Delta Rae's Carry the Fire

| July 25, 2012
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After about 20 seconds of silence at the close of what's listed as the final track on Carry the Fire, the voice of Ian Hölljes rises from the stillness, doused in reverb and alone: "In the morning, in the morning, sometimes I think about the way you held me," he sings, aching from a distance and echoing the chorus of the album's opener. His brother and sister, Eric and Brittany, soon join him, along with the sextet's fiery fourth singer, Liz Hopkins; together, they add comfort to his a cappella loneliness, shaping an ad hoc choral support group.

This hidden Easter egg is both necessary and telling: It's needed mostly because "Hey, Hey, Hey," the debut's nominal closer, is simply a terrible song, its hand drums, fluttering guitar licks and sliding harmonies suggesting The Lion King rearranged for Rascal Flatts, but more cloying and cringing than that might actually sound. It's telling, though, because it's a flagrant imitation of Robin Pecknold and his band, Fleet Foxes, indie rockers who have combined rich harmonies and prototypically folk-rock arrangements to reach the amphitheater masses.

And Carry the Fire is nothing if not an album with gargantuan ambition, where arms-outstretched, eyes-closed, steering wheel-pounding choruses arrive only four minutes in, and extreme dynamics consistently squash subtlety with melodrama. In a recent rising tide of sophisticated, accessible and very popular variations on folk music, from Iron & Wine's humble mumble to The Avett Brothers' increasingly careful barnstormers, Carry the Fire is an embarrassment of expectations and enthusiasms, where musical and lyrical platitudes dovetail for 48 overwrought and unrelenting minutes. If Music for Starbucks were ever an accepted canon, Delta Rae would likely be its newest—and one of its least fascinating—stars.

There is, as the necessary cliché appropriately goes, something here for everyone: "Morning Comes" is a recession anthem for the working class, with symbols of toil and hope, loss and renewal written and delivered with such earnest force that one might expect at least one Shepard Fairey reference in an accompanying music video. "Fire" delivers mad-at-you, Miranda Lambert-large vitriol, the din of electric guitars and stacked piano tracks adding obvious abrasion beneath the outsized attitude. "Dance in the Graveyards" essentially recasts Dave Matthews Band's "Tripping Billies" for listeners reared on religious rock. "If I Loved You" distills every diary page ever into mixtape-ready nods to Carole King and makes, by comparison, Leslie Feist sound like the most soulful singer in the world.

Worse still is the chain-gang minstrelsy of "Bottom of the River"—so far, Delta Rae's minor hit. A song that seems custom-built for a world ostensibly demanding something resembling authenticity, "River" turns Southern vernacular (lyrically and musically) into a tawdry chorus-line bauble. It's possible to envision Terry Gross asking the band about the "palpable essence" of modern race relations in the New South, as NPR listeners dutifully aim their browsers toward the history-baiting music video. "Forgive the Children We Once Were" and "Unlike Any Other" both twinkle open with a delicacy swiped from Sufjan Stevens; the latter at least has the decency to end that way, an isolated incident for a band with a pornographic dependence upon complete climax. All of these songs speak to remarkable vocal talent and a keen understanding of what it takes to get a song to stick. But Delta Rae's void of restraint, subversion and nuance quickly sours those attributes.

According to their official biography, Delta Rae are "the inheritors of a great musical mantle, carrying forth such tradition, but bringing to it their own flame and ignition, the wisdom of their own generation, and the promise of so much to come." And indeed, the sounds and stories of the South serve as one surface of Carry the Fire, an album that equates the ghosts of slavery with the specter of a new lover's old flings and often uses an acoustic guitar as an easy-listening inlet to FM-dial bombast. Delta Rae is nothing more than one methodical conclusion of its geography's endemic sounds. They are a band that sadly treats tropes with reverence only long enough to turn them into commercial springboards.

"Children born tomorrow/ may never know the language we speak," sings Ian Hölljes during "Is There Anyone Out There." "The wisdom that they borrow/ Will hint at something buried too deep." The irony, of course, is that, at least on their debut, the members of Delta Rae appear as the children, offering vacuous if vivid appropriations of languages that they've heard but have not mastered.


Delta Rae plays Cat's Cradle Friday, July 27, at 9 p.m. A City on a Lake and Chris Hendricks open. Tickets are $12.

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Comments (71)

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I think Delta Rae's new LP is KIck Ass! And LIVE they are AMAZING! We can all assume SOC has never seen them in concert or he would know their warmth and kindness to their audience and how they are inclusive and caring. Even if you didn't like their sound, as people they are just really nice.

