Best Amateur Music Blog

Critics' Picks

Field Mic

Chicago-based monolith Pitchfork has a profound influence on the gravitational field of the indie-rock universe, not to mention its own festival. But what about the little guys, who don’t pay attention to release cycles and aren’t driving the zeitgeist—the folks who don’t share the blogosphere’s obsession with being the first to cover the next new thing? Instead of slathering adjectives all over Best Coast seven-inches, Field Mic collects what it calls “sound from the field.” That means several posts a day that range from performances of music by little-known contemporary composers to video of oddball circuit-bent instruments and elaborate mechanical ensembles that play themselves, along with the occasional dude-and-guitar clip or actual music video. The blog is ecumenical in its tastes, though it leans a little toward the electroacoustic and ambient—and there are absolutely no reposts of clubby remixes of popular indie bands. Founded in April and curated by three far-flung editors—Chicago audiovisual artist Cole Pierce, Brooklyn-based New York Times blog specialist Jeremy Zilar (who also runs Silence Matters), and North Carolina collage artist and designer Able Parris—Field Mic doesn’t offer deep analysis, usually just a sentence or two of enthusiastic explanation. It’s heavy on reader submissions, and every page is charged with the thrill of someone with a brilliant new discovery he’s aching to pass along to the wider world.