Jason has some very valid gripes about the way we read about music these days, so I thought I'd throw in my two cents. I've covered this topic before, but as time goes on, I think about other things that I hadn't thought about before.
Let me make something clear right away: I do not think of MP3 blogs as "mini-NME's" as fellow Dallas blogger Stonedranger called them. The NME is about 98% full of crazed hype and exaggeration with whatever band is popular or about to be popular. My eyes might be deceiving me, but I have yet to run into a blog that goes about discussing bands this way. Sure, you'll hear a lot about the new TV on the Radio, M. Ward and Joanna Newsom records right now, but you're not going to find them on a Best Records of All Time list ranked higher than Revolver or My Aim is True anytime soon.
I get the sense that MP3 bloggers want to share the music they're grooving to as fast as they're being exposed to it. I don't know how long these bloggers listen to something before they post an MP3 or two, but the turnover rate seems fast. I get the sense there's a desire to not be the last one to cover a buzzworthy act, but that's not just in the world of blogging.
Also, for a lot of people, the proof is in the pudding and that's that. There's just not enough time or words to describe why something is worth hearing. For some, that's perfect as it's a great way of cutting to the chase. If I saw a blog today that posted a song from the forthcoming Converge record, I'd download it immediately. If there's any sort of review along with the MP3, I'd probably read what the blogger has to say, but I want the song more than anything else (that's why I went to the blog in the first place). I don't mean to put words into a blogger's mouth, but I get the sense the blogger likes what he or she hears and wants to post it and let his or her readers form their own opinions. As fellow DFW blogger Jesse puts it at the the end of his blog posts: "For your listening (dis)pleasure." It could be as simple as that.
I'll admit it -- I'm not one to check out The Hype Machine every single day for stuff like the latest Gnarls Barkley remix, Decemberists track or Rapture b-side. I check out the kinds of interviews linked off of Largehearted Boy, the latest news stories on Punknews.org and the threads on the SOMB more than anything else. Since I don't spend a lot of time scouring MP3 blogs, I could be totally off in my assessment here. Bloggers just want to share, but when they seem to talk up something too much, a backlash is definitely going to happen. I may not understand what's so great about the National's last record or the Mountain Goats newest record, but you may not understand why I'm looking forward to the new Killswitch Engage and Converge records.
I don't blame MP3 bloggers for praising something that they like. On the other hand, I don't blame readers for hating something that an MP3 blogger praises. I'm not so sure that the intent is to hype something up, but it can feel like too much subpar stuff is being forced onto you. It's like you're at your favorite restaurant and the waiter keeps asking you to sample stuff that you may or may not like. You want what sounds good and of course there's going to be trial-and-error with this approach, but that's a major part of the search itself.