Rate Your Music dot com

Too Much Music?

In the vast untamed world of 21st century music it can be easy to feel lost. There are more artists and genres than ever before, yet we are still on a never ending quest of finding new music. Being overloaded with options can make it hard to find music that truly speaks to us. Internet radio stations are spotty. Discover weekly playlists never seem to show us anything new. Is there anything out there, made for the user, to navigate the infinite possibilities of music?

Rate Your Music

Let me introduce to you rateyourmusic.com. As a music enthusiast, this is your one-stop website when it comes to all things music. Rate Your Music has several useful features from album reviews to ways of discovering new music. If you want to make the most out of your listening experience and improve your music knowledge in general, Rate Your Music is for you.

When the website pulls up you’ll notice tabs in the upper left hand corner and a search bar in the upper right. The home page also includes a reviews, latest ratings, and new releases section. These can be useful in finding new music but honestly I rarely use them because they eliminate the greatest feature of rate your music which is specificity of searches.

Searching

For your journalist, the most used feature is the search bar. You may notice a drop down menu inside the bar. This changes the parameters of your search. Since it defaults to “artists” you have to enter the bands name when entering a search. If you try to enter a song title or album name you most likely won’t find what you’re looking for. Once you do find the band, click on their name to take you to the artists’ page.

Artists’ page shows when/where they formed/disbanded, members years active and instruments (click on their name to take you to that persons page), other names for the band, and genres (click on the genre to get more information about it). As you scroll down you’ll see their entire discography with a rating beside it. Albums are rated out of 5. Anything above a 4 is extremely rare and above a 3 is strong. The rating shown is an average of all reviews which come from critics and fans. These are also subject to change as more people like or dislike the album over time. This is why I feel Rate Your Music does a better job at ranking music than any other music review site.

You can then click on the album title to take you to that page. On this page you’ll find general album information including its rank for the year it was released and overall (yes, this is a comprehensive list). The most used features I use to get a taste of the album are it’s rating, genres, and descriptors. You can then form your own opinion about the album but it’s nice to have a place to start.

Charts and Lists

…are a great way to discover new music. The charts page allows you to search the top rated albums, eps, etc. from a specific genre. You can limit your search to a certain decade or specific year. If there is an album I particularly like, I’ll look at its genre and check-out the related chart. This has allowed me to sort through some of the classic music of that genre, in order to find the best, as well as discover more unknown artists that are highly acclaimed.

The lists page can also be useful for finding new music. This is essentially a page where users can compile playlists of similar artists or “best of” lists, etc. There are lists such as “1001 albums you must hear before you die” and some more random like “Worst album covers of all time”.

I’ve only scratched the surface of all the features this website has to offer. Go check out rateyourmusic.com and leave a comment below to tell me what you think!

Graywhale Finds #2

I often find when I go to Graywhale Entertainment looking for one album, I end up finding something entirely different. This fact stayed true upon my last visit, and I found a number of exciting albums both new and old.

1) The Ooz by King Krule

Among my first finds was King Krule’s new hit The Ooz, an appropriately titled album given the music on here; the tracks are drenched in atmosphere, weaving around jazz-inspired riffs and Archy’s mesmerizing voice. The resulting music both soothes and bites, distinguishing it from a lot of more recent releases. With unforgettable tracks like “Dum Surfer”, it’s set to be one of my favorite albums of the year.

 

2) Masseduction by St. Vincent

I also found a couple copies of the deluxe edition of St. Vincent’s new album Masseduction. It may not be my favorite release by the artist, but there are plenty of stellar tracks. “Pills” in particular comes to mind; it shows off Annie Clark’s mastery of the guitar, and its use of saxophone is a joy rather than an irritant, out-of-place gimmick. The deluxe edition comes in yellow vinyl, which could also be considered a gimmick, but I have a soft spot for colored vinyl.

