Monday, August 18, 2008

Kid A vs. Kid B

Hold Steady guitarist Tad Kubler (the guy in the green shirt on the left side of the picture on the right) caused an internet firestorm today for saying in a BBC6 interview that Radiohead's In Rainbows "isn't doing it" for him.
I think they've lost the plot. What are they doing? Where are they going? What's happening? I don't get it any more. They lost me. I still appreciate what they're doing, or what they're trying to do. But I think they're trying too hard not to be Radiohead. That seems a little ridiculous to me.

I like them as a rock band, all the buttons and sequencing and stuff like that I don't really care for. I'm a fan of rock music and what they're doing now I don't think is very good. When you have that kind of money, you can put on a great performance regardless of what you do. If you can't go out and pick up your instruments and play a good show, that doesn't do it for me. I don't have any interest in that
Criticism of Radiohead is internet apostasy, so the internet was quick to admonish Tad for not bowing before the greatness of their latest album. Most of the criticisms have centered on how the Hold Steady (since Tad speaks for his whole band) are not qualified to criticize Radiohead, because they aren't as good, which ended up fueling lots band A vs. band B arguments straight out of Hit Parader circa 1984. "Who's the best lead guitarist in metal today?". "Cavaso rules! DeMartini drools! ".

The NME somehow interpreted Tad's comments as critical of Radiohead's "pay what you want" plan with In Rainbows (which they weren't), while other music bloggers like Matthew Perpetua were quick to go ad hominem, calling the Hold Steady "dim-witted no talent hacks", "a glorified bar band with a tone-deaf asshole shouting over the top", and "essentially just Nick Hornby as a rock band"
(Wilco Tango Foxtrot?).

Hold Steady defenders have fought back with navel-gazing numbers. From some Idolator comment.,"Whether you like (The Hold Steady) or not, they're every bit as well received critically as Radiohead and twice as prolific. They've put out 4 albums since 2004 with an average metacritic score of 83.5. Radiohead have put out 3 albums since 2001 with an average 82.7 score on metacritic."

Idolator posted a poll asking who's side everyone was on in the "conflict" between Radiohead and the Hold Steady (currently neck and neck with "Nobody" running a close third). I'm currently torn, because I like Radiohead (and In Rainbows is one of my faves), but Tad Kubler doesn't have to like them if he doesn't want to. When I saw the Hold Steady last month, Tad played a Jimmy Page double neck guitar and drank red wine from a glass in between songs (it was probably Gallo Hearty Burgundy or something, but he wasn't swigging it from the bottle!) so he's vetted and cultured enough to have a musical opinion without having his band dissed on the internet.


2fs said...

Yeesh - normally I like Perpetua's stuff, but I thought he was smarter than that. I don't think Radiohead needs him (or anyone) defending them - as I said in the comments at his site, who cares if some guy in another band doesn't like a band you like?

Anonymous said...

Saw 'em in D.C. last Thursday.

Tad played the double-neck SG and was drinking Ravenswood Zinfandel.

Flasshe said...

Typical that people are slamming the messenger instead of the message. I'm not a huge Hold Steady fan (I prefer singing to talking in my music), but I admit Kubler has some valid points. Why can't the discussion be about those points instead of about the person who said them?

I think I liked HS's Boys And Girls In America better than In Rainbows. Despite the lack of singing, it did actually rock. In Rainbows is definitely a more cerebral listening experience, but I rarely want that. Haven't heard the new HS yet, though I have downloaded it.

PCarino said...

I like boiling it all down to Metacritic scores. This should settle all arguments, about everything.

What is Obama's Metacritic score?