Something that really baffles me is why more people aren't listening to new music. It's never been easier to find your new favourite band thanks to the Internet with social media and the abundance of music streaming platforms available. Whatever your preferred genre, there are hundreds of great new acts deserving of your attention. In so many different Facebook groups I see people only sharing music from bands that are twenty years old or complaining that there has been no good albums released this year – yes there has been, probably more than ever, if you look in the right places. This top ten piece is dedicated to sharing some of my favourite methods of discovering new bands. For a lot of people, this will probably just be a list of the obvious but I have so many people say to me "how do you find all these new bands?" so I figured it might be worth a top ten. I've probably written something similar in the past but it's a subject I feel very passionate about.
Go Into A Record Shop And Flick Through The Crates
We'll start with the most old school and most obvious one – going into a music shop and spending some time looking through the stock. Way back in the dark ages before the Internet, that's how we did it. How many albums did you buy when you were younger just because you liked the artwork? Records shops still exist and probably need your support more than ever. Pop into your local one, browse, speak to the staff – they might be able to recommend something for you. Plus, it's always nice to chat to folk about music.
Compilation albums are something I've spoken a lot about this year. It's such an obvious way of finding new bands. You buy one for a couple of bands you like and end up discovering five more great ones. Success!
One of my favourite things about buying physical music is reading the inlay from start to finish. It's nice to read lyrics and sometimes even learn the meaning and inspiration behind the songs. I also love to read the thank you lists. I've found so many great bands through doing that. If you don't buy CDs or vinyl anymore, then check out a band’s page on Facebook or Spotify. They often have a ‘bands we like’ or ‘bands we sound like’ section – a great way of finding new acts that are similar to someone else you like.
Going To Gigs And Seeing The Supports
Another painfully obvious way to discover new bands is to go to a gig, get there for doors and check out the supports act. More often than not they will be a newer band on the scene and more often than not they'll probably be very good too. I find it painful the amount of time I go to gigs and see so many people just show up for the headliner and/or main support.
Look For Gig Listings
Maybe none of your favourite bands are playing gigs near you. I can assure you that there is a gig happening somewhere near you though. Search out your local venues, look at who's playing, listen to the bands that are playing. Go and see them. Local scenes are a building block for live music and you should always try your best to support them. It's quite satisfying to see bands build up a local fan base and then go on to perform to national audience.
I love reading through a festival line-up and checking out bands I've never heard of before. There are so many music festivals put on all over the world. Some with only ten or so bands, some with hundreds and with line-ups typically ranging from established headline acts to plenty of up and comers. Something I like to do (which might be a bit sad) is go through the Clashfinder for The Fest in Gainesville and plan my own schedule even though I know I'm not going. Be warned though, you will find some great bands but you will be extra bummed out that you're not going!
Bandcamp is, for my money, the best website on the world wide web. I can spend hours of my day in a Bandcamp black hole, jumping from one great band then finding another ten more. The discovery section on the site can keep you up to date with all the latest releases from established acts as well as brand new artists from all over the world. You can search through every conceivable genre and sort between new releases and best selling. I guarantee you will find something you love on Bandcamp. It's also the place where you can find the CPRW five year anniversary compilation.
Spotify has played a massive hand in the way in which we listen to music. My favourite feature of Spotify is the ability to make playlists. We all love making that perfect playlist with all our favourite bands and then sharing them with folks. It's the 21st century mixtape. There now appears to be designated playlists that people create to showcase the best new music coming out in the future. Just whack a playlist on shuffle and find the stuff that strikes the biggest chord with you.
Obviously CPRW is the place to go to discover new music but there are loads of other blogs, zines and websites seriously dedicated to sharing brand new bands and music to the world. Even before I started CPRW, I would spend countless hours reading album reviews online or, before that, in magazines and checking out the featured bands.
Google Top Ten Lists
I had never thought about doing something like this before reading James Acaster's new book Perfect Sound Whatever but it's such a simple and brilliant idea. Say you fancy seeing what other people thought were the best albums of a particular year, just punch the year into Google and see what goodies it comes up with. When we come to the end of this year, it's something I'll definitely be doing.
This top ten was written by Colin Clark.