Sunday, January 23, 2011
You Really Oughta Read More...
Since I've been away, however, I thought it would be a good time to highlight some of the more recent additions to the blogroll in a post where more folks are likely to see them and, hopefully, go visit and check them out. So here are 10 sites that I currently visit regularly, and suggest you do as well:
RCRD LBL - Simply one of the best free & legal sources for music on the Internet. The folks at RCRD LBL offer both streaming and downloadable mp3s from artists both classic and cutting edge, representing a wide variety of genres and styles. Their staff of writers do an excellent job on the editorial side, and you can spend hours surfing from one artist to the next. Great place to find the next big thing, as well as rediscover some old favorites.
...tapewrecks... - You know that box of old cassette tapes collecting dust in the back of your closet or on a shelf somewhere? The box where most of them are missing inserts or cases, but you know one or two of them have you and your high school buds jamming on them? Well, Tom Quinn is digitizing them and sharing them with the world. Demo tapes, self released cassettes, reel-to-reel cacophonies, bands that never made it and for good reason - they're all here in glorious lo-fi, with explanatory notes and commentary.
The ModPopPunk Archives - Not a blog per se, but rather a sort of online museum of classic and current music in the mod, power-pop, punky vein. Their mp3 of the Day (which does not change daily) usually features an obscure classic, while their Record of the Month (which hews much closer to its stated schedule) will point you in the direction of something new. Recent RoM's have included Protex, The Mother's Children and The Van Buren Boys - all excellent and highly recommended. Their mp3 archive is a treasure trove not to be missed!
The Ouro Bros. and the Never-Ending Tour - Jeremy Bentley (he draws) and Jeff Burkholder (he writes) have combined efforts on an outstanding webcomic following the exploits of Stan and Balthazar Ouro, sibling musicians on the road. Bentley's own experiences as a drummer inform the situations our boys find themselves in, giving the story a ring of familiarity to anyone who has ever been on tour and an admittedly exaggerated peek behind the curtain for those who've always wondered. Both artist and author add commentary to each episode describing process and inspiration - the online equivalent to director's commentary on a DVD.
Thinking Too Hard - When she isn't busy editor-in-chiefing over at IndieInk.org, Becky Tsaros Dickson is writing some of the most powerful first-person prose currently online. Deeply introspective and unflinchingly direct, her words are at turns nostalgic, despairing, furious and celebratory - often all four within just a few sentences. The emotion in her work crackles off the screen and pulls you into the center of her electrical storm, leaving you exhausted but wanting more. I also recommend picking up her first book, I Could Tell You Stories.
All Things Considered - Another of my favorite writers on the 'Net these days is Gina Collia-Suzuki. The self-described "frightfully serious art historian and incredibly silly novelist" authors no less than five blogs, my favorite of which is All Things Considered - "All Things" in her world being books, art and the goofiness of daily life. (I'd add only music and baseball to make "all things" a complete list; I'll forgive her the baseball, she being British and all, but I think music a necessity!) Her wonderfully dry sense of humor permeates even the most didactic of her works; her incredible ability to find herself in the oddest of situations (get to know the stories about her abhorrent neighbors) provides her with fertile foundation for her storytelling. She has four books currently available on Amazon. Go! Purchase! Enjoy!
k-rina - Cristina Rad, a/k/a k-rina, a/k/a ZOMGitsCriss, is one of the more intriguing personae to be found online these days. There is an old saying that you will never make friends talking about politics or religion. Well, friends be damned, politics and religion are what this Romanian wants to discuss, and she is rather opinionated at that. But she doesn't just bluster; this is a bright, educated woman who will challenge you to examine your own opinions while defending hers. Either that, or she'll just piss you off. And then she'll turn around and post about making pancakes or cleaning house. Her blog goes hand-in-hand with her YouTube channel. Check 'em both out.
Dynamyk's Ridiculous Digital Scrapbook - Mike "Dynamyk" Miller has set up a wonderful Tumblr blog in which to show off his outstanding graphic work, as well as the occasional random thought or phrase. Mostly, though, its images captured via camera or iPhone (he's been big on the Instagram app lately). Gifted with a sharp eye and a sharp sense of humor, his pictures tell little mini-stories; taken as a whole, his blog is a pictorial diary - a chance to see the world through another's eyes.
Random, Personified - My other favorite Tumblr blog of the moment belongs to Liz Money. If you are into geeky gadgety tech-y stuff at all, you've no doubt encountered Liz Money online somewhere: she hosted The Money Shot for TheGadget411.com reviewing, well, gadgets; she currently co-hosts The BangItOut Show podcast for NewOrleansTech.net; she can be found livening up just about every social networking platform imaginable. Here she collects and shares all sorts of goofy, fun things she finds from all around the Net. Sure to put a smile on your face.
The Lancast - Speaking of podcasts, I would be remiss if I didn't insist you subscribe to the best damn podcast in Central Pennsylvania, The Lancast. For over a year now, David Moulton and Daniel Klotz have been podcasting weekly about Lancaster and the people in and around it. Their interviews with community leaders, local characters, and visiting personalities are always both insightful and entertaining. They capture the flavor and personality of Lancaster very well, both by advertising community events and by sharing the stories of the people who make up our town. Out-of-towners, I urge you to listen, too - you'll gain a greater understanding of the land that spawned my world view, and you just may be inspired to come visit!