I need new music. For

I need new music. For years I’ve been listening to a core group of bands: XTC, Beatles, Squeeze, Joe Jackson, various solo Beatles, R.E.M., Billy Joel and They Might Be Giants, with smaller amounts of the B-52’s, Indigo Girls, and a little Classical (mostly Mozart, Bach and Beethoven of course).

In the last few years, I’ve started to change a little bit. I’ve dipped my toes into new music and I have been really well rewarded. Radiohead, Jude, and David Yazbek are the biggest successes. Alanis Morisette not so much, really. I just started another push into the water with Badly Drawn Boy, Owsley, and Apples in Stereo. Those didn’t impress me much.

I need to strike out in a completely new direction, into some genre that I’m completely ignorant of. The best thing about Radiohead, Jude and Yazbek is the originality, or rather the difference from my usual fare, whichever. But this is exactly what makes finding new music hard: if I know the kind of music, and not the bands, I’m stuck. Any suggestions?

And while I’m at it, I need a fresh look at Classical music. New symphonies by composers I’m familiar with, or whole new composers and subgenres. For example, I really like the Mahler I’ve heard, but I only have a couple of his symphonies.

Since I can’t afford to buy too many CDs, I need to be pretty clever about it. This is exactly the purpose to which Napster et al are poorly suited, because you have to type something in, not browse. That’s the stereotypically male shopping model, and at this point I need more of the female model.

One solution I’ve had some success with is searching the archives of fan bulletin boards of bands I know I like. If you search for “recommend,” then you can read postings where the fans suggest music to each other, which makes a lot of sense if you like the band the list is based on. Maybe I’ll take a look at more lists besides XTC’s.

Machine Learning Engineer

I am a software engineer and mathematician. I work on NLP algorithms for Apple News, and research homotopy type theory in CMU’s philosophy department.