Hi all readers, bands, artists, labels, DIY-ers and other fans/review suppliers: Sorry I’ve been kinda lagging lately.
I’ve just been away from my writing biz lately as there have been some extraordinarily big things which have consumed my time over the past 2 months.
I do feel awfully bad, though and wanted to write this little note, to let you know (hopefully you all haven’t given up on me – yet(?) – besides that, I also am trying to sort of re-invent -well, maybe that’s too strong a word- but at least, somewhat change the way I structure my reviews: for instance, my favorite rock critic and one of the biggest legends of his time – (and he grew up in the same nowheresville town in which I currently, unfortunately, reside -that is, just for the next 2 months or so, until I move up, back to Northern CA): Lester Bangs! He was one wild & crazy guy, though he was anything but “crazy” – he had a flair for the dramatic and a tell-it-like-he-really-felt, a take-no-prisoners attitude and who he was reviewing be damned (their record label too-especially when it was some corporate slimy major label-then, of course, back in the 70s, it wasn’t as bad w/the majors as it is today-then again, before you had the stable of indie labels you have now, there was really nowhere else to go). Anyway -there’s TWO things I’d like to change a bit about my reviewing: one is, I’d like to go back to the way I would write reviews when I was writing for other publications, where they wanted reviews that were around 300-500 words, which, was actually a good challenge for me, who loves to go on & on and then digress into other topics, tangentially related, but in being concise, I can stay focused on the album at hand; focus on the material within, introduce the band members, if need be or just mention some in passing. That and I’d also like to be more aggressive, if I can put it that way: not be so middle-of-the-road. Doing that, sometimes makes me feel dirty, as if I’d just tried to make a crappy album come off as being something that wasn’t “so bad”, when, in reality, it sucked! The only thing that kept me from doing that was that I would be afraid of offending artists who’d sent me their work in hopes of getting it noticed. If it was a new band that just needed to be given a bit of publicity, I wanted to give them a chance and just lay it out, what they did, etc. But, if you read the older things, I never did really compromise my principles and actually “put lipstick on a pig”, so to speak. I’d just sort of say what was there and who did it, etc as opposed to when I got a real gem of an album, Two, for example, the long-awaited follow-up to Owls, the self-titled debut by the Joan of Arc side project (Tim Kinsella, Mike Kinsella, Victor Villarreal, and, I think, Sam Zurick). Two came out in March, 2014 and I put it on my list of “The Best Albums of 2014” -in fact, it was probably THE best album which came out that year. Every song on there is a great song; Two is one of those albums that one has to listen to in its entirety, in one sitting -and doing so actually makes the time go by quickly, so it’s no chore.
So, there’s an example of something fabulous which I wouldn’t hesitate to foist upon you, the reader. Unfortunately, in 2015, while there’s been some good stuff that’s come out, I can’t, the way I was able to pick out Two off the top of my head as an exemplar of that year’s best, but you can read through this year’s reviews and see what I’m talking about.
Anyway, in the next couple days I’m going to put up some new stuff – now, it may not be the long, drawn out reviews that I’ve been doing -but that won’t mean that it’s because I don’t like that album, it’ll be because I’m going for a new reviewing style: shorter and concise. I will still, when it’s apt, deconstruct some worthwhile tracks on new albums, but am not going to go off on tangents. That is a problem I have to stop doing. It’s good for an essay on whatever that topic is but bad for an album review!
So – READERS: Please be patient and don’t leave. The best is yet to come. I promise.
Hope your summer is going well, so far. Where I am it’s been mostly sunny and really hot! But inside my air conditioned place, I can work comfortably. Anyway, I’m also going to try to get out more and go see more bands around town (San Diego area), something I haven’t done in some years, since I’m not right in the midst of a bunch of great clubs, like the Casbah, even the SD House of Blues (which, to its credit, has been hosting some great indie bands and so on) and the Irenic, the Soda Bar and whatnot. I just need to start communicating w/various labels or the bands themselves or their “representatives” about getting review passes & photog passes, since, when I went to Joan of Arc’s SD show in May of 2012, I took some absolutely awesome pics – photos I still have & treasure for the spirit they capture.
Well, enjoy the great weather while you can – pretty soon “El Nino” is going to creep up and soak you through & through (buy an umbrella or 2)!
Thanks all you regular readers -and any new ones I’ve gotten lately! I won’t let you down, i.e., no more will there be long periods between reviews as I won’t be overwhelmed by feeling that I have to write 1500 word essays, deconstructing each album and then relating it to some kind of social structure or other.