As this article from The Awl illustrates, the salad days of underground music blogs has taken a nosedive in the last seven to eight years. It’s a pretty fascinating read about how the unreliability of upload sites have been the major barrier to people going through the trouble of spreading that one 7” no one else has on the web. But since rare music sites have become so rare, the following sites are even more important nowadays:
Out of all the bloggers interviewed or blogs referenced in the Awl piece, this is the only one that still seems to be going. They’re not putting up stuff on a super consistent basis, but as it goes back to 2007, you’re not going to run out music any time soon. This is mostly on the darker side — goth, cold wave, industrial — and it is almost exclusively focused on records that are out of print and nearly impossible to find. And for a lot of the newer releases you don’t even have to go to an upload site. Just click the link and a .zip immediately starts downloading.
This blog’s bio, in part, states that it’s, “… dedicated to the freaks and rejects. The lonely and awkward. The last picked. Never picked.” And it’s true that much of what you can find here has not been picked often. While there are mentions of Iron and Wine and Juliana Hatfield, that is about as mainstream as you’re going to get. There are scores of downloads and nice descriptions of what could mostly be considered college rock — your standard instruments played in slightly off-kilter ways with lyrics that usually don’t center around your usual romance or partying cliches. It’s the only place on the Internet where someone has mentioned the 1984 Running EP by the Lemmings, so you can bet you’ll find stuff here you can’t get anywhere else.
If you want to dig deep into the (mostly) female R&B and hip-hop scene, there is unlikely another place that really gives love and attention to many groups and singers that time has forgotten or never knew at all (there is also some pop and dance). With bios as extensive as they can make them due to the information at hand, Youtube is where most of the music is culled, along with promo photos and pictures of packaging. A singer like Nini from 1987, who only released one single, isn’t known by too many people, as a Youtube video has garnered less than 400 views. But on this blog she gets a moment in the sun.
This oh so appropriately named blog is where you go when you want to find the weirdest of the weird. And we mean weird, going all the way back to 2004. Music downloads, videos and outlandish album photos, we keep bouncing around trying to find the quintessential post, but the more we look the crazier everything gets. Though here’s a taste: 100 copies of The White Album playing at the same time.