Joanna Newsom
Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band

Drag City
Reviewed by: Mike Powell
Reviewed on: 2007-04-25

Posted 04/25/2007 - 08:54:48 AM by Richie_A:
 I don't get why yourselves and Pitchfork reviewed what's pretty much a stopgap single containing just one new track with the same level of attention normally given to a new album..? I love Newsom but I don't know if every little release from her needs to be pored over this much.
Posted 04/25/2007 - 09:42:53 AM by mikepowell:
 richie: it's a concession to the (small slice of the) world at large. which, no offense, i say in the very first sentence. but, i mean, i totally agree with you, and i was one of those people who LOVED ys.
Posted 04/25/2007 - 09:55:23 AM by Richie_A:
 Okay, fair enough :-)
Posted 04/25/2007 - 09:59:42 AM by raskolnikov:
 Stylus and Pitchfork review albums like these because they are paid by publicists to do so--if not in outright cash, then in free product, free shows, and other kinds of favors. There are no altruistic reasons for covering overexposed indie rock artists....
Posted 04/25/2007 - 10:13:06 AM by mikepowell:
 you want a +1 for being such a diligent commenter, raskolnikov? jeez, that's the most insulting thing i've heard in a while. do you even have a clue? you think publicists are tripping over each other to hold the door for someone from STYLUS? i am actually laughing, out loud, from my desk at my day job.
Posted 04/25/2007 - 11:24:40 AM by averyisland:
 hear hear. keep up the great work ONLINE covering under/overexposed indie/mainline artists. those who don't like it can read people mag ON LINE at safeway.
Posted 04/25/2007 - 02:13:40 PM by cwperry:
 I like what I read somewhere else: that this release does a good job of lightening things up after the intensity of Ys. I also like that it's a little document of a touring band that had to cancel some shows--almost a souvenir for folks who didn't get to see it live. I also think the title is absolutely fantastic--a rare example of someone in the indie rock scene allowing levity into their world without the need to make it ironic. I don't care much for the yelping in the new tune, but this is a nice little record and it scratches an itch for me.
Posted 04/26/2007 - 08:56:45 AM by raskolnikov:
 The beauty of politicking is that those who are being bought do not even know that they are being bought. How many free shows have you attended in the last year, Mr. Powell? Consider this: in the last year or so this mag had a feature on a band written by a writer who also was a band member's brother. It also ran Dom Passentino's disavowal of 50 or so records of the week from its previous year. Who, then, picks terrible bands like Guillemots or Elbow to be bands of the week? Does your editing staff wake up one day and say "Let's do a feature on this band"? Of course not--you are prodded by publicists, advertising, nepotistic concerns, and the scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours nature of the music business to keep bad music in the headlines. If not paid outright, labels trade you and your ilk unlimited access (compared to the average listener) to product, live shows, and minor perks like parties for presence in the media. If your rag trashed ten straight Drag City releases, do you really think they'd still send stuff to you for review? Watch out when you jump on high horses, Mr. Powell--you might sprain your ankle when you dismount. And your +1 score for me is as meaningless as your protestations of integrity....
Posted 04/26/2007 - 11:33:15 AM by NickSouthall:
 In the case of both Guillemots and Elbow (and Patrick Wolf for that matter) I personally sought out their publicist / PR and asked for material / interview access because I love both bands. If my taste doesn't jive with yours, well, that's being alive. In the case of something like Acoustic Ladyland I went out and bought the damn record myself and then wrote about it because it blew my head off.

Yes, I have had emails specifically to me from PR people because they thought I might like stuff and want to cover it, and I receive solicited and unsolicited promos and huge amounts of unsolicited mass PR emails, sometimes from artists themselves. Sometimes this results in a good review (the last e.s.t. record, Faux Pas and Wilderness Survival just from things I've reviewed over the last 12 months), sometimes a bad review (Thirteen Senses) and a lot of the time no review at all. There is not a "Stylus office" somewhere with a load of bunches of flowers and boxes of chocolates from PR people on favour of positive coverage. What there is, is a load of music fans in bedrooms and study rooms and other-job-offices around the planet, and a private messageboard, and lots of emails, and this website.

Given the way street teams, Myspace strategies and the like operate these days, the lines between 'fan' and 'journalist' have all but collpased, Mr raskolnikov. Yes, we are in the belly of the machine, but so are you if you've ever clicked through your recommendations on Amazon or downloaded a song or, even read an online music magazine. I've not paid for entry to a gig in a long time, but given the work that I have put into this site over the last five years (and my efforts are as nothing compared to some) that's hardly politick in action. And thinking about it, I did pay for Regina Spektor tickets.
Posted 05/03/2007 - 07:57:49 AM by mikepowell:
 oh man i wish i'd checked this again. i mean, i always pay for every show i go to...i think the last show i got guestlisted for was os mutantes last july, and that was in part because i'd written a print newspaper preview for the show. i'd say about 90% of the time, pr people say "we'll put you on the list!!!" and then you get there and you're not, you're just another joe who wants to see a band you like, so you pay the money and you go. glamor--if only!