I’ve been a Tidal music streaming service subscriber now for quite a while. One of my regular, bi-monthly activities is to peruse new music offerings via this service. I set aside a block of time, sit down in front of my computer, put on a pair of earphones, open up Tidal’s main page, then go to the “Albums” page where I begin listening to EVERY ALBUM that’s listed there. After I’ve found five new albums I like I go into the “Genre” section of Tidal and look into the “Pop,” “Rock,” “Alternative,” “Folk/Americana,” “Blues,” and “Classical” sections. Since this could take hours if I listened to entire cuts or albums l usually allow just a minute or so per album – just like an A&R person or radio programmer of yore, if it doesn’t grab me after 30 seconds, it probably won’t get into my Tidal album library. When I hear something that does grab me I click the “Like” star that adds it to the album section of “My Music” in the Tidal app.
I have some very basic ground rules when listening to new music. My primary rule is if the lyrics contain the N, M, or H words during the first thirty seconds of a song I hit the stop button and go onto the next artist’s album. For the same reasons that I don’t watch car wrecks, or recreations of rapes or murders, I don’t need some kinds of music in my life. That’s me. Obviously your tolerance for this kind of social message may be different than mine. If so, have at it.
One of the features that I like about the Tidal playback app for Mac (I assume the PC version has the same feature) is that it can list albums in order of acquisition with the newest albums first. That way I can go into my albums section and immediately see my newest additions. After adding a whole bunch of new albums during my “A&R sessions” I can listen to them in detail, at my leisure, later.
During my most recent for quest for new music I found a number of artists whose work was unfamiliar to me (or who were familiar, but I had not heard their latest.)
The first album was from Aaron Neville. Apache grabbed me with its first-class production values and, of course, Neville’s stellar vocals.
Youth Authority, from Good Charlotte, is one of those guilty pleasures albums that instantly transported me back to the mindset of early adulthood, full of crunchy guitars and adolescent angst.
My next find was The Definition Of…from Fantasia. I could practically hear the money spent on this production, and I like the way Fantasia phrases her lyrics with precision.
Although the F-word does appear during the first 30 seconds, Boy King from Wild Beasts, had an edgy mix of electronica and smooth vocals with addicting groove that appealed to me.
J Mascis Live at CBGBs: The First Acoustic Show from Dinosaur Jr. was interesting enough to make it into the album library despite the fact that the guitar tech couldn’t get the acoustic in tune to save his life.
Of Montreal’s Innocence Reaches is kind of an synth-rock pop 90’s throwback with traces of Suicide combined with a frothy dance-pop which contrasts with the rather odd lyrics.
I found that despite his rather uninviting artist moniker Encore from DJ Snake was surprisingly musical with a sophisticated mix and good production values.
Home of the Strange by Young the Giant first cut, “Amerika” has a luxuriously soft textured sound with a huge sonic palette. I was also quite impressed by the sonic sophistication of the arrangements.
Although I had heard of Danny Barnes (he won Steve Martin’s yearly banjo prize this year) I was not familiar with him. After hearing his duet set with Hot Rize’s Nick Forster at the 2016 live Rockygrass I added all his albums to my library. But a good place to start on his discography is with his album Get Myself Together where you’ll find his arresting version of the Richards/Jagger classic “Sympathy for the Devil.”
And that was what I found in the way of new music on my most recent foray into the new music offered on Tidal. Not bad for an hour’s work…