Listen to Pedro
With amusement, and a bit of disappointment, I've been following some of the music related sniping going on in recent issues of The Hook. I think your music writers generally do a good job, and I look forward to hearing about an upcoming show or reading about the ones I've attended.
Sometimes I disagree– but that's the point of criticism. I think a number of local musicians would benefit from this understanding as well. Local music coverage (and arts coverage in general) is not supposed to be a rubber-stamp of approval. While a reviewer should respect the efforts that go into a live performance or disc, they shouldn't have to cower for fear of being called ignorant or crass simply because they have an opinion that gets published.
Indeed, after living here for five years, I think it's high time people wake up and realize that Charlottesville is not the sonic bastion that many claim it is. The musical reputation of this town is largely based on the achievements of bands that don't even live here anymore, or only part-time (Malkmus, DMB). Obviously, there are some great acts that I try to check out whenever possible. But let's face the music there is a lot of garbage that gets played here, and it seems like a number of local musicians feel an unspoken entitlement against being criticized.
I have a few ideas as to why this is the case, but ultimately local acts need to suck it up and deal– if you want to cloak yourself in the rhetoric of artistic purity and integrity, stay in your basement. If you want to play live, people have a right to tell you exactly what they think. And if you do get a bad review, just consider for a moment that you might be able to learn something from it.
Either that, or listen to Pedro the Lion's "Criticism as Inspiration."