Navigating the Music Scene

I’ve never really known music in genres. Friends and acquaintances discuss different genres, bands, styles, singers, and they seem to know the differences between all of them as if they’ve taken classes on it.

All I’ve ever known about music and the thousands of bands and singers out there is divided into three categories: what I like, what I don’t like, and what I want to like but am pretty sure that I don’t really like, also known as the what-I-pretend-to-like-in-order-to-seem-cool category.

I used to be the type of person who would find a band/singer and then stick with them for months, playing their album ad nauseum. Part of this was because I really liked the album, and part of it was because I had no clue where to turn in order to find good music, leaving me lost and on my own when I grew tired of my current album. I was also still discovering my own musical tastes, trying to figure out what genre or genres of music I truly liked and felt at home with.

I’ve since discovered my niche: it lies at the intersection of rock, folk, and indie music. Any of these, as well as any combination of these, is awesome music, period. I’m not really sure what route I took to figure this out, but it involved quite a few dead ends and disappointments. Now that I’ve discovered this, however, I have a new problem: how to sort through lists that are really, really long and find bands and singers that are worth my time.

I’ve found that my favorite type of music is usually either folk, folk-rock, or indie rock. For instance, a few of my favorite bands/singers are Iron and Wine (more folk-rock), Young the Giant (more indie rock), Broken Bells (indie or alternative? Check out my post on the giddiness I felt when I discovered them), Griffin House (folk), Mumford and Sons (folk and folk-rock), Arcade Fire (indie-rock or just rock? I also only know them through their most recent album The Suburbs, haven’t had a chance to check out their older work), and Great Big Sea (very much folk).

So now that you know my musical tastes, how do I find artists that are similar or just really good within these genres? I’m aware of some other bands from that indie-rock list, but the ones I’ve listed are ones that I’m really, really into. Ones I’ve heard of but haven’t really had a chance to look into beyond a song or two are bands like Broken Social Scene, Two Door Cinema Club, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I’d be willing to give them all a try, but how do I know which ones will be worth my time and which ones not?

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