Dear Derek Thomas,
I LOVE THE WAY YOU . . . have an impressive grasp of your acoustic guitar; you've created melodies that are solid if a little lackluster, and your voice has enough of the Elliott Smith-brood-whisper to make someone stop (if only for the briefest of seconds) and listen to your indie soft-rock plight.
BUT I HATE THE WAY YOU . . . unabashedly butcher the memory of your idol by trying to actually become the OC Elliott Smith. Man, fuck mental illness when we're the ones who have to be surrounded by all these happy palm trees and shiny SUVs. I get that the glare can be blinding, but why blatantly make fun of a huge SoCal crowd with a penchant for alt. rock and plenty of cash to burn? With lyrics like "I'm from Newport/I eat sushi/Get grumpy/Go poopy!" you're going to elicit some kind of reaction, but you won't be playing Detroit any time soon. Not that you'd want to, right?
SO I WISH YOU WOULD . . . either cling to the coattails of Matt Costa, the native whose audience is composed equally of the sick and pale and the toxic and tan, or move away from the plastic fantastic to get a better view of what you're ridiculing. Sometimes we have to let go of the angst that's been driving our creative vision for so long—it's called growing up. We know what you hate—commercialism, materialism, sushi, Paul Frank, etc.—but is there anything you love? Whether or not Orange County is the great artistic void that you claim, you are where you sleep—so don't shit in your bed.
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