One of the things that really gets me going is finding new music. And speaking to anyone who has searched for new music, you know it’s not easy. Unless you’re a fan of what’s current on the charts (and frankly, I don’t know if we can be friends), you need to dig deep. Even then it can be an arduous task and nothing about music should be arduous or a task.
Every so often I create a playlist here for different holidays or occasions and have such a fantastic time choosing the right songs for the moment. I love simply hitting play and having a few hours of uninterrupted music to accompany my work day or walk through the park, or for a dinner party/get together. But again, I don’t want it to be a task to enjoy music so I want to have an arsenal set up for those times when I need inspiration or to simply elevate my mood.
“Music soothes the savage beast.” This is a funny little line my father uses often and was the main reason he bought my mother an under-the-kitchen-counter CD player about twenty years ago. Now they have a flat screen (fancy) but having music does make cooking or cleaning up a lot more palatable!
When I think of music that inspires I think back to when I was a teenager and music was my best friend while I muddled through those years. Remember sitting with your friends making mix tapes/playlists for hours? The artists spoke to us and whatever real or imagined malady had taken over our life for the moment. But more importantly, we were still learning by the moment back then and every new artist (or old but new to us!) awakened something inside us. I want to feel that joy that the new Duran Duran record invoked in me when I was twelve!
The last number of years I have found television and film soundtracks to be a great source; Favorite shows or films have a knack of hitting that sweet spot. Next time you hear a song you like from a show or film, do an online search and I promise you will be surprised to see how far down the rabbit hole you go in finding new artists that are up your alley.
On my return visit to Ireland two years ago, my husband and I remembered how much we love Irish radio. While they do tend to play a lot of “current” stuff during the daytime hours, the Irish certainly do love their dance music, they have such incredible banter between the hosts and callers. They play a lot of music coming out of Europe that we don’t necessarily hear right away and artists we might never know. It has required me to get out of my comfort zone to open up to find new stuff — and I’ve found loads of artists I never would have noticed or taken the time to get to know. This makes me happy!
In my inaugural post about cultivating happiness, I said that I wanted to start making small changes that will ultimately (and hopefully!) help me to delve into making larger changes. Reading more, less television. Listening to music. Spending time with people that motivate and stimulate. These are all things that we need to be in the moment to enjoy and explore. Therefore, I’m going to let you in on some of my favorite shows/podcasts and hopefully give you some ideas on how to cultivate your own go-to music. This should be quite fun!
The first is a radio show that we stream on the RTE Player app from Ireland called “Late Date” as it starts at midnight there but 7 p.m. for us east coasters on Saturday and Sunday nights. It’s a great mix of old and new music and the host is Fiachna O Braonain (pronounced feak-na) of The Hothouse Flowers. He’s got a dreamy voice and loves interacting with his listeners. He also has that knack of choosing fantastic songs you haven’t heard in a while and introducing new artists that just might wake up your soul.
My husband happens to do a podcast each weekend called “New York Standard” that is, in my opinion, simply wonderful. He plays a lot of standards from the American catalog including some from shows and musicals as well as a few left-fielders! This isn’t new music per se but it might open you up to some old music and old artists you haven’t heard of — plus he tells plenty of stories about why the music means so much to him.
I started getting emails from The Artists Den a few years ago and recently found them on Spotify as well. They are a television show that feature some of your favorite popular artists but in non-traditional ways playing songs you might not find on their latest album. Here’s a link to a playlist I made on Spotify with people like Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Amos Lee and A Fine Frenzy. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
When we were in Ireland we headed down to the town of Dingle which is not a place you just pass through; Dingle is a deliberate visit as it is way down on the southwest peninsula. We were advised to go to St. James Church for the thrice-weekly live music program of traditional fare. Well, it was so amazing we went back for a second night! As it turns out, they transmit special shows from this very church! Other Voices has featured Amy Winehouse, Florence and the Machine, Damien Rice, Hozier and Glen Hansard. What a way to be introduced to music from Ireland and beyond. Check out their YouTube channel as well. (That’s Eoin Duignan above who coordinates and plays at the regular concerts.)
And lastly, there is a unique music service called Vinyl Me Please where you receive a new and essential record each month. They also include a download for a new music playlist. What a great way to build a collection and learn about new music from people who spend their day learning and sharing music! You will not be disappointed!
I’m going to leave you with the most inspired performance I’ve seen in AGES. This took place back in March and I can’t believe I didn’t see it someplace on social media — Fiachna played them on his show a few weeks ago and we found this clip. I give you the amazing Future Islands…
Thank you so much for all of your kind feedback on my inaugural post on cultivating joy! Now, I pose to you, how do you find new music?