How do I get in touch with interesting/trending/emerging music?
August 20, 2017 9:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm an arty 30-something creative professional who moved to the middle-of-nowhere a few years ago. Between aging out of 'what's cool osmosis' & rural isolation, it's become increasingly difficult to discover new music - what's trending, what's interesting, what's indie. My only local terrestrial radio stations are 50 Shades of Christian Pop. (Many of my neighbors have never heard of Taylor Swift or even AC/DC, folks. That's the level of isolation here.) Where can I go online to quench my thirsty ears?

When I have data left over at the end of the month (rural internet, y'all) I'll poke around on Itunes & SoundCloud but I'd really love to know if there are good podcasts, apps or resources that showcase what's interesting & new. My Itunes library contains everything from afropop to folk/singer-songwriter, so as long as it's not heavy metal, I'll check it out!
posted by muirne81 to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Pitchfork has a wide range of music reporting, reviews, and album streams/previews.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 10:05 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Spotify has a "Discover Weekly" playlist that's updated every Monday and tries to showcase new music and/or remixes (typically of newer songs). It also includes a wide variety of styles of music -- for example, sometimes there's K-pop/hip-hop and Latina-pop/hip-hop. It's free (with ads), or you can go premium (I think it's $9) and that allows you to make playlists you can listen to as much as you want without any kind of internet connection (if you're concerned about data charges).
posted by stubbehtail at 10:19 AM on August 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

Gorilla vs Bear, Brooklyn Vegan, Aquarium Drunkard, and My Old Kentucky Blog are all good resources. (Yes, I listen to Blog Radio on SiriusXMU, why do you ask?)
posted by asterix at 10:20 AM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

stubbehtail: The Discover Weekly playlist is great but the one problem with it is that it's based on your current listening habits, so it won't necessarily bring up new and interesting stuff. My friends' Discover Weeklies are shockingly different from mine.
posted by asterix at 10:22 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Bandcamp has various mechanisms for discovering new music for listen/sale on their site, and they also have daily posts that they tweet about that discuss emerging bands or themes.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:32 AM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Free Music Archive.

Also, I'd recommend looking at the roster of any festivals that pique your interest and using it as a launching point for researching individual artists. Lots of them have soundcloud and bandcamp pages. Sometimes the fests themselves will post mixes. Here's my favorite. Happy discovering!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:48 AM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

It sounds like you've got constraints on yr internet. I'll be honest, nothing I did to keep up with music or discover new music worked for me at all, and that included spending a ridiculous amount on buying music from labels I know I like. What has worked best is joining a private music tracker, like WhatCD (RIP, Trent Reznor just talked about what a crucial resource it was).

If music was important to me, and I was in your situation, I would go to Reddit and read up on cheap seedbox plans (to preserve your data caps) and seek invites to the major private music trackers. There are so many people listening and sifting that it's pretty easy to find stuff that you like and even stuff you didn't know you would like.
posted by OmieWise at 10:57 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

As someone in their late 30s that still makes music listening/recommendations a priority (see self-serving link in profile) I'd say that while torrents are awesome it's kinda like drinking from a fire hose.

Bandcamp is actually a really good resource for recommendations. find a release you really love on the site, see who has it in their collection and stream other stuff in their collection. usually I can quickly get a read on the people that are really into the types of stuff I like versus the people that have one random album I like.
posted by noloveforned at 11:21 AM on August 20, 2017

I really love randomly choosing an NPR Tiny Desk concert by an artist I've never heard before. They are all on YouTube and I've found a lot of great artists that way.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 11:35 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you have enough data, and would appreciate some curation rather than just picking random stuff, then three radio stations that could help you are WFMU, KCRW and BBC 6 Music. They all play stuff you like and stuff that you don't yet know you like.
posted by rd45 at 11:51 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Add KEXP and All Songs Considered to Tiny Desk and KCRW.
posted by cnc at 11:57 AM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I used to swear by Paste Magazine. When it was in print, you'd get a sample CD with every issue. Still, I think it's a good source for discovering new music.

