What are the best rock music review sites?
January 9, 2010 5:33 AM   Subscribe

What are the best rock music review sites?

I'm looking for sites that review new releases (and perhaps feature a classic album or two). I'm not really interested in music news as such - I'm looking for tips on new music to check out.

I mostly like rock/metal/punk/hardcore/industrial (electric guitars, basically), but am also partial to folk, country, pop and indie and like a lot of the post-rock stuff I've seen and heard.

Back in my younger days, I used to know all about obscure and up-and-coming stuff, but I no longer have the time to keep up, so accessible writing that doesn't assume a lot of knowledge about current "scenes" would be good. However, I do want to hear about non-mainstream bands.

I also prefer reviewers who are open-minded; a lot of music journalists tend to look down on metal, for example, which misses the point. For those old enough for this to be a useful reference point, my favourite music magazine was Sounds, as it had a broad range of coverage and a lack of pretension. Is there an online equivalent?
posted by Grinder to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I like Dusted Magazine's reviews.
posted by metagnathous at 6:28 AM on January 9, 2010

ILM is probably the best music forum in creation and has lots of people who love metal. They're voting for the best metal albums of 2009 as we speak.
posted by escabeche at 6:52 AM on January 9, 2010

I'm looking for tips on new music to check out

This has been an eternal search for me since Napster appeared. I've added and dropped a number of sources over the years, but the one constant has been The Onion's AV Club music reviews. They cover most every genre with reviewers who actually like the genres, so you get a good mix.

As a side question, are you looking for exclusively new releases or just new to you? I've had some fun with Tom Moon's 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. It's caused me to revisit stuff I dismissed and to check out a lot of things I'd never heard.
posted by yerfatma at 7:23 AM on January 9, 2010

ILM is definitely good for tips on music to check out. It's not a review site, though. Anyway, since you didn't mention it in the question I'll go ahead and suggest Pitchfork.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:07 AM on January 9, 2010

yerfatma: I'm more interested in new releases, but new to me is good too. I like a lot of older stuff (all the way back to 1930s blues), and discovering some forgotten gem from the 60s (or something similar) is a buzz too.
posted by Grinder at 8:21 AM on January 9, 2010

allmusic.com is pretty unbiased and reliable for the most part, I don't know if they'll have everything you want however.
posted by tumples at 9:45 AM on January 9, 2010

I like Pop Matters, especially for their end-of-the-year lists. Don't be deceived by the "pop" in the title; they're strong in metal and electronica too.

Sadly, they favor the hipster-ironic mushy writing style of music reviews in Pitchfork and (to a lesser extent) the Village Voice. Your mileage may vary on these.
posted by Gordion Knott at 9:46 AM on January 9, 2010

Gordion Knott: I'll check out Pop Matters, but hipster-ironic is sooo not my scene.
posted by Grinder at 9:57 AM on January 9, 2010

Some writers on Pitchfork are better than others--since that one guy (Brent something?) left, their reviews haven't been substantially different in style or tone than most other publications. They've definitely published some stuff that deserves a spot in the hipster-loather's dossier of evidence, but I see less of it there nowadays.
posted by Beardman at 12:54 PM on January 9, 2010

I'm partial to Robert Christgau who used to write for the Village Voice before he was summarily ousted a couple years ago. He has pretty catholic tastes, including rock, country, pop, and some metal. I like him because he seems to meet an album where it is, instead of what he wishes it would be, or what it isn't (which means he doesn't look down on music).

Also, the AV Club linked above is another pretty good source (and certainly more prolific).
posted by bluefly at 2:03 PM on January 9, 2010

tinymixtapes.com and boomkat.com (their charts by other music people) are my go-to sites for out of the ordinary stuff.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:52 PM on January 9, 2010

I'm really digging the All Songs Considered podcast.
posted by MesoFilter at 8:30 AM on January 10, 2010

I later found some good pointers on the blue.
posted by Grinder at 12:00 AM on January 11, 2010

I like Christgau as well, but you should be aware of his rating style. B- basically means "lit my ears on fire". Either he doesn't bother to review anything worse that that or he works on some weird logarithmic scale.
posted by yerfatma at 10:38 AM on January 11, 2010

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