Sampleface Five: Music Blogs You Should Be Reading

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Here is our selection of five music blogs you should be reading.

One of the best things about music blogs is there isn’t really “competition” like you have with tabloids and broadsheets. It should be about the music and getting readers to the best from all channels (“should” being the operative word, but I’m not throwing any punches or calling out any websites). Since before we started officially in October, I’ve been keeping an eye on some of my favourite music blogs so here is my list of music blogs you should be reading. (For the sake of conciseness, I’ll be classifying sites that have articles as “music blogs”, as well as broader communities such as Okayplayer.)

1. Potholes In My Blog

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To know your craft better, you have to see what others are saying about it. Potholes is one of the best for that when it comes to music news and finding superb releases both mainstream and underground. I always find digital publications more endearing when they don’t just headline their content with what Drake had for breakfast or the latest celebrity to discover twerking. That’s not to say you won’t find any news on a Kanye rant, but they certainly offer more.

2. Okayplayer

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Started by The Roots’ drumming master ?uestlove (who is the current CEO), Okayplayer is one of the best hip hop communities on the internet so much so they were called “tastemakers” by Rolling Stone, who, despite their opinions on hip hop royalty, know their stuff. Perhaps Okayplayer shouldn’t be in this list as they’re way more than just a music blog; their other channels include Okayafrica where their focus is on Africa and its musical influence, The Revivalist dedicated to jazz music and Okayfuture for electronic music’s fusion with hip hop and soul. But semantics aside, you’d be a crazed loon not to keep tabs on their media.

3. NPR Music

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Now, NPR Music actually showcases five music blogs so I’ll take a brief look at each. All Songs Considered explains itself; a blog dedicated to all music including a dedicated show of the latest new music, a “non-stop mix of every song ever played on All Songs Considered”, live performances in the NPR Music offices and slightly more in-depth musical articles involving trivia, trends and puzzles. A Blog Supreme (inspired by John Coltrane’s 1965 album A Love Supreme) looks at jazz much like The Revivalist with takes on jazz history, the latest releases and Take Five – a weekly review of five songs. Deceptive Cadence is NPR’s classical channel discussing ideas, innovative composers and comical jokes (yes, there are jokes in classical music). The final chapter in NPR Music’s blog directory is The Record where their music news channel lives with industry analysis, musicians who make music for their own living and essays from fans as well as a specific annal for Ann Powers opinions on the intersectionality of music and everyday life. That all might seem quite dense but there’s something for any music fan to love.

4. RBMA

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Red Bull’s branch into music started with their music academy back in 1998. What started out as a series of festivals and worldwide workshops has become an enriching escapade in musical history as well as the present and future. Between their phenomenal lectures with music’s creative elite, they also garner opinion from a wide range of clientele, do interviews as well as the RBMA Radio packed with the latest in genre-bending music. One of my favourite series is Egon’s Funk Archaeology as he looks through his eclectic collection (or “eclection”, if you will) and shines a spotlight on forgotten heroes of yesteryear.

5. The Find Magazine

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The guys at The Find Magazine don’t pack as much of an all encompassing punch like NPR or RBMA in the way of multifaceted content but with the team they have, they have found their niche in what they describe as “a global collective of music lovers dedicated to promoting the diffusion of hip hop with jazz, funk, soul and related styles of music”. So again, more than one of your bog standard music blogs. The key component of their content is their love and admiration of “crate digging”, something we have discussed here many times so we’re totally behind their cause. Their interviews, exclusive guest mixes and dope free downloads confirm their place in this list.