For my pal Dapper Doug's birthday this week we hosted a Favourite Records Party which is a party where - you've guessed this already - everyone brings their favourite record. You gather, you drink beers, you listen to and share music. It was a good time.
We got Dapper Doug a King Tubby record for his birthday and we also went to the Lego shop in Buchanan Galleries to create this Lego version of Little Hands of Silver!
Record parties are a good way of discovering new music, even if the music itself is not new. We talked about life, family, travel, work, politics and music!
Be it TV, film or advert there are sometimes great tunes hidden away at the end of the credits. These days advert tunes tend become popular pretty quickly because of YouTube but film soundtracks often contain songs which never make it on to the trailer or the 'official' soundtrack. It used to be I'd stay in cinemas til the very end of the trailers to try and read the songs included or sit rewinding staticy VHS on a tiny CRT screen vainly attempting to guess what name those tiny squiggly letters spelled, but these day (if you're doing well for yourself) you can Shazam a DVD, freeze perfect text on a flat screen or check to see if someone has already compiled a list of all 57 songs on a blog.
2. Local gigs!
Firstly, if possible go to more gigs. And if you already go to some - go to more! In Glasgow there are loads of free nights and open mic nights which are worth checking out. Secondly, get there early enough to see the support. A lot of time we roll in just in time to get a pint and see the main band but you may be missing out on some great opening acts. If you're in a remote location this may be tough as access to venues can be a problem. Festivals are a way around this because although you need to travel you can cram loads of gigs into just two or three days, but don't just wait for the bloated Tinthepark - go to one of the smaller festivals, like Kelburn Garden Party, Doune the Rabbit Hole, Wickerman, Belladrum, or Eden...these tend to be more reasonably priced and enjoy a great wealth of new talent. At Doune last year the thing I loved was that you could chat to the artists after the show and buy music from them directly instead of all the security, distance, waiting and middlemen that comes with bigger festivals.
3. Ask everyone
Bother people. Ask everyone, 'Hey dude, What's this tune?' You're in a shop - hassle the staff. You're in a club - hassle the DJ. You're in the street and there's a busker - give them a quid and hassle them for song names (but always be polite). Ask your friends.
4. Radio and yet more obscure radio
Tune in to the music based stations. I'm a BBC 6 devotee. During the peak hours most radio stations play the same cycle of their A playlist and B playlist of current hits/tracks the station has a vested interest in promoting (the DJs have to do this) so it's worth downloading some shows from the wee small hours to hear some different stuff. Also check out Soundcloud and itunes for free podcasts. The advantage here is that you don't need to hassle the DJs because they will tell you the names of the songs.
5. Shit load of research
Some of it fairly random. I discovered Deap Vally last year because I was looking for gigs on in Glasgow on my birthday so I searched all the local venues then YouTube to hear what the bands were like. Since then Deap Vally kind of blew up and are all over the place so it was nice to catch them just before that. Cruise YouTube playlists. Read articles about bands you love and find out who their influences are. Research like you're in the Scooby Gang.
If all this sounds ridiculously time consuming and you're just looking for someone else to find you some cool tunes - do an hour or so of research, find some good music blogs and websites, subscribe and let the tracks come to you. I prefer the shit load of research/hassle the DJ/ listen to 3am indy feminist podcast/cheap gig going/stay to end of the credits style but it's horses for courses.