Remember record stores. There was always some dude or lass with blue hair and a Jane’s Addiction tee shirt on to recommend the best album in whatever genre you were into.
Those days are gone, and while some people are still stoked on listening to nineties rap and classic rock 24/7, some of us love to find that band that no one has heard of way before they become popular. Sometimes it’s not a band but it’s a song or an album that you never heard from a band you love. Either way finding a new tune is rad. If you’re like me, you’re always on the prowl for some sonic waves to discover.
Here is the list of the best ways I find new music.
Pitchfork is what Rolling Stone used to be. It might be the #1 go to for music reviews and news these days. For an average music consumer, the reviews are super pretentious with too many big words. The fantastic thing about Pitchfork is that they tell it like it is. They call out famous artists for uninspired work and highlight lesser known artists that have produced awesome tunes.
Aquarium Drunkard, named after a Wilco song, has a blog highlighting some obscure tunes from decades ago to today. The thing is, they highlight tunes that are nothing short of genius almost every time. Make sure you scroll to the bottom and click on the mixtapes. The mixtapes are where it’s at.
Founded in 2004, BrooklynVegan is a NYC-centric, multi-genre, mostly-music blog that focuses on international music news, album and live show reviews, pictures, festivals, tour dates, gossip, tips, song and album streams, videos, industry and tech news, special events and much more.
Sterogum was an independent music blog for years. It was bought by the company that ran the Hollywood Reporter. But not to worry Scott Lapatine, the site’s founder and editor-in-chief, has just bought the blog back, so I’m looking forward for great reviews and find some of my new favs.
Consequence of Sound
Consequence is the missing link between mainstream pop culture and the underground. Over the past 15 years, the New York-based online publication has accrued a devoted readership in the millions for its reliability, precision, and character in regard to music, television, and film. It’s a voice that wants to pat one’s shoulders, not stand on them.
Every week I have a release radar, Discover Weekly, multiple Daily mixes, and there are playlists galore. Spotify uses algorithms to find tunes they think you may like which can be a little hit or miss, but there are definitely some great tunes to be found.
Soundcloud is awesome for finding mixtapes from up and coming hip-hop artists. It may take a while to figure out how to find who and what you’re looking for but there is no shortage of amazing music or talent.
NPR All Songs Considered
NPR has great music DJ’s and on Fridays they come together and create a podcast featuring the best releases of the week. They find gems across multiple genres.
There may be a few of these but my favorite is Josh’s newsletter. Author, editor and all around music aficionado, Josh Baron has created an interactive email list. Many of his music biz friends write in and feature albums old and new. worth subscribing too ===> https://musicclub.substack.com/
Local Record Store
They are becoming dinosaurs but usually you can find a record shop in your city. If the owner or clerk isn’t too grumpy that day, they almost always have a wealth of knowledge and can point you toward some great tunes.