Five of the Best Music Blogs on the Web

Magazines? What are those? While nothing can quite top the satisfaction of the day your found your new favorite grunge band in the 90s by means of stealing your big brother’s SPIN, virtually everyone gets their daily dose of tuneage from the web nowadays. And while every hipster and their equally-ironically dressed mother has a blog, the top-tier music websites out there do what paper can’t, supplying a day-long stream of high-quality news, visuals, and music so that we’re never out of the loop. Here are some of the web’s very best music blogs, ready to be “followed” and attached to your RSS feed forever.

Thrice and Thursday, Two of Underground Rock's Biggest Names, Call It Quits

It's been a sad week for anyone who spent the early 2000s as a wide-eyed showgoing teen in the basements, clubs, and eventually stadiums of the world. California's Thrice announced their hiatus two days ago, while New Jersey's Thursday posted a message to fans yesterday that they were calling it quits.

It's both ironic and fitting that these two seminal bands revealed their gradual departure from the music world only a day apart. The two post-hardcore heavyweights have both been active for 13 years and have a long history of friendship. They're two among a handful of bands who, despite being lumped into the "punk" and "screamo" categories early in their careers, continued to make creative and challenging records that shattered any genre expectations. They're true artists in a world where most are content to be entertainers, which has left both bands with a legion of loyal listeners.

It’s Street Fighter… In a Museum

You might have fond memories of shooting fireballs and punching your best friends in the face in Street Fighter II on your Super Nintendo or in your local arcade. You may have even kept up with the franchise, playing its latest iteration, Super Street Fighter IV, until your hands are shaky and blistered (like mine!). Either way, German art student Stefan Schwarzer sees Street Fighter as more than a means to mash buttons, and has dedicated an art exhibit to the beloved franchise.

Hosted in the German Computer Games museum in Berlin, the exhibit features a collection of high-quality art inspired by the game. Schwarzer’s work is intended to put the storied franchise in a wider social perspective, proving that when the fights are over and the high score is reached, there’s a world of enduring, stimulating art spawned from the game’s characters.

The Music Lover's Holiday Gift Guide

With Black Friday and the subsequent weeks of holiday shopping madness on the horizon, it’s time we took a look at the best gifts for the music heads in your life. As per usual this time of year, new music gadgets are hitting stores every week, even though classics like iPods and a trusty set of speakers never fail to be a great gift (unless you own said iPod and set of trusty speakers, that is). From guitar games to mini studio setups and beyond, here are some awesome items to stick in the stockings of your music-addicted friends.

We’ve all been playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band for years, enduring heckles from snooty musicians asking “why don’t you play a real instrument?” Ubisoft’s Rocksmith lets you do just that, as aspiring shredders can drop the colorful plastic toys in favor of an actual electric guitar. Whether you’re looking for a fun way to learn the instrument or simply want to see how your shredding prowess holds up in the virtual world, Rocksmith is a cool new step forward in the world of music gaming.

Exclusive Q&A with Hawthorne Heights

With the release of their 2004 breakout album The Silence in Black and White, Ohio's Hawthorne Heights became the poster boys for angsty, scream-sprinkled emo jams that were begging to be sung along to live. The years of success that followed, including the mainstream explosion of their hit "Ohio is For Lovers" and a well-recieved follow up LP, were tragically soured by the sudden passing of guitarist Casey Calvert during the band's fall 2007 tour. Still, the band soldiered on in their fallen brother's honor, releasing two more records (2008's Fragile Future and 2010's Skeletons) and enduring some internal label woes in the process.

Exclusive Q&A with DJ Kenny Summit

Ever since his first gig at NYC’s Limelight at the age of 16, Kenny Summit has become a household name in New York’s nightlife scene. Summit quickly found himself playing alongside the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto, and Fatboy Slim, and commanding the music for major fashion and music events everywhere.

He soon brought his talents to the production world, working on various mixes including his 2009 Ultra Records release One Night in St. Tropez. Already a favorite DJ among celebrities, Summit looks to add to his impressive resume in 2012. With a brand new track titled “Keyed Up” (which you can download for free here), a new album on Mile End Records, and the launch of his own record label, the newest phase for this accomplished DJ is just getting started.

5 of NYC's Best Record Stores

With music sales collapsing due to the immediacy of the internet, the surviving record stores of New York City stand strongly as sonic sanctuaries. You might be able to download music for free, but you can’t pirate the feeling of digging through crates of records until the perfect vinyl reaches your fingertips. Record stores are some of the city’s best landmarks, and here are some of the best ones to check out. Whether you’re a DJ looking to add to your mix, a fervent Elvis collector, or you’re looking to pawn off your parents’ oldies for some cash, there’s a spot for you.

Bayside Bring the Basement to Irving Plaza

Bayside, Saves the Day, I Am the Avalanche, and Transit form a package of bands that, while enjoying various levels of success, all originated from the world of punk rock, in both sound and mentality. And while the mosh pits and deafening crowd-singalongs that accompanied each band’s set on the last date of their fall tour at Irving Plaza are a testament to how massive these bands have gotten, fame has yet to affect any of their approaches. They were raised in a basement atmosphere, and they simply took that atmosphere – crowd interaction, band camaraderie, on-stage beers - to the big leagues.

New Music Gadgets to Add to Your Wishlist

The holiday season is approaching fast, and there's no shortage of cool new music devices out there for the aspiring producers, gadget freaks, and all around audiophiles in your life. Whether you're looking to get your younger sibling a new set of speakers to blast the new Drake record on, or you're ready to spend that iTunes gift card on a really cool app, here are some of the best bits of technology coming from the music world.

Altec Lansing Custom In-Ear Monitors

Imagine a pair of headphones designed exclusively for you? Well, if you're a professional musician or hardcore audio nerd and are willing to shell out serious cash, Altec Lansing is offering a series of custom in-ear monitors. While the monitors are super pricey at $1000, $750, and $500, those who purchase them will be able to consult with an Audiologist to create the perfect mold to fit their ears, meaning your live sound and secret Britney Spears playlist will both sound clearer than ever.

The Dangerous Summer Say 'No One's Gonna Need You More'

The Dangerous Summer are back with another music video, and while their clip for the dark, desperate "Work in Progress" was appropriately bleak, their new video for "No One's Gonna Need You More" is its colorful, happy antithesis. The visual counterpart to the sunny, driving track finds the pop-rockers playing in a grassy field with the same amount of passion that oozes from their new record War Paint. Of course, no love story would be complete without the other party, and the video follows a pretty lady around while frontman AJ Perdomo declares "I'll hold that waiting hand for you."