New Devon Powers book on history of rock criticism

Revisiting the work of early pop critics such as Richard Goldstein and Robert Christgau, Powers shows how they stood at the front lines of the mass culture debates, challenging old assumptions and hierarchies and offering pioneering political and social critiques of the music. Part of a college-educated generation of journalists, Voice critics explored connections between rock and contemporary intellectual trends such as postmodernism, identity politics, … Continue reading New Devon Powers book on history of rock criticism

Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism? Pt. II

This trashiness was linked to Detroit. In their March 1970 editorial “The Michigan Scene Today,” Barry Kramer, “Deday” LaRene, and Dave Marsh wrote: “It was rock and roll music which first drew us out of our intellectual covens and suburban shells” because “life in Detroit is profoundly anti-intellectual” since its “institutions are industrial and businesslike.” This setting, according to the editorial, gave birth to a … Continue reading Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism? Pt. II

Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism?

“The writers [Creem] propelled to stardom — Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, and Nick Tosches being three of the most celebrated — explored rock with a bombast that was smart but anti-intellectual, ‘amateurist and faux lowbrow,’ positioning themselves between the studious class of New York writers and the deference that came out of San Francisco.” “If Goldstein represented the quandary of what critical practise should be … Continue reading Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism?

“Making rock criticism safe for theory”

Bill Marx, in Fuse, reviews Devon Powers‘s Writing the Record: The Village Voice and the Birth of Rock Criticism. Here and there Writing the Record lives up to its billing as a provocative examination of Village Voice critics as reflectors on as well as reflections of the intersection of popular music, the rise of hype, and left-wing politics during the ‘60s and beyond. But overall … Continue reading “Making rock criticism safe for theory”

Abiding Disenchantment & Vexed Concepts

[Goldstein] was and presumably still is a man whose capacious enthusiasms leave him vulnerable to big disappointments. He was so disenchanted with Utopia’s failure to materialize that he bailed on being a rock critic six months before Woodstock. Not many people today even remember he was one, let alone the earliest influential one. Voice readers of my generation probably associate him far more with the … Continue reading Abiding Disenchantment & Vexed Concepts

Open the Door, Richard

Pitchfork: The first column at The Voice to do this with music was Richard Goldstein’s “Pop Eye”. He wasn’t there for very long, but he developed a unique way to approach music intellectually and enthusiastically at the same time. DP: Goldstein started writing at The Village Voice in 1966, after finishing his masters in journalism at Columbia. He wanted to write about pop with a capital P: It’s mass culture, it’s … Continue reading Open the Door, Richard