How to discover new music

If you know me or been reading my blog for some time, you may have noticed that on Thursday I post two blogs instead of one. And the second one of the day is always about music. Most of it indie. Most of it by bands that I know many people haven’t heard of, let alone like. I developed a taste of all things indie in latter half of the 2000s and have been wanting nothing other since. I am always looking for music and artists I have never heard and in the past decade or so I have found a few ways in which you can find new music while steering clear of top 40 radio.

My first encounters with indie music happened through indie playlists. I was still unaware of the fact that there were websites attached to these, let alone Facebook groups, but I have been making my way through playlists on a monthly basis as early as 2007, which is when the first ones came off the ground. Some that I followed, no longer exist, some post less frequently and some I still follow to this day. The playlist I follow religiously is BIRP. I like this one because it is a mix of all different types of indie music. For more of a pop, singer/songwriter and electro input, I check Did You Hear the New Mixtape. And finally I am also part of the Facebook community of IRP: the original mother of all indie playlists that is released every quarter. It is more focused on the rock side of things, but especially on the Facebook page some interesting suggestions are made by other music aficionados.

A music source that I have only been utilizing for the past 2 years or so is Youtube. I used to only watch music videos on there, then came the beauty videos and then I discovered the music community. Pretty much because I was looking for links and videos to post music on here. The channels I follow are often themed along more chillwave type music. Some people might call it hipster music and not all of it is good, but I wade through them once a month or so and just listen to what I like. Some of the channels I follow are Mr. Suicide Sheep, Majestic Casual, The Sound You Need, The Groove Panda, La Belle Musique, inspotMusic and Apeiron. Not all of them post as frequently, but it makes for a different input compared to some of the lists I follow.

Apart from online sources, you can also find a physical source, in the real world. I am lucky to have at least 2 good music stores within walking distance from my home. One of the is even ON my street and I go there at least once a week to check out what’s new. Through them I have found many artists I love from Tegan and Sara to Peter Broderick and from Elbow to a recent purchase of a re-recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I usually go in there and often buy things on a whim. I have bought CDs based on the cover, because it came recommended through store information or the guy behind the counter.

Another way for me to find new music is to research artists and their influences. I can spend hours going through wikipedia and skip from band to band, guitar player to singer to back up dancer to producer. All the information is there and only a mouse click away. This is how I discovered some old 20s songs I like, any back info I know about any music genre and who played with whom in which band when they were 16. It is fascinating to read how musicians find inspiration, who they are influenced by and how music business politics often stand in the way of success.

My final tip to discovering new music is to go out there and see some bands you think you may like. Skip the big names. Go for bands of whom you only know one or two songs and who have no more than 1 album out. Chances are the tickets come cheap and if you’re lucky you can see the band before anyone else. And if you’re really lucky the support act that comes along is also decent and interesting. Music festivals can be a good way too, but the problem with those is that by day 3 you no longer remember who you saw on day 1, so keeping track of your likes and dislikes is a must. Bands I discovered this way are Savages, Sylvan Esso, and The Heavy.

How do you find new music?

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