Truth be told, we don’t pull our musical selections out of thin air; most of our listens (and often what becomes content here) come recommended from a variety of information streams. Here’s a chance to give some shoutouts and potentially send you in a few rewarding new directions. Peruse and click through to our favorite resources/reads in the music world (that don’t end in fork or begin with gorilla), below:
It was a pretty revolutionary idea in 2007 for a major website to focus primarily on mp3 culture. RCRD LBL’s mission was simple: deliver free curated song downloads every day. And because they were so good at it, the approach remains effective today even when there are now thousands of other sites doing it. Obtaining these tracks for official release isn’t easy, especially for a site of this size, so it’s clear these guys work hard behind the scenes. And then there’s the whole matter of taste—something they’ve carefully considered over a long track record of championing progressive electronic sounds and the next big things in pop and rock with equal measure.
One of the most exciting blogworld developments last year was the rise of Berlin-based No Fear of Pop. Run by two writers, the site represents a unique crossing in taste, complimented by eloquent language, prolific and timely coverage, and an often prophetic knowledge of the obscure—meaning they are tastemakers in the highest regard. Both of them dip deep into all things promising and new, but do have their specialties: Henning favors the weirder sides of DIY pop while Tonje has an ear for the grand and beautiful (and also shares emerging sounds from her home country of Norway).
Starting out as a quarterly music magazine in 2005, London-based “21st Century Pop Music” hub Dummy evolved with the industry in 2009 and became mainly an online venture. While their coverage rivals the usual publications in circuit, Dummy stands out because of their British wit in reviews (and overall taste), ongoing guest mix series, and playful anything-goes use of lists (for example: “Dogs Doing Things #8 – Nevermind, Whatever, Who Cares – Nirvana revisited through the chlorine-rinsed eyes of @dogsdoingthing).
Another UK staple, FACT does a number of things well (interviews, features, reviews, track downloads), but does one perfectly: the FACT Mix. Their library of exclusively made artist mixes now tops the 300s, and boasts work from all over the “it” sound world, not just mix-inclined electronic folks. In other words, while there’s an essential Clams Casino offering, there’s also a well sequenced and selected soundcloud from a 5-piece rock band like The Horrors.
Advice for any blogger: find a distinct voice, and own it. That’s what the anonymous writer behind “Carles”, a fictitious, web slang-ed viewpoint on “relevant” buzz topics, did so brilliantly years ago and has literally built a hilarious (and secretly insightful) empire out of it. Despite offending many who take his cyber-bullying to heart (past victim: Best Coast, present victim: Lana Del Rey), Hipster Runnoff has become an opinion that matters today in the pop trend climate, even Time Magazine thinks so. These days, its scope and reach continues to expand into more mainstream markets, but its commentary remains for the most part entertaining, so we keep coming back in those guilty pleasure moments of nonproductive internet consumption.