The Needle Drop
|Type of site||Music reviewing|
|Created by||Anthony Fantano, Cal Chuchesta|
The Needle Drop is a blog/vlog created and run by Anthony Fantano (born October 28, 1985), self-described as "the Internet's Busiest Music Nerd" and super fanatic fan of the shoegaze band Whirr, in which he examines "rock, pop, electronic, and experimental music of the independent persuasion," via video and audio reviews. Despite the blog's tagline, metal and hip hop have also been covered extensively along with certain major label artists. The blog started in the fall of 2007, with video reviews beginning in February 2009. The blog reviews albums, individual songs in a segment called "Track Reviews" (stylized as "TRKRVWZ"), and occasionally a "Question of the Week" or list based video. His reviews often contain brief skits, usually involving his musically oblivious roommate, Cal Chuchesta, played by Fantano himself. Occasionally, Fantano will allow Chuchesta to "review" an album, often as a gift to his fans.
The blog rates albums and tracks on a scale from 0 to 10, with an accompanying adjective, either "light," "decent," or "strong," for further specification to its score. The blog's site also includes a "loved list" section, featuring a list of albums and tracks which were scored 8/10 and above when they were reviewed.
In 2011, Anthony was interviewed at SXSW about the rise of music vlogging, along with Sami Jarroush of the Rock It Out! Blog, and Michael Roffman, president and editor-in-chief of Consequence of Sound. In March 2011, he was featured in an article from The Guardian also about the rise of music vlogging. The Needle Drop is also an iTunes podcast  featuring artists and albums reviewed on The Needle Drop YouTube channel.
The Needle Drop's YouTube channel currently has over 300,000 subscribers, and more than 50 million upload views. The channel was voted as September 2011's 'On The Rise' contest winner, a program by YouTube. His competitors were Pineapple Boy Productions, The Uncut Sports Show and Simple Kids Crafts. In October 2011, Fantano won the 'Beyond the Blog' award at the MTV O Music Awards.
The first contemporary album to receive a 10/10 was Death Grips' major label debut The Money Store released in 2012. Fantano had previously given classic albums such as Pink Flag by Wire, and Raw Power by The Stooges a perfect score. In 2014, as an April Fools' joke, two reviews were released of Planningtorock's third studio album All Love's Legal. The first review gave the album a 10/10, stating "This is the greatest album ever!". However, the second review gave the album a 0/10, stating "This is the worst album ever!". The second contemporary album to receive a 10/10 was Swans' studio album To Be Kind released in 2014.
Fantano was introduced to independent music in the early 2000s which eventually influenced him to start The Needle Drop. "I had a friend of mine on Livejournal–lol, I know–back in the early 00s who used to do these long writeups about certain artists and she turned me on to a few that were pretty great. It made me want to do the same, share the musical experience on the internet. It didn’t really turn into “reviews” until I tried doing YouTube in 2009, which I only did as an experiment because my blog and podcast were making much traction at the time." Fantano started his career in the mid 2000s as a music director for the Southern Connecticut State University college radio station. He stated "I’ve always loved music, but working there got me turned in to a lot of different styles, and got me pushing my tastes into different areas" about working at the station.
In 2007, Fantano started working at Connecticut Public Radio in which he hosted The Needle Drop. That same year, Fantano also launched The Needle Drop in text reviews, eventually starting as video reviews in 2009. Fantano, at the time, was working on The Needle Drop, at the college radio station and at a pizza restaurant. "It wasn’t really a decision. It was just a matter of the show taking up so much of my time and making me enough money to sustain myself. I was quitting a job where I was cooking pizza, so it wasn’t that hard of a decision. I love the people who I used to work with, and I was working with a lot of them for ten years, but they understand this is my passion and my own thing that I have to pursue" he said.
Fantano is a vegan. Fantano says of his veganism, " I like to stay active, but I keep it simple. I do a lot of pushups, pullups, walking / running, playing with my dogs. As far as the vegan thing, I’ve been vegetarian since I was eighteen or nineteen. Veganism was something that I just slowly grew into as I learned to cook with more things that weren’t animal products. It was also a matter of me learning more about nutrition and all that. I do it mostly for health reasons."
Annual Favorite Releases
Album of the Year
|Year||Artist||Album||Nation||Top 5 Albums||Ref.|
|2009||Fever Ray||Fever Ray||Sweden|||
|2010||LCD Soundsystem||This Is Happening||United States|||
|2011||Fleet Foxes||Helplessness Blues||United States|||
|2012||Death Grips||The Money Store||United States|||
EP of the Year
|2010||The Tallest Man on Earth||Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird||Sweden|||
|2011||Nicolas Jaar||Don't Break My Love||United States|||
|2013||Milo||Things That Happen At Day||United States|||
Single of the Year
|2010||LCD Soundsystem||"I Can Change"||United States|||
|2011||Fleet Foxes||"Helplessness Blues"||United States|||
|2012||Death Grips||"The Fever (Aye Aye)"||United States|||
|2013||The Knife||"A Tooth for an Eye"||Sweden|||
The following albums are considered "classic" music releases by The Needle Drop, reviewed on its YouTube channel during a yearly segment known as Classics Week:
Initial release 10.0 rated albums
|2012||Death Grips||The Money Store||United States|||
|2014||Swans||To Be Kind||United States|||
- Veronin, Nick. "The Hardest Working Critic in Show Business Never Stops Hunting for New Music". wired.com, 18 February 2014
- Hive, MTV. "Weird Vibes Ep. #15: MTV VJ Cal Chuchesta". mtvhive.com, 21 March 2013
- "Interview at SXSW".
- Jonze, Tim (18 March 2011). "The Guardian article". London.
- "The Needle Drop".
- "Youtube channel".
- "'Success!' Video".
- Storbeck, Devon (September 15, 2011). "Introducing Your September 'On The Rise' Nominees post".
- Elabbady, Ali (1 October 2013). "Interview: Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop". United States.
- "Anthony Fantano's Top 15 Albums of 2009".
- "Top-50 Albums of 2010".
- "Favorite Albums of 2011".
- "Top-50 Albums of 2012".
- "Top-50 Albums of 2013".
- "Top-15 EPs of 2010".
- "Favorite EPs of 2011".
- "Top-15 EPs of 2012".
- "Top-15 EPs of 2013".
- "Top-50 Tracks / Songs of 2010".
- "Favorite Singles of 2011".
- "Top-50 Singles of 2012".
- "Top-50 Singles of 2013".
- "Nina Simone - Pastel Blues Album Review".
- "The Velvet Underground & Nico - Self-Titled ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Frank Zappa- Hot Rats ALBUM REVIEW".
- "King Crimson- In the Court of the Crimson King ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Miles Davis- Bitches Brew ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Marvin Gaye- What's Going On".
- "Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Fugazi - Repeater ALBUM REVIEW".
- "My Bloody Valentine- Loveless ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Wu-Tang Clan- Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Godspeed You! Black Emperor- Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! ALBUM REVIEW".
- "Madvillain- Madvillainy ALBUM REVIEW".
- Fantano, Anthony (2012-04-23). "The Money Store Review". The Needle Drop. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
- "Swans - To Be Kind ALBUM REVIEW".