Pitchfork, an influential website that covers the indie music scene, recently posted a review of The Airborne Toxic Event's debut album that lambastes the band, its music, Los Angeles, particular types of songwriting, and plenty other things, enough to make one wonder if the critic hates just this album or life in general. He probably kicks puppies—hey, I'm not saying he does, don't sue me for libel, I'm just speculating.
In a daring feat of artistic public conversation, The Airborne Toxic Event posted an open letter to Pitchfork and the critic that is intelligent, restrained, and funny. I thought I was the only one who fought back, but I see that other artists know how to smartly call critics out on their shit. Art has never been a one-way conversation, and "criticism" should not be either.
Anyway, the band's response is so well-written that I had to give their album a listen, which I'm doing on Rhapsody right now. They remind me of a punkier Bright Eyes, if you can imagine, which means they're all kinds of awesome. I'm on track four, which is titled "Happiness Is Overrated." It rocks. Watch the acoustic version (there's an Asian dude!):
Jesus Christ, how could you not love them?! Yes, I want to fuck this band.
No, they may not be your cup of tea, but anyone who writes something this pretentious—"In a way, The Airborne Toxic Event is something of a landmark record: This represents a tipping point where you almost wish Funeral or Turn on the Bright Lights or Is This It? never happened as long as it spared you from horrible imitations like this one, often sounding more inspired by market research than actual inspiration"—is an asshole.
[Thanks to Isaac Butler at Parabasis for posting the links and providing some additional commentary about responsible criticism.]