Val's Blog:   8.28.15   







VAL'S VOICE:                                                          photo -Cynthia Lynn Photography   
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, 
"I have my kids download for me" 
I'd be a gazillionnaire. 
Damn, I should have started collecting a long time ago. 
The excuses are many.  
  • don't know the new artists
  • forgot how to download
  • are confused by all the new music services
  • streaming?
  • the cloud?
  • can't remember password
  • which cord?
  • what file?
  • have no time
  • dragged and dropped and then forgot 
  • worry you'll delete something
  • internet is down again
  • where do the songs go?
  • how do i get back to the... 
Your kids get the frantic call. Five minutes before your dinner party. Day of your girls' night out. When you're ready for your run. You run to your kids to get a playlist on your phone. As your begging goes up your standards go down. You'll take anything. Ok, I'll take the hip-hop. The explicit rap? Whatever. Just get the playlist in. And can you hurry? 
You settle, don't you?  You know you don't love their music. Electronic dance music, garage rock, puppylove pop, naughty rap, metal, lame songwriting by kids younger than your kids. It's not ok. 
You do not need your kids to help you find great music. They can help with other things like working the remote, cleaning up your email, carrying in groceries, lifting heavy objects, and showing you how to use your phone. Go ahead and take their advice on cool apps, instagram tips, and craft beers. Daughters can help you with fashion, sons can replace printer ink cartridges.  Just don't trust them with your music. 
And don't trust other people's kids with your music either. The faceless / nameless curators behind the big music services. Who are these people? I think many are kids like your kids. They may know the day, the time and the weather... what you're doing and where you're going...  maybe your favorite song...  but they sure as hell don't know the great music you grew up on, and I'm not sure they can find you a dozen new songs you can't live without.   So good luck with that. 
Don't let anyone tell you what you like.  Certainly not a celebrity or computer algorithm. From now on, you get to choose what you like. With just a tiny bit of effort - and a few tips (below) - you'll own this in no time.



Download the music app Shazam or Soundhound onto your phone. When you hear a song you like on the radio, in a store, anywhere - simply tap the app and it tells you who the song/artist is. It keeps the list of songs for you so you can buy/download/stream the songs later.
Friday is new music day in the industry. Check iTunes/Spotify for new album releases. 

Give an artist a quick listen on YouTube. This is a simple way to check out artists you hear about to see if you like them. Go to and type in the artist's name. Videos will come up, click on one. TIP: Official Videos will be high quality video/audio done by the artist. Some vids are bad quality because a fan took a video at a live show. Avoid those. Look for # of views below the vid to find the popular ones. Great way to filter your personal playlist, keeping just the artists you like. If someone is making a playlist for you, listen to their artist recommendations and you say yay or nay. Warning: YouTube is a bit addictive.

SIT AND LISTEN?   Tastemakers with good taste:
Noted triple A radio stations that are recognized for identifying the best new emerging artists: KCRW and  KEXP.  Or satellite radio stations/DJs:
The Loft Sirius/XM Radio:  DJs Mike Marrone, Meg Griffin, Franny Thomas
Spectrum Sirius/XM Radio:  DJs Jenny Eliscu, Kristine Stone, Mark Goodman  

If you want to go a bit deeper and follow some other vetted music industry tastemakers, here are a few of my favorites:  Paste Magazine (like Rolling Stone for indie artists),  Daytrotter,  NPR First Listen / All Songs Considered,  Al Kooper  "New Music For Old People" part of the Morton Report,  to name a few.

SIMPLEST OF ALL:  (requires zero time)
Let Valslist filter all of this for you 
We will do all the work
Like a personal music concierge 
     - of the best new music 
     - from the newest emerging artists 
     - directly to your computer and your phone
We know you have more free time on the weekend - so give us a listen.
Stop working so hard. 
Check us out and check music off your list.


official website:  LISTEN to this week's playlist

mobile app:  playlists to take with you

Val on WCIU "You and Me This Morning" Chicago TV

Val at New York Times  "Music Match


     A boutique music website that helps busy adults keep up with new music. Effortlessly.






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