Finding out what was happening in the music scene back in the 80s and 90s was a difficult task. At that time, the radio played an important role, as well as some specialized magazines that contributed with info from independent bands whose existence was ignored by the mass media.
In the same way, fans started writing small homemade magazines called fanzines, which helped to further spread the word about local indie bands that otherwise would not have gotten any exposure at all. Today the internet is an excellent catalog to stay informed and not pass as a poser.
Listen to An Album A Day
Sometimes it can be complicated, often there is no time to listen to a record from start to finish but doing it could be helpful. It’s also useful to review the posters of different festivals such as Coachella, Primavera Sound or the Governors Ball and pay attention to the small letters. This way you can start adding new bands to the repertoire, expanding the playlist one band at a time.
Don’t Get Confined in a Music Gender
To talk you have to know what you’re going to say. It’s good to be faithful to a genre or style, but it’s worth listening to other things, even if it is too far from the usual stuff; whether current or 50 years older, this helps to complement the musical heritage of any music lover.
Go to Independent Gigs
The emerging scene of each city has much to offer. It’s plausible to find bands that are on their way to becoming mainstream and many will be a great discovery. Also, supporting them strengthens the local scene.
Before Attending a Show, Check Previous Setlists
There are sites like the setlist.fm, where fans or musicians upload the list of songs of each gig they play. It’s a good idea to check what the bands have played in their previous events and to know a little about the material before attending a performance.
Consult Specialized Media
In the local news, a lot of information is obtained, but in international media, always are much more and updated information. Pitchfork is a site dedicated to musical reviews and uploads new information daily. Other sites such as Spin have sections of new and old music. For the rest, there is Google.
Don’t Linger with Only One Source
There are still Internet radio stations, some on public frequencies, independent blogs, plus the consolidated media; the more options you have, the more well-rounded your knowledge will be. Another option is the random playlist thrown by the streaming platforms.
Know the History of Music
There are indie bands that have strong influences from other eras, searching among their related artists, web pages or social networks, who were those groups, singers or musicians who left an impression on them. In this way, it’s easier to engage in a more fluid conversation contextualizing the work of any artist.
Taking these simple tips, it is possible to expand the musical knowledge in a short time, have conversation topics when going to recitals or concerts and enjoy a large variety of artists that increase the general music culture of any noted melomaniac.