I'm a punk rock reviewer, hear me roar

I recently stumbled upon a review of the new onelinedrawing record: volunteers on punknews.org. Before I start, I am not taking anything away from the people who write for punknews. They put a lot of time and effort into this site, much more than I do here in reality. They don't get paid, unless you count the free swag they get.

I will also say that reviews, are like assholes. Everything is pre-digested and everything that comes out is shit. However, this time, I really felt the review was off-coloured and off based. For those not in the indie/emo know, onelinedrawing is the side project that became popular of Jonah Matranga (of FAR, new end original and now gratitude fame).

Jonah plays countless shows in every town in North America, and like him or not, he puts his heart into the set, each and every time. He sells his merch on the "sliding scale", meaning what you have is what you get the shirt or cd for. He plays any song you ask, and truly plays for the crowds. I bought his sketchy eps for 2 dollars a piece, as I only had a 5 spot left after drinking beers at his show.

This review attacks him personally, and for little reason. He plays the same set everytime? Well, first off, I have seen him enough to say he doesn't, but have you ever seen bands play before? I would say most do. Very few take requests during the set. He talks to the crowd, not at them. He reminds me of Mike Doughty in that way. Doughty could play you the same 15 songs every night, but his banter and enjoyment make each show unique.

The fact he bashes Jonah for signing to a major label is the worst part. Jonah has been DIY since the beginning. Sure his website sells his shit for normal prices, but he goes on the road with a backpack full of merch and unloads it for whatever his fans can afford. You don't think, in the last 5 years anyone has offered him a huge contract before that he has turned down? Labels have been snatching up the sensitive songwriter for years now. The cherry on this "let's bash Jonah" sundae is that he has never really come out and been fundamentally DIY as this review makes him seem.

Let's talk about Ben Weasel. He has been regarded as DIY as they get (well except for cats like Ian McKaye) and if you read his blog you will get the distinct impression, he would love to be able to sign to a major right now. You can be as indie as Harrison Ford in the Temple of Doom, but eventually, you are 30+ and your art has to pay the bills. It is cool to retain your "indie creds" but when you are 35 and living in apartment, with no retirement plan, something is going to click eventually.

I guess the best thing I can say is that Jonah brings more sincerity to the stage than 90% of the artists out there. If you want to hate the record (which he actually said he liked), that is fine. But to attack him personally, that is a different ball game altogether. People don't read an album review for a character review? Do I care if Neal Pollack is a douchebag, nope, but I might want to know if his new book is good.

Just one man's opinion... disregard it as you choose.


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