Editor’s Note – Issue 15: Reviews

By: Michael Rancic | Art by: Michael Rancic

If you’ve been following us for some time, this theme might feel a little like déjà vu. Ten issues ago, in November 2021, we published “Reviews.” As a theme, it was born out of pragmatism— we had just relaunched and resumed our publishing activities, having just opened up subscriptions to the public two months prior. We didn’t have enough funds to publish what we previously had in terms of length and format of articles per issue, but it was important for us to continue with our editorial calendar as planned, in order to build the momentum we were hoping for with the relaunch. So, we took what money we had and put it toward publishing 12 capsule reviews and a scene report. 

The resulting issue was significant for another reason: it marked the end of New Feeling regularly publishing album reviews in favour of dedicating our efforts to longer-form writing. With that, we wanted to find other creative and engaging ways to present our music criticism, like Group Chat

We’ve always wanted to deviate from the norm when it comes to our writing, but as much as that intent has been in the back of our minds since day one, it has also taken time for us to find our editorial voice. The more we home in on what that is, the easier it becomes to make deviations, to play with form, and find the “new” along the way.  

The moment I became Features Editor, I knew I wanted to revisit the “Reviews” theme. All of the themes we’ve explored so far are ideas that make sense to come back to over time and this theme in particular offers us an opportunity to not only breathe new life into an older idea, but stray from our rhythms to focus directly on the music that’s moving each of us right now, shining a light on some records we really care about. 

I’m joined this month by a great lineup of writers talking about records from across the country, including Daniel G Wilson, Laura Stanley, Leslie Ken Chu, Tabassum Siddiqui, and Tom Beedham, as well as fellow organizing members Rosie Long Decter and Sarah Chodos making their first appearances in an issue of New Feeling. We also have Toronto-based freelance writer Kayla Higgins contributing for the first time. 

Beyond the momentary return of the mighty capsule review, this issue also includes two long-form reviews, from writers Daniel G Wilson and Sarah Chodos, revisiting two older records, Blaxäm’s Kiss My Afro (1998), and The Hidden Cameras’ The Smell Of Our Own (2003). Each of these “Deep Digs” come with their own critical eye and point of view, contextualizing the records in a way that brings conversation around these records into the present. Additionally, Tom Beedham plays with the concept of what even constitutes a review with his feature on Resonance Gathering, a new LP documenting the large-scale interpretations of composer Pauline Oliveros’ score “To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation” (1970). 

I’m very excited to return to this theme and all that it entails. I hope that this can be something New Feeling does often… maybe annually? Now, more than ever, it feels important for journalistic outlets to be self-reflective in our practices.