Friday, March 06, 2009

Long Forgotten List of Sweet MP3 Resources (Forums, Blogs, Sites, Etc...) Pt. 1 of 2

So if anyone chances to pass by this way they will come across my long promised but never done list of MP3 gettin' resources.

Now by this point in time everyone is well aware of the lineage of file sharing, beginning probably with some unknown thing, then another unknown (usenet groups, which I was not old enough or geeky enough to be into) then Napster came and things broke wide open and then on and on, Kazaa, etc... My personal fav. was Audiogalaxy which seemed to have everything I ever searched for and was fast even on HC's terrible wireles. Unfortunately at that time I was only into sampling and so just downloaded a few tracks instead of whole albums. It was all for the better however because most of the music I downloaded at that time (Freshman year of college mostly) I do not really listen to now.

On and on and on, they all got shut down until today when as much as the vile RIAA is doing thier worst, don't seem to be shutting anything down any more really. This probably also has to do with the fact that I am out of the loop and downloading obscure ambient tapes not the lastest sweet jamzzzz from john mayer or whoever. In fact despite the ridiculous laws which the RIAA passes and tries to pass and the other absurd wastes of time they are engaged in, today the file sharing world is better than ever before. If you know what you are doing and you have some time to waste, or love wasting time. you can find nearly all the albums you ever were looking for and countless more that you never knew existed which are actually better than that crap you first started looking for.

With all this utopianism, that isn't to say that thier aren't limitations, dangers, or drawbacks, but screw them, this is a list about sweet resources not a thesis about file sharing or the internet.

So how do I find my dreams? How do I find what I want or what someone else tells me that I want? Well, I don't claim to have exaustive knowledge on this and I am finding new info everyday. However from my internet expeirence, there are 5 primary ways of going about getting your gem jam gems: P2P progams, Torrents, Ripping Crap from your friends and the library, Online Forums and message boards, and Blogs. While not all routes are created equal with all these in hand you are off on the road to serfdom. So what gives regarding?

1. P2P

To be honest I have not kept up with what programs the kids are using these days. I also don't care what people are doing on windoze computers so I don't know whats happening over there. But according to me the two best routes are Soulseex (Soulseek on PC) and only occasionally Limewire (or Frostwire or any other gnutella client. mmm nutella...). I'm not going to spend much time on these as I think people already know what is up here.

Limewire et al
Basically the worst always unless you want to find a random song, preferably a fairly popular one. Then you are good to go and its pretty quick.

An old standby, as far as I know that last really good P2P client for finding full albums on any platform. I used to use this religiously and almost exclusively. It works for some stuff and doesn't work for other stuff. It requires lots of patience (as in queing stuff and then forgetting about it for a while maybe even several days). It can be a good tool for finding obscurities, but also there are lots of things it doesn't have. Probably the best thing is that you can browse other people's libraries to learn about other cool stuff. But don't take too much, or you'll get banned! The program itself is mildly poorly designed and also for mac hasn't been updated since like 2006, a long time in computer years. Basically while its still a nice thing, I haven't used it in several years, and neither have a lot of other people, some of those people having the sweetest jams. It also requires either sharing all your crap (annoying, potenially dangerous legally, and bandwidth slowing) or being a jerk and probably being banned by the best people.

P2P Conclusion: if you really have to or can't find it somewhere else, or are going somewhere for several weeks and leaving your computer on, then cool. otherwise avoid.

2. Torrents
Lots of people don't understand torrents. I'm not going to explain it here, if you really can't find out then talk to me in person or on the phone.

Torrents are awesome for movies and programs. Basically the only really good way (in america, I know some good korean routes) to get large files, unless you have a paid rapidshare account and lots of time to click stuff (I don't).

Torrents for Music? Not so awesome. In my opinion, too much work is involved in searching for downloading and then seeding torrents to do that with something as small as music files. The only time it really makes sense is if you are downloading huge whole discographies (something I rarely due, especially because most of the those easily available are like green day and metallica) or the occasional awesome find. (I got all releases ever by amazing label Sublime Frequencies. In on torrent. Awesome). No on super cool private member sites there may be cool stuff I don't know. but it still doesn't seem worth it.

Which torrent sites are cool? Aside from private trackers like demonoid and even more obscure ones, I don't really know. The Pirate Bay is good, otherwise just search around.

Torrent Conclusion: I guess its good to have options, but mostly don't waste your time unless you really need it and can't find it anywhere else.

3. Ripping Crap from your friends and the library
This is self explanatory and has been around since before the internet. Its still cool. But also sometimes takes a lot of effort that you don't need to spend. But still useful. Most only for older stuff though, like blues, folk, jazz, classical, etc...

