LINKS TO OTHER PERSONAL MUSIC REVIEW SITES (most of these sites are no longer actively updated, alas):
The Minor Second
Web bud Trevor Evans-Young is an enthusiastic music fan and musician whose site features comprehensive artist reviews along with his own music. The reviews are generally pretty short but informative, and I like the selection of artists he reviews (the usual ones like the Stones and Zeppelin but also comprehensive Calexico and Love reviews – for the latter most people just start and finish with Forever Changes, but Trevor digs much deeper than that). I also dig his song of the week feature and of course being a major list man I like his lists as well. Check it out!
Guy's Music Reviews
A supremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan, Guy Peters has has quickly and efficiently amasssed an impressive collection of album reviews, concert reviews, lists, and other assorted goodies. Though English isn’t his primary language, you’d never know it by his rock solid writing, and his artist selection is extremely eclectic - and growing fast. Though he tends to veer towards lesser-known artists who he feels deserve more exposure, Guy can write about any musical artist, and he has started to review some of the bigger artists as well. He has a descriptive, energetic writing style that gets right to the point, and even his longer reviews come and go all too quickly. Superbly designed by his girlfriend, Els, you should check this site out ASAP, as it's easily one of the very best personal review sites around. 2006 Update: Alas, after a great three year run, Guy has decided to close shop (hopefully temporarily but probably not), so this site is no longer updated.
The Disclaimer Music Review Archive
A really nice guy I’ve traded a lot of music with, Willie is big on (mostly recent) albums by (mostly) alternative rock artists, and his reviews are generally short and are always extremely well written. Willie’s his own man (he gives The Beatles surprisingly low grades, for instance), and his colorful site (one of the best designed on this page) is very informative and entertaining. Willie is also a very talented musician – check out the album by Disclaimer, the name of his one-man band.
Only Solitaire George Starostin’s Music Reviews
The biggest, most popular, and probably best personal review site, the insanely productive George Starostin concentrates primarily on “classic rock” bands (he's particularly fond of '60s bands, especially The Beatles), though he's started to branch out into newer stuff. His wordy reviews are generally too detailed for my short attention span, but they're very well written and extremely informative and perceptive. In addition, George covers a lot of bands that nobody else does, and he's a thoughtful and thorough reviewer who almost always delivers high quality stuff. The incredible amount of time and care that he puts into his awesome site is obvious (clearly this is a labor of love), and George has a knack for making you see his point of view even when you vehemently disagree with him. Essential stuff.
CapnMarvel’s Rock Record Review Bonanza
Ryan Atkinson has comprehensive discography reviews, mostly of well-known artists. His reviews are detailed and well-written. Like Mark Prindle (see below), he unfortunately (and in this case unnecessarily - in my opinion Ryan's greatest strength is in his insightful commentary) sometimes adds crass humor when he can’t think of anything substantial to say. That criticism out of the way, I really like this site, as Ryan has a unique way of describing a song or album that often makes me think “now, why didn’t I think of that?”. In short, Ryan is one of the most perceptive, entertaining, and flat out best writers listed on this page.
Mark Prindle’s Record Reviews
Along with George Starostin’s site this is the most popular personal music review site on the Web, in part ‘cause it was one of the first ones. Mark’s greatest attributes are his sense of humor (the guy’s legitimately funny), his eclectic taste, his sharp insights, and the fact that he’s not generally swayed by popular opinion (these are truly his opinions, not Rolling Stone’s). His weaknesses are an over-reliance on sophomoric jokes and a deliberately offensive and often self-indulgent writing style that can be quite frustrating. In all honesty, I almost never read his reviews anymore for that reason, plus the fact that his taste and mine are rarely in sync. Still, I’d be remiss if I didn’t list this site, which many seem to swear by and which has achieved something of a “legendary” status. Also of note is the fact that the site is interactive; Mark gets loads of reader comments, and sometimes those comments are more informative and entertaining than the reviews themselves.
Don Ignacio's Music Reviews Don Ignacio not only summarizes each album and writes more lengthy descriptions about each album, but he has several different ratings for each album and provides song-by-song commentary for each album. This "several reviews for the price of one" format is certainly unique, and I also approve of the range of artists reviewed; heavies like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones but also acts as diverse as The Decemberists and Barry White. Although his site is rather new, Don is quite prolific and has amassed an impressive archive of reviews in a short period of time. My only complaint is that sometimes his commentary veers towards generalizations, which sometimes doesn't give me a distinct enough impression of what the music actually sounds like.
Adrian’s Album Reviews
Adrian is a quality music critic who has a technically imperfect yet uniquely poetic writing writing style. His large artist selection is extremely eclectic, and he's probably the most passionate and emotional music reviewer listed on this page.
