Former CMJ Managing Editor Michael Tedder has recently launched one of the more interesting digital passion projects of the year. The site, TheTalkhouse, is a platform for known musicians to write reviews (and sometimes, seemingly, love letters) to musicians they most appreciate. Those that inspired them. Those that touched their lives in some way. Those that they, as fellow musicians, have a true respect. That in and of itself is an interesting concept. Stopping there would create a very nice, albeit limited, platfrom for music discovery. Something akin to what Dre and Reznor promise from Daisy – a way for tastemakers to turn their audience on to new music they should adore. But that's not really what TheTalkhouse is all about. That would simply be an artifact of its existence.
The twist with TheTalkhouse, and its true purpose, is that those being reviewed can respond to their reviewers. That is what gives TheTalkhouse a really interesting potential. By reading a musician's fan mail to another musician you already feel like you're getting an inside look into their world. The addition of responses makes the whole thing that much more surreal. Within TheTalkhouse there is the expected –think Duff McKagan reviewing Kiss – and the somewhat unexpected – think Andrew W.K. reviewing Robert Pollard. It's an interesting dynamic that makes the site a lot more likely to fall into rotation with heavy music fans. I know I'll be back frequently.
The biggest drawback? There just aren't that many responses to reviews yet. I have no doubt that Tedder's music cred will help TheTalkhouse get enough attention to start drawing more responses. And until then, it remains a very honest and charming look at fandom through the words and experiences of artists you may know and you yourself may adore.