One of the greatest forms of procrastination I have found is "music popping." Ah, yes, you say, Golden Music Guru, what is this "music popping"? Well, my child, it is that fantastic realm you enter when you begin to look up an artist, and it leads you to another artist, and a song on a compilation album with another artist you must discover, and pretty soon you've gone from Gilbert & Sullivan to Jamie Cullum.
Often I will find myself deftly searching a new artist I've heard of or run across and I will suddenly find myself in a tidal wave of music, and as I begin to pick my way through it, soon I am hopping from artist to artist like a frog on lilly pads. This is how great music is found. You start looking up one thing, it leads your to another, and suddenly you run across Nightwish and realize Finnish metal is your one true calling and a love afair is begun! It is this innocent clicking and playing and wondering and pushing that is the real expansion of musical tastes. You're reading an article about your facorite artist, they mention their favorite artist, and suddently new worlds open.
I have also developed the nasty habit of collecting musical names on sticky notes, which get posted on the Nightwish poster next to my desk. Here we have the name Andrew Bird, who I've heard much about but never really "gotten in to," persay. Next to him is Juana Molina ("from Daddy") who I was directed to listen to. Next to her is The Blue Nile, who's first album, I've learned, is one of those gems that sets the electronic 80's junkies from the casual listeners. Then we have Inara George (lead singer of The Bird and the Bee), Sonos (funky little group that I came across on a Barnes & Noble Sunday album, and haven't found since), Neko Case (great homework album), Miranda Sex Garden (madrigal singers gone Goth), Renaissance (British folk revival from the seventies), Bat for Lashes, Sigor Ros, Bela Fleck, Abigail Washbutn (= Sparrow Quartet), Celtic Legacy (metal), After Forever, Visions of Atlantis (more chick metal), and a quote from House ("I was right, and more satisfyingly, you were wrong.") Also up there is a sticky note reminding me that Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard (just remember).
I am delicately working my way through each artist or group, listening to an album or two, reading the wiki band bio, and connecting the dots. If I'm ever at a loss for what to listen to, I pick a name and look it up. More often than not that just leads me to adding MORE names to the poster. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it! And there is nothing quite as fantastic as coming across a great resonator, or music that knocks my flip-flops off. That is, of course, the end goal in all this: finding the music that most perfectly hits the Point of Resonance, that shakes my soul and makes me yell YES YES YES THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!