Ages ago I asked on Twitter if anyone could recommend music blogs to read, because I felt a bit out of touch. A few people suggested sites and I meant to summarise the advice. And here we all are.
Pitchfork — I’ve heard Pitchfork referred to off-handedly as if it’s too popular to be credible and so, being afflicted with terrible reverse snobbery, I didn’t even read this one. Although I do find their Spotify app handy for ideas of new albums to try.
The Quietus — I have no frame of reference for these things. Is this like a less popular Pitchfork? Should I like it? What does it like? I ended up unsubscribing from it as the RSS feed only has brief summaries of each post.
Wondering Sound — Again, I’m not quite sure how this differs from the previous two but I quite like it. The RSS feed contains full articles, the design is nice, and I even found myself enjoying some of the writing, which is more than I hoped for. I’m still subscribed.
Popjustice — I used to subscribe to an RSS feed from here which was quite fun but I unsubbed because a lot of the posts assumed too much existing knowledge. It was like overhearing someone else’s in-jokes.
No Rock and Roll Fun — I’m still subscribed to this one. Fun, brief, a good old blog like they used to be.
(Apologies to the people who recommended these; I can’t remember who suggested which sites now. But thanks.)
It’s tricky though, this. These sites churn out loads of posts and I wasn’t interested enough to click on most of them to read further. I only want to read the posts about musicians I like, or ones I find interesting, or ones that I don’t know yet but might like.
But there’s no way of doing this except by going through everything. Even with a nice RSS reader, and only subscribed to two of those sites above, this feels more of a tedious task than if I was skimming through a paper magazine. My heart sinks as I see 35 new posts and I have to decide which to try reading and which to mark as read. It’s more of a chore than flipping paper pages until something catches my eye.
I think, also, I was hoping to recapture something from when I last regularly read any music press. But that’s like wishing I could grow back the hair I had at the time, and just as unlikely.
When I was 18 and reading Melody Maker in the library my horizons were narrow (or short? or close?). I loosely felt like I was in some kind of club. It was for me. The music news felt precious and rare. I could get interested in, say, Suede’s apparently amazing debut singles even though I’d never even heard them. I knew too much about the Scene That Celebrates Itself. I liked Mr Angry. I’d read overly long interviews with scruffy guitar bands that went nowhere. I would read reviews of albums and singles by people I hadn’t heard of just in case they sounded interesting.
Decades later my horizons are wider (longer? further?). I’m interested in more types of music, but less passionately. There are many, many more ways of reading about music. I’m not part of a particular scene or club. I can, if I want, easily submerge myself in more music news and reviews than I could ever read, and yet none of it feels like it’s just for me now. So maybe it doesn’t matter if I feel out of touch, and no longer know all of the backstories. So long as I can, somehow, keep finding new music, I can just listen to it, rather than read about it.