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

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

Return of the ‘R’

In 1981 Soho Weekly News columnist Kaplan covered the London debut of Hoboken’s jumpy, innocuous Bongos, who were slammed in NME, he reported, for calling themselves ‘rock ‘n’ roll’: ‘The term is currently out of vogue in English new wave circles because it conjures up overbearing macho attitudes.’ This was the first wave of the U.K.’s ridiculous anti-‘rockism’ campaign… – Robert Christgau, “They Don’t Want … Continue reading Return of the ‘R’

Secret Agent Men

Devo’s Paradox: Why some art can’t be appreciated in its own time. By Noel Murray, AV Club. Nearly a year old, this piece, but just discovered today. Akron’s spud boys vs. four seventies rock critics–Christgau, Bangs, Dave Marsh, and Tom Carson–none of whom reserve too many kind words for the band (though of the four, only Marsh seems to out and out despise them). Clearly, … Continue reading Secret Agent Men

Carola Dibbell on Fiction and Music Writing

An interview with Carola Dibbell at Black Clock: BLACK CLOCK: You wrote rock criticism on and off for thirty years and have spoken before about the leakage between fiction and music writing. Can you explain what you mean by that? What role has music played in your fiction? CAROLA DIBBELL: In the early seventies, I was surprised and impressed by the rock writing in Dave … Continue reading Carola Dibbell on Fiction and Music Writing

Genesis vs. The Dean

Ward-bait! Christgau has at Genesis; Genesis fans have back at Christgau. I know, har-har yeah-whatever, tell-me-something-I-don’t-already-know (er, you do know where you are now, right?) but it’s funny reading this in light of a comment I posted on the architecture site recently by pre-Yo La Tengo rock critic, Ira Kaplan (from a great review, actually, of the first Christgau guide; someone mailed me a photocopy … Continue reading Genesis vs. The Dean