The Mountain Goats

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when i say kind of, i mean, the darnielle piece wasnt poorly written, just poorly conceived, and i basically disagree about the bonnie prince billy piece for a couple reasons, incl. the new yorkers tendency towards hook-less articles that stand on the strength of their writing, and oldhams comparative stature vs. case, bird, darnielle (no offense john)

rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Monday, 16 March 2009 15:15 (5 years ago) Permalink

let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

or something.

ian, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:17 (5 years ago) Permalink

on a more positive note, my sixteen year old cousin is coming to visit me in a few weeks so she can go see the mountain goats thing with slice-of-key-lime-pie. her father is dying of cancer (soon) and she really needs to get outta the house for a while.

i guess that wasn't positive.

ian, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:18 (5 years ago) Permalink

The justification for writing about anything is always "I find this interesting/informative/entertaining" (delete where applicable). There isn't really anything else to it as far as I can tell, regardless of the subject or the setting, so I don't get where you're coming from, max (the disconnect appears to be between what you find intersting/informative/entertaining and what NYer editorial finds i/i/e).

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 15:23 (5 years ago) Permalink

the gawker deal is pretty much ridiculous because a) it means the author has bothered to read all the articles he claims to despise and b) it's barely readable sub-undergrad compare-and-contrast bullllllllshit. you think he'd have found better, more informative pull quotes if he'd dug 'em out of the Wire, the Believer and Rolling Stone? Doubtful.

ian, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:25 (5 years ago) Permalink

i guess what i'm trying to say is: the problem is not with the publications particularly, but with a tendency towards laziness and easy questions in rock n roll journalism as a whole.

ian, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:27 (5 years ago) Permalink

the canonization of the subversive musician

Surmounter, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:28 (5 years ago) Permalink

there is nothing particularly subversive about neko case though, amirite? and why do people attach such importance to these musicians being profiled in mainstream, middle-brow publications? the mtn goats, oldham etc haven't been obscurities for many, many years now.

ian, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:30 (5 years ago) Permalink

apparently the neko case album debuted at #3? pretty weird to say 'only the write cares abt her' or whatever

just sayin, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:32 (5 years ago) Permalink

*writer

just sayin, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:32 (5 years ago) Permalink

and why do people attach such importance to these musicians being profiled in mainstream, middle-brow publications? the mtn goats, oldham etc haven't been obscurities for many, many years now.

― ian, Monday, March 16, 2009 11:30 AM (5 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

i think that's exactly why -- cuz they have already established their own sort of relevance, and people get annoyed that these publications approach them like a sort of discovery. but the thing is, for a lot of people, they still are! it's kind of an audience issue.

Surmounter, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:44 (5 years ago) Permalink

The justification for writing about anything is always "I find this interesting/informative/entertaining" (delete where applicable). There isn't really anything else to it as far as I can tell, regardless of the subject or the setting, so I don't get where you're coming from, max (the disconnect appears to be between what you find intersting/informative/entertaining and what NYer editorial finds i/i/e).

― Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, March 16, 2009 11:23 AM (13 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

well, yeah, this is absolutely true, and i acknowledge the subjectiveness of the argument being made in my post.

but there are very, very few publications out there where you can successfully pitch an editor on a story with just "hey, i love neko case, can i write an article about her?" (the ability to pitch like that probably has more to do with the writer him or herself--john mcphee, for example--than the publication). at the very least youre going to need "she has an album coming out"--and even then the editor is going to want more, since god knows how many people have albums out in a given month. arguably, case is big enough (#3 album etc) to warrant that kind of coverage--in fact, this is absolutely the case, since the writer was able to pitch the story to the editor successfully.

but then the article comes out and its structure is almost exactly the same as the structure of 3 other articles about musicians working in roughly the same melieu! and its like, what exactly is the threshold of 'interesting/informative/entertaining' here? if the pieces match so completely, is there really something interesting enough about the subjects to be worth writing about?

rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Monday, 16 March 2009 15:47 (5 years ago) Permalink

but there are very, very few publications out there where you can successfully pitch an editor on a story with just "hey, i love neko case, can i write an article about her?" (the ability to pitch like that probably has more to do with the writer him or herself--john mcphee, for example--than the publication). at the very least youre going to need "she has an album coming out"--and even then the editor is going to want more, since god knows how many people have albums out in a given month

The Gawker piece was awful, and this is the only defense for publishing Neko Case, Darnielle, and Bird articles in mass-market publications.

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 March 2009 15:51 (5 years ago) Permalink

I do wish articles like the one in Gawker would stop impugning the motives of these writers, the quality of their essays notwithstanding. I like Neko Case, so if I worked for The New Yorker and knew she had an album coming out soon, I'd pitch an article. What's so hard to understand?

