So everyone knows about Pitchfork Media, but where else do you get the latest music news? I have become a huge fan of Tiny Mix Tapes (TMT). While they break music stories as well as Pitchfork (but slightly less frequently), you also get a huge dose of humor, and usually some of the more obscure happenings around the world. I have been reading TMT for a couple years now, and I think I found out about it because KLK stumbled across it, but I have become a huge advocate.
Tiny Mix Tapes does about two album reviews a day. The amount of news stories vary, concert review, and there are always a couple weekly features. Not to mention the massive list of themed mix tapes, and the random quote generator at the top of the page!
While Pitchfork does “Best New Music,” a section of the website telling people what is the cream of the crop (most things that get higher than an 8.0 out of 10 in their rating system). As you probably already know this is the section that makes and breaks bands…most notably, in my opinion, responsible for the success of Arcade Fires’ debut. I personally find this questionable, and have even discussed it with a couple Pitchfork writers…how some releases get really awesome score, but don’t make “Best New Music”(apparently since these discussions, for some reason, Les Savy Fav’s Let’s Stay Friends has been removed from the section). It seems that “Best New Music” is aimed at what the most common reader of Pitchfork will find awesome, and for things that don’t quite make this section the have a “recommended” section(while other totally awesome things that get over 8.0, but don’t make either of these sections). TMT tapes comes to the aide of music with their “Eureka!” reviews. Here is a quote from them about what these reviews mean:
“Eureka is our attempt to reflect a sensibility that is not so common in the music world, one that emphasizes looking at ruptures in music, finding disjunctions while locating traditions, pointing to new forms and ways of receiving music. While many of these musics can potentially function as a reflection of personal mood, as pure entertainment, or as a sort of escapism (depending on the listener), others outwardly defy these conventional ways of receiving music and test the boundaries of what exactly discerns music from noise. Avant-garde, experimental, creative — call it what you want. We’re not here to mark boundaries, and we’re certainly not trying to polarize the underground music world. It’s not one versus the other; it’s one with the other. Yet at the same time, it’s music appreciation for sounds that are not already bloated with cultural meaning. Because of this semiotic ambiguity, these albums may require more ’effort’ on your part to find any personal worth. There has been a rich history of experimentation, and these newest albums either compliment or continue the tradition, in the most general, far-reaching sense of the word. Due to the vastness of this realm of music, the following list is very much specific to our tastes, and in no way should it be understood as a one-stop shop for ’experimental’ or ’avant-garde’ music. Enjoy!”
“Eureka!” is pushing boundaries, not to say that I don’t love a lot of what Pitchfork deems “Best New Music,” but I am always interested in hearing something that could potentially be ground breaking in a way I never expected. These “Eureka!” releases have tended to be much more obscure featuring bands doining very experimental things (like Purient, Yellow Swans, Boris, among others). I can’t say that I am into everything that makes this list, and TMT admits that some of it has to do with personal tastes (which I think is a given, but says a lot when they come straight up and admit it) but I have to admit that I think it is bringing to my attention somethings that might have slipped through my radar.
On top of tours, industry, and releases, some of their news posts are refered to as Shrimp Scampi and this is possibly possibly the best part about their news feed. These posts are not only informative, but typically cartoons, animated, or even interactive. (Please see these example above and to the left)
Overall TMT is much more than informative, they provide a light hearted side to music news, and I personally think that we can all learn a lesson from them. I personally am going to try to make an effort to intergrate a little more humor into my writing, and maybe Pitchfork should take a cue from their former writers too.
All images from Tiny Mix Tapes…please follow the links inside the pictures.