As I grow older, I find it increasingly challenging to find new music that I enjoy. It’s not so much that the music isn’t out there, but rather that I don’t come across it as often. Radio listening used to be a more significant part of my life. There is no reason why I could still do this, but podcasting has replaced radio as my commuting entertainment, and I have yet to come across a good podcast with new music. When I was in high school, Dave Kendall brought me the latest in alternative music as part of MTV’s weekly program, 120 Minutes. Despite the MTV assocation, the show was really first-rate and exposed me to some truly great music that I continue to enjoy to this day.
Through college and medical school, friends continued to introduce me to new music, as did occasional radio listening. However, nothing quite lived up to Dave Kendall’s show. Since finishing school, it has only become more difficult. Ironically, despite the increased access to music through the Internet, it has only become harder to find new material. The Internet makes it easy to find what you are looking for, but with music you sometimes need to find things you are not looking for. Much of what a listen to ends up being new albums by old bands.
Fortunately, there are still a few gems I have come across. My brother introduced me to The Notwist a few years back. Even though it is a fraction of what it once was, occasional listens to WFNX have introduced me to The Information, whose “I Lose Control” and “A Simple Plan” have become regular items on my iPod playlists.
Lately, I’ve been listening to a band who I had not heard of for several years, Nada Surf. Like many people, I had first heard of Nada Surf about 11 years ago with their first single, appropriately titled “Popular”. I didn’t particularly like it, but it got enough airplay that the band’s unusual name stuck in my head. It wasn’t until last year that I heard “Always Love” on the radio. I liked it enough to buy their album, The Weight Is a Gift, which is quite good. What was even better was that it led me to Let Go, a truly outstanding piece of work.
While some of my friends have switched to individual song purchases in the age of MP3s, I cling to albums because it’s one of the few ways I have to hear songs that I might like but haven’t yet heard. The Nada Surf albums will hold me for a while, then my search continues.