We here at SOTC miss no chance to heap opprobrium on the otherwise sterling New York arts-coverage empire’s woeful, mercifully intermittent civilian-rock-criticism column, Jukebox, wherein three randomly chosen, achingly hip Joe-the-Yoga-Instructor everyday New Yorkers toss out neat little one-liners on today’s hottest records. Well, they just did it again. Would you believe Reihan the Politics-and-Economics Journalist, Julia the Yoga-Studio Manager, and James the Performance Artist totally hate Dixie Chicks offshoot band Court Yard Hounds? That they love LCD Soundsystem? (Agreed, but still.) That the new Band of Horses “disappears like sonic perfume”? Of course, as always, there’s a disturbing undercurrent of familiarity. Re: the National’s High Violet: “I feel as though I should’ve enjoyed it more than I did.”
Look: New York has excellent critics in art, film, theater, architecture, etc. They need the same for music. Plenty of folks currently in their stable could do it. (Obligatory Nick Catucci shout-out/Google alert.) But the mag insists on this man-on-the-street approach, or just gets hot young writers with no particular musical background to gas on about the Hold Steady or whoever. (The Times‘ Sunday magazine does this too, and will hopefully find a way to remedy it soon.) Not to say that only “professional” critics have value, or insight, or strong opinions. But we do like to think we bring something extra to the conversation. Or brought. Shit.
For more on this subject, I will now turn the floor over to this guy.