For Jake Cheriff, a Steinhardt freshman and member of the band Modern Diet, music has always been about sharing.
Over winter break, Cheriff started a blog called Ghetto Pug with his roommate, CAS freshman Bernardo Ochoa. The pair use the blog to review underground or non-mainstream artists. In addition to Ochoa and Cheriff, the blog’s regular contributors include Steinhardt freshman Dan Hemerlein, Middlebury College freshman Brendan Gell and Northwestern University freshman Justin Wolf.
“I’m always reading other music blogs to find new music, and one day I decided I wanted to start my own,” Cheriff said. “The other pugs in Ghetto Pug are all friends of mine who I’ve been sending music back and forth with on Spotify since way before I started [the blog]. Bernardo is one of my roommates, Dan plays bass in my band and Justin and Brandon are friends from back home.”
Each review on the blog includes a short opinion piece and a clip of the track being reviewed. At the end of each review, the track is rated based on a scaling system from one to five in six categories: groove, lyrics, obscurity, intricacy, dopeness and reminiscent of. The groove category assesses the rhythm or swing of the piece, the lyrics category rates the quality of the words, the obscurity category observes the popularity of each song, the intricacy category examines the complexity of the track, the dopeness category measures the reviewer’s general feeling about the song and the reminiscent of category provides readers with similar bands for reference.
“The scale is more or less derived from what I look for and notice when I listen to an artist for the first time,” Cheriff said. “If it doesn’t groove or the lyrics are cheese, I’m probably not going to listen for very long.”
The five members mesh different styles and artistic tastes. They each contribute their unique opinions but still manage to find common ground.
“We are all very open to each other’s taste in music,” Gell said. “We understand that not a single one of us can represent all the types of music that our readers will enjoy.”
Dylan Owen, an independent songwriter, rapper and hip-hop artist and a junior at the NYU Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, was featured on the blog on Jan. 7.
“It was awesome getting my song [‘The Book Report’] featured. I saw my link tagged through Tumblr one day, and that was the first I heard of the blog,” Owen said. “Since then I’ve been keeping up with it to check out new music because they post some cool alternative content that I haven’t seen elsewhere.”
Jake Perlmutter, a Bucknell University freshman, frequents the blog and is incorporating some features of Ghetto Pug into a blog of his own.
“[The blog] is a great way to find new music because they synced the Tumblr account with Spotify. I can subscribe to their playlist and it automatically adds new songs they put up,” Perlmutter said. “It’s an awesome idea, and I am currently using their model to form a blog on our campus called Campus Vinyl.”
Get a taste of Pug’s musical styles at http://ghettopug.tumblr.com.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 25 print edition. Bhargavi Ganesh is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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