Who are the best music journalists currently/ever?

Corpsey

call me big papa
Please name and shame, ideally with links to their work and explanations of why you like them.
 

CrowleyHead

Well-known member
Do we do a schism for people who write on music, music journalists, and bloggers?

Like for example, Luka'd never claim music journalist but I'd hold his thoughts on music with some consideration [/flatter], but I also like things like... IDK, Foucault on women in Opera relating to the perception of the madwoman and what have you, that's not music journalism either...
 

Benny B

Well-known member
Lester bangs all day. A music critic that actually admitted when he was wrong (see his amazing pieces on miles davis' on the corner and last exile).
He went to Jamaica and actually met bob Marley, lee Perry and John Martyn on the same trip.
Toured with the clash!
Called out the entire ny punk scene on their racism!
Interviewed kraftwerk!
The whole Lou reed thing!

Noone else from his era came close, forget about boring old greil Marcus. Nick kent was but a pale imitation.
Bangs all day.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Yeah - Bangs - though his Jamaican stuff is pretty funny. Wildly inaccurate & ignorant yet still surprisingly insightful.

Ive had his bio on the go for ages. Its crushingly dull, and quite depressing.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Toop is a good call. Early rap book followed by ocean of sound which has aged slightly but felt very important at the time

(thank you crowley. Flattered)
 

Sectionfive

bandwagon house
Outside of the elaborate sprawling essays on Beyoncé's every move, the present state of music writing is pretty poor imo. Obviously this reflects the wider media situation and I wonder if a lot of stuff is getting captured and hidden away on facebook (or for better or worse we now have direct access to musicians unfiltered opinions) but the magazines only publish a dozen or so worthwhile reads a year now. Only stuff that springs to mind is Melissa Bradshaw's piece on Plastic People, Luis-Manuel Garcia though not a journalist has done great stuff for RA; drugs policies and sexuality. Aaron Coultate is good on Hunee and Honest Jons. The Ransom Note is usually alright on a similar tip to Faith, London centric House orbit. Jessica Hopper is better than most and Laurent Fintoni's longer form stuff is always worth reading like History of the Rewind. Lauren Martin's dubstep oral history too. Actually now that I think about it, the 'history of [scene, city, club]' stuff tends to be quite good especially when it's not rehashing the same old legends. There are thousands of good articles and interviews like that around for whatever you're into but it tends to be scattered across the net with no one doing it on the regular. So history is sort of covered quite well but the current analysis feels a bit lacking, to me at least. Could you point someone towards a rundown of current trends and clubs in [genre x] now if someone asked?

Shame really when ten years ago the sleeve notes people wrote for their 94 jungle bsides played backwards mix on blogspot far exceed the fucking dross that's served up now. Even Blackdown's Burial interviews were something far removed from the 'I met Floating Points and Four tet in their golden palace stuff' that passes for a big feature article today.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
there's been a decline in literacy and in the capacity for abstract thought. it's not just music journalism which has suffered.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Bangs is an interesting one, cos he did almost precisely the opposite of what most music journos do now. He didn't try and be 'objective' about music, which resonates with music fans because music fans are NEVER objective about music. This is one problem I have with writing about music. I feel this crushing obligation to be FAIR to whoever I'm writing about.

The other thing about Bangs is that he obviously valued his own opinion in a way that seems impossible to imagine a contemporary music journo doing. He wasn't timid. What he was writing was IMPORTANT (to him, at the very least).

These are characteristics that make him irritating and obnoxious, but you'd rather have that than a thoroughly reasonable bore.

Where can I find early Paul Morley? And David Toop - the Wire archives?
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Its all about curation these days. Box set writing. Not just online - the whole biography industry, people like Mark Levinson...
 

rubberdingyrapids

Well-known member
So history is sort of covered quite well but the current analysis feels a bit lacking, to me at least. Could you point someone towards a rundown of current trends and clubs in [genre x] now if someone asked?
i couldnt. not sure what the reason is though. maybe just that everyone is listening to a bit of everything. maybe there are just too many apparent trends for a few to really be singled out or identified. or maybe no one in music journalism has the time, money or inclination anymore.
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
Appreciate the thread, I read about music a lot, but other than Reynolds and a couple of others I haven’t found particular writers that I’ll keep coming back to.

In terms of current writers Lee Arizuno is good. Here are some his dance reviews:

http://thequietus.com/articles/00424-a-guy-called-gerald

http://thequietus.com/articles/12278-rp-boo-legacy-review

http://thequietus.com/articles/07196-rustie-glass-swords-review

That RP Boo review was what initially caught my attention. All the other footwork reviews I can think of focus on the genre’s freneticism whereas Arizuno talks about footwork in terms of emptiness and “stasis”.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Yeah, there are writers I always check out in, say, the LRB/New Yorker - John Lancaster, Clive James, James Woods, Tad Friend, David Remnick. Writers who I can read WHATEVER they write about. But I don't really know of any writers on music who are like that. Apart from Reynolds and Finney.

Oh, and the Martorialist (Marty Macready) http://uk.complex.com/music/2013/07/max-b-25-best-songs/ He writes from a very knowledgeable/geeky perspective, but is also very entertaining.

Actually I like reading Byron Crawford's stuff, as distasteful as some of it is, because he's so no nonsense and loves to take the piss/get a rise. Reading somebody who writes like that, in a completely no-bullshit way, makes me ashamed for trying to write about rap music like I'm in the New Yorker or something.

See his recent review of 'The Silent Partner' by Havoc: http://www.byroncrawford.com/2016/06/havoc-x-the-alchemist-the-silent-partner-album-review.html Which I reviewed, more ponderously, in Crack magazine recently.

One compliment I received from someone I know is that they enjoyed reading my Rick Ross review without having really heard any of his music. But I wonder if that's a good thing?

RE: Luka praise, I agree with Crowley. Another guy who dispenses with over-considerate analysis and 'fairness' and cuts straight to the point. I LOVE U LUKA
 
Top