I took part in my first Bandcamp listening party on Thursday night for Small Black’s Limits of Desire reissue. It was a blast. Getting to chat with lead singer Josh Kolenik while listening to the full album was a special treat. I enjoyed the background info on the record and getting to hear anecdotes. I was bummed to hear that Kolenik was so affected by the negative review of the album by Pitchfork staff that he stopped reading reviews of the band’s work.
Having stopped following Pitchfork regularly years ago, I had forgotten how influential the publication has been as a tastemaker. It makes me sad for all the musicians whose music they trash. I went through reviews of releases by some of my favorites, and almost all the reviews were negative (it’s remarkable to read the differences between a 6.5 and an 8.5 review). Yet, I still like all that music!
I’m thankful that the bar to check out new music is now so low that reviews by hipster pubs like Pitchfork no longer carry the weight they used to, even ten years ago.