Our top music blogs

So you’re tired of hearing the same old thing on the radio and you want to hear some tantalizing new tracks? These four blogs are at the top of their game slinging you beats that might just lead you to your favourite new band.

1. Noonday Tune
First up, a well-established communal local(ish) blog that serves up a treat from one of its 14 contributors every day at noon. It’s a great way to discover new music and, because it’s only one track a day, it’s all about discerning listening. Each song feels like a beautifully wrapped treat – the ideal way to approach something new.

Noonday Tune

Noonday Tune also offers playlists of their previous daily offerings via 8tracks which are solid companions at work. Our tip: follow Noonday Tune on Facebook so that your midday treat shows up in your newsfeed.

2. Pitchfork
Fancy something broader? No problem. Check out Pitchfork: a Chicago-based site devoted to daily music criticism and commentary, music news, and artist interviews.

Since it started in 1995, the site’s focus has been on independent music and is now considered a barometer of public opinion. Our tip: use the extensive staff lists to broaden your musical knowledge. It’s the musical equivalent of poring through the annuls of the Bodleian library. True story.

3. Stereogum
Looking for something more newsy? I’ve got just the thing. Stereogum is a highly acclaimed daily music news and commentary site that covers the full gamut of the music industry.

Established in 2002, the site has released six of its own albums comprised of commissioned covers of iconic albums. They’ve got music heavyweights to pay tribute to the likes of The Strokes’ Is This It?, Bjork’s Post, REM’s Automatic for the People and Radiohead’s OK Computer. Our tip: head over to the Music page to stream tunes right from their regular playlists: Latest Songs, The ‘Gum Mix, and Most Popular.

4. Consequence of Sound
More into a live jam? Not to worry, I’ve got you covered. Consequence of Sound features news, album and concert reviews, and editorials with a bias towards live gigs, concerts and festivals.

In February 2012, the website launched a long form writing section, Aux.Out which is a refreshingly in-depth look at music and artists in a new industry of punchy news nuggets. Our tip: keep up with the moving and shaking in the US festival scene with the site’s Festival News and Rumours radar.

Enjoy!

Feature image source.

SEO and misspelled words: Not as much of a problem as you think

I have always enjoyed words. Spelling tests at school were particularly satisfying for me. While I did once write my gran a letter with the catchy title “Tiptoe through the choolips with me”, I haven’t often had much trouble with spelling.

Since I entered the world of website creation and SEO has become a thing in my life, spelling has taken on a bit of a new spin.

Clients sometimes ask: “How can I be sure that someone will find my website if they don’t spell our company name correctly?”

The answer (as in many cases in life) is: “Because Google is a genius.”

All major search engines (in case you use something other than Google – although I’m not really sure who you are then cos I have never met you) will offer you an alternative word if you present it with a spelling error. The website you were intending to find should therefore be among your search results due to this very clever programming.

Case in point: We recently built a website for a beautiful little eco retreat on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It has the tricky name of “Svendsen’s Beach”, which, apparently, only the smallest handful of people manage to spell correctly.

The owners of the eco retreat were concerned that, because people struggled to spell the name correctly, they would battle to find the website if the SEO did not account for all the spelling variations (and there were A LOT).

So Liz and I put Google to the test, using every misspelling of the word “Svendsens” that we could think of. And the result? Google is indeed a little genius, and presented us with the right website every single time. Even when we tried a variation like “Svendensens”.

Svendsen's Beach

When it comes to SEO, misspellings are not as much of a problem as they once were. What’s more important is producing interesting, regular content with key words that people are likely to include in their searches.

So, for example, if you search for “luxury eco retreat, Great Keppel Island”, the first result that pops up is none other than the (very lovely) Svendsen’s Beach.

How to choose a business partner: The Pomegranite model

Today, Pomegranite celebrates making it through its first year. And what a year it’s been. Sarah and I have travelled an incredible road together and though there were blisters (and injured ankles), we are now getting into our stride, getting fitter and running faster. This journey did not begin 365 days ago but a long, long time before that and I’m going to impart the wisdom we have learned about choosing a business partner.

1. Share some common ground.

Sarah and I were at Rhodes University together all the way up to honours. We weren’t particularly close friends but good enough that when the end of the year came along and I had no idea what to do with my life, I accepted Sarah’s invitation to join her and another classmate, Harry Davies (more about him later) on a trip to Ireland to find their fortunes.

