Murph's post about serendipity and how it's preferable to WOMAD old Peter Gabriel advising us on what we should be listening to made me think: what if I were looking for a new artist to listen to based on what I am currently listening to? I am currently listening to John Martyn.
I'd never sat down and listened to John Martyn until I saw his fantastic performance on the Old Grey Whistle test programme last month. Someone who I'd previously dismissed as an old folkie suddenly became essential. In the same way that I used to assume Elliott Smith was just another shit Americana bollocks artist when in fact he is not Americana at all, John Martyn is not really folk.
So I'm listeninng to John Martyn. Now what else might I like?
Let's consult bloggers' favourite music site, last.fm. Come on, last, give me something new.
On their similar artists' list (based on overall listening habits) there is a 100% chance I will like Fairport Convention. I don't actually mind them so I'll give them that one. But they're not new to me.
Mmm...Bert Jansch 99%, Roy Harper 94%. Maybe I should be growing a beard after all. Maybe I ought to give these folkies a chance. Let's go down the list a little...
Joni Mitchell 78%, Neil Young 72%. Yes, I love them. But they're not new to me.
Paul Weller 61%, John & Beverley Martyn 57%.
Eh? Come on, people. If you've got some John Martyn albums you've gotta get the classic ones he made with his ex-wife. And stop bloody listening to that prick Weller.
last.fm looks pretty good to me. You can sample songs by any artist you like the look of. You can network with other music fans. I would have loved this 20 years ago. 20 years ago we went on our own, we stood on our own, we left on our own. And our bedrooms were not places to socialise.
But this similar artists section really is a load of old guff. If I were to connect John Martyn with anyone in my record collection it would be Arthur Russell and possibly Massive Attack (since they seem to have got their whole sound from John's album One World). They're nowhere on the list. Maybe I'm just too way out. Maybe I should put Arthur Russell into the similar artists search.
That's better. It's alright, I feel like I'm amongst friends now. They're probably all intellectuals, but at least they're not all middle aged beardies.
Mine's a pint of Old Peculiar.