Are you tired of scouring the indie music press for cutting-edge tip offs and passionate commentary, only to find:
a) humdrum copy, knocked out by a bunch of impartial office drones, or
b) pretentious, holier-than-thou print which contains a pile of dumbfounding music references and big words of surely illegal length?
Then you, my muso friend, need to acquaint yourself with the blog!
Penned by the everyday indie-kid enthusiast, expect no dull, nor conceited content here. Quite contrastingly, blogs are the new ‘X’ on your musical treasure map—dreamy digital worlds populated by fellow music buffs, unearthing and sharing sonic treasures with you every single day.
So, are you an indie junkie? Feed your habit by checking out SongLyrics’s 10 favorite indie blogging joints, below!
Gorilla vs Bear is one of the most innovative blogs in independent music. Founded by Chris Cantalini in March 2005, you can rely on this “New Yorker of hipster blogs” to be one step ahead when it comes to unearthing the latest and greatest in indie/alternative (the website was early champions of the likes of Santigold, White Denim, and more recently, Lana Del Rey).
Shooting for an antiquated aesthetic via the staff’s now-trademark use of retro Polaroid cameras (such as when shooting live gigs), Gorilla vs Bear is the aged indie kid-come-Tumblr frequenter’s musical BFF.
Hit up Gorilla vs Bear up for a hand-selected, daily stream of must-hear MP3s and must-see videos, or listen to the blog’s award-winning radio show awash with new music, hosted weekly over at Sirius XM. Lucky enough to be in the Dallas and Austin area? Also keep an eye out for this blog’s frequent presentation of ace indie gigs in your home town!
If you are seeking a pure-blooded indie blog, logging on to Pigeons and Planes only to be greeted by photograph of a scantily-clad Nicki Minaj may not be the most warming of welcomes. Try not to be put off, however. While Pigeons and Planes may possess a serious disposition for hip hop, we have not selected this site to feature in an article titled “Top 10 Indie Music Blogs You Must Check out” for no reason.
After all, Pigeons and Planes is run by a crew of writers who seriously appreciate the six-string. Despite its undoubted urban focus (P&P founder, the mysterious ‘Jacob’, jokes this is preference is because “most rock, pop and electronic acts don’t grind like rappers do“) the blog genuinely aims to publish a buffet of news, features, MP3s and videos from the best in new music, whether that’s indie rock, or FM hip-hop (though writers are not so keen on “stupid subgenres“).
Mixing this unprejudiced approach to coverage—and I’m talking Bon Iver to Big Sean—with an authentic passion for sound, Pigeons and Planes is, despite its initial urban front, one of the greatest indie hang outs on the net.
Indie aficionados—bookmark this blog if you want what one NY Post journalist described as a “little website crumb of deliciousness” to visit every morning.
Launched in 2007 by self-confessed music geek, Luis Tovar, LA based Pretty Much Amazing is where you will find trends set and tastes made.
Alongside a popularity among everyday muso surfers, Pretty Much Amazing is also a blog that is loved by bloggers—just take ‘Jacob’, the enigmatic founder of our previous entry, the awesome Pigeon and Planes, who notes that PMA is one of his regular digital haunts.
Serving up a range of audio-visual indie nuggets (though this blog is not afraid to cover Britney Spears when required) every single day, Pretty Much Amazing is, well, pretty much that.
Hipster Runoff is a beautiful paradox. While this gloriously controversial blog takes daily, side-splitting snipes at skinny-jeaned Pitchfork-preachers, the site also acts as a pretty illuminating indie crash pad for said kids.
Penned by the incognito hipster bitch that is ‘Carles’ (who Village Voice attempt to pick apart, here), the blog swerves between satirically typo-laden and down-right goofy posts, to genuinely enchanting, albeit sardonic commentaries on the digitally-born poser sector of society, with some decent chunks of indie/alternative news and going-ons on the side…or as TIME put it, “the blog alternates between outright spoofs and serious slams of fashion’s posers and prophets, with cutting commentary of ongoing discussions covering everything from alt-rock to bro culture”.
Since its launch back in 2005, Nialler9 (pronounced Nile-r, Deadmau5 styleé) has not only grown into an influential force within its native Irish music scene (it has been voted ‘Best Music Blog’ in the Irish Blog Awards five years in a row), it has also evolved into a globally-recognized publication, having recently been voted one of the top 5 music blogs in the world by The Recommender.
