How I Discover a Band


I listen to 6 bands. By "listening to" a band, I mean I have at least two albums and regularly put them on, at least once a month.

An outline of the process of me discovering a band:

  • Listen to one of their songs (usually hit single)
  • Ooh I like it
  • Listen to other songs
  • Hmm some of these are good
  • Listen again
  • Woah most of these are good
  • OK I guess I like the band now

The process can be modeled as a function of E (how much I enjoy <insert band name>) over t (time). E(t) is composed of three stages:

  • Linear growth (t0 to t1, 0 to E1)
  • Constant (t1 to t2, E1)
  • Logistic growth (t2 to infinity, E follows an S-curve: it first takes off exponentially but flattens and converges to an asymptote at EM)

Diagram of said function

If EM is greater than a threshold, I decide that I like the band. As I discover and/or they release more music, E might grow beyond EM.

In general,

  • t0: hit single
  • t1: hit single on repeat
  • t2: I become interested in other songs

Now, we just need to find these parameters for every band.

twenty one pilots

t0: July 2016, "Stressed Out"

That was the time when twenty one pilots were as hot as the sun. "Stressed Out" and "Heathens" were everywhere. I was on a flight with no headrest screen, and the only form of entertainment was a tiny overhead TV (boring) and a headphone jack on the armrest. It let you pick a channel, and channel 13 was playing Billboard songs which happened to include "Stressed Out". I thought it sounded special, like "I'm 14 and this is deep" kind of special (I was, in fact, 13, so this is incredibly on brand). Anyway, as soon as I landed I streamed it on repeat.

t1: August 2016, Blurryface

Didn't take long to find out that other songs on Blurryface are even better. My favorites were "Heavydirtysoul", "Ride", and "Lane Boy". "Polarize", "Hometown" and "Goner" are good as well.

I listened to Blurryface every week, but not any other album. Once I put on "Implicit Demand For Proof", but the intro was too long for my liking.

t2: August 2017, Vessel

One summer afternoon I was doing dishes. After a year of listening to one album, I grew bored. So I put on their 2013 album, Vessel.

Completely honest reaction: my jaws dropped at how good "Ode to Sleep" was. Then how good "Holding on to You" was. All the way to "Car Radio", which to this day remains my favorite song.

"Ode to Sleep" was even special-er. 5:08 long and full of tempo changes, it was the closest thing to Bohemian Rhapsody tøp have made. (I at that time had never heard of Bohemian Rhapsody, but I would have enjoyed it.)

Soon after t2

Vessel got me into the rabbit hole. Very soon I put on Regional at Best, and "Kitchen Sink" became one of my favorites. (Funny because I literally discovered Vessel at a kitchen sink.) Then Twenty One Pilots (aka Self-Titled), which I obsessively listened to in June 2018, even on a trans-Pacific flight.

Unfortunately that was everything they had made. I downloaded their live performances, covers, and Tyler Joseph's solo album, No Phun Intended. They have shaped my teenage years.

2018, Trench

In July 2018 they left hiatus and announced Trench, which is my first experience of anticipating an album and discussing the lore. It dropped on 2018-10-05, a date I will never forget. It remains my favorite record.

Fav tracks (a tough choice): "Morph", "Chlorine", "Nico And The Niners", "Bandito"

Trivia: my previous laptop's hostname is bandito; my current one's is chlorine.

2021, Scaled And Icy

One night as I'm about to go to bed, I checked Wikipedia for no reason and apparently a few days ago tøp had announced a new album. It was totally a coincidence.

Later one Thursday afternoon I took sick leave from school, and when I got home I found the music video for "Shy Away" just dropped. Totally another coincidence…

Scaled And Icy (2021) was not as soul-wrenching as Trench, because as Tyler explained, the depressed world does not need yet another depressing album. They had an online concert which I watched for like $20, which is heck of a performance. There was 10 times more props, visuals and choreography than a regular tour. It was flawless (other than Josh dropping his drumstick at the end of "Car Radio", but he quickly grabbed another one without missing, quite literally, a beat).

2024, Clancy

And now in 2024 there's another record in the oven. How did I find out? Wikipedia! Just need to wait…

"Overcompensate" is an absolute bop.


t0: some time in 2018, "Choke"

I discovered the music video for "Choke" and thought wow that sounded cool.

t1: some time in 2019, 1981 EP

Later I downloaded 1981 EP. It was the first time I bought music with money. I remember the summer when I played this on the bus.

Now, because they were a new band, there wasn't much backlog discog to explore.

t2: October 2020, Razzmatazz

It's a really good record and I liked it instantly. In March 2021 I bought it as a birthday treat to myself.

Fav tracks: "Leave Me Alone", "Clusterhug", "Razzmatazz"

December 2023

IDKHOW announced a tour for their upcoming album GLOOM DIVISION, and I got a ticket. The only downside (pun intended; "DOWNSIDE" is a track title) is it's in Detroit. My advisor had once told me not to go to Detroit alone. I'm gonna do it anyway hope I don't die lmao

So the album is out now in February 2024. Fav tracks: "DOWNSIDE", "INFATUATION", "SIXFT"

My Chemical Romance

t0: 2020-ish, "This is How I Disappear"

tøp covered "Cancer", but it doesn't count. My real first exposure to MCR is either "Welcome to the Black Parade" or "This is How I Disappear" (I probably found this video: This Is How I Disappear but it’s just Gerard’s vocals in a large cathedral).

