After decades of self-important “artistes” and albums, pop music is moving back to the 1950s when singles were king, and there was a constant search for the next big thing. In this brave new world, websites and music blogs are fast replacing magazines as the source of information.
Have you heard of Vincent Vincent and The Villains? I, too, hadn’t till a month ago when I stumbled upon their MySpace site via a mention at a music blog. I’m a fan now, and even though the band has just released its debut album, I know all about it. Increasingly, this is the way that new music is being discovered.
The big music label cycle of hype and hyperactive PR are increasingly passé. Today, musicians are introduced stealthily, under the radar of mainstream press, through enthusiastic bloggers who go to all the shows and know all the songs.
Gorilla vs Bear
GvsB started in 2005 as a way to share songs between friends (as most music blogs do) and built up a sizeable readership through word of mouth. In the three years since, GvsB has become one of the most influential blogs, featuring little-known artistes through posted mp3s, reviews and studio out-takes. Countless bands have been getting a plug from this blog, only to become the toast of the town a few months later—from Vivian Girls to Santogold. Gorilla vs Bear even has its own radio show.
After GvsB’s championing of Santogold, it’s the turn of the latest “buzz band”, White Denim, from Texas, and African musician Esau Mwamwaya.
Look up: http://gorillavsbear.blogspot.com
Bands That Jam
Jam bands are as old as The Grateful Dead and in many ways, this blog, championing improvisational rock ‘n’ roll, remains true to the ethos of the Dead who preferred to give much of their music away for free. Here, you’ll get streaming audios of entire shows, from festivals to the latest shows of stalwarts like Keller Williams and The String Cheese Incident. For mp3 downloads, you are directed to archive.com, which has an enviable collection of concert shows for download.
Bands That Jam does not function like other blogs that are continuously on the lookout for the next big thing. Rather, it nurtures a sense of community by faithfully reporting on and putting out music by the Jam band fraternity, from indie band The Black Keys to bluegrass players O’Death.
Look up:www.bandsthatjam. net
Matthew Perpetua is a pioneer of sorts. He started Fluxblog in 2002 out of his need to share his favourite music with other fans. Fluxblog’s modus operandi is very simple—an mp3 from a new release by a band and a brief commentary/criticism of the song. It’s a deceptively simple model, and is today the de facto template for all such mp3 blogs.
Current Indie heroes LCD Soundsystem got such a boost from Fluxblog, that it was soon getting rave reviews at sites like Pitchfork. Today, it sells millions.
Look up: www.fluxblog.org
If cutting edge hip hop and rap’s your thing, then you would do a lot better to check out this blog. Easily the biggest in this genre, it’s a blog that even a superstar like Kanye West reads to keep up with his audience. The blog hosts mp3s, news, reviews of shows, as well as videos and live show clips. So big is Nah Right that often even big labels prefer to create a buzz for their artistes on this blog.
Influence: Those with any street cred in the cut-throat world of rap/hip hop. Thus, you’ll get full downloads of mixtapes of the latest set of tracks by Nas, Kanye West and Ludacris, to name a few.
Look up: www.nahright.com