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Summer catch-up 2009: Websites

Posted: July 30th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

I just discovered Goodreads, aka “Last.fm for books” and I’ve joined up for the same reasons – in a few years time I can expect to look back and wonder when I got into Author X or be able to map my period of Y with a liking for Z. Or I might drop it after a month. [Stan Tontas]

Root Blog / Big States
Two places to download a stunning series of mixtapes released in editions of 100 at $3 a pop by the inimitable Mississippi Records. Their vinyl re-releases of old African music has occasionally seen them skirt rolayties/authorised release-related controversy, so their tack for 2009 has been just to stick all their favourite tunes from incalculably obscure records (and some not) ona  series of tapes and let customers buy them direct in the store for virtually nothing. If you don’t live in Portland, I suggest you log on to either of these websites and download the MP3s, because these tapes are KILLER. There’s so much music spread across 30-odd tapes to date that you’ll be kept in hog heaven for some time to come. Who gives a shit about crackly-vinyl-to-worn-tape-to-shitty-MP3-to-CDR sound quality when you can hear such a broad sweep of fantastic sounds from around the world and across the last century? [Dave Stockwell]

I’ve recently bought a digital SLR, which has taken over a lot of my spare time in a very enjoyable way, breaking into abandoned buildings to take generic art student bullshit photos in grainy black and white. Keeps me off the streets though, innit. But as such I’ve been using Flickr more and more, and discovering all the awesome bits like using the groups to their fullest, geotagging, the excellent cameras section and so on. Even the blog is great – it really feels like they’re as obsessed as their most hardcore user with photography, but are also bending over backwards to make it easy for totally casual users to join in. And their pro accounts are a snip. Heather Champ, I claim my £50 for this word of mouth recommendation. Thankyouverymuch. [Stuart Fowkes]

Daily Rodent
Unpretentious and irreverent videogames blog.  In a world where most games journalism is either depressingly infantile or up its own arse, Rodent has consistently maintained the balance. [Alex McChesney]

I’m not gonna lie. I’m a pirate. Times are rough and when I can, I spend every spare dollar on records. But I download more than my fair share of music and probably only listen to half of it once or twice. One of the problems I have is when I find a good blog that has a pretty much 100% awesome rate. basic_sounds is one of those blogs. Totally amazing obscure music, most of which I’ve never heard of. But the reason basic_sounds has me coming back repeatedly is that instead of dull descriptions of the music, she posts a few pieces from different artists. Every time you’re treated to contemporary, innovative, interesting, and beautiful art of all kinds with your regular dose of music downloads. I’ve yet to see another blog that combines two of my favorite things so well. [Justin Snow]

That’d have to be my own website, which I recently redesigned and repopulated with content, alongside a couple of other things that I write and work on. Hell, if I can’t promote it here then something’s very wrong with the world. Send your design work offers my way… [Simon Minter]

Super Cute Kawaii! / Vinyl Destination
Last year I was bigging up Twitter so I’m obviously way ahead of the curve and can rest on my laurels this year. Personally, Super Cute Kawaii has taken up much of my time, the internet’s hunger for awesomely cute stuff being nowhere near sated quite yet. I spend some of my days writing about cute things in the guise of a bunny rabbit and slightly less time practicing my fake French accent as Monsieur Le Bun. Don’t go freelance – it might happen to you. I also love Minter’s new blog Vinyl Destination where he is cataloguing his extensive record collection in his usual personable way.[Marceline Smith]

Answer Me This / Tank Riot
I have been meaning to write a quick/short article about my favourite podcasts for a long time now but as ever I haven’t been able to find the time. To some degree podcasts save my life as I endure often up to four hours a day travelling to and from work and listening to these shows often keep me sane in the light of horrific circumstances on the trains. I could not decide between my two favourites so cheating I am mentioning them both. First is Answer Me This, a half hour comedy podcast from South London built on the basic premise of asking the hosts Helen and Olly questions based on all kinds of conceits ranging from curiosity to soughting advice (as I myself have done). The answers in reply are always sharp, funny and generally the best response you are likely to get from anywhere or anyone. Its much more fun that looking things up on Google or Wikipedia. They are somewhat representative and part of a lo-fi/DIY comedy scene that has been bubbling under the surface for the past four plus years which is now excitingly breaking through into mainstream media in a most sincere and non-commercial fashion.

Tank Riot is podcast from Madison, Wisconsin which takes an interesting subject and devotes an entire episode (usually tipping over the hour mark) to running through the history and background of it. I found originally discovered the show doing a search for Hunter S Thompson on iTunes and they have subsequently also done episodes on subjects ranging from Devo, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Rod Sterling (Twilight Zone creator), Stanley Kubrick and alternative/new religions. Sometimes the episodes feel like they are reading the Wikipedia entry but their enthusiasm and humour towards the subjects with personal comments. Also off the back of my latest heartbreak I restarted JGRAM WORLD in March. [JGRAM}

Marceline Smith

Marceline is the fierce, terrifying force behind diskant.net, laughing with disdain as she fires sharpened blades of sarcasm in all directions. Based in Scotland, her lexicon consists of words such as 'jings', 'aboot' and 'aye': our trained voice analysts are yet to decipher some of the relentless stream of genius uttered on a twenty-four hour basis. Marceline's hobbies include working too much and going out in bad weather.


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