Ripping Crap Conclusion: Mostly good for box-sets or if you want to be completist about making sure you have all the info possible about a release and also like holding physical things in your hand(s).

4. Online Forums and Message Boards

This way and # 5 both rely on the crop of new free webhosting sites such as rapidshare, mediafire, zshare, megaupload, etc. These are pretty fast although some of them have waiting periods and adds to try to make you pay them some money for those to go away. These links also are not necessarily permanent (can expire, be taken down, etc... but are easy to re-up) I tell you my prefs of these later.

This is one of the newer ways to do things and it is also one of the best for finding your hard to find findys, getting the newest sweet releases and leaks, and new artists/labels/albums you didn't even know about that rock you so hard you will have to cash in your spare rockers chips. Basically, in addition to number 5 I use this almost exculsively nowadays and have so much awesome music I can't add it to my itunes library fast enough and I am loving life. Also a lot of the people that post are actually in bands, some you know and love, so they are not all selfish pirates like me. But which one has all the cool rings? There are about a billion. Basically every message board has at least one download or YSI thread. Here are the ones I think rule that I know of and that I frequent. Most of these I stumbled on through gooogle, so sometimes thier actual purpose (not the forums) are wierd or hilarious things that I don't know or care about)

Top Tier

1. Hipinion

This one is fairly exclusive. I think its just a site for cool dudes to hang mostly music related. They don't let people join very often (I'm not a member, even though I applied) and they don't like you if you are a leecher (Don't post or upload, just download and lurk around, maybe occasionally asking for random things). Of course how can you help leeching if you aren't allowed to post because your not a member? who knows. They don't like that you link to them so I'm not going to directly. These things basically go for all of the forums I am about to mention. There are probably lots of threads there.

My top favorite is called Listening Party: Episode II - Attack of the Drones. It's mostly sweet tapes of Lo-Fi drone and psych noise rock and other underground experimental goodness.

Another is called Wierd/Outsider Punk. I actually haven't checked this out much. But it is what it says it is. all the noisy stuff pitchfork mildly loved plus the more underground stuff they don't report.

Finally like most forums they have a 2009 leak and latest thread, called: 2009 Leak Thread. It is what it is and is home to all kinds of goodies, some junk some sweet. Can be a little overwhelming to wade through it all, at least for me.

2. Primavera Sound

This is a spanish language site for some music festival I think (I don't know spanish). But these dudes love good music. Filtraciones '09 is the only link I really check as my spanish is not existant and therefore its really hard to wade through the other posts. Even though the dudes are writing spanish, the album covers are not always and also they usually post some small blurbs from somewhere usually in english. Sure sometimes you will be confused but its actually pretty easy to wade around. This one is all over the map but mostly sweet stuff. After you have read it for a while you will know various users avatars and then can know who posts the stuff you are likely to enjoy.

3. Fangs and Arrows

Fangs and Arrows is another exclusive one but one that I have just joined. Actually populated by a lot of guys in cool underground bands and runners of tape and other labels, they even have news updates from various label reps. I don't have a specific forum to mention as I have just discovered them, but you can wade around. They have some good discographies up of out of prints stuff from lots of small time tape and cdr labels.

4. Ateaseweb

This is a radiohead fan newsite. the forums have a music that's not radiohead section. This was the first forum I found out about and used to be great, especially thier noise/wierd/psych/etc 08 thread. But then some dumb guy came and started posting annoying messages on almost all the good threads (because apparently he didn't like the music or was just a tremedousy obnoxious guy. And so those threads all died because the people posting sweet crap all left. So I don't really check there much anymore. But there are still good threads to be had I am sure and I know they also have an overwhelming and huge 2009 leak thread.

Second Tier: These I don't really check.

5. Sound Opinions

I have gotten some stuff from here but don't really care about it. maybe you will.

6. Anyswing

Actually I just found out about this and it could be awesome. It is mostly old timey, jazz, blues, folk, ragtime, dixieland, old swing, etc... focused. But I have to check it out more. It may go up to top tier soon.

Random other ones I found some stuff on a few times by googling

7. Forum Sarajevo

From sarajevo, again not in english but easy enough to get through if you can find a good thread. I think I found a dock boggs album here.

8. Phantasy Tour

Actually a Phish fan site (hahahahahahahahahahahahahah) but found a thread with some good jazz.

Forum Conclusion: Almost entirely awesome, this is one your main sources for finding out about new and old music, downloading it, sharing it, and just having a good time. Downloads are quick, you always get the full album (if they say that) and they are usually labelled somewhat correctly. Its also easy to share links with friends. You also don't have to leave you computer constantly connected to some network. Plus its fun and educational.

Well Dang this is hard work!!!! I will finish up in part two with blogs, uploaders, and search engines, the main sites of fun!