My Pitchfork Submission

I've "thought about" (translation: never planning on actually doing) submitting album review samples to Pitchfork (see also: for at least a year, but something this past week has spurned me into action. I am a huge fan of Pitchfork's writers and they get giant circulation, BUT I also find this submission process to be lame and stinking of everything that's wrong with indie hipsterism. So. I'm planning on submitting the following application to call them out, and I got a little carried away because everything productive I was going to do today has been shot to hell. I haven't sent it yet and probably won't send it for another couple edits. If you have any comments, feel free to send 'em my way.

*** = my comment

So, you want to write for Pitchfork.

***Well, not really. A friend told me I should submit some of my work, but frankly, I have better things to do (and write) than pass your little condescending test of music snobbery. Oh wait. What am I doing again?

Alright, have a seat. We get a lot of submissions, so we're gonna be straight with you.

***I feel like I'm being set up to fail. Is this a waste of my time? Why should I even bother to continue? The use of "alright, have a seat" was very effective, though, seeing as though I'm already...

These are the traits we're looking for. If these don't fit your style, we probably won't have a place for you:

1) Music is your life

***If music was my life, I wouldn’t be writing about it all the time, now, would I?

2) Knowledge

***Hey Pitchfork, you know that Crack Babies EP on vinyl, not the lame brand release you pansies have probably got in circulation, but the vastly superior Dutch import with the femme midget winning a pie eating contest on the cover? Anyway, check the hidden track (between the sixth and a half and seventh tracks). It totally sounds like some farfetched hybrid of Bends-era Radiohead and pre-Licensed to Ill Beasties ingested a bunch of mystic African drugs (the kind Kevin Bacon took in The Air Up There when he joined the tribe), took the guitar solo on Hendrix’s “Come On” (which I have live on a rare reunion bootleg with the Experience that was recorded about fifteen hours before he died. I stole it from Paul Allen while he was having a triple bypass winner moment at his last Portland Trailblazer game. Take that, you soulless billionaire CEO/Hendrix memorabilia horde), played it backwards, looped the same violas Lou Reed and Nico tried to play all junked out on “Venus in Furs,” and started yelping like Bono getting his ass kicked by Fred Durst while crying the lyrics to “Nookie.”

3) Insight

***What does this mean? I’m supposed to be able to find some rich tattoo and piercing-adorned, Misfits-t-shirt wearing meth-head ska-hiphop-hardcore band at some Downtown Los Angeles Skid Row hole in the wall, write them up, and then sell them to Warner Brothers so they can commence production on the action figure molds? I don’t care if I’m John Fucking Hammond; I’d rather leave them with the crack dealers.

4) Personality

***Do I have “personality”? I don’t know. You be the judge. Please visit The New Goo at for more information. If The New Goo doesn’t satisfy your requirement, and you still think I’m boring, check my top ten album lists below. You can always tell if a person has a personality by their reliance on lists to define themselves.

5) Creativity and/or humor

***Damn, I had something really creative and humorous to write here. But let me just say that the “and/or” on this list item troubles me because in my experience on the L.A. stand-up circuit, you can’t have humor without creativity, and sometimes, when things are really bad, you can’t have creativity without humor.

Our writers are located all around the country, so it doesn't matter where you are-- as long as you're in the U.S., you can be a Pitchfork writer. We will also consider writers from outside the U.S., but, due to pain-in-the-ass postal charges and forms, we won't be able to ship CDs to your door.

***Your word choice pains me. I’m feeling sorry for you already. “Pain-in-the-ass,” my ass. You guys are rolling in the ad revenue. I should know; it scares me every time I try to read a review. It’s your loss, though. Pitchfork could be 110% more diverse and eclectic, not to mention more profitable, if you considered the writer globalization tactic rather than scaring away some amazing international talent with word phrasing like “pain in the ass." You’re just like President Bush forced to get on a conference call with the whole European Union…well, sort of.

Requirements for reviewers are to write two reviews per week. The deadlines are every Sunday and Wednesday night at 9:00pm Central Time. Please do not commit to this if you think it will be a problem. Once aboard, we'll let you pick (to a large extent) the CDs we send you for review, and will also expect you to write reviews from your collection from time to time.

***Can you just send me everything you have, right now? No? Then, well, I’ve got to be straight with you, then. I’ll probably quit because I already write for my highly reputable blog, and the prospect of you hacking my 850-1000-word analyses of single songs down to mere chirps on the indie snob radar is simply degrading. If you can’t send me everything you have, at least just give me the new Bloc Party album. For fuck’s sake, it was hyped in Newsweek (Newsweek!) as the next British thing, and it’s not even at Amoeba yet. I’m tempted to play the accumulate-more-credit-card-balance-by-ordering-on-Internet card because like all 20-something hipsters with vastly superior music taste, I prefer the hype before it hits the mainstream baby boomer media filter (Newsweek!).

If you're talented and not boring, you can make a name for yourself on Pitchfork almost immediately. We presently have more than 800,000 unique visitors per month (of which 80,000+ are daily readers), making us the largest indie-oriented music publication on or off the web.

