Thursday, January 24, 2008

Writing About Music: AdAge Rips Pitchfork

I freaking love this article.

I've been thinking a lot about "the scene" and "hipsters" and "douchebags" lately. I guess the rapid growth of North Park...with all the new bars, remodeled bars, bars bought and sold, paired with swings in crime in the neighborhoods where I hang, the expectation that my writing be more critical and snarky, paired with my simultaneous excitement and disdain of the whole ASR thing has got me thinking about all the cooler than thou & hipper than thou attitudes.

Frankly, its fucking boring.

Talking shit about "Bros" infiltrating a scene, complaining about hipsters, a certain bar, a type of music, bands vs. djs, the punkboard trashing anyone and everyone, and Ken Leighton being the ass who lurks and publishes it all for the masses. Snooze fucking fest. I'm tired of haters hatin. As someone who feels equally comfortable at pretty much any place that can pour vodka, there's a simple solution for those of you who can't stand (insert stereotype/label here)- stay home. Those of us out to enjoy our fair city don't need your bad juju fucking up our vibe.

Anyway, here's my favorite quote from the aforementioned article:
My problem with Pitchfork boils down to this: Its contributors don't seem to
like music very much. Rather, they revel in the role of tastemaker, sternly
lecturing the audience as to why Band X is cooler/more worthy of an opening slot
on that super-awesome Band of Horses/Cass McCombs double bill than Band Y, and
why anyone who only recently happened upon "Neon Bible" (raising hand) is a
mainstream poser who totally doesn't get what Arcade Fire is all about, man.


Lazy John said...

Stay home is exactly what I do.

I accepted long ago that San Diego will never change, that it will always be a "pH 7" town and that it will never, ever become San Francisco, Austin, Portland or New York. If such mattered to me that much, I'd have moved to San Francisco, Austin, Portland or New York years ago. I live here because I love my job, because my wife's friends and family live here and, while SD may not be great, it's also not terrible. I'm no SD cheerleader, but I'm also no knee-jerk SD basher.

When I did go out and when I saw knuckleheads invading my "scene," I was usually able to avoid them because they went to my favorite bars on nights and/or at times when I did not and, when they were there while I was, I simply ignored them. They eventually did one of three things - a) went away; b) got with the program or c) drank on their side of the bar, didn't bother me, and paid the bar owners and bartenders money, which allowed me to enjoy my bar.

People have a right to bitch if they see something they consider cool being ruined. They also have an obligation to protect it if it's that important to them, and they should take action. They should do one of three things - a) boycott the bar; b) open their own bar; or c) move to a city where the scenes are more to their liking.

Einstein defined insanity as engaging in the same practices repeatedly while expecting different results. If you don't like what your favorite bar has become, simply whining about it while continuing to go to it does no good.

It will be interesting to see what happens now that the Beauty Bar is under new management and is now beginning to book Latino rockabilly shows. Will ex-BB patrons whine? Will they go to different bars? Will they not care? Will they actually come out and support rockabilly? Only time will tell.

Lazy John said...

I don't give two squirts of hershey about how popular a band becomes, how many records they sell, or how long ago someone discovered them. A record is either good or it isn't, and nothing else matters.

I call the aforementioned stupidity the Bauhaus Syndrome.

I was born in 1965. I worked at Licorice Pizza Records in Chula Vista from 1983-1986 (Bart Mendoza was my Assistant Manager), and I used to go to Stratus, etc. during the New Romantic period. People would have arguments about who'd been into Bauhaus longer (I never liked them and I still don't, so I'm exempt from this), and I found it laughable. Furthermore, these jerks' timetables were screwed up, because the original incarnation of Bauhaus existed only from 1979 to 1983, and people born in 1969 would assert that they'd been into Bauhaus since the start (I don't think Peter and the boys realized what a huge fan base of fourth graders they had back then).

I got into the Smiths in 1983, way before most of my friends and acquaintances did. Most of them claimed to hate the Smiths - until the release of "How Soon Is Now." I didn't turn my nose up at them or show any I-told-you-so smugness when people came around. I said "welcome aboard." I also didn't remind them that I'd played the Smiths for them two years prior and that they turned THEIR noses up at them.

I bought the first Clan of Xymox record when it was first released in early 1985. About six months later, some goth dork played them for me, believing I was hearing them for the first time. She said "don't tell anyone about this band, but if you do, make sure you tell them that it was me who turned you on to them." I smiled to myself and quickly left her house.

Franz Ferdinand may have sold millions of records. They're still a great band. REM's first five albums are rock classics. The Velvet Underground is still great.

My point? Such silliness is a part of the human condition. There will always be stupid and insecure people who derive self-worth from one-upping others. We should just tune them out and listen to the records instead.

Reelmandy said...

My favorite are the haters that whine and complain about things they not only claim to not care about, but have never been to/don't go to.

People bash the house parties all the time and with attendance over 300, we really arn't hurting for those out there that think parties are lame.

John makes a good point--it should only matter if something that you used to think was cool is turning into something you don't like.

Im sure there are plenty of events around town--particularly in the beach cities and downtown--that are not MY scene. I don't go and seek those people out and hate on them, which is what true haters tend to do.

When your life is busy and fulfilled and you are happy with your friends and your scene, there is just no time or reason to hate.

Viz said...

Regarding Pitchfork: I agree they are harsh with their reviews and shouldn't be taken too serious but lets face it Pitchfork really paved the way for Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, Clap you Hands, Sufjan Stevens, and many other bands. I'd rather look at their reviews over any music magazine which is riddled with the same old artists or flavors of the month. At least Pitchfork introduces people to new artists that are quality.