Finding new tunes to help the 21st century soul

Push a button and your ears can be filled with joy.

That button can be on a mouse, an iPod, a Discman, a CD player, a remote or even on the dashboard of a car.

The seconds go by slow and the anticipation grows as you wait for the new sound you are about to hear for the first time. You aren’t quite sure what to expect. Perhaps someone has told you about this new band/artist or maybe you like the look of the band name or of the musicians themselves.

The reason for listening to new music is different for everyone. But the thrill of hearing something you like for the first time is always memorable. It is this moment that you can recount to others about your first listen to something you love and how you reacted.

Retelling anecdotes of listening to favourite music is enjoyable, but nothing quite relives that moment like listening to the music itself. It has awoken something inside your soul and chosen you to be its fan. The music makes you move, sing, think, dream and wonder what else the artist has created.

Looking for music, both new and old has become a hobby I cherish. I procrastinate by surfing websites or amazon.com or even the iTunes store for new songs by unfamiliar musicians. Most artists have MySpace websites that offer samples of songs. Better yet, in their friends list there are links to other artists’ pages. Other websites like Pitchfork, The Hype Machine and the aptly named a new band a day all have news and song samples of new music. Computers have made it particularly easy to listen to as much as you want in a small space of time.

However computers aren’t the only means of getting new music. There is also, for you die hard music fans, the old fashioned way of going to entertainment stores or used record shops and exploring. One method my friends and I have tried is sporadically picking up an album by an artist we’ve never heard before. Sometimes it works, other times not. It is the excitement that comes with this that makes the experience worthwhile. There is always a music store to visit when you want to make new friends, but don’t feel like talking to anyone.

In an economic time like this, it is understandable that some people have to keep a close eye on their finances. A way to avoid spending a fortune and still have the aforementioned experience/enjoyment is to always keep your eyes wide and your ears wider. Look at similar artists on allmusic.com when viewing the profile of a band you like. Listen to what people you know are saying about a new band/artist. Pick up music related newspapers or magazines that feature new acts from around the world like Exclaim or Eye Weekly. There is more music than ever that is waiting out there for you.

But back to my ears being thirsty. Or was that my soul? To be honest it’s everything. The music can pick me up during a rough time and can sooth me during frantic moments. And can even tell somebody how I feel about them. Hearing new music that does one of those things is like taking a breath after swimming from deep water. Sometimes I can’t quite express the pleasure I get from hearing music that has this amount of impact. It can make me tear up just hearing a song that I know I will listen to a dozen times over and will find solace in. That’s the power music has. In some ways it provides a salvation and lets one know that as long as there is new music, there is hope.

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