Listen up: new sites for adventurous ears

John
John Gushue
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Just when I thought I had maxed out on sites that can deliver music to my ears, I found some more.

Truth be told, I don't stop looking. I buy CDs, I purchase music for download, I subscribe to a whack of music podcasts, and I stream all sorts of music. And, when a suggestion comes in, I'll try it out at least once - and occasionally much more often than that.

Surf's up - Just when I thought I had maxed out on sites that can deliver music to my ears, I found some more.

Truth be told, I don't stop looking. I buy CDs, I purchase music for download, I subscribe to a whack of music podcasts, and I stream all sorts of music. And, when a suggestion comes in, I'll try it out at least once - and occasionally much more often than that.

CD Baby

http://cdbaby.com

An old friend was visiting home last week, and pointed me to CD Baby, a U.S. supplier of independent music. A lot of independent music, too - I was astonished by just how much is available to browse. The topic came up because a friend from our teenage years has been recording folk-acoustic music, and it's available here. So too is, well, pretty much anything: funk, rock, smooth jazz, ambient - the list goes on. Music is available to ship or, in many cases, through digital download. You can sort your searches many different ways: new releases, what's selling, by mood, and by location. I was impressed to see many familiar names from Newfoundland and Labrador available here.

What Mood Are You In?

www.youlicense.com/Finder/Mood.aspx

If you're in a happy mood and heading over to your stereo, you're likely going to pick music to match. If you need to study, the tunes you want will need to stay in step. What Mood Are You In? is a music-finding service, although be alert to this: you're not going to find any Top 40 stuff here. The music is independently made and is available through YouLicense, which exists to match musicians and producers with companies that license music for things like commercials, film, etc. This side of the service is kind of like a sampler, and it's meant to appeal to everyone, not just those looking for commercial prospects. Try it out.

Muxtape

www.muxtape.com

Muxtape Stumbler

www.muxtapestumbler.com

I haven't made a mixtape - a real one, on a cassette - in many years, but I'm constantly making playlists on my computer and for my iPod. Muxtape takes that eclectic approach to music group to the web, and allows users to post what they're listening to. The benefit for you is that you can sample what's making other people's toes tap. It's an intuitive player, too - just click on the song to start a stream, and click again to pause. Muxtape Stumbler is a cool feature: type in a tune or artist you like, and see what else has been connected to it through submitted lists. You can purchase many of the songs through Amazon's MP3 sales service.

Grooveshark

listen.grooveshark.com

Curious about what a song sounds like? Type it into Grooveshark and see if it comes back for streaming. I've used it a few times to sample things, with mixed results.

Guitar Lessons

www.guitarlessonworld.com/lessons/index.htm

I never learned to play guitar. Sigh. Never tried, either, but that hasn't made me envy those who can whip out a guitar at a kitchen party and get things rolling. Being musically inept, I wouldn't know if the instructions here are good or not, but they seem easy enough to make a late start plausible.

Elsewhere this week:

Web Sudoku

www.websudoku.com

A few years ago, I got hooked on Sudoku puzzles. I managed to wean myself off, sort of. Every now and again, I find myself juggling numbers in my head until I've got it cracked. Bloody addictive, these things are. A reader suggested this one to me; 30-odd minutes later, I was able to turn the thing off.

Food Bytes

www.cbc.ca/consumer/foodbytes

Here's a plug for a food blog from people I can vouch for. Four of my cbc.ca newswriting colleagues are pitching in for a consumer-oriented blog about food, flavour and what goes into what we eat. Among the first posts: the return of the glass milk bottle. Who knew?

John Gushue is a news writer for CBCNews.ca in St. John's. E-mail: surf@thetelegram.com. Read past Surf's Up columns and daily updates at his blog: johngushue.typepad.com

Organizations: CD Baby

Geographic location: U.S., Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's

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