2. Have similar dreams.

Find our fortunes we did not. It was early 2008, the recession had just hit Ireland in a BIG way and the only work we could get was going door to door getting people to sign up to monthly charity donations for deaf kids in India. It was a pretty devastating turn of events, going from becoming accomplished academics to not being able to fill in a form on someone’s doorstep because it was snowing and you were so cold you couldn’t feel your fingers. But it was character building and fantastic life experience.

We actually ended up fantasising together about getting a job, you know indoors. With a desk perhaps and maybe even a phone!?

Sarah and I in Ireland before I’d learnt how to not look creepy in photos.

3. Be able to have a laugh together

Despite our day jobs, we had an absolute blast during those few months. We drank Guinness, we danced, we went on adventures, we had philosophical discussions and we made roast chicken. The third memeber in our merry trio, Harry Davies, started Harare News, which also celebrated its one year anniversary yesterday.

Harry, Sarah and me in Ireland. He called us his wenches and we loved him for it although we were the ones getting free beer, not him.

4. Have common interests

Patriotic partying in Ireland.
Going surfing with our friend, Tracy. Read more about these escapades here.

5. Like your partner enough to want to hang out even after work hours.

Up the Creek music festival 2013

6. Trust your partner enough to take risks together.

Sitting on the edge of a cliff on the Aran Islands. Can you tell who’s more comfortable?

7. Choose someone you respect.

This, above all. If you respect each other,  you can have those difficult conversations that are a part of running a business together. I’ve had some practice at this.

2008 – Me to a very ill Sarah in Ireland while drying her hair: “I don’t want you to panic, but I think your hair is stuck in the hairdryer. I’m just going to fetch the scissors…”

2013 – Me to Sarah on the eve of showing the client our first ever website: “I don’t want you to panic, but I think I just deleted the website and I don’t know how to get it back…”

Look at us out now. A job indoors. With a desk and everything! And a great partnership.

Happy Birthday, Pomegranite.

Photo by friend and client, Kate Davies.

Victory dances: Sometimes they’re just necessary

You know that feeling when things have been really tough – so tough that dropping your pen lid into your tea is actually just too much to deal with – for a really long time, and then suddenly everything starts falling into place? It’s happening to me. And I’m having a bit of a moment.

Pomegranite is doing SO well, you guys. Truth: if you had told me, a year ago, when we started our own business just how hard it would be, and how many stressful months there would be financially, I probably wouldn’t have done it. We don’t often talk about the tough times on this blog – mostly because, even when it’s rough, we still love what we do and wouldn’t swap it for anything. But it hasn’t been all champagne and sunshine.

Today Liz showed me our bank balance, and, well… I cried. Ok – I teared up. It all seems too good to be true. But we did the calculations for the coming months, and we’re still looking so strong. And it’s all come full circle exactly a year since we started Pomegranite on 1 July 2013.

It’s not just that. So much is going right these days.

I spent a week in Joburg for work (and a mom-hug) last week, which was really great. But as I landed in Cape Town, I felt for the first time that I was certain that this is where I want to be now. I opened my blinds the next morning and looked at the sun hitting the mountain and I laughed. Because it feels a bit ridiculous that that is my view. It’s so bloody “Cape Town”. And I freaking love it.

I’ve been struggling with a messed up ankle for almost four years now. I am SO done with xrays and surgeries and crutches and physio. I had given up trying to run, even though I had been given the green light by the physio. It was just too sore. But last night, as I was walking on the treadmill, I decided to run – just for five minutes. Those five minutes came and went… and I just kept going. And before I knew it I had run 5km and I had to force myself to stop. The even better news is that I can actually still walk today. HEY?? I can’t quite believe it.

There have been some difficult conversations I’ve needed to have lately. And they’ve been had. Or at least scheduled. I’m leaving a lot of stuff behind, and it feels good to travel light for a change.

The past year has been the most difficult year of my life – by a long shot. But I finally feel like I’m not only reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, but that sunshine is on my shoulders already. And, as John Denver promised, it makes me happy.

On the eve of my 29th birthday, this all bodes well (no really – it’s tomorrow. Don’t forget.). 28 was all about the spade work. The rough stuff.

And now I’m ready for the next chapter. Champagne?