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Posts Tagged ‘Pitchfork’

Lady Gaga and Agoraphobic Nosebleed together at last

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Well, not really, but I’m going to talk about both of them in one blog post, and that’s probably as close as they should ever get to each other. Mostly I just read two excellent pieces of music journalism and wanted to share excerpts.

In this New Yorker piece on Lady Gaga, the pop singer who, as the article points out, breaks the norm by being influenced more by European techno than American hip-hop:

Call it The Question of Endurance. You and your friends are talking about music, and the conversation turns to a popular band. You express support. A friend voices her opinion, maybe as favorable as yours, but appends a qualifier: “I like them, but will they be around in ten years?” You may feel compelled to defend whomever it is you’re talking about, covering the present moment and the future with your positive take. After trying this approach, though, you realize that pop music has no Constitution and doesn’t operate like a de-facto Supreme Court: precedent is not always established, and isn’t even necessary. Pop rarely accretes in a tidy, serial manner—it zigs, zags, eats itself, and falls over its shoelaces.

Even better is Cosmo Lee’s Pitchfork review of Agorapocalypse. This dude also writes for Decibel and runs the excellent Invisible Oranges blog, so he knows his metal. That said, I disagree with his review here, but it’s still a great piece of writing.

As plastic percussion flailed away below thrash and death metal riffs, the various vocalists of Agoraphobic Nosebleed extolled drugs, guns, and fucking. It was the sound of civilization’s decline, sold at Toys “R” Us with hazardous metal parts… This aesthetic culminated in 2003’s Altered States of America, which crammed 100 songs into 20 minutes. It was not an album so much as a temper tantrum.

He concludes that “Agorapocalypse is disappointingly listenable,” a sentiment I understand. I just think he’s off base.

Pitchfork & PopMatters on the new Decemberists

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Pitchfork reviews The Hazards of Love and gives it a lowly 5.7. In the summary blurb, the phrases “stoner metal sludge” and “prog-folk” are invoked. On the other hand, while PopMatters’ review starts with the ominous phrase “There have been signs that this was coming” and compares the album to GenesisLamb (usually a kiss of death in a mainstream publication these days), the review ends up being very positive indeed. All this makes me feel cautiously optimistic about how I might like this one. I haven’t bothered listening to the low-bitrate version that leaked a couple weeks ago, so I’m looking forward to hearing the release with fresh ears.

Also reviewed today at Pitchfork: Kylesa’s new one, Static Tensions. Kylesa are a hip sludgy metal group with at times very distinct Pink Floyd influences, two drummers, and a rotating cast of vocalists (though the chief screamer is guitarist Laura Pleasants, who rocks). Pitchfork gave it a good review, and I agree: this is a good ‘un.

New column by Dominique Leone @ Pitchfork

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Somehow I missed it when it first went up, but Dominique’s latest Out Music column at Pitchfork was posted a couple days ago. To my delight, he reviews Zs‘ new album and some other good stuff like the reissue of Soft Machine’s Third. I wish it were a longer article, but hey, how often do you see a link to NEARfest at Pitchfork?

Dominique Leone is still writing

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

If you, like me, have been wondering about Dominique Leone’s recent low profile over at Pitchfork, have no fear! He has a new monthly column, “Out Music,” the second edition of which was published yesterday. There’s good stuff in there, including reviews of reissues of News From Babel, Koenjihyakkei, and Faust, plus a gratuitous Art Bears reference thrown in for good measure. And if you missed last month’s column, check it out, too, as therein lies even more interesting weird-music coverage (and Dominique’s entertaining ramblings).

In other news, it looks like Masada is finally calling it a day, which is probably for the best as it might allow Zorn to focus on his other projects. Hopefully it will also mean his $500,000 Macarthur grant won’t go to issuing the 500th through 600th Masada live recordings. (I mean, I really like this band, but in terms of documentation, only King Crimson overdoes it more.)

