…and what I mean by “new music” is “music that has only just happened to my ears”.
On a surprisingly regular basis, I will get hugely enthusiastic about something and then have everyone else then turn around and tell me that I’ve been living under a rock, and I’m 3-12 years late to the party. I live in a kind of self-imposed cultural isolation which means that I never really know about any new TV or music until one of my friends directs my attention towards it.
Music is an absolutely massive part of my life, but I never listen to the radio if I can possibly avoid it. The last time I listened to any station with any consistency was when Mark and Lard had the Graveyard slot on Radio One back in the 90’s. They could be trusted to be genuinely funny, and also to play music that I wanted to listen to; if there is one thing guaranteed to stress me out and make me angry, it’s listening to noise that I don’t like.
Babies screaming, car alarms, two songs playing at the same time; all will drive me into a disproportionate fury. I don’t know quite why I am so sensitive to sound, but some of the worst days of my life were when I worked in a warehouse that always played local commercial radio and I forgot my mp3 player… It might sound dramatic, but I genuinely can’t think of many worse ways to spend my time.
I also don’t watch TV. The shows that I am actually interested in seeing are buried under so much generic guff (and/or adverts, depending on the station) that when there is a broadcast that I actually want to watch, I just tune in to that show specifically using on-demand TV services like iPlayer. When there’s a whole series I want to see, I put off watching it until it comes out on box set or Netflix, and then smash the whole thing out in a marathon viewing session. I honestly can’t understand why anyone these days would watch a bit of something they really like…and then wait a whole week to watch the next bit.
All of that said, people who have previously lived with me have paid for Sky, then left the receiver boxes behind when they moved out, and I have kept them connected for the free channels. I always used to switch the BBC breakfast news on in the morning, a) for the clock in the corner and b) to remind me that I’m actually supposed to be doing something.
At the end of last year, I got really frustrated with the huge increase in shitty horrible news stories about people all over the world being nasty, bigoted, murdering arseholes. I tried switching over to a different channel; if I got up early enough I would catch 3rd Rock From The Sun, but more often than not I ended out with Everybody Loves Raymond, and a swathe of soul-crushing audience orientated adverts. It was difficult to decide which was worse; worldwide human atrocity or thinly veiled hysteria-generation about household germs.
As it happens, someone else took the choice out of my hands; on Christmas Eve, some little scrote cut the cable from the Sky dish and tried to pull it out of the wall. I love living here.
Anyway, there was no way I was going to pay for TV, given that I barely watched it and didn’t even like it when I did. I also knew I couldn’t cope with mainstream radio… but then I remembered an American rock station I used to listen to online a few years ago. They eventually shut down the access from outside the States, but with the power of the internet at my disposal, I was sure I could find another station.
I tried a few different sites, and they were OK but didn’t really cut it. Then a few of my friends suggested TeamRock Radio and it was an absolute game-changer. The first morning I tuned in, the very first track I heard being played was Alice In Chains – Would?, and I knew I was home.
The music is superb; a mix of all the good old rock, punk, and metal, with some blues and prog and then a decent helping of awesome newer bands. The DJ’s (which for me at least will make or break any radio show, regardless of how good the music is) are sharp and funny, and are all the kind of people that I would actually choose to spend time with…if I ever went out and socialised anymore, that is.
I listen from when I wake up in the morning, and then stay tuned in pretty much until the early evening – because I can get the station via an app on my phone, I spend as much time during the day at work listening as I can get away with. I have found loads of “new music” in the last couple of months, and I’ve taken a chance on a couple of albums based on recommendations from the DJ’s – and I haven’t been let down yet.
Every time I discover something new, I will share it here. For the time being, if you would call yourself in any way alternative in your music tastes, I cannot recommend highly enough that you give TeamRock a listen. Yeah, there’s the odd pop-rock track, but you can forgive that based on the weight of other genuinely great stuff they play.
If you already listen to Team Rock, I refer you to my previous point about being late to the party.