Later I added "Cancer", "Mama", and "Sleep" into the list. These songs got me obsessed — for a little while. I almost never listened to them again. Until 2021.

t1: 2021, The Black Parade

The summer I graduated high school, I went to a driving school. On my way home I put on The Black Parade in its entirety and it was better than I remembered. But still, no progress.

t2: 2022, Three Cheers

Forgot why, but I randomly decided to put on Three Cheers. I had already listened to "Helena" and "The Ghost Of You", but not the rest of the album.

It was fire. Even better than Parade. Fav: "Helena", "Give 'Em Hell, Kid", "It's Not A Fashion Statement, It's A Fucking Deathwish", "I Never Told You What I Do For A Living".

August 2022, Danger Days

I can hardly believe this is the same band that made Three Cheers, but it's fire nevertheless.

The semester began in September with unpleasant memories, and they got kinda associated with some of the songs (especially "The Only Hope for Me is You"), but it is what it is.

Fav: "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)", "Bulletproof Heart", "S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W", "Summertime".

November-ish 2022, Bullets

MCR's debut banger. I listened to it in the final exam weeks. After I came back home, I got covid, but once I awoke I would blast Bullets. It was the record I jammed to when I was learning Haskell.

Fav: "Drowning Lessons", "Early Sunsets Over Monroeville", "Demolition Lovers".

2023, Conventional Weapons

Fav: "Boy Division", "Gun.", "The World Is Ugly".

And thus I have finished MCR's discography. I wrote a review: Review of My Chemical Romance discography.

Green Day

t0 and t1: December 2022, "21 Guns"

I was preparing for SoulRocker (campus rock show, lots of bands there) and saw "21 Guns" on the setlist. This seems to be the only song I had a chance of jamming to, because the rest were either older than my parents or weeb music. So I checked out Green Day and learned the lyrics to "21 Guns".

The performance was a bop, everyone was high af, but nobody's throwing up their arms into the sky.

t2: March 2023, American Idiot

This is the first time where the hit single did not lure me into its album. Instead I listened to this popular choice.

My favorite was "Jesus of Suburbia", which is the Bohemian Rhapsody of punk rock. Other favs are "Letterbomb", "Wake Me Up When September Ends", and "Whatsername".

March 2023, 21st Century Breakdown

This time I got the album "21 Guns" is from. Honestly, it's not as consistently good as Idiot. I would skip tracks.

Fav: "21st Century Breakdown", "Before the Lobotomy".

I would skip: "Christian's Inferno", "East Jesus Nowhere", and on a bad day everything after "Restless Heart Syndrome" except "21 Guns".

April 2023, Dookie and Nimrod

They have not grown on me (yet). If I feel like it, I might listen to them again.

Linkin Park

t0 and t1: March 2023, "In The End"

u/SorridoSnake (deleted account) on Reddit posted this on r/sbubby: Posting a Sbubby for every lyric of Linkin Park’s “In The End” until I complete the whole song

and I thought hey why not listen to this song

(I know I am terminally late, I know it's a 2001 song, but this is the first time I listened to it seriously, like not from a radio or loudspeakers in some supermarket)

Once the song finishes I know I have a new band to check out. (Don't ask why it took a month)

t2: April 2023, Hybrid Theory

This is the first band I listened to with two lead vocalists. I like Mike's rap lines as much as Chester's screaming. They formed my basic understanding of rap rock, and later inspired me to make This Song Will Uncure Your Depression.

Fav: "Papercut", "In The End", "My December".

June 2023, Meteora

It's as good as Hybrid, but I got distracted and never had a "hey what if" moment to listen to more Linkin Park.


In May 2023, I heard a band cover "Creep" but didn't investigate further, mistaking Radiohead with Just Another Band Talking About Girls And Stuff. Big nope in hindsight.

t0: January 2024, "My Iron Lung"

I watched this video titled "My Iron Lung Looks Just Like Buddy Holly". It is incredibly stupidly well-made. I will show the transcript:

0:00 [Depressed Radiohead sounds] BaawwwhDooDeeDoo
0:01 [Depressed Radiohead sounds] WawwhDooDeeDoo
0:02 [Depressed Radiohead sounds] BowDooDiiOhDaaiiiiiaaaaDo
0:05 [Depressed Radiohead sounds] WohhhOoDeeOo
0:06 [Depressed Radiohead sounds] HehhOoDeeOo

Naturally, the words "Depressed Radiohead sounds" caught my attention and naturally I wanted to hear what the whole song sounded like. It absolutely rocks.

This is the first time I discovered a band from a silly video.

t1: January 2024, "The Bends"

Immediately I listened to The Bends. Instant favorites are "Planet Telex", "(Nice Dream)", and "Street Spirit". Very depressed indeed.

t2: February 2024, OK Computer and Kid A

I tried OK Computer but did not find it as good as either The Bends or Kid A. "Paranoid Android" is a banger but the rest sounded awkward, like early CGI. Especially the synth in "Exit Music" that sounds like it came straight from a carpenter's workshop.

Kid A did the trick for me. It's just undisguised EDM and sounds much more polished. Favorites: "Everything in its Right Place", "The National Anthem", "Idioteque", "Morning Bell". Love the 10/8 and 5/8 signature.

Later in March I revisited OK Computer and admitted I was wrong. The tracks are pretty good actually. Favorites: "Airbag", "Paranoid Android", "Let Down", "No Surprises".