Local Writer Says Farewell


In 2005, the Village Voice‘s music editor, Chuck Eddy, its web editor, Nick Catucci, and their intern, Nick Sylvester, had the novel idea that the Voice‘s music section might become something more than a once a week proposition. The eventual result of this idea was something called Riff Raff, written by Sylvester, which updated at the revolutionary pace of one post per day. It was a free-for-all of bravado criticism, proto-SEO-baiting headlines (“Live: Gang Gang Dance Accept Blame for Cheney Shooting”), real interviews that read like they were fake (and vice versa), and instant reactions to sub-par Cam’ron dis tracks. Eventually, Nick and Chuck brought on a seven-foot tall Baltimore rap fan named Tom Breihan to write a second blog, which Tom called Status Ain’t Hood. Status, in its long run at this paper, trafficked in a wide-eyed love for hip-hop, inexplicably definitive opinions (“Pitbull: Better Than Nas”), and posts that ran to thousands and thousands of words, even when they were about zombies.

I loved both blogs, not least because they were written by two of my closest friends. So when, about a year after the demise of Riff Raff in 2006 (Status would hang on for a couple more years, prompting to Tom to claim at the end, “As far as I know, I’ve been blogging professionally about music longer than anyone on the planet”), the Voice‘s new web editor, Camille Dodero, invited me to write a weekly column for a new music blog she was starting–called Sound of the City, after the old concert-review print column in the paper–I said yes.

My column at the beginning was called “No Context”; Rob Harvilla, the music editor who replaced Chuck, titled his “Fuck A Blog.” Our conflicted enthusiasm for the enterprise thus broadcast, we proceeded to muddle through the next year or two before I too came on as an editor and Camille and I decided to make actual go of it. (Well, sort of; we left our bylines off at the beginning, in a move that split the difference between a desire for a consistent “house voice” and sheer embarrassment at half the things we were writing.) Eventually we put our names on SOTC and it became whatever it is today–thanks mostly to a bunch of great writers, too numerous to name here, whose bylines still show up day in and day out on the blog. I’ve been doing this for right around three years in one capacity or another and today’s my last day; I want to thank them, Rob, Camille, Nick, Tom, Chuck, Robert Christgau, and everyone else at the Voice, past present and future. Maura Johnston starts in this space in one week, and this place is lucky to have her.

Finally, thanks most of all to those who read this thing. Sorry about all those posts about that one BET freestyle in 2008, I just couldn’t really help myself.