Welcome to part two of my list of favorite sites that share MP3 files. The key here isn't just that they increase my digital music whatchamawhosit, but that they also drop the musical knowledge in a way that is fun to read, with sites that are easy to use and completely worth expoloring. This isn't every music blog I visit, or even every one of my favorites, but they are always at the top of my list, and perhaps have the greatest percentage of tracks that I not only download - but keep.
Check out last week's post for my first six selections. And now join me as we delve into more, making this list an even dozen.
But wait... In order to also to expand my own knowledge of good music sites out there, I thought it would be fun to have these great bloggers share their favorites as well. And so, there also follows links to more great sites where you can spend some ear and eye time, all as recommended by great music bloggers themselves. Read on - and download away!
ESSENTIAL PLACES TO DIG FOR MP3 TRUFFLES, Part Two
- Garage Hangover
- Last Days of Man on Earth
- Music For Maniacs
- Record Robot
- Said the Gramophone
- Spread the Good Word
Follow the jump for descriptions and links.
This is an essential site for discovering 60s garage bands. Heck, the list of bands covered is more than impressive, and I can honestly say there is nary a song from Garage Hangover that hasn't made it to the perma-home on my music hard drive. But Brooklyn DJ Chas Kit does more than just share great songs (mostly from the original 45s)- he digs into the great stories behind the songs as well. And I mean digs: long posts, tons of pictures, interviews with band members - these posts can trump most reissue liner notes for completeness. Recent favorites include this week's history of The Ruins, a look at the Ren-Vell Records Battle of the Bands, Malaysian rocker Ahmadi Hassan, and the story of the day that Florida's The Invaders beat out the Beatles (in Florida, at least). With this much classic garage being spread around, what's not to love?
I only wish I had more time for all the blogs out there, Beware of the Blog included. I'm a fan of most of the sites on your list, but here are a few more:
- Radiodiffusion Internasionaal: Currently my favorite, this one features Asian, African and Mid-Eastern EPs and 7", with an original style and layout to the site. Check each week because that's as long as he keeps each post up!
- Boogie Woogie Flu: R&B and country 78s along with later cover versions.
- Sea Never Dry: Rare African tracks. Unfortunately, they post infrequently.
There are a lot of good punk blogs out there, but most of them tend to settle into one style or refuse to post anything that isn't totally "PUNK". St Louis' Joe Stumble goes a step further. He isn't afraid to get all Euro pop from time to time (like in this week's Joachim Witt post, which we ganked to put up on the FMU blog as well), or dip into a little early rap and funky disco, or maybe go mod, detour slightly into post-punk, or even share some...erm...Belgian comedy. But most of the shit is punk as hell... The Dicks, Detox, Pekinska Patka, Vox Pop. It's not just good music. Last Days also offers up lots of details and links to video clips, and even does book reviews, all in Stumble's completely personable and enjoyable style.
I like to share out of print music with people, and enjoy meeting people who like the same music I do. I never met a single Black Randy and the Metrosquad fan until I started doing Last Days of Man On Earth.
Five Blogs I would want to share:
- Always Searching For Music: An amazing collection of rare (mainly UK) punk 45s from a guy who was actually there when it happened.
- Oufar Kahn: The most reliable resource for funk and afrobeat out there.
- Good Bad Music For Bad Bad Times: Excellent due to a combination of great KBD style European and US punk music and proprietor Erich's wry sense of humor.
- Digging For Old Records: A great collection of rare French Punk and New Wave Records.
- I Have A Brain in My Ass: A new kid on the block that features lots of rare "last days" style music and has very entertaining writing.
Mr. Fab is already well known on the WFMU Blog for his contributions to the 365 Days Project, his winning entry in the Rudy Giuliani remix contest, and as a part of the crazy collective RIAA - whose freely distributed mash-up compilations are the stuff of legend.
But that doesn't mean I still can't express my love for his own blog, Music For Maniacs. This may be "the web's longest running strange-music blog", but you don't have to dig back very far to find a gem like "I'm A Yiddish Cowboy", or some amateur Christian crooning, or a tribute to Evel Kneivel, or some bizarro electronic sounds like the Super Mario Bros theme played on Tesla coils, or the lovely pop-crooning sounds of Rhonda.
Plus, props to Mr. Fab for noting that Heath Ledger wasn't the only tragic death to hit us in this new year: we also lost Vampira. Damn.
Mr Fab says:
I started writing Music For Maniacs on a whim cuz I didn't have enough to do at work. Those days are long gone! Some of my fave music blogs:
- Flying Saucer Music: Songs about space aliens, sometimes by people who actually claim to be UFO contactees.
- Xtabay's World: Vintage exotica album sharity.
- Awesome Tapes from Africa: What real Africans listen too - no watered-down "world-music."
10. Record Robot
There almost isn't a post at Record Robot that I don't end up digging - and previous Truffles posts have practically been love letters to this site. These aptly named crate diggers pull of some of the strangest slabs of vinyl ever produced and share them with us all. But they aren't in it for the pain. The trio who run Record Robot (Mike, Phil, and Tony) are pop music lovers at heart, and they have the uncanny knack of pulling out really smooth and comfy tunes from the most unlikely of places (the ballad from Bruce Lee's brother, Robert Lee, still makes me a bit misty). After a brief holiday hibernation, Record Robot seems a wee obsessed with "Wichita Lineman" (here, here, and here). But recent posts vary from Creepy Christian to Overjoyed Organ to Teenage Trinidadians to Pseudo Psyche Pop to.... a real cry for Help.
