Monthly Archives: August 2013

THE 5 BEST WAYS TO HEAR GREAT NEW MUSIC | PART V

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YouTube? Seriously? You’ve gotta be kidding. The same place responsible for making Justin Bieber and Psy the stars they are today, the same place where you can spend time endlessly watching clips of  keyboard playing cats or The 160 Greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger Quotes. Yes that YouTube. 

The key to discovering great music on YouTube is finding the right channels to tailor your viewing experiences to your own personal tastes. So instead of wasting time watching Charlie bite his brother’s finger again, you could be hearing awesome new music.

What you need to do is sign up. Once you’re signed up, look up an artist you like, say Homeboy Sandman. I found a great song titled Homeboy Sandman – Couple Bars.


When you watch the video on YouTube, the name of the person or record label that posted the video will appear just below the video itself. In this case it’s Stonesthrow Records. Click on the subscribe button. You’ll now get to see the latest videos by Homeboy Sandman, and you’ll also get to see new music by his label mates who include Aloe Blacc, Mayer Hawthorne and Madvillain. 

It’s that easy. I currently subscribe to at least 20 channels and the music I’ve discovered on YouTube is amazing.

To get the ball rolling, here are some channels I would recommend:

NMETV

Daptone Records

KEXPradio

Pioneer Unit

Secretly Canadian

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THE 5 BEST WAYS TO HEAR GREAT NEW MUSIC | PART IV

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If you’re as obsessed with music as I am, do yourself a favor. VISIT PITCHFORK TODAY. Created in 1995 by Ryan Schreiber, Pitchfork Media has grown from a monthly music webzine to the primary source for discovering independent music, boasting 240,000 viewers a day.  The site unearths new music daily through a comprehensive series of engaging interviews, news and reviews. 

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The design of the Pitchfork website is sleek and clean but it’s the glut of content and the interesting way it’s presented that makes the site exciting.

When you land on the homepage, you get a little taste of everything the site has to offer. Beneath the headers is a scrolling banner with all the latest features. If I hadn’t visited Pitchfork, I would never have heard the track, Trying to be Cool, an odd but infectious collaboration between R.Kelly and Phoenix.

One of my favorite features on the site is the Staff Lists. The staff, with encyclopedic music knowledge, weigh in on subjects as varied as the Overlooked Albums of 2013 to The Worst Album Covers of 2012 to The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s. And talk about discovering new music, they have an entire page dedicated to the Best New Music, with fantastic reviews on new albums, tracks and reissues. 

When you visit the site make sure you check out Pitchfork.tv. Here you’ll find some great shows like Don’t Look Down, which features artists performing in rooftop sessions. Then there’s Daytripping , a show that follows a day in the life of great artists and Frames, a fun, animated series featuring all your favorite artists.

In 2006, Pitchfrork Media made the move into festival land, with the Pitchfork Music Festival, which happens every year in Chicago and boasts a stellar line up of talent and is a must-attend on the music calendar. This year’s headliners were Björk, Belle & Sebastian, and R. Kelly.

Well that’s Number 4 folks. Number 5 is coming tomorrow. Promise. Now get out of here and go to Pitchfork.com


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HAVE YOU HEARD | EMINEM – BERZERK

It’s been way too long since we’ve heard from Eminem, so fans should be excited about his upcoming album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which launches in November. This track is produced by Rick Rubin and is definitely a throwback to the glory days of Run DMC and the Beastie Boys and is absolutely awesome.

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THE 5 BEST WAYS TO HEAR GREAT NEW MUSIC | PART III

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When we have friends over for dinner, I spend hours painstakingly putting together playlists on my ipod. Having my tunes go down well is just as important to me as their reaction to my pulled pork sliders or chicken burgers.  Sometimes though, there’s just no time for making playlists. That’s when I  turn to 8tracks.

8tracks.com is a fantastic site that allows you to stream music from just about every conceivable genre or artist. Barbecue playlist please. The name is no doubt inspired by those old school eight track players. What makes it so incredible is that all the content is user generated.  How it works is users sign up and create mixes from their personal collection, making sure these mixes are no less than eight tracks long.  So essentially it’s an online music sharing program.

8tracks believes handcrafted music programming trumps algorithms. Think radio in the 1970s, mixtapes in the 1980s, and DJ culture of the 1990s through today. DJs share their talent in taste making, providing exposure for artists. Listeners get a unique blend of word-of-mouth sharing and radio programming — long the trusted means for music discovery — on a global scale.

So how to get into this 8tracks business?

