According to a frequently reprinted ad for the Seattle Mayor's Office of Music, there are 238 music blogs in the city. That isn't quite right; in fact, it isn't even a little right. For one thing, the number comes from a search for the terms "Seattle, music" on Technorati, an aggregator, and the number fluctuates wildly; a recent search dug up 213 links. For another, most of these blogs aren't really dedicated music sites, and a lot aren't located in Seattle.
Still, even if there are only, say, 75 local music blogs, that's plenty. No one could read them all even if they dedicated the majority of their time to trying to keep up. That's one reason behind this thumbnail guide to some (not all) notable local music blogs. We've steered clear of widely read long-runners like Three Imaginary Girls and Seattle Powerpop, and we know we haven't hit every one worth mentioning. Think of this as a rough guide to the many ways Seattle music lovers and professionals represent themselves on the web.
Proprietors: Larry Mizell, Andrew Matson, Marc Matsui, DJ Nphared, Sam Chesneau, Sarah Walczyk, and others
Average Posting Frequency: Several times a day.
Focus: Thanks to its wide roster of contributors, Raindrop Hustla is more an online magazine than music blog. It's maintained by several of the city's foremost hiphop artists (some of whom wish to remain anonymous) and scholars—writers from the Seattle Times, the Weekly, and The Stranger. Subject matter is diverse, from long-form personal essays to slang-laden track reviews to political commentary.
Typical Post: "Reasons I Been Blessed #6564: Once, when I was I think no older than nine, and after a particularly crackin' dinner at Sizzler, Moms asked if I wanted to meet Stevie Wonder. Let's say I was into it." [Posted by Lar August 9]
The Wisdom of the Illiterati
Proprietor: Robert Myers
Average Posting Frequency: Weekly or more.
Focus: The pop charts. Myers, a former Eastside Week writer, keeps close watch on the Billboard charts (the Top Ten sub-blog features his reviews of each song in the current Hot 100 Top 10) and opines everything from Sean Kingston to music-biz ethics.
Typical Post: "With his announcement that he will quit the business if his new album is outsold by Kanye West, 50 Cent has achieved what no one else ever could: He has instantly cured me of my lifelong habit of not saving my money for a rainy day. Come September 11, I want to be able to buy as many Kanye West albums as I possibly can. It's the least I can do to ensure that my children inherit a better world." [Posted August 11]
A Guitar Teacher's Lesson Notebook
Proprietor: Rob Hampton
Average Posting Frequency: Around once a week.
Focus: As you'd guess, Hampton is a guitar teacher (mostly acoustic, from the looks of it), and his blog consists of musings about playing, teaching, and the instrument itself.
Typical Post: "[At a campfire sing-along], the Look is the universal signal for 'I'm done with my solo' and 'This song's about to end.' You'd think it'd be easy to give people an unambiguous facial expression, but often people think they're giving me the Look when in fact they look like they're really getting into their solo, or they have gas. So how do you do it? Simple. Raise your eyebrows." [Posted August 10]
Proprietor: Rex Sorgatz
Average Posting Frequency: Sorgatz adds new links and squibs of writing a few times per day.
Focus: Fimoculous is a very helpful and well-constructed aggregator site. Sorgatz, who works at MSNBC, is a pan-pop-culture geek with wide, diverse interests: TV, movies, books, tech, and music. Fimoculous (the name of a microscopic parasite that feeds on its own waste, which Sorgatz relates to the self-perpetuating pop media landscape) compiles daily links to tons of online media; musically, Sorgatz is drawn to indie rock, hipster-friendly pop, hiphop, and dance. He also puts together an annual roundup of year-end lists featuring every kind of retrospective you can think of: For 2006 alone he found 706 lists, 228 of them music-based.
Typical Post: "Apparently I never saw Thurston Moore guest-hosting 120 Minutes with Beck in 1994, because I would have remembered it. Mike D shows up later, talking about an upcoming album that they 'might call Ill Communication.'" [Posted August 29]
Proprietor: TJ Gorton
Average Posting Frequency: About three times a week.
Focus: Gorton, a local DJ, electronic-music producer, and Line Out contributor, focuses on house, techno, and classic disco, with lore about the artists written in enthusiastic (if spotty) prose. And lots of remixes. It's basically an MP3 blog, and includes a track (or more) per post.
Typical Post: "Salsoul Presents: Disco Trance & Cosmic Flavas is an amazing compilation that puts together some hard-to-find dance mixes of some hard-to-find Salsoul classics. With so many disco compilations out there, sometimes it's hard to know if they're worth the money, this one definitely is."
Log in, Turn On, Rock Out
If you're looking for more conversation than observation, check into these music message boards and listservs:
The Division List (www.lists.f4.ca/mailman/listinfo/division): Super-insidery, super-techy mailing list for Seattle's electronic music makers, DJs, and fans. Hourly e-mail bombardment about gear, events, and scene politics; it's almost too much info to digest.
Northwest Hardcore (www.nwhardcore.com): Online community for the Northwest hardcore scene.
Mass Line Message Board (www.masslinemedia.com/smf): Local hiphop label Mass Line hosts an active message board moderated by the likes of Geo of Blue Scholars and Gabe Teodros.
206 Proof (www.206proof.com): An upstart hiphop message board that counters Mass Line's hegemony. Even online, Seattle heads like to take sides. [Posted August 28]