I've always collected vinyl, in one way or another. At some point it started shifting from primarily picking up stuff I actually wanted to picking up things because they were weird or interesting looking. Eventually, after seeing blogs like Soul Sides, I decided I'd like to start a music blog, but my angle was to use only obscure vinyl. I didn't really want to do it alone, and I immediately thought of my friends Mike and Phil, because they are both funny, can write, and love vinyl and music as much as I do.
Being a wee bit older than Tony and Phil, I always enjoy seeing the look on their faces as they pull the inner sleeve out of my copy of Dixie Chicken, and the receipt from 1973 falls out (always keep your receipts, kids). I've always been vinyl obsessed, but in the last 5 years or so I've gone utterly mad. I must own everything Buck Owens ever recorded, and this has led to other completest obsessions (I've got a thing for Capitol Records country music from the 50s-60s, and here's why). So what if I've run out of space for records in my house? It just means I need to obsess on new methods of shelving once again.
Our blog love:
- Crud Crud: You never know what you're going to get, and Scott can write intelligently about it all. I'd be kinda scared to see his record collection.
- Garage Hangover: Pretty incredible blog, like a Nuggets that never ends. The first night I went there, I downloaded 139 mp3's!
- Wiel's Time Capsule: Lots of interesting stuff here, including some electronic stuff I can't imagine you'd find anywhere else. And often, full album rips.
- Mexicovers: Whole LP rips and always entertaining Latin flavored 60s-70s pop.
- Pop Zeus: Funny and diverse. The best music blog you've never heard of.
Admittedly, I don't visit too many new music blogs. There are various reasons for this: I have pretty nice access to most new stuff through the station, I never know when I'm being marketed at by some shill from a record company instead of a fan (like a fucking Paste CD), the quality of writing tends to be utter hipster shit (yeah, you, Pitchfork), and, um, I just have trouble keeping up. These days I'm into diving head-first into all the music I missed out on in the past, while only dipping my toes a bit into the deep-end of modern music.
That said, it's always the recommendation of friends and people I like to really get me to listen to new stuff, and that's where Said the Gramophone (and a few others) comes in - it is like a less jaded younger sibling that likes all sorts of interesting stuff and is always making me mix cds full of bands I've never heard of (or have only read about), but that are immanently, pleasurably listenable. Yeah, that means the music can be a bit twee, but the fact that they are Canadian makes that way more palpable. And they don't overload you. Posts are short, but not barren, and I can afford four minutes a day to check out a new song when that lovely green is in the background.
Sean (one of the three writers) says:
We're based in Montreal and Quebec City, Canada. Since 2003 we've been writing every weekday about the songs that make our hearts boom. We like all good sounds, but especially artists like Otis Redding, Arcade Fire, The Luyas, Fleetwood Mac, Joanna Newsom and Neil Young. Other music blogs I love:
- Shake Your Fist: Amy writes with such care about the songs that rattle her bones.
- Marathonpacks: Eric's like a heat-seeking missile that seeks insights instead of hot stuff.
- Moistworks: Moistworks writes so finely, in fiction and in health, about how music intersects with our flimsy human lives.
- 1.618: If music was photography...
- Skatterbrain: The best place for hearing indie-pop, or just for being bowled over by one man's mad passion for the things he loves.
Here it is friends...the best for last. I say that without hesitation because the great Reverend Frost is the one who made me sit up and pay attention to music blogging in the first place.
Unlike many of the other blogs I like, this site keeps it very simple. A song. A b-movie photo. An occasional mix. But this French lover of American roots music does it with such verve and personality (and free use of exclamation marks!!!), that the enthusiasm is infectious. It doesn't hurt that damn near every single song he posts is an absolute scorcher. So, I'm not going to point you to any specific posts. Just go and read the whole thing right now!!! Nothing can happily fill your music factory faster than a visit to the Rev.
Oh yeah, and he doesn't just talk a good game. The Rev rocks as well. His excellent solo album will attest to that.
Rev Frost says:
Some say I'm a 31 year-old French musician, some say they saw they saw me walking the streets of Dublin, Ireland for 3 years, some say I've killed a man with a guitar string! Seriously, I come from what I call the Alabama of France (with more money though), the French Riviera! I now live close to Paris after a, hum, bad luck period, and my main goal is to go back to South of Hell, France. I started this blog after I discovered Big Rock Candy Mountain, I've been buying records since I was 12, so I thought it was time to do something for the mass culture (or against the mass culture, it depends). I don't plan anything with this blog, it's just based on two obsessions of mine, horror movies and GOOD music - soul, r&b, rockabilly, hillbilly, surf, trad music, 60's punk, blues, exotica - you name it! I started to write in English so my master plan (conquer the world and make ears bleed) could be understood by more & more people...
As for my own personal top 5 blog sites (I truly try to read every each of them I include on my blogroll), it's a difficult choice 'cos they're all brilliant, and you can almost feel that they are written by good people!
- Big Rock Candy Mountain: You know what to write about him right? (indeed - see last post)
- Music from the Monster Movies: A really new mad mad mad blog, hosted By Darrell Draeger and his best mate (c'mon they're 59 years old!), members of 'Hermanos Guzanos', a 80's californian weird band, think Devo or something like that. They've made a couple of B-low-budget-horror-movies, such as 'The Creep'.
- Locust Street: Hosted by Chris, it's a more 'serious' side of what I like, always well-written, brilliant.
- It's Great Shakes: Since they have sound, it's one of the best !
- Funky 16 Corners: (Also mentioned in the last post)
And thats it! Now get out there and read and listen. I'll be back with a new set of truffles (and some newly discovered sites) in a couple of weeks.