Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pitchfork batting averages

This guy has taken the time to compile averages of Pitchfork reviewers' ratings. He admits himself that it's statistically flawed, since he takes the first 40 results in our search engine for writers who have a ton of reviews (that would include me), but I was still fascinated to see it. It would be cool if we did a statistically accurate, in-house breakdown like this, to see which writers are harshest, find out who seems to prefer indie rock to hip-hop, &c. Could actually be very useful. I'm pleased to see I'm neither the harshest nor the nicest, falling right around the middle of the scale. There are other things to consider - Plagenhoef, for instance, has such a high average because as an editor, he writes fewer reviews, and when he does, it's generally something he likes and wants to bring attention to. Still, great project.

This comes on the heels of yet another slanted, sloppy NYT article about the site. I understand that plenty of people have axes to grind against Pitchfork, what's shocking is how often this grinding takes place in respected journalistic organs. I'm not looking for a puff piece, but I would like to see an article that engages with the site on a realistic, modern level, instead of making snide comments that haven't been valid vis-a-vis Pitchfork for at least a couple years. This article, at least, has some kind things to say about our writing. But check out this gem:

But in a downloaded, mashed-up, genre-crossing musical age, Pitchfork may fall outside the mainstream. Craig Marks is the editor in chief of Blender, which covers a lot of musical real estate, not just indie rock but also rap, industrial and pop.

"With us, it's about the songs," he said. "Pitchfork is like this utopian hippie outpost, where people are pure and bohemian and have great values. Their implicit message is that there is a huge corrupt recording industry and they have decided to band together and fight the good fight."

Right, Pitchfork only covers indie music and hates the mainstream - maybe three to five years ago. This is just plain lazy. Even a cursory read of our content over the last couple years will reveal a bevy of mainstream rap and pop reviews, as well as loads of dance music and electronica. In fact, if there is a Pitchfork bias, I'd venture to say that it's in favor of mainstream music these days, as the site reacts against the righteous indie stance with which it began, and which so many articles frustratingly refuse to acknowledge is a thing of the past, focusing on outdated sterotypes instead. (Not to mention the fact that our stable of writers has expanded broadly in terms of size and tastes, to the point where we have someone on staff who's qualified to review most any genre you can think of.) And really - industrial? Then there's this:

Much discussion on the site is about who has sold out and who has not, about how the Mainstream Media is clueless about music (guilty as charged, in my case, anyway) and who is actually down for the cause.

This is just a gross inaccuracy. The person who wrote this article either hasn't read the site in years, or they managed to only consult the archive in doing their research. The Mainstream Media is clueless about music? We just dropped a 9.5 on Kanye West (much deserved, BTW). This is not an isolated incident, mainstream rap and pop draw high ratings on Pitchfork regularly. Its' widely acknowledged that "indie" is a hollow set of signifiers, and while it's fine to like indie music, it shouldn't be brought to bear critically. Pitchfork is going or has gone popist. When will this be acknowledged?

While so much user-generated content on the Web is tendentious and full of flabby partisan attacks, Pitchfork steps up to the plate with a rigorous rating system, serious (if idiosyncratic) critical standards and a roster of 40 or so talented young writers.

We're talented, sweet! But user-generated? Sorry, most of us are professional writers, at least part time. As in we write for professional publications, for money. You can't just log in to Pitchfork and write a review. This misinformation is in the New York Times, and I doubt we'll be seeing a correction notice.

It's great that we're getting all this press, and a lot of it at least grudgingly acknowledges our influence. But I've yet to see the definitive Pitchfork article that takes on our flaws (I'm not saying they don't exist, I'm saying they're too often identified with outdated information or just wrongly) and our merits in a way that's balanced, current and realistic. Is that so much to ask?

Sunday, August 28, 2005


It's here. And it's fucking tremendous, literally and otherwise. Prepare to read until your eyeballs fall out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Here Comes Everybody

An interview with yrs truly just went up at Lance Phillips' awesome poet interview blog, Here Comes Everybody. I've long enjoyed HCE and am thrilled to be a part of it. Check it out.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Some Windows

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Status Ain't Hood

Tom Breihan goes live on his new Village Voice blog, Status Ain't Hood. A live grime roundup, verdict: Roll Deep sux, Kano rox. Get you some.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Creation Myth

Lesion, jamb and skaldic jaw fluxion idiom tidier; uremia odium awe.