Apparently you don't like their LP, and neither does your friend Currin who you worked for/with at Pitchfork before you got canned. So now this becomes about you defending your friend (kissing his butt is more like it) and putting down artists because you want to justify your friends inappropriate and very personal assault on some kids who's only crime is they put out an album and because people in the industry (including the top Indie labels) were attracted to them... not you and Currin, I mean real scouts and talent hunters like Seymour Stein who invented the term "New Wave" and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Christ Sake!

As the very savvy David Klein put it on 08/02/2012 at 8:37 PM, "...music writers have harshly denounced records...and it hasn't held back the careers of countless bands that have become very successful in spite of the bad reviews" That, I am sure is the fate of Delta Rae who were all over VH1 last week and the team there (that gets to see all up and coming bands) seemed to love them and their sound!

But you and Currin are as @lonnie stated, "off-putting, Void of restraint...sound almost like he [you] has personal reasons for passionately hating them. Ulterior motives, perhaps?"

or as @ blshtcaller observed and this applies to you, "this pompus jerkoff--which I've had sufficient contact with him to know he IS--uses lofty, verbose, pretentious rhetoric, dropping a bunch of names to lend his bullshit, ill-informed argument credibility that it doesn't actually have...especially when you consider that he is not a musician...at least not a good one. He's a jealous and insecure one; that's for sure.

In closing I'm with 1. p-rosine and 2. Jackie Jenkins Thorpe commented,

1. "This review is so unmitigated in its negativity that it seems personal; it seems malicious and angry..."

2. "Wow! ... I'm not a fan of diatribe railing, and that's all this review [and SOC's comments] consists of.








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Posted by 321go on 08/15/2012 at 8:01 PM

@321go: There you go again, doing exactly what I just called you on: not contributing anything to the conversation and instead just making wild, untrue assumptions about me, a person who you've probably never met. I've never worked for Pitchfork. Also, I'm in my mid-twenties. Not very old at all.

I know my words won't have any effect on Delta Rae, that's not my intention. This is a conversation that's only tangentially about the band, themselves. I think they're horrible, but what we're really discussing here is integrity in music, music journalism, and the music business as a whole.

Scathing: yes. Bitter: maybe a little. Jealous: dead wrong. I'm not jealous, I'm disappointed that the music industry has created a space for vacuous, banal music at the forefront of media attention, disappointed that people buy into that, and disappointed that there are bands who will cater to those audiences to make money.

Frankly, I'm kind of astounded that you'd decide to shove yourself into a conversation which you don't really seem to understand, and to which you provenly have nothing to contribute. What is YOUR goal here? To call everyone who doesn't like Delta Rae "stupid" without actually reading anything they're saying? I know my posts have been long, but that's because this is an extremely complicated issue. There's no way to sum it up on a bumper sticker, in a paragraph, or even in a comment thread. Volumes could be written on these subjects, and all you seem to have to say is that I'm "boring" and "bloviating"; the former speaking to the fact that you really have no place in an actual discussion about music and the complexity of the music industry, and the latter proving that you know how to access an internet thesaurus.

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Posted by Son.Of.Clarios on 08/15/2012 at 4:20 PM

@Son.Of.Clarios

@blshtcaller got it absolutely right about Currin and YOU when he stated,"No credible journalist would look at this and call it "journalism," nor can anybody argue that it's "professional." Bad reviews are whatever...par for the course for any band. But the tone of this rant is scathing and bitter to the point that he sounds truly jealous.

Maybe your venom is due to your being let-go at music blog "Pitchfork" (where you worked with Currin?). Your words will have no more influence on Delta Rae then they did on your referenced Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd (man you are old!).

Scathing, bitter, truly jealous rants, that about sums you both up.

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Posted by 321go on 08/14/2012 at 9:30 PM

This music group gets the most attention of all those reviewed at this site. You all have piqued my interest, I gotta check them out.

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Posted by Galyac on 08/14/2012 at 7:25 PM

Also, @ruffels, I can't remember the last time I heard of a "hillbilly numskull" with a college degree arguing the notion that music should challenge its listener's expectations and comfort zones, as well as contribute something creative and new to its audience.

Basically, this whole thread has gone like this:

There are a few people high-fiving Grayson Currin for sticking it to a shitty band that is trying to use the idea of our local music scene in this area as a marketing tool. At the very least, these posts tend to actually further the criticisms of the band that were made in Grayson's review, as well as call out the music and music media industries for championing bland music to make money.

