Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Music: How to Build Someone Up Just to Tear Them Down, The Pitchfork Way!

Some of you have already seen this.

But how many of you have seen this?

Not even a year ago, Black Kids self-released their first EP and offered it for free on their MySpace page. I read the second review linked above, thought to myself, "Hey, free music!" and went and downloaded it. My favorite aspect of Black Kids at that point was that they chose to list their genre as "indie crunk." I mean, how can you go wrong with a description like that?

As more Black Kids news began being posted on Pitchfork, tour dates etc., they always included an mp3 download of, "I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You."

Eventually KEXP in Seattle caught on, and on November 13th(the day I arrived in Seattle) they too offered I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You as a free mp3 download as their song of the day.

This is the first band to create a name for themselves based only on internet buzz since Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! pulled it off, who also came to the forefront of indie music due to an excellent review and publicity from Pitchfork. Black Kids were being universally praised all over the internet that they(unlike Clap Your Hands) skipped over the indie labels all together and signed with a major label.

I have yet to pick up a copy of the full length that was released yesterday. When I picked up the Brendan Canning album I inquired about the availability of Black Kids on vinyl, and I was informed that there was not a vinyl release of it this week. Being that I already have the EP, I decided that I will just wait until Black Kids are in town again in October and pick up the vinyl(hopefully) version at their show.

Around the time that I was having this conversation at Easy Street Records, Pitchfork first posted a review of the Black Kids album. They gave it a score of 0.0 out of 10. Within hours that review was replaced with the one linked above. Now, I understand that Pitchfork has different writers, and that we should all take reviews with a grain of salt, but what is the deal here?

All of the songs on the EP are present on the LP. Yes, they were re-recorded, and remixed. Were these songs destroyed in the process? I absolutely have no idea, but I've never been so eager to listen to an album with such a terrible terrible review.

Pitchfork absolutely played a huge part in Black Kids rise to prominence, and they should have gotten a thank you card when Black Kids signed a contract.

I just don't understand how Pitchfork went from drooling all over these indie darlings to burning them at the stake, all in a 9 month span. Did I mention that the songs from the EP are on the LP? Pitchfork doesn't have a message board, or online community so there has been no official explanation of the review, or even an explanation of why the review was changed after it went up. Pitchfork's lackluster review keeps Black Kids in the news on music sites all over the web. By panning it in such a dramatic way Pitchfork is giving Black Kids plenty of publicity, and there is no such thing as bad publicity in the music industry. People are talking about it, and people are defending the album. All the while, Pitchfork loses credibility.

Where the Silence Is reader ApeRock posted this awesome commentary about yesterday's Pitchfork review:

I take Pitchfork reviews with a grain of salt, but apparently they do not like the new Black Kids album, and instead of a review they posted a photo of a couple of pugs with a note saying “Sorry :-/”. No review just the photo. Since Pitchfork is one of the ones who hyped the Black Kids in the first place, maybe they are just regretting the fact now. Interesting choice that they chose pugs to represent the photo. Maybe it is because a few years ago pugs where the “it” dog for a while, but really pugs are not healthy dogs. This breed is grossly deformed. The unnaturally short face and upturned nose means breathing difficulties and the potential for heatstroke in hot humid weather. Their compromised respiratory system makes it risky to anesthetize them. Most of these dogs can't even whelp their puppies without veterinary intervention. The large shallow-set eyes are extremely vulnerable to injury and infection. Pugs are also prone to a serious brain disease, joint problems, and skin and allergy problems. So in short Black Kids = Pugs = Problems.

Looks like I need to pick up a copy of this album earlier than I was planning to.
I'll compare the EP and the LP later this week.

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