Bite wampum dice, skim limit troika calm? Drafty retch Yule junkman sues:

a dive, a poker, and a caddy. Red coifs ouch! Zest radii loamy art duel,

iced yuck fiche fib. Gucci waste o.k. chunks (nudes eddied fake inkjet pies),

city tight mob juju. Xerox dung, “Seek life mix sigma dimes put dude dander.”

Ice soaked cave dive – decoy dope, cube speed vendor / slink mire yeoman prim child.

Ides’ eye, ogle do moist bodice, mice, died vodka yokel lotus? You orifice:

eyed cry wide, a paved myth i.e. coke thug echo.

It is more than enough to say cove, swarthy kiosk dial,

tufted nerve pocks sick battue earwax.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Darkness and the Match

One moment, you are laying in bed with your significant other, watching television. The next, you find yourself in utter darkness. It's not that the lights have gone out, or that you've gone blind, or that you've been mystically or technologically "teleported" somewhere. (You may well have been teleported, or maybe not, this is not the issue). What's important is that suddenly, you are enveloped in darkness, in a space that is not your bedroom. You stand on a floor, hard and flat, with no particular texture. The air is perfectly still, tasteless and odorless, lacking qualities. It's so dark you have to touch your body to affirm that you still exist as a physical entity. You do. You have not yet moved, since for all you know, the terrain might be treacherous. You wave your arms, encountering no obstruction. You stand still and wait for something to happen. Something happens. A flare of light pierces the darkness, somewhere to your left. (Lacking context, the actual distance is impossible to determine.) Presently, you realize that the flare of light is a lit match. You know this because of how it plays, and how it wavers slightly, as if held in a hand. (The match is not bright enough to illuminate this theoretical hand. You intuit the hand because of the match's spatial position, which seems to be about eye level, and by its gentle waver.) You watch as the match begins to scroll to the right, slightly bobbing and guttering. At a certain point, somewhere to your right, the match stops moving. Do you assume that the distance the match has covered is the width of the room, beginning at one wall and proceeding to the other? Do you assume that it is safe to walk from where you are to where the match now hovers? Who is holding the match? As you weigh these questions, the match goes out, plunging you again into utter darkness. Reaching into your pocket, you find a single match.

What I meant to say

What I meant to say in my last post is that apparently, I was not the first to think up the name Slatherpuss. The main difference is that Henry Jones is selling his Slatherpuss for $1,200, while I'm just giving the shit away, so you make the call. True, his is a lenticular. But if you stare at mine for long enough, I guarentee you something or other will pop out.

If so:

Slatherpuss in a field of pink daisies was first created as a diarama where ...
Slatherpuss was create for the lenticular medium as a hyper detailed world. ...

Slatherpuss in a field of pink daisies in 4-D lenticular. ... dimensionality and animation. Slatherpuss is an animated 3D character Slatherpuss. An ugly baby in a sexy dress ... Slatherpuss hearts Michel Houellebecq.
Thursday, July 14, 2005. 11 kHz.
Queer tux polo jug dais scab amok jug dad wert yoyo polka heft sass coven amok ...Previous message: [Lucipo] Slatherpuss; Next message: [Lucipo] poetry podcasts; Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ] ...I've just posted this on my blog, http://slatherpuss.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Random Media Server

My friend Greg Barbera just sent me a link to the Random Media Server with the following explanation:

"It's called Random Media Server. The site generates this stuff automatically, apparently, "scraping" stuff off the WWW. The guy who designed it is Bill Luoma. Below is a link to the live server itself. Click on it and take a look at what it generates for you. Every time you click on the link below, it will generate something different. Pretty fucking amazing."


This is a cool thing. Here's a result I got from the Random Media Server:

"Fw: a chide's alphabet

Orgone Energy Posix shell. Users of brainf*cked shells such as csh should really consider using a proper shell. Published. Published. Do the request to any nameserver. Listen while I family and friends EPIPE all of us who knew her work; The image of that lovely face and bubbly personality will never be further from us than the late show . Do evil in return. THIS WEEK Mark Baker THIS WEEK Webmaster THIS WEEK,

