Hello ones and all!
We just wanted to address some things about our blog. Yes, it's been a good three or so years of running it, and we still haven't really addressed y'all that well about how we go about doing things. So better late than never, though in this case maybe never would come off cooler.
So then, the stars (actually they're just numbers): we feel that an album must be above and beyond average to merit your time. Hence, 3 un-stars doesn't cut it, but 3.5 just barely does. We often award around the 2.5- 3.5 range because we've found that most albums, by and large, are somewhere in the average range - slightly above or slightly below. Why do we do this? Furthermore, why do we feel this is right? We've found that, with all this fancy-schmancy producing and mastering-trickery, that most songs tend not to go too low on the listenability scale. We get a lot of music through, and for the most part, we're not getting the kind of stuff where someone flatulates (yes, that is not a real word) on a low-quality mic and loops it 1700 times for a five-minute track. It is almost always a high-quality mic.
Number two: we get a whole lot more emails than you can shake a recording stick at. At least fifty a day on weekdays. So we go through and listen to singles, drop the ones that really don't interest us, attempt to enjoy the ones that mildly do, and spring for the very very few that we think are worth our time. If we could, we would find the time to review everything that comes our way. But we don't get paid for it, save in music, so we're going to try to get the best music we can with as limited time as we've got. So when you see something panned like that review of The Features (which we held such high hopes for!) it's often there because the single was great, but the rest of the album just sucked upon delivery. We also get the occasional ultra-indie band doing their own PR, (that's Public Relations, the people who intermediary for bands and magazines), and we try to do all the full-length albums the small guys send our way. We've found a couple (Bella Clava, Bury Me a Lion) that were worth our time.
So what is our feeling on reviewing? We feel a lot of music is just plain average right now. It's mixed and put together well enough that none of it - or very little - is truly pathetic, and that it generally satisfies some sort of itch that someone out there might have. But ultimately, if a lot of the stuff is average, you're still only going to have $7.39 and two worn buttons to spend on music for a year (if you're like us). So we want to put all that average stuff aside, and get you to listen to the above-above average albums, stuff like Dutch Uncles and Beware of Darkness. That's where we feel we do a service to you guys. And gals.
But we want to hear more from you! Is there anything you want us to review? We'll do it (granted that the album comes in)! Are there reviews that you felt were unfair, or just way off-target? Well, you're wrong, but let us know about them anyway! We know we're not charging you a thing - money or time spent on ads that aren't there - but we want to get you the best reviews that we possibly can, and that starts with your input. Where else do you go? What do we do right/wrong/really really right? What are the most efficient ratios of the sides of an isoceles triangle to maximize area given a limited perimeter? (That one's tricky - it's an equilateral triangle!) So feel free to give us your feedback in any form, and we're generally sad enough to respond individually to all of you. Each and every one.
We know we don't have the pull of a Paste or Elmore, but where we feel we do better is that we don't laud every crummy little indie band that's out there. Seriously. Haven't you noticed that almost everything covered on Pitchfork is transcendent and brilliant and illuminating and really pretty good? That's really not the case, especially if you have less than infinite money to spend on music. (That and a lot of places just post up all those PR releases that we get, too - way to be impartial.) Go forth, support your indie blogs, and find good music, young man. And young woman, too.