The Mountain Goats

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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

I'm bored

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:13 (5 years ago) Permalink

and avoiding work

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:13 (5 years ago) Permalink

i admire ur conviction that writing is about showing off how smart u are

rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:14 (5 years ago) Permalink

It's true, though.

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:15 (5 years ago) Permalink

nah

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

Or rather, it's true of 90% of what I've seen in the past 10 years.

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

that's why i have trouble reading the new yorker

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

I thought people wrote because they got paid because to write about stuff they sometimes liked to talk about on their own, woops

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

it would help if i used grammar

She Is Beyond Food In Weevil (Mackro Mackro), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:18 (5 years ago) Permalink

talking was invented so people could impress potential mates by showing off how smart they are

if you like it then you shoulda put a donk on it (bernard snowy), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:18 (5 years ago) Permalink

i thought that's what showing yer junk was for

She Is Beyond Food In Weevil (Mackro Mackro), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:19 (5 years ago) Permalink

i buy that a lot of internet music (and other) writing tends to come across as... show-offy, in some way. and maybe even a fair amount of music writing in print.

but surm it baffles me that you could think of the new yorker as show-offy in that same way! the magazines tone is so, um, even, or level--i dont understand how you could read it and think that its writers come off as trying to show off how smart they are!

rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:19 (5 years ago) Permalink

It wouldn't be as annoying if the people doing it were all amazing writers, but since they aren't (and particularly since the nu-media revolution heavily promotes quantity of pieces over quality of pieces), well... you basically have The Legacy Of Pitchfork laid out for you, where people think it's valid to criticize a piece that is intentionally written as a moment-of-time meeting between an artist and one of his fans with biographical information about both that shows pretty clearly why the fan latched onto the artist because the author didn't spend enough time deconstructing the entirety of the artist's fanbase.

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:20 (5 years ago) Permalink

although that isn't even fair, this has been going on way longer than Pitchfork has been around (see: Simon Reynolds)

Wes HI DEREson (HI DERE), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:21 (5 years ago) Permalink

j0hn needs to hook up with winona and be like IN YOUR FACE GAWKER LOSER

bnw, Monday, 16 March 2009 17:21 (5 years ago) Permalink

otm

max i think i need to delve into it again now that ryan got us a subscription. haven't read it in a while, so i'm probably way off.

Surmounter, Monday, 16 March 2009 17:22 (5 years ago) Permalink

you might be thinking of people who read the new yorker and feel the need to show off how smart they are? see also: the economist.

rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:23 (5 years ago) Permalink

If you keep a New Yorker on your coffee table, Surm, visitors to your home will assume you're Cultured.

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:24 (5 years ago) Permalink

I keep mine there because it saves money on coasters.

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:24 (5 years ago) Permalink

i generally don't have a huge problem with the new yorker (though i think the cartooning sucks, have virtually no use for the event listings etc, i can still usually find one or two things to read & enjoy per issue) i DO have a problem with people who read/carry/use the new yorker as a way of showing off how smart they are. xpxpxpxp otm

ian, Monday, 16 March 2009 17:25 (5 years ago) Permalink

HI DERE: I think you would have a good point except that it's not really "a piece that is intentionally written as a moment-of-time meeting between an artist and one of his fans"; or rather, it is, but it dresses itself up as some kind of broader 'hey check out this crazy youth cultural phenomenon!' thing, and kind of rings hollow in that sense.

or in other words: given the choice between a good piece that would only be interesting to people who had heard of/cared about/were fans of the Mountain Goats, or a kinda-crappy piece that would have (slightly) broader appeal, this leans towards the second.

if you like it then you shoulda put a donk on it (bernard snowy), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:25 (5 years ago) Permalink

btw while i DO think there are probably a lot of people who read the new yorker in a large part because it is a STATUS SYMBOL of some kind i think the number of people for whom that is the ONLY reason they read the magazine is VASTLY OVERESTIMATED--maybe this is because i am something of a nyer stan, but it is, for real, a REALLY GOOD MAGAZINE, and id like to believe that people read it because of its quality more than any other consideration

rip dom passantino 3/5/09 never forget (max), Monday, 16 March 2009 17:27 (5 years ago) Permalink

i DO have a problem with people who read/carry/use the new yorker as a way of showing off how smart they are

how can you tell these people apart from those that "actually" like reading/carrying/using it

mookieproof, Monday, 16 March 2009 17:28 (5 years ago) Permalink


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