Help me discover some new music...

Hi, Gang,

My rig is finally at a level that I don't feel a great need to invest in new gear. Rather, I'm looking for new music to discover. I feel like I'm listening to a lot of the "same old stuff."

I listen to mostly rock and pop, with a little orchestral/soundtrack music thrown in and a bit of jazz, too.

Here's what I know and love:

Steely Dan (including Becker and Fagen solo efforts)
James Taylor
Dire Straits
Bonnie Raitt
Paul Simon
Some classical Chesky LP's
Joe Jackson
Ingrid Michaelson
Blood, Sweat and Tears
Earth Wind and Fire

,,, and a lot of other things I'm not thinking of right now.

Anybody want to be my "Pandora" and suggest things I should check out? Great music is primary, but great sonics also appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Try using some of the ratings sites and play stuf fwhich many others think highly of.
is interesting. You do not need to register to use most of the sites features.
It is interesting and sort of cool to browse.
Anther I use in conjunction is
to get a second review and snippets of the tracks.
Thanks, Elizabeth, I'll check that out!
Some artists I can think of in a similar vein:
Susan Tedeschi
Lyle Lovett
Jackson Browne
Tracy Nelson
Cyndi Lauper, esp. her recent blues release
Joss Stone, esp. Soul Sessions
If you liked Paul Simon's Graceland, his S. African singers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo have some great records, including one w western pop singers.
Marc Cohen
I discovered more music on this site . poking smot , all kinds of music
Lately Ive enjoyed ;

David Byrne and St.Vincent ,together and seperately
Devendra Banhart,Little Yellow Spider
God is an Astronaut
Paolo Conte
Panda Bear
Andrew Bird
Laura Veirs
Mercury Rev
Cheek Mountain Thief
Twin Sister
I'd say to check out some other genres, bluegrass, bossa nova/samba, classical, opera, jazz, soul, and maybe even vocal music of the 1940s and 1950s.
Go to the goodwill store regularly and buy anything that looks even remotely of interest for a couple of bucks a pop. Various artist compilations are a great way to get exposure to artists that one might otherwise never give any thought to.

Consider investigating world music! I always pick up up most any Putumayo CD I can find for a few bucks or less.
If a dash of harmony and a pinch of twang aren't objectionable ingredients in your musical gumbo, check out Blue Rodeo:
Five Days in July
Days in Between

And for some terrific electric guitar mastery, try Jim Weider:

And for some ultra-urban rock/funk/jazz, try Con Brio:
From the Hip
Also, do not be afraid to try any music from the pre-Beatles era. You will be amazed at how good many older recordings sound on a really good system, especially those given a good digital mastering treatment. Mono recordings in particular can be a revelation. Many recordings that I always thought sounded bland, flat or uninteresting in the past blow me away now these days.

Ever hear a Sun Records digital remaster of "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins on a modern good system? If not, give it a try. You can't go wrong. Or similar with old Muddy Waters material on Chess Records.
Joe Bonamassa - Live from nowhere in particular
Black Dub

Both new on my frequent play list
Genesis with Peter Gabriel
Y'all are awesome. Wow, thanks!
I agree with Viridian that you might want to check out some new genres. If you find one you enjoy, it will open your mind to even more great music. My list used to look like yours and that music has been out of rotation for awhile in my house.

You've got a very nice system and you need more female vocals. Since Melody Gardot is not on your list, you should get her new release 'The Absence'. This is her third release and depending on who you are it's her best or her worst effort. That's why you should start with this one. You have nothing to compare it to. I happen to know it's her best. lol (no, seriously)

You should also check out Cassandra Wilson's new release 'Another Country'. Cassandra is one of the most talented musicians of all time. This nicely produced release features the amazing jazz guitar work of Fabrizio Sotti.Very guitar driven and romantic.

For some rock, I really like Alabama Shakes debut 'Boys & Girls'. The lead singer, Brittany Howard, has a voice somewhere in between Janis Joplin and Otis Redding.

