Stadiums and Shrines offers a unique experience for their readers as the site reads like a contemporary art lesson fueled by its relationship to sound. A strong aesthetic and command over a consistent sound the site likes to share, Stadiums and Shrines is a music blog destination unlike anywhere else on the Internet.
Knox Road has been a favorite of mine for a few years now and with the addition of their essay series "Hype Hype Hooray" the site has moved past the standard post a few tracks and into shaping the conversation surrounding music. Their taste matches my own and often digs deep into the Internet crates to find/support independent artists. One glance at the site and the amount of text vs mp3 links is a sign of the time Knox Road puts in for their readers.
Bears Eat Beats has become a daily destination with their monthly mixes and combination of love for indie and hip-hop. Like Knox Road, the presented tracks are accompanied by well written pieces that add a depth of appreciation to each new listen. I could easily see Bear Eat Beats moving up this list as the years progress.
I wrongly shrugged off Yvynyl early in their blog career because their aesthetic and music choices seemed to be one note. After months of reading I was proven extremely wrong as Yvynyl branched out and became a trusted source of new music from all genres. While their aesthetic as a tumblr blog might come across as a single vision, I've come to find that Yvynyl has one rule: if it's good, it goes up on the site. They've introduced me to a great song/album after another and because of their consistency as a tastemaker, they grab this spot.
Someone should hold a blog congress session to accuse Slowcoustic of a folk/softer music monopoly. Luckily for contemporary folk fans, the creators of Slowcoustic do their job extremely well. If you love the music of singer/songwriters and feel like they've gotten a raw deal in the last few years from the bigger sites, anger not, Slowcoustic doesn't let any worth while singer songwriter slip from their radar. The biggest complement I can give this site is that unlike a lot of indie focused music blogs, if Slowcoustic disappeared, a huge hole would need to be filled...and it would take more than one blog to fill it.
I like maybe %50 of the music Kenny Bloggins writes about on The Decibel Tolls, but I can't deny he's one of the best and most interesting music writers going today. Enter his site and read any article, track review, think piece and prepare to be assaulted by brutal honesty, a masterful hand at the written word, and a voice that makes him more of an artist then simply a blogger.
Referred to as "The Internet's Busiest Music Nerd" for a good reason, the guy lives for his website. In a given week his readers get 4-5 full album review videos in addition to a fully operational blog that posts news, videos, and tracks. Come on. Anybody with tons of time of their hands can put out an impressive amount of content. What makes The Needle Drop a special music resource is that every review has been well thought out and often offers a different perspective than the standard five paragraph reviews offer all over the web. The reviews are playful, passionate, and (enter another positive p word here). Progressive? Anyway, The Needle Drop is a no brainer to make this list.
I've been reading Everybody Taste for a while now, but the site really surprised me in 2011 and became one of my most trusted daily music blogs. Like a great friend, this is a site to be trusted. Amazing taste in music is elevated by their hard work ethic to supply each post with writing that not only informs but gives wonderful descriptors that excites the reader before click play on the supplied tracks. Everybody Taste had a great 2011 and made my musical year much better because of their work.
What Tympanogram did in 2011 should be a lesson to everyone thinking of starting a music blog. They focused on posting tracks and writing...writing a lot. A track rarely goes up on the site without an accompanying piece of writing that constantly makes me want to be a better writer when I'm staring a track to be posted on WLFY. The content is daily and mostly focuses on names you've never heard before visiting the site. I've been obsessed with finding new music through Tympanogram all year and in 2011 they went from being a new music blog to one of the best music sites out there.
Aquarium Drunkard is the best music site on the Internet. It's that simple. Like most of the blogs on this list, they have strong writing and a great ear for music. What sets Aquarium Drunkard apart from every other site is their dedication to informing their readers about older music and connecting it to what they're enjoying currently in such a fluid way that nothing ever seems out of place regardless of the decade. While they're one of the larger music sites, Aquarium Drunkard never plays the hit game or bows at the sight of a buzz band. They ignore trends and do so without sacrificing their large readership, an accomplishment that only they can claim. Authenticity as a conversation piece concerning music is thrown around a lot, but AUTHENTIC is the best word to describe Aquarium Drunkard.