Who was the last band you fell in love with? I’m not talking about that one band from that one festival you kinda liked. I mean the type of band that warrants obsessively listening to their album, memorizing all their lyrics and anxiously awaiting their Instagram posts.
We’re talking good groupie kinda love.
I think we can all agree it doesn’t happen frequently enough. And I don’t think it’s because good music isn’t being made. In fact, I’d argue with so much technology at our fingertips, it has never been easier to discover new bands making quality music and sharing it online.
So what’s stopping us? The fact that it seems like too much work.
And I get it. As a writer who aims to share one new band with you every Monday right here, I get how much work it can be to hunt for new music you genuinely love. The good stuff isn’t just going to magically fall into your lap every single time – you have to dig through a lot of dirt to find the gems.
But I have a few secrets about discovering new music that are surefire ways to uncover bands you will love. (And I bet they’re all things you’re already doing without realizing the gold mine you’re sitting on!)
Here are my 3 secrets to finding new bands you’ll love. >>>
Secret #1: Get to shows early
As in I’m-gonna-see-all-the-openers early. Look, I get it – opening bands don’t always have the same appeal as the headliner you’ve paid big bucks to see. If it’s a general admission show, standing that long can be miserable. And we’re all adults here – you’ve got adult things to take care of! I knooooow! Because I make all the same excuses too.
But opening bands have been some of my very best music discoveries. And consider this: bands don’t just tour together for the hell out it. They do so because there’s some cross-over happening in the music. Put a little trust in this, stop being the hipster kid who only shows up for headliners and you are likely to start finding all kinds of new bands to love.
How I know it works:
In 2010 I decided to follow Rooney on tour through Oklahoma and Texas. When I walked into the Granada Theater in Dallas on August 27, I didn’t expect to discover a band that would change my life.
But that’s exactly what happened when a little band from Austin, TX took the stage and started their opener set. Within half a song full of horns and piano and sing-song lyrics, I was hooked and anxious to learn hear more. My fandom was solidified that night when they actually Tweeted me back after the set thanking me for checking them out.
The band I fell in love with that night? Quiet Company.
Secret #2: Go down the Internet rabbit hole
When you’re using Spotify, click that “related artist” tab under your favorite band and browse. When you’re listening to Pandora and find a band you like, create a new station based on them. Let yourself get a little lost because THIS is where discovery happens.
Being a music fan in the age of social media and streaming services puts so much of the power in our hands. You don’t need a fancy magazine, corporate music store or record label telling you what’s new and awesome. Do it for yourself!
How I know it works:
This is how I’ve been doing it for years. Through listening to my Phantom Planet station on Pandora, I discovered bands like Silversun Pickups, Two Door Cinema Club and The Fratellis before they became well-known.
Listening to The Head and the Heart turned up The Barr Brothers (gut-wrenchingly good songwriters) and Youngblood Hawke turned up Royal Teeth (SO MUCH energy live!) on Spotify.
I’m not saying the algorithms are perfect, but allowing yourself to wander through them can lead to so much music you would have missed otherwise.
Secret #3: Judge the book by its cover
Yup, I mean it. Listen to an album because the cover is pretty. Check out that band because their name intrigues you. Why? Because you know what you like better than anyone else. Once upon a time, album artwork was just as important as the music itself – it was a package deal that told a story about the record and the band.
I might be old school, but I’d argue that storytelling magic still exists…we just forget to pay attention to it when everything is digital. Chances are if the album art or the band name speaks to you, the music probably will too. Trust your gut.
How I know it works:
Do you remember the first OKGO album cover? The first time I saw it was summer of 2002 – the summer I worked as a camp counselor. One of the other counselors had the album and was listening to it, and I just remember all those brightly colors pansies juxtaposed with the white car catching my eye. That was my introduction to OKGO.
More recently, I wrote about a band called L.A. Witch. They were a SXSW find, and I literally picked them out because their name conjured up images of girls in all black running around under the palm trees and neon signs of Los Angeles. I imagined their music would be dark and moody. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was dead on.
What is your secret to finding bands to love?
These are by no means the be-all, end-all of new music discovery, so feel free to chime in and share your best tip on how to find bands to love.
By the way, if you enjoy finding new music, I’ve got a monthly email just for you! The first Tuesday of the month I’ll share three bands I’m loving before they’re share on my site. Think of it like your backstage pass to thegoodgroupie.com!
When you join now, I’ll send you a list of 21 bands I think you’ll love. There’s no better way to jump start your quest to find new music!
Happy band hunting,