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For example, the new Lost Rivers review.
It's quite annoying.
We're gonna blow the lid right off this. Get Smiley.
I think that's the real question.
To give reviews and scores that is their true personal reflection. So, they can give 9/10 reviews for records that arent necessarily loved by the DiS team...so they might not appear on recommended records.
in a nutshell (help! help! I'm in a nutshell, etc..)
Editorial stance - records that Are aligned with what DiS wants to push as its 'brand' which might not be exactly aligned to the subjective views of one writer (whose chosen to review the record because he/she already likes it) etc
however, I can no longer read, let alone say the word brand without thinking about this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bO8Cnqt79o
you can have BNMs with 8.2s or even 8.1s but sometimes albums (especially noise/metal ones) get 8.4 or 8.5 and don't get the tag. I think they justify it by saying that if they believe that record would appeal to people outside the immediate comfort zone of that specific genre / relatively universally, they slap a BNM on it. of course some BNMs end up missing their end of year charts altogether whereas some non achieve decent positions. case in point:
Washed Out 8.3, BNM // Liturgy 8.3, no BNM but no.41 EOY
ASAP Rocky 8.2, BNM // Clams Casino 8.2, no BNM but no.17 EOY
as well as the whole being in line with DiS etc
It's an editorial thing, basically - any reviewer is welcome to give any album any mark they want, but a 'recommended' indicates a certain level of consensus at an editorial level (it has to get an 8+ mark too). To be absolutely transparent re: Lost Rivers, I believe Dom was the only person from DiS sent a copy, so inevitably there was never going to be a consensus.
I promise to rate it so that you can decide whether it deserves Recommended status
that "Spotify is not available in your country"
Myself (and some Andrzej) tend to pick what's in here based on whether we feel it
a) could be an album of the year contender (admittedly we should probably use editorial powers mark down more review scores. Maybe)
b) feel it would appeal to a large swathe of the DiS audience (i.e. that True Widow album that got 10/10 last year I wouldn't recommend to anybody but I can kind of see why Tom awarded that in his own personal view of the world)
c) to ensure DiS isn't inundated with recommendations.
d) I am an evil dictator and tend not to include things I've not heard or don't like.
To clarify, there's no 'this must get this out of ten' memo sent with any reviews. People put their hand up for what they fancy doing. To be fair, we should probably be harder on our contributors in ensuring they justify their marks out of ten in terms of the wider world of DiS, especially as people don't seem to 'get' that DiS is an aggregator of individuals, rather than some sort of amalgamated party-line...
In my head, I think of the Recommended Records section as stuff I would play to some of my friends who like music but aren't into it enough to explore too much. I know we're only as good as our current crop of recommendations, especially to first time visitors or those who don't come here often. Of course the odd thing that's quite exceptional goes in there (especially if there's A LOT of love for it amongst the community, and the review is positive) and a few randoms slip in, but, yeah, it's an imprecise science - which hopefully makes it quite human and humane, rather than hideously hollow and data-driven or overly dictated by my personal taste...
I do often wonder what that achieves (the marking down part). Whist i obviously understand the whole 'we can't be seen to love everything' angle, the obvious counter argument is that if you are going to allow the reviewer thier opinion, how is doctoring it anything other than DiScolouring the writers personal opinion?
for instance, this morning i suggested marking the Julia Holter record up a mark, as it's a fairly exceptional record but me and Andrzej discussed it a bit, and decided the fact it was recommended was enough. And James was happy with an 8.
I think there needs to be a visual way to present the way DiS works. Like, 'this is the opinion of X' instead of people presuming we've paid someone (95% of our contributors are unpaid) to toe some party line. I hate the idea of a magazine having some opinion, which is basically the editor's opinion. I mean, as editor I'm often not that far from the average DiS readers opinion but I'm well aware there are people here who are far indier than me and far more into pop or metal or whatever it's rare we get it totally wrong, isn't it?
There are so many reviews that I would mark down but it wouldn't be right.
What I'm thinking in future, is that when the user ratings come into effect (they're already there but no-one uses them) that the recommended section is user picks, and there's a separate editor's recommended rack, or something like that. I like the duality of an individual and a democratic community (although I'm well aware the latter is often quite flawed in favour of the most popular).
'Sin & Lostness' is an album of the year contender in my opinion. But that's where the nail gets hit on the head - in. my. opinion.
