For a very long time, I listened to pretty much nothing but Phish. It was an easy life for me, musically speaking, because the band had not yet temporarily broken up and I hadn’t quite gotten around to hitting up the Clash of the P Bands. In the time before I was crazy about vinyl records I wanted to get all my music in nothing but beautiful portable MP3 format.
The good thing about MP3s is that they are extremely portable — one hundred fit in the same space as one. The big issue that I have with MP3s is that you cannot return them if you do not like them, and there is always the issue of the need to back them up. I used to burn CDs with MP3s on them for backup but would then find that if I would test the CD a year or two later there would be problems reading them. This problem has been more or less resolved with the prices of bigger hard drives dropping every year. The price I paid for a three hundred gigabyte hard drive in 2005 could easy pay for a terabyte hard drive now.
That is when I started discovering great web sites like Gorilla vs. Bear. Every day, the site has at least a dozen posts with videos, free MP3s that let you sample a band’s new album or EP without having to commit to paying for it. There are even contests that let you discover spiffy new things like The Impossible Project, home to new analog film being made for old Polaroid film cameras. (For awhile, Polaroid was getting ready to stop production of film — but apparently The Impossible Project got them to decide it was worth continuing production!)
Some of my favorite blog entries are the “best of” type — the best albums of 2010, for example. These lists are good for seeing what I liked versus what the editors of the web site liked and finding new good bands to appreciate.