The Internet Strikes Back

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When we who get paid to write about music cross the divide and make some sounds of our own, we set ourselves and our reviews up for that timeless retort, "It's not like you could do any better!" That's not really fair—as is becoming all too clear in the digital age, anybody can be a critic—but such an outcry is bound to happen. People get pissy.

The latest scribe to flail in the shadow of his own muse is Ryan Schreiber, founder of the ubiquitous Pitchfork Media. Pitchfork, of course, is known for its extreme tastemaking power among a certain cache of music listeners, as well as its power to elicit extreme revulsion from a whole slew of other factions, who call the site elitist, pretentious, harsh, reactionary, blowhardesque, etc., etc., etc., etc. (For the record, I agree that some of Pitchfork's writing could use some tightening, and I think the site has dismissed or ignored some worthwhile music, but I've found its recommendations over the years to be consistently strong. And I always liked Brent DiCrecenzo's ridiculous story-reviews.)

Anyway, it seems back in the site's fledgling days, in 1996-97, Schreiber and his buddy Jason Josephes, who used to write for Pitchfork, had a goof-off band called Sissy Boy Slap Party, and Josephes recently decided to post the duo's nonsensical boombox jams to a MySpace page. Schreiber wisely downplayed the stuff, calling it the work of "a couple of dorks who were really into the Frogs and Ween." He seems to have a good sense of humor about it, as he should. After all, it doesn't sound like it was ever intended for public consumption. With that caveat in place, though, it's endlessly fascinating to know that these juvenile ditties were birthed from the same mind that molded the listening habits of many a hipster over the years.