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Reviewing the reviewers: “It’s September 2011 and Seattle sounds like…”

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Jack Endino by Steven Vest

By Jack Endino

Seattle Weekly has decided to do a monthly music magazine, as an insert to the Weekly. (The Rocket started that way in 1979 as an insert to the Seattle Sun.) They say they will review every local release. Dawn Anderson tried to do that with Backlash 1987-1991, and it worked great until the national ad money dried up in the Bush 1 recession. Local bands have no ad money, so I wish the Weekly luck. Sound (Seattle’s glossy in-flight magazine of music) didn’t last either.

These are excerpts from EACH review on the first page of the reviews section in issue number 1, Sept 2011. See a pattern?

“…floating, feel-good beats and … character-rich rhymes…”

“…teetering between rigorously mellow and painstakingly dreamlike…”

“… sparse acoustic numbers… dripping with the golden sheen of vintage country and southern rock…”

“… hard-driving, defiant punch of power pop…” [Must be a mistake.]

“… delicate vehicle for his haunting vocals… waxes existential…”

“… all four elegiac cuts, bolstered by a full string section, are gorgeously prismatic…”

“… fine, diaphanous pop music… flowing with skyward melodies and piping organs…”

“… sacrifices its airy screams and schizophrenic drumbeats for a live experience that should be seen rather than heard…” [Ha ha. Could it be an actual rock band?]

“…immediately hooky, well-balanced indy rock…”

“… reunited slowcore darlings… faint, reclining twang…”

“… elevating bursts of reverbing guitars and vocal harmonies…”

“… mesmerizing, dream-like ambient pop landscapes…”

“… catchy melodies that employ innocuous vocals, gentle strings and a couple of horns…”:

“…psychedelic guitars, reverbed vocals, and driving rhythms…” [Oops! This band is actually not from the NW.]

“… bright, lush and mature…”

“… slinking, lo-fi expertise and … eerie sci-fi soundtrack music…”

“… songs of rainy days: just a reverb-drenched piano and a lonely cello…”

“… fervent breakdowns and beautiful, melodic vocals…”

“… strong yet conventional wails backed with carefully placed instruments…”

“…their melodies are occasionally directionless, but their high-octane energy is appealing…” [Hey! Another actual rock band.]

“… sing like an angel on steroids… tangled up in possibilities…”

“… the band’s brightest, bounciest electro-pop production yet…”

“… brief, distorted bit of fuzzy pop…”

“… a little glam, a little garage, and a little great…” [Hint: this band’s on Tom Dyer’s label. Go Tom!]

“… warbles sweetly, backed by cello and piano…”

There’s two more pages like this.

Grunge is dead… but everything else sounds like it’s on life support.


2 Responses to Reviewing the reviewers: “It’s September 2011 and Seattle sounds like…”

  1. Byron September 29, 2011 at 7:24 am

    The issue here isn’t that they are reviewing the wrong bands, or not timely, etc. The problem is that they are writing reviews AT ALL. The record review only serves as a platform for the music “journalists” to show off their obscure adjective collections. I’m calling for the death of the record review, it’s totally obsolete and not useful for the listener who can easily preview or download anything they are interested in checking out and make a decision for themselves. How about instead someone write something useful and thought provoking?

  2. Everett True September 29, 2011 at 7:27 am

    You sound like you need a shot of Scott Creney or Lucy Cage, Bryon.

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