Sometimes it can be hard to know how to find new music to freshen up your routine.
Feeling unenthused about the music we’re consuming can really put a damper on our mood.
If we feel stagnated about our music collection and don’t feel excited about anything in it, we may start feeling unmotivated and stagnated in our lives. Conversely, discovering something new can move you in ways that make you feel totally inspired and positive about life.
Sound overstated? You’d be surprised!
I decided to try and get creative about how to find new music. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it embarrassing to ask the same friend or family member over and over again what songs or bands they’re playing.
It sorta makes me feel like a dweeb trying to take notes on the cool kid. You know, when you’ve already asked about songs so many times that you start trying to discreetly Shazam the songs I like without that person noticing.
Please. Everyone knows what you’re doing.
This post will help you find new music on your own, and make YOU the one people are always asking about what you’re playing.
1. Pay attention to shows and movies.
Some of my favorite songs I’ve ever come across I have pulled from TV shows and movies. I can’t even tell you how many I’ve discovered this way. You may want to get Shazam for this, or you can go the old fashioned route and check the credits at the end. It can be really cool to listen to the full tracks you pull, because most of the time shows and movies will only play 15-30 seconds of a song. You may be surprised at the song’s depth and progression! I recommend getting Shazam no matter what, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 5 years and don’t already have it, or don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s free and it’s amazing. Definitely a top 10 essential app.
2. Pay attention when you’re out at stores or restaurants.
Same idea as above, but out in the world. You may run into a bit of trouble here because Shazam sometimes has a hard time distinguishing songs from a lot of background noise. But there are so many types of places out in the world that will be playing music, and you’re sure to find something interesting.
3. Actually get to concerts in time to see the opener.
Most people I know show up to concerts just in time to see the main event, but there’s almost always an opening band that may be amazing. Sometimes the opener ends up performing better than the headliner. A lot of the time the openers are obscure and you can score a CD or vinyl at the merch table. They may be terrible, too, but it’s worth the risk. Worst case scenario, you wait it out, enjoy a beer and chat with whoever you came with. You won’t know if you’re not there in time.
4. Go to the library and check out CDs because you like the cover.
Everyone always says not to judge a book (or CD) by its cover, but in this case, I’m giving you permission to do just that. I found a gem of an album this way (Connie Converse’s How Sad, How Lovely). This is the sole album from a woman who recorded it in a living room with the help of a friend. She didn’t think she was particularly good at guitar, but she loved playing. She also mysteriously disappeared in 1974 on her VW bus, never to be seen again. The songs on the album were recorded by her in the 1950s, and not released for another 35 years. I think she’s fascinating, the songs are unique and memorable, and I never would’ve found her if not for my attraction to the appearance and title of the album when I found it in the library and decided to take a chance on it.
5. Go to a record store and ask the workers/owner for a recommendation.
This one is essentially to ask an expert. People who work in or own a record shop will know a thing or two about music. And most will be more than happy to help you find something new and awesome. You can give them your likes and dislikes, ask for something classic, something less well-known, or something from a certain genre or decade. Or you could ask for something completely random, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, and see what you end up with.
6. Expand your existing collection.
Like one song by someone? Maybe a single you’ve heard? A song a friend played for you or that you’ve Shazamed? That ONE song you’ve heard by a band someone asks if you listen to? Take the time to listen to the album it came off of. See how the rest of it strikes you. Odds are, even if you end up not liking the whole album, you’ll find one or more songs on it you do like. Best case scenario, every song on the album is gold!
7. Find a college radio station.
If you live anywhere near a college, chances are they will have a student-run radio station. Here in Oakland, I tune in to KALX, UC Berkeley’s student-run radio station. They play mostly songs I haven’t heard before. Some of it is shitty. But some of it is really, really good. In general, if you’re looking to find new music, it helps to have some patience and be prepared to endure some music that’s not your jam in order to find the stuff that is.
Bonus: stations like this that play lesser known music usually are pretty great at telling you the name of the song and band for every song, unlike pop radio, which assumes you know that info already because they play mainstream stuff you’re going to hear everywhere you go.
Second bonus: you’ll be turned on to music that your friends won’t have heard, so you can impress them and be the one THEY come to for the best and freshest tunes.
8. Check and see if any members of a band you like went solo.
Sometimes this can lead to great things. One example: The Walkmen. Great band. Not only one, but TWO of their members made their own solo albums after The Walkmen broke up. I have really enjoyed Hamilton Leithauser’s I Had A Dream That You Were Mine as well as Walter Martin’s Arts + Leisure. I never got to see The Walkmen perform together, but I went to see these two members at their own respective concerts, which is as close as I’m gonna get and was pretty awesome. What bands do you LOVE that may have solo artist offshoots? Take some time to do some digging on that, and you may be nicely rewarded.
That’s my best advice for how to find new music without constantly asking the person in your life whose music taste you admire.
Soon they’ll probably be asking YOU what song you’re playing because they want it!
Most of us recognize that we need a change of scenery or a good rearranging or redecorating of the physical space we inhabit from time to time to keep the energy moving and boost our mood.
But a lot of the time we don’t consider a refresher for our mental space. Music is one of the best ways to impact that mental space and spur new creative thoughts.
Be sure to sign up for my weekly playlist! And let me know in the comments below YOUR favorite ways to find new music!
That’s all for now!
Once you’ve found some new tunes you’re excited about and are ready for a dance party, you may want to check out my post How to Prepare for Entertaining Guests: Party Checklist.