Illustration by Bob Aul You should read some of the fantastic crap-filled press releases we writers wade through every day. EVERY DAY!
It's enough to make you scream. It's enough to make you claw your eyes out. It's enough to make you compulsively wash your hands and run around the office yelling, "Bullshit! Bullshit! It's all bullshit!"
And it really, truly, is. Big, hoary, flowery, gnarled piles of overinflated 50-cent words. A continual flow of new complicated ways to say the same old very simple thing. Smoke and mirrors. Bullshit and purple prose.
Don't think so? Try your hand at the following blurbs. See if you can pick out the real press-release excerpt from the imposter. Answer key at the bottom.
1. Perfect Circle
a) "A Perfect Circle is not a side project. A Perfect Circle is not a hobby for any of those involved. A Perfect Circle does not represent the end of anything. A Perfect Circle does not represent the beginning of anything. A Perfect Circle is not a religion. A Perfect Circle is not a political movement. A Perfect Circle is the continuation and the furtherance of many extraordinary musical ideas."
b) "A Perfect Circle is not a cure for cancer. A Perfect Circle can't end Third World hunger. A Perfect Circle won't feed your dog when you're out late at night. A Perfect Circle is not perfect. A Perfect Circle is not a circle. A Perfect Circle is the sound of your soul."
2. Nashville Pussy
a) "Straight off the blocks, Nashville Pussy were positively infamous for their ferocious, take-no-prisoners live shows—and immediately the most talked about band in the country."
b) "What do Oprah, Ted Nugent, Gene Simmons and Vaclav Havel have in common? They're all talking about Nashville Pussy! The most talked about band in the entire universe!"
c)"But all that—as they say—is history, and Nashville Pussy is focused on the here and how."
d) "Everything's Zen. So's Nashville Pussy."
3. The American Girls
a) "Their major-label debut evokes a compelling crispness while sounding like nothing else you've ever heard. . . . The American Girls are genuine and fearless, hopelessly romantic and infinitely catchy."
b) "Their latest effort recalls the crispness of a winter's day and the heat of a hot summer night . . . on acid! The American Girls are tried and true, stodgy and steadfast, bitter and caustic, innocent and naive, and looking to rock you from here to kingdom come with their tales of woeful lust and youth gone wild!"
a) "58 is not so much a band as a sonic adventure in which anything—and everything—goes. Glam rock blends with hip-hop. Industrialized heavy metal gets jiggy with funky grooves. Rootsy guitars twang alongside drum & bass rhythms and Internet modem sounds. And the melodies stay in your ears long after the laser has flashed its path across the disc. . . . Diet for a New America sounds at once like everything and nothing you've ever heard before."
b) "Fasten your seat belts and check your expectations at the door! Welcome to the world of 58, an exhilarating sonic playground where everything is nothing and nothing is everything and sometimes things look like other things but they aren't really; they're the things that you first thought they were, but sometimes they're not because sometimes they aren't even there at all! Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"
a) "Put simply, Ignite inspires.
"In a musical world crowded with misogynistic, hedonistic and meat-headed rock acts, the welcome Ignite remains molten and moving within a breath."
b) "Ignite's gonna getcha!
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"Springing forth from the stifling terrain of agoraphobes, xenophobes, misanthropes and phobe-phobic-thropic-phobic-phobes, Ignite are kinetic, elusive and never more than a second away."
6. Bob Lowery
a) "Considering his hunger for the truth, it's not surprising that singer/ songwriter Bob Lowery would title his Cayman Records debut album Yellow Light. In a world where everything is reduced to red and green extremes, Lowery chooses to explore the mysterious center—that complex place of transition where all options are considered and from which life's most important decisions are made."
b)"What if no one told the emperor he was naked? What if no one challenged the notion that the world is flat? What if no one wrote music from the deepest portions of his soul where words run dry and time is infinite? What if there was a party in your pants and everyone was invited but no one showed up? What if no one asked what if anymore? Enter Bob Lowery, a man not afraid to be afraid of the complex web of green intricacies and blue complications and maroon options and the burnt sienna meanings that connect all of them and all of us."