Most blogs gravitate towards the obscure because most blogs are run by music nerds and because that's what music nerds do. Stuff sounds better when no one else has heard it, but lately i've been worried about how much my taste might be shaped by reading PitchforkMedia.com. I think that was how I first started to get into 'good' new music that wasn't just Pavement or Sonic Youth but after reading it for the last four or more years, it's worth thinking about how affected yr own taste is by reading reviews, or just about the general ethos of the site. Pitchfork, for a downloader of music, is an amazing site; five new interesting records reviewed each day. It's just that I can't remember when the last time I actually read a review on Pitchfork was; normally I'd just check the score out of interest (after listening to, say, the new Animal Collective for a month or two before the review is up, for some reason I'm interesting in the decimal rating they assign). I've noticed a trend lately with album's that I download (usually a month or so before official release). Lately, the one's I've been digging the most have all found a position on the 'Best New Music' section of Pitchfork: Animal Collective, Black Lips!, Kanye West, Dirty Projectors, Jens Lekman, Caribou, M.I.A., Spoon - all without fail! It's not that there are any news flashes that these albums are at least good, but am I right to be concerned at the correlation between my own taste and theirs? I'm not sure if I should be concerned. That's cool, I'm probably just another insecure mindless alternative/obscure craving zombie. It's probably good that I don't read the reviews; I'd be a little scared of further similarities in opinion. Reading Stylus Magazine usually scares or aggravates me more because of the seemingly reactionary standpoint they take on a lot of records. It seems that they can predict which album's Pitchfork will stamp seals of approval onto, but it's probably not rocket science, in fact, probably fairly obvious.
It's not that this makes me want to retreat away from this particular scope of indie music (not that it's even indie music; I don't think any of these bands are on 'indie' labels anymore). At the end of the day, the stuff covered on Pitchfork is for me the most worthwhile, even if their heads are lodged firmly and distantly up their own A-holes. It's hilarious how true this Onion article is, but as long as you can approach Pitchfork
with a bit of distance, it's still home to a wealth of good music.
Also, I just noticed this news item on the ever humourous Tiny Mix Tapes page. Funny but scarily true.