Over the years some people have asked me how i find so much "new" music, or where do i find out about these bands. I think there are some sure-fire ways to find new music that is similar to the music that you're already listening to. If you like Top 40, mainstream, radio music, then all you need to do is keep listening to the radio and have the DJ's decided what music you like, you're obviously not into music enough to at least put a cd in or listen to your ipod, but thats a whole 'nother post.
Anyway, here are a few ways i find more music than i can listen to:
Who Tours With Who?
The best way to find a new band is to listen to the bands that you're favorite band is listening to. Most bands (except big time ones) tour with other bands that come from the same genre. For example last year i went to see Gabe Dixon Band, but i didn't recognize the other two bands that were playing, Jay Nash and Justin Nozuka. So i checked them out and well, they're pretty cool. If you like heavy music its the same thing, who is Haste the Day playing with, or who is Comeback Kid playing with. that should give you a few different bands to check out.
What Label Are They On?
When you get away from the major labels like Atlantic or whatever, you find that labels stick to a few genres. For example i have grown up with labels like Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph, they're punk labels, and if a band i like is on that label, maybe i'll check out the other bands on that label. Its the same with Victory Records (Comeback Kid / Silverstein / No Innocent Victim) or Facedown, or Tooth & Nail, Solid State or whatever. Usually labels will put out samplers with music from a large chunk of their artists, and usually the samplers are free. find out what label your favorite artist is on and then listen to other bands on that label.
What Magazines/Blogs Are They In?
Search magazines or blogs/reviews that talk about your favorite artist, and see what other bands show up there. for example i like to read HM Magazine and Paste Magazine. HM is geared toward heavy music/christian like As I Lay Dying or Means. They have a review section that i skim, looking for what albums got good reviews and then i check out those albums. Paste is more like indie/americana/rock like Iron & Wine or Rooney. they also have reviews, and they send out a sampler every issue that you can listen to.
Also you can look at the end of the year "Best Of..." lists in those blogs/magazines. you already trust the opinion of that source, like punknews.org , so if one of the writers takes the time to put a band on their Best Of ... list, then its probably a good band/album. i find a lot of new music this way.
The last, but most fun, way to find new music is to ask your friends for a mixtape. have them burn you a cd of their top 10 tracks right now. its fun to put together 30-40 songs for someone but usually that is more music than people have attention for, even though i just did this for Jordan. new music is easier in 5 to 10 tracks, enough for a car ride or whatever. trust your friends to bring their favorite music, if they love it there must be something worthy in it (unless they love U2...just kidding Aaron/Matt...)
What Not To Do:
There are also ways to NOT find new/good music. the first is listening to big time productions like the Grammys or other award shows. Yes some of the music is good, but a lot of it is based on buzz/rep/name/politics. trust me on this, if you really like music and want to find hard working honest bands, the Grammys are not a place to find that.
Also don't take the opinion of MTV/radio/paid advertisers. These places are all about buzz, if a band has buzz they'll promote, but they're not actually listening to the music. If the band has money they'll be promoted, that doesn't guarantee that they're good. trust music fans, not people trying to make money off music.
lastly, listen to whatever i tell you to listen to, because if you're already here reading this blog then why not listen to what i say is good!
When i say "check out" these bands, you can do that by finding them on myspace, purevolume, last.fm, pandora, itunes...All of these places are free to listen, you can hear the band for free and find out if it something that you want to invest in (or download...).