Long live rock, I need it every night

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Times, They Are A-Becoming-Different-From-Before

Reading Dan's show review of the Fake Accents show got me to thinking. It seems there is, in fact, a Rock Club show review template, which basically consists of writing about whatever you feel like writing about, and then somehow shoehorning in a sentence or two that actually pertains to the music you heard and the band you saw.

So what to do? The shortcomings of our collective reviewing M.O. really hit home for me after reading some real journalism at some real websites. Let's do a little compare-and-contrast between what I call "real writing"--writing that's intellectual, probing, thought-provoking, and has a high number of three-syllable-or-more words.

To wit, on August 28, Pitchfork ran an article on Sleater-Kinney's last show, while DCist.com posted a review of Middle Distance Runner's new album, Plane in Flames. Now, devoted readers of the Rock Club site (all four of us) know that we reviewed both of these bands. But, like witnesses of a car accident, different people have different takes:


Pitchfork: "Every Sleater-Kinney fan has a personal-inspiration/awakening story: the time Sleater-Kinney had a direct effect on her or his life. The first time they heard a band singing about feminism. The first time they saw an all-female rock band writing their own songs. The band that spurred their move to Portland. All the stories are important, they ripple out, and fans at their final show were eager to contemplate it. Nicole Georges, a beehived zine queen, remembered driving to see them in Lawrence, Kansas at age 16, only to discover the show was 18 and over."

DC Rock Club: "Sleater-Kinney absolutely rocked out. The core of the group is the drummer. We knew we were in for a drum clinic, when a roadie placed a binder containing about 20 drumsticks behind the drum set. And these weren't chicken drumsticks, although she's a healthy-looking girl and would appreciate some KFC during the show."

Pitchfork: "In 2000, the culture which nurtured Sleater-Kinney had shifted. The woman-positive/woman-populated landscape of both independent and popular rock music was now comparably bereft of female voices. Riot grrrl was dead; even the Spice Girls had broken up. Bill Clinton was soon to be out of office, and the Supreme Court had appointed the woman's rights-hostile Bush II....One Beat, Sleater-Kinney's broadest work, was a stunning look into the cycle of life and death. It reflected the preternatural joy and mystery of childbirth-- Corin Tucker had just given birth to Marshall Tucker Bangs, her child with filmmaker Lance Bangs-- and the primordial fear, rage and sorrow of 9/11 and the quagmire that followed."

DC Rock Club: "Seriously, I haven't heard drumming like this since Animal on The Muppet Show. I enjoyed watching her tits shake while she went off. As you can see from the picture, she's built, and I'm sure if we mated she would give me many fine sons, who when grown to adult-size could fell many acres of timber and plow my lands. The reality is, she'd probably throw me down and have go at me with the strap-on."

Middle Distance Runner

DCist: "There’s a continuing transition from softer melancholic moments to faster paced guitar driven melodies. It may take a few listens to get used to, but it ultimately works well, creating a style and identity all the band's own. Where other new artists have failed, MDR has succeeded in developing a uniquely diverse collection of songs, which rather than classify them as amateurish and unfocused, exhibit a local talent that has emerged from the rest of the pack."

DC Rock Club: "...MDR came out flaccid. If they were a sports team, the coach would have had to call timeout after the first ten minutes and make the band huddle up so he could yell at them."

DCist: " 'Naturally' has a solid hook that leads the listener in with its addicting, cleverly written pessimistic lyrics and rhythmic hand clapping. Surprisingly, the rest of the album veers away from the direction of this pop sound, with more experimental tracks like 'Out of Here' and 'The Madness' that demonstrate their (frequently mentioned) Radiohead influence, especially in the Thom Yorke-ish vocals."

DC Rock Club: "MDR is more likely the CD you'll listen to when you're in your house, or car, or S&M basement dungeon. You know, atmosphere music. However, I was not in my house/car/dungeon, so MDR fell a little flat, in my opinion. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I ain't got it anymore. Don't know, really. They kind of had an ersatz Radiohead thing going, except it was the Radiohead where Thom Yorke goes "eeeehhhunnnhhhhoheeeh" into the mic while the band noodles in the background, not the Radiohead from The Bends, with the, you know, things I like to refer to as 'songs'."


Sadly, one can only conclude that we here at DC Rock Club just don't get it. With our drug-addled, sex-obsessed, jumbo slice-craving, piss-taking, refusal-take-anything-seriously attitude, we have crossed the line from humor to mere throwaway claptrap. Our reviews are useless. All our work is for naught.

Ask yourself: in the year 2525, if mankind is still alive, will the writings of Rock Club live on, or will the societies of the future invent some way to digitally wipe their asses with our musings? Hmmmm?

I, for one, pledge to take everyone, and everything, more seriously from now on. Starting after the Art Brut show. Goddammit, I'm serious.

1 comment:

Jumbo Slice said...

The juxtaposition of our reviews next to so-called "professional" reviews make it clear to me that our style is vastly superior.* I have every confidence we will be the standard bearer of rock journalism within the next 12 to 18 months. Rock reviews are crying out for references to strap-ons, Henry Clay, and Bryan Ferry's mustache. We're just the ones to take that crying baby, coddle it, and then raise it, only for it to ultimately resent us. Cycle of life, my friend.

* except for intellect, insight, and overall quality