A few months ago, I was listening to my iPod on the way to work as usual when I was struck by an unwelcome revelation. As I flipped between each song on my 400-track playlist, I realised that almost all of them were either music from my youth or releases from bands/artists that I first started listening to back in the 90s.
Perhaps it’s not that surprising. I’m 34 now and, as far as I can tell, that’s the prime age for bemoaning todays kids and their clearly inferior musical tastes. I stopped listening to Radio 1 almost a decade ago, just as the DJs I listened to during my late teens started making the inevitable exodus across to the easy listening haven of Radio 2. I rarely go to gigs, due to the almost-2-year-old that now lives in my house and demands daily attention/worship like some sort of miniature Norse god.
But the thing is, I’m not ready to settle into middle age quite yet. I don’t want to spend my days drinking Horlicks and listening to commercial radio staples like Adele and Coldplay, or grumpily arguing that Daft Punk’s latest stuff isn’t a patch on the tunes they were churning out on Homework and Discovery. And most of all, I don’t want to dismiss an entire catalogue of modern music as “some whimsical indie dream-pop bullshit” just because I a) haven’t heard much of it and b) reckon that hipsters like it.
The thing is, I used to be pretty good at discovering new music. Back in my uni days, I’d buy weird random crap from second-hand record shops and listen intently for new stuff that grabbed my attention. I edited the music section of my student paper and poured through all of the promo CDs looking for new favourites to add to my lexicon. I went to crazy gigs featuring little bands just starting out on their winding road to stardom (like Muse in a tiny 100-capacity venue) and others who unfortunately weren’t destined for greatness (such as the brilliant but chronically overlooked Crocketts).
But somewhere along the way, I stopped doing it. The gigs dried up, I sopped listening to new music and instead just stagnated in nostalgia.
That’s how the 365 New Music Project was born. Essentially I’m challenging myself to an entire year of broadening my musical tastes, discovering awesome new bands and generally becoming inspired by music again.
During the challenge I have to post a new song that I find and that I like. Every single day. And there are a few rules I have to follow.
1) It can only be songs from this decade – i.e., 2010 onwards. And preferably only those from within the past 3 years.
2) Each song has to be by an artist or group that is not super-famous or well-known. (this will be subject to review, but it basically avoids me posting any Vampire Weekend, 30 Seconds to Mars etc… for cheap points). I have to discover this music myself.
3) No repetition. Once an artist or band is on the list, I can’t use any more songs that they’ve done. Even collaborations.
4) There must be a (relatively) broad range of musical genres. I’m not going to lie – I’m more of a rock/indie/folk kind of guy but I have to at least make an attempt to branch out into other areas.
So that’s it. A new musical odyssey awaits. The challenge will commence on September 1st 2014 and I can’t wait to start…