The Sea and Cake
Sam Prekop
David Sylvian
Mick Karn
David Torn
Vinicius Cantuaria
Eduardo Paniagua
I highly recommend you check out some classical music. Small-scale Mozart and Bach will sound great on your system. String quartets, violin/piano, violin/harpsicord/cello. They will sound fabulous on your system and there are tons of mint used records available at very reasonable prices. I think many people are put off by classical from attempting to listen to large-scale symphonic music. It's long, ponderous and difficult to reproduce on smaller systems. The small stuff was mostly written as background music for the royals and it's very easy to listen to. The music is beautiful, relaxing and itt just fills the space with tranquility. Can't ask for more than that, can you?
+1 David Sylvian! My favorites of his are:
Nine Horses - Snow Borne Sorrow
David Sylvian and Robert Fripp - Damage

Both are seriously great.
Rebbi - Someone started a best of 2012 thread. Check it out. New to me from that was the band, "Calexico". From Calexico, I stumbled onto, "Big Lazy". They both might be making music you will enjoy.
Rebbi do you use Spotify or MOG? It's free but with commercials every 5 songs or so. My wife and I pay ten bucks for premium service. No commercials and we have access on our iPhones and iPad and can just hook right into my main system, or listen on the go or in the car.I highly recommend this approach for you as you have access to 30 million songs and really complete catalogs from most major artists. You can sample tens of thousands of musicians before you buy CDs or decide to listen to Spotify or MOG without buying the CDs . Spotify and MOG do offer suggested material when listening to an artist.
Here are other great ways I find new music.
Pitchfork , online music mag. Search for the best reviewed albums, although they have panned albums I find near perfect.
Best of music threads here. I discovered Ben Howard this way.
On AudioCircle I look at what are you listening to now threads. Also in the Salk Circle there is a fantastic thread on reference recordings with great music of course.
NPR , First Listen and Tiny Desk Concerts and listen to public Radio.
My wife explores a lot of new music and sends me the bands she thinks I will like. Lucky my wife is a musicphile.
As others gave mentioned , branch out from classic rock to Alternative Pop, Alt. country has been a revalation for me and I dislike Country music. I discovered Jazz a few years ago as well. Blues and Bluegrass can be great as well. I listen to a lot of male singer song writers such as Ray Lamontagne and David Grey, Martin Sexton etc.
Sample, listen, explore, branch out, and most importantly discover new music that makes you happy.

you are off to a great start. I find much new music listening to NPR.
The music scene is in a dismal state these days. Not a lot of talent, but a lot of copy cats and celeb wannabees making tons of money being 'famous'. Most would not have lasted 5 minutes in the 60s / 70s. So, don't expect too much. I have been listening for decades, and I still listen to the "same old stuff", because nothing has come along that's better or even interesting. I now live off reissues, remasters and sacd remakes. The fact that the Rolling Stones are still around, and popular, speaks volumes.
Your tastes may be different, but whatever the genre, it ain't what it used to be. Classical Music excepted. Good Luck
Rok2kid , the only thing dismal is your attitude. You are so wrong. So keep your ba humbug attitude , and keep listening to the same old crap. I really pity closed minded people.
There is tons of great music coming out everyday, but you will never enjoy it , because you are negative.
Certainly , don't discourage others who yearn to seek out great new music, to adopt your ridiculous notion that there is no great new music.
I have to agree with Toddnkaya that there really is a lot of great new music out there. The only issue is that so many people listen to the same old stuff or bad pop music, the great new artists don't get any radio play. I listen to NPR and my local public radio station because they're the ones spinning the great new artists. Try listening to Mountain Stage or World Cafe. I actually think things are getting better, not worse. You just need to know where to look. NPR Music is a great app if you have an iPhone.
Did you read the OP's list? I am familiar with everyone he listed, except possibly, Ingrid Michaelson. Love them all. But, most of these people are done, or pretty much done. So the question is, where and who are their replacements? The NEW Stones? Motown? Blues? Elvis? Dylan? Miles? The fact is, that was a golden age that has ended. I, and some of you, were lucky to have been at the right age during that era. But it's over folks.

