It’s hard to stay ahead with all the music promotion that goes on over the Internet. The average person will not be able to do it. I listen to a lot of music while I do some of my work (when it is permitting to my productivity). Anyway, I get a lot of people who ask me where I find the bands that I do. I figured, why not let people know who want to know? Many will think it’s laborious, but if you love hearing new music it’s good times.
Elbows – Elbows was the first real music discovery site I came to know. It’s not as advanced as some other sites, but has things that still stand out to me. Namely the fact that a lot of the music that goes across elbows is still rock. You’ll see why that’s important.
Hype Machine – Hype Machine was once a better experience for me. The system is great. Listen to music on the fly, save favorites, link to their blogs, listen to their weekly radio show, etc… it’s all very impressive. The only problem is Hype Machine users are obsessed with techno and hip hop remixes. No, not just electronica…. I mean literally techno stuff. Yeah, I like a chunk of it but not all the time. Still, a lot of gems float up because good music is just good music. Worth browsing frequently.
Pitchfork – I have to be honest about Pitchfork. It’s good for hearing about new bands and that’s it. The problem with pitchfork is that it’s represented by that certain type of indie music lover that everyone hates. If a band that you like goes mainstream they will likely hate their next record. If they fall out of mainstream, they will like them again. If it’s new and unheard of, they’ll give it a serious shot to be the best record ever. If it sounds absolutely different, they’ll likely give it an instant win. It’s the way it goes. Forget if the record is just plain good, that’s just not enough for Pitchfork. They even try too hard in their writing. Their reviews feel less like communicating a point and evoking an understanding, and more like an early college level english paper that’s too heavy on the far-reaching metaphors and similes.
That being said, you’ll hear about lots of new bands and be able to access their music right there on the site. They also redesigned and, trust me, it was sorely needed.
Going to Shows – If you love music, you should be saving money to go to shows. The holy grail of band discovery, shows can plug you in to some great stuff. The only word of warning here; if you listen to already obscure bands then their opening bands are probably more obscure. Lock down any good musics while you can at the show. You may not see their stuff surface online.
Seeqpod – Seeqpod is great. Nobody telling you what’s this or that. Just listen to stuff you like. After you do a search, you can hit the discovery tab and hear similar music. It works out okay a lot of the time. You’ll find some stuff you’ve never heard.
iTunes – Again, there’s lots of music out there. You’ll never again be the most educated on music. There’s no reason to fight it. iTunes has great ways of discovering new music through Genius, browsing similar artists at the iTunes music store, and going through playlists put together by other users. You’ll find obscure stuff there too.
Pandora and Last.fm – Different beasts in so many ways, but both are online radio stations with a lot of great stuff. I even have an addon for my Firefox browser that lets my type a band in a search field and it just starts playing that station while I work. Very nice. I got into Loney, Dear a couple of years back. When I put the name in Last.fm I found about 10 bands that same day that I still listen to. Consequently, Scandanavian rock is alive and well.
SXSW – If you can appreciate South By Southwest, then you’re a music geek for sure. The reason I mention SXSW beyond other festivals is because they list all the bands on their site and even let you sample the music right there. Go there around SXSW season and you’ll see a ton of good stuff.
La Blogotheque – I read La Blogotheque for a few reasons. Because I speak French, because their video is excellent and should be watched, and because it’s well designed. Lots of good music too. Even if you don’t speak French, it’s worth clicking around until you find a good video and listening to some great bands.
There are lots of blogs and many more obscure ways to find good bands. These are just the most efficient because they aggregate a lot of that. Sure, if you find a blog that you particularly love then put it on your RSS reader and keep up with it. If you don’t have time to scour every blog out there, this is a good way too.