MP3 Blogs Provide a New Music Mecca
My freshman year of high school, fed up with my parents’ record collection, Kazaa and non-college-run radio stations everywhere, and lacking music nerd friends or the ever-glistening light of Pitchfork Media to show me the way, I turned to the Internet for new and better music. First I tried Amazon.com, then the Washington Post’s arts section, Rolling Stone magazine and NPR’s All Songs Considered, and with limited success, returned to complacency.
Around the same time as I was giving up on the Internet for new music, I started reading political blogs. It took an entire year for me to realize that the same media format that I looked to for funny and obscure news stories in politics could also bring me new, original, on-the-borderline-of-legal music. My new Mecca for music: MP3 blogs.
Why are MP3 blogs so effective? To give you an idea, think about the last time a band friended you on MySpace — if you’re me, you give it a listen, and the music was probably pretty mediocre. MP3 bloggers do the same thing in mass quantities, getting e-mail after e-mail from bands with links to their websites, MySpace pages or occasionally a free copy of an entire album or demo CDs in the mail.
Usually blogs are run by several people, so bloggers listen to all the submissions they receive, sorting out the good from the bad, the exceptional from the mediocre. Within a few days of discovering them, a blogger may write a post on a new band, and (here comes the best part) put up a link so that readers can download MP3s and listen for themselves. If it weren’t for MP3 blogs, I probably would never have heard of some of my favorite bands — Phoenix, Youth Group, Josh Ritter and Bishop Allen, to name a few. Here are some worth giving a try.
With six writers and a format that purposefully discourages discussion of anything but up-and-coming bands, 3hive stands out of the crowd for posting only music allowed by artists, and focusing on a broader spectrum of music than most blogs of the same repute.
Come Pick Me Up (cpmu.blogspot.com)
As the name might suggest, Come Pick Me Up’s founder, Lizzy, is a big Ryan Adams fan. The blog tends to focus on bands within the norms of ’90s alternative rock, occasionally delving into the realms of folk music for a little variety. The most notable feature? Lizzy is one picky gal, and most of the music that makes it to a post is accessible, not just a music nerd’s typical fare.
My Old Kentucky Blog (myoldkyhome.blogspot.com)
Recently nominated for the Plug Awards’ “Music Blog of the Year,” My Old Kentucky Blog’s Dodge is sparse with words (except on the subject of football), rather focusing on eye candy and MP3s. The music is good, and the style is lighthearted — the bottom of each post beckons comments with “Talk back to yo’ mama!”
Said the Gramophone (www.saidthegramophone.com)
With most MP3 blogs, I skim the text and go straight for the downloads. Not so with Said the Gramaphone. The blog’s three writers attempt to put into words the experience of falling in love with a piece of music, usually succeeding.
From a recent post: “And when folk music breaks — when the lakesurface of song is interrupted by whirrs and skips and lonely echoes — there’s something there that’s just between real and ghost.”