 

3) Another Green World by Brian Eno

Among the newer releases were a number of reissues, including this treasure by Brian Eno. Another Green World is Brian Eno at his best (outside his collaborations); sitting halfway between his voice-led music and his instrumental projects, it’s a collection of zany, ingenious pop tunes. Distinct, wobbly synths and guitars played with mallets are just a few testaments to Eno’s creativity on here. It’s also a testament to his immaculate attention to detail, a good quality to find in any record.

 

4) No Shape by Perfume Genius

Upon recommendation by a friend, I checked out this album earlier this year and I couldn’t be gladder. As of yet, no album has quite topped this release for me. Perfume Genius honed his craft on this album, delivering a velvety, pop sound in tandem with an emotional, intimate vocal performance. It’s the kind of album you want to listen to beginning to end, which makes it a perfect vinyl purchase.

 

5) Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Brown

If you haven’t seen the video for “Ain’t it Funny”, you need to make some time to watch it right now. First of all, Jonah Hill directs it. Secondly, the music is divine; it’s a macabre, unrelenting powerhouse of a track and only a taste of what the album has to offer. Haunting soundscapes and immaculate rhythm and pacing are the name of the game on Atrocity Exhibition. Pick up this album and I guarantee you’ll have its raucous, claustrophobic beats stuck in your head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graywhale Finds #1

If you’re a music lover in Salt Lake, you probably know a thing or two about Graywhale Entertainment. Located about a block or so from the University of Utah Campus, Graywhale is the perfect stop to find a favorite record, movie, cd, etc.

One of my favorite things to do is browse around Graywhale looking for vinyl records. There’s a bit of a treasure-hunt-thrill to flipping through records until you find one that’s special to you.

For this article, I thought I’d share some of my favorite albums (and some that I’d never heard before) found at Graywhale.

1 ) Science Fiction by Brand New

As a long time fan of the band, Brand New, the release of the album Science Fiction in August was a big deal. The album is beautiful from start to finish and it’s apparent how much time and effort was put into making Science Fiction. It’s eerie, poignant, and definitely an album worth listening to from start to finish.

 

 

2 ) The 1975 and i like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it  by The 1975

 

While The 1975 often gets labeled as stereotypical edgy-hipster music (which might actually hold some merit), these two albums are still extremely important to me. The band uses thoughtful lyricism, intricate instrumentals, and beautiful visuals to depict aspects of life, that may seem rather mundane at times, in a poetic and artistic way. Their self-titled album has a stronger rock influence and deals more with relationships and youth, whereas their second album i like it when you sleep… is more introspective and lyrically driven.

 

3 ) Make My Head Sing… by Jessica Lea Mayfield

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, I think it worked out for the best. While I was flipping through records I was drawn to the album cover for Make My Head Sing… by Jessica Lea Mayfield. The cover depicts a child’s drawing of a girl crying, silver glitter with tiny eyes, pink and red stripes, and a fluffy red frame. The whole image is rather dark and eerie, which is a pretty accurate description of the music itself. Songs like “Party Drugs” and “Oblivious” showcase the melancholic yet melodic tone of the album.

 

4 ) Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love by My Chemical Romance

Whether you’re a fan of My Chemical Romance or not, it’s safe to say that they definitely had a way of captivating an audience and building a loyal fanbase, myself included. The band formed in New Jersey shortly after the events of 9/11 inspired lead singer, Gerard Way, to start creating music. Their first album, I Brought You My Bullets…, is dramatically different from their more popular albums like The Black ParadeI Brought You My Bullets… is raw, genuine, and sad with the gritty sound of most DIY punk records. By comparison, their second studio album, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, is a lot more refined, but still has the same emotion and feel. A mix of the album’s theatrics, personal sentiment, and amazing tracklist makes Three Cheers… one of my all-time favorite records.

5 ) The Ride by Catfish and the Bottlemen

If you saw Green Day’s tour at USANA Amphitheatre in August, then you probably also saw the indie-rock band, Catfish and the Bottlemen, as the openers. Not only are they awesome live, but their studio albums are equally special in the fact that they capture that “live” energy. The Ride is the band’s most recent album, coming out in 2016, and probably my favorite from their discography. It discusses love, relationships, life, youth, and growing up with a striking album cover that I think aptly conveys the tone of the record.