Three newsletters to learn more about quality music writing | Kevin Alexander

Legendary music critic Lester Bangs prepares to get to work.Skirmishblog.net

I love reading newsletters. But only good newsletters.

(Many are a waste of time, unfortunately.)

Each of them offers a bit of what I would like my own writing to be. If you want to learn more about music journalism, here are the three most worth your time:

1. Listening sessions

Published roughly three times a month, each issue delves into a record or artist, mostly from the 1950s to 1970s. Author Robert Gilbert excels at weaving personal experiences with objective writing.

Some newsletters are meant to be read on the train or in line at the store. Listening sessions is the one you save when you have time to sit down and savor it.

2. Exile on Newbury Street

EONS it’s three long-time friends who write together. Each week, one nominates an album for their hall of fame and explains why it belongs. The other two answer affirmatively or not. To enter, the vote must be unanimous. If you’ve ever discussed a record with your friends, this newsletter will take you right back to that place. But the trio’s superpower is their skillful copying. When you’ve known each other for years, jokes come easily; writing in a way that attracts strangers is an art. These three held a masterclass on what the copy should look like.

3. Critical conditions

Former music journalist for Creem magazine, Wayne Robins decided that “With the space for smart pop culture shrinking in media – mainstream, underground, outer space, inner worlds – I decided to step up to write about whatever interests me.”

And he does. And does it well. Critical conditions shows that it’s possible that old-school journalism/writing exists in the digital age. Not everything has to be hashtag or stuffed with keywords.

Do you have a newsletter we should all check out? Comments below!

To see my unique take on music writing/newsletters, Click here.

Harry L. Blanchard