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January 19, 2009

Bloggers To Read in 2009

I don't read as many blogs as I used to, but I am fiercely loyal to the ones I do. Every year, as some blogs go stagnant and others emerge, my list of favorite blogs changes. This year I decided to list my favorites, consider this an online thank you note to the bloggers who run these sites, who fill my world every day with something new, interesting, and often exciting.

Eleven bloggers to read in 2009:

Benn Ray (Mobtown Shank)

As owner of Baltimore's independent bookstore, Atomic Books, Benn takes his position in the community seriously. His blog, The Mobtown Shank, covers not only his Hampden Baltimore neighborhood, but also the city, state, and national stages with an informative mix of politics, pop culture, and opinion.

(disclosure: Atomic Books sponsors Largehearted Boy's 52 Books, 52 Weeks feature)

Jumping off points:
"Reptilian Records Closes Its Doors"
"American Standard: Jukeboxing Bars"

Dodge Lile (My Old Kentucky Blog, LaundroMatinee)

My Old Kentucky Blog is one of the most popular and respected music blogs around, sharing mp3s from emerging artists and offering up a range of music features, reviews, and interviews. Recently Dodge started up LaundroMatinee, a home for all the in-studio sessions taped for MOKB. Most impressive about LaundroMatinee (besides the quality of the participating bands) is that both streaming video and mp3s are offered of their performances.

Jumping off points:
My Old Kentucky Blog: "Under The Radar : Artists & Albums To Look Forward To In 2009 : Odawas : The Blue Depths (New Song!)"
LaundroMatinee: Vivian Girls: Video Session

Edward Champion (Edward Champion's Reluctant Habits, The Bat Segundo Show)

Ed Champion one of my favorite litbloggers. Edward Champion's Reluctant Habits consists of the perfect combination of intelligence, worldliness, snark and humor. The Bat Segundo Show is the only podcast I listen to religiously, this literary podcast features interviews with top figures from the literary and publishing world.

The Bat Segundo Show: Alison Bechdel Interview
The Bat Segundo Show: Neal Stephenson Interview

Frank Yang (Chromewaves)

When people ask me about my favorite music blog, the answer hasn't changed for years. Chromewaves offers daily, well-written posts filled with show and album reviews, artist profiles, and mp3 downloads. Accompanying the reviews is Yang's stunning concert photography.

Jumping off points:
"(Here's To) New Beginnings"

Howard Wolfson (Gotham Acme)

Howard Wolfson is a man of many talents. Not only a music blogger at Gotham Acme, he is also a correspondent for Fox News as well as a former senior staffer for Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Wolfson's interviews, which often tie his political experience to music, are what makes Gotham Acme a must read for me.

Jumping off points:
Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers) interview
Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear) interview

Jessa Crispin (Bookslut)

A dinosaur in internet years, Jessa Crispin's Bookslut still manages to share informative and interesting literary links every day, and the monthly edition of Bookslut continues to offer some of the best literary features, interviews, and book reviews.

Jumping off points:
Interview with Jason Lutes
Interview with Cynthia Ozick

Jodi Chromey (I Will Dare,, MN Reads)

A self-proclaimed supergenius, Jodi Chromey has an uncanny gift for building communities online. I Will Dare is filled with slices of her life and book reviews, all in her inimitable conversational style, and is the only personal blog I read daily. MN Reads is a Twin Cities communal litblog Chromey founded. Chromey is also responsible for, the premier fan site of the Replacements and their frontman. I have no doubt Jodi Chromey, an aspiring writer, will make her mark on the publishing world.

Jumping off points:
"The Last Frame"
"Don't Overshoot Your Headlights"

John Darnielle: (The Mountain Goats, Last Plane to Jakarta)

The man behind the Mountain Goats is also one of the more astute music critics around on his blog, Last Plane to Jakarta. My admiration for John Darnielle's songwriting skills have been expressed many times at Largehearted Boy, but it is his blogging as well as his accessibility at both the Last Plane to Jakarta and official Mountain Goats forums that put him on this list.

Jumping off points:
"Coronation Day"
"Palate Cleanser"

nyctaper (nyctaper)

When nyctaper was launched in 2007, the site shared lossless recordings of New York indie performances, and quickly became one of my favorite sites to download live music. In 2008 the site started sharing mp3s (as well as lossless audio files) of the shows it taped. With well over 100 performances taped in 2008, nyctaper is the ultimate live indie rock destination.

Jumping off points:
Wilco: 2008-08-13
Sigur Ros: 2008-06-16
Mountain Goats: 2008-08-09

Sean Michaels (Said the Gramophone)

Said the Gramophone is the rare collaborative blog where the writing is consistently awe-inspiring. Sean Michaels was one of my inspirations to start blogging, and Said the Gramophone continually points out artists to add to my ever-growing music collection.

Jumping off points:
"Lose the Kid"
"Other Carols"

Sean Moeller (Daytrotter)

Though technically not a blog, Daytrotter offers daily in-studio recordings from indie music's biggest names. I loved the site when the mp3 updates were bi-weekly, but now can hardly contain myself with a new set posted every day. The combination of music, writing and artwork make Daytrotter one of the web's premier music destinations.

Jumping off points:
Of Montreal's Daytrotter session
Shearwater's Daytrotter session
The Mountain Goats' Daytrotter session

Whitney Matheson (Pop Candy): The pop culture princess, the queen of comics, the trendsetter of television... Pop Candy has recommended more television series, movies, comics, and graphic novels to me over the years than any other website along with a surprising amount of music and books. Whitney's genuine enthusiasm for blogging as well as her subjects makes Pop Candy my first stop every morning after my early work is finished. The comments from her blog's community are often as entertaining as the blog itself.

Jumping off points:
Pop Candy's Comics Crash Course
Pop Candy's High School Survival Kit

also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 Online "Best Of" Music Lists
2006 Online "Best Of" Music Lists
Online "Best Books of 2008" Lists
Daily Downloads (free & legal mp3 downloads)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
directors and actors discuss their film's soundtracks
52 Books, 52 Weeks