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I love listening to music but periodically go through doldrums during which I fear that I will never again hear a song that grabs me like they used to. It's not such a bad fate, I tell myself, remembering the hundreds of five-star tunes on my iPod. I'm rarely one for rewatching or reading anything, but I'll happily listen to a song that I love on loop for hours when I'm in the right mood, so I could cope... and yet it grates. Somehow I don't feel that it's right to allow my taste to calcify like that, even if I could. The challenge, then, is to expose myself to new music in an acceptable format. The radio is an unappealing prospect, because the times when I'm most available for listening are in the morning or at work, which appear to be exactly the times when the shittest broadcasts take place: 'personality' DJs, phone-ins and competitions, interspersed with a playlist of whatever's selling best or destined to. I used to be able to cope when I was a student but I lost that facility some time ago, be it through heightened aesthetic sensibilities, age-related curmudgeonliness, or having come to actually value my time and ability to concentrate.

I used to like Pandora until they shut it down for UK listeners, but I've yet to persevere with any other internet radio things. They always seem to require too much effort to train and/or be very good at serving up songs that are like songs you already enjoy except not as good. What I want is music that is new to me, has the potential to both please and surprise, is not accompanied by any bullshit like adverts or people and, ideally, will make me cooler. I doubt these are unusual requirements, so I thought I'd share some tune-vectors that I have discovered while soliciting any others that the LiveJournal cognoscenti can suggest.

The first was 'tenovertwelve', a CD compilation exchange run by cleanskies, which exposed me not only to tunes selected by a variety of interesting people, but also forced me to dig into the neglected recesses of my own collection to find that perfect track.

The second is a more generalisable discovery: foreign radio. You see, many broadcast radio stations are available via the internet, most transmit for 24 hours a day, but few feel the need to be populist at 2am so they tend to play more obscure tunes with little interruption. This fits my criteria perfectly, because it's always 2am somewhere. Thus these days my morning lie-in is accompanied by late-night Canadian radio (CBC Radio 3, to be precise) playing on our bedside internet radio. I am profoundly grateful to the lovely aveleh for suggesting this in the first place, because it's perfect for me. They play an appealingly diverse selection of tunes, interrupted only by the occasional plug for other shows (and even those are often adorably Canadian), and their website is great, with hundreds of thousands of songs available for free streaming so I can further explore any bands that appealed to me. Also: now I can say that I only listen to obscure Canadiana, making me indier than thou.

Do you remain unconvinced? Well, perhaps this compilation will convince you (while also neatly tying together the two suggestions in this post):



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 16th, 2011 09:58 am (UTC)
Oh come now
You can't claim Bran Van 3000, Barenaked Ladies or Neil Young as obscure Canadiana. Nor Holy Fuck, I'd say, as they've played in Oxford at least once. But thanks for the compilation, which I'm downloading as I type.

If you're looking for new songs, I could offer you a selection of the most recent 30-or-so tracks that I've acquired and awarded five-star status to? Our tastes are different, of course, but there might be something in there that tickles you.
Nov. 16th, 2011 11:29 am (UTC)
Re: Oh come now
I thought rather the same. I rather enjoyed that one Bran Van album, the one with Couch Surfer on it.

Would also say Hot Hot Heat not very obscure.

I went to some reasonable gigs in Toronto when I was there for work, but gig-going by yourself in a strange city is always a bit random. I got more of my music fix from radio and from a friend lending music. ISTR that the radio station I listened to had some interesting Native Canadian music which was a good early morning start.
Nov. 16th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh come now
I only listen to obscure Canadiana, but when making compilations for others I feel obliged to include a few more recognisable numbers. Luckily, I had a few on my iPod, left over from when I was mainstream...
Nov. 16th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh come now
I am always up for new tunes...
Nov. 17th, 2011 09:18 am (UTC)
Re: Oh come now
30 tracks, 225MB or so; some you've probably heard already but there's likely to be a good few you haven't. Enjoy!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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