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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Music Reviews »

Permalink Honest Reviews???

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Re: The new Poll about music reviews--
http://surfguitar101.com/polls/3/

The questions are, and this is mostly aimed at artists, would you like peer reviews of your music, even if they are negative reviews? Are album write-ups on SG101 "reviews" or are they opinions? Would you hate me forever if I said things you didn't like? Does your shit not stink? Can you handle the truth? Does a negative review here effect sales?
And fans, do you find opinions expressed here on SG101 helpful? Or do you prefer professional reviews- (and there are precious few writers who pay attention to surf music.) Do you assume that if there is no chatter about a new release, then people are just being polite and not posting negative comments?

Frankie in Frankie & The Pool Boys
Lazarus Longfellow in The TomorrowMen
Phayrentz in Pollo Del Mar
PDM on FaceBook

I love peer reviews, no matter the outlook. I don't think one can let reviews get to them, you can only grow from a negative review. Either they are right, or they highlight something you were trying to get a cross that they didn't quite get. As the artist that either lets you know you did something right or it gives you advice for the future.

I don't think album write-ups on this site are quite "reviews". They are... but I don't really count it as a proper review unless somebody has a large body of reviews to also look at and reflect upon to see their opinion formation.

I don't really like professional reviewers. Honestly, I am indifferent to them. It is their opinion.

What I do like, is somebody who writes passionately and is able to defend their review in an intelligent manner.

I find some opinions on this site very helpful, I also find some that cause me to think or do the complete opposite of what that person says.

And I do presume that if there is no chatter about a new release then people are just being polite. This could go for the image of the band or the actual music itself.

Of the albums I am truly passionate about, I can write huge essays expressing what I like about them as music and what it causes me to feel. Albums I am indifferent about... well... I wouldn't really want to write more than a sentence about. This rules out a intelligent review and would really just come off as terse.

Interesting question, Ferenc!

I find many reviews on SG101 helpful. I certainly value the opinions about surf-instro from most SG 101 members far more than those of many, if not most, "professional reviewers". When expressing an opinion about somebody's music, I try to be honest without bashing them. If I have nothing good to say, I usually won't say anything, unless I'm directly asked, or prodded. When I was actively playing music, I appreciated honest feedback, even if it was extremely negative. I usually took criticism constructively, and often found negative reviews more helpful than overly glowing praise. Outside perspectives can often be very helpful. I always felt though, that I had a clearer vision of the music I was creating than anyone on the outside. I always knew if the band had a good or a bad night, and whether a composition was good or not. Some people's opinion I value far more than those of others. There is a balancing act of believing in yourself and your vision, while still gaining helpful perspectives from reviewers and fans. Going too far in either direction can be detrimental, although from my perspective I think that it is far more dangerous to place too much importance on the opinions of others. That being said, many artists don't have an objective view of themselves and their work. They probably should (but often don't) trust in the opinions of others as much or more than their own.

If I don't hear much chatter on a new release, I don't assume anything, other than it probably isn't "setting the world on fire". Ivan and a few others here write "proper reviews". I feel that most of us voice opinions.
I've always thought that it was funny when I've posted a brief rundown of a concert, or an album, and being thanked for the "review". I see it more as an opinion, or an observation.

Bob

I have a few words on this, there are reviews, and critiques. A review can be just documentarian, a critique has (hopefully constructive) observations. I burnt out on SG 101 during our last release, doing what a band does to get a word out I was called a kiss-ass to a reviewer who liked the disk... never addressed the actual music. Another of your heroes here burnt calories discrediting the Neptunes without even talking about our music... writing guitar player magazine when we were lucky enough to get some ink. I am trying to illustrate that this forum is a popularity contest that sometimes has little to do with the actual art in question. You may have to look elsewhere for actual honest opinions. Watch for the flame.