I'm in a similar situation and will be watching this thread with interest!
posted by slipthought at 2:38 PM on August 20, 2017

Sirius/XM radio will make you so very, very happy. You can get a receiver for your house, or your car, or you can listen online. I had to give it up due to finances, and nothing else I've tried has filled the void.
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:41 PM on August 20, 2017

Here are some good previous AskMes from my bookmarks that might be helpful (may overlap a bit with the above suggestions):

- What are good podcasts for discovering music?
- What resources do you use to find new music to listen to?
- Best Local Radio Stations - TuneIn
- Are indie music blogs still a thing?
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 3:01 PM on August 20, 2017

Seconding NPR's All Songs Considered. The music selection is wide-ranging, their year-end lists are great, and I like that they sometimes play older stuff as well. Good hosts, too.
posted by Desertshore at 4:11 PM on August 20, 2017

spotify is amazing for this, go through and save a bunch of bands you know first to give it a sense of what you like, then try the discover playlist and every time you hear a song you like hit 'save' (the + sign). if you particularly like it make a radio station around that song.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:03 PM on August 20, 2017

Spotify has a "Discover Weekly" playlist that's updated every Monday and tries to showcase new music and/or remixes (typically of newer songs).

Just to clarify - Discover weekly is a personalised playlist. There's also New Releases discovery, which is similar but wth a focus on new stuff.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:04 PM on August 20, 2017

You could get a digital subscription to The Wire. It's the best music magazine if your tastes veer outside the mainstream.
posted by coleboptera at 5:18 PM on August 20, 2017

Another vote for Bandcamp, especially if your tastes wander independent. Since they revamped their writing team, the daily roundup has transformed into an essential resource for me to discover new stuff in virtually every genre, and turns up fascinating stuff from outside the English-speaking world too.
posted by prismatic7 at 6:40 PM on August 20, 2017

+1 KEXP. I was really out of touch with new music until I moved to Seattle. Now whenever my "hip" friends send me a song I'm like "Oh yeah son, that was my jam 3 weeks ago, where you been."

This is SUPER annoying of me, thanks KEXP for giving me this evil stupid pleasure.
posted by potrzebie at 10:38 PM on August 20, 2017

I forgot - The Wire also have a radio show, Adventures in Music and Sound, on Resonance FM - a London radio station which plays an extremely broad range of things
posted by coleboptera at 3:07 AM on August 21, 2017

Complementing Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist is also their Release Radar playlist, which tracks new releases that their algorithms think you might like. The two are really good at keeping me on top of what's coming out and I set it up so my phone downloads these playlists every week so I can listen to them on the go.

As well, they have a straight up Discover section that makes recommendations to you based on what you've listened to. There is a lot on mine that I've heard of before, but also lots of new stuff that has turned out to be pretty good.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:11 AM on August 21, 2017

There are a lot of great suggestions in this thread.

If you like eclectic music (avant-garde jazz, psych, americana bent but really all over the place,) my highest recommendation is Aquarium Drunkard.

Pitchfork will keep you hip to new releases (though not necessarily hip since they're conde nast and all these days.) Browse their reviews every week and check out any that sound good based on the blurb.

Stereogum is also a great resource and the comment section is very active, intelligent and funny. Check out their album of the week post every Friday. Other than the selected album which gets an essay/review, there's a list of all the notable albums coming out that week at the bottom with short descriptions.

NPR First Listen has really solid full album picks for free streaming a week before the album comes out.

If you use Spotify, which I recommend if your internet can handle it, the Discover playlist is helpful and there are a number of other great curated playlists.

Here's a list I made for a friend of the youtube channels where I find new music:

NPR Music, KEXP, KCRW, KDHX, WFUV, KUTX, La Blogothèque, The Current, Pickathon, Austin City Limits, Pitchfork, Genius, Alan Lomax Archive, BBC Radio 1, Paste Music, Crackerfarm, Cardinal Sessions, Sofar Sounds, The Line of Best Fit, Fretboard Journal
posted by saul wright at 7:40 PM on August 21, 2017

Another vote for Spotify. I have Spotify Premium and it is worth every penny.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:08 PM on August 21, 2017

Have you ever thought about the roll of taste makers?

Admittedly, my answer isn't necessarily geared towards 'emerging' music, but it's not too hard to see how you'd tailor it to your needs.

I've long been interested in the bands/artists/books/culture that my favourite people are in to. The method is pretty simple - find people you like from all over the cultural map, investigate their tastes. I find that the 'weirder' the figure you choose, the more likely you are to get something genuinely new. The process itself is quite fun, or at least I think so.

Some examples:

- I listen to Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service, which is a fine source of music. But I also seek out interviews in which he talks about what he's in to:

- Laurie Penny is one of my favourite tech/culture writers, and just keeping tabs on her internet presence throws up good recommendations regularly

- I got into Burial because of Adam Curtis docs, which is probably the less cool order

- The red bull music academy and the BBC's desert island discs are ripe for this sort of exploration

Have fun
posted by MikePemulis at 3:31 AM on August 22, 2017

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