NOW, if the OP likes the current stuff, then he is a lucky man. He has something to look forward to. I only have maybe a new greatest recording of some Beethoven or Brahms etc.... Or maybe a new release in SACD.
Maybe someone will find a long lost Monk tape. Maybe Sonny Rollins gets a new burst of creativity. Maybe!
Just look back in this music category to find many threads related to your quest. I've found plenty there.
Rok. There's not going to be a replacement. Rock was a new genre for these bands. They set the bar. Do you really want more of the same old same old?

Many of the artists you mention we're influenced by American blues artists. The musicians of today are influenced by so much more. Since the 60's the music scene has changed for the better thanks to artists like Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne etc. (and countless more). If it wasn't for David Byrne I wouldn't know a thing about all the amazing Brazilan artists that fill my home with music. If it weren't for ACDC the Alabama Shakes debut album may have never come to fruition. The Rolling Stones best album 'exile in main street' would have never been recorded had it not been for musicians like Sonny Boy Williams and Howlin' Wolf. Can you see how this plays out? If everyone tried to copy Three Dog Night and Bob Dylan we'd all be falling asleep to cover bands in front of our stereos. Move on my friend. I don't want to come across as being a jerk but you could stand to follow this thread if you're still listening to The Doors and The Who. They had their moments in music history and that's exactly what it is. History.
If you've never heard it: Thelonious Monk's 'Monk's Music'. Just my humble opinion, of course. Great intro to Monk with John Coltrane and Coleman Hawkins (and Gigi Gryce and Art Blakey come to think of it). Everyone should know a little Monk. It's central to knowing jazz.
Could it be possible that all the great art has already been created? That there is nothing left to say. Think about that for a moment. I didn't mean to imply that I think current performers should just play the same thing as their predecessors. But there is no greatness. It's all bland. No game changers. It has all become 'visual'. How you look and act is more important than what you are 'saying'. And it is not limited to music. Hollywood is not spared. Where are the great classical composers? Ballet? Opera? All the great art being performed today was created by people long dead. Seems as if the older actresses have a lock on the Oscars, and with good reason! i.e. British Babes.
When PBS wants to raise money what show do they put on, the old guys from the 60s. Way pass their prime, but, more popular than the current crop.

I get what you said about music evolving from the previous generation of artist, but we have a break in that chain now. If Sonny Boy and Wolf led to the Stones, what have the Stones led to? I think some of the so-called genres, are actually evidence of the lack of talent. Metal, anything with the word 'comtemporary' in front of it. i.e. blues, gospel, country jazz, Blue grass. Just watering it down so the current group can excel. Did I mention Jazz?

I wish the OP well. I am just saying, maybe a Look back, is the place to start. It's cheaper and will be more rewarding musically, in all genres save Classical.
Thanks for the post.
What a wonderful thread this has turned into! You guys are great. So many good ideas here, thank you.

Chayro, thanks for the small-scale classical suggestion. The long/ponderous thing with big, symphonic works is an issue for me, so going more toward chamber music makes some sense.

Again, I'm grateful to everybody for mentioning all kinds of stuff I've never heard of, and for the suggestions of streaming services and web sites to spice up the search. Thanks for your interest, time and passion for music!

Two factors, I guess, pushed me over the edge in wanting to explore new music.

1) I'm now happy enough with my rig to not feel the constant need to tweak, so I've actually been exploring my music collection more completely again.
2) I have long adored Steely Dan and Donald Fagen, but I found his most recent album to be a disappointment, and it got me thinking: "My musical tastes are still too much stuck in high school (and yikes, I'll be 55 in a few weeks!)... time to shake things up!" :-)
I understand what you're saying Rok. There's only so many combinations of riffs, chords, scales etc. if we're only talking about rock, there's been some stand outs I could think of. Did you ever hear of a band called Morphine from the 90's? They were groundbreaking. How about Jack White?

