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Tour de blogosphere: National Capital Rock and PhotogMusic

By Alejandro Bustos on April 20, 2013

Ottawa is blessed with several excellent blogs that cover the local music scene.  In the near future, I hope to publish a story on the numerous musical bloggers in town, who cover everything from metal to classical to blues to Irish folk songs.  For this week’s column, however, I want to focus on two local photographers who are doing a fantastic job in documenting the music scene in the National Capital Region.

Let’s begin with Andrew Carver, who has been photographing Ottawa musicians for years.  Since starting his blog National Capital Rock in 2005, Carver estimates that he has published about 15,000 photographs online, spread across more than 3,000 posts.

While this site can be classified as a photo-blog, it is also an indispensable source of local music news, with the long list of labels and bands on his blogroll alone being a musical encyclopaedia.  From a photographic perspective, his photos capture the raw energy of a live concert, and transport the viewer into the club, pub or house party where the concert is occurring.

In a phone interview, I asked Carver how he sees the city’s current music scene. “One of the things that I have seen is a big explosion in festivals,” he tells me, before adding that Ottawa is no longer an overlooked destination for shows.

“(Touring bands) would go to Toronto and Montreal but not here,” he says.  “This doesn’t happen anymore.”

In addition to his blog, you can see Carver’s work on Flickr and a separate Tumblr account.  He is also on Twitter.

Photo by Ming Wu

Photo by Ming Wu (copyright)

A second site worth checking out is PhotogMusic, founded by local photographer Ming Wu.  Since 2008, the omnipresent Ming has been using his camera to shoot shows, while writing about his love of music.

As those who know him can attest, his work rate borders on the ridiculous (the term “prolific” doesn’t do him justice).  When asked how many shows he sees in a year, he replies that the number is probably between 150 to 200.

While PhotogMusic contains numerous photographs, it is much more than a photo-blog.  Among other things, the site contains write-ups on new releases, information on bands, links to music videos and even the occasional ticket giveaway (see here for an example).  You can think of this blog as an online music magazine that contains a lot of information, along with many photos.

Photo by Ming Wu

Photo by Ming Wu (copyright)

When I ask Ming what local bands he likes, he mentions several great choices.

Roberta Bondar for its loud experimental rock music,” he writes in an email.  “Silkken Laumann for its electro-dance pop music. Big Dick for its post punk and rock music.”

As for the development of Ottawa’s music scene: “I see mostly the scene evolving in Somerset and Hintonburg area with its smaller venues like Raw Sugar Café,” he tells me.

You can follow Ming on twitter and Flickr, as well as listening to his hour long radio show on CHUO FM 89.1 on Mondays at 3 pm.

Know of any other local music related blogs that you would like to mention?  Please let us know in the comments section below.  In the meantime, if you want to know more about local bloggers, please go to The Ottawa Blogging Library, a blog that I created to accompany the Tour de blogosphere columns.