Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's hard these days to write about music with the guarantee of a mass audience and decent pay (in that order). Charlie Bertsch's excellent, excellent analysis of the EMP Pop Music Conference's impact on the rockcrit community -- not all of it complimentary by any means, especially in its early days -- reminded me that enclaves needn't be support groups; that meaningful discourse is appreciated by a group of die-hards as sizable (i.e. as small) as the ones who read Christgau, Eddy, Levy, Arnold, and Bernstein in their salad days. Since I only started attending in 2007 (and missed this year's), I missed the acrimony at the beginning of the decade. Suffice to say that former Sleater Kinney guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein sounds as compelling and insufferable as usual, while Alex Ross proves he's a terrific critic even when his awareness of writing for a mass audience causes him to bristle in unpleasant ways.

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