Who are the best music journalists currently/ever?

blissblogger

Well-known member
I like Neil kulkarni's writing but then he has terrible taste. You read his reviews and think fucking hell that sounds amazing must check that one out. Then you give it a listen and it's dogshit.

But taste isn't necessary for good writing. May be many of the best writers had bad taste actually.

i wouldn't go that far, but yeah now and then i have bought things that Neil has raved about - uk hip hop types things - and not been able to quite see why he's so excited.

there are definitely writers who are totally enjoyable to read and have interesting / unusual / provocative things to say but you would never use them as a guide to what to listen - Chuck Eddy, the late Steven Wells, quite a few others

on the other hand, i sometimes think that taste is the sine qua non with a critic - i mean, if they can't get that right, then how could you trust them on anything?

my favorite critics have always had near-infallible taste (Barney Hoskyns for example) or perhaps it's that their audio erogenous zones and mine are in synch, i don't know

it doesn't matter so much nowadays, as you can check out anything yourself, zero cost or effort required - but in the old days, it would matter, if you were the kind of person who would buy a record unheard just based on a frothing purple piece of advocacy.... if the consumer tip was duff, there's goes 5 quid down the pan, which in my impecunious teenage and student years was a calamity - i can only think of one or two records i bought on Barney's remote advocacy that underwhelmed, out of a hundred at least i should think

he also (as did others) had the ability to make me give things a second try - unimpressed by the Smiths, didn't like Cocteau Twins - but then pieces by him unlocked them for me
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
Taylor P still writes intermittently - and often very well - mostly for the Quietus - he did a great profile of Bryan Ferry not so long ago

he's become very grouchy about politics - a rabid anti-Corbynite

many of those old MM writers - Parkes, Kulkarni, Stubbs, Price, etc - gather at regular intervals to do a podcast - https://chartmusiccouk.wordpress.com/

each one is based on a particular episode of Top of the Pops from the past, with forensic levels of knowledge flexed about each act that performed on that episode, the conversation zooms back and forth between absurdly tiny biographical details and big-picture observations about music / culture / politics at that precise moment in UK history

they're good fun, with a rich sense of the absurdity of UK pop culture - but they tend to go really long - one was nearly 4 hours - and i find i rarely have the time to sit there and listen to them
 

the ig

Well-known member
it's shitty that the whole econ of contemporary pop - no-cost entry, the internet sprawl and spread - makes the inkies style portal/filter redundant, whilst for same reasons you all the more feel the need for some trustworthy source to start shaping/centering the whole darn thing for you.

obvs that's where blogs and perhaps coteries like this here forum come in...

quietus does have a bit of the old style mm chaotic fanboy vibe about it, risking more 'longform' work, and also with their openness to dance, sub-scenes of various kinds, but find a lot of writing there (bar the ex-mm guys actually) pretty poor. pitchfork is bit worthy-but-dull but ok as indieboy consumer guide.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
The writing at the quietus is shocking. One of the problems with the Internet is it encourages 'long form' pieces which should be edited to a quarter of their length.
 

the ig

Well-known member
kinda, but on the other hand the stump articles, short-ass reviews with stars etc, they condition each other i guess
 

the ig

Well-known member
should say found Simon articulating that postrock idea pretty compelling when applied to the UK strand of a r kane, disco inferno, bark psychosis and then thinking back to talk talk

but it was diminishing returns pdq - when likes of jessamine, bowery electric, hovercraft, him, rome were being hyped in mm (poss wire too), i started to feel cheated. all that flimsy stuff floating around, it was one of the nightmares of the 90s.

even tortoise and all that chicago postrock mouvance, i was getting into can, what in world is use of tortoise and those when u got the can?
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
The writing at the quietus is shocking. One of the problems with the Internet is it encourages 'long form' pieces which should be edited to a quarter of their length.

Fucking hell yeah those John doran pieces that go on for months

I like Jennifer Allen's rum music column tho that's ace. Keeps it short and makes me think about music differently
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
If you thought tortoise was bad then you should try listening to those records now.
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
I listened to tortoise on a long car journey a few months back. It was close to unlistenable. Middle management dinner jazz


We were a very strange lot back in the late 90s or whenever it was, listening to tortoise. It was like a collective hallucination.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I listened to tortoise on a long car journey a few months back. It was close to unlistenable. Middle management dinner jazz


We were a very strange lot back in the late 90s or whenever it was, listening to tortoise. It was like a collective hallucination.

I put some on YouTube the other day and I just could not believe what I was hearing. I'm sure it didn't sound like that back then!
 

Beagle

Active member
Taylor Parkes writing in When Saturday Comes is better than anything Luka could ever do.

And Luka is definitely more of a drip than Clive Martin. Luka isn't even from London... he's a gay middle class guy from New Zealand LOL.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Taylor Parkes writing in When Saturday Comes is better than anything Luka could ever do.

And Luka is definitely more of a drip than Clive Martin. Luka isn't even from London... he's a gay middle class guy from New Zealand LOL.

Taylor Parkes is an excellent journalist but I don't want to endorse your post because you're being a prick.

Re-read this by him recently and was very impressed - it's Corbyn criticism so you guys might need to get the Kleenex ready - but it's very good:

https://thequietus.com/articles/18714-jeremy-corbyn-labour-election-rally-policies

(Context of re-reading was listening to Oz Katerji's podcast, Corbyn - the post mortem. The most recent episode with Taylor was one of the most "I feel seen" moments I've ever experienced, Taylor talking about getting called all the usual Blairite neoliberal warmonger bollocks for suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn might not be so great a choice at the old PM role).
 
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craner

Beast of Burden
Taylor Parkes is excellent journalist but I don't want to endorse your post because you're being a prick.

Re-read this by him recently and was very impressed - it's Corbyn criticism so you guys might need to get the Kleenex ready - but it's very good:

https://thequietus.com/articles/18714-jeremy-corbyn-labour-election-rally-policies

(Context of re-reading was listening to Oz Katerji's podcast, Corbyn - the post mortem. The most recent episode with Taylor was one of the most "I feel seen" moments I've ever experienced, Taylor talking about getting called all the usual Blairite neoliberal warmonger bollocks for suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn might not be so great a choice at the old PM role).

I just listened to this on the way into work, it was interesting and entertaining.

TP's Quietus articles are hit and miss and I think they suffer from the fact that the website has virtually zero editorial recourse or quality control. But the good stuff, like his pieces about The Professionals, 'In Bed With Chris Needham', the Beatles in Hamburg and Paul McCartney/Wings are as good as anything that has been published over the last 10 years. Other things, like the Britpop and Jeremy Corbyn pieces, were full of very good bits, but desperately needed to be edited and cut, something which seemed to happen on Melody Maker, although I know a lot of the writers there complained about the subs.

Through a strange turn of events, I ended up at Taylor Parkes 30th birthday party at his Highgate flat in 2003.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I read the Matt Bolton/Harry Pitts book recently (the other interviewees) - it's really excellent. Uses a modern "critical Marxist" framework to critique Corbynism.

What you said about Taylor's pieces - and what Luka said above about John Doran - surely this is a disadvantage of the platform? Limitless space = no need to edit. I'd be surprised if The Quietus had a sub editor on staff, its run on an absolute shoe string.

With the shift away from print journalism, perhaps this is one of the things that's lost - pithy, immediate journalism. Makes me wonder if it's even a misnomer to talk about the "best journalists" working now. Perhaps it's all about Instagram influencers instead.
 
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