Feeding Our Souls

One of the results of falling wildly in love with a band and buying all of their albums in a month’s time is that, sooner or later, you’re going to run out of new music to listen to.

I can’t blame the Foo Fighters for this. In hindsight, I should have paced myself, and learned their catalog at a more leisurely pace.  But you know how it is when you fall in love – you can’t stop thinking about that special person (band) who stole your heart. You want to spend every moment with the object of your (musical) affection, to know everything you can know about what makes that person (band) tick.

At first, I was fine just listening to each album repeatedly, but I didn’t want to burn out, so I began to intersperse my Foo listening with other artists that I liked. Over time I discovered that I could go a day or two without hearing the Foo Fighters, but again, like a new love, I would miss them when they weren’t in my CD player. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, after all.

And then something really interesting happened. My love of all things Foo encouraged me to become an explorer where music was concerned. By discovering them and being so captivated by their music, my dormant love of rock and roll was re-awakened. I knew there must be many more wonderful bands out there that I hadn’t found yet.  And I knew that the Foo Fighters would only produce a new album every two to three years, so between albums, I’d need to find other great music to help fill the gap.

Yes. Yes, I did just do that. I just reduced all music into two categories.

“The Foo Fighters” and “All Other Music.”

Some of you will take issue with this. So I will remind you to scroll back up to the top of the page and look at this blog’s title. The Foos are my band. Don’t judge.

Anyway, about a year ago, the old factory CD player in my car crapped out, so I upgraded to a nice, mid-priced Kenwood CD player with a USB port. For you Luddites, this meant I could plug my iPhone in to the stereo and use it as a music source. So instead of listening to one CD at a time, I had access to everything in my library when I was in the car.

This event was also the catalyst for me to start using my iPhone to its fullest potential. Having music stored on my iPhone allowed me to mix things up. I could even build my own playlists and include whatever fusion of songs, artists, or genres that I wanted to hear.

There’s no right or wrong way to listen to music. It’s all a matter of personal preference. And regardless of how you take your music – whether you store it on an iPod or other MP3 device, or you listen to CDs, or you’re totally old school, and lucky enough to have a collection of vinyl and a functioning turntable (sadly, I don’t) – I’m sure you’ve put some time, money, and effort into building your own library.

So how do you find new music? There are a number of methods that have helped me unearth lots of artists – old and new – that I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve purchased more new music in the last two years than I did in the previous thirty. And I can say with great satisfaction that I’ve not purchased one new album that I didn’t like. So here are a few tips for finding new tunes:

  1. Shazam – Have you ever heard a catchy tune on the radio, or on a commercial, or embedded in a movie or tv show, and wondered what it was called, or who was singing it? Shazam is an app  that identifies songs. It ‘listens’ to the song and gives you a title and artist. I’ve discovered and bought albums by several new bands I had never heard before by using Shazam. Elbow, Muse, and Civil Twilight all crossed my path via this amazing app.
  2. Letterman – I’ve been a fan of David Letterman for 20 years. Not only is he funny and socially relevant, but he has a penchant for great music. My first lovestruck encounter with the Foo Fighters was due to an appearance on Letterman. And from his show, I’ve found other terrific bands and singers. The Civil Wars, Alabama Shakes, and the Shins were Letterman discoveries.
  3. Starbucks Pick of the Week – If you have a Starbucks app on your phone, you know they send you a free download weekly for a featured app (usually a new game or tool of some sort) or a new song. I download every song they offer. Some I like and some I don’t, but I’ve found some gems and bought some albums as a result. Tegan and Sara, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Frank Turner were all Starbucks finds. And even if you don’t have a smart phone, you can pick up a card in your neighborhood Starbucks and download the PotW onto your computer. It’s another free source of music that you might otherwise miss.
  4. Other iPhone apps  – There are dozens of apps that will allow you access to giant music databases where you can listen to new artists (or old favorites). Among this long list are Sound Cloud, Spotify, Pandora, and the previously mentioned Shazam. I won’t claim to be an expert on any of them, so I suggest you research them and find the one that best suits you. Here is an article that might help, if you’re so inclined. http://artoftheiphone.com/the-10-best-music-iphone-apps-for-listening-to-and-discovering-music/

However you find you music, I hope you enjoy it to the fullest extent. Turn it up loud in the car and rock your commute to work each day. You’ll feel better when you get there. Let music fill up the silence while you read or write or just sit and think. Do as I do and crank the volume in your kitchen while you create something delicious. Turn that fucker up! Dance around! Create some joy! You could use some, you know.

And remember, my friends, musicians share their passion and talent with us, and we should support them when and where we can. So if you love a singer or a band, show that love monetarily. Buy an album, download a single, buy a ticket to a live performance. Musicians need to eat, too. They have families to take care of. They’re imparting pieces of their souls in every song they sing, and feeding our souls in the process.

We should thank them accordingly.

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