Then there are a few people who make a legitimate point, that Currin was really hard on this band, and maybe it wasn't entirely called-for. While I disagree with them, I understand their position. These posts have been civil, mostly well-worded, and a good contribution to the discussion.

Then there are a few OTHER people who are championing Delta Rae and have absolutely nothing in their defense except major music media and calling everyone else dumb. Trust me, that makes you all sound very smart and eloquent, and paints a delightful picture of Delta Rae fans.

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Posted by Son.Of.Clarios on 08/14/2012 at 12:46 PM

@ruffels: Currin is hardly a "failed loser". He's the editor of the Indy's music section and writes for websites like Pitchfork Media.

@321go: You want the bands I champion to rot in my "decrepit basement"? Tell that to bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, et cetera. I never said that music sucks if people listen to it, I said that popular music now is often manufactured to have a base-level appeal and not challenge its listeners. Distinct difference.

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Posted by Son.Of.Clarios on 08/14/2012 at 12:37 PM

Another Currin sycophant.

This town seems hell bent of crushing any talent with a shot. It's as though a gifted, hardworking band has to maintain poverty, have some eclectic off-beat sound and stay that way in order to rise to the bizarre, negative standard some here hold.

What is "mediocre" at best are the hillbilly numbskulls that couldn't recognize talent if it bit them in the crotch; they pass judgement on others with their 3rd grade mindsets. The Triangle, it turns out, is not a bastion of creativity any more than it's a center for entrepreneurship. Austin, San Fran, Seattle, NewYork, Nashville YES!

Here, creativity just gets smothered thanks to the likes of failed losers like Grayson Currin.

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Posted by ruffels on 08/14/2012 at 3:00 AM

As someone who is consistently amazed at how mediocre music gets people famous I appreciate this review. Thank you, Mr. Currin for your honesty and all around damn good taste in music.

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Posted by msvroom on 08/13/2012 at 8:04 PM

What a bore!

Good luck Delta Rae, keep doing what your doing because if old assholes like SOC (aka Grayson) don't like you, you're doing something very right and it appears from the tweets you receive, clearly you have fans worldwide. So glad you're not locked up in SOC's decrepit basement with the go-nowhere, can't make a living bands he apparently lives for.

Peace out-

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Posted by 321go on 08/13/2012 at 1:48 AM

@321go: You seem pretty keen on the idea that I'm stupid. I don't like saying things like this (because really it's pretty tacky, but you're not leaving me a whole lot of room for decency), but my level of education, as well as general testing scores throughout my academic career, beg to differ.

So does the fact that I'm actually writing well-worded, albeit lengthy, arguments and analyses in favor of Grayson's review. You have succeeded in doing virtually nothing except trying to invalidate my opinion by saying that I'm stupid, then telling me to stop talking. Note that you didn't somehow prove or even really argue that I'm stupid, you just said it.

I misspoke when I said that Rolling Stone hasn't been consistently relevant. They are still relevant, but usually only to fans of pop and rock music superstars. My meaning was that Rolling Stone bears virtually no relevance to the music underground, wherein music is more often championed for its artistic qualities than its ability to sell (read: how much it caters to the lowest common denominator).

MTV, VH1, and Billboard are all in the exact same boat as Rolling Stone. They cover music that sells because that's what will sell their magazine. Seeking out artists that challenge people's expectations isn't profitable for those magazines, because fewer people are going to pick up a Rolling Stone that has a band on the cover that they don't know or care about, and it doesn't take much research to understand that people don't often listen to music that challenges their comfort. How many death metal or avant-garde noise albums have you seen on the top 40 in the past 10 years? And on the same line of thought, how many people are going to watch MTV (a channel on which I haven't actually seen a music video since 2003) or VH1 if they're showing videos of music that doesn't appeal to the largest possible crowd?

Also, If you had bothered to read, I've already given my two cents on Billboard. They called Nickelback the best band from 2000 through 2009. Do you really think that's credible, legitimate music journalism?

You really seem to like the word "bloviate". You must have flipped through a thesaurus lately.

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Posted by Son.Of.Clarios on 08/12/2012 at 3:59 PM

I just knew SOC couldn't put a sock in it, back in your cave, your IQ is showing! LOL!!!

RollingStone not relevant? Oh, but you and your alter-ego are? Hilarious!!! How about the biggest news paper in the US... Irrelevant too?

