I last bigged up some fellow bloggers two months ago. So I thought I'd showcase a few more today. I made a shortlist, which soon turned into a very long list. I managed to whittle the lot down to 11. But that is too much to handle in the little free time I have right now. So, five now, and the rest within the next couple of weeks. As always, just because your blog has not featured does not mean I don't love you (and two of those I'm holding over have a long-standing friendship with this blog).
Most bloggers who write about music tend to illustrate their posts with MP3 files. I like those blogs a lot, and the attentive reader of my little effort here might have spotted that I do exactly that myself (I do realise that everybody comes here to read every word I write, hanging on each with rapt attention...). my hmphs is one blog that offers nothing by way of music, other than the occasional embedded YouTube video (which my browser seems to hate). The blog started as a reaction to possibly the most objectionable pop hit in all of history: Black Eyed Peas' My Humps. If people embrace that sort of crap, the idea went, then it is necessary that people with an appreciation of music contribute to the counterrevolution by discussing alternatives. The owner of my hmphs does so engagingly, almost invariably finding subject matter I can relate to. And I really like the clean layout. To celebrate the purpose of my hmphs, here's a credible artist doing a (admittedly very good) song by a pop starlet who has little credibility. Check the Death Cab For Cutie singer telling the sniggering crowd that he isn't taking the piss but "fucking love(s) this song".
Ben Gibbard - Complicated.mp3
Visions Of Wrong Terrence
Disclaimer: I "know" Wrong Terrence from the Interweb; he posts on a message board I occasionally lurk on. So I am very familiar with his random musings on all manner of things, and the quality of his spontaneously cobbled together stories. I am a great fan, as I intend to demonstrate. He has just relaunched his blog (which for months lay dormant with four forlorn posts), and at the moment there is only one post. But what a fine post it is: it's funny, self-deprecating and tells a good story. This is Wrong Terrence's strength: he can tell a good story even when the subject matter is mundane. That is the mark of a really good writer. Alas, he does not write professionally. Lack of desire or talent are not the problem here. Forests the size of Belgium are denuded every day to provide the paper on which dull, dull, dull hacks spout forth their half-baked thoughts in poor prose. It is a scandal that the public is presented with so much rubbish when genuinely original, talented and hugely entertaining writers such as Wrong Terrence is roaming free. Most editors are obviously idiots. If I edited a newspaper in the right environment, I'd immediately appoint Wring Terrence to write a regular column. And I'm not saying so because I "know" the guy, or like to engage in self-righteous hyperbole. Judge for yourself. Wrong Terrence's name isn't actually Terrence (if you are an editor and want to give him a job, e-mail me and I'll give you his name). Real Ter(r)ences in the world of entertainment have included Spike Milligan, Matt Monro, Mark Wynter, Terry Kath and Snowy White, the guitar-wielding ex-Thin Lizzy man who scored a hit in 1984 with this:
Snowy White - Bird Of Paradise.mp3
Don't Burn The Day Away
Stephen of Don't Burn The Day Away shares two passions with me: he likes early Billy Joel (we are amassing an army to defeat the Taste Police) and he has an affinity for songs that feature flutes. He even agrees with me that Josh Rouse's James possibly has the best flute in pop history. I had long planned to do a post on flutes in pop; Stephen beat me to it with a promise of a follow up. So I'll defer the flute beat to him. The man is talking sense: "You may think of the flute as similar to the Cowbell, but we all know we need more cowbell, so why not the flute?" And to celebrate the flute in pop, here's another kick-ass example of the excellent use of the instrument -- and a song everybody should own -- from 1975' Midnight Band: The First Minute Of A New Day (and, oddly, not on the masterful album with the same songtitle).
Gil Scott-Heron - Winter In America.mp3
Mine For Life
Blogger Fiftypercent decribes himself as "just a guy who likes music". He can write about it as well, and has introduced a few brilliant ideas on his blog -- and posts some difficult to find material. In my favourite feature on the blog, Fiftypercent presents the singles reviews from Britain's Number 1 teen-pop magazine in the mid-80s, posting as many of the tracks featured as he can find. The vacuousness of the reviews makes for fantastic entertainment; especially when these half-brained critics dismiss songs that would become hits, or big-up songs which flopped horribly (of course, a great many fine singles have flopped despite their excellence). Much of the stuff here is '80s oriented, which is heaven for the nostalgist who remembers that the decade was not just about Culture Club, Madonna and Come On Eileen... Fiftypercent's latest post is about Alphaville's Forever Young and the quite acceptable cover of the song by Australia's Youth Group. He posts the Youth Group version; here's the original:
Alphaville - Forever Young.mp3
3 Minutes 49 Seconds
A blog named after the perfect running time for a pop record, or something. The blog's owner, Paul Allen, is a veteran of the blogging thing, having launched 3:49 in November 2003. At that point I was not even conscious of the blogging revolution. I stumbled over Paul's blog by accident: I was looking for a review of some album or other (I think it was the new Counting Crows album), liked what I read, looked around, found a fine entry on Ben Folds, and read some more. This year Paul has gone through reviews of Beatles albums, listed 12 essential tracks by Weezer and Jay-Z, and wrote a totally spot-on review of Kathleen Edwards' excellent new CD (which I mentioned in the On Current Rotation post). Like my hmphs, 3:49 offers no MP3s; but the reading material more than compensates for that. Like a couple of blogs previously featured in this series, Paul writes from Minnesota. There must be something in the cold air over there. Guess how long this song is:
Boomtown Rats - Diamond Smiles.mp3
Music For Bloggers Vol. 1: Totally Fuzzy, Not Rock On, Serenity Now (RIP), Stay At Home Indie Pop, The Late Greats, Tsururadio, 200percent, Jefitoblog (RIP), Television Without Pity, Michael's World
Music For Bloggers Vol. 2: Fullundie, Mr Agreeable, Greatest Films, Peanut's Playground, Just Good Tunes, Csíkszereda Musings, Mulberry Panda, The Black Hole, Secret Love, Hot Chicks With Douchebags
Music For Bloggers Vol. 3: Girl On A Train, Maybe We Ain't That Young Anymore, Earbleedingcountry, Spangly Princess, Ill Folks, Deacon Blues, One-Man Publisher, CD Rated
Music For Bloggers Vol. 4: Pop Dose, Todger Talk, Holy Goof (RIP), Echoes In The Wind, Sunset Over Slawit, The Hits Just Keep Coming, The Ghost of Electricity, Guitariotabs
Music For Bloggers Vol. 5: The Quietus, Barely Awake In Frog Pyamas, The Great Vinyl Meltdown, Fusion 45, Inveresk Street Ingrate, The Songs That People Sing