With Spotify's Daily Mixes and intuitive suggestions, today it's easier than ever to discover new music; however, in my opinion, there's nothing more magical than discovering it for yourself in person. Walking into a small venue, discovering an up and coming band that appreciates and thrives on your new ears is one of the best experiences for audiophiles. It's also fun to hear a band live and compare to how they sound recorded. I've scouted out the top ten places in New York City to discover new music.
The Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 N 6th Street Brooklyn, NY 11211
Odds are you're going to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to see one of your pre-existing indie favorites; however, the real magic is before their set. The Music Hall of Williamsburg and its visiting artists are great at finding amazing openers that are still under the radar but unique, skilled, and up and coming. Make sure to visit the lower level for drinks in between sets!
Rockwood Music Hall
Rockwood Music Hall is a mixed bag. With three stages, you can see artists of all different places in their careers and of all different genres. Ranging from rock bands to soft indie rock, there's something for everyone here. They keep a great running schedule on their website here where you can click on artist links to decide who to check out this week.
Leftfield at Ludlow
87 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
This place is the definition of no-frills. A grungy bar in the LES, Leftfield hosts bands both up and downstairs all week long. You can catch anything from punk to experimental rock to EDM here. The downstairs has a cool vibe with fun disco lights and funky seating and decor. This is the spot you go to, to find that band that just released their debut EP on Soundcloud. Leftfield is known for lots of raw talent and newcomers.
The Bitter End
147 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
The Bitter End is one of New York's famed rock venues. Since 1961, The Bitter End has hosted shows for Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, and more. Staying true to tradition, The Bitter End continues to host new artists every night. Check it out and you might be able to say you saw America's next favorite musician in the early stages of their career at The Bitter End one day.
131 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012
The Blue Note hosts a lot of the greats in the jazz genre, but every now and then, newcomers will take the stage. Other times, playing with one of the greats, is an incredible new musician who has their own side projects you can explore. I once saw Chick Corea at The Blue Note and I really liked one of his percussionists' technique. I later looked him up and now have songs from his solo project on all of my playlists!
The Bowery Electric
327 Bowery, New York, NY 10003
This is by far my favorite venue that I've played in NYC. Acts you catch here take their music and sound seriously. They've got an amazing sound system, so everything you hear is going to be crystal clear. The Bowery Electric hosts more known musicians and also newcomers. It's a great spot for dancing and drinks. The main stage is a multi-level venue that allows for a relaxing drink at the bar and a mosh pit all in the same spot. Check out their Electric Dance Party! On July 4th!
The Knitting Factory
361 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
The Knitting Factory is one of Brooklyn's best known music venues. Their artist pool is of the more established crowd, but still unique to mainstream favorites. With a great area to dance and listen, be sure to check out the EDM and DJ's that frequent the venue and their 90's party on July 8th.
2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030
The Shrine was founded in 2007 for artists by artists and music lovers. It's definitely one of the hottest spots to catch new artists as the venue's whole mission is to help artists grow their following. Make sure you bring cash, because it's a cash-only venue!
The Green Room 42
570-574 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036
If you fancy more of a classic sound, The Green Room 42 is a great spot to hit. Featuring musical theatre performers in a cabaret setting, it's a great way to find out about Broadway favorites who have other musical side projects. The venue hosts Broadway veterans in a unique way with everything from Shakespearean Jazz to new musical theatre shows where you can hear the newest contemporary musical theatre tunes before they are released.
The Jalopy Theatre and Music School
315 Columbia St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
A music school/music venue hybrid, The Jalopy Theatre is a cool spot if not because of their strong folk music line up but for the pew seating and random bust on the stage. Eclectic and unique in nature, Jalopy will host any genre, but you're bound to hear some of the best new folk music in the city here.