USA Today just called out Delta Rae's song 'Dance In The Graveyards' as their Pick Of The Week! Check it out at http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/reviews…

How about rave reviews from MTV and VH1, Billboard? This is rhetorical no need to bloviate back.

Go Delta Rae!

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Posted by 321go on 08/11/2012 at 11:34 AM

@321go: I'm done being nice to you if all you want to do is make annoying holier than thou statements about how youve got Rolling Stone, a magazine that hasnt been consistently relevant since the 1970s, on your side.

You come off as being absolutely juvenile. It's people like you who make certain that unchallenging cookie-cutter bullshit will forever top the charts.

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Posted by Son.Of.Clarios on 08/10/2012 at 2:24 PM

"...moose hat that you wear to shows and you come across as arrogant"

Well there you have it. An arrogant bumpkin with his hidebound followers (or alter egos)! What an incestuous lot! Welcome to the south!

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Posted by 321go on 08/10/2012 at 4:12 AM

Thank you Grayson Currin!

I appreciate your opinions and although I may not agree with each and every comment or review, I feel you have raised the bar in music reviews. You are nothing if not consistent. While I despise that moose hat that you wear to shows and you come across as arrogant, I have never doubted your intent or the quality of your insights. Others on this site need to stop the non-sense. It is a review! If you can't take the heat, then get the hell out off the STAGE!

Since so many seem to overlook the fact that we depend on critical and insightful reviews of music, I would like to thank you... and I know many, many, many others share my views. It is refreshing to hear someone call like it is-- not all bands on a big label are worthy of the adoration.

We live in an area rich in talent. Thank you for supporting local talent! Hopscotch rules and so do you (as long as you aren't wearing a big moose hat)!

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Posted by CAnthropologist on 08/09/2012 at 9:59 PM

@Son.Of.Clarios
You are a bloviating Wind-Bag! Bla,Bla,Bla!

Delta Rae is exploding in all realms because their sound is inclusive and varied as were their influences. Real professionals across the spectrum (@ Billboard, RollingStone MTV, e-Music, are sharing this. Big Fish evaluating an ocean of talent see the joy and potency of Delta Rae! You and Mr. Gray stay in your little pond and try to drag down a super group of talented and really nice smart kids from our own Durham. No wonder this town stays so small and narrow-minded. Seymour Stein is a master of hearing the next big thing so I'll go with him!

No need to respond PLEASE! Give it a rest!

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Posted by 321go on 08/09/2012 at 6:36 PM

@321go: I'm not an alter-ego of Grayson Currin, I just agree with him. I don't know where you gathered that I'm simple-minded from, so I'll just leave that one alone. I wouldn't call myself jealous, either. Frankly, I would feel much more satisfied if I made music that I felt good about and never saw a glimpse or recognition for it than write generic, uncreative pop swill that only borrows enough of the "southern" and "indie rock" tropes to try to attract customers.

I'm an "embarrassment to (you) all,"? Explain that one to me. And, actually, explain why I'm simple-minded, too. I'm interested to hear that one.

Remember that last post I made to blshtcaller about how the review he posted by Christina Fuentes didn't actually say anything actually substantive about Delta Rae's music? You just did the exact same thing again, and twice in a row. You posted two reviews that use semiobscure terms (and one even sports a condescending attitude) but don't actually say anything weighty about this band. And then, to boot, you felt the need to personally insult me even though you have absolutely no idea who I am, presumably because I'm backing up a review that's tearing a band you like to shreds.

You know the saddest thing about John Pfeiffer's statement that, "This isn’t some label fabrication based on trend predictions or marketing gimmicks..."? Technically he's right, but the album was written by six people who were trying to emulate the sound that comes from records that ARE "label fabrications based on trend predictions and marketing gimmicks." It didn't even take a major label to do that. We have a band in our own backyard that's going for that angle.

Now look, there's no need for name-calling. If you want to have a real discussion on the merits and faults of Delta Rae's music, let's do it. That's what I'm here for. Don't just copy and paste other people's reviews, write your own. If you're really so pissed off at Grayson and you really think that anyone can review music professionally, go for it. I'm not sitting around calling you "simple-minded" for lack of a better defense, and I expect the same courtesy in return.

Also, @blshtcaller, I just thought of something. There is no such thing as an "objective opinion". You can make an objective analysis of a subject, but your analysis becomes subjective when it is SUBJECT to your opinion. Objectivity and opinion are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, if this review was written with the same intensity on the positive side, you wouldn't be complaining even though that would clearly break from your desire for all record reviews to be objective. Why's that?

