Oh, sharity blogs! Your generosity and neighborly cheer are abundant, and your auditory offerings are most appreciated. Don't get me wrong. I love you, but you've really got to cut it out! I can't handle the digging anymore. It's time-consuming and just plain overwhelming to boot.
Back in my vinyl-collecting days, I sometimes spent more time digging through dusty thrift store and flea market record bins than listening to the plentiful jewels that I began to accumulate. Searching for new and used CDs added to the time and expense of my collecting hobby, and I eventually halted the digging for a while. Eventually I farmed out my vinyl to dear friends and fellow like-minded obsessives and worked to ephemeralize my collection, using my iPod as a sort of pocket-sized warehouse of eclectic sounds. I could abandon the shelves of dusty physical media and embrace 21st century virtuality. Moving from apartment to apartment never looked so easy!
The idea: to make it convenient to finally dive into the sizable library of music I had gathered over the years. Good enough, until I rediscovered file-sharing at Soulseek and, later, the sharity/album-share blogscene. It was finally possible to explore the vast cosmos of recorded music -- spanning decades and thousands of genres and subgenres -- at very little expense (a modest monthly bill for web access and some required computer software and hardware) and with very little effort.
Unfortunately, one man can never access all of this wealth, or even enjoy more than a fraction of it, in a single lifetime. I try to remind myself of this on a daily basis. I do. I tell myself that every minute spent digging through the blogs is a minute I could spend sketching, or reading, or playing with Tenzin. But I continue to rationalize, and wait until the little one falls asleep before rechecking Totally Fuzzy and MP3 Index for any final nightly updates.
I think I need help. Some sort of blog rehab to kick the fix.
But how would I live without Chocoreve and 8 Days In April, which specialize in delivering obscure prog, krautrock, and psychedelic music of every possible synaesthetic shade? (Finding vinyl copies of Future Days and Ege Bamyasi at a KUWR record sale in Laramie back in the early 90s has damaged me for life, and now I have to sample every single morsel of metronomic German freakout space rock I can find. Dang. Thanks a lot, Can.)
If you magnify the amount of records shared on these two sites by the hundreds of other shareblogs out there, you can start to understand the problem. HansZUNblog recently posted a straight-from-vinyl eight record collection of nearly everything Hank Williams ever recorded. Modern Music just posted the Coltrane complete Impulse box set, and the Johnny Cash Unearthed box set as well. Charivarious brings the classic and future-classic hip-hop. Regnyouth shares indie rock and punk classics. I'm not even mentioning all the single-song mp3-blogs that drop aural awesomeness in concentrated form every single day. Or the electronic, jazz, pop, metal, experimental, world music, folk, turntablism, and reggae blogs that I like to check out at least occasionally.
And how could I forget to mention the ever-expanding Big Bang universe of netlabels, the overflowing online collections of (mainly experimental and electronic) records which are generously given away by their creators. Yes, given away -- for free! Cover art and liner notes are usually included in each ZIP download, and while plenty of boring copycat releases exist, much of this music is surprising and amazing. You can check out the netlabel scene at Archive.org, which is also a great place to find tons of cool text, audio and video.
Never mind that the potential ethical issues of album-sharing (a topic for a future post, perhaps?) loom over every download; it's readily apparent that the abundant wealth of audio sharity is irresistible to us hardcore music freaks. We wouldn't have it any other way, but I'll be damned if I can see an escape from the madness.