Best of the music blogosphere
Musically discouraged? Go straight to the best.
The number of music blogs and sites is bigger than The Beatles. The number of music gurus who spill their minds onto Web pages is overwhelming enough to have well-trained listeners consistently navigating back to Pitchfork out of pure exhaustion. Where do you begin? Who can you trust? Use this list highlighting some of the Web's finer offerings as a starting block.
Best for videos
Yes, the site is French. But the language need not be a barrier because the best part of the site is its collection of "Les concerts à emporter" — "The Take-Away Shows." Artists of all genres are filmed performing songs in unexpected ways and places. Grizzly Bear improvises an a capella version of "The Knife" while roaming the streets of Paris. Bowerbirds entertain a candy store in New York with "Bur Oak." R.E.M. performs on a bridge in their native land of Athens, Ga. Low-key and intimate, these videos show major artists employing their creative energies in places other than the stage.
Best for one-of-a-kind recordings
Run out of a studio in northern Illinois, Daytrotter's main attraction is its set of recordings. Known as Daytrotter sessions, bands stop in the studio while on tour, record four songs and move on. Everyone from Bon Iver to Dinosaur Jr. has occupied the studio, sometimes more than once. The impromptu recordings often provide raw, unique versions of album tracks. With a new band passing through daily, 28 new MP3s are available free for registered users to download every week.
Said the Gramophone
Best for good writing
If you feel a Canadian hole in your life post-Olympics, Said the Gramophone is a notable remedy. Written by three Canadians, the blog is one of the Web's first MP3 sites and has been heralded ever since it began in 2003. Rather than taking a typical instrumentation or opinionated approach to track reviews, the writers employ a more narrative, cerebral writing style that describes how songs feel as well as sound. In result, their reviews are engaging, thought-provoking and usually spot-on. No free downloads are offered, but links to MP3s allow readers to listen to the songs online. Its reputation is well earned.
Best for musical discoveries
Although it is not uncommon for music blog frequenters to confront across-the-board hyping of certain bands and albums, Aquarium Drunkard unfailingly boasts the opposite. Justin Gage, producer of the site, has a knack for offering up anything and everything musical that has (more often than not) never before crossed your radar. Each post offers a review, photo, video, playlist, piece of album art or MP3 (or any combination), the likes of which are from the past, present, future and any genre imaginable. Guaranteed: educated taste paired with music you've yet to hear.
Best for streaming music
Whether you are ready to join a music community, want to sample an album before making an investment or Pandora is simply struggling to read your mind, Grooveshark has you covered. The format parallels iTunes: Search, add music to your library and create playlists. Rather than purchasing music, you stream it. Grooveshark Radio recommends new songs for you based on those in your pre-existing playlists, which you can then add to your collection. Another feature allows you to follow what other users are listening to and directs you to those whose tastes align with yours as well. Because you can search for users, getting your friends involved will make sharing music easier than ever.