THe NEpTuNeS

Like Robbie, I find it hard to say negative things about a persons music publicly. I'd welcome the opportunity to offer my honest opinion on a person's work, but currently I'd prefer to do it in a private manner.

There's another, broader issue which Ferenc's question points to. Does the release of substandard surf music hurt the genre as a whole. Do the lesser talented bands have an obligation to not make recordings so as to keep the general perception of surf music at a higher level? If so, then it's critical to have objective opinions available to know where one is. And it's critical for the community at large to let them know that their work is dragging the good bands down. This also applies to live music.

I'm not saying I subscribe to the above 100%, but I do think about it. On the other hand, we're mostly hobbyists having fun, the potential audience is very small, so who cares if joe shmo puts out yet another disc full of surf classics? How good does one have to be to enter the public domain in this day of youtube and free gigs?

Danny Snyder
aka Mycroft Eloi of The TomorrowMen
aka Shecky Shekels of Meshugga Beach Party
aka Zync Oxyde of Frankie and the Poolboys

Last edited: May 22, 2011 10:01:07

Danny, I get your point, but I don't think we are the arbiters of surf music in relation to the promotion of the genre. I don't think a "lesser talented band" would turn someone away from or change their mind about a genre. Just my opinion. On a different note... I loved it when Zak was still here. He was honest and I respected his opinion.

THe NEpTuNeS

Last edited: May 22, 2011 10:39:31

I think "peer reviews" are entirely valid. In fact, in a niche area like ours, I'm not sure what/who constitutes a professional review.

Addressing your other point, I can see how a negative review here would affect sales among the community. But, I'm not sure how dramatic it would be, especially if it were along side other opinions or ways for the people to make up their own mind (i.e. samples, videos, etc.)

Full length "Chases Lead to Crashes" available now - The Red Planets

PolloGuitar wrote:

And fans, do you find opinions expressed here on SG101
helpful? Or do you prefer professional reviews- (and
there are precious few writers who pay attention to
surf music.) Do you assume that if there is no chatter
about a new release, then people are just being polite
and not posting negative comments?

I think opinions expressed here are helpful. Maybe not all of the time, but more times than not. Even significant chatter offering little reasoning is often a sign of "good" work. And there are members whose words carry more weight, to be sure.

An opportunity I see is to elaborate on why the reviewer/critic thinks something is good, bad, or indifferent. From time to time, you'll find this, but I'd love it if there was more of this type of review.

I think more of this type of comment would affect sales, but not entirely. I believe this community supports peers even if they aren't the #1 "it band" of the time. While sometimes critical of work, this place doesn't feel like a dog-eat-dog community. I think that's a good thing too.

Last thought for now, I do believe that little to no comment about a release is more about people being nice publicly (Mamma always said if you can't say something nice...) and less about being able to get to all of the work. Granted, the later happens - I sure can't keep totally current, buying every single release that comes along and work my backlog of "must buy" releases. As a relative newcomer, that back catalog list is still pretty long.

fady

This hits home. Sometimes people send me copies of their CD's, I guess hoping for a review, but if I cannot produce a less than glowing review I often don't say anything. This is based on past experience where certain forum members have received negative, albeit constructive, criticism. It causes pyrotechnics and some people have even left the forum over it. I'm not happy about it, but it seems that's the way it is.

Our community seems too small to handle reviews like that.

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Last edited: May 22, 2011 11:36:13

I would like to see all kinds of reviews in this section. I don't receive every surf release for review in the Continental Magazine, so it's good to see all sorts of reviews here. I can look at them, and contact bands/labels to obtain a review copy to write about in the magazine, or if it looks like something that should be in our shop, I can try to get a bunch of 'em to sell.

Like mentioned earlier, there are very few professional reviewers that pay attention to surf music. I definitely don't consider myself to be a professional reviewer. However, I've written literally thousands of reviews over the years. When I write, it's really just one person's perspective, mine, and it's still kinda weird to me that other people read and value my reviews, and even base purchasing decisions on what I write. Who am I to say what you should buy and what you shouldn't. However, I think it is the fact that I have written about so many releases that gives my reviews some value. If you like a bunch of discs that I've given glowing, 5-star reviews to in the past, you can probably buy the discs that I gave 5-star reviews to in the most recent Continental magazine and be assured that it's something you'll like.

