In February of 2005, we booked New York band The Cloud Room to play our 2nd Movable Hype show. We had heard their song Hey Now Now and it instantly stuck in our head like peanut butter to the roof of one's mouth. This is how it was for everyone we talked to. We'd even venture to say that a song hasn't stuck in our head like that since.
This week, Pitchfork took a stab at the band (again), this time with a feature on that song titled, The Smash That Wasn't. It appears to be an attempt at taking a look in to the world of indie bands and their labels in a world ruled, mostly, by majors and Top 40 radio. This could be an intersting article, but Pitchfork isn't known for their writing, they're known for placing numbers on new releases. In that vein, they only gave us a glimpse at the tip of the iceburg. What about talking to another indie label? Or someone in radio promotions? Or Sub Pop, who got 500K in sales out of the Postal Service without a hit radio single? In other words: what about some actual insight?
Luckily, in the world wide web, even Pitchfork is open to review - and TuningFork has given it to them. Read their response here. In addition, the Cloud Room has issued a statement on the feature:
"Pitchfork -- such an odd, intriguing multi-headed beast (and I mean multi-headed beast in the best of senses). It's great to be their weekly feature, and to get our story out there, etc. But we come off as quite a bitter bunch, wouldn't you say? We've certainly come up against the complexities of mainstream radio we had no real idea about, and the limitations an indie label has when it comes to money. But, Gigantic has done a wonderful job supporting us, getting us out there, and we've learned and adjusted and are really excited about, well, everything--even dirt. Just kidding, I'm still not that excited about dirt.
The success we've been having in Australia--radio, MTV, Rolling Stone, etc.--has proven that we weren't crazy; that a new label and band could in fact achieve success in a country that required less money. So we'll continue pursuing US radio, head down under, expand to the UK and elsewhere, but most importantly we'll concentrate on the music (see new Sunlight Song demo).
Honestly, life is so damn short, it's important to learn from the past, but not to continue living in it."
Last year we asked the Cloud Room and the National to keep diaries of their SXSW experiences. You can read the Cloud Room's here and The National's here. The National touches on what it is like to be just one band amongst so many others:
Anyway, this party is in an office park several miles out of town. It's sparsely attended. But Turing Machine and Thunderbirds Are Now are here. Great performances from both groups mitigate things. Our set is good, too. A tree falls in the forest . . .
What do you think of Pitchfork's article, and the struggle of the New York indie band and label?
Related: If you haven't heard it you can check out the Cloud Room's Hey Now Now (video and mp3) here.