Interviews

PHX Literal Reviews Are Reviews That Are Literal (and Unnervingly Hilarious)

Hello. You are reading a music-themed weblog. Sometimes this music-themed weblog (known as "Up on the Sun") features words that describe music events the night before. Show reviews are a kind of "cool" history, but to some people, they're boring, pretentious outlets for the Millennial Generation's worst epidemic: Fear of Missing Out. At the same time, those people might just hate music.

Then there's PHX Literal Reviews, featuring reviews that are well, literal. Painfully so. And sometimes these reviews make people emit guttural noises, and other times they make them envision violent ends to the site's main writer, Yulunga Baktai. Mr. Baktai writes things like "Japhy's Descent was the band playing. Most of them were standing. Two of them were sitting. One of the sitters was the drummer. The other one was the sitting man. Two of the men were blowing into things. The rest of were plucking or hitting things."

Do you get it now? But even through its cringe-worthy objectivity, PHX Literal Reviews reveals some of the pitfalls of music journalism in general: "That's how you review music in Arizona. You say nice things about your friends, and pretend that the people you don't know were never born." Is there a place in the metropolitan Phoenix scene for absurdity and tongue-in-cheek negativity? Decide for yourself at their website, in the most straightforward reviews you will (literally) ever read.

Up on the Sun: What compelled you to do this project at the very beginning, before you had this idea? That is the first question, by the way.

Yulunga Baktai: I was at a show, and there was music happening. I asked myself, "Where's that music coming from?" As it turns out, it was coming from the band playing the music. "Somebody needs to document this," I thought. That somebody is me.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Troy Farah is an independent journalist and documentary field producer. He has worked with VICE, Fusion, LA Weekly, Golf Digest, BNN, Tucson Weekly, and Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Troy Farah