Right…this is how it’s gonna go down..
I’m starting this blog to document my musical discoveries, as I find them. It’s more of a reference for me to look back on later, to see what I found and when I found it. I’m not really promoting any particular style/genre of music, this is just my taste and a kind of record of what I’m liking at the moment. If anybody reading this likes it too…..cool!
For the others reading, this first post will explain how I go about finding new musics before I get to the ‘discoveries, as I find them’. First of which are the websites I use the most in order to find new bands and artists. This can serve as a little introduction, without going in to too much detail (as you may already know about them), just a general outline of what each site can do for you…
One of the first sites I started using for music searching was last.fm If you’re not familiar with the site, it’s basic premise is to make a record of what you listen to and when you have listened to it. (or ‘scrobbling’ as they call it) The idea behind this is to create your own personal chart on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, based on what you have actually listened to, whatever style or genre of music!. Mine’s been scrobbling (on and off) for about 8 years now, so it’s gained quite an accurate database of my taste in music! – Bearing in mind, songs can only be scrobbled if they have been listened to digitally. Music played through your phone/mp3 player or on your computer through iTunes/Spotify. (If you are the kind of person that listens to most of your music this way, then I highly recommend signing up for a last.fm account!) Once your profile has been accurately represented, last.fm can then start recommending similar artists based on the other bands you have previously listened to, that’s when you can really start exploring! – worth noting that a last.fm account is free but not needed to access the site and read all the info and features but it does make it a lot more fun to use.
A few years back I had a little bit of an obsession with Burial, which then drove me to take to last.fm to find some similar artists. Last.fm came up trumps! Immediately I was recommended an artist called Volor Flex. A lot of love and hate for this Russian producer amongst Burial fans on the Last.fm boards. Love for the fact that he sounds very similar to Burial but also a lot of hate, from some people, for the exact same reason! Giving him the nickname of Burial mk2! Personally I don’t see the similarities being a problem. Burial is a very elusive artist that releases sporadic albums/EPs with almost no prior notice, whereas Volor Flex released 3 albums in 2013 alone! Burial-esque music….and lots more of it!
Next up is Soundcloud. This site is great for anyone that wants to freely host their own music. Great to find new songs by unsigned acts but can also be used by well established artists to promote their music. More recently Aphex Twin has unloaded a whole heap of old/unreleased tunes onto a Soundcloud account under the name user48736353001 (now moved to user18081971) So far 190 songs (14 hours of downloadable goodness!) and still going! With Richard D James himself even compiling a selection of them into a playlist under the title SAW 1.5 (Presumably tunes made in the interim of Selected Ambient Works I and Selected Ambient Works II)
(edit) Aphex Twin Soundcloud account has been seemingly taken down as of 6th May after having 205 tracks uploaded. More news over the next couple of days I’m sure!…that’ll be why the playlist isn’t working!
(edit) Now back up but under a different name of user18081971 as of 7th May!
Soundcloud is not only good for finding new music being released or a new mix/remix featuring your favourite band/artist but you can also use it for finding related music by lesser known or up and coming bands. After playing a song from UNKLE on Soundcloud I was recommended a track by Toydrum (featuring members of UNKLE) The song ‘auto-played’ after my chosen selection and thus a new discovery was made!
I would recommend signing up for a Soundcloud account too as it enables you to ‘follow’ other artists accounts and will then provide you with a feed of new music as it is uploaded, and much like Twitter/Facebook, songs can be ‘re-posted’ and ‘liked’ to spread the word even further!
Last of the main sources of discoveries is Bandcamp. I LOVE this site. To me it’s one of the best places to find bands or artists that may or may not be signed (we’ll get on to net-labels later!) and maybe they don’t have physical copies of their music, making it digital only. Bandcamp was first brought to my attention by a friend who had just put their EP up for download. So my first purchase was for a local band We Are Romans!
This site is also used by bigger bands too, I first heard/bought an album by Antemasque (Omar & Cedric from The Mars Volta‘s new project ft. Flea on bass!) via Bandcamp (which is now no longer available via the site, but was an exclusive for Bandcamp for a good few months)
There is also a growing trend to use Bandcamp as a platform to sell charity compilations. This is also a fantastic way to discover new artists. Not only are you getting to hear some fresh new music exclusive to each compilation but you know that your money is going towards a great cause! Touched was the first that I came across. Aiming to bring you some of the planet’s greatest Electronic, Ambient & Modern Classical musicians all together and raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The first volume contained 123 tracks for only £6!
With the second volume coming out a year later offering 255 tracks for £12!
These are the main ways that I discover my new music. A mixture of these, but pretty much always initiated by some sort of social media. (more on that later too) Spotify could be mentioned too but I rarely use it anymore. I will be using these 3 sites and adding videos and tunes as and when I find them but…while we are on the subject of charities, I feel I should mention one or two more….it’s all for a good cause eh!
Japan Earthquake Relief Fund set up by New York’s Japan Society
Doctors Without Borders and The Humane Society for Hurricane Sandy
Next time: Band discoveries found through net-labels and social media