When I was in college I listened to the Midnight Metal Hour on Q107 in Toronto. Jeff Chalmers introduced me to Iron Maiden (with Paul Di’Anno on lead vocals), Def Leppard, Saxon, Motorhead and many other hard rock acts.
It was essential listening.
The internet has been wonderful and shitty at the same time. There are more bands to discover than ever before but that means a sea of mediocrity and unearthing a great new act really is like finding a needle in the proverbial haystack. There is way too much music to sort through. Nobody has that much free time.
Media pundits will tell you that radio is no longer a major source of music discovery but if that’s true (and I have my doubts) what is?
Services like Pandora, Spotify and even iTunes recommend more of what you’ve said you already like but that doesn’t factor in what musical tangents you could be persuaded to follow. Despite what consultants think many of us have wide ranging tastes.
Who do you trust?
The problem with having friends recommend music is that we can all recognize a fine voice or a talented musician. It’s the American Idol syndrome. Sure, they sound impressive singing hits we know but can they have a career with new music? Unless you’re name is Carrie Underwood (big voice, hot looks, songs with killer hooks) or Kelly Clarkson, the answer is no.
It’s all about great tunes.
In the past 20 years or so, I’ve had an immediate “wow, what’s that?” reaction to songs by Evanescence, Green Day, My Chemical Romance and Everlast. In the past 5 years, hardly anything and it’s not that I’m old. Okay, I am old but, like Bob Lefsetz (a decade older than yours truly) I can appreciate the skill it takes to craft a number like “Call Me Maybe.”
That’s a hit. So was Gnarl’s Barkley’s “Crazy,” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” and a boatload of Taylor Swift songs. They weren’t recommended by online tastemakers or bloggers. They were on the radio.
If the day comes when a cyberspace scribe can help me discover something like “Before He Cheats” I will read his or her blog religiously (and I am a big fan of Lefsetz but his method of discovery is more like a time machine…check out Boz Scaggs from ’74!)
I’m still searching….any recommendations?