Frantic’s Antics: Finding New Music

I’ve had many people ask me how I find new music. I’ve alluded to some things in previous articles and even have given you a run-down of my weekly musical schedule, but that may not answer your question so today I’m going to give you a rundown of some of my favorite ways to find new bands.

New Releases

Open Google Search

So first thing’s first, if you’re looking for new music that was released in 2017 you can simply search for “2017 genre releases.” This should return multiple results of albums released in the genre you searched for. Of course for my example we will use metal as the genre.

When I was preparing for my Newsday Tuesday listenings I had to find a reliable list of stuff being released. While I had found a list on Reddit (covered later) it was narrow and focusing only on Progressive Metal. While this list would’ve satisfied my entire year of listening, I wanted to broaden my horizons and make sure I heard multiple subgenres. This lead me to this list on Loudwire (of all places).

The list is updated pretty often with newly announced releases and makes sure the top of the list is the next slew of albums to be released. While this is for 2017 and won’t help you next year, I truly hope they continue this trend for next year as I’d love to reference it again. Something to note is that this includes DVDs, live albums, and EPs.

My search also found Metal Injection’s Upcoming Releases section of their website so it isn’t a list limited to 2017 as Loudwire’s was. It is reliable but also has news headlines detailing bands with something in the works, not confirmed releases just yet, so there’s some fluff to wade through.

Reddit

Most genre’s of music are going to have a subreddit dedicated to them. I forget what rule of the internet it is, but “if it exists there’s a subreddit for it” is quite the true statement. I’m subbed to the following subreddits: Metal, Progmetal, Progrock, and numerous subreddits dedicated to particular bands like Dream Theater and Riverside. The thing to note here is new releases aren’t too easy to find with these subs, as most of the time the links are to music someone likes that most likely isn’t new. But the Progmetal subreddit has a link in the sidebar linking to all 2017 releases within the subgenre, which include multi-genre releases. This was my starting point before jumping on to Google.

I didn’t count, but I legitimately think there are over 200 albums on this list. Overwhelming for sure but a resource this large cannot be ignored and I applaud /u/iAmTheEpicOne for the effort. Lord knows I couldn’t keep up with something like this.

As for finding new releases in the other subs, the Metal subreddit does quarterly voting on the best albums of the year so you can quickly find the albums the community is deeming to be the best of the year up to this point (and on January 6th they’ll do final 2017 voting). For other genre subreddits I imagine this is the case too but I cannot speak for them.

Existing Music

Now up until this point I’ve talked about new releases but maybe you’re not looking for an album from this year. There’s nothing wrong with that and there are way more tools to find existing bands and their work than new music, so let’s dive in.

Pandora/Spotify/Last.fm

Probably the easiest way to find new music, mainly due to the near zero effort needed, is by using Pandora, Spotify, and/or Last.fm. Pandora plays music based off of a band, song, or style you input and adjusts the experience based on what you thumb up or down. Spotify creates a weekly playlist based off your recent and past listenings (called Discover Weekly) and also has a radio option similar to Pandora. I honestly have never used Last.fm but I believe it is similar to Pandora with options to remove ads.

I honestly quit Pandora some time ago as I found Spotify to be better overall, but I still have friends that use it and recommend me artists off of it that I end up enjoying, so the potential is there. My biggest issue is how effective thumbs up are. Basically spending too much time in one radio station will result in an infinite loop of artists you’ve thumbed up and it eventually reduces the amount of music you’ll find. I believe it’s gotten a bit better about this over time (as my last foray into Pandora was circa 2014), but it is not one I’d recommend.

Spotify can do what Pandora does and then some. The radio feature is nice and more often than not I find it recommending me playlists based off my last 5 listens. When I jump into those playlists I find only a few songs I’ve heard of and same goes for the artists in those playlists. Top it off with the Weekly Archive (shoutout to this IFTTT trigger which will archive this playlist for you should you not have time to get to all 30 songs on the playlist) and I just prefer it more. Sure it costs $9.99/month for the whole shebang but Pandora’s premium is the same price and doesn’t offer all those features. There is an ad-free version of Pandora for $4.99/month if you like shuffling and not having to decide on music but I’d rather pay double that for much more convenience and options.

But overall each method will recommend you some artists based on what you’re listening to and can help you find an artist similar to your favorite. The main issue with this method is only an issue with the more “seasoned” listener who is aware of the top 5 bands similar to their favorite and are looking for something more obscure. While each method has an obscure setting that attempts to produce this result, I’ve found other methods more effective.

Reddit (again)

I feel like the lesson of this will be “if all else fails, go to Reddit.” Either way let’s jump back into the Metal subreddit as it will find you some of the most obscure music out there. While the stuff they tend to upvote is on the extreme side, more often than not you should be able to find something within the first page or two of listings. I have my own documented issues with the community, but they’ve gotten a lot better and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t have good tastes.

You can find weekly threads here too. Need to find a band that specializes in a specific tone you heard in 3 seconds of a song? Ask about it in the recommendations thread. Want to know what others are listening to or share your reviews of your latest listenings? There’s a thread for that too. Just looking for an album to throw on? They have an album of the week every week, typically featuring influential albums who’s release date was the same week of the thread. If all else fails their sidebar has a ton of options from links to these threads to subgenre essentials and more. Who knows, maybe there’s a blacklisted band you’ve never heard of.

Honestly, if you’re looking to get into Metal or broaden your horizons, start here. I’ve gotten lost here on more than one occasion and have found numerous bands through this sub.

Metal Archives/Last.fm

Lastly I leave you with a simple and effective way to find bands similar to the ones you like, and that’s the “Similar Artists” listings from Metal Archives and/or Last.fm.

What I like about these methods is that it orders the bands based off of similarity. Metal Archives even has a score of similarity with seemingly no upper limit. I thought it was 0 to 100 but I’ve seen bands over the 100 mark so I’m not sure what the highest rating is.

Anyways if you see bands on both of these lists then there is a good chance they’re very similar. But they don’t have to be on both lists to be similar; these are just recommendations.

Thoughts?

I hope this has been of some help to you. I’m constantly searching for new music because there is just so goddamn much out there and I want to hear it all (even though I’m rather certain I won’t). Let me know how you find new music in the comments below.

Next time on Frantic’s Antics I’m excited to bring you my top 10 albums of 2017! You don’t wanna miss it!

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