Guest Blogger - God is in the TV
As the question mark in the title probably suggests this is not going to be some sort of 'Dummie's Guide' to discovering the next Arctic Monkeys or Arcade Fire, instead it's a somewhat existential ponderance upon how exactly we end up with our tastes, the strange little bands we champion, the contenders that you - as a fan - hope that they make the big time almost as much as you enjoy being the only person who seems to have ever heard of them!
I feel somewhat lucky that when my family got satellite telly back in the early noughties there were a couple of good music channels that actually showed decent music videos for bands that I had, at that time, never heard of before. Stumbling upon Soulwax's Conversation Intercom at 2am meant I rushed out and browsed the shelves of my local record shop for hours in search of the single, buying both editions to savour all the B-Sides and remixes. Similarly there were great rambling music shows on TV such as Jo Wiley's cosy chat show, Zane Lowe's stream of consciousness MTV programme and Mirrorball, showcasing the greatest music video directors.
Then along came the magical interwebs and eventually MySpace which would lead to me spending all my time searching for bands I liked and then clicking through every single band that they were friends with to see if they took my fancy.
Searching for 'Wales' online and then clicking every band profile that came up eventually led me to a Cardiff-based group called Shake My Hand (scruffy wry Art Brut-like pop, their track Invincible still gets airings on those rare occasions when someone lets me DJ) peeked my interest but at the last minute they couldn't make it to this ambitious final gig of the year. Staring at their Top 8 friends I clicked on Attack + Defend, also from Cardiff, and was knocked for six, they made exactly the kind of music my ears had been wanting to hear, in that strange surreal fantasy way when you imagine to yourself; "If I was in a band we'd sound like a + b + c = something completely insane."
It's also when I started writing about music, posting gigs reviews at The Joy Collective and CD reviews at God Is In The TV, where I quickly became the sub-editor for Unsigned bands and since then my post box has been a constant flurry of homemade, hand-crafted demos and independent label CDs.
It's almost overwhelming as a writer trying to write about all the records I receive, endeavouring to give every single one a fair listen and provide constructive criticism, God is in the TV's team of writers bring so much the passion and give up loads of time to really give a considered opinion on everything they receive, I find it incredibly impressive and, fortunately, it makes for a good read too!
Recently God is in the TV has also started up a number of regular features including GIITTV Introducing and Preaching From The Pews which really focus their spotlight on new and emerging artists, and it's always encouraging - and fills me with a strange amount of pride - when I see the names of bands I've reviewed in the past on gig listings, at festivals, getting reviewed somewhere else and humbling when a band actually remembers me and sends through their next record, even when I haven't been so kind to their previous release.
So, I've been lucky, almost passive, in how these bands have wound up in my musical spectrum and how I've become involved in not only music journalism but actually playing in a band. I think the key to finding out about new music is to talk about it, whether that's out loud or online, even though you want to be 'the one' who discovered some future legendary band the best part about music is sharing it... cue sickly sentimental violins...
So, in summary, go to gigs, buy records, listen to BBC 6 Music, read God is in the TV, tell everyone!
Many thanks to Owain for his guest blog representing God is in the TV. Make sure you check out the show as well to hear him recommend some music - and in particular one special Welsh artist.