How do you discover music?

Marian Call

A friend asked if I “hung out” at Bandcamp, lurking around the site to discover new music. I replied that it had never even occurred to me to do so. I predominantly find new things to listen to by clicking on links accompanying interesting-looking reviews and blog posts, augmented by occasional word-of-mouth recommendations. I grew up mostly listening to the radio/watching TV, reading music magazines and, later, fanzines. Internet radio, websites and blogs have simply replaced those functions in exactly the same way.

I’m curious, first of all, for your thoughts. How do you find new things to hear?

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Taped crusader: my cluttered collection of cassettes

I’ve had a pile of cassette tapes gathering dust for maybe 15 years. I figured it was time to go through them. Sorting through some old belongings, I discovered an old walkman that still worked. Bingo! What would be on these dusty old tanglers? I was mostly hoping to find a phone interview I did with Nivek Ogre, or a face-to-face with Fear Factory, neither of which saw the light of day thanks to a mishap in a house move. They must have been in the other pile of tapes, which got damaged. Nope. On this one, I found …


It’s in a Smashing Pumpkins sleeve, but is actually a bootleg of Ministry in 1994. I went through a brief phase of picking up dodgy tapes – cassettes and videos – from the Camden Market. The bloke on the stall claimed to be mates with Killing Joke, and said they let him onto the stage to stand at the side to get the best footage. I never bought one of his Killing Joke tapes, but I did walk away with Skinny Puppy’s 1986 Ain’t It Dead Yet and NIN in Dallas, 1990. I’m guessing this is from that market stall.

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7 of the most unspeakably infuriating videos ever

I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive Him Indoors for bringing this to my attention. I’ll grudgingly admit that the video is clever, but the song is awful, they look simply ridiculous and that missing apostrophe is driving me nuts.

Someone should send this to Einsturzende Neubauten and tell them “this is your legacy”. But I quite value my life so it won’t be me.  Continue reading

Women of IDM: The Doubtful Guest

Let us be clear: this isn’t an exercise in tokenism. This article I’m researching could just as easily be about musicians from Eastern Europe or musicians with brown hair or any other arbitrary definition. In this case, it happened to be based on gender, and I’m just pulling out the tracks I happen to like. As it turns out, The Doubtful Guest – Libby Floyd to her friends – is a former opera singer from Chicago (now living in the UK), who makes acid music. She’s signed to Planet Mu. I haven’t listened to acid since 1988, so it was a strange and welcome experience to revisit this chapter of my aural history. This is pretty enjoyable stuff.

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Women of IDM: Zavoloka

With so little time to blog, posts can take days to compile. This time I thought I’d bring you along for the ride.

OK, so you remember the little joke about electronic musicians a few days back? I thought, “Hmmm. Why can’t it be the girl worryng her boyfiriend, instead?” Then it occurred to me that I didn’t know any female IDM acts. I figured I’d find a few.

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Cults – Cults

Over at Collapse Board, 10 reviews of the new album by Cults have been published. There’s a good one, mine, a really bad one (Wallace Wylie’s, which I think is splendid), a poetic one, a pictorial one, etc. It’s an interesting experiment – highlighting how even at the same publication opinions can be wildly different. You can draw your own conclusions about “assholes” at this point.

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30 day song challenge: day 02 – your least favourite song

So these 30 days are not going to be consecutive: that much should be apparent. Day 2 is a tricky one, though, because on what basis do I choose my least favourite?

I once was sent along to review a death metal band, and that wasn’t really fair because I don’t even like death metal, but this band … well, they couldn’t sing, couldn’t play, there were no discernible rhythms or hooks or anything whatsoever to like or even admire about them. Even though I wasn’t into grindcore, I could hear the support act and think “they’re really good at what they do” – I could admire the ferocious tightness of their ear-splitting groove – but this lot? Wow. It was the musical equivalent of Battlefield Earth: so bad, it’s not even funny. The band broke up after I wrote the review. I got death threats. The editor got death threats. I got fired.
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30 day song challenge: day 01 – your favorite song

I can’t say that I’ll be doing this every day because it would get pretty boring for a blog series, but it might be fun as an occasional feature. The first is both the easiest and hardest song to pick:

day 01 – your favorite song

So many songs! Which is my favourite? I suppose I’d have to pick the first song which immediately springs to mind when someone asks me that question. The song is Comfortably Numb from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It’s been my favourite song since I was about 10 years old.

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