***Honestly, this has got to be the only reason I’m taking my sweet time to kiss your ass. I wouldn’t subject myself and my highly reputable blog to such a public display of humiliation is we weren’t talking 800,000-plus strong. That’s enough people to start a productive revolution, or a riot with a conscience.

To apply, pick your method of submission:

If you've written for other publications:
#1) Send 3-5 samples of album reviews you've written and had published elsewhere.

***“Elsewhere.” I’m assuming “elsewhere” = some credible indie rock publication you and four out of five of the Strokes haven’t heard of yet. I write almost exclusively for my blog, The New Goo (; however, in the past month I have made several wholehearted attempts to think outside the goo. You are the (what do you think? lucky?) recipient of one such attempt.

These samples must be album reviews, because concert, film and book reviews don't give us much of an idea as to what kind of album reviewer you would be.

***(extra-cheap shot with pennies on top) No shit.

***But seriously, I prefer writing about single songs because there’s too much filler on shitty albums lately. Big pet peeve digression: 20-30-second experimental interludes that take up an entire track. Let’s record a bunch of noise, and call it a track, and then when there’s ten songs on our album because the record company’s cutting off our weed supply (and plus, we were too high anyway to think of any more), and now they can pay the reviewers to write up decent, blah, not-too-detailed ratings, pawn a catchy, deception single to modern rock radio, and mark an EP-length album on sale for $18.99 at Tower. As long as we don’t have to play live any longer than fifteen minutes, it’s all good.

Also, reviews must be a minimum of 400 words long.

***Not gonna happen. My last blog entry was 850 words. All on one song. Maybe if 800,000 people wanted to read my review, I may be willing to write straight up reviews. But 400 words…especially on an amazing, diverse work of art album that asks for 4,000 words. Paring it down to the bare bones would mean making generalizations about a nonexistent concept and pretty much just avoiding most of the album. Resorting to such simplifications would also be a form of marketing. I kind of got fired from that industry a month ago, and they won't let me back.

If you've never been published or can't meet #1's criterion:
#2) Send a sample review of a recent album from your collection-- preferably one that's been released in the past six months, and that we don't presently have a review of in our archive. If we decide to hire you, it'll be your first review for the site, so we'll need it to be written specifically for Pitchfork (it can't have been previously published), and between 400-800 words in length.

***Oh, I’ve been published. By my self. Last time I gave a shit and checked, about four and a half people regularly read my work, up 2.5 from January.

All submissions must also include:

A list of your Top 10 favorite albums of 2004 (so far)

***Can I include 2005, too? Cool. And please keep in mind that this list, like the other lists I am compiling for you, are WIPs (work in progresses, or works in progress…whatever), because there is always more music to hear, recommendations to collect, and then you have the old stuff in your collection bugging you to break it out and have a nostalgic moment. Due to monetary restraints, I can’t afford to blow $50 at Amoeba every day and drop the equivalent to what I make in an hour to go see an it’s-a-toss-up-but-the-LA-Weekly-guy-hypes-it-but-who-the-fuck-is-he band live. Plus, it’s about quality, not quantity…unless you’re missing out on something. But then, discovery is usually right around the corner. For instance, right now I’m listening to the Fiery Furnaces’ fascinating Blueberry Boat for the first time. It comes highly recommended and it would be logical to place it on the list for hipster credibility reasons, but that would just be dishonest, not to mention kinda poseury.

***1. Arcade Fire – Funeral
2. Stars – Set Yourself on Fire
3. Interpol – Antics
4. Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News
5. Earlimart – Treble and Tremble
6. Elliot Smith – From a Basement on a Hill
7. Citizens Here and Abroad – Ghosts of Tables and Chairs
8. Wilco – A Ghost is Born
9. Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose
10.Kanye West – The College Dropout

A list of your Top 5 favorite bands from each decade (1970s-2000s)

***Before I begin, I’d like to suggest that you open up this question a bit so it may include both artists AND bands. And maybe add another five onto each category.

***1970s – Led Zeppelin, the E-Street Band (this includes Bruce Springsteen on guitar and vocals), the Wailers (this includes Bob Marley on guitar and vocals), Tom Petty/Neil Young/Bands, Pink Floyd
1980s – The Smiths, The Cure, U2, Pixies, the E-Street Band (again, Bruce Springsteen)
1990s – Rage Against the Machine, Modest Mouse, Radiohead, the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana
2000s – The Shins, Interpol, the White Stripes, Wilco, Modest Mouse

A list of the last 10 CDs you bought

***1. The Fiery Furnaces – Blueberry Boat
2. My Sexual Dad - Shark
3. Stars – Set Yourself on Fire
4. Autolux – Future Perfect
5. Sigur Ros – Agaetis Byrjun
6. Rocket From the Tombs – The Day the Earth Met the…
7. The Futureheads – The Futureheads
8. Wilco – A Ghost is Born
9. Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan
10.The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Strung Out in Heaven

Estimate of the number of CDs and LPs you think you've owned

***At least 700, possibly 900, adjusted for inflation. mp3s and self-researched/compiled CDs not included.

Click Here to Send Your Submission

Good luck!


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