There's still people composing classical music. I live in a city with one of the top music schools in the U.S. Its the Eastman School of Music. Renee Fleming is one of our claims to fame. We just started a school of pop music ( the first in the world) in hopes to inject some actual musical talent back into pop music. We have to invest in our future. The best you and I can do is to not watch the talent shows on television. Buy the music of the talented few. Support good musicians by attending their shows. This world is changing fast and it looks like we can no longer sit back and wait for the next great artist. We have to demand it and support it. I can already see what budget cuts in the arts is doing to this world. Part of my hobbie in hifi is an investment in the future of our artists, no matter what country they're from. It was in fact music that got me to this forum. Not my hifi.
I see Miss Fleming quite often in the British music magazines. A great talent and beauty. The articles in the English magazines tend to illustrate your statements about encoraging and supporting our arists. The Brits / Europeans seem to do a great job of that. I agree with all your points. And since the average cable on this site costs more than my entire system, you know music is the reason I am here also. :)

I am not familiar with Morphine or Jack White, but I will make it my business to get to know their work. I didn't know about the pop music school. Glad to hear it.
Thanks for the post. very informative.
It mathematically makes sense to argue for a law of diminishing returns in terms of innovation and originality in art, (there is plenty of not real tasty supporting evidence around). But occasionally surprises have popped up and have appeared to breathe new life into a dead horse... it's hard to say that will never happen again.
Anyway, the O.P. list indicates that there is A LOT of potentially rewarding stuff for him to check out. How someone gets to a point where they dig music that pushed or is still pushing boundaries can vary quite a bit. It's not hard to see someone maybe picking up the 1st Friends of Dean Martinez disc...then getting Michael Hedges Aerial Boundaries or John Abercrombie Timeless and moving to Zappa Grand Wazoo or T.J. Kirk... and after that stuff like Mingus, post 60's Miles, Can, Monk, Terje Rypdal, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Ornette Coleman, John Zorn, King Crimson and Stravinsky.
I forgot to mention Zappa. I have a few of his LP's -- Sheikh Yerbouti and Apostrophe come to mind -- but my collection's not very deep. I sometimes have trouble getting past the 8th grade potty humor on those lp's, but the musicianship and creativity are undeniably brilliant.
Rock2kid, I would say that music scene today is far more divergent and is teeming with talent and innovation, then in the sixties and seventies.
There are tens of thousands of bands, and never has it been easier to listen and explore new music. You tube, Spotify , MoG, Rapsody, Sirrus etc.
Regarding your post , where are the next Rolling Stones, Elvis etc., my wife and I were discussing the new world of the music industry. There are few bands today playing stadiums like The Stones, Who and Zepplin did, but that does not mean that there are not many bands who can equal or surpass their talent in playing,recording, and touring. The musical climate dictates that many of these fantastic bands are not going to reach the stratospheric heights of these MEGA bands. So, the awesome bands of today, such as Wico, you will get to see in a small intimate theater that seats less than 2000 people. In my opinion there are alot of bands in the mix today that have the talent,creativity,and musical chops to equal the Mega bands of the sixties and seventies.
"Rock2kid, I would say that music scene today is far more divergent and is teeming with talent and innovation, then in the sixties and seventies."

I would tend to agree, or at least it is much easier to discover new talents and innovations, where they exist.

A lot of modern innovation is built around fusion of more traditional genres, like Steely Dan helped do with rock and jazz back in their day. That is a good thing and opens up a lot of new opportunities for talent to innovate and move in new directions!

Most of the traditional genres, including classic rock, have been beaten to death. THinking in terms of traditional "genres" can be a trap that limits ones exposure to new enjoyable music. Listen first, then categorize what you hear, not the reverse. That is something I used to do as a youth and am learning to do now again better than ever. Plus it all sounds better than ever on a good modern rig! There has never been a better time to be a music loving audiophile!

