I don’t know how I used to discover new bands. Boyfriends, probably, and college radio. Now it’s Pandora, Spotify, or NPR First Listen (shoosh, I’m a 40-year-old mother who lives in the suburbs; I don’t listen to anything but NPR on the radio.)
Here’s some of the best stuff I’ve been listening to lately:
If you like Amy Winehouse (RIP), listen to Adele (21). While the latter doesn’t have Winehouse’s black-soul voice, she definitely has VOICE. Girl can wail it. She’ll suck you in with “Rolling in the Deep”, which is getting some radio play right now, but she’ll sock it to you on “Rumour Has It”. Bonus: A cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong”.
Release the Sunbird, Come Back to Us. This is one I discovered through NPR Music’s First Listen feature. It’s breezy summer pop anchored by Zach Rogue’s sweet vocals. The lyrics reveal a serious side to the music, but it’s nice to have the tunes wash over you in all their melodic glory. And if you end up liking this, check out Rogue’s first band, Rogue Wave: more of the same, a little harder instrumentally — for example, the guitar gets a little more fuzzed out on some tracks. All these albums are on my Spotify heavy rotation (so to speak).
If you like Kate Bush or Tori Amos or Regina Spektor, then listen to Florence + The Machine (Lungs, Lungs: The B-Sides). Florence Welch doesn’t sound *exactly* like any of these other female artists, but her music is romantic, baroque, thrillingly rich, and her voice. Oh that voice. It’s… unique. I can’t describe it, really, you just have to hear it. She may be one of those “love her or hate her” artists. I am completely smitten. Bonus: A cover of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”. Extra special super bonus: A cover of Cold War Kids’ “Hospital Beds”.
If you like the Decemberists, then listen to the damn Decemberists. I finally got around to hearing The King is Dead, and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. And for missing their last Pittsburgh tour date. Just brilliant stuff here.
I’m always hunting for new music. I’m also enjoying Jill Scott, Eleanor Friedberger (from the Fiery Furnaces), Stephen Malkmus and the Jinks, and Portugal. The Man. (If you like MGMT or Flaming Lips, listen to Portugal. The Man. As Dr. Bro says, “Bad name, really good disc.”)
How do you discover new bands? What are you liking lately?