Jon Hendrix runs this site, which is updated rather infrequently. Then again, I'll take quality over quantity any time, and Jon delivers just that. Concentrating on '60s and '70s bands, Jon goes the extra mile by looking for interesting obscure albums (hence the Obscurity moniker), such as including many solo albums from band members. This site is album-oriented rather than artist-oriented, 'causing there to be some discography gaps. However, what Jon has reviewed he's reviewed well.
Steve and Dennis and Abe’s Record Reviews
For those of you who think I’m too positive (perish the thought!), Steve Knowlton is your man. Though he trashes many of the albums he reviews, the choices of which often leave me scratching my head (such as the Andrews Sisters, Corey Hart, Gilby Clarke, and Europe), Steve’s writing is top notch. Original, too (for example, he reviews each Beatles album based on Ringo’s drumming), not to mention insightful (as a musician in his own right he’s one of the few Web reviewers who can intelligently write about the theory and technique that goes into making good music). Reading his reviews of The Band left me feeling humbled - when he’s on he's that good. His infant son Dennis and his (not-so-infant son anymore) Abe also contribute noises and squirms, which is a cute little gimmick.
Nick Reed's Music Reviews
This is an interesting newer site that has obsessively comprehensive reviews of artists and genres not often covered by other personal review sites. In particular, do you like electronic music, krautrock, progressive rock, and quirky alternative rock? If yes, then check this site out.
To quote: "Everybody’s Dummy is a comprehensive compendium of original reviews, pointed commentary and general musings on music, updated twice weekly." I'm just getting acquainted with this site but I like what I've read thus far, though the layout (reading from bottom to top on individual artist pages) takes some getting used to.
LINKS TO COMMERCIAL AND COMMUNITY MUSIC SITES:
OK, this isn't a review site, but you can view a TON of great music related clips here. If I need to tell you more about this site then you've been living under a rock.
Rate Your Music
This is a site where a community of music fans rate and sometimes comment on the albums in their collection. Being a list nut, I especially like checking out the individual lists that are sprinkled throughout, and the year-by-year rundowns. A great resource for finding out what the fans (as opposed to the critics) really think.
This has become one of my favorite music sites. I especially like their lists, in particular their “10 best songs” and “albums from worst to best” lists (even if I hate the formatting on the latter). The commenters seem more civil and knowledgeable than on most sites, too.
Simply put, this is one of the best commercial review sites out there. Rather than read about it, why not just go there now? Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
This is where you can quickly and easily access a bunch of reviews about a particular album.
All Music Guide
This is an invaluable source for research information. Just don't expect to find consistently reliable reviews or the content of the reviews to match the album ratings.
Their Web site flat out blows away their printed magazine, which is simply embarrassing these days (i.e. they’re more concerned with profiling and promoting scantily clad non-talents than real artists) despite infrequent flashes of their old greatness (or at least competence). As for the reviewers, Rolling Stone still has some good writers on staff, along with some writers who must have compromising photos of Jann Wenner. Rob Sheffield in particular is unreadable.
Back in the day, I discovered a lot of good albums from the last printed edition of The Trouser Press Guide (1996). This Web site includes all the reviews from that book, plus the previous versions and a fair amount of newer reviews. Anyway, The Trouser Press Guide is considered the source for alternative rock reviews by many people, and by and large I find their reviews well-written and quite useful. On the downside, main man Ira Robbins is a bit of a crank, there are no ratings so sometimes it's not quite clear how a reviewer feels about an album, and they seem to be obsessed with the production side of things, in my opinion stressing that aspect of each recording far too much. So it's not perfect, but if you are a fan of alternative rock, the bulk of this site nevertheless qualfies as a must-read.
This is the most extensive site around for checking out alternative/indie artists. My problem with these guys is that they too often suffer from what I call SPIN-itis (i.e. an arrogant "cooler than thou" attitude). However, they do have some decent writers on staff and they always get their hands on the best new indie albums.
Yours truly used to write for this site many years ago, and it's a good review site that's well worth your time.
The CAT Club
You’ve heard of book clubs, right? Well this is a very cool music club where a bunch of knowledgeable music fans meet every 2 weeks to discuss an album. This Web site has good information about each album as well as links to videos and other miscellaneous cool stuff.
Songfacts Song Meanings
Ever wonder what the lyrics to a particular song mean? I'd recommend starting with either one of these sites.
The self-described "Dean Of American Rock Critics," I personally can't stand this guy and think that he's a smarmy blowhard who is a poor writer and reviewer, but hey he is semi-famous and it's kinda cool that he put all his writings up on the Web, so I'll link to said writings and you can decide for yourself.
Music equipment reviews, production tips and how-to guides.
Beginner tutorials for guitar and ukulele.
LINKS TO LIST SITES:
As any reader of this site knows, I'm a bit of a list nut. Here are two music-related list sites I like to check out.