There is nothing quite like a live music experience. In the old days of recording it was impossible to edit a track to death and as a result the music sounded more like a live performance. So many recordings being made today lack an edge, a rawness, a spontaneity, that can only be captured live in the moment.
The other big challenge is how to expand our tastes to find more music we will love. It still feels hard to find the good stuff. Listening platforms like Spotify and Pandora are trying to help us, but they seem to push the same well-known bands over and over again. They are not introducing us to the authentic underground talent.
Thanks to a number of online music platforms, it is now possible to discover new artists in intimate live performances from across the globe. With the click of a button you can be transported inside immersive concerts and watch as if you are in the audience. I have stumbled upon so many great new artists by tuning into a living room in Istanbul, a backyard in Johannesburg, a recording studio in London, or an office space in New York. I feel like I'm a fly on the wall, seeing a world that is usually off limits. Whether it's watching artists you already love in a raw environment or finding a style you never knew existed, you will definitely uncover great artists to add to your playlists.
Listed below are my favorite sites to check out for great live music and videos. Once these have piqued your interest, get out and see something live in your city! For those of you in San Francisco, check out The Top Five House Concerts in SF and Reveler Events This Week for more recommendations.
This London-based company is making their way around the world quickly. Check out their site and you will see just how many cities they are in already. You can sign up to attend a house concert yourself, but it's pretty hard to get in. In the meantime, peer into house concerts all over the globe. It's fun to see what's happening in different cultural centers, notice trends, and look up the artists that intrigue you most. I'll start you off with one from Amsterdam that's really fun!
Fuse performing "Blue Rondo à la Turk by Dave Brubeck, Arr. Fuse. This is the first time I've ever seen this instrument combo and I like it!
Presenting the most eclectic mix of music of all these platforms, Tiny Desk Concerts gets the best talent. The series started years ago by Bob Boilen and his show All Songs Considered. These concerts takes place literally behind his desk. It's incredible how many musicians you can squeeze back there! The performances are always for a live audience that crowds around the desk and you can feel the energy in the room every time. Their performers are always stellar. This series is one of my favorites! Here is a cool group from Cuba:
As the U.S. and Cuba normalize relations, the musical effects of the thaw are already being felt. Singer Daymé Arocena invokes the orishas as she and bandmates Rafael Aldama and Jorge Luis Lagarza Perez set out to draw connections between the music of the two countries. Recorded on May 2016
Second Inversion is a music project based out of Seattle dedicated to rethinking classical music. The project is built on a foundation of classical music but it explores the vast range of music in and beyond the genre. The word "classical" is too limiting today and the field encompasses so much more than music written centuries ago. Second Inversion is focusing on contemporary classical music and that branch especially can draw from a lot of the pop, indie, and world styles we listen to daily. Second Inversion is a great way to dip your toe and discover the vast world of contemporary classical music. Here are some great musicians from NYC.
The innovative composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Kahane with one of the most cutting-edge string quartets, Brooklyn Rider, at the Second Inversion studio. Here's "Letter to a Lover," one movement from Kahane's three-part song cycle, "Come On All You Ghosts," from their collaborative album "The Fiction Issue."
Paste Studio is a branch of Paste Magazine, an online arts and lifestyle brand. Paste is dedicated to live music and they have amassed a collection of over 85,000 live music tracks, the largest collection of curated live music performances on the internet. Their style focus is indie, alternative, and americana, but there's lots more than that. Paste Studio provides intimate live video performances and they also have Paste Radio, with eight streaming stations of exclusive live tracks. If you can't watch video but you want something fresh, check out Paste Radio as well.
I discovered Torres on Paste and have since become a fan. Here is "A Proper Polish Welcome" recorded live at Riverview Bungalow (Austin,TX).
Stamp The Wax began in 2011 by two friends in the UK who wanted somewhere to talk about the music they love. They are putting out great content and it continues to grow. You can really get a sense of the founder's tastes in the artists they feature so it still feels personal. Stamp The Wax provides great live video recordings as well as behind the scenes interviews with artists and genre-bending playlists. See what resonates most with you. Here is some music from Australia:
Harvey Sutherland, "Melbourne's premium velvet-groove generator," performs exclusive new material for Stamp The Wax inside the Secretsundaze hardware haven in London. It's fun to get inside and see how these smooth and effortless grooves are made.
Continue exploring with some of my favorite videos on the Reveler Explore page.