Posted by: hankwillenbrink | January 3, 2009

How to Know When You’re Too Old…

Let’s spread the hate around a bit in the New Year, ok?  On Friday, the Courier-Journal dropped their list of the best of 08, worst of 08, and most anticipated of 09.

Item 1

What seems immediately obvious is that the financial problems of the paper are beginning to show in their arts coverage as they are reiterating Velocity’s over-hyped list:

CJ –

• Bon Iver, “For Emma, Forever Ago.” Grating vocals, mediocre songs, and the lead guy won’t return my calls.

Velocity –

Bon Iver – Once upon a time, we simply called this guy John Mayer.  Before that, James Taylor.

CJ –

Animal Collective. This band is laughing all the way to the ATM, and then over to the head shop and used record store. You don’t really think they take this seriously, do you?

Velocity –

Starfucker – One Animal Collective is one too many.

Okay, so this isn’t the same, but if you think Starfucker sounds like Animal Collective, you have some serious problems.

Item 2

Hyping their own writers while forgetting to proofread what they have to say about others.  From the CJ’s best of blogs list:

• My Old Kentucky Home has gone crazy, with an insane amount of content — interviews, MP3s, reviews — and even though it’s based in Indianapolis, there’s never a lack of Louisville music news (

• Maybe I sound like a homer, but I love reading the blog Louisville’s Peter Berkowitz does for The Courier-Journal’s Velocity weekly. It’s a never-ending source of info about shows and features a record amount of embedded videos

You’re right.  You do sound like a homer.  And…It’s “MY OLD KENTUCKY BLOG” not “HOME.”  They were known as “MOKH” originally but have changed the name in recent years.  You’re a newspaper.  Get an editor.

It’s getting ridiculous.  Here’s the thing, mainstream media…you’re right.  We, independent writers/journalists/bloggers can’t compete with you.  You have budgets, make money.  We, by in large…don’t.  And what’s funny is you’ve been thinking you’re invincible.  But you’re not.  There are new people who make and share their taste now.  So, if this is your attempt to cast dispersion, because you’re behind the times, give up.  Now.  You’re out manned.  It’s time to stop thinking that you’re the only people in this town with taste.  You’re not.  And your flaws are beginning to show.

What proof do I have?  Your second most anticipated album of 09 is a Neil Young Boxset.   I love Neil Young, but when you’re looking forward to an old guy in a flannel shirt releasing a concert that you weren’t at, it’s time to start revisiting why you’re writing about music, because you’re obviously afraid of anything new.

Or maybe you’re just trying to get people under 65 to buy the paper…



  1. You should proofread as well (see “indepdent”).

  2. There’s hardly a post on here that doesn’t have serious grammatical errors and typos, so harping on the CJ for making a very minor error in the name of a MOKB seems unfair.

    It’s “cast aspersions” not “cast dispersion”, and there isn’t really anything in this article attacking blogs as a medium anyways, so why the hatred towards newspapers?

    The job of a newspaper critic is really about writing well thought out reviews for albums they’ve really listened to, they can’t submit an article that says something like “OMG halfway through the new Kanye that just leaked and it sux!!!1” and think that passes for music journalism.

    I really like the Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend albums, and thought the swipes at both were a little harsh. But I don’t take it personally.

    Starfucker is does sound fairly similar to Animal Collective, they’re both noisy bands with a lot of grating electronic sounds using non-traditional song structures with high pitched vocals singing nonsense lyrics, and I can understand why most people wouldn’t like either.

  3. Please, please, please don’t fall into the same trap as other local blogs (cough! cough! VilleVoice! PageOne! cough!) and start soliciting cheap web hits by bashing the C-J. You’re better than that, Sandbar! The newspaper industry’s decline is due to myriad complex factors, but enough with these “No wonder newspapers are dying…” posts.

  4. I happen to agree with what was written about Bon Iver and Animal Collective. Neither of them do anything for me musically. If you like them, though, I can see why you’d be up in arms, but there’s no point in getting worked up over someone else’s opinion. That’s why Frank Zappa said writing about music is like dancing about architecture.

    There was also someone who said there are two things that are not allowed on the internet: liking something, and not liking something.

  5. Ah well, year end lists are such a booby trap…people gripe when you create them and they gripe when you don’t.

    It’s a bummer Backseat Sandbar didn’t get love from the C-J in the Best Blog category. You guys should be proud of what you have added to the Louisville indie scene. Keep it up and the recognition will come for sure. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, people are noticing your hard work.

