I've got a whole city to hold down

April 30, 2004

Bitchin' session

If there are two things that really grate on us about music coverage in this town, they are (1) cluelessness and (2) bad writing. Unfortunately, we've suffered through examples of each just in, oh, the last 18 hours.

The clueless.
WTTW's Chicago Tonight. First, the insufferable Bob Sirott offers this intro: "Hip Hop has become a major music force in Chicago" (uh yeah about 25 years ago Bob) "spawning such talent as Kanye West and Twista. And more homegrown talent is sure to emerge especially at the Subterranean Night Club where they have a weekly open mic night." Then he introduces a canned piece by ex-V103 jockey Bonnie DeShong, in which she gives biographical thumbnails of Kanye and Twista over stock footage, then attempts to banter uncomfortably with a few cats at Sub-T's. Yeesh. Go back to the dusties, puh-leeze.

The bad.
[Disclaimer: Every time we start to write something snarky about this guy, we feel a little twinge of remorse ... as in, 'C'mon man, why do always hafta pick on the same dude?' But then we remember he's writing for what's like the third-largest paper in America. And then we don't feel bad anymore ... just flummoxed as to how he keeps it up. Anyway, on to the Lurie Howler, which we are just about ready to make a patented weekly feature of this blog.]

So today Matthew Lurie turns his attention away from hip-hop and onto Deerhoof; specifically the band's Bottle gig from a couple night ago. In fairness, some of Lurie's imagery is intriguing ("funk that walked on stilts," guitars that "sounded as if they were scaling a wall one minute and falling off a cliff the next"). But his "style" is so awkward, so terribly prim, that we feel like we should don our little white gloves and a monocle before reading. Or maybe stop to gaze upon our great-grandfather's pocketwatch about halfway through. Witness: "In Deerhoof, one is fortunate to see the Tony Williams of rock drumming, Greg Saunier. ... Seeing Deerhoof live also reminds that their recordings have little overdubbing." And so on. Good god, man, lighten up! It's only rock 'n' roll!

Update: Over the weekend we received an e-mail response from Lurie that was detailed, thoughtful, and far more respectful than we probably deserve. For that, our hats are off.