The Rich Girls Are Weeping

05 July 2006

Late afternoon additions.

Darcy Frey profiles Katell Keineg for the NYT Magazine. Remember her? You might if, like me, you went through a phase of enjoying the semi-halcyon days in the wake of The Lilith Fair hoo-ha when it seemed you couldn't swing a cat without hitting talented female singer/songwriter about to "break out"...

Everyone's starting to look the fool: The Life of Zane vs. Pitchfork in the matter of Sound Team's Movie Monster is officially the most ridiculous and outrageous kerfuffle I've seen in a long time. Let's just say that everyone involved -- including the band -- is, at this point, to put it kindly, a bloody immature asshat. It's really sad when Pitchfork comes out looking the best, what with the flaming fan-freak screeds and whiny viral videos and all. (However, the discussion in the GVsB comments is pretty darn amusing, especially that part where a "friend" of Marc Hogan's relates his issues with gastrointestinal distress. Like I said -- real mature, people.) So, um, the obvious lesson here is don't let your label set the list price of your debut album at $18.98, thus making it still $14.98 after a 20% discount. Good luck selling records, guys! (Oh, and I bet the publicity department at Capitol loves your little video, don't they?)

9 Comments:

Blogger Derek said...

while we're in agreeance on the subject of the cd's list price, i don't see how anyone's ending up a fool here other than pitchfork.

so sound team has a little tasteful fun with the fact that they were wrongfully skewered by the fork. where's the harm or immaturity in that?

furthermore, i think it's important that certain bloggers (Zane, Tim O Thompson) are taking it upon themselves to hold the big P accountable for their oft-reckless behavior, finally bringing "The Pitchfork Effect" (http://www.timothompson.com/journal/archives/2006/05/pitchfork_kille.html) out into the light.

if ryan schreiber and co. want to comb the internet like a posse of punks looking to start a fight, i think they're the ones looking more like immature asshats.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 9:38:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

Perhaps I should clarify -- and others have taken up this subject in comments on The Life of Zane entries: The artist's job is not to respond to critics. The artist's job is to create art that they are proud of, take encouragment from fans, and gracefully handle criticism from professionals and amateurs alike.

That's not to say that artists haven't responded in an immature, bratty way to critics since the dawn of time; we are all only human after all. But, as sentient beings in posession of the facilty to adhere to even the most basic simple mores of common courtesy, it should follow that an artist, in the face of negative critique, in the interests of preserving some semblance of an acceptable public persona, take it on the chin, at least acknowledge that the critic is entitled to their opinion, and perhaps even take some of that criticism to heart, if it will make them grow as an artist. This, in my opinion, is the sign of someone serious about their art. Now yes, there will be out-of-left field critics that are clearly downright wrong; however, Marc Hogan is not wrong in this particular case, nor did he go about presenting his critique in an unprofessional manner. He writes for an online publication with a snarky editorial voice. Yes, he may have made a few factual errors (ie. misinterpreting the Murakami/Vollman references), but the critic is also fallable, just as the artist is, and will probably make mistakes. As a professional writer, I'll be the first to admit to that fact.

There will always be critics, and there will always be a Pitchfork-like publication whose influence may or may not be entirely over-inflated. I'm sure people will flame me for this, but quality aside, P-fork's editorial pull and overall attitude isn't that different from Rolling Stone's early days, or the heyday of the Village Voice. Like it or not, Pitchfork is the standard-bearer for indie rock coverage in the media.

I may not always agree with their reviews or editorial choices, but I've made my peace with the fact that Pitchfork needs to exist. I've agreed with the adulations piled on The Wrens, The Arcade Fire, Herbert, and other -- and cheered when they lambasted Travis Morrison's solo record and yes, when they deflated the clamor of hype surrounding Sound Team and other similarly untested acts.

In the end, this is more than just an "agree to disagree" situation. When an artist stoops to fire off an immature response to a critic, the artist looks the fool. When fans send challenging messages to critics that don't like their favorite band, the fan looks the fool. It's as simple as that.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cindy,
I think that video was really just a joke, you know. it wan't 'a response fired off at the reviewer'. the fact that PF took it that way was surprising. i guess they wanted to take some more shots at the band.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

It doesn't matter if it was a joke or not. It was still inappropriate to distribute it to the public. I at least used to pretend that maybe the guys from Sound Team were nice guys, now I just think they're immature jerks.