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Posted by Son.Of.Clarios on 08/09/2012 at 9:35 AM

North Carolina folk-rockers Delta Rae turn mourning into dancing on Dance in the Graveyards, our PICK OF THE WEEK. Three siblings and three friends celebrate life with percussion, piano and, especially, group harmonies on this joyous track from debut album Carry the Fire.

Playlist: Delta Rae's 'Dance in the Graveyards'
By Brian Mansfield, Special for USA TODAY

Grayson and his alter ego "Son.Of.Clarios" are simple-minded, jealous and an embarrassment to us all

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Posted by 321go on 08/09/2012 at 8:19 AM

Delta Rae are a band that is laced with doses of inspirational hope—hope for the soul and future of music the way the intelligent listener pictures it. In a world of compositional ignorance and the celebration of dirty, sample-happy laundry, Delta Rae are a clean, bright beacon for the fan thirsting for emotional salvation.

Carry The Fire is a monumental collection of influences and experiences that come from the very essence of each member of Delta Rae. This isn’t some label fabrication based on trend predictions or marketing gimmicks—it’s the core of everyday American life through the eyes of our brothers and sisters. Hailing from the rural sector of Durham, North Carolina, Delta Rae are the lynch pin that holds the current American music experience together.

by John Pfeiffer, August 8, 2012
The Aquarian Weekly
New Jersey's longest running music magazine

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Posted by 321go on 08/09/2012 at 8:07 AM

@blshtcaller: Good to see you actually have an interest in having a reasonable, academic discussion. That's always nice.

Ignoring your "he who is the most snide is clearly the most correct approach," I actually said quite a bit. I addressed everything you had to say in your last post. If you don't have a real rebuttal, why even post?

Like I said in my first post (if you bothered to read it) was that I have, indeed, heard Delta Rae. I've even seen them play live due to circumstances beyond my control. Why would I write eight paragraphs worth of "nothing" about a band I haven't even heard? Even if I hadn't heard them before this review, I would've at least checked them out after the fact.

Your statement that the album is "VERY good" bears virtually no weight. Back that opinion up with something besides a tidbit from a Rolling Stone review. And yes, Fuentes writes for Billboard Magazine. That's the magazine that named Nickelback the best band of the naughts (2000-2009). Keep that in mind.

If you want to look at this from another angle: consider the two reviews, Grayson's review and the one from Rolling Stone, in contrast to one another. The former is an eloquently-written page of actual criticism and comparison to other music by someone who has clearly done his homework. He even tied the band's clearly shitty attitude about themselves from their press release into the review to prove his theory about them. And the latter is a protracted paragraph with no actual weighty commentary on the band. The deepest they go is to call them "unique" and say they have "rich four-part harmonies" and an energetic live show (which has nothing to do with the merits of their music, especially on record).

And, again, written by someone who works for the publication that called Nickelback the BEST BAND FROM 2000-2009.

Basically that tells me that this band is gonna do great among the kinds of folks who love Nickelback. Put bluntly, that means it'll be a total hit with people who level absolutely no criticism at the music they listen to and have the least discerning ears on the planet.

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Posted by Son.Of.Clarios on 08/08/2012 at 8:30 PM

Sorry, that is Catherine Fuentes of RollingStone who said of DELTA RAE:

"Rich four-part harmonies fill the album, especially evident on lush tracks like "If I Loved You" and "Morning Comes." The anthemic "Bottom of the River" is a ground-rattling fixture of the band's energetic live set, and a lively example of their Southern roots."

RollingStone now they know music!

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Posted by tumpali on 08/08/2012 at 2:25 PM

@Son.Of.Clarios re: "What I'm saying"
Is a whole lot of nothing, 8 paragraphs, really! Like Mr. Grayson, so many words, so little to say; maybe you two are the same?

If you haven't heard Delta Rae you should. Their CD is VERY good, like FM's Rumors, just put it on repeat and enjoy. As for professional music critics, that's anyone with an objective opinion. Mr. Grayson lacks objectivity and his review of Delta Rae was perverted and suspiciously personal. No credibility at all!

Want professional? Billboard's Catherine Fuentes said of Delta Rae:
"Rich four-part harmonies fill the album, especially evident on lush tracks like "If I Loved You" and "Morning Comes." The anthemic "Bottom of the River" is a ground-rattling fixture of the band's energetic live set, and a lively example of their Southern roots."

