Discovering a great new band is one of the best feelings in the world, isn’t it? OK, maybe you guys don’t share my enthusiasm but I thought I would write an article with some of my favourite sources to find good tunes, since I get asked this question on a semi-regular basis.
Sometimes, trying to make musical discoveries on the Internet is not an easy task. There are so many websites that cover the subject, from niche sites to music magazines. Here are some great places to start:
1) NPR: First listen
For those not from the USA, NPR stands for National Public Radio. NPR has some great programs that are worth listening to including, but not limited to, great musical content. There are many podcasts available on the website but one of my favourite things to check out is the First Listen page, which features exclusive full-length previews of new albums by a wide variety of artists. As I publish this article, we can listen to new music by Ty Segall, Japandroids and Tift Merritt, among others.
Also stay posted to the NPR website or Facebook page for the yearly playlist that is released for SXSW. You get to download 100 songs by artists playing at the festival and the choices are consistently good (I keep at least 2/3 of the songs and have discovered great artists through this list). This is the 2016 Austin 100 list if you’d like to check it out.
* By the way, the new US administration is threatening to cut government funding for public radios, which is a terrible shame because the programming is extremely rich, promoting all forms of culture and political discourse. I know that this isn’t my country but I will still be sending money to chip in.
2) NPR: Tiny desk concerts
Bob Boilen’s tiny desk in the NPR offices has been turned into a stage for some of the best artists currently in the music scene, from Adele to Ana Tijoux, John Legend to Edwarde Sharpe and the magnetic zeros. These intimate concerts are fun, compelling and make for a great environment where the musicians’ talents truly shine. Plus, the sound quality is excellent, which is great considering that these are live performances. New videos are released most weeks.
Here are 6 of my favourite performances ever on Tiny Desk: