Friday, October 20, 2006

B. Markey To The Rescue

The best rock critic in America doesn't write for the mainstream media. He doesn't toil for free at Popmatters, Pitchfork, or Blogcritics. He writes for himself at Big Green House. His name is B. Markey and his heartfelt passion for music (when I first spin a new CD, I want it to be the best thing I’ve ever heard) is evident in most every line of "I'm Gonna Burn Your Bongos Tonight" in which he tells us why much of the music today just doesn't do much for him. Here's a snippet in which he takes on the nuevo folkies:

One hears a lot of music of the sort I’ve grouped together as Quiet Is The New Loud (or QITNL, as I will refer to it from here on out) being put forth as the crème de la crème of what’s happening now. The umbrella of QITNL covers a multitude of sins: Sufjan Stevens, Devendra Banhart, Bright Eyes, My Brightest Diamond, Joanna Newsome, Clap Your Fucking Hands Say Why Bother… the list is much longer than I care to type out. It is, on the whole, a very passive music. Utterly asexual, it is devoid of the faintest spark of humor or verve or spunk or, indeed, life. There’s nothing that grabs the ear and makes them pay attention. Rather, it trickles from the speakers in dribs and drabs, clotting on the floor without ever once engaging the listener.

And he can't leave out radio:

Radio, of course, is next to useless.

I sometimes grapple with whether criticism in general is a wasted thing. Whether it's not better to just art live without words written about it. But then I read something like "I'm Gonna Burn Your Bongos Tonight" which makes me think about what rock and roll is and what listening to music can do for you and I see that criticism and art are like partners at a dance. So go read a great bit of rock and roll criticism.

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