Please pardon me while I turn on my favorite Pandora channel so that my mind can be opened and the creative spark be allowed to flow through my fingers as I address a topic that is always on my mind – where can I find new (or new-to-me) music?
“Intro” by The xx – I’ve never heard of them before, but I’m diggin’ the drum intro. Thanks, Pandora!
Now, perhaps a little intro to my life. I am a former classically trained cellist. I grew up in a family full of musicians of almost every sort, going back as far as memory and family mementos allow. My childhood wasn’t filled with soccer practice or video games, it was filled with music lessons, practice sessions, and rehearsals. To my 8-year-old self, there were seemingly endless hours spent in music stores, concert halls, summers spent at music camp, and more practice. Always practice. I settled on the cello early on and stuck with it.
After 12 years, my hard work, combined with a dash of talent, enabled me to be awarded a Cello Performance scholarship to the University of Alabama (yes, there’s more than football and tide-rolling taught there). Mission accomplished!
Music is more than just something I like or enjoy, it’s something in my blood. I seek it out. I need it. And although I no longer play, I get to re-live all of those great experiences as an audience member when watching my husband perform with his band, Over the Effect.
There is nothing in the world quite like the feeling of connection that music allows. We all feel it move through us. Who can resist the urge to smile and dance when they hear “Happy” come on the radio? Who doesn’t want to throw in a little “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis, when it’s grey and drizzling outside? Are you seriously NOT going to fight for your right to party when “Fight For Your Right” by the Beastie Boys comes on? Heck no.
It is my opinion that music has become SO valued that we almost require it as the soundtrack to our daily lives. The discovery method may different, not the importance. Music finds us now, whereas in previous decades, we had to find the music.
The big three – Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes
We no longer have to rely solely on the radio, or on our local music scene, to find out what’s new. We now have Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, and a host of other avenues for music discovery. These services offer bands I’ve never heard of, or a song I previously didn’t know existed by a favored artist. I love that Pandora offers a brief description of each band as well. I frequently find myself falling down the rabbit hole of musical influences and side projects, all while gaining new insight into the artists, and also finding new stuff to listen to!
If you REALLY want to dig into the creative mind of musicians around the globe, then you should try Internet Radio, like Rocker’s Dive, and Radio Paradise. That’s where you can find the stuff that’s really happening in local scenes around the world. If you love digging deep into the underground, well get ready, you’ll find it in the thousands of internet radio stations out there.
Soundcloud and Bandcamp
If you like a little social media mixed in with your search of the newest of the new, then Soundcloud may be the place for you. This is a website that is used by musicians to stream their music, usually moments after it’s mastered, or just recorded in their bedroom. DJs post their sets there from all over the world. As a listener, you can comment, share, favorite, the tracks you like. And with a recently announced Twitter integration, the social media aspect just got even better.
Another way to find new music is through sites like Bandcamp. This is where indie artists can put up profile pages that include information about them, sell their music, t-shirts and other merchandise, as well as interact with their fans. This is a great way to support indie bands, as the money goes directly to them!
All of these methods of finding music are great and wonderful. However, the absolute BEST way to find new music is to experience it. Get out there, go see a show! Take a chance and spend $5 to see a local band, playing their hearts out for one reason – for you. These folks live for your applause, so why not give it to them? It’s free, and it’s what keeps their creative spark flowing like the perfect amount of distortion on the guitar (or my favorite, bass distortion).
I hope you enjoyed my most reliable, and fruitful, methods of finding new music as I haveenjoyed my many journeys down this particular rabbit hole.
P.S. This post was brought to you by the (shared) “Distortion and Feedback” Pandora station, created by none other than, Melissa Kamphuis (A.K.A. MKULTRA).
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