OK, so after Mr. Skvoretz's contribution [Letters, November 26] to the short stack of boring haters who've written in to your fine music section solely to berate one Liz Armstrong (or Anderson, if they prefer), I felt it was time to finally add my two cents.
For starters, Armstrong's review of Gil Mantera's Party Dream [Section 3, November 19] was spot-on. Hadn't seen them before, hit that Logan Square show, and, uh, honestly that's possibly the single best description of the Ohio outfit one could imagine. (Side note to L.S. Auditorium--your drink prices are bullshit.)
Seeing as most rock critics settle somewhere on a spectrum between Lester Bangs hagiographic gonzo journalism and the Simpsons' comic-store guy petty esoteric erudition, the Reader has these days struck a good balance across its four main music reviewers. And Armstrong is the one who keeps the Reader's hand in when it comes to actually covering the subcultures, here and now, that keep this city surprising, while at the same time never letting us forget we all at one time had a GNFNR T-shirt worn to tatters. Other rock writers may subconsciously prefer to intimidate the masses with the implied size of their record collections and detailed producer genealogies, but you know in 25 years it's people like them who'll be cumming all over anything to do with underground DIY culture from the turn of the 21st century. They'll wait for the glossy hipster toilet-tank book or Ipecac box set; she lives it now.
So if anything, the Reader best consider Liz Armstrong an asset. I don't see anyone else out there in indiepressland who both has the balls to call Vice mag founder Gavin McInnes out on his casually racist neocon antics and can manage to do so without sounding like a whiny Democrat; who can slam the plastic surgery self-hate reality foisted upon us but still celebrate good style when she sees it; or covering direct-action environmentalism, Friends Forever, and Costes in a major weekly. Actually, what baffles me is why the Reader made not one peep about Armstrong's illegal arrest and detention at the Republican National Convention protests this summer in New York, instead leaving the job of reporting her tale solely to Chicago-based indie mag Lumpen, whose press run and distribution is considerably less than yours. If Jonathan Rosenbaum got kicked at an anti-Bush protest and locked up in a toxic bus depot I wager you all would be devoting some inches. Somebody dropped the ball there.
Anyway, if Liz Armstrong bothers you that much, dear Reader readers, just switch back to your copy of RedEye before getting off at Addison. It's really nothing to get upset about.
DJ and news coordinator, WLUW 88.7 FM