Friday, October 19, 2007

Dear flabby


i sent a letter to Pitchfork today. this might seem like a trifling point, but it's been bothering me for a while. the context is that there's a review of the new Nels Cline Singers disc on the site today. or should i say "recent" Nels Cline Singers disc--it came out in ***late June***. i brought up a similar point a while back when they reviewed the latest USA Is a Monster disc three months late. it might seem stupid, but i find it disrespectful, as if they were using these esoteric records as arbitrary and haphazard seasoning in the indie-rock stew. hopefully the Animal Collective analogy i use in the letter makes the point more clear. i'm not faulting the writer--the review is reasonably well-argued and astute. i just take issue with the editorial ethos behind it.

anyway, here's what i sent:

Dear Pitchfork,

As an avid jazz listener, I appreciate the fact that this genre is not really within the scope of what Pitchfork regularly covers. But it frustrates me when you run jazz reviews many months after a record's release date--it shows a blase attitude toward the style and makes it difficult to view this coverage as anything other than tokenistic. In the jazz world, a new Nels Cline Singers CD is at least as important as, say, a new Animal Collective CD is in the indie-rock world. Whether one agrees with your assessment of "Strawberry Jam" or not, the fact that that review ran on the day of the album release is at the very least a statement that you are engaged in a serious way with your subject matter. The average Pitchfork reader probably has no idea that you're reviewing the new Nels Cline CD four months after its release, well after the jazz community (not to mention many mainstream outlets such as "The New York Times") has already has its say. But if you want to engage with the wider music community outside the indie-rock bubble--as opposed to just throwing the odd bone to an esoteric record--you've got keep your coverage in those areas fresh. Running CD reviews on time would help me to take your jazz coverage more seriously.

Thx for listening,


Prof. Drew LeDrew said...


Unknown said...

Meh, I am not disturbed by it. I can remember noticing that on some review, can't remember what genre. To me it says, "took a long time to get around to this and digest it properly, but it's good" (assuming it's a positive review.) It's more like how I deal with music, anyway. To me the review on the day of the release is suspect - there it's more obvious that the review is just testing whether their initial expectations were confirmed or not.