Avoid traps like "oh I don't like rap or electronic dance music" and never give any a try. You are armed and dangerous! Try it all first, then decide what is good or not.

These days, I listen to pretty much anything again, especially queued up randomly on my music server which I refer to as "mapman radio". Squezzebox even adds a nice fade-out/fade-in effect between tracks that keeps the music flowing. No need for record spinning DJs anymore. THe computer truly does a great job! I never know which of the thousands of tracks in dozens of genres will come up next. THat helps to avoid letting prior judgements or expectations affect what I listen to. There are very few tracks that I skip through. Of course, once you hear a movement from some symphony or some on off cut that you never heard before and like that strikes your fancy, you might want to play the whole album, though album listening now occupies a smaller % of my time than ever. A lot of good music tracks stand best alone.
There are some excellent ideas on this thread. As an avid music collector, I am the twisted individual who gave away 8 record crates of albums when I moved to NY to pursue a career only to replace the collection with cds as technology changed. I still have not fully embraced the download scene because I enjoy the tangible aspects of a cd package (artwork, liner notes,the full package). I admire most every style and genre of music. However, originality is the key to success for me. Here are a few sources of new music I have successfully used that have not been mentioned:
TV: Austin City Limits on PBS is a great forum for music. Set your Tivo now. Jools Holland is another show that has a diverse line up of new talent. Jools was the keyboard player for Squeeze and is a talented musician in his own right.
Homegrown Music Network: is a consortium of independent labels that distribute for new bands. Good source for bluegrass, reggae, and college type bands. Their annual cd of the year is an automatic purchase for me. is a website with record/concert reviews with a slant towards Grateful Dead type bands. They post the top 100 cd college radio playlist monthly. I am like an NFL coach looking at college offenses for new ideas. Jambands turned me onto Trombone Shorty,Tedeschi Trucks,and others this year.
Record labels: You will find that you share similar tastes to certain A&R reps on labels. is a German label that publishes several paisley underground and alt-country artists I enjoy. I got an excellent 3 cd set of Cracker Live at rockpalast from them this year. releases cds and dvds of classic rock artists including archival concerts from Peter Frampton, the Stones, ZZ Top, and many others. is a blues label that has some of the best blues artists today including Mitch Kashmar, Kirk Fletcher,and others. This is a download site where you can either order hard copy cd's or downloads from many participating artists.
Finally, don't forget we live in a global economy. You can just as easily order from Amazon UK vs. Amazon and sometimes save money and find unique items.
Jeff Buckley: Grace
Joni Mitchell: Blue, Ladies of the Canyon, or Court and Spark.
Elliot Smith: Either/Or
"I forgot to mention Zappa. I have a few of his LP's -- Sheikh Yerbouti and Apostrophe come to mind -- but my collection's not very deep. I sometimes have trouble getting past the 8th grade potty humor on those lp's, but the musicianship and creativity are undeniably brilliant."

Yellow Snow was pretty innovative potty humor back when Apostrophe was released. :-)

ZAppa was very talented and innovative in certain ways, especially rhythmic patterns, and also an excellent guitarist usually with excellent musicians, but also all over the place.
If you are tired of "the same old stuff" like I was last year, then look up all the recommendations of Richard Stacey on this forum.

Many of his reviews/recommendations have opened my musical world. FYI I grew up with Buddy Holly, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin and Jackson Browne.
Just to show that I am not entirely stuck on Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. Two recent (to me) gems, The Colorado String Quartet, and Oleto Adams. I highly recommend both. The quartet, it's good to see Americans playing this music at this level. All female. Can be seen and heard on youtube. Miss Adams sings like Gladys and Aretha sang. Great voice, great material. So you Gentleman are correct. There is talent out there. I am just late discovering it. Maybe you have to look harder these days to find it. There is so much static out there. Thanks for the informative posts from everyone.
Hot Rats
Chunga's Revenge
Burnt Weenie Sandwich
(on a diverging path, find yourself some "Sugarcane Harris")

Reuben and the Jets (one of THEE most romantic albums ever)

200 Motels
Yellow Shark

It is true - not every track is equally wonderful BUT imo Zappa was a genius with a capital 'G'. Worth digging through $h** to find the diamonds. The diamonds are definitely there.
"Music reflects the times that it was recorded in" and if you liked the 60's and 70's you will hate most music from the 80's up to today!

