So I’ve been threatening to post some changes I’m making in regards to the way I discover/listen to/enjoy music. I think it’s been about 10 years (more or less since my jump from Audiogalaxy to Soulseek) since I joined the yearly rat race of trying to keep up with new releases and the next big things/obscure gems. I’m exhausted. I know there’s great music out there but the sheer volume has really weighed upon me and, for whatever reason, I feel like I’m not doing myself any favors by continuing on this path.
With that said, I intend to keep my listening habits narrowed down to new albums from old reliables and favorites aside from individual tracks (singles) I grab or hear about on blogs and whatnot. I also have this giant list of older critically lauded/acclaimed albums that I’d like to explore a little further. Keep in mind, I’ll still be very active with Big School Records and Hope For The Tape Deck so all my claims about not listening to much new music are likely complete BS as I have to exercise due diligence as a label head.
Lastly, as part of my ‘recovery’ I bought an iPod just to house all the albums I’ve cherished throughout my existence (curious?). This list is by no means definitive, but its close. I’ll keep adding albums as they pop into mind.
As promised - here is a list of important webhavens (including blogs) that have helped me discover new music in recent years - I fully expect to continue supporting each and every one of them. For reference, I’ve removed about 85 blogs from my Feedly in the past few months so these guys survived quite a layoff.
Rest assured, I still plan to power ahead with my Mixtapes For Moderns series as I have about 1700 songs waiting in the queue to find a home on a mix. I also plan to convert this love over to full-on podcasting - I’ve been practicing my Audacity and even bought a new mic! - so there’s that to look forward to.
Turntable Kitchen - I’ve been a subscribed member to TK since their inception - gold club status, y’all. The website focuses on pairing music and food, two of my very favorite things, into a monthly mailing of 7” records and recipes. These guys keep things fresh with further musings on topics such as a record player guide and yearly holiday gift guides.
The No Love For Ned radio show - No lie, I’ve been tuning into Ned’s various contributions to broadcasting music since 2003 or so. He may quite possibly the only other person I know who listens to as much, if not more, music than I do on a daily/weekly/yearly basis. His knowledge is vast and with each passing year I half-expect him to get burnt out on music but it never happens…and we should all be grateful for that. Currently you can tune into his time slot every
Thursday Wednesday between 5-7pm on WLUR or look him up in the iTunes podcast directory (my preferred method.)
Daytrotter - Unless you’ve been holed up in a cave or you don’t give a shit about music, you’ve heard about the mighty Daytrotter. Artists come through town and lay down live in studio versions of their tunes. It’s certainly not a new idea (not even at its moment of birth) but one look through their history of sessions will help you understand the shear magnitude of their scope. Not only have I discovered TONS of great new sounds but I’ve experienced familiar artists in, perhaps, unfamiliar settings. Some listeners grumbled and resorted to violence when DT began charging a monthly subscription to be able to download files but F that, it’s the best $4/month you could spend.
Even though my new music intake will see a dramatic decrease, I’m still planning on keeping my subscriptions current with the following print mags, if, for no other reason than to help keep them fighting the good fight - The Big Takeover, Fabricoh and Ghettoblaster.
Speaking of ghettoblasters, this dude posts exceptional reference point mixtapes for download. Scroll through and clicky clicky, my friends. Got extra time? Czech his blogroll for gold.
Dust & Grooves - Vinyl collector’s paradise…if you’re into reading about notable collectors worldwide and their habits, prized possessions and record lounges. Not to mention, D&G head Eilon Paz is a true master at capturing visuals of collectors and their records. I donated to the Kickstarter for the official D&G hardcover book and I cannot wait until it sees the light of day.
8tracks - In a nutshell, it’s a giant repository of people’s mixtapes. It’s so diverse it’s overwhelming and my ‘listen later’ folder runs deep with eclectic mixtapes that span every occasion and genre. Downside is you cannot see the tracklist before clicking on a mix though some may find that to be a plus - call it the thrill of being surprised. View my account here if you’d like. The website is also a little buggy though my favorite way to access my account is through….
Sonos - This is more a plug for product as opposed to a direct source of new music. Sonos is wireless technology perfectly suited to the more-than-casual to utterly-obsessive music listeners. Stream a variety of online music services (Spotify, Rhapsody, 8tracks, Pandora, radio to name a few) through either portable speakers throughout your house or existing in-wall/in-ceiling/bookshelf/tower speakers using their zone players. You can also have it link up to NAS drives or your iTunes account. It won’t break the bank and you can add on to near infinity. I currently have 7 zones of music in the house, including their tiny but robust Play1 speaker in the bathroom. It’s an indispensable music lover’s tool. Look for Sonos to become a household name within the next few years, yo.
I mentioned Feedly up above and it’s my go-to aggregator now that Google shit-canned Reader. My only gripe? You have to pay for the premium service to search through recent posts - bollocks!
RateYourMusic - RYM is one of the web’s best-kept secrets. I use it to catalog and rate everything I listen to on a scale of 1-5 stars and create lists of various sorts. Sure, there’s other places to do this - Discogs or iTunes (blech) - but I think RYM is the most visually pleasing and user-friendly archive site out there. When you listen to the amount of music I do, these traits become imperative to organization/compartamentalizing. Not to mention RYM hosts one of the most invaluable user-based music forums (and reviews) on the web. You can peak in on my account here and see what I’ve listened to and rated recently.
Now Discogs does have it’s advantages when it comes to cataloging all of your physical media. Information for releases is near definitive so if you are looking for pressing totals and color variations this is where you park your ass. It also serves as a useful (though usually expensive) resource for finding those white whales in your wishlist. View my collection here if you must.
Lastly, and perhaps firstly, WFMU and everything they stand for and have managed to accomplish in their existence. Essential, in every way possible.
Finally, blogs that I feel are doing it right:
AdHoc (my source for left-of-center sounds)
I Guess I’m Floating
Modern Vinyl (more a resource for finding out about limited vinyl, but I’m counting it)
Said the Gramaphone (the gold standard)
SlyVinyl (see Modern Vinyl)
Song, By Toad
The Fire Note
The Styrofoam Drone
Unrecorded (love their reviews)
We Listen for You
When You Motor Away
Gone, but sorely missed are Chromewaves, Built On A Weak Spot, Everybody Taste and Swedesplease. Come back soon.