To paraphrase the poet Paul Wall, MP3 blogs have the internet going nuts. Relatively recent additions to the blogging world, MP3 blogs are almost exclusively devoted to sharing music. From old funk obscurities to new indie rock to regional hip-hop, MP3 bloggers post pretty much whatever they’re feeling at the time, and often display a depth of music knowledge equal to any rock critic or music historian. For those who panic around the word “MP3,” downloading them can be as easy as having iTunes or Windows Media Player on your computer. Simply click on the link and if it’s not a “rapid share” or “you save it file” (watch out for those; they’re often weak links), the song will automatically download to your music program. To give you a peek into the world of MP3 blogs, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best blogs out there, along with one or two of my favorite finds on each blog.
gorilla vs. bear (gorillavsbear.blogspot.com) – This is one of my favorite blogs, simply because the host, Chris, posts so often. Centered mostly on indie rock, indie pop and singer-songwriter types, gorilla vs. bear is always posting MP3s from new bands, many of whom don’t even have record deals yet. The site is also very useful for hearing tracks from albums that have yet to be released. Just last month, the blog had tracks from the upcoming Animal Collective album Feels, Dangerdoom, the new self-titled Broken Social Scene album, and so many more.
Favorite finds: “Back to the Basics” and “We Can Make It Better,” two import tracks off Kanye West’s Late Registration and a thirty minute Diplo vs. DJ Shadow “Megatroid” mix.
said the gramophone (www.saidthegramophone.com)
Endorsed by Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard in an article in Wired magazine, said the gramophone is a literate and musically diverse blog run by two guys from Canada and one from Edinburgh, Scotland. Posting everything from Artie Shaw to Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, each MP3 link comes with a short entry about why the song was picked and often times a little history regarding the artist. And while it’s not guaranteed every day’s entry will be to your liking, the sheer amount of music styles covered means they’ll eventually have something for you. Favorite finds: Broken Social Scene’s “Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Half)” and “Engine,” an amazing Neutral Milk Hotel b-side off the “Holland 1946” single.
razorblade runner (razorbladerunner.cadenceweapon.com)
If you’re like me and have a semi-ironic love of gangster rap, this blog is for you. Run by Rollie Pemberton, a rapper, producer, and sometime Pitchfork contributor, razorblade runner is full of cheesy bad gangster rap from the likes of Three Six Mafia and the Diplomats, along with Rollie’s sardonic commentary. But along with brain-dead bangers, he occasionally posts some hip indie rock, like “Seven Silver Curses” off the new Fiery Furnaces album.
Favorite finds: Clipse and the Re-up Gang’s “What’s Up” and Juelz Santana’s “Murda Murda,” a mix-tape reworking of Damien Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock.”
Taking their blog name from the Cam’Ron line “Diamonds canary yellow, call ’em lemon-red,” lemon-red is very similar to razorblade runner in that it posts a lot of hip-hop, but it’s unique because it also posts a free monthly DJ mix. Borrowing from the Hollertronix mix-in-everything-under-the-sun format, the mixes are usually mash-ups of everything from Southern rap to classic rock songs to Jamaican dancehall anthems.
Favorite finds: an amazing seven-minute-long Big L and Jay-Z freestyle and Dangerdoom’s “The Mask,” featuring Ghostface Killah.
More than just an MP3 blog, stereogum features snarky music and entertainment news, not to mention at least three to four updates a day. The blog’s CMJ Fest feature was amazing, highlighting almost every band that played with tons of pictures. The postings are usually indie rock or indie folk stuff, with the occasional really good pop song thrown in. Favorite finds: “Juicebox,” a leaked song off the new Strokes album and Animal Collective’s “Turn Into Something.”