Here are some from "since the 80's" that I like:

Dave Holland group
Karrin Allyson
Cheryl Bentyne
Chris Rea
Concrete Blonde
Diana Krall
Eliza Gilkyson
Eva Cassidy
Holly Cole
John Abercrombie
Lisa Stansfield
The Motels
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Natalie Merchant
Peter Epstein
Rory Block
Todd Garfinkle
Tracy Chapman

Many genres but all good.
I agree with many that have been posted. I would suggest some more not all new.

Cassandra Wison silver pony + belly of the sun
Ottmar Lebert with Luna Negra la semana
Gillian Welch the harrow + the harvest
Del McCoury + The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks tangled tales
Carlos del Junco blues mongrel
Bela Fleck greatest of the 20th century
Will the Circle be Unbroken vol. 2
Sonnny Rollins the Quartets with Jim Hall
Ry Cooder
Eric Bibb
Beth Hart

You may enjoy these if you had not before.

Rebbi , You never answered my question if you listen to Spotify or Mog? Great way to listen to tens of thousands of bands.
Have you tried any new bands that you are enjoying?
I highly reccomend listening to Ben Howard's first release called, A New Kingdom.
Also,here is a link to the top 50 albums of 2012 as chosen by WYEP our local public radio station here in Pittsburgh.
There are many fantastic albums listed in here. Included are 30 second samples of each album.
I don't use either of those services but I just downloaded and installed Spotify on my MacBook Pro, so I'll check it out. Thanks for the reminder.
Radio Paradise is a good internet radio source for those with a core in classic rock looking to branch out.
Bands I like: UK: Here we go magic, Florence + the Machine, Django Django; Australia: Paul Kelly, Tame Impala;
US: Ty Segall, Calexico, the Throwdowns, the Killers

Hve you ever checked out The Decemberists? Might be worth a listen.
I did not read all the replies as I am in a big hurry...
But check out CALEXICO "STOP LIGHT" the one with the 64 Chevy on the cover. The LP is a MUST HAVE!!
(However, after just wasting 30.00 on the "ALGIERS" album, I wonder what happened.)
I wonder what the engineers were thinking. It sounds like something done quickly...for FM the late 70's. All mushed together. TERRIBLE, lifeless mix!
CD is every bit as terrible. (It came with the LP)

Check them out though. Like a breath of fresh air.
Try "over my shoulder" if you would like to hear a sample of what is in store for you.

Also, an album called "ILLINOIS" by Sufjan something or other..."John Wayne Gacy" is spooky stuff...great!!!
Great moniker, and thanks for the suggestions!
Also, check out "SUN KILL MOON" Several albums out, but "Admiral Fell Promises" is the first one I got...and it hooked me. Check out "Alesund" for a sample of what is in store. GREAT recording to boot.

JIC...Reading your list, you should know about Buckingham Nicks/Nicks Buckingham

Eddie From Ohio "Quick" "Juggler on his blades" Folky, funky, different, excellent.

Of Monsters and Men / My head is an animal

Are you aware of the new Eric Woolfson Releases? "Freudiana" should be in every Alan Parson-friendly collection. There are others...

Jarek Smietana & Wojtek Karolak - What's Goin' On

Joshua James "build me this"

And one I did not see in my second quick scan through this thread. To me, the most under-rated album since 1979.

WILLY DEVILLE "Miracle" (This is Mark Knopflers production.)
LP is very good, the latest CD remaster is even better.

Too bad Willy is no longer with us.
Sorry for the choppy nature of this post, but it is a cut and paste from an email. Happy listening!