In my view, this is the very best thing about music on the internet - the ability to discover, unveil, introduce, share, and preserve music that might never have been digitalized by professional archivists or record companies or anyone else. Sometimes this music comes from an obscure vinyl pressing of only a few copies. I have one tune for which there are only two known physical copies.
Whether they view it as their goal or not, many people are out there preserving music which would otherwise be lost to history because it doesn't fit the market, and often never did. What does sell on the market is obviously not identical with what is good and valuable (unless one maintains the questionable view that value is determined by market popularity which is in turn a function of individual and collective democratic free choice). Music is an area where that point is made strikingly clear, even if a lot of the obscure music posted is not shared because it's thought to be "good" in any regularly used sense of the term. Sometimes it is simply worth helping it to exist and continue to exist.
I want to honor a few of the best of these explorers and preservationists who share discoveries from the unknown and forgotten corners of music, sometimes new, sometimes old:
- Radiodiffusion Internasionaal
- Crud Crud
- Garage Hangover
- Music for Maniacs
- Haji Maji
- Excavated Shellac
- WFMU's Beware of the Blog
- With Comb and Razor
- Soul Sides
Image above from With Comb and Razor.
Update: ...and on the right-on suggestion of a commenter (although I never said the list was comprehensive), I should also add 20JazzFunkGreats. For a sample of their handicraft, check out their recent track by Lucci Capri (April 17th, 2009).
Evan at Swan Fungus has also come into his own, moving away from the drone/post-rock aesthetic that dominated the early days of his blog and into a more catholic aesthetic. I think he got a girlfriend. Check out this awesome recent discovery (for me, at least) that he offers up.
Update (about 9 months later): Lovefingers and DonnaSlut have shut down operations. The tunes they've uploaded are still available, though, and there's a treasure trove to go through with both of them. Lovefingers also posts mixes by top and up-and-coming DJs.
I need to pay homage to a few more music blogs sharing great music and informally acting as archivist-anthropologists:
- Big Rock Candy Mountain (rock, blues, CW)
- Earfuzz (R&B, Soul, Funk, African, Latin)
- Blackout Musique (post punk, new wave)
- Funky16Corners (R&B, soul, funk)
- Garage Latino (Latin American garage rock, surf, chicha)
- IronLeg (R&B, rock & roll, psych, pop)
- Dream Chimney (anything goes)
- WorldService (African)
- Prejka (prog, pop, psych, etc)
- Prog Not Frog (prog, electronic, avant garde)
- Mutant Sounds (prog, electronic, avant garde)
- Super Sonido (Latin)
- Lunar Atrium (library music, moog, electronic, etc)