Perhaps owing to its status as the media capital of the United States, New York receives the lion's share of attention for its music/MP3 blogs, many of which are widely considered to be the créme de la créme of the Internet.
But the great thing about the Web is how easy it is to make your voice heard from anywhere. In fact, there's a small-but-vocal posse of MP3 bloggers right here in St. Louis who are making their mark on the blogosphere with intelligent analysis, unbridled enthusiasm and, of course, fantastic tunes.
What's even better is that none of the sites discriminate against local music. Jason Cook of "Your Standard Life" has featured Jon Hardy & the Public, artists from blues label Broke & Hungry Records and Miles of Wire, while Joe Stumble of "Last Days of Man on Earth" has written about Ultraman and White Suburban Youth, and Jeff (no last name, please) of "Dividing by Zero Will Get You Nowhere" has been a big champion of Gentleman Auction House and So Many Dynamos.
Below you'll find a crib sheet about each blog and its owner. Visit our own blog, at www.riverfronttimes.com/blogs, for the full interview with each person.
Dividing by Zero Will Get You Nowhere
Author/Day Job: Jeff, attorney
Founded: September 2005
Goal: "To let people both in St. Louis and out know that there are St. Louis bands as good as anywhere else in the country or world. I guess [my] deepest-seated desire and ultimate goal is to contribute something that will make the rest of the country see St. Louis as supportive of small bands and non-commercial music and, hopefully, convince all these great touring bands that notoriously ‘skip' over St. Louis that it's worth their time to schedule a show here."
Typical bands featured: Local indie faves (Say Panther, Gentleman Auction House), Jeff's personal raves (Bishop Allen), groups stopping in St. Louis (Black Angels, Of Montreal).
How has blogging changed the way people view music? "I think it has caused people to obsess over the ‘new thing' a little too much. Albums are not given the attention they were once given. No one wants to take the time to properly process a new album. It's three listens and on to the next new CD. It's something I suffer from; I rarely listen to what I was listening to three months ago. On the other hand, if I do find myself listening to a CD six months after it was released, it must have really stuck out to me."
Hot Out Herre
Author/Day Job: Mike Appelstein, RFT freelancer/law student/paralegal
Founded: MP3 posts in 2006
Goal: "It's virtually the same as when I used to do a zine: To communicate with friends and strangers alike, to rant and rave about music I've been listening to, and hopefully to touch a nerve or find common ground."
Typical Tunes: Hidden gems abound, such as dream-pop obscurities Skylab and jangle-poppers Go Dog Go!
How has blogging changed the way people view music? "For a long time, I said that it hadn't. My original theory was that it was just an electronic version of college radio and print zines. Now, I think it's accelerated the culture to such an extent that a band can experience backlash before most people have even heard them. I'm in favor of anything that allows creative people to bypass the official gatekeepers at major labels, Rolling Stone and MTV, but I certainly don't envy Internet buzz bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It's literally here today, gone next week sometimes."
Last Days of Man on Earth
Author/Day Job: Joe Stumble, Web designer/ developer
Founded: February 2006
Goal: "To share under-represented music with people" which, in Stumble's view, is "out-of-print new-wave/punk/rap music from the late '70s through the '80s."
Typical Tunes: Post-punk (Pylon, the Embarrassment), rap legends (Grandmaster Flash), uncategorizable but seminal artists (The Au Pairs, 45 Grave).
How has blogging changed the way people view music? "I believe we are the new zines. I see this as a continuation of the punk DIY aesthetic."
Your Standard Life
Author/Day Job: Jason Cook, graphic designer
Founded: Nine months ago
Goal: "I guess just to introduce people to some bands they never would have listened to. It is pretty cool to think that I have people in London and Paris listening to a local band like Miles of Wire that maybe they would never have heard."
Typical Tunes: A mix of up-and-comers (Aussie brat-punks the Grates, neo-Krautrockers 120 Days) and stalwarts (Sonic Youth, Los Lobos).
How has blogging changed the way people view music? "It exposes people to a lot of bands that you will not find on any radio station. It is an exciting time now; just about anybody can get their creation be it art, music, movies onto the Web for the world to see, and they do not need a big corporation behind them. It definitely levels the playing field."