Hey, music lovers. Did you know you can listen on the Web to full length albums by just about anybody? I know of two places--Grooveshark and Lala.com--but I'm sure there must be others. So you probably know about this. But if you're crazy about music like I am, this is a great deal. You can hear what you're getting (or refusing to get) before you sink your hard-earned coins into an album purchase from iTunes. I can remember a time--1950s-80s--when I pretty much knew all of the bands out there. That's an exaggeration, of course, but a shorthand way of saying I was conversant with the major players and a lot of the minor ones making music in those years.
Forget about that today. Not only have I aged beyond the stage where music is a frequent topic of conversation, but I've also outgrown the clubbing scene. In other words, I'm beyond keeping track of all this stuff. It would be quite impossible to do so anyway. There are thousands and thousands of bands out there. Tons of great music. So how do you know what to listen to?
I go by recommendations of family, my kids. Since I'm an anal person about lots of things like this, I first go check out what "experts" are saying. And I listen to their recommendations likewise. The first stop would be Allmusic.com which has everything about anybody going all the way back to the Creation. Separate section for reggae even! Check out the "editor's choice" section for takes on new releases. But all the history is here, the discographies, and reviews. Okay, so now for more critics. That would be Metacritic.com (which does movies and other stuff, too). What a treasure trove. "Best of" lists back to 2000. Best band of the decade? That would be Spoon, according to them. Appraisals of new and upcoming releases (color-coded), plus all time ratings. Best album reviews I've found are at Pitchfork. Long and meaty. You might also want to check out Music Box; it's a daily Web magazine devoted to popular music. And it's got "best of" lists too. Love those things! But be advised this site doesn't really cover cutting edge stuff, i.e., it's nowhere near as complete as the other two.
Here's a band I just discovered, Super Furry Animals. Whaddaya think? (Besides the awesome video and the fact that Allmusic loves 'em.)