Musical notes

Reading time: 2 mins

Over the past two years, driven largely by my previous co-workers I’ve been exposed to a wider amount and range of music than I have for many a year. On average I was buying at least two albums a month (the large majority being MP3s from iTunes, although the lure of FOPP still resides), none of which were really ‘chart music’ albums. That’s not to say that all chart music is rubbish, far from it. In fact I’m beginning to spot that the charts are starting to reflect a more eclectic set of tastes and I’m guessing that the accessibility of music through MP3 downloads is finally beginning to drive a change to the music industry. The disappointment is, of course, that they still aren’t really embracing this change.

It’s fairly obvious that radio plays are no longer the only way to ‘force’ a track to the top of the pops and, after the demise of the TV show of the same name, it’s even more apparent that the charts themselves are no longer deemed necessary by a whole generation of music lovers. I’m unsure how big an impact MySpace has as it’s not something I’m part of, but the general idea of communities forming around bands, and driving sales and downloads of similar music, seems to be more obvious as each month passes.

With that in mind, the main issue for music lovers (well, for me at least) is where we go to find pertinent reviews and information about the types of music we enjoy. The standard press offerings, NME for example, are all well and good but are still somewhat mainstream. Where do we go to find the out who is going to be ‘next big thing’?

I currently rely on PitchFork to supply information and potential suggestions for new music, and of course the power of word of mouth should never be discounted with the occasional recommendation from fellow bloggers being enough to ‘tip’ me in the direction of new listens. I guess that is the power of Last.fm, which is something I should spend some more time with I guess (I still treat it as a ‘log’ rather than somewhere to explore and discover new music, odd that).

In the meantime, I’ve been digging through the albums I bought in the latter half of last year, several of which didn’t really get a full spin on the playlist, and I’ve loaded them up alongside some more recent purchases I’ve made in the past couple of days.

The old stuff I haven’t listened to properly:

  • Datarock
  • CSS – Cansei de ser sexy
  • Lady Sovereign – Public Warning (mike is to blame for this, although I’ve had it for over a year now)

And some new stuff:

  • Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity – initial impressions are favourable.
  • Menomena – Friend and Foe – initial impressions are unstable.
  • The Decemberists – The Crane Wife – inital impression is “samey”.
  • The Good, The Bad and The Queen – falling heavily into ‘meh’ category.

It’s always good to ‘re-discover’ albums, but that has inherent limitations. So, it’s over to you my dearest music loving reader, where do YOU go to keep up-to-date with the latest music? Spill the beans!

Ohh and if you know anyone who wants a ticket to the Monday night Arcade Fire gig at the Barrowlands in March, let me know.

11 comments

  1. i use pretty much the same sites as you, but i’m ashamed to say i also like myspace for *really* new music…

    (i don’t know why i’m ashamed to say that, actually. is myspace bad?)

  2. I’ll let you know Alan, I’m still waiting on confirmation from a couple of friends, but I thought I’d at least give notice that one might be available.

  3. furtive – myspace isn’t bad per se but I still feel like my senses are being assaulted when i visit a page, it’s not a place I spend any more time in than is necessary. Which, thankfully, isn’t often!

  4. Time you were moving on to light classics, Gordon, and leaving the rubbish to the kids who don’t/can’t know any better. Skip anything by Vivaldi, and go straight to Mozart. None of us stays young for ever, you know. Three hundred years of hits can’t be wrong.

  5. Ahh Peter, I have plenty of Mozart, am also fond of Chopin. I was brought up in a musical family, the classics are familiar to me and do trickle in and out of my ‘muscial stream’.

    Ohh which reminds me, I bought a nice CD of Sibelius last year, wonder where it is…

    Yes, I feel a ‘classical’ day coming on!

  6. Hmm, it’s complicated.

    Print media: Guardian on Fridays, Observer Music Monthly, The Word for trendy-vicar dad-rock stuff. Occasional toe-dips: Plan B, Songlines, fRoots.

    Radio: barely at all these days. K listens to Radio 3’s Late Junction, and uses the “listen again” facility during the day, and looks up names of stuff he likes on the archived playlists on their website. He’s unearthed some great stuff that way. Also the Radio 3 World Music Awards, which invariably throw up some wonderful music.

    Online: the I Love Music messageboard is useful for tips, but I use it less than I used to. Same goes for MP3 blogs, which I barely touch these days. YouTube and Myspace I find hugely useful, though.

    But for me, it’s mostly driven by the bits of journalism which I do. If an interesting gig is announced, I’ll do my research – Youtube, Myspace, official sites – and decide accordingly. Promo CDs from time to time, CDR and MP3 swapsies with friends, and I’ve got access to MP3s of most interesting new release singles (UK/US/world) as part of the Stylus Jukebox reviewing thing.

    Thing is: for decades, I relied on the NME and never thought I could survive without it. Funny how things have turned out.

  7. I never relied on the NME. Ever. I always had this weird relationship with it, viewing it both as the unruly ‘black sheep’ and ‘trying to hard to be hip’ at the same time.

    How DO you survive your trips into myspace land?!

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