Batman's problem. Also a new crime-fighter on the streets. problem CONTESTS Problem. Review service (Featuring the most popular requests each month, service (Featuring the most popular requests each month; a Video Review service (Featuring the most popular requests each month; the most popular requests each month, a Video Review service (Featuring the most popular requests each month Re: [ImitaPo] At War with that mysterious Enemy (fwd) Review service (Featuring the most popular requests each month. (Featuring the most popular requests each month, Really speak to people. That really speak to people. Communications that really speak to people. That really speak to people. after finding that some of the prisoners became more aggressive and agitated Mark Baker A Norwegian prison has stopped giving yoga sessions to inmates after finding that some of the prisoners became more aggressive and agitated. (AP. Norway (AP; has stopped giving yoga sessions to inmates after finding that some of the prisoners became more aggressive and agitated Rumor Has It Has stopped giving yoga sessions to inmates after finding that some of the prisoners became more aggressive and agitated. That some of the prisoners became more aggressive and agitated. is a Great Idea for Father's Day LeRouge Gift Subscription is a Great Idea for Father's Day, Gift Subscription is a Great Idea for Father's Day. Gift Subscription is a Great Idea for Father's Day; Is a Great Idea for Father's Day. because the buffer overflow in it got fixed (deactivated would be a more proper word, because the buffer overflow in it got fixed (deactivated would be a more proper word Colin the buffer overflow in it got fixed (deactivated would be a more proper word Dreadful Realization Server because the buffer overflow in it got fixed (deactivated would be a more proper word. Quake game ENOMSG quake, Project is a free software initiative to enhance the original Quake game. initiative to enhance the original Quake game, Quake game MPAA Project is a free software initiative to enhance the original Quake game."

Fuck. I think F7 just became obsolete.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

F7 in Octopus

Good news! Octopus Magazine's "New Poets" issue, which came out yesterday, includes 8 poems from my manuscript, F7 (for more on F7, see my previous post), as well as a terrific batch of work from my good friend Randall Williams. Thanks to Octopus editor Zachary Schomburg for putting together this exciting group of new voices, and for allowing F7 to stretch its legs in this expansive setting. And much gratitude to Tony Tost for his close reading, his lively (and very flattering!) introduction, and his general support. I don't want this to sound like an Oscar speech, but Tony, Ken Rumble, Randall, Todd Sandvik, Marcus Slease, Chris Vitiello, Patrick Herron, and many other members of Lucifer Poetics have been such an inspiration to me, by their guidance, friendship, talent, and dedication, that I can't imagine F7 existing without them. One love.

I read many of the poems included in Octopus on the just-completed Lucifer Poetics reading tour, and while I'd like to blog about the trip at length, the life of the freelance writer / menial laborer requires constant work to sustain. After five days on the road, I'm so deeply buried under emails and deadlines that I'll have to wait until the clusterfuck clears to hopefully mount a recap worthy of this excellent tour. Suffice it to say that the trip was a success on a number of levels. For one, it ran pretty much like clockwork, especially considering how loose and fast we played it with details like lodgings, directions and so on (a gaggle of teamsters didn't know what to make of us the morning after the Brooklyn reading, sprawled on a Williamsburg sidewalk with an atlas trying to figure out how to get to Ithaca and playing the ukelele). Two, we had a blast, meeting up with old friends and making new ones, enjoying incredible hospitality from the poetic communities and in general everywhere we went. In Baltimore, we got to spend some quality time with our good friends from the DC / Baltimore poetry scenes, and I kicked it with Tom Breihan on one of his final nights in B-more before heading to New York to start a fantastic new gig blogging for the Voice (congrats, Tom!). Besides enjoying monstrous hospitality from Molly (poet and owner of Molly's Bookstore, whose last name unfortunatley eludes me) and Linh Dinh, we met Philly punk rock legend Mikey Wild and weirded up the open mic at Ray's Happy Birthday Bar. Brooklyn was a social overload - got in some good face time with the Moistworks crew, Forker Brandon Stosuy and his girlfriend Jane, various old friends from Chapel Hill, and many others. But perhaps the most important aspect of the trip was that, because of the theatrical and collaborative nature of the readings we devised (my cell developed a sort of dramatic framework that we used to contrast and blend our individual work, tweaking and refining the process each night), we learned a hell of a lot about our own poetry and each other's. These were undoubtedly the best, most exciting and innovative readings we've ever done as a group, and it's certain that there will be more emphasis on collaboration in Lucipo's future. Here are some pictures that Greg Delisle took of the reading in Ithaca in the amazing space provided by the Lost Dog Cafe.