to him.

* of current music, anyway. I have to admit he clued me in to some pretty good stuff via Perlich's Picks over the years, but then I'm into obscure Ethiopian jazz-fusion experiments and whatnot.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:51 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Er, yeah, what antihostile said. There's no love lost between Tim Perlich and Toronto musicians, at least in the circles I travel in. People love to tell stories of what a jerk he is. I'm hoping to hear some more here, in fact.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:53 AM on December 4, 2009

I thought the Ethiopian jazz-fusion was a joke, but then I loaded the site. Heh.
posted by DU at 8:55 AM on December 4, 2009

Apart from Belgian beer, Spanish wine and British police serials, there's nothing that Dutch vinyl junkie Marthy "Huiboki" Coumans enjoys more than a raunchy raw rock record from an unlikely locale, preferably dating from the mid to late 60s. After all, he is the brains behind the killer comps Steam Kodok, Turkish Delights, Biet-Het, Mind Expanders and The Best of the Hungarian Rock Scene 1965-1971. So when a couple of shockingly good beat and garage singles from Lebanon and Algeria led to finds of more twisted psych from Egypt and Iran, the bad boy of Breda soon had more than enough Arabic teen craziness for another awesome Grey Past label concept collection which he put out as the Waking Up Scheherazade LP, on splatter vinyl of course.

Is this parody?

"Hi, I'm totally irrelevant! Perhaps you'd like to listen to me talk for hours on end?"
posted by Theta States at 9:37 AM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

"Hi, I'm totally irrelevant! Perhaps you'd like to listen to me talk for hours on end?"

OK, maybe that was a bit harsh, but I can definitely see why he'd be fired from a popular newspaper/magazine.
posted by Theta States at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2009

I can definitely see why he'd be fired from a popular newspaper/magazine

Fair enough. But this doesn't explain why he was fired from NOW.
posted by gompa at 9:45 AM on December 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I know a lot of people hate him but I like him for the reasons they hate him. I like that he writes about hard to find and little-known music. I don't need another person telling me I MUST hear the Them Crooked Vultures CD or whatever the trend of the day is. IMO, there are not enough people reviewing things on labels like Soundway, Numero Group, Sub Rosa, Mississippi Records, Important Records, Type, SMTG Ltd, Miasmah, etc.

That's not to say he only writes about obscure music. I remember him praising Akon, fer chrissakes.

Like The Card Cheat says, Perlich has turned me on to some amazing stuff over the years. I hope this new blog lets him focus on what he really should have been doing all those years. I've known, personally, other writers at Now and I know their editorial board wears blinders far more often than they're known for. One of the reasons I bet their revenue is down is that they've become more and more mainstream over the years.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:05 AM on December 4, 2009

One of the reasons I bet their revenue is down is that they've become more and more mainstream over the years.

Hmm, yes. That might have something to do with it, if by mainstream you mean 20 years out of date. One of the other reasons, though, is that with the exception of Adria Vasil's excellent Ecoholic column, the last new idea to find its way onto the pages of NOW was when they took a strong stand against apartheid.

I mean, I lived in Toronto from '96 to '03, during which time I was either in journalism school or in the offices of left-leaning media outlets, and I never met a single person whose worldview was accurately represented in the pages of NOW. And today even moreso. It's like a Queen West Ca. 1985 time capsule. To this day, if you fold in the concert listings page, Mad Magazine-style, it forms a silhouette of Jane Siberry's face.
posted by gompa at 10:19 AM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

> ...on splatter vinyl of course.

Yeah, there's no getting around it; that's some gawdawful prose. I'm probably at least a mid-level record geek, but I had to do a Google image search to confirm what "splatter vinyl" is.

One imagines the "of course" delivered in the same tone of voice as a wine fanatic discussing how you never serve red wine with fish, pinky finger extended as they sip their 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam. However, the vinyl obsessive's equivalent would be mewling like Gollum about the difference between Very Good and Very Good Plus as you gently brush the dust off the obscure northern soul 45 you bought on eBay and just opened in your windowless basement apartment.

As much as I appreciate his diligence (if nothing else, I owe him a debt of gratitude for turning me on to Numero Group), guys like Perlich serve as cautionary examples for guys like me.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:29 AM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

YSSTOG: As a music snob myself, I appreciate learning about the more obscure artists out there in the most obscure genres. However, there came a point where I could guess Perlich's N rankings pretty accurately based solely on the reputation of the artist:

Big player of the indie generation releasing a new album after its last masterpiece: 1-2 N's
Mid level indie player who doesn't make many blogs: 3 N's
Very hyped new artist: 2 to 3 N's
Something totally contrarian like a new Vanilla Ice record or Black Eyed Peas: Usually 4 N's
Johnny Crap and the Unknown Crap Brothers: 4 N's (5 N's if from outside North America or Europe (Eastern Europe is likely OK)

Using this scale, I was generally right about 80% of the time based on artist name, album title and cover art alone.
posted by evadery at 10:33 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

evadery, yeah, but I find you can apply that scale to any publication about music: pitchfork, tiny mix tapes, paste, stop smiling, eye, you name it. For music geeks, all publications' "reviews" or scoring systems are pointless. The only reason you really turn to any publication is to find out what's available. You'll make up your own mind when you hear it and these days it's easier and easier to hear stuff... as long as you know what you're looking for and that, to me, has always been Perlich's best use.

And The Card Cheat, have you seen Numero Group's latest: Light On the South Side. Fanfuckingtastic! Perlich mentions it on one of those pages. The book is glorious. Beautiful!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:47 AM on December 4, 2009


Numero's awesome. Their releases are pretty much the only CDs I still buy; the liner notes and photos are almost worth the cost by themselves.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:25 AM on December 4, 2009

As I complained to admins, this post boils down to “widely-despised rock critic from a publication in a city you probably don’t live in now has a blog.” Not best of Web.
posted by joeclark at 2:37 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best of the web? This is Metafilter. It hasn't been the best of the web in some time.

Further, if you already complained to the mods, what are you posting about it here for? Gonna email me your opinion, too? Run along now, Joe, before I call SWAT on you.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 3:39 PM on December 4, 2009

NOW is such a strange magazine, to the point where you could mistake it for a joke. If you found it lying around, you would be like, 'oh, this right-wing satire of left-wing media is surprisingly subtle.'

It's hard for people outside of Toronto to imagine the degree of left-wing histrionics the paper works itself up to on every page --- over nothing! --- and it's even harder to imagine who the paper is even targeted at. Aging hippies who are perpetually outraged over the conditions of Toronto bike lanes? Okay! This is your magazine! And absolutely nobody else! Do you want to buy a $300 sweater for your dog but are worried about the environmental impact? No? Well the author of this article is, and he is FURIOUS.

That is basically NOW magazine, plus the music section, which is more or less TONNES and TONNES of alt-country reviews plus whatever Tim Perlich was trying to impress you with that week. Oh, and every music piece utterly, utterly out of step with the times.

So yeah: not surprised to see it's losing readership. A little surprised to see it still around.

P.S. Toronto: are people still listening to alt-country? What is going on here? It was getting old and clicheed when I left the city and that was years ago. Come on guys, let's at least TRY to be a little more with it.
posted by Tiresias at 8:10 PM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ah, NOW's music coverage: Random Bile, with a garnish of Spleen for emerging local artists.

(Historically the case, but they seem to have improved somewhat in the last few years).

I recall their concert reviews of shows I had attended. What they printed and what I had seen with my own eyes usually had virtually no relation to each other.
posted by ovvl at 9:21 AM on December 5, 2009

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