10 Crucial Music Websites

Read about a band on Pitchfork, listen to them on MySpace, see them on YouTube, pay for a song on iTunes. Sound familiar? Here are 10 favorite sites that go beyond that web-surfing model.

Idolator (www.idolator.com). Snarky and pop-friendly, Idolator is an essential music blog that smartly addresses everything from the ongoing collapse of the major labels to the deleterious effects of band hype in the blogosphere.

All Music Guide (allmusic.com).The granddaddy of music-database sites, the continually updating AMG seeks to account for everything ever released.

Last Plane to Jakarta (www.lastplanetojakarta.com).Growing out of his LPTJ fanzine, Mountain Goats leader John Darnielle's site showcases his irregular thoughts on new and old releases, foregrounding both erudition and a sense of music's personal and social power.

KUCI (www.kuci.org).Orange County's best home for noncommercial radio started netcasting in 1996. With good design and programming helping visitors explore the station's schedule and the site's many extra features on music and talk shows, it continues to stand out.

Mutant Sounds (mutant-sounds.blogspot.com).The explosion in MP3 and RAR blogs has made out-of-print music more widely available than ever. Mutant Sounds' Greece/USA-based crew exemplifies this obsession, featuring all sorts of amazing obscure albums.

Freaky Trigger (www.freakytrigger.co.uk).Founded by Tom Ewing as a late-'90s online music zine, Freaky Trigger has grown to become an all-embracing celebration of pop culture with many intelligent posters and commentators.

I Love Music (www.ilxor.com).When Ewing started I Love Music as a response forum for Freaky Trigger in 2000, he doubtless didn't realize it would turn into the most brilliant and dumb 24-hours-a-day music-discussion site ever.

Foxy Digitalis (www.digitalisindustries.com).Helmed by Digitalis label owners Brad and Eden Rose, this is one of the most important sites for experimental and psychedelic music fans, as well as a hub for discussion and discovery.

Plan B (www.planbmag.com).The glory days of the weekly U.K. music press in all its hype-driven-but-often-intelligent spectacle gets a tasteful after-echo in this monthly magazine and site overseen by Melody Maker vet Everett True.

UC Santa Barbara's Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project (cylinders.library.ucsb.edu).Started in 2002 and debuting online in 2005, UCSB's jaw-dropping collection of wax-cylinder recordings dating back to the mid-1890s offers free listening and downloading of music as lively, passionate and even infuriating as anything today.

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