If you're having trouble distinguishing The Arcade Fire from The Fiery Furnaces and you think of Interpol as law enforcement agency, it's time to reinvent your music collection with the help of PitchforkMedia.com.
Started in 1995 by Ryan Schreiber, an obsessive music fan who had no writing or publishing experience at the time, Pitchfork has become the go-to source for reviews, news and features on independent music. Their reviews (given on a scale of 0.0-10.0) are famously brash, opinionated and long, but always brutally honest and well-researched. Think of their writers as a cross between a snarky music store clerk and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (as the uncool-but-all-knowing Lester Bangs) in Almost Famous.
In a world where most music reviews are boiled down to a few words and a "recommended if you like x, y and z band," Pitchfork's 500 word reviews have become influential (they helped launch Broken Social Scene to fame in 2003 after rating their album a 9.2) and widely-read—the site garners upwards of one million unique visitors per month.
Next time you try and impress the pants off of your date, you can shelve your Air Supply Greatest Hits album for something a little more—right now.