While there have always been a few genre-specific online spaces for Pittsburgh music-heads, only recently has something of a community of hard-working music bloggers cropped up.
"There's a tight group of us; we share our ideas and see each other at shows and talk," says Hugh Twyman, who chronicles indie shows in photographs at HughShows. Twyman's been at it since 2004, but has seen increased participation in recent years. "We weren't all around two years ago."
One blog that's appeared in that time is Speed of the Pittsburgh Sound. Blogger Patrick Bowman, a Mount Lebanon native, returned to Pittsburgh after putting in four years at Allegheny College, and decided that a blog could help him plug into the scene he was rediscovering.
While Bowman recognizes that there was already something of a music-blogging community here -- including sites like Songs In the Key of Touché and The BNAC Music Blog -- he too thinks that even since he began his site, last February, the music-blog scene here has heated up.
"There are more of us now, and we're more active," Bowman says. "I like to think we're always pushing each other to go to more shows and post more content."
While the aforementioned blogs all split the difference between local coverage and previews of touring bands hitting town, all-local coverage is the focus for Matthew Stoff and Art Baron, of BurghSounds.
BurghSounds is an aggregator, a clearinghouse for information about local music: The site culls updates from local publications, blogs and bands themselves, putting it all in one place. Stoff and Baron moved to Pittsburgh because of an interest in the music scene here, and used their collective reporting and design experience to start the site.
"You can't visit all these sites and MySpace profiles every day as a music fan, so we do it for you," Stoff explains. While he and Baron both do freelance work, BurghSounds is their main project at the moment, essentially a full-time job -- albeit one that doesn't earn them any money.
While there are too many local music blogs to list in this space, we'll link to those mentioned here and more this week in City Paper's music blog, FFW>>.
Programming note: While this new Local Beat feature replaces both Signal to Noise and Under the Wire in this space, music editor Aaron Jentzen and frequent CP contributor Manny Theiner will continue to write here on a monthly basis, along with topical local-music talk from myself and regular CP freelancer Margaret Welsh.