November 21, 2006

Pitchfork Slams...

I have been reading Pitchfork recently at work and I wanted to collect some of the awesome dissing power. Having linked these things does not mean I agree... although I do sometimes.... it just means that after initially reading what I have pasted below I responded with a vocal sound much like this: oooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhwww

What's most difficult of all to look past is that Black Holes was created in all earnestness by three dudes in Hot Topic shirts advancing a vision of rock music that operates on three fundamental assumptions: 1) distortion is always better than no distortion; 2) every measure of music should contain at least one drum fill; and 3) the future will be dominated by robots. Muse leave no room for compromise on these points. So for peace of mind, call them retro, because they can't reasonably consider such a vision inventive or resonant in 2K6. Can they?

Ben Kweller
Any ex-Partridge Family member will tell you the main challenge being a teen musician rests on those make-or-break years between teenhood and adulthood-- that 18-24ish range where you ideally produce something profound, a rite of passage signifying the end of Weezer ripoffs and un-ironic lyrics about ice cream. For Ben Kweller, the clock's ticking. He's no 21st century Leif Garrett by any stretch of the imagination, but Kweller, like fellow former teen rocker Daniel John of Silverchair, appears uncertain of his next step after a short-lived grunge backwash band. Although his latest self-titled offering expresses a desire to sound adult, he overshoots the mark, creating an album of innocuous, world-wearied alt-pop that lacks the fun or energy to stay up past eleven.

Wait, people actually care about lyrics? Without them we couldn't have the same powerful, personal connections with people who make songs? Okay, fine. Words are important. But screams are better. That's something Cursive frontman Tim Kasher seemed to understand a decade ago, when he ripped out his heart, sewed it on his sleeve, and called it Such Blinding Stars for the Starving Eyes. But around Y2K, a funny thing happened-- he seemed to decide he'd rather his lyrics be understood than his voice be heard.

He's grown up, alright. With the energy Jay brings to most of these tracks, you'd think 30 was the new 60. His patented whispery change-up is used more than ever before, and often makes him sound like Dr. Moreau-era Marlon Brando when all we needed was a little Apocalypse Now. We didn't expect the young, brash Jigga, but we never thought Jay would be flashing AARP brochures in our faces and dropping Gwyneth Paltrow's name in a rap song. Twice he addresses his recent heavily publicized boycott of Cristal champagne which even he acknowledges is unimportant. But that's Kingdom Come: Jay boringly rapping about boring stuff and being totally comfortable with it

and Finally....

The Mars Volta
None of this is surprsing: It's the Mars Volta's third proper album and a blizzard of onanism is expected-- to quite a few people, it'll be highly anticipated. Hell, it even had me interested: This is ex-At the Drive In bassist Paul Hinojos' first studio stint with the band after he started touring with them in 2005. Maybe he'd turn back the clock and force his comrades to look in the mirror and see how far they've strayed off course? Sadly not. Which reminds me: Bixler-Zavala and Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens guest on Mastodon's new Blood Mountain album. Maybe they'll brainwash Atlanta's finest metal band into this kinda bullshit so the world can celebrate the crushing loss of two great bands together.

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