Sunday, September 21, 2008

Put a Fork in It

The Airborne Toxic Event are an LA-based band with one song that I really like, and a new album which Pitchfork thinks I won't like much at all, hence the 1.6 out of 10 review they recently gave it. I haven't heard the whole album, so I don't have an opinion on their other songs, but I sure have something to say about this review:

The Airborne Toxic Event is an album that's almost insulting in its unoriginality; while the sound most outsiders attribute to Los Angeles has been marginalized to Metal Skool and the average customer at the Sunset Boulevard Guitar Center, TATE embodies the Hollywood ideal of paying lip service to the innovations of mavericks while trying to figure out how to reduce it to formula.

Oh my. Reviewer Ian Cohen manages to achieve a truly amazing feat: He admits that what he terms the "outsider" perspective of LA is far from reality, yet in the very same sentence he delivers up a big fat cliche about "Hollywood ideals." Quite ironic for someone who's judging others for being formulaic, isn't it?

Fortunately, the Airborne Toxic Event were smart enough to see this too, and posted an open letter to Cohen calling him out on their website:

...It also seems to have very little to do with us. Much of your piece reads less like a record review and more like a diatribe against a set of ill-considered and borderline offensive preconceptions about Los Angeles. Los Angeles has an extremely vibrant blogging community, Silver Lake is a very close-knit rock scene. We are just one band among many. (And by the way, L.A. does have a flagship indie rock band: they’re called Silversun Pickups). We cut our teeth at Spaceland and the Echo and have nothing to do with whatever wayward ideas you have about the Sunset Strip.

That's what we're saying, Airborne Toxic Event. You are now the official soundtrack to Nobody Walks in LA, at least until we have to take someone to task for writing that you can really hear the sound of angel wings in Castledoor.

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