Music News

The Arizona Republic is Laughably Out Of Touch With Local Music

I actually try to keep Republic-bashing to a minimum here on Up on the Sun, but, as you'd probably expect of one of the largest papers in the country to never win a Pulitzer, the Gannett-piloted drone just keeps embarrassing itself.

The latest example? Their "Best Local Band" category in the reader voted knock-off of New Times vaunted Best Of Phoenix issue. Here are your choices, folks:

Asses of Evil
Gin Blossoms
Isle of Essence
Rescue The Future
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
Shawn Johnson & The Foundation
Skeletal Secret
What Laura Says

I'll go ahead and spot them What Laura Says, Gin Blossoms, Roger Clyne and the legendary Shawn Johnson, even if they wouldn't be on my list. But Asses of Evil? Skeletal Secret? Greenwich? I can understand the old timers, even though I heartily disagree with including them, but including a bunch of random alt-rock redux-ers? Sickening.

Does the Rep know that Dear and the Headlights is playing Coachella this weekend? They are, as far as I know, the first Arizona band to do so. Or that they're on Warped Tour? And if you think this is outrageous, read on to see who is winning this thing.

Current standings:

Asses of Evil, 2%
Gin Blossoms, 13%
Greenwich, 12%
Isle of Essence, 44%
Kongos, 13%
Rescue The Future, 0%
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, 9%
Shawn Johnson & The Foundation, 3%
Skeletal Secret, 2%
What Laura Says, 2%

That's right, apparently Isle of Essence, a bluesy alt-rock band currently booking shows at tiny Tempe bars not really known for hosting shows -- and band that doesn't have anything on their official website -- is on track to be Phoenix's "best local band." Not, say, any of the seven local bands we had at SxSW. Not The Maine, who have 11 million plays of their single on their Myspace, or Minature Tigers, who just toured with Ben Folds, but a ridiculously average band that's playing CopperState Tavern in Glendale next month.

I'm not even going to get in to an argument about what the best band in town actually is, but I think the ballot needs to include bands that are doing something. Anything. This sort of boost could be really useful to a band that has a prayer of "making it" and the Republic had a duty to do a tiny amount of basic research to find out who those bands where.

So, please, join me in going over to the Republic's site and casting a ballot for What Laura Says, no matter what you think of them. The last thing Phoenix's music scene needs is some shitty bar band running around telling the world the tenth largest (though one of the least regarded, in journalism circles) paper in the country named them our best band. Let's try to clean up the mess made by the lazy, out-of-touch journalists at the Republic.

And, lastly, I know I probably shouldn't glorify this sham contest, or encourage participation in it, but if Isle of Essence wins it won't only be am embarrassment for the Republic, it'll be an embarrassment to Phoenix. I hope it's avoidable.

By the way, thanks to DFactor for pointing this thing out.

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar