Let me preface this by saying I am a fan of Sasha Frere-Jones -- he's an incredibly gifted, knowledgeable, and compelling writer. Also, I respect his willingness to get in there and mix it up on issues of racial identity and music. This shit is worth talking about, and avoiding the tough questions don't make them any less pertinent.
But what I don't get -- and I am certain I am not alone here -- is how, exactly, you write a 3,500-word New Yorker piece, plus a follow-up blog post and podcast interview, on the general topic of "Why does indie rock sound so goddamned white?" without once mentioning, even in passing, TV on the Radio.
Are they, like Eminem, an anomalous outlier -- the exception that proves the rule? Well okay, but... isn't it worth at least tangentially addressing the fact that the most critically acclaimed band in indie rock is 4/5ths black? I'm not trying to claim that this one group undermines SF-J's entire argument or anything lame like that, but... well, don't you think people might think this was kind of a curious omission?
Sasha's piece is well worth reading, and he makes a lot of solid points (especially w/r/t the scene's inexplicable love of insular mopiness and flat-out inept singing), but I honestly cannot fathom his reasons for dancing around this particular elephant.