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/alb…

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Posted by tumpali on 08/08/2012 at 10:22 AM

@blshtcaller: What I'm saying has less to do with what makes a band successful as what makes a band worth merit. They're two different things that are similar on the surface but stand in stark contrast to one another. David Klein said it really well in this thread. There are plenty of bands and musicians out there, and the number is only increasing as pop music becomes increasingly banal and inauthentic, who have sold millions of records in spite of negative reviews.

Music criticism, in its truest sense, isn't meant to predict whether a band is going to "hit the big time," so to speak, but rather to speak to the artistic strengths and weaknesses of a particular subject (be it a band, album, song, live performance, et cetera). The number of fans a band may have has nothing to do with the merits of their music. All you have to do is consider a Britney Spears record to make those points meet.

Long story short: It's not Grayson's job to tell us how much money Delta Rae is going to make. It's his job to tell us his opinions on the artistic merits and shortcomings of this record. He did exactly that.

When I use the term "professional music journalist," I'm referring to the fact that Grayson is the editor of the music section of the Independent Weekly (if I'm not mistaken), and that he writes for Pitchfork among other high-profile music review publications. The guy has a name in the international music community, and he makes a living writing music reviews. He is, FACTUALLY, a professional music journalist.

But to discuss the tone of the review anyway, even though it's something of a moot point, it's one hundred percent justifiable. It's not friendly, but why SHOULD it be? Not to speak for Mr. Currin, but to include my own two cents on the record, it's downright offensive on a number of levels. Even if we disregard the blatant racial insensitivity of the chain gang track (which is not something to disregard in the least, but there's another point to be made here), this album is clearly one written with nothing but money and commercial success in mind and yet masquerades as an "indie" record (whatever that means anymore). To those of us who have spent years trying to help our local scene (or scenes) be the strongest they can, it can be downright infuriating to see bands or artists trying to make money solely by capitalizing on their underground appeal though they were never actually a part of the community, nor are they writing music that is to the community's caliber or standards.

There is a personal element in disdain for this record and records like it. Again, I don't mean to speak for Grayson because I don't actually know him and we may very well disagree on this, but to me this review was such a victory because it basically called a band out for trying to trick a bunch of local music fans who love the idea of listening to local bands into following their bland, unchallenging, and unoriginal brand of "folk" music (as if that term even really applies here). Put bluntly, bands like this encroach upon the space of the local independent music scene that strives to create actual art, not commercialized, cookie-cutter music by numbers.

Sorry for the dissertation, but as someone who has a deep interest in sociology, music, and social musicology, this is right up my alley. To sum it up, nobody has to cater to what you think music reviewing SHOULD be. And, frankly, I'm glad Grayson isn't doing that. For every bit of offense that any of y'all take to this review, imagine the offense taken by people who have spent incalculable time, energy, and money to support our local music community; only to watch bands like Delta Rae try to use the underground appeal of that community to people who want to feel like they just found something new and next-level.

And, again, I don't mean to speak for Grayson at all, but that's a large part of why my thumbs are way, way up for this review. Well, that, and the fact that it's just honest music journalism. Really, it doesn't require any more justification than that.

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Posted by Son.Of.Clarios on 08/05/2012 at 9:08 PM

Wow. I can't altogether disagree with the writer's opinion of this record, but his tone is a little off-putting. "Void of restraint," to use his words. It makes me want to like Delta Rae. Sounds almost like he has personal reasons for passionately hating them. Ulterior motives, perhaps?

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Posted by lonnie on 08/04/2012 at 2:14 PM

Reading these comments, it is clear to me that Grayson is excellent at his job. He has, positively or negatively, gotten people to discourse passionately about music (or "music" depending on where you stand re: Delta Rae). While Grayson has managed to focus solely on his viewpoints regarding the actual craft he is critiquing, many of you have been unable to refrain from making below the belt commentary on your perception of him as a human being. Perhaps, you could take his lead and in your disagreement with his assessment, tell us why anyone SHOULD listen to Delta Rae as opposed to telling us why we SHOULDN'T listen to Grayson. The majority of these comments have lost the plot.

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Posted by Perspective on 08/04/2012 at 11:26 AM

Since rock criticism began in earnest in the late 1960s, music writers have harshly denounced records that strike them as inauthentic or overwrought or too slick or overly earnest or nakedly commercial. It didn't begin with hipsters or with this generation, and it hasn't held back the careers of countless bands that have become very successful in spite of the bad reviews. Chicago, for example, has sold more records than any American band besides the Beach Boys, and they've gotten precious little critical respect over the years.

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Posted by David Klein on 08/02/2012 at 8:37 PM
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