Pitchfork panned Diet Cig, Twitter outrage ensued +++ pics from Baby’s
Diet Cig gained some buzz in the New York indie scene over the past few years, enough to land the duo a deal with Frenchkiss for their debut LP Swear I'm Good At This, and enough to sell out the back-to-back release shows at Baby's All Right last Friday (4/7). They were in good spirits at the early show, excited about the Brooklyn shows and the album. Singer and guitarist Alex Luciano addressed the all ages crowd often, specifically relating to the teenagers and spoke a bit about the meanings of many of the songs before playing them. Pictures of the early show, which had Nashville Infinity Cat-signed band Daddy Issues opening, are in the gallery above.
In a move that hearkened back to the website's earlier days, Pitchfork, who gave the album's first single a favorable review, slammed Diet Cig with a 5.1 album review on that same Friday release day (4/7). Reviewer Quinn Moreland included zingers like this:
The origin story of Diet Cig centers around an interaction in which guitarist Alex Luciano interrupted drummer Noah Bowman during a show to ask for a lighter. This anecdote is an odd way to introduce your band. It suggests a double standard that it’s okay for women to interrupt men while they’re playing but you know if the tables were turned Twitter would be all up in arms.
Diet Cig are the heavy-handed musical equivalent of the pussy hat: a well-meaning feminist gesture that lacks all nuance.
Luciano and Bowman check off the indie pop boxes on rollicking songs like “Bite Back” and “Blob Zombie,” and though these songs are likable little pop succulents, they lack anything to identify them from the many other indie pop songs who helped bear Diet Cig into existence.
Their songs read like hollow, vampiric feminist messages.
It’s difficult to criticize a band for saying things that are by all means correct and likable on the surface... but Diet Cig’s debut is almost entirely made of other people’s gestures hastily collected and cheaply executed.
But the real gut-punch is this:
There is little here to convince listeners that Diet Cig are actually worth your time.
Twitter outrage ensued, including from others in the music world. Editor of indie music blog The Alternative, Emily Dubin, tweeted "The diet cig pitchfork review reeks of jealousy and pompousness. Young girls need a role model like Alex. I need a role model like Alex," which Wavves retweeted. Wavves then tweeted, "for wavves it doesnt matter wht pfork thinks of me. they post abt me everytime i sneeze. go ahead and pan my record ill still sell out shows" and "just getting wild how obviously personal the reviews are getting. im glad ppl at least can see that its more of a game than actual substance."
Punk Talks, an organization that "aims to provide free mental health assistance to bands, industry professionals, and fans," tweeted, "I think that @quinnmoreland wrote a juvenile and sexist piece about a defining album in an exciting time in punk music. Shame on you."
Current Rolling Stone contributor (and former SPIN/Village Voice/Parts & Labor/etc contributor) Chris Weingarten suggested, "This lede is illuminating: It basically admits modern music writing & indie rock are mostly about Twitter optics."
PWR BTTM, who are friends with and have toured with Diet Cig and were at one of the Baby's shows (and even joined Diet Cig on stage), and whose "Big Beautiful Day" video stars Alex Luciano from Diet Cig, have been liking tweets in defense of Diet Cig. One was from former Pity Sex member Britty Drake saying, "Can we all agree that fuck pitchfork and love @dietcig." They also liked this one:
And in the replies to that tweet, Punk Talks said, "Wow. Way to turn an incredible and defining album like @dietcig's into the cry of a whiny meninist." The Alternative said, "I had to check that this was real. What a horrible review. Way to completely not get it."
Here is some more of the Twitter outrage:
Reviewer Quinn Moreland later replied to the outrage:
In reply to Quinn's tweet, former Pitchfork editor (and current editor in chief of The Creative Independent) Brandon Stosuy said, "your review's on point. people would be better off listening to K's 90s indie pop catalogue. feels more culturally relevant in 2017." Allison Crutchfield and a whole bunch of Pitchfork writers liked that one.
Pitchfork contributor Matthew Strauss backed Quinn's review as well:
What do you think? Either way, this much is true:
photos by Ester Segretto