So originally I was going to make a mega-post about my trip to NYC two weekends ago, on the occasion of my band, Canasta, playing the CMJ Music Marathon.
I don't really have the interest or energy to do that anymore, but I did want to say that the highlight of the weekend for me, even more than playing at Arlene's Grocery for a receptive crowd, was meeting some of my fellow bloggers and music critics.
On Friday afternoon, I attended the panel entitled "Press Play: Rediscovering Music Journalism Online," on which sat Matthew Perpetua of Fluxblog and Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork. Afterwards, I introduced myself as a fellow ILM poster, and I ended up hanging out and talking music for the better part of the afternoon with them, along with Mark Willett of Music for Robots. The four of us attended a second panel called "Spinning Wheels: Where Are the New Ideas in Indie Rock?", which was doomed from the very start, operating as it did under an unspoken premise that indie rock is the dominant site for progressiveness in music. (When panelist Tobi, an XM satellite radio DJ, declared herself an unabashed elitist, she made it clear that it was out of a simple sense that the indie-rock band Black Keys is "more interesting" than Usher -- never mind that Black Keys is a BLUES-ROCK band [who, to be fair, I've never heard] and Usher's single "Yeah" is a genuinely unique marriage of smooth R&B vocals and the new crunk sound [which, to be fair, I don't actually love].) (Fortunately, Pitchfork head honcho Ryan Schreiber managed to sneak in a few salient points, but not enough to rescue the discussion from idiocy and stagnation.)
On Saturday, I met Matthew at a TriBeCa gallery called Gigantic to see United State of Electronica, a Seattle septet who've made the year's best disco album (reminiscent of Daft Punk's Discovery both in the sweet vocoder hooks and the puzzling compression of the mix). Also in attendance were Matos, likely the band's biggest critic-booster, and Amy Phillips, who's 23 and writes for the Village Voice, so yeah, I'm envious. The show was packed and amazingly high-energy, and then the three of us walked through the rain for bland Mexican food, stopping first, of course, to pick up a copy of SPIN so that Matos could see how his Junior Boys review turned out and Matthew could check out his photo in the article on mp3 bloggers. How did I get mixed up with this lot again? Obviously, I was ecstatic.