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.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! ".
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
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.