Despite talking music more than anything else here, I have for the most part refrained from attempting to appear as an mp3 blog. Mostly this is because I think it is a difficult thing to do well. Amazing obscure bands cannot be broken on a daily basis, meaning that's a lot of mediocrity to host on your blog, and a lot hyperbole covering up for the pressure to supply daily content. It is for this reason that I tend to read a lot of mp3 blogs, yet I frequently distrust them—and I usually don't have the time to actually listen to everything they'd have me digest. If a certain group comes up enough times on different blogs, maybe I'll click that link—though invariably even then I'm still not phased (see Grizzly Bear, Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos, and Joanna Newsome for recent examples).
Meanwhile, 2006 has been a shit year for music. Is this related to the glut of mp3 blogs and myspace pages? Could very well be, though the established acts like the Flaming Lips, Walkmen, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and others have left me cold as well, and they shouldn't need the blogs to aid in their hype. Nevertheless I find myself in this month of December looking at more mp3 and music blogs than usual, hoping that the filter of the "Top 10 of the Year" will weed out the mediocrity and something I might have missed will rise to the top.
And it looks like that has happened. Things I'd Rather Be Doing posted their favorites of the year, and one that I hadn't heard of at all was Midlake. Most of the others on TIRBD's list (and the lists of other blogs & magazines that have posted so far) have been at least familiar to me. And guess what? They're fantastic! Very 1970s, very America (the band). But somehow that sounds fresh to me. There are a handful of tracks streaming at their website (click on "media"), but my favorite so far is the one TIRBD supplied, "Roscoe." I love the harmonies, and I love the way the lines get longer as the song goes on. I haven't had the opportunity to buy the album yet, but I expect to do so soon, and that it will wind up on my best of the year list as well, as long as the rest of the album is this good.