Sunday, March 23, 2014

On blogging...

In this day and age when any idiot can be a music blogger, it's perfectly logical to ask what role people like me should play. Should we be cheerleaders? Promoters? Critics? Entertainers? Are we doing a disservice to bands if we fail to offer constructive critiques of their music? Are we pompous jerks if we do offer constructive critiques of their music? Ultimately, I'd say it all depends on the intentions and goals of each blogger. I can't speak for anyone else who does the sort of thing I do. I can only tell you what I try to do with F & L. And what I try to do is to merely bring attention to music that people might enjoy. Which is why I only write about music that I genuinely like.

In no way at all do I consider myself a critic. For many years, I attempted to be one. And I am highly ashamed of every negative word I've ever written about any band in the past. Bands put their heart and soul into creating music, and they certainly don't deserve to have their efforts demeaned by some pretentious asshole who doesn't really know what he's talking about. I have no personal opposition to the idea of music criticism. I think when it's done well, honest criticism can be very constructive to bands. But I feel the person issuing the critique should be a working musician with technical knowledge and experience in that world. Me? I'm just a fan.

To me, part of what makes underground music unique is how we discover so much of it through word of mouth. I can think of lots of my favorite bands of both all-time (Replacements, The Boys) and present day (The Cry!, L.A. Drugz) that I came to discover entirely because friends went to the trouble of turning me on to them. I am so thankful for that and eager to pay it forward. I am neither qualified nor inclined to judge the "worth" of music. But as a music lover who finds everyday life greatly enriched by the joy of rock n' roll, I'm most definitely inclined to publicly share what I like. In the old days, I heard songs I liked and put them on mixed tapes for my friends. Now I put up links to streaming tracks on a personal blog. It's essentially the same thing.

I've been hearing from a lot of bands and labels lately, and I am deeply humbled by that. I feel bad that I don't have time to write about all the music that is brought to my attention. And I feel bad when I don't like something enough to review it. That said, if you've got a piece of music that you do want me to hear, I promise I will at least give it a fair listen with an open mind. I only ask that all submissions be digital. I am not comfortable accepting physical submissions since I know I cannot guarantee a positive review (or any review at all).

Thanks to all of you who take the time to stop by my insignificant corner of the blogosphere. Perhaps I still haven't mastered the concept of keeping my reviews short and letting the music speak for itself. But trust me: I'm working on it!

-L.R.

2 comments:

mick fletcher said...

i feel pretty much the same as you though i haven't the skill to write as much as you and keep people entertained so i pretty much just try to post a song i really like and say a few words. i'd ask bands for submissions to post but i don't want to admit to not liking their work so i try to find stuff on my own. luckily there's some great stuff out there

Bill Roberts said...

Lord R:

First off, not an insignificant corner of the online world, but a rockin', passionate, helpful one.

You're right to focus on what you like since there's too much interesting stuff around to waste time denigrating that which you don't (whether it deserves it or not).

And word of mouth is critical -- I spent two hours adding some of your recent recommendations to my Rdio collection. I believe I'm headed for a weeklong power-pop-punk-garage-glam bender.

Lastly -- connections matter. I stopped by "Powerpopoholic"'s blog last night. Saw the lead recommendation on The Cry! Listed to the featured song, went to Bandcamp, bought the LP, read your praise, came to your site. Bingo!

Anyway, keep writing and I'll keep reading!

...Bill