music selection getting a bit stale?

by brenton crozier
It amazes me how many radio stations are essentially recycling bins for 20 year old music. I love ‘Come On Eileen’ as much as the next guy, but most FM stations could be confused for modern forms of Chinese water torture. Music Television lacks its namesake and is now simply a destination for bad reality programming. You probably have your favorite artists, albums and singers, but I know you’ve reached that moment where after perusing your collection you say, “I have nothing to listen to.”
Those small, cherished record stores (R.I.P.) that once employed dudes that lived with their parents but had encyclopedic knowledge of all things music are long gone. We could depend on those guys to have their finger on the industry pulse and willingly make recommendations, raise a disparaging eyebrow at a bad choice and successfully shepherd us into the next best thing. So where are we left? What are we to do when we want to shake it up? I’m one of those people that depended on that record store guy but have been able to slowly adapt and overcome to avoid the pitfalls of listening list regurgitation.
  Although word of mouth will always be the single best way to find that next amazing album, the Internet is full of comprehensive websites dedicated to any and all musical genres. Perhaps the most encompassing of these is All Music.
      If it’s out there, it is on All Music. You’ll find a list of all the new albums releasing every Tuesday, as well as recommendations and intelligent articles written by people truly passionate about music. But where the site really helps you is in its individual band and artist breakdown. You’ll find the genres that the artist is associated with, a list of who they were influenced by and a list of similar artists. I’ve found countless new bands by searching a band I like and looking at the similar artists list. Try it, you’ll like it!
     Where All Music is more of a catalog, Pandora is an incredibly innovative music source that will create a radio station purely based on your likes. Enter your favorite songs and artists and Pandora will give you the opportunity to listen to music that shares similar traits. Within minutes, you’ll be listening to something that you’ve never heard and probably enjoying it. Pandora is a completely free service.
     Live 365 lists thousands of online radio stations. From Salsa all day, every day to stations dedicated to one artist, 365 has it. Again, it starts with something you know and then branches out based on that preference. While Live 365 is free, you can pay to become a VIP member, allowing you access to additional stations.
printed matter
     Perhaps you prefer a more organic way of searching. Magazines are a fantastic source for finding new music. Publications like CMJ, Filter, Gutta World and Uncut delve into the music industry with unparalleled knowledge and interest. From intriguing articles and usable reviews to profiles of the types of artists that haven’t registered on your radar, music magazines are a phenomenal source of discovery. It’s cold out, so go to Borders or Barnes & Noble, get a cup of coffee, grab a handful of magazines and let the journey begin.
c’mon man, keep it local!
     Although radio was impugned earlier in the article, 89.9 WJCT, a public radio station, features programs dedicated to delivering music from off the beaten path. Electro Lounge features nu jazz, reggae and dub, String Theory explores all facets of acoustic music and This Is Jazz delivers everything from celebrated classics to the modern cream of the crop of the genre. Additionally, there are numerous local venues featured in the pages of this very publication! The next time you’re looking for something to do, take in a show. Take a chance and drop $5 to $10 bucks to go see a show that just might blow your mind. Freebird, TSI and Jack Rabbit’s are great starting places and venues like Mark’s, Square One and Burrito Gallery feature DJs that will surely be spinning something pleasantly fresh to you.