On the flip side, while I admire and respect everything that Phil Dirt has done for the surf music community, I know that if he gives something a one or two star review, there's a good chance I'll like it. Whether you agree or disagree with his reviews, he's consistent. So it can work that way as well.

I have really tried to be more critical in recent years, giving more releases negative reviews. I think there is definitely value in negative reviews - why should hundreds of people buy something that is mediocre? There could be valid reasons for a negative review - poor recording quality, poor performances, flubs, too many covers, unimaginative songwriting, etc. On the other hand, it can be tricky. For example, it's no secret that I'm not a fan of the Mermen. However, none of the reasons I've given above for writing a negative review can apply to their releases. I just plain don't like their music. So do I give it a 1 or 2 star review, based on how much I like it? Or should I give them a 4 or 5 star review, because the songs are performed well, recorded well, are all originals and show off great songwriting and playing skill? I know I'd go with the 1 or 2 star review, but hopefully I do a decent job explaining why I went with a low rating.

Negative reviews, in the long run, are also good for the band - it let's them know what's wrong with their recording and hopefully, in the future, they won't make the same mistakes.

I also think for the surf music scene as a whole negative reviews are good. There is lots of surf music out there, and to many, all surf music sounds the same. Most people, if they have any surf music in their collection at all, might only have a few albums. If one of those is bad (but got all positive reviews), they may think that represents the whole genre, and won't buy any more surf music.

It's very easy these days to record at home, make CD-R's or MP3's and to distribute them through the internet. There are probably more surf bands today than any other time in history. I think overall that's good and bad, and could probably be a whole new topic of discussion. I do think though that the more reviews here, both positive and negative, the better.

Sean
Double Crown Records
www.doublecrownrecords.com


Surf CD's / Vinyl / Fanzines / DVD's
20% OFF IN JULY WITH PROMO CODE: JULY20

Sean respect for what you do, but no one can convince me that one-positively reviewed album of "bad" surf music will make even one person blame the whole genre. Does Coors make people hate beer? Do fat chicks make guys hate women? I find a lot of surf fans are a little too "catholic" about the style. And unfortunately a few of the "style makers" can dissuade listeners from checking out an album that they might like.

THe NEpTuNeS

Here's the deal. Surf music is basically a hobbyist genre. Dudes just playing the music in their bedroom for fun or even just dudes playing with their buddies for fun. Sometimes they play shows and have some more fun. Hurrah for fun.

We are on a forum that puts said hobbists side by side to the BEST SURF BANDS IN THE WORLD. We have posters from the Bambi Molesters, Los Twang Marvels and Satan's Pilgrims on here! So if Joe-Schmo surf band expects everyone to gush about their covers of Diamondhead and Penetration, they may need be reminded what they are being compared to.

I'm not sure if my post really makes any sort of sense, I just think because this genre is a hobby and most people aren't in a situation to do all the real 'hard' work of being in a real band (...touring) they still expect recogniton because of the thousands for dollars they've spent on gear and recording.

http://thegregors.bandcamp.com/
http://tmensurf.com/
http://www.myspace.com/frankieandthepoolboys

Science friction burns my fingers.

Last edited: May 22, 2011 12:54:15

I like honest reviews. For a while, we (The Secret Samurai) were struggling with who we were as a band. Some honest feedback from friends, BTD among others, got us back on the right track.

When it comes down to it though, I'm not really concerned what most reviewers think. We're mainly doing this for YOU (sg101ers) and the select few who can appreciate this genre. If we can get 2 or 3 posts about someone really getting into our CD, getting goosebumps...or a nice gentleman in Russia playing along with one of our songs on youtube...that's good enough for me.

