There have been a lot of backlashes this year. A lot. Though, one I didn't see coming has been this perplexing backlash towards the emerging prominence of music blog sites - specifically, Gold Flake Paint and The Quietus - thinly veiled in the dialogue of abstract reverse snobbery through accusations of hipsterism. This reaction hasn't exploded abruptly, it's been a cumulative process lasting years.

The music landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade, and the language of music journalism with it; what began with Youtube and MySpace has been expounded by Soundcloud, streaming services, and Bandcamp. Essentially, we have easier access to infinitely more music than we've ever been subject to before. Concurrent to the pejoratively defined 'Digital Revolution' have risen countless blogs and sites predicated on digesting the surplus in music and conveying such excess in comparatively bite-sized journalism that combines exposure for poorly covered or unknown acts with impassioned and substantive critical writing. Music blogs have existed for yonks, but it's fairly recently that they've perceptibly begun to supplant big-name music magazines as the intuitive source for news and writing; for not only music's obsessive zealots, but also its casual fans. And, to borrow one of the corresponding phrases from this year's catalogue of backlashes, the 'establishment' aren't happy.

The establishment conform to what I've self-indulgently termed The Mod Complex, a practice of cognitive dissonance where music journalism hasn't evolved since 1968; where sycophantic interviews with 70s superstars on their reunion tours reveal nothing; where indistinguishable, manufactured lad rock bands from Nottingham are bi-annually hailed as 'the saviours of modern music'; where vacuous complaints about the absence of political and protest music conveniently ignore hip-hop and R&B save for occasional spurts of tokenism; where album reviews are ripped verbatim from PR releases. Continuing the Populist Right analogy, the establishment behaviourally bridge the liberal/conservative divide, exhibiting the 'out of touch' attitude ascribed to Remainers, but also the nostalgic fetishism - for the aeon of leather-jacketed, coke-snorting, all-male guitar bands selling out stadia - levelled at Leavers. It's Anthropology 101 that when a group regresses from the majority to a considerable minority that said group lashes out and vilifies. The Mod Complex is an undergrad case study.

Ultimately this is a regulated presentation of the current music scene that alienates anyone aspiring for novelty, invention; or even normalcy that doesn't directly align with The Mod Complex's prescribed tastes. Significantly, that these estranged artists are often minorities, LGBTQ, or women, should be noted. Blogs such as Gold Flake integrally address this issue, and do so without affectations of superiority or being indier-than-thou. They are a platform for the segregated, and are far more important than will ever be credited.

The audience for The Mod Complex's brand of music criticism is still - though in immutable decline - sizeable and heartfelt. I may not enjoy it, but it's an entirely valid form of criticism and fandom. They're perfectly entitled to read, write and enjoy whatever they want, in whichever framework they choose. But in the relatively cordial economy of music journalism, fostering such a poisonous us vs. them pathology is inexplicable, retrograde, and unnecessary.

The vehement counter-response to The Mod Complex and its formative culture might seem petty and insular, especially when contextualised with everything else going on right now, but in a year where everything's gone to shit, music and by extension good music writing is something we're clinging onto as a sanctuary where our passions and values haven't been bastardised.

If you read Tom Johnson's wonderful, gorgeous write-up explaining why Mitski's Puberty 2 is Gold Flake's AOTY, and the contributions from the likes of Fear Of Men and Japanese Breakfast, and didn't feel in some way moved or inspired or caught up in the singular beauty of good music writing - and instead dismissed it as selective attention-seeking - then perhaps you're beyond saving. This isn't about pretensions of 'ethics in music journalism,' it's about the fundamentally modest requisites of equity and respect for discourses divergent to your own and appreciating the plurality of voices and opinions out there. It's obviously hypocritical for me to preach liberalism and tolerance for music journalism while caricaturing establishment mags and sites as parochial and nepotistic; but hey, you have to start somewhere.

Be sure to check out Gold Flake Paint's excellent end-year album list if you haven't already.