Why Run A Review When You Can Just Interview The A&R Guy?

Apr 30th, 2008 // 13 Comments

conchords.jpgPlenty of critics have regurgitated press releases to fill up a feature well, but the Seattle Weekly‘s “review” (that’s how the article is tagged) of the new Flight Of The Conchords album consists mostly of interview quotes with Tony Kiewel, the band’s A&R representative at Sub Pop. Kiewel explains how he first heard the group, why he thinks they’re so great and how the band is doing really well, even going gold in New Zealand! Weekly editor Brian Barr concurs, adding that mixture of mockery and genuine musical tribute is what makes them so great. Barr sure sounds like a fan. I bet he’d get a kick out of interviewing the band! Maybe Kiewel could hook that up sometime.

…”If they didn’t have the musical chops, we wouldn’t be putting out the record,” says Kiewel, noting that they were set to release a FOTC record before the HBO show ever aired. Released April 22, FOTC’s self-titled musical debut (in the United States at least) proves what multifaceted talents they are.

…If you didn’t know better, you might ask “Why the hell is Sub Pop bothering with a joke band?” But Clement and McKenzie have a trick up their sleeves: they really admire the bands and styles they’re poking fun at. And that’s what makes FOTC so engaging: they’re subtly teetering between mockery and tribute. You laugh at first, only to find yourself humming the tune when it’s stuck in your head the next day.

Kiewel says the release-date shipment of this album is the second largest in the label’s history (the largest being the Shins’ Wincing the Night Away), and the investment in the album packaging is possibly the most elaborate they’ve ever done. The label has also been receiving an average of three requests per hour to interview the band.

I wonder if this was the first time that request was followed with “well, if they’re too busy, can I interview you?”

Flight of the Conchords’ Special Delivery [Seattle Weekly]


  1. TheContrarian

    Man, I hate that lazy shit.

  2. Chris N.

    At the very least they should have interviewed Murray.

  3. Mike P.

    @Chris N.: Exactly. He makes that show as far as I’m concerned.

  4. hastings

    Not to abandon all cynicism and regurgitate the blindingly obvious, but Sub Pop’s in Seattle, as is… Seattle Weekly. Technically, running a music of the business piece localizes an “international” phenomenon more than interviewing “the band.”

  5. dan

    props where they’re due, though. as A&R guys go, tony k is pretty ace.

    not that that legitimizes this “review” in any way.

  6. Michaelangelo Matos

    @hastings: for what seems like the tenth time in the past couple years, yes. Barr is constantly writing not merely about Sub Pop bands, but about Sub Pop staff, in the most boot-licking way imaginable, and it’s tiresome.

  7. Clevertrousers

    I’m just happy and relieved to discover that there are still A&R guys left in the industry.

  8. Al Shipley

    Who cares if it’s ‘tagged’ as a review when it’s clearly a feature article? The paper I write for categorizes some of my features as reviews in its site’s archives, which annoys me sometimes as a writer, but people would generally be able to read the first two sentences and figure out it’s not a review, just as they could with this.

  9. TheContrarian

    @Al Shipley: I care. And editors, should too. Criticism has it’s own logic, completely independent of features. This craft should be respected and preserved, particularly nowadays.

  10. jackieo

    Signing the Conchords wasn’t a difficult decision to make I’m sure. Anyone could have done it but Sub Pop loves to throw the cash around and swing their dicks so there ya go, another feather in their cap. I’m happy for the Conchords but I don’t need to hear from this penis. Save it! Thank goodness I don’t live in Seattle and have to read about the STAFF in the local rags on a weekly basis. I’d die.

  11. DavidWatts

    I’m sure this is down to something falling through at the last minute, yes, but I’ve seen stranger things in similar situations, like feature stories with no quotes at all. At least Brian spoke with someone.

  12. Anonymous

    Sub Pop HARDLY ‘throws the cash around’ and it’s actually quite nice to see Tony K getting some ink — that dude gets it. This is one of a million press stories that the Conchords are gonna get, so lighten up.

  13. mackro

    There’s nothing wrong with a city paper covering acts from a label in that city, obv. However, when I read it and I’d rather just cut to the press release, the article fails. I’m sure Tony’s press releases are far more entertaining than Brian’s articles.

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