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 March 2009 15:54 (5 years ago) Permalink

btw am i supposed to like know neko case? cuz apart from the name, i don't :/

Surmounter, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:56 (5 years ago) Permalink

Next time you run over to Starbucks for a toffee bar, you'll know.

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 March 2009 15:56 (5 years ago) Permalink

Neko is gonna be heartbroken, sur

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 15:57 (5 years ago) Permalink

smoky alt-country chanteuse, you might like her. in that new pornographesr band IIRC. xpxp

ian, Monday, 16 March 2009 15:57 (5 years ago) Permalink

I do wish articles like the one in Gawker would stop impugning the motives of these writers, the quality of their essays notwithstanding. I like Neko Case, so if I worked for The New Yorker and knew she had an album coming out soon, I'd pitch an article. What's so hard to understand?

― The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, March 16, 2009 8:54 AM (2 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

huh? it's pretty easy to understand that writing about an artist just because you like him/her and then reaching for other flimsy reasons/justifications in the article makes for bad/self-indulgent/puffy writing, no matter how ok of a stylist you are.

Matt P, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:01 (5 years ago) Permalink

pls. notify me when someone does one of these pieces on xasthur or the ying yang twins or any artist that does not slot somewhere in comfortable singer-songwriter modes of expression.

He grew in Pussyville. Population: him. (call all destroyer), Monday, 16 March 2009 16:01 (5 years ago) Permalink

i mean how is that not writing about "culture" 101

x-post

Matt P, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:02 (5 years ago) Permalink

it's pretty easy to understand that writing about an artist just because you like him/her and then reaching for other flimsy reasons/justifications in the article makes for bad/self-indulgent/puffy writing, no matter how ok of a stylist you are.

You must not read much rock journalism then, eh?

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 March 2009 16:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

lololololol @ the idea of someone writing a piece like this on xasthur

POLLonius (country matters), Monday, 16 March 2009 16:03 (5 years ago) Permalink

Better an emotive ode than a rehashed press release.

Eazy, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:04 (5 years ago) Permalink

i rarely post here, but i was thinking about the mg and bpb pieces a lot recently, so i felt compelled to jump in --

the nyer/nymag profiles bugged me because all they did was corroborate the same reputations of these guys that exists on the underground level, i.e. oldham: the "enigmatic," rootsy, shapeshifter and darnielle: the balance of hyperintimacy and cerebral detachment.

i don't mind major-mag profiles of these guys -- they totally deserve it. i just wish that the writers had done *some* kind of work to depart from what has already been written about the artists. the MGs one felt like a huge missed opportunity to actually do a little critical thinking about *why* darnielle's fans might love him so much (the superfan is a devout christian -- is it some kind of coincidence that darnielle actually writes about religious material and regularly lays down spiritual subtext in his songs about Normal Folks? duh.). also, for articles about "iconoclasts," they didn't really situate these guys within a landscape -- i.e. to say why they're different or unique. the nyer one was better, in this respect, but i still put the mag down wishing it had somehow been more "definitive" (this might be because i think kelefa s. really does write some good, concise criticism sometimes, and this piece, being a "profile," didn't seem to think that some criticism was within its jurisdiction or something).

mike powell, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:05 (5 years ago) Permalink

pls. notify me when someone does one of these pieces on xasthur or the ying yang twins or any artist that does not slot somewhere in comfortable singer-songwriter modes of expression.

Remember the "Wait" controversy a few years ago?

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 March 2009 16:05 (5 years ago) Permalink

that new york times article on DEATH (70's proto-punk hard rock african-american power trio) this weekend was excellent!

sorry, just didn't know where to post that. maybe on the black acid rock thread...

scott seward, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:06 (5 years ago) Permalink

WHAT IS FURDEST FROM CDS I HAVE, HEAVY METAL AND HIPPITY HOP

many x-posts to alfred well yeah because by those standards a lot of it sucks! but some of it doesn't (i.e. does something else besides 'here is a person, they did some things, they play nice music'), and i like that.

Matt P, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:07 (5 years ago) Permalink

the nyer/nymag profiles bugged me because all they did was corroborate the same reputations of these guys that exists on the underground level, i.e. oldham: the "enigmatic," rootsy, shapeshifter and darnielle: the balance of hyperintimacy and cerebral detachment.

this i actually agree with heartily

Surmounter, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:09 (5 years ago) Permalink

this speaks to a larger trend of pigeonholing artists like this, with cliched terminology

Surmounter, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:10 (5 years ago) Permalink

A lot of these disappointing profiles are shaped by the attitude of editors too. A piece on Darnielle in New York would produce exactly the kind of collision of sensibilities we'd expect.

