Friday, July 22, 2011

Infinite Sense of Value

Ann Arbor's own Chris Bathgate was recently featured (via interview and in-studio performance) on NPR's World Cafe Session ~ take a listen. He plays the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, August 6th.

The post below concerns music festivals. And the Crofoot's August 3rd show is a kickoff-ish shindig for one of the quintessential fests: that being Lollapalooza. Only this one's called LollaGagger~ and it features a slew of locals, from Computer Perfection to Golden -to this band:

And, quickly, more soundtrack-ing for the read-below: Pitchfork has offered up its overlooked records of 2011. Take some notes! One entry:


Curse my hyper-analytical nature
~ these are the latest fuzzy cerebral particulates to waft here upon the "page," having been dusted up by the mere announcement that The Onion's entertainment magazine The A.V. Club will be curating its own music festival... ala the influential hipster music site, Pitchfork.

Pitchfork, the site, tickles the sneezing out of cliches like "cultural phenomenon." What began as an online zine, a proto-indie-blog, was perceived with considerable esteem as a shrewd, sober, even prick-ish outlet for music criticism, with a steady news feed and subsequent features unpacking, in sometimes legitimate, sometimes faux-- scholarly manners, the nuances of music theory.

Now, as the blog Hipster Runoff satirically refers to it, Pitchfork is "a brand." Brands are dangerous. Criticism should be considered, takin into account, but always held in perspective - whether it's Lester Bangs or Susan Sontag or the Motion Picture Academy; i.e. respected as an informed analysis and appraisal...and yes, as an opinion.

But Pitchfork, as I'd noted with said "phenomenon" wagering^, has created a culture. Not that anything more than a few vital percentages of what one finds on the internet should be considered more than just mildly remarkable, Pitchfork Hipster is apparently spelled out with its own definition on some urban dictionary site.

Nothing's shocking, Perry Farrell once sang. Is nothing remarkable?

I used to get dubious, now and again, when I considered how religiously I, myself, followed this site just five years ago, eating my Kashi and soy milk in front of the glowing computer screen in the few tranquil moments before my day of classes commenced...that Pitchfork was a menace for it being too much of a King-maker, for bands. Who needs to read the review or really take the band into account, if it scored lower than a 6.7 on their scales than it was probably a.) underwhelming or b.) not worth any hipster-cred capital to bother stuffing into your hemp wallet.

And now, just as the A.V. Club is getting started in the "websites curating music festivals" game - we see Pitchfork hosting music festivals in Paris)...

The criticism, at that point, are the soggy pickel slices pathetically splayed at the side of your order of a double cheeseburger flambe with spicy onion rings and a french vanilla milkshake.

Or maybe it's not so severe.
I'd already warned you that I over-think things...

We're hearing headlines like: Did Borders expand too fast, or too wide? etc etc - in the wake of its onsetting liquidation.

But there's other questions, more cliched questions, that get recycled.
Do we have too many music zines on the Internet? (Do the local bands play out too much? Do we have too many venues?) --Often these don't seem to get an answer and thus pop back up every few months for a "columnist" to opine upon. The answer is just lost in the white noise of refreshed brousers and forwarded hyperlinks - the answer is often: yes.

It's like realizing your stomach's full after you've already eaten the entire plate...
But did you leave those critical pickels?

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