Pitchfork/Chicago get big nod from NY

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(Mul)Doomstone
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Post by (Mul)Doomstone » Mon Nov 29, 2004 2:45 pm

Add me to the growing list of "They stink ... and I visit everyday!" responses.

I check their news (mostly to see if any tour dates include my fair city of Richmond, VA – I usually strike out on that count), and I check out the reviews – mainly just skimming the titles and scores, seeing if there’s anything I’ve been interested in checking out, or stuff I’ve already checked out and whether I agree or disagree with the score (and of course, recording the scores into my OFFICIAL “Indie-Rock Scoreboard” – available at all Rite-Aid’s!). If there’s a new feature or interview I’m interested in, I’ll check that out.

But it’s rare that I’ll actually take the time to slog my way through a complete review – that’s more often than not a tough road to hoe. I’m up for nice, long pieces exploring music (the Washington, D.C. City Paper regularly runs 1500 word record reviews and they’re often very good) … but so much of it seems meandering, pointless, ponderous pontificating. Ugh.

Their recent review of Richard Buckner’s “Dents and Shells” was an exception to this rule. But I think those are rare.

All that being said, I think their “picks” are usually pretty right on. Their best of the year lists are usually just that – truly the best records of the year. And they’ve definitely turned my ears toward bands I otherwise may not have heard (or may not have heard until much later).

I also enjoy that it’s free.

(M)DS

dieblucasdie
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Post by dieblucasdie » Mon Nov 29, 2004 3:25 pm

Coopstar wrote:Does anyone remember that Beastie Boys review a few months back that got them in alot of hot water?
Yeah, a fitting send-off for Brent DiCrescenzo. Douchebag.

I'm of the persuasion that a large degree of Pitchfork's success comes from the fact that they post new album reviews daily and started doing so at a time when indie rock webzines were new, struggling, and sporadic.

andy_t
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Pitchfork

Post by andy_t » Mon Nov 29, 2004 3:59 pm

I would say they do have an influence on buying habits, for example; take the Dungen album that came out a few months back, they gave it a rave review and put it on their best new music list. I went to insound around this time and to my surprise here was the Dungen album in insounds top 20 or whatever. I agree it is a very good album and would have probably never come acrossed it without them. Would anybody else agree with this?

steve-o
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Post by steve-o » Mon Nov 29, 2004 3:59 pm

What happened with the Beastie Boys thing? I must have missed that one.

The reviews that piss me off the most are the ones that aren't actually written as reviews, but just some rambling indie-snob jumble (see the Transatlanticism review). I mean come on guys, if you're going to knock a good album, at least back it up with a goddamn explanation.

Overall, I think the Pitchfork media guys are a good music reference as long as you are supplementing it with something else. And I get the feeling if I actually had to deal with any of those guys personally, they would wearing my drink by the end of the conversation.

Barabajagal
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Post by Barabajagal » Mon Nov 29, 2004 4:15 pm

I never had anything against Pitchfork, but I realized a few months ago that I was no longer reading through any of the reviews. This was puzzling to me as I generally like when records are heavily pored over. A lot of thought goes into many records only to have such efforts summarily dismissed by some clown who listens to it twice. So I appreciate the sometimes needless mental gymnastics, if only for the effort. Still, it's too exhausting to read those things most times.

I do think they're pretty good arbiters of what's worth my time, though I'm very thankful for the friends that bought the Dungen and Arcade Fire records which are very good, really worthwhile records, but not mindblowingly awesome records (so many of those Arcade Fire songs sound the same, and furthermore sound like Joy Division if Joy Division miraculously turned into a good band--or Echo and the Bunnymen doing Bowie's 'Heroes'). I'm glad I heard them, but also glad I didn't buy them.

Jake
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Post by Jake » Mon Nov 29, 2004 5:06 pm

steve-o wrote:What happened with the Beastie Boys thing? I must have missed that one.
Pitchfork Retraction.

Kristy
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Post by Kristy » Mon Nov 29, 2004 5:30 pm

I look at Pitchfork occasionally, just to see what they say about an artist I like. I don't think the writing's that bad (but maybe I haven't read enough of it.) Amanda Petrusich (sp) had an interesting review of From a Basement on a Hill. She was full of some strange bitterness about the whole Elliott Smith situation and oeuvre, but I didn't find the review uninteresting on that account. Just kind of weird. But maybe that review is exactly what some of you're talking about -- that snotty attitude.

But I think the Pitchfork guy's point was right that print reviews are mostly too bland and superficial. The standard Rolling Stone 3-star review is a case in point, but there are other examples. The Web is where you go to read a really impassioned viewpoint. I think print is hobbled by its old-fashioned pretense of objectivity.

creepy
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Post by creepy » Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:51 pm

i'll admit to checking out pitchfork pretty much daily... i think they do a good job there for the most part... but there are those times when i want to smack one of these english majors' across the room... jeezuz christ! some of these wanks seem to be laboring under the impression that they're the samuel becketts of rock critisism... i can't tell you how many times i've spent 10 minutes trying to wade thru prose denser than lead, only to get to the end of the review and have no idea whether or not they liked it... i really give less than a shit whether or not a crit. likes the same stuff i do... but i at least would like to maybe half understand what the hell he/she's been going on about... and another thing, i fully endorse the 10 point rating scale, the typical "5 star" model is way obsolete, but the decimal points are just fucking snotty...

anothermonkey
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Post by anothermonkey » Wed Dec 01, 2004 6:44 pm

(Mul)Doomstone wrote:All that being said, I think their “picks” are usually pretty right on. Their best of the year lists are usually just that – truly the best records of the year. And they’ve definitely turned my ears toward bands I otherwise may not have heard (or may not have heard until much later).

I also enjoy that it’s free.

(M)DS
Not always...The Rapture album they chose as album of the year a while back was a huge disappointment. I'm very, very glad I only paid $7.99 for it. Nothing memorable or all that original on it.

dieblucasdie
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Post by dieblucasdie » Wed Dec 01, 2004 7:46 pm

Yeah, Echoes and Turn on the Bright Lights are good albums, but no where near the #1 albums of their respective years.

Pitchfork, like many websites, bases its end-of-the-year list on voting from the writers. This system favors good, but inoffensive albums with wide appeal. There probably weren't many #1 votes for Interpol or The Rapture, but there were probably a lot of top 5 votes.

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