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Friday, January 27, 2006

Little Hits: Best MP3 Blog EVER

Posted by on January 27 at 9:56 AM

Because I’m always late to every party, I’m not going to shrink from slogging about an amazing MP3 Blog that has been captivating me for an embarrassing number of hours lately—even though I’m sure you’ve all known about it for like a hundred years:

Little Hits is the brainchild of Jon Harrison, a man with three adorable kitties, a massive record collection, and an astonishing generosity of spirit. Harrison posts a different Little Hit almost every day, and unlike many a fellow MP3 blogger, leaves them up for a long time. The archive goes back just over a year, and rewards as much attention as you’re willing to pay it. Granted, these songs aren’t going to be to everyone’s taste—Little Hits are a multi-genre subset that contains college rock of the ’80s, ’60s psych-garage pop nuggets, early-to-mid-’90s indie tweeness, Aussie/Kiwi arcana, the odd goth-lite drone, dreamy jangle from any era, and really anything else that is (a) great, and (b) able to fit on one side of a seven-inch single. But for certain people (take me, for example), it will be like discovering the last undiscovered second-hand store, only to find a near-limitless supply of records you’ve never heard but always loved.

In the recent past, I have enjoyed (and downloaded in many cases, i confess) previously unfamiliar music by artists I already knew, like The Turtles, Kirsty MacColl, Chris Knox, Small Factory, The 6ths, Monochrome Set, and The Softies, and been introduced to amazing sounds from bands I’d never even heard of, like Monkey Swallows the Universe, Pet Politics, Larch, The Nelsons (no relation, though i wouldn’t be surprised, frankly), The Orlons, Northern Picture Library, Miller, and literally dozens more. Best of all, each entry is accompanied by quality artwork scans, and concise, clever, informative text about the artists—most of whom are long gone—and often, the circumstances that brought Harrison to the record. Like most collectors, Harrison has a very specific story for every song he loves. Unlike many, however, his stories are a pleasure. And on days with no entries, there’s often something worth reading. Little Hits is an archivists’ archive, dedicated to one of the great near-lost disposable artifacts of the second half of the 20th century, the vinyl single. Over and above the sheer volume of cool music, there is the relief that comes with finding someone taking such care to keep the dream alive.

MP3 blogs are a mixed bag, not only for the music and comment they offer, but for the motivation of their authors/curators/shepherds. The same can be said of anything available on the web. In the best circumstances, they feel like the ultimate extension of being a fan/evangelist: This is the music I love, and I want you to hear it. It’s like a great radio show that you can move around in, a moveable feast of mix tape ingredients. Above all, the best MP3 blogs are generous, utilitarian, and self-perpetuating. They represent progress. Go find some before the RIAA finds a way to make them illegal. (NW writer/international playboy Mike McGonigal has a great one, which I credit/blame for the blog k-hole I’ve been in lately.)

I know there’s a lot of passionate discourse about free music on the internet, but I really can’t imagine a good argument against a project like Little Hits, at least not one that isn’t completely quashed by the following statement from Harrison, posted right at the top:

“Little Hits does not intend to deprive artists and labels of revenue; it is instead hoped that the music presented on this site will contribute to interest that will eventually lead to legitimate re-issue of the works of the artists represented, or wider recognition of already available releases. If you have legal rights to any of the songs presented here, and wish to have them removed, I will attempt to dazzle you with the speed and abject humility of my compliance.”

I don’t know Jon Harrison, but he is my brother.

Also, I am Slogging from France, which I think is a first. Burn on Jacques Chirac!

CommentsRSS icon

the RIAA doesn't need to find a way to make MP3 blogs illegal. posting someone else's music without permission is already illegal. the RIAA just has more important fish to fry, like, uh, wee children and their frail grandparents.

if you like little hits, you might like if you don't, however, keep in mind it's their fault.

I never thought I'd see the words "Small Factory" in the slog. Great band, never captured it on records though. Ah, Providence.

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