Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pitchfork doesn't get it

So, I have been listening to some "b-listers" recently. Bands that I know aren't making great Art, but that aren't straight mainstream fluff, either. So, as part of that, I read the reviews, and it strikes me just how opposite I am from one of the biggies- Pitchfork. If they rank it a 2, I'll rank it a 7, if they rank it a 7, I'll rank it a 3. I tend to be much more positive on music, in general, than they ever are. I think that might be because I have worked in the actual business of music in America. I'm not talking about the artistic side, either. I mean the straight job end of the business, and all innuendos should remain intact. I've done stuff like advertising sales, and final mixing, and editing video, and live sound, and promotions, and so on and so on- all the loathsome stuff to the high-minded aesthetes.It has given me both a cynicism that ties in nicely with my punk rock roots- I have no heroes. Wanna know why? Well it's because of things like having to set up a late night last minute stretch limo to pick up a bass player for a certain rock band noted for being heroes to many alternative types, a band noted for charity and high-minded aesthetics, from his private yacht, and then, having to work with local authorities to get this spoiled brat a police escort for his late night limo hijinks, so that no punters show up in any inopportune papparazi shots that may or may not occur. I'm sorry, but having to kiss that guys' ass more than ruins any notions of Art or beauty. But, on the other end, I can really appreciate the compromises, and the sacrifices made by one of the many little bands around, and so I'll be much more kind to them than some pompous, yet ignorant blogger at Pitchfork is likely to be. They don't understand that if you're a band playing at 700-1000 seat gigs, with a couple of records out on major label subsidiaries, or larger indie labels, this isn't just about Art, anymore. It's a job. You're trying your damnedest to make enough cash that you can fit a little Art into your resume.
So, which bands am I talking about, explicitly? Four of them, and they all fit in together- I'm talking about Glasvegas, White Lies, Blonde Redhead, and the Foals.
Now, my individual reviews of each would not actually matter, and I'm not planning on reviewing any of them. They're all fairly mediocre, but enjoyable somewhat dreamy, somewhat echo-ey takes on synth-alt hybrids with heavy nods to the kinds of 1980's bands that would've been played on 120 minutes. My point is more or less that such bands might just have a bit of nostalgia for things like 120 minutes because it was the kind of promotional tool that just doesn't happen all that often. These are bands just trying to get by on concert and album sales because they're just big enough sellers that if everything goes right, they won't have to work day jobs. As a guy who never had a silver spoon, and is getting by ok, now, and is a bit of a pinko, I can totally appreciate that, even if the music is only OK.

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