The new gatekeepers: 5 unconventional tastemakers who will instantly improve your playlists
Each listener’s search habits are as unique as fingerprints. Below, a few unconventional avenues that this full-time listener rides on the way to rhythmic discovery.
Spotify Discover. As an active Spotify user, I receive a weekly playlist that knows more about my tastes than my wife does. Using an algorithm that suggests it may have infiltrated my house to gather recon, the list mixes artists it knows I like with related or kindred acts from its catalog. Hidden gems alternate with fresh music, revealing connections that seems intuitive and tasteful as a human.
“St. Vincent’s Mixtape Delivery Service.” Annie Clark makes innovative pop music under the pseudonym St. Vincent and in 2015 she joined Apple Music to deliver a weekly radio show on its Beats One radio station. With fellow artists-turned Apple Music DJs, including Run the Jewels, Soulection, Haim (the perfectly named “Haim Time” show) and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Clark programs a weekly specialty show of her favorite music. Each themed set is a wonder of thoughtful variety. After the Paris terrorist attacks Clark programmed a Franco-themed hour that included Erik Satie, Serge Gainsbourg and Stereolab.
Aquarius Records newsletter. It may seem unethical to use the resources of a brick-and-mortar store as a means to discover streamed music, but the weekly newsletter from San Francisco’s Aquarius Records is a phenomenal resource regardless the format. A well-written rundown of the store’s new arrivals section, it may be intended to generate physical sales, but a nice chunk of its offerings is also available via streaming services. Just don’t forget to order a few things from the shop along the way.
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