When I first started writing this blog, I posted a link to Pitchfork's site on the right side of this page. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Pitchfork seemed like a good idea to me at the time. In the intervening years I've read quite a lot of reviews and articles on there and it no longer does. In fact now I'd say it represents pretty much everything that's wrong with modern music journalism.
Obviously, given that I've written on here every day for the last five years, I take this stuff reasonably seriously, even though it's still and always will remain a hobby, not least because I don't see any prospect of giving up my nine to five any day soon. I still have a list of blogs on the right hand of this page, some written by like-minded individuals to myself who do this for their own enjoyment and some slightly more commercial concerns, (though who makes any real money out of this stuff nowadays?), with a whole set of contributing writers and advertising to help generate revenue and keep themselves going.
Tulip Frenzy, one of my favourites of all, wrote a great piece a couple of days back about the new King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard album Fishing for Fishies and what they called the 'Death of Rock Criticism'. It makes great reading. In it, they give guarded praise to the King Gizzard record while mounting a full on assault on Pitchfork and everything they stand for. I agreed with every word.
The Pitchfork review of Fishing for Fishies ripped it a new one in the austere, bloodless style that is utterly characteristic of the site. It describes the record to be their most streamlined effort to date but also the first to be 'downright boring'. I listened to the record while reading their review and would have to disagree.
Australians King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are nothing if not prolific. They've released five albums in the last couple of years, (Fishing for Fishies comes after an almost indecent pause of a whole calendar year) ,which might suggest they lack quality control on one hand but evidences no lack of commitment to the cause on the other, which in their case is generally a commitment to boogie. Not all of their stuff is to my personal taste, I prefer it when they veer towards the Beefheart, Canned Heat and Krautrock school of doing things than when they venture into Zappa's ballpark.
If forced to choose a side though I'd plump without hesitation for King Gizzard and Tulip Frenzy approach over Pitchfork's every day of the week. At least the former seem to be enjoying themselves. As Tulip Frenzy opined in their article, Pitchfork have never once made me laugh, a clear duty of this kind of journalism and something that Creem, NME, Punk and the like did on a regular basis back in the day. Fishing for Fishies may be a conscious attempt on King Gizzard's part to re-orientate their sound and broaden their appeal but it's still a record very much in line with what they've been doing for many years and I certainly didn't find it boring which I cannot say for a moment for Pitchfork which consistently is. Both King Gizzard and Tulip Frenzy are much more in the spirit of Lester Bangs and Nick Kent than yet another article boxing itself into a corner in a sterile conversation with itself about which decimal point to award a particular record. I'd say listen to King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and try not to read Pitchfork. It's easy if you try. Oh and do make sure you read the Tulip Frenzy article. It hits this particular nail squarely on the head.