Exploring the blogosphere

With the first music blogs came the exponential growth of options for discovering artists and learning about new music. It can easily become overwhelming to sort through all the different Tumblr, Wordpress, and Blogspot music sites. Here are a few essential blogs to start off with. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a beginning foray into the ever-expanding world of music blogging:

Pitchfork Media (pitchfork.com)
It is difficult to talk about music blogs without mentioning the behemoth that is Pitchfork Media. The site focuses on music news, reviews, and interviews rather than music downloads. Few sites are respected (and criticized) as much as Pitchfork. Established in 1995, this blog has become highly influential in the music world, with reviews that can often make or break an aspiring artist’s career. Pitchfork focuses on independent music, but is often criticized for its limited view and skewed album ratings.

Hype Machine (hypem.com)
The Hype Machine is an MP3 blog aggregator, and it keeps track of what music bloggers write about. It conveniently compiles the music of the blogosphere for easy discovery and consumption. Hype Machine shows the latest music that other blogs are posting, popular songs, and trending artists. This site is great for stumbling upon great new music and music blogs.

Gorilla vs. Bear (gorillavsbear.net)
Gorilla vs. Bear is an influential music blog that features both established and up-and-coming artists. Showcasing an eclectic taste, Gorilla vs. Bear only posts about music it absolutely loves. It has been called the New Yorker of hipster blogs and was named one of the best music blogs by Rolling Stone and URB Magazine. Often at the forefront of new music, Gorilla vs. Bear is usually the first media outlet to mention rising bands. In the past, these have included El Guincho, Girls, Neon Indian, and Wavves.

Said the Gramophone (saidthegramophone.com)
Launched in 2003, Said the Gramophone is one of the first MP3 blogs. The site, named one of the 25 best blogs of 2009 by Time magazine, is written by three Canadian music fans who provide a daily sampler of music. The rise to fame of such bands as Beirut, Arcade Fire, Yeasayer, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is often attributed to this blog. Music is free to download, but all songs are removed from the blog within a week or two of posting.

Daytrotter (daytrotter.com)
Rather than posting or reposting songs being circulated among music blogs, Daytrotter contributes re-worked, alternate versions of songs by well-known, obscure, or rising artists. Artists on tour stop by The Horseshack, the website’s recording studio in Rock Island, Ill., to record old songs and unreleased tracks live. Artists and groups who have recorded for the site include Phantom Planet, Carly Simon, Daniel Johnston, Of Montreal, Fleet Foxes, and Toro Y Moi.

La Blogothèque (blogotheque.net)
Each week Vincent Moon films sessions with artists or groups as part of Les Concerts à Emporter, or The Take-Away Shows. The sessions follow musicians around city streets, parks, apartments, public transit, and bars. With little preparation, the artists can showcase their talents without studio production. Sessions have featured bands including Bon Iver, R.E.M., Stephen Malkmus, The Shins, and Phoenix.

Other blogs to check out:
I Guess I’m Floating (iguessimfloating.net), The Perfect Five (theperfectfive.com), Brooklyn Vegan (brooklynvegan.com), Tiny Mix Tapes (tinymixtapes.com), and Aquarium Drunkard (aquariumdrunkard.com).