Firstly you’ll need to sign up. Once you’ve done that you create a profile. Okay, now for the fun part. Feel like listening to DJ Krush? Cool. Great choice. Just type it into the search bar. You’ll land on a page that profiles the artist. You’ll also see a bunch of user created mixes that feature music by DJ Krush. You can choose mixes based on amount of likes and listens or by artwork and title (which I tend to do). Now clicking on a mix doesn’t mean you’re immediately going to hear a DJ Krush song. You will however get to hear great mixes that feature his music and music like his. And herein lies the beauty.

Before clicking on the Beats?, Yes Please mix by Rio-Hiiragi, you had probably never heard of Damu The Fudgemunk.  Now that you’ve clicked on that mix,  you can check out other mixes by Rio-Hiiragi and choose to follow him.

Another great feature is the ability to buy the tracks you here on itunes or amazon or soundcloud.

There you have it. A fantastic new way to discover music. And never be without a playlist at a barbecue.

Be sure to visit 8tracks.com or download the app and make your own mixes too.

Here are a few 8tracks mixes I’m digging at the moment:

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THE 5 BEST WAYS TO HEAR GREAT NEW MUSIC | PART II

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I have absolutely no idea when Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson, the legendary afro’d drummer of The Roots, finds time to sleep. Aside from his regular gig with The Roots as Jimmy Fallon’s house band, Mr Thompson is part of countless musical collaborations, he’s a sought after producer, constantly tweets to his millions of followers (2,692,534 to be precise) and recently published his memoir, Mo’ Meta Blues. The World According to Questlove. He is also the co-founder of today’s source for musical discovery, okayplayer.com

Founded by Questlove and author Angela Nissel back in 1987, okayplayer was a music collective that eventually evolved into the online community, okayplayer.com in 1999 . I remember first visiting the site in the early 2000s,  when I would follow  talented artists like, Blackalicious, J-Dilla, Talib Kweli, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Common, Mos Def and of course The Roots, who make this site their home.

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Since those days it’s grown into an incredibly rich source of great new music, film, interviews and opinions.  It’s described by Rolling Stone Magazine as a ‘tastemaker ‘ and describes itself as ‘the original progressive urban music site and maintains its position as the premier digital destination for music connoisseurs worldwide. Okayplayer delivers the full spectrum of groundbreaking music to your fingertips (and earphones) everyday’. 

What’s great about the site is the sheer volume of it’s output, it’s great design and easy navigation. It’s updated daily and you can search through new videos, movies and opinions and under the audio section, you can download some pretty amazing mixtapes. The okayplyer.com home site also links to it’s sister sites, okayafrica, okayfuture, LargeUp and The Revivalist.

As a South African, I’m particularly intrigued by okayafrica which focuses on, as they put it, Africa’s New Wave’. The site let’s you check out all the latest developments in African music, culture, fashion, art and political expression.

okayfuture is one of the best sources for new electronica and progressive music. With the same basic site structure as okayplayer, it’s also pretty easy to navigate. I’ve made some fantastic discoveries on this site. One of them is Toro Y Moi. I love this guy’s music.

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If you love Caribbean music, you can gorge yourself on a steady diet of great tunes on LargeUp. The navigation is not as slick as the other sites but every Monday you get to hear a brand new mixtape.

The Revivalist is for all you jazz cats out there.  ‘The Revivalist is the leading online journal for the burgeoning jazz community. By illuminating the renewal of retro and classic music with that of new emerging genres, The Revivalist is the center of a cultural resurgence of live music. We are music innovators, musicians, and music lovers documenting and foretelling the stories of authentic and original music and how they have influenced today’s popular music.’

And that folks is your number two source for great music. To take a trip down this rabbit hole visit okayplayer.com

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THE 5 BEST WAYS TO HEAR GREAT NEW MUSIC

I’m a little obsessed with music, so I’m always looking to find new tunes. Over the course of this week, I’ll share my top 5 sources, in no particular order, for making new musical discoveries.

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Staffed by the most amazing team of music nerds, NPR MUSIC is an incredible treasure trove of music. I could spend hours on their website or the app, which is available for free download. You can search for anything from death metal to country and jazz  and individual artists through a series of original podcasts, interviews and videos.

All Songs Considered, hosted by my nerd crushes, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton and occasional guests, is without a doubt my favorite podcast. What I love about this show is that these guys share and speak about the music of artists as varied as Brian Eno and Daft Punk to Kendrik Lemar and Vampire Weekend with the same infectuous enthusiasm. It’s a fantastic way to start the week. 

First Listen allows you to listen to full new albums before they’re released so it’s very helpful when thinking of buying new albums.

Tiny Desk Concerts is a great show where the team’s favorite artists perform full sets, live in the incredibly small NPR Music office.

Other programs to check out are, alt.latino, a show dedicated to Latin alternative music,  Piano Jazz, where you can find interviews with Jazz music’s biggest names and World Cafe, which showcases all the best of world music.

Visit NPR at http://www.npr.org/music/

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