As records coming out of the shoegaze/noise genre go, it will be held as a barometer in the future in the same way as 'Before The Dawn Heals Us' or the first A Place To Bury Strangers LP, of that I'm certain. Whether or not that attains the band any widespread recognition remains to be seen.
I'm just pleased that DiS published a review of such a fine record, as to my knowledge, no other UK publication either online or printed has up to this present moment in time.
Have to agree with the above statements (albeit begrudgingly!) that it would be difficult for a record to be tagged as an editor's recommendation when the editor hasn't heard it.
fire it over (or is it streaming anywhere?)
it is comfortably the loudest lp i've ever heard in my life
Can't imagine folks who aren't into shoegaze suddenly falling in love with it, like, say Health or maybe Cold Cave.
Get why you lot would like it if you're attuned to the genre.
Will give it another go when my brain is more in the mood (although not sure I'm ever gonna love that guys voice or the scratchy production).
I shudder to think what it could have sounded like with an expensive producer in a plush all mod cons studio!
"True Widow album that got 10/10 last year I wouldn't recommend to anybody but I can kind of see why Tom awarded that in his own personal view of the world."
With the benefit of hindsight, I might have marked it down to a 9. But it's still a great album. It's just about what connects with you as a listener. That one just got hold of me and wouldn't let go for a few months. Kind of primed myself with what they'd had available online, and had been waiting for it to come out too.
The DiS recommended list, as I see it at least, acts as a useful final filter, an extra gold star. But even then, that's an opinion on an opinion. All of this writing and listening doesn't actually mean a thing until someone who reads the review listens to the record. At that point, there's a direct relation between music and listener, and everything else as good as evaporates.
just because it's 9 by a certain writer doesn't mean the website has to fully endorse it, I guess.
But following on from my point earlier about when DiS 'marks something down', if a writer gives a record a 9 then it should be a 9. It's obvious that due to the varying review scores that DiS doesn't love EVERYTHING, and it is going to be the case every now and then that a bunch of really great records all come along at the same time.
I'm just not really sure what 'marking down' ultimately achieves. As a reader i'd rather know that i was reading the honest opinion of an individual, rather than wondering if 'this is how the writer really feels or perhaps has somebody intervened?'.
It kinda defeats the whole object of a review really.
a reviewer will write something tho that doesn't justify the mark awarded. you've gotta really argue for highmarks.
plus a lot of people are quite kind after a few listens to an album and ultimately i think our writers are a bit too generous (hence all the moaning about there being too many 7 and 8s, when a 5 and 6 isn't that bad a score)
I don't ever do this because I disagree with the sentiment of the review, but rather because the score doesn't seem to align with the tone of the review.
The classic examples are somebody being really down on a record and then just giving it 7 because their idea of 7 is 'average', or else submitting a 9 (or even a 10) that doesn't even sound particularly enthusiastic. Its not a scientific scale so I think a little moderation is reasonable.
I think your points on that are totally fair enough.
I have read a few reviews where it appears that the writer loves a record and it only gets a 6. Typically at this moment an example escapes me (I'll find one). So in that kind of example the mark doesn't seem to correlate - and following on from what Sean said earlier about the Julia Holter LP, do things ever actually get marked up? If so in what circumstances does this happen? Is it just because you think the mark isn't correct for the tone of the review or is it because you think the record is actually better than the mark awarded?
The latter part would actually be just as bad as marking down because it would mean, once again, an intervention of opinion other than the writer's.
just because it's rare that a writer gives a mark that seems too low for the tone of the review, it's almost always the other way. Also I suppose slapping 'recommended' on it (as I did with Holter) seems to be means enough to impose my personsal fondness for the record, I don't think James' review reads like a 9/10, personally.
I've had 'Sin & Lostness' since the middle of January and listened to it at least once a day since. In that sense I've been fortunate enough to be able to live with the record and ultimately its grown on me tremendously. Other times reviews can be turned around after 2-3 listens, particularly if a PR hasn't got their finger out and only sent it over a day or two before the scheduled release date. I'd argue the case for 'Sin & Lostness' against anything else I've heard so far this year. Seriously.
The Lost Rivers are currently the most exciting band on the planet. Anyone who witnessed them blow the roof off Brixton Windmill will last Saturday will testify to this. Sin & Lostness will prove to be a classic. Ignore them at your own peril.