I find myself in an interesting position, music-wise. On the one hand, I don’t really have a radio in my car, all I can listen to is NPR and MMQ, the classic rock station. So I haven’t really heard a lot of new music lately. On the other hand, some stuff is so whiny that even if it’s otherwise good, I can’t take it.

I am firmly of the opinion that one should neither jump on bandwagons and listen to things (or do things, or eat things, etc) just because everyone else is doing it. I am also firmly of the opinion that just because something is popular doesn’t make it bad, in fact it’s probably popular for a reason. (Cynically, because this is what the record exec’s decided to make popular; optimistically, because it’s decent.)

What does this have to do with me? Well, I’m trying to expand my musical horizons. So I’m using Last.fm, an amazing place, to try to find new bands. The problem is that, currently, most of the music I’m listening to is very well-known/main-stream. (Even bands that I liked before they were popular and now aren’t popular anymore, like Third Eye Blind.) So, of course, it’s only recommending other popular/well-known bands, most of which I’ve heard.

That’s not fair: it also suggested I’d like Ricky Gervais’ podcasts on The Guardian, which I’m sure I will.

So how do I get it to recommend things I haven’t heard of before? I need to listen to things I’ve never heard of before. That’s a hell of a catch-22.

But this goes beyond just what music I listen to. I want to make more of an effort to make sure I take advantage of locality. There are places here that aren’t national chains, and even a few that aren’t chains at all. Clearly I need to spend more time at places like that. Screw off, Starbucks.