If someone has something negative to say, we'd love to hear it. I'm always up for improving myself (don't say anything, Ryan!) and we can take it.

As long as it's not "You guys should get a singer!"

Who wants a dishonest review? And the more interesting question is why would he or she want it? What purpose does it serve?

What bugs me is a sloppy or lazy review. For example, a well-known reviewer of surf music reviewed my CD but it was a somewhat nonsensical cut-and-paste job. I take his reviews now with more than just a grain of salt.

I generally don't give negative reviews because I realize my opinion is just that, very subjective. One man's meat is another man's poison. If I am moved to comment positively on something, I will. Otherwise I just don't bother. But, I certainly won't say I like something if I don't.

I don't mind negative feedback on my own stuff. Like Trey said, if a review isn't honest, what good is it? Sometimes its helpful, sometimes not.

Oh, and by the way Tom, the last Neptunes CD rules!!

Ryan
The Secret Samurai Website
The Secret Samurai on Facebook

Last edited: May 23, 2011 15:07:52

What bugs me is a sloppy or lazy review. For example, a
well-known reviewer of surf music reviewed my CD but it
was a somewhat nonsensical cut-and-paste job. I take
his reviews now with more than just a grain of salt.

It wasn't me - because you haven't sent me a review copy of your CD yet - lol! If you have any copies left please send one (PM me about getting copies to sell through the DC website too!)

Sean
Double Crown Records
www.doublecrownrecords.com


Surf CD's / Vinyl / Fanzines / DVD's
20% OFF IN JULY WITH PROMO CODE: JULY20

Unfortunately, there isn't just one bad/mediocre surf band, or surf music release - there are lots of 'em. Not your band though - I dig the Neptunes!

surfneptune wrote:

Sean respect for what you do, but no one can convince
me that one-positively reviewed album of "bad" surf
music will make even one person blame the whole genre.
Does Coors make people hate beer? Do fat chicks make
guys hate women? I find a lot of surf fans are a little
too "catholic" about the style. And unfortunately a few
of the "style makers" can dissuade listeners from
checking out an album that they might like.

Sean
Double Crown Records
www.doublecrownrecords.com


Surf CD's / Vinyl / Fanzines / DVD's
20% OFF IN JULY WITH PROMO CODE: JULY20

While not exactly a review (as I had to ask several times for his take) Duke from SurfRock Music really gave me some good advice after hearing our first cd a number of years ago. To spare feelings I won't go into detail but his insight saved me a lot of time and effort trying to figure out some issue with our sound...he also did not want to say anything neg, but that's what I needed to hear to move forward and am grateful for his candor

www.northofmalibu.com

Double-Crown-Records wrote:

What bugs me is a sloppy or lazy review. For example,
a
well-known reviewer of surf music reviewed my CD but
it
was a somewhat nonsensical cut-and-paste job. I take
his reviews now with more than just a grain of salt.

It wasn't me - because you haven't sent me a review
copy of your CD yet - lol! If you have any copies left
please send one (PM me about getting copies to sell
through the DC website too!)

Oh, hell no, it wasn't you Sean! See, you don't want to offend anyone and inadvertently bring the wrong people into things. Your reviews are stellar. For the record, pun intended, it was Ph!l D!rt.

Last edited: May 22, 2011 21:26:53

I always felt like this place was very positive because I rarely hear bad things about bands, but it never dawned on me that if you slam an album you hate there's a good chance that the band posts here. That makes a lot of sense, as you're practically telling them to their face.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm anyone worth paying attention to, but when I finally get around to recording I'd like brutal honesty. There's more than enough mediocre surf out there, and I'd rather be told my stuff is uninspired/sloppy/nothing special so I can make something better. I mean it's just a hobby, but at the same time I'd like to not suck at it.

Hot Summer Comes Again!
Let's Go Beach! Let's Go Beach!

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