As anybody who really knows me, will know that I am somewhat obsessed with ferreting new music, no matter the genre. I’m generally listening to something at every opportunity during the day, no matter what it is I’m doing. Bus? Headphones in. Cleaning? Volume up. Studying for exams or working? Music on. I know some people can’t work with any type of music, or prefer portions of the day to spent in silence. For me, though, songs and melodies are ways to compliment whatever state I am currently in. If I am feeling melancholy, I’ll embrace it and listen to some slow, downtempo melancholic pop. If I am just walking someone with only my thoughts for company I’ll put on some songs that share a certain epic feel, letting the time pass to daydreams in my minds eye.
Needing constant new stimuli I have a nice round of pages to visit, which can help fulfil this desire. Beyond the regular youtube recommendations and soundcloud artists, I have a couple of different sites which generally offer novel content with each click:
- /r/listentothis - this is a reddit subcommunity dedicated to more obscure or newer music. User-posted links must be to songs with less than 1,000,000 views on Youtube. Whilst this sounds like a lot, in practice it’s rare to actually come across something you’ve seen before. All the videos are tagged with genres, and so it’s possible to search for songs suited to a particular style you enjoy.
- 8tracks - is a fairly unique website. It consists of user-generated playlists which are tagged. Fairly standard at this point, it’s the tags which really make this worth a visit. As well as finding the usual genre tags, users can label playlists according to moods, or feelings, or seasons. Searching for autumn and melancholy can yield playlists with songs that, whilst perhaps in different genres, have a certain feel to them. This is a great way of finding new music with fairly minimal input. Simply plug in a couple of words describing how you want your music to make you feel, and then select a playlist. The downside to this option is that there is only a limited number of tracks you can skip in a single playlist, due to licensing laws.
- Pandora - is an internet radio station, but one with a bit of a flair. It’s based on the same sort of principle as things last LastFM or the Genius feature in iTunes; Add in the song you like and it will play you something similar. What makes Pandora a bit different though is how it choose those songs. Pandora Internet Radio is linked to the Music Genome Project. This project takes songs are assigns them upwards of 400 markers, which categorise almost every technical aspect of a song. When you enter in a track, album or artist that you enjoy, it will create a radio station which can be further refined by liking or disliking songs. The downside to Pandora is that it is region locked, so you will need a browser extension like MediaHint or ProxMate (both for Google Chrome) to hide your location.
These are just a few ways that I use to try and find new artists, I’m sure there are numerous other examples, but I have found these work pretty damned well for me.
To end, I want to leave a few melodies that I’ve discovered by these, or more random means for perhaps someone else to enjoy.
MR MR – Head is not Home is a really beat driven song, with a great dark pop feel. Some awesome, almost sensual lyrics too.
Dusk till Dawn is the latest trip-hop album from Emancipator. It’s really downtempo, chilled with a cool vibe running throughout.
Apotheosis is a classical song from the soundtrack of the game Journey, which has been called an interactive piece of art. Apotheosis is the culmination of the 54 minute soundtrack and rises gorgeously on violins.