Agony Shorthand

Monday, February 07, 2005
THE AGONY SHORTHAND 24-MONTH ANNIVERSARY AWARDS.....Two years ago this past Saturday, I embarked on a calling higher than myself -- to document every remotely music-related fart or foible that crossed my mind, and share it via the then-nascent "information superhighway" for anyone that might care. Expecting that I'd give up and slink away after a month or two, here we are 2 years later and I'm still somehow finding some time & energy to put digital pen to digital paper. With that comes a time to reflect, to ponder, to look back at what the past 733 days have wrought for good -- and for ill. Time to unveil the Agony Shorthand 24-month Anniversary Awards!

BEST TREND: Toss-up between MP3 blogs (in which enthusiastic and enterprising folk put up a song or two for your downloading pleasure, accompanied by a review -- the single best try-before-you-buy method to learn about new music outside of having a friend spin his/her recent finds for you) and my perception of a general rising tide of music literacy (enabled by CD-R trading, blogs, web sites for virtually every band on the planet, file sharing, and demographically micro-targeted record stores, both online & in the real world).
WORST TREND: A spot market for "lathe cut" records. What the hell is wrong with you people?

BEST BAND: Some of my favorites, none of whom I'd heard before February 2003, are MODEY LEMON, the A-FRAMES, FIERY FURNACES, VETIVER and LIGHTNING BOLT. There are, and there likely will be, more.
WORST BAND: How could it be anyone but the godawful BURMESE?

BEST COMMENT: Tie between S-S's excellent first-hand TALES OF TERROR recollections and the awe-inspiring novella written by Darren Cifarelli on SWA! Whoa.
WORST COMMENT: Some guy from THE SPITS trying to defend his shamed honor with a comment along the lines of "oh yeah, well you're more of it" (unfortunately lost by my comments provider).

MOST FAMOUS COMMENTER: If you had told me 28 years ago that ALICE BAG and CHEETAH CHROME would have left comments on my blog, well, I wouldn't have known who those people were or what the hell you were talking about.
LEAST FAMOUS COMMENTER: The guy who pretended to be "Don Rettman" for a few painful months before he was outed & crawled back into his shifty, ever-changing set of IP addresses at the library and Kinko's.

BEST REVIEW: Oh heavens, that would have to be that two-word "Shit Sandwich" review of NAUTICAL ALMANAC last year!
WORST REVIEW: When I flipped out for about a month over COMETS ON FIRE before wishing to god I could take it back.

THICKEST SKIN: The guy from Chicago act THE HAMICKS, who posted a really funny & pointed comment when I called his combo a "middle band".
THINNEST SKIN: Hands down, Chris Stigliano of Black To Comm magazine wins the All-Time Pity award for his staggering inability to ingest any criticism of his efforts, while hypocritically dishing it out to "homos" and bands of all stripes for twenty-plus years. His thin skin is now the stuff of legend.

BEST WEBSITE: Our tastes may be wildly different at times, but it's hard to find anything wrong with BLASTITUDE. The layout's great, the writing is strong and the rolling content-update concept keeps 'em coming back.
WORST WEBSITE: Some of the most incredibly overdone reviews of all time pop up repeatedly on PITCHFORK. The site itself is fine, but the pompous paragraphs of twaddle regarding the most mediocre of indie rock bands can be a real hoot!