The blog was founded in 2005 by Niall Byrne, who deliciously describes Nialler9 as “eclectic, discerning and deadly“. A restless domain of new music, you can count on Byrne (and his boo, Aiofe, who voices the blog’s popular podcast) to post a daily selection of MP3s and videos, as well as exceedingly enjoyable ‘Introducing‘ segments, which acquaint us with glorious new artists stemming from Byrne’s motherland of Ireland and beyond.
The Needle Drop is the self-declared home of the “internet’s busiest music nerd”, Anthony Fantano. That’s a pretty spot-on statement, too. You only have to watch Fantano’s legendary video reviews to see this dude oozes nerd.
But what actually defines ‘nerd’? Well, there are three textbook characteristics one must possess in order to bag such a label: one, goofy humor (check), two, fantastic eyewear (check) and three, an enthusiasm and intelligence which blows the more modest ‘dork’ out of the water (check) (no link required, just read the blog already!).
This is precisely why The Needle Drop is an eternally enjoyable read. Fantano and his equally nerdy team have musical passion SWEATING from their pits (can you smell if from here?). From the aforementioned video reviews, to the lovingly curated (aka, not simply selected as they’re ‘buzz worthy’) selection of MP3s and videos, to the site’s awesome new music podcast, The Needle Drop is one of the most exciting joints on the web for the more sincerer end of music enthusiasts.
Aquarium Drunkard is a progressive indie music blog based in Los Angeles. Founded in 2005 by music consultant-come-writer, Justin Gage, ‘The Drunkard’ prides itself on bridging the gap between “contemporary indie with vintage garage, psych, folk, country, New Orleans funk, r&b, soul and everything that falls in between”
Like every indie blog residing within the digital suburbia, you can rely on Aquarium Drunkard—recently voted Best Independent Music Blog by MTV’s O Music Awards—to serve you a daily banquet of MP3s, videos, reviews, interviews and features. Just expect no writers dropping cliche buzz bombs here. Aquarium Drunkard’s “thoughtful, well-curated content” (often penned by guest writers ala Robyn Hitchcock, John Grant and The Antlers) prefers to eschew trend, instead offering a range of eclectic and exciting audio discoveries, yanked from all corners and decades of the musical-globe.
Though a New York-centric blog, Brooklyn Vegan is read and revered by music lovers from around the world. Scribed by an anonymous no-meat-no-dairy New Yorker and his acute selection of contributors, Brooklyn Vegan is famed for its impartial and unprejudiced approach to music (just check out their column solely dedicated to worshiping metal!).
The blog is steeped with accolades, having been named Stereogum’s Best Music Blog (the website applauded Brooklyn Vegan’s “excellent live coverage”), one of Blog.com’s ‘Top 10 Trendsetting Blogs’ and (albeit rather humorously) Village Voices’ ‘Best Blog for Knowing What Scenester Concerts to Avoid Every Night’.
Described by contributing editor, Fred Passaro, as like being a doctor who is always on call, you can rely on Brooklyn Vegan to be busy surveying the music world, 24/7, so you don’t have to.
Last year, The Recommender asked the cream of the crop in music blogging to put competition aside in order to help them compile a list of the best music blogs from across the digital landscape. One response, penned by ‘Confusion‘, selected The Music Ninja. Explaining their nomination, Confusion said: “The Music Ninja is just, as a ninja should be, full of surprises. I go on there one day and find some weird psych-pop and the next day I find a dubstep banger. I like that in a blog—not the same 5 posts as 20 other blogs”.
The Music Ninja has fans in big places, after all, the enigmatic ‘Confusion’ soon turned out to be ‘Jacob’, the main man behind aforementioned SongLyrics favorite, Pigeons and Planes. Garnering praise from such pro industry fellows proves what a swell rep this music blog has. Plus everything Confusion said is completely true—The Music Ninja is one of the most eclectic of selection boxes on the internet, karate kicking between alternative music genres with an enviable stealth.
So, if you are looking to scrub up your music credentials, or simply know someone in desperate need of musical medicating, point to The Music Ninja, who prides itself on having “infiltrated the ears and minds of Ke$ha fans and permanently set them on the path to better“.
Jordan states You Ain’t No Picasso covers “mostly what gets called “indie”, but really just anything that gets me interested.” Luckily, what gets Jordan “interested” is down-right rad music, of all shapes and sizes—as reflected in You Ain’t No Picasso’s eternally diverse content.
Blending the over with the underground (interviews range from indie-demigods, ala Sufjan Stevens, to more under wrap gems like Portugal. The Man), with an intimate, one-man approach means You Ain’t No Picasso always rocks serious indie-cred (oh, and an endless fetish for covers, too…just check out these Of Montreal, My Morning Jacket, St Vincent and Decemberists cover archives).