The Mars Volta, soaked in piss

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Surprise, surprise: Pitchfork’s favorite punching bag, The Mars Volta, get an over-the-top bad review for their new album, Amputechture! The first sentence alone contains the phrases “piss-soaked indulgence” (piss-soaked? really) and “bombastic, mouth-foaming performances.” Pitchfork’s attitude towards this band borders on the comical, and I’m happy to see that the tradition continues in fine form.

I’m pretty excited to hear Amputechture myself, having heard that it’s a long way from the, uh, piss-soaked indulgence of last year’s crappy live album.

On a more positive note, this Sunday’s New York Times had a long article about Mastodon, another exciting modern band with a new album coming out. There’s lots of name-dropping of 70s prog bands and early metal groups.

And finally (links galore today), Dusted just published a feature-length article about the This Heat box, Out of Cold Storage, that I still need to get my hands on.

Sometimes Pitchfork sucks

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

Stupid Useless Gimmick Reviews, Exhibit A.

I really like this album, by the way (Simpatico by The Vandermark 5 for those of you not interested enough to follow the link). “STHLM,” dedicated to Mats Gustafsson, is one of my favorite pieces by this prolific group. A barn-burner.

Today’s review roundup

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

Three reviews of interest in the indie-rock Web press today. (For the interested, I scan five indie review sites each day: Pitchfork, Popmatters, Dusted, Stylus, and Splendid. All of these from time to time review more proggy or avant stuff, especially Dusted.) Dusted reviews the new Shining album, which I just ordered from Wayside; Splendid reviews the Blackfield album, and Pitchfork (Dominique Leone, to be specific) reviews Chris Cutler’s new one.

I particularly like the Blackfield review. I have not yet heard this album, but as it’s available at BMG, I might get it even though I’m not all that interested in the idea of another Steven Wilson project. Apparently, neither is the reviewer at Splendid, who says the album is “at best, an emo record with delusions of grandeur.” Ha! “It’s not that the songs are weak; they’re just sonically anonymous,” he says, which come to think of it would be a perfectly apt description for a lot of Porcupine Tree’s music that I’ve heard (though, I must say, Deadwing excepted).

Dominique’s review of Chris Cutler’s Twice Around the Earth manages to make it sound both extremely avant-garde and extremely interesting. I know my interest is piqued, at least. I find the concept of the album — taking field recordings that musicians around the world made of their everyday lives and synthesizing them into a whole — a recipe for disaster, but if Cutler actually pulled it off well, as Dominique seems to indicate, I’d be very interested to hear the results.

Pitchfork’s end-of-year extravaganza

Wednesday, December 17th, 2003

Pitchfork has started its mega-special, “The Year in Music 2003″. Lots and lots of lists, basically - but I like Pitchfork’s lists. Sometimes they try a little too hard to be witty, but it’s nice to be able to see the individual reviewers’ quirks of taste.

Having gone to more bars and clubs in the past week than I usually go to in a month, I can now safely say that the Most Overrated Hip-Hop Song Ever is Outkast’s “The Way You Move” (great opening, then just degenerates into a boring chorus over. and. over. again.), and the Most Overplayed Hip-Hop Song Ever (as well as the runner-up for the Most Overrated Hip-Hop Song Ever) is… Outkast’s “Hey Ya”. Ugh.

And by “ever”, I mean “in the past few months”.

Extreme metal at Pitchfork

Saturday, September 27th, 2003

Dude, Dominique just wrote a fairly glowing review of an Emperor album over at Pitchfork. Awesome!

Pitchfork is too cool for you

Monday, February 5th, 2001

On second thought, I will comment on the quote I posted here yesterday. Why would the reviewer praise Metallica’s music so much (”talent for writing incredible, theatrical pieces of music”, “best heavy metal in existence”) and then up and call then “bad”? Seems to me that he’s got the mentality of, well, since they’re so “unstylish”, they can’t be good even if I happen to like a couple of their pieces. Or even if they are among the best of their genre. I’m too cool to like those has-beens. I’m hipper than thou.

Man, fuck that.

On a completely unrelated note: here’s a nice Godspeed You Black Emperor! FAQ, courtesy of the gybe! mailing list.