I love discovering new music that I like. A couple years ago, when we were recording a different band every week in the Colorado Daily's newsroom studio, Second Story Garage, the new music came to me. I didn't have to do much work to find groovy tunes from bands I hadn't heard before, and it was a good time for discovery in my musical world.
Spotify's "Discover Weekly" feature is what I've used to find new music in the last year or so. But while it does a nice job of guessing what I'd like, the algorithms behind it don't exactly nail the range of genres I'm into, and it doesn't seem to know me all that well. For one thing, I really like a certain type of vocal approach that exists in several genres — tricky for a piece of software to pick up on. Another example: I can grow to like music in a genre I rarely frequent as long as it was recorded well. Does a robot understand what I think is a good recording?
Robots and algorithms are great and have come a long way, but they can't do everything. Spotify's algorithm tries to curate to my tastes, but it's based on what I've searched before — it's limited in what it will choose for me. It can't show me something I didn't know I'd like until I saw it, at least not intentionally, with confidence.
So I've been leaning on my coworker James this year for new music because he's actually doing some work to find it, God bless him. Reddit's new music thread is a great place to learn about releases, and James is usually on top of a release from a band I know and like.
But even if you don't have a James in your life, you still want to know what's new and going on out there. That's where curated music services come into play, and Boulder is home to one of the best in vinyl, a company called Vinyl Me Please.
There's been a growing demand for vinyl since 2006, and it doesn't look to be slowing down. Where digital downloads can be just about the music, vinyl offers a collectible, artistic medium you can hold in your hands — a medium that changes the experience you have with music.
Vinyl Me Please aims to give users the best of the latter approach, one great album at a time. A monthly fee covers the price of one hand-picked exclusive vinyl album per month, which is delivered along with a poster, a lengthy "liner notes" type of commentary on the artist and the album, and other extras. They work directly with artists and labels to offer things you can't get elsewhere — either custom pressings, exclusive artwork, personal notes from the artist or even lyrics books.
Their directive is to help you discover new music or reacquaint you with classics you may not know. Now there's the type of new music influence you need in your life if you're a listener. Or get yourself a James — he's on fire so far this year. Keep up the good work, buddy!
Read more Taylor: coloradodaily.com/columnists. Stalk him: instagram.com/duncanxmusic.