So Pitchfork likes the Fix reissue....
Never read me much of Pitchfork, and I don't even need to point out that they've never reviewed anything we've sent them (from Mad at the World or Hungry Eye), but I read a seriously funny entry on pitchfork on the Idolator blog, so I followed a link to see what was brewing over there and lo and behold they review the Fix reissue on Touch and Go, and give it a pretty good review. Of course, it was peppered with the fashionably cynical, snide praise I've encountered whenever I've seen a review on that site.
Now, I have to concur; I'm not terribly interested in most reunion shows (I realize I'm saying this as an enthusiastic mention of the Subhumans Canada and Go! appear below this post), and I missed/avoided most of the big CB's shows the past year even while I lived three subway stops away, but somehow Pitchfork's praise of early hardcore with the added jab aimed at "old men trying to act young again" rubbed me the wrong way. I took a gander to see if Pitchfork's given any press time to current hardcore acts that have been making a name for themselves. It might be the fact that their search engine's all screwed up, but I couldn't find anything on the likes of Gorilla Angreb, Regulations, Career Suicide, Fucked Up, or like bands that seem to have been getting a good deal of hype. (rightly or wrongly-- I tend to think they're all great bands, even though I've only seen CS and have records by CS and GA) I did spot a Pissed Jeans mention, and I remember Fat Rich from Parts Unknown telling me they emailed him for a review copy of the record they put out.
Ah, of course-- only bands on sizeable "indie" labels with enough cash flow to afford nice PR campaigns will get press space. I doubt T&G spent an arm and leg on promoting the Fix CD (I may be wrong, but I doubt it), but a pretty penny is spent on Calexico and the like. Money may be less of an issue in getting a review slot than the ever elusive "cred". It's no surprise writers are scrambling to write about the same bands (or bands on the same label) in hopes of being credited with an early review of a record they know will do well. That said, my prediction is that the next hardcore record to get reviewed on Pitchfork will either be the Pissed Jeans record on Sub Pop or the Fucked Up record on Jade Tree.
What does this have to do with Pitchfork's offhanded comment about "old men trying to act young" (which, mind you, I might agree with if I was inclined to care that much to be jaded about it). Well, it's that kind of journalistic practice which effectively rules out the possibility of a label growing and prospering the way Dischord or Touch and Go did or even the way Rough Trade did... As much as people can talk about how much "smaller" the hardcore scene was "back in the day," it's important to realize it wasn't all that uncommon to put out a great record, get some good reviews, tour some, and sell 2000+ copies of said record. Try doing that nowadays without investing serious dough. So it's a rather comfortable position to perch oneself in-- that from which one can pronounce the death and subsequent impossibility of a music scene while neglecting ones own role in ushering in that impossibility.
Because, really, it has nothing to do with "originality" or "novelty" or whatever ubiquitous buzzwords music writers throw around, especially to justify this death by referring to the "conformity" that the early hardcore scene apparently ultimately succumbed to. I'd be hard-pressed to admit the absolute originality of any rock n roll record, whether it's "Victim in Pain," "Tied Down," or even something like "White Light/ White Heat" or "In the Court of the Crimson King". It certainly wouldn't be anything by the Hold Steady (the Pitchfork favorite), though, I can say that! We'd be in trouble if "originality" is the criteria for ANY form of rock 'n roll (and sure, hardcore is such a form, why the hell not?). At the very least, we'd be pretty misguided.
I'll stop now, as this already went on longer than I was expecting, and I'm running the risk of coming across as having a "sour grapes" mentality 'cause our records aren't reviewed on Pitchfork. You know I'll take the reviews, good or bad! And, Idolator and Predictfork do a better job lampooning them in a lot less words.
However-- what's with every fuckin' record on T&G being reissues except the Necros?? Yeah, I know, Cory Rusk, falling out with other members, blah, blah, blah. But BLIGHT got a reissue?!? I mean, I like Blight just fine, and you could say the same thing about some of the reissues we've done/ will do on MATW, but shit-- get over yourselves and put the music out. Either that, or someone in Europe should bootleg the shit out of it. How's about a "Reagan Era HC" Necros boot? or perhaps one c/o "Kill For Christ" (the bootleg series, not the record)?