A few weeks ago, CityBeat received an e-mail under the subject line: "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!.....more Seth Combs?"
"Yay!," I thought. "My first irate letter!"
I've had this job for almost six months now and, yes, that was my first irate letter. Surprising, no? But of course, the content of the letter would have more to do with my former boss, former CityBeat Arts & Culture Editor Seth Combs, than with me. Here's the letter in full:
More Seth Combs? In the absence of Seth Combs, my faith in CityBeat music coverage was completely restored. Then I eagerly opened up this week's issue and BAM; a fluffy band feature that focuses more on what genre Raw Moans fits into, rather than what the band is actually about (ie. instrumentation, song structures, sound, band origins). He wastes half of the feature rambling on about how Pitchfork's description of Raw Moans is accurate. Fuck, if i want to read a Pitchfork review, I'll log onto Pitchfork!! Conversely, CityBeat should be (and most times is) balls-deep in the SD music trenches, enlightening us with in-depth coverage of SD bands that Pitchfork doesn't know dick about...yet. Not the other way around. Is that not the function of a local alt-weekly? That's the intrinsic problem with (most) music journalism these days, everyone needs to consult Pitchfork before they deem something good/cool.
Here's a radical approach:
Step 1. Turn off your laptop, making a Pitchfork cool-factor consultation completely impossible.
Step 2. Give local band's record a listen (and or live show)
Step 3. Decide whether you like or dislike the band.
Step 4. Actually write a thoughtful profile of the band.
Step 4. Refrain from using the word "ubiquitous" in every piece you write.
Anonymous CityBeat reader."
I was looking forward to having this run in our print edition, but we don't print anonymous letters. *Womp womp*
Mind you, I'm not interested in amplifying nasty letters because I enjoy snark for snark's sake, or because I'm some kind of masochist. No, it's deeper than that. There's something wonderful about an irate letter--it shows that our coverage is sparking a conversation, a debate. So keep them coming. (And next time, please put your name on it!)