    As far as people’s musical tastes…well, the Bon Iver jabs are silly and uneducated…and MMJ’s new album, while I love some of the songs, was hardly their best work. BUT…as Jim stated, no sense worrying about it…I’m glad they mentioned some of those choices…especially over the safe/mainstream/obvious Rihannas/T.I.s/etc…

    I would encourage you to figure how to work WITH the other media outlets rather than against them as well…it benefits everyone when forces align. And while the paper is a dying art form, I still think it will be a long while before it goes away . I like reading it in the can, airplanes, coffee houses, etc…and I know I’m not alone.

    Finally…arguing about grammar, spelling and syntax and so on, on the internet, well…best to just let that shit slide. We’ve been attacked on it for years and it’s really just an excuse to gripe when you have nothing important to say.

    keep up the good work in 2009 Backseat…be proactive in the scene and don’t sweat the small stuff. make a positive difference and don’t worry if you’re the only one trying…others will catch on. people are just lazy and you gotta band those that aren’t together…it’s a long and slow process, but also very rewarding.

  6. I fully agree with Dodge… chin up sir. 2009 shall be the year of Backseat, Buzzgrinder, and the other relevant bloggers hitting Louisville with actual legit information!

  7. If you survey the scene in Louisville by looking at the music venues, Ear-X-Tacy, and KEXP Radio, it’s no wonder the publications aimed toward music fans always come up short for us: there isn’t much demand, or even desire, for the stuff we like.

    Translation: the scene in Louisville is pretty stagnant. The three hundred or so of us who know that realize this, because we’ve all spent way too much money travelling out of town to see good shows (to this day I will not understand how Lexington attracts better acts than Louisville).

    With that said, we–those who attempt being hip through music blogs and going to concerts–don’t really read those publications for their honest opinions, do we? We just read them to criticize their misconceptions and ignorance, since we read 20+ music blogs on a daily basis, heard the album when it leaked, and have Pitchfork’s review memorized. So, why criticize? I can assure you that the general readership of these publications probably wouldn’t like Bon Iver, sad as that may be. They’re not geared toward us, and that’s OK, as our publications are not made with their music taste in mind.

    As a native Kentuckiana-an, I was impressed that they even dropped names like Bon Iver, Animal Collective, and Starfucker. I mean, that’s still progress from just a few years ago.

    And now I live in Asia, where the newest music I’m exposed to is pop music that’s not in my native language, and the Western music that I’m exposed to is last year’s Top 40.

  8. If we’re keeping score, Jeffrey Lee Puckett also recently wrote that Pavement’s “Brighten the Corners” was their last album (it wasn’t). But that’s beside the point, really. The point is (as I see it anyway), as stated above, Louisville isn’t really a hotbed of “hip” (or whatever else you’d call it). And for most of the city’s citizens, that’s fine. Personally, sure I’d like to read more about music I like in local media, especially great local bands (some actually still exist in Louisville!), but y’know aside from a cover story about Squirrel Bait in the Scene in like ’85 and the current endless ever-repeating brouhaha over My Morning Jacket, it ain’t gonna happen.

  9. I’m sorry…comparing Starfucker to Animal Collective is stupid and bad journalism. If you disagree with me then I’m sure you think Kanye and Dylan are similar. The CJ 08 wrap up is a piece of crap written by somebody who learns about music through mix tapes that their middle school nephew gave them. Saying that Ac doesn’t take their own music seriously and then rewarding Santagold…get real. I also like the fact that one of their most anticipated albums of 2009, one from The National, won’t come out until 2010. I’m really looking forward to this year, the 2020 radiohead album recorded in space. Backseat owns the CJ and if you want to get your music news from the CJ then do it, but make sure you stop by Hot Topic first. Boom.

  10. Your an idiot. Neil Young has more talent in his right middle finger than any of the aforementioned acts could ever dream of. His material dating back 35 years ago is still better than anything these bands will ever release. Am I Neil fan, sure. But you do not discount releases from an artist of this magnitude, even archival releases. If its important its important. I mean the man has been at the focal point of so many musical genres and is an icon. Again your an idiot and I will use my right middle finger…….now!

  11. thanks for writing us from the nursing home, Jim. Glad to know you have net access there.

  12. Long story short, if you rely on a general newspaper like the CJ for your music critiques + info, then you’re probably not much of a fan of music.

    I gotta agree with Cassandra though. The fact that bands like Animal Collective and Starfucker are even getting mentioned in a paper like the CJ is actually a step forward, despite the fact that they got panned.

  13. B….you’re right, that they’re even mentioned is surprising because they’re at least on the radar…and as they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity…right?

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