Ten Places to Discover Great New Music

People sometimes ask where I find the music featured in my Song of the Day series. Back in the days when we listened to music by dragging a tiny stylus across a rotating piece of plastic, there were only two reliable ways to find new music: 1) listen to the radio and 2) check out your friends’ record collections. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, finding new music couldn’t be easier. Here are my ten favorite web resources for discovering new and exciting music:

  1. Youtube – Youtube isn’t just a great site for videos – it’s the best jukebox ever invented. Search on any song title or band name and you’ll probably find more videos than you have time to watch. You have to do some digging to find the real gems, but if you look beyond the slick, record company produced videos, the pirated uploads set to boring still images and the shaky cell phone videos, you’ll find some truly amazing live music performances.
  2. Twitter – Twitter is a great source of tips on new music. The trick is to find and follow people whose taste interests you the most. Follow your favorite artists and see who they tweet about. I’ve received some great music tips recently by following @fleetfoxes (Robin Pecknold), @Gibbstart (Ben Gibbard) and @Slowcoustic (Canadian acoustic music blogger).
  3. Radio Paradise – This is a radio station streaming live on the internet. What sets it apart from thousands of other indie internet radio stations is the eclectic and diverse playlist, reflecting the impeccable taste of founders Bill & Rebecca Goldsmith. I never fail to hear something new and interesting whenever I listen to Radio Paradise.
  4. Daytrotter – This site invites touring musicians to a barn in western Illinois for an impromptu live recording session. The results are posted in free, downloadable MP3 form and videos are often available as well.
  5. Hearya – Another great site for live recordings of indie bands. Hearya is based in the Chicago area. Like daytrotter, all music is original and freely downloadable and features some video material. In addition to the live recordings, hearya is an excellent indie music blog.
  6. NPR Tiny Desk Concerts – This is an excellent source of great live music featuring video performances behind a desk somewhere inside the NPR Music offices. Despite the cramped venue, something about this show brings out the best in visiting artists. The production values on these videos are consistently excellent.
  7. Live From Daryl’s House – The concept is simple – every month a new artist comes to visit Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates fame) at his home in upstate New York, whereupon a mix of songs from the artist’s and Daryl’s catalog are performed live. There are at least three good reasons you should check out this site: 1) it’s interesting to watch the creative process when diverse artists collaborate, 2) the range of guest artist/collaborators is rich and eclectic, and 3) Daryl Hall and his band have an uncanny knack for making everyone sound better.
  8. KEXP – From their amazing playlist, to their fantastic live in-studio performances, to their huge archive of live performances (all downloadable from kexp.org, videos available on the kexp youtube channel), Seattle’s KEXP is simply the best indie radio station in America.
  9. “Gonzo” Live Music sites – There are a number of sites featuring low budget impromptu live videos of lesser known artists. These sites are decidedly indie and very spontaneous in spirit. My favorites in this category are: Shoot The Player, Take Away Shows, Bandstand Busking, and Black Cab Sessions. The latter features artists performing live while jammed into the (moving) back seat of one of London’s famed black taxicabs.
  10. Local Sites – A great way to keep abreast of local artists, live shows, record store appearances, etc. is to find the best local music blogs in your neck of the woods. My favorite sites for the local music scene in Seattle are: Three Imaginary Girls (who have the best Seattle music events calendar I’ve found anywhere on the web), Sound on the Sound and 103.7 The Mountain.

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