The Beauty And Importance Of Music Discovery

There is nothing like the chill that runs down my spine whenever I hear an incredible musical talent for the very first time. You probably experience this phenomena in your own way, but for me it begins in the spine and then makes its way to the tips of my fingers and toes. Before long, I’m entranced in the sound, with all the hair on both my arms standing on end. I rarely know exactly what it is about the song playing in that moment that causes this reaction, but over time I’ve found myself more or less living for those unpredictable instances when the stars align and a new discovery is made. I even made a career out of it, or I’ve tried to, and it’s still something I wake every day hoping to encounter.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not depressed or anything like that. All I am saying is that there are far better ways to pay the bills than writing about music for anyone willing to throw a few financial crumbs your way. People who make this line of work do so almost entirely for the opportunity to experience the feeling I attempted to describe above again and again. It propels us, driving home a sense of responsibility to find the next great sound because if we don’t there may never be another Morrissey to sing lonely hearts to sleep at night.

The Posture is a band born out of the ashes of several once promising New York groups.  Their sound is the result of blending the heartbreaking simplicity of groups like The Cure with a large amount of modern alternative influence. They could fit in on Warped Tour just as easily as they could find success at modern rock radio, and the band’s debut EP, I Wish I Had, showcases five potential underground hits that deserve far more attention than they have received thus far.

I WISH I HAD by THE POSTURE

You may listen to the songs featured in this post and disagree with everything I have said about this band, but that is no way means my thoughts on The Posture are wrong. Part of what makes music so wonderful and mysterious is the ability for a single song to impact people ways far too numerous to count. Some may listen to this band and find their next obsession, but others will listen and feel as if they have wasted some of their precious time on Earth. Still others might think it’s okay, but certainly not the kind of thing they would want to listen to on a regular basis. Everyone is right in their own way because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The important thing is that you gave this band a chance, and that is due largely to the fact I just brought them to your attention. Had I never mentioned The Posture you may have never heard them, which is an example of one of the many reasons countless talented musicians will never have their time in the limelight: People just don’t care enough to share.

Make no mistake: My complaint isn’t with the internet, or even the so-called ‘scene’ in general. It’s not your fault that you haven’t heard and begun to praise The Posture anymore than it is your fault you haven’t heard every Simon & Garfunkel recording. There is some degree of user error, and by that I mean you could probably find a jaded blogger to argue there is, but the blame largely falls on time, or lack thereof, and the various demands of life that minimize the amount of time anyone can spend enjoying art. Music discovery may be easier than ever in the digital age, but finding time to simply explore the latest musical offerings from around the world is increasingly difficult. That isn’t your fault anymore than it is mine.

What we must remember as writers is that music discovery is key to building a better entertainment industry and it’s our responsibility as influencers to play an active role in the sound that reaches the masses. Without taking the time to sift through the various music undergrounds of the world in search of the next great talent we risk running out of creative and/or original ideas to promote. It doesn’t take a person with a Master’s Degree in music to tell you the chart-topping hits of today are largely forgettable. That does not mean the music being released today is necessarily bad, but within two or three years no one will be talking about, letting alone, playing what is currently in heavy rotation at the radio. That is a dangerous trend, and its continued proliferation throughout the world of music only serves to further devalue the work of musicians everywhere, regardless of whether or not they create pop music. The only way to curb these efforts, or better yet stop them altogether, is to seek out and promote the innovative creatives with original ideas on where the future of music is headed. Then, and only then, can we make the people who read our work feel about music the way you and I do every single day of our lives. They want music to excite them just as much as you, but they need some help finding the talent capable of having that impact on them. They look to you and your work to be a supplier of fresh talent, and that is an honor most never recognize, let alone appreciate.

I initially discovered The Posture while spending an otherwise uneventful Thursday afternoon browsing Bandcamp while avoiding the responsibilities of my various freelance jobs. It wasn’t the first time I had been on the site for this purpose, and I am certain it won’t be the last. I know there are dozens, if not hundreds, of blogs dedicated to helping showcase new bands, but I’ve found I prefer the rush of blindly clicking around until I stumble across something whose inherent catchiness I simply cannot deny. It doesn’t always happen, and sometimes I have essentially wasted hours clicking from lackluster recording to lackluster recording, but when something like The Posture appears on your monitor all the lost hours and poorly recorded demos are no longer weighing on your thoughts. You have found your new muse, and for a short while it’s as if nothing else on Earth matters.

By not only seeking out fresh talent, but also promoting that talent to anyone willing to listen, we are writers are playing an active role in shaping the future of music. We’re plucking bands and solo acts from the grey of anonymity and telling the world “Hey, this is going to blow your mind,” which is something admittedly anyone can do, but for whatever reason you have put yourself in a position to say so with some semblance of authority. Music writers at every level of this profession can positively impact the lives of musicians and music fans alike by using their platform for conversation to showcase the latest and greatest art, but only a select few ever seize that opportunity and make the most of it. I can’t make you act differently, but I can plead with you to think not only about yourself and whatever clickbait style article you have been trying to pen to instead turn your attention to the world of underground music. Ventures through the charts on site like Bandcamp and Purevolume, find something great you never knew existed, and share it with the world. You may find something that changes your life, and by sharing it you may change or at the very least make a positive impact on the lives of others. You’ll also be helping a hard working artist, which is what we’re all supposed to do as writers in the first place.

I know I have written a lot at this point, so let me leave things by saying you never know how amazing the world of music really is until you get off your ass and take it upon yourself to explore all it has to offer. Once you do that, it is your responsibility to share what you’ve seen, heard, and found with others. They will do the same with the people they know and, over time, a new music business that was undeniably shaped by your input will emerge. You may never get credit for your discovery, but you will be able to sleep at night with the knowledge you made a positive impact on the world around you. At the end of the day, what more could you ask for out of life?

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.