Defend Your Ballot: Rob Harvilla, Pazz and Jop 2012 Contributor


You can’t really know where you’re headed unless you know where you’ve been. For that reason, we’re taking a look back at Pazz & Jop 2012 to drill down into the ballots of contributors and voters who participated. Maybe amongst the rubble we’ll find clues about what lies ahead for music lovers in 2013. Here, former Village Voice music editor Rob Harvilla defends his ballot.

See Also:
The Confounding, Inexplicable Splendor of Rapper Future

Rob Harvilla, managing editor at Rhapsody, contributing editor at SPIN, DEFEND YOUR BALLOT! Japandroids’ Celebration Rock is tied atop your albums list. Explain why people who dismissed it outright as a Promise Ring knock off wrong to have done so?

I know hilariously little about the Promise Ring, actually. As emo goes I’m a Say Anything guy. Japandroids was more a Replacements thing for me.

Were you a big Lifetime guy back in the day?

I was not. It’s totally embarrassing that I once interned for Alternative Press and I don’t know this shit. In my defense I was there during their Korn/ICP nadir. Anyway I only knew the first Japandroids record in passing, but that one I fell in love with immediately, “immediately” meaning “while listening to an NPR pre-release stream,” which is of course ridiculous. But I love rock bands that attempt to eulogize the thrill of being in/listening to a rock band in real time. The Hold Steady’s big on that. It’s absurd and indulgent in a really appealing way.

None of the songs from Celebration Rock cracked your singles top ten. Which of them do you think best does what you’ve just described?

Oh “The House That Heaven Built” definitely. That’s the vast majority of my love for that record. My favorite record of the past five years at least is Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor, just the unhinged electricity of it. That song’s come closest to that feeling for me since.

To those readers ages 22-years or under, explain what a “rock band” is. Kidding. Not many people were surprised that Frank Ocean took the album poll this year, but was their anything about the winners that surprised you?

Father John Misty nearly keeping both Springsteen and Dylan outta the Top 15 is nuts. Swans at #7 is wild

Agreed on both counts. You wrote what many consider the greatest Pazz essay in the history of ever about Future (“The Confounding, Inexplicable Splendor of Rapper Future“), whose “Pluto” is number three on your albums list. No question here. Just wanted to let you know people loved that essay a lot.

Well thanks. I’m heartened by the critical mass gathering around him. Anytime someone that weird can get on both the radio and a poll like this, awesome.

True or False: Daughn Gibson [Harvilla album ballot #5] sounds too much like the guy from Crash Test Dummies.

Yeah no getting around that I suppose. That record though, like, Japandroids reminds me of twenty other things I love, whereas Daughn Gibson, it really is like nothing I’ve ever heard, or in any event connected with. I realize there’s a whole lineage there I should know more about, but it was just immediately striking, the other-ness of it.

Final question: What do you think Swans (Harvilla singles ballot #10 — a group of olds — would think of Ke$ha’s “Die Young” [Harvilla singles ballot #8]?

Pretty sure Michael Gira’s daughter is in the 5-7 range, and he’d better prepare himself. Best-case scenario she gets into, like, Metz, and even that he’d probably find unsatisfying. My brother’s favorite band ever is Pedro the Lion, and I spent Christmas yelling “KE$HA IS BETTER THAN PEDRO THE LION” at him while we drove around.

Thanks, Rob.

No problem, dude.