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The Musical Journey

By Billy | June 12, 2008

Thus far I have been thoroughly enjoying spectacular sounding post titles. As these rarely indicate what the post is actually about, I may change my ways at some point. Till then, you’re stuck reading the actual post to find out what the topic is. Today I’m talking about finding new music. I have found that I have fairly broad tastes in music, but my favorite niche at the moment is found in some pretty obscure genres. I am am always looking for more music to fill my 320 gig external hard drive with. I am going to list and explain a few of my favorite ways to come across new artists, songs, and even genres.

Years ago, when I first started watching music videos online, the choices were limited. If I liked a song, it was a gamble as to whether or not, the yahoo run website I watched videos on, would have the song I wanted. Perhaps it was my ignorance of the internet, or maybe the net hadn’t reached this point yet, but now we have the glory of youtube. Youtube is a great place to look up songs by artists you read or hear about, whether it’s comedy songs like Flight of the Conchords or melodic death metal like In Flames. Youtube is the first place you’ll want to stop for a quick preview of a lot different songs.

If youtube doesn’t have the songs you’re looking for, you can try and hit up songza. This searches through various media playing websites and collects the results, though I have experienced a few difficulties with the song length being inaccurate according to songza’s player. Other than that, and having little warning if you’re listening to a live performance or not, it’s a safe bet. The plus to this is that you don’t have to watch a Naruto (or other anime) video while listening to the song you want, as is common at youtube.

These two websites are free to use, and require no sign-in. (You’ll find that virtually everything I do on the net, I do for free) The following site does require you to sign in, but I find it entirely worth it. is a site I visit very frequently. A friend of mine, (hi, Mike!) used to wander in to my dorm room from time to time hoping to talk music with me. A lot of the time, he’d have an obscure punk band to talk about. I’d usually go straight to imeem to see what he’s talking about, since youtube and songza rarely did. imeem is simply an online community where different sorts of media is uploaded and shared. You can search artists, albums, songs, and even playlists. All of the sites I have mentioned so far have ways to see and play related media. imeem has reliably good quality sound, which is important to me, so I highly recommend signing up (remember… it’s free).

Okay, so all this is useless if you have no idea where to start. One great place to start is Pandora. Pandora is an internet radio station that does something different from most places that suggest music based on what your input. The developers have analyzed a huge amount of music out there, and labeled artists and songs according to different attributes. I have no idea what half of these attributes, like minor or major key tonality, mean. In any case, the ultimate outcome is that when you give a “seed” song, whereby you create a station, most of the songs that are played have many of the same things you liked about your original song. Your station is controlled by your input of a thumbs up or thumbs down. Thumbs down means you never want to hear the song again, and thumbs up means you want to expand your station to include similar songs. As a result, a station created with the ‘seed’ artist of Mindless Self Indulgence, will have a lot of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson played, because they have many of the same sounds in their songs. Dashboard Confessional and Sum 41 can be found on many of the same stations, etc. There are also genre stations (which tend to be too broad for my liking) that can give you a broad scope of different genres in which you may be interested.

Pandora may take a while to settle down and focus on exactly the type of songs you want, or you might enjoy every song from the very start. I think it’s entirely worth the wait that it sometimes takes. If you start to get tired of the songs you keep hearing, you can always elect to “not play the song for a month.”

The next place I’d like to introduce you to is called the Music Map. This is an interactive site that works off of user input. One option is to simply type in an artist and see what happens. Let’s go with one of my favorite German bands that falls under the genre the Neue Deutsche Härte. (New German Hardness) Rammstein has influences of electronica and heavy metal in many of their songs. To no surprise, many of the bands that appear on the web/map of musicians have similar qualities about them. Some of the bands I expected to find, (and did) were Oomph!, Eisbrecher, Megaherz, and Crematory. All of these bands happen to be German, but I expected to find them moreso because of the sound of music, not the language. The other option with the Music Map is to use Gnoosic. Gnoosic is the concept/site that runs the music map. At, you plug in your three favorite bands and based on other user input, receive a list of artists and are prompted to give a: “I like this,” “I don’t like this,” or “I’ve never heard of these guys.” Based on your answers, you are suggested some bands to look into. After you’re given these suggestions (or you take suggestions from go to any of the other sites mentioned today and check ’em out.

The final site I wanted to mention today is is another community for music whose potential I have yet to fully tap into. You can preview virtually any band from across the globe, so long as they, or their fans, have uploaded some music to the site. This is where I first found one of my favorite bands, a Russian post-doom metal band called The Morningside. As you can see from their site, you can preview their music with, and even download a song for free. Many bands elect to have their songs downloadable. also has the ability to create stations and give feedback like Pandora. Additionally, has the ability to tag artists and songs in any way you’d like. I use the tagging system mainly to find out what weird genre I’m listening to at the moment, but you can also find obscure genre stations like Crust Punk, which my friend Mike likes, and I haven’t met any other fans in my life. also shows you what fans of the song or artist like in addition. You can see that fans of The Morningside also like Agalloch, Novembre, and other folk influenced doom metal bands. The chances of me running across another fan of Post-Doom-Folk-Metal in real life are slim, but I can easily find fans online with Also, there are groups you can join that will help make suggestions for you.

Phew! All that typing has made me hungry. (Come to think of it, I’m always hungry!) I’m going to add these links to my page and call it a day!


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