I cop to being a semiregular Pitchfork reader, mainly because while I'm not exactly a staple on the indie rock club scene (I have my hands full just trying to hit a fraction of the jazz gigs I want to see), I remain ever-curious about what y'all are listening to, good and bad. So I'll occasionally stop by PF to see whatever they're hyping this week and maybe give it a taste -- I've found a lot of interesting music that way. Now it's true that the reviews don't often give a very good idea what the music they're describing actually sounds like. And it's also true that many of their reviewers are kids who don't really seem to know anything about music recorded before they were born. And sure, the prose is notoriously overwrought to boot. And, yes, I know they are every bit as beholden to their advertisers as mainstream dead tree publications like, say, Spin (or Down Beat). And okay, sure, I admit that howlers like this are par for the course over there:
Impulse! Records had been defunct for more than a quarter century.
So… wait a minute, why the hell do I bother with Pitchfork?
Over on this thread, Jon Abbey (a Pitchfork-hater) recommends I Hate Music (a Bagatellen-associated forum), but the musical focus is completely different and (as another contributor to the thread pointed out) bulletin boards aren't really conducive to skimming. There's also Stylus, Dusted and PopMatters, which are all arguably better than Pitchfork, but not that much better. (For instance, this Dusted review of the Either/Orchestra's Live in Addis is one of the most horribly misguided reviews I've ever read, easily as bad as the worst of Pitchfork.)
Now, I know there's no shortage of indie rock-oriented blogs out there, but that's precisely the problem -- there are far too many to wade through unaided and find the ones that are actually worthwhile. So, um, suggestions welcome.
Meanwhile, I think I'll start with JVS's excellent Vermont-based blog Latitude 44.2N. His review of the Calexico+Salvador Duran+Iron and Wine show at the Spectrum makes me both nostalgic for Montreal and damn sorry I couldn't make the NYC dates on this tour -- especially since I won't be able to catch Calexico's gig at Joe's Pub on Jan 24th either. Sigh.