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 March 2009 16:10 (5 years ago) Permalink

not all music journalism can be good music journalism, guys.

ian, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:11 (5 years ago) Permalink

the MGs one felt like a huge missed opportunity to actually do a little critical thinking about *why* darnielle's fans might love him so much (the superfan is a devout christian -- is it some kind of coincidence that darnielle actually writes about religious material and regularly lays down spiritual subtext in his songs about Normal Folks? duh.).

From the article:

If Wesley’s explanation of Darnielle’s appeal isn’t especially complex, it’s certainly heartfelt: “His songs are all full of literary allusions and Bible references. Everything that I’m into, he writes about. A lot of them are about people feeling isolated, and I knew what that felt like.”

[...]

Wesley loved that while Darnielle wasn’t a practicing Christian, he still had an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible. One day, Wesley played for me the song “Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into the Water, Triumph Of.” “That’s a reference to Matthew 22:6,” Wesley told me. “That’s where Jesus casts the demon into a herd of swine. That he can work that into a song is so cool.”

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 16:34 (5 years ago) Permalink

critic on critic jackoff sesh

bnw, Monday, 16 March 2009 16:45 (5 years ago) Permalink

Remember the "Wait" controversy a few years ago?

not specifically...was it about more than the content of the song? is there a new yorker profile of the YYT i need to track down?

He grew in Pussyville. Population: him. (call all destroyer), Monday, 16 March 2009 16:59 (5 years ago) Permalink

xpost, but did you just equate a fan's testimony with "critical thinking"? i mean, fan testimony is important, especially in an article about fandom, but i don't think that it should stand in for the writer's commentary.

mike powell, Monday, 16 March 2009 17:02 (5 years ago) Permalink

the obv. explanation for why people wanna write profiles about me is because I am so impossibly attractive that once they've laid eyes on me they just can't help themselves

Just one thing I was thinking about as I was getting on the copter (J0hn D.), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:04 (5 years ago) Permalink

i mean i'm kind of joking w/r/t xasthur or yyt but if these publications actually wanted to do something constructive they would indeed profile interesting musicians from outside the npr set or explain why metal is probably the most vital and interesting genre going these days or something. treating this "trend" as anything other than a back-pat affirmation to the 20- and 30-something readership that mags think they need to survive (lol not that it's going to make a difference) is kind of silly.

He grew in Pussyville. Population: him. (call all destroyer), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:05 (5 years ago) Permalink

dude described you as being "stocky"
xpost

velko, Monday, 16 March 2009 17:08 (5 years ago) Permalink

If I am reading a profile about ANY artist, the last thing I want to read is the writer's commentary.

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:08 (5 years ago) Permalink

<3 john

treating this "trend" as anything other than a back-pat affirmation to the 20- and 30-something readership that mags think they need to survive (lol not that it's going to make a difference) is kind of silly.

― He grew in Pussyville. Population

i kind of agree with this, but again, maybe they're not targeting these articles toward the 20/30 readership set?

i dunno

Surmounter, Monday, 16 March 2009 17:09 (5 years ago) Permalink

If I am reading a profile about ANY artist, the last thing I want to read is the writer's commentary.

― Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, March 16, 2009 1:08 PM (31 seconds ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

why not just read the wikipedia article?

rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:09 (5 years ago) Permalink

i'm writing post replying to posts about an article about several articles about some musicians who wrote songs.

(*゚ー゚)θ L(。・_・)   °~ヾ(・ε・ *) (Steve Shasta), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:10 (5 years ago) Permalink

anyone who argues stocky ain't sexy has to take it up with me personally

She Is Beyond Food In Weevil (Mackro Mackro), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:10 (5 years ago) Permalink

"stout" is the new sexy

velko, Monday, 16 March 2009 17:11 (5 years ago) Permalink

If you are doing an essay analyzing the themes of a musician's lyrical output and how that relates to their fandom, then go right ahead, but that falls outside of what I would call an artist profile; sticking it into an artist profile tells me that you are more interested in showing people how smart you are than you are in writing about your subject.

why not just read the wikipedia article?

xp: I often do. I've stated before that I think most music writing is useless.

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:11 (5 years ago) Permalink

surm i try not to be much of a cynic but it's real hard not to see these as anything but a grab for younger readership. i would welcome ideas to the contrary.

He grew in Pussyville. Population: him. (call all destroyer), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

the obv. explanation for why people wanna write profiles about me is because I am so impossibly attractive that once they've laid eyes on me they just can't help themselves

― Just one thing I was thinking about as I was getting on the copter (J0hn D.), Monday, March 16, 2009 12:04 PM (2 minutes ago) Bookmark S

i'm not sure this is true!

i like to fart and i am crazy (gbx), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

;)

i like to fart and i am crazy (gbx), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:12 (5 years ago) Permalink

lol why are you even bothering then dan

rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:12 (5 years ago) Permalink


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