I joked the other day that my ideal blog would be a perfect mixture of drone, old-timey country, and Feist. Not a joke: I guess that's kinda what Pretty Goes with Pretty is, though my ideal blog would update more frequently. The truth of the matter is that I pilfer all my best musical finds from a handful of other blogs working harder than me. So, here are the blogs that have been conveniently pushing my tastes along in 2011. If I could figure out how to put 'em all in a blender and create one super blog that publishes perfect mixes daily, I would. If you like the music I've been posting here of late, you have the below people to blame for 85% of it.
The Adios Lounge
An eclectic mix, especially good when LD gets into the old stuff (honestly my tastes diverge from his when he goes past the 70s), or goes on an in-depth excavation of a band or musician, such as his epic Clarence White posts (search it on his blog).
Unfortunately it's gone belly-up as of this week. Altered Zones was a good punching bag for anyone who wanted to shit on hipster trends of the last 18 months or so (and in truth it had too many press release-like posts to be 100% trustworthy), but frankly I found a lot of good music this year thanks to that blog.
Aquarium Drunkard (@aquadrunkard)
Justin Gage has been running Aquarium Drunkard for six years now, so this blog should be no revelation to anyone. It's a great mix of old and new—a balance that seems harder to pull off than you might expect, given how few blogs pull it off well.
The Cargo Culte (@theallseeingi and @cmetz)
Friends of mine, so full disclosure and all that, but in any case a Cargo Culte mix is worth delving into. Heavy psych, old-school punk, Vietnamese 60s girl groups—every mix likely goes somewhere you haven't been before. And of course the mixes are only half of it—each mix is paired with a heavily researched tale from the fringes.
For the Sake of the Song
Kinda like the Adios Lounge, For the Sake of the Song is at its best when it goes back in time. The mixes—songs linked by a common word, or just straight up random—almost always contain a few real gems.
Dave Rawkblog is my go-to for reverby indie rock or newfangled songwriters. Some of my favorite songs of the year—like Little Scream's "Heron and the Fox"—are due to his hunting. The main Rawkblog site is a great source for new mp3s and news around the bands he likes. What sets it apart from a lot of pseudo-newsy and/or band-breaking blogs is that Dave legitmately stans for the bands he adores, and doesn't bother posting for bands he's ambivalent about, no matter the buzz level. All that said, I might even like following his tumblr more, just because it's a little more off the cuff and more about what he's thinking about, less about what he's listening to.
The Rising Storm
The best blog going if you're looking for lost classics of the 60s and 70s. Folk, psych, pop, etc. It's essential.
Singing in the Wire
Almost everything I know about old country music—or heck, any country music—is courtesy Paul from Singing in the Wire (previously Setting the Woods on Fire). I credit him for my newfound love of Tom T. Hall, Hank Snow, the Delmore Brothers, and many more. Not to mention this is the music that is shaping my son's toddler-hood!
20 Jazz Funk Greats
Being honest, I never read this site. I've tried a few times but I can't get on board with a lot of their words. But musically their taste level is pretty fantastic. It occasionally gets too dance-heavy, but the ambient and more "headphone-oriented" tracks are almost uniformly excellent.
Swan Fungus (@evanhlevine)
I was a big ambient/drone fan about 12 or 15 years ago, but somewhere around the new century I lost the thread on the genre. A year or two back I stumbled into Swan Fungus and have more or less been following Evan's lead when it comes to that music. (He posts about a lot more than that, but that's how he hooked me.)
These blogs are the source for a lot of my musical development of the last year—country, ambient, psych, etc. Now, that said, there is a whole other group of bloggers out there who used to do more typical music blogs but who have all migrated entirely to tumblr (not counting paid gigs), where the emphasis (in my eyes, anyway) has become a lot more about the writing and lot less about sharing music (even if music is still the topic). Eric Harvey, Jonathan Bogart, Nitsuh Abebe, Mark Richardson, Brad Nelson, Marc Hogan... I'm probably forgetting about ten or fifteen others. I find that in recent years my ears have moved further and further from theirs (sorry, I'm just not super into rap and pop! sorry!), but great writers are great writers are great writers.