I’m going to just toss it out there (and, yes, he’s one of my closest friends, and I have the unbelievable honor of working with him at Daytrotter): Sean Moeller is the best active writer of music out there.
Now look, I’m not sure what you consider good writing on music, but for me, the bar is set by people like: Greil Marcus, Nick Tosches, Peter Guralnick, Ratso Sloman (at least in his On the Road With Bob Dylan), Studs Terkel (on jazz), and some others I’m forgetting.
What Sean has in common with all these brethren above (and, what’s up with it being all brethren? … someone, please, hip me to some great distaff music writers), is that it’s not about reviews, it’s not about – God help us – ratings/other qualitative horseshit.
Rather, it’s about context and it’s deeply personal.
This is what pisses some people off about Sean (and all the others I listed above). Reading through, for instance, Mr. Marcus’ The Old, Weird America, is just not feasible for some people. It’s not clear cut, it’s not obvious, it’s not handed to you on a silver platter…you gotta work for it a bit.
But, you know what, for those of us who are deeply, deeply infected by this music thing, anything less than the above (i.e. writing that is dumbed down, obvious, cliched…easy) is like eating fast food when you’re palette demands…I don’t know…Al Forno (I’ll leave the damn similes to the above).
Justifiably, Daytrotter gets a lot of attention for the curation of music and for the art…but, the writing’s part of the triumvirate, imho.
It ain’t for everybody (the writing on Daytrotter, that is). Some people leave negative comments. But, you know, I think that only proves the point. Do we want it to be for everybody? Do we like stuff that’s for everybody? Really?
Nah…we want the stuff that some people just can’t/won’t get, because we (and you know who I’m talking to) do get it, and need it.