Let's all act like adults here, people. Is that so hard?

Thursday, July 06, 2006 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous jake said...

Cindy,
You're probably over talking about this, but I'm curious--
I don't get it. Why is it so out of line to put the thing up on Youtube?
To me it just seemed like a bit of fucking around in response to (whether you agree with it or not) a real hatchet job in PF. The idea being that they weren't taking it that seriously. I thought it was funny. Not roll-on-the-floor funny, but definitely not offensive in any way.
It definitely was not a big "fuck you Marc Hogan/Pitchfork/etc," but more of a "wow, we really got reamed!" type of thing. It doesn't seem to have been directed AT PF at all.
BTW, I think ALL artists have responded to critics always (especially those they feel got it wrong or had an axe to grind) with varying degrees of bitchiness and in more or less public venues. I don't think this episode rates particularly highly on either of those measures (PF is the one who really publicized it by posting it as "sound team strikes back"). I really don't see what about this video says that the reviewer isn't 'entitled to his opinion.'

Thursday, July 06, 2006 4:29:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

It's not funny. It's rude and childish. You're right, it would be one thing if they'd more actively trashed Pitchfork in the video, but the passive-agressive nature of said video is bad enough.

Look, furthermore, like it or not, since Sound Team is on a major label, they're a business as well as an artistic concern. Now, this may be forgiven as a stunt to make them seem 'edgy' and 'antiauthroitarian' and 'funny' -- if it increases sales. If it doesn't, this behavior will be directly blamed for lack of revenues. In my opinion, this is the kind of thing that makes humorless execs drop you from their major label. By playing ball with the majors, Sound Team should know what kind of behavior is expected of them, and act accordingly.

Now, I can hear you citing the hijinks of people like Pete Doherty, or Jack White, or well, anyone else who makes their beefs with critics -- in print or in other bands -- public. I was kind of hoping a nice local band from my hometown would aspire to something better than that, or even the kind petty mudslinging they're currently engaged in. Clearly I'm expecting too much from people at this point.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 4:52:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher Zane said...

I don't understand why it's immature of me to write a letter to a reviewer and post it on my blog, but it's very grown-up to write about me writing a letter.

Why is maturity an issue at all? The Internet is a place where everyone can express their point of view, no matter how stupid (that's one thing that's become clear through all this). If it's beneath you, then just ignore it, as you're asking me and everyone else involved in this to do.

And how mature is it to comment anonymously on someone else's blog who you mention specifically?

Friday, July 07, 2006 1:45:00 AM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

I already apologized for commenting anonymously in your blog, Christopher, and that's all you're getting from me in that regard.

I believe I'm perfectly within my rights to critcize your behavior, btw -- and I believe you might just have accidentally affirmed that in the circular reasoning of your comment. Just sayin'.

Why is maturity an issue at all? Christoper, please, it's already obvious from your behavior over the last few days that it's pointless to discuss this particular issue with you. Let's put it this way: acting in a mature fashion is key to being taken seriously as a professional. Professional musician, writer, what have you, it doesn't matter. I feel like the Internet has made it "okay" to have temper tantrums and get attention for them, and this isn't acceptable to me.

The reason I commented on this situation is that a) I agreed with Mr. Hogan's review b) I thought your behavior in emailing him a blustering self-righteous screed and posting his response without his permission was pretty reprehensible and tacky (though, I'm glad you apologized for that) and c) because the whole situation just all became so ridiculous when everyone involved started to resort to second-grade playground namecalling and whining.

I commented on this situation because everyone looked bad: you, the band, and Ryan Schreiber. The only person who didn't was Mr. Hogan, and I have to give him props for even responding to you. Like I said earlier, I would have ignored your email had it landed in my inbox. But seeing as it didn't, and you posted about the situation publicly in your blog as an appeal for sympathy to your cause, I, like I said, was perfectly within my rights to criticize your behavior.

Friday, July 07, 2006 9:14:00 AM  
Blogger GiL said...

hi cindy, i didn't notice all the fuss, guess i usually don't read comments on blogs, but thanks for pointing it out in your post, i had a great time reading all the comments.

i'm a late reader, so i'm kind of out of the loop on this one but i wanted to direct you to a post i just made concerning all this, i really hope you find it funny.

cheers and btw thanks a lot for the mp3's.
been a reader and downloader for a few months now.

the post:
http://mookamotel.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 10, 2006 2:44:00 AM  

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