The indie scene is quickly becoming the next big thing. All of your friends are raving about these bands that you’ve never even heard of. And you’re sitting there wondering, “where do they find these bands?” How do you build the vastness of your musical knowledge when many bands that people are into aren’t on the radio or MTV? It’s easy. The biggest thing to remember, other than to have an open mind, is “network.” No person is a fan of just one band. There are always multiple artists that each person is into. Use that to your advantage.
One way to find new, indie bands is through programs that allow you to search for others. If your program allows you to look through files of other users, pick a person who has an indie song, and browse their files. It’s likely that you’ll find a multitude of other indie songs that you’ve never heard of. Check out a few. You may be surprised at your finds. If your program gives you a list of artists similar to the one your downloading, check out the ones you haven’t heard of.
Another way is to ask your friends. Sure, you may not be the first to discover them, but that’s not really the point, is it? Ask them who their favorites are, and check them out. And while you’re at it, find artists similar to them.
Fan sites are another great way. Suppose you heard some raving about a band called Waking Ashland. Google their name and see if you can find sites where their fans talk about them. Scan the page and see if they talk about any other artists. Chances are, if you like one band, you’ll like other bands that that particular fans like. Myspace is also a great way to do this. Browse through people’s profiles until you find someone who has a similar taste in music as you, and check out some of the bands they like that you’ve never heard of.
And while we’re on the topic of Myspace, Myspace is a great place to start. Many artists have Myspace profiles, complete with a few tracks right there on their page. Many of them also blog to keep you up to date. Just search their Music Myspace option, and see what you can find. When you find someone you like, drop them a line to let them know. They’re usually appreciative.
Another easy way, and possibly one of the most important things in indie music, is to check out the show of a local band. Typically, they play anywhere that people will listen, and chances are the admission is cheap (or free in some cases!). Go check out a local band, and open your ears to the opening bands as well.
If you like the music, stop by the merchandise booth before you leave to pick up their CD (if they have them). Many locally owned music stores also have “local artist” bins, or bargain bins. This is a great place to stop if you’re brave enough to buy a CD without knowing if they’re any good.
Searching for new, indie bands is sometimes just a case of trial and error. You win some and you lose some, but ultimately, as long as you support the small name bands that you enjoy, everyone wins.
In case you still aren’t sure where to start, these are a few of my favorites to get you started: Waking Ashland, Eisley, Morning After, Without A Whisper, The Spill Canvas, The Moldy Peaches, Stephen Speaks, and The Hero Factor. Have at it! Good luck, and have fun.