Whether you’re new to Ann Arbor or a lifelong resident, there’s always more music to discover. Treetown has been the birthplace of or has played host to artists like The Stooges, Patti Smith, the MC5, Bob Seger, Andrew W.K. and Madonna, but we’re not just a city caught up in our old heritage. Music in Ann Arbor from a variety of genres still thrives, and even just a little bit of exploring can lead to your new favorite artists.

First of all, even in a tough economic climate for almost anyone who sells music, Ann Arbor still has several record stores that can serve your LP and CD needs. There’s Wazoo Records on S. State, where the tight space mostly showcases hip music and anything that Pitchfork gives rave reviews to. Closer to South Campus is PJ’s, a longtime store run by an old hippie dude who’s nice and talkative and knowledgeable about his records. Then on Liberty is Underground Sounds and Encore Records. Underground has a relatively small selection, but they’re your best bet for any brand new releases. Encore, on the other hand, is the place you go when you want to buy something but don’t actually have anything in mind. With their floor-to-ceiling shelves completely filled with used CDs, if you go with a specific album in mind, you’ll never be able to find it, but you’re guaranteed to come home with an impulse buy that you’ll love.

To see all that the local scene has to offer, though, you have to go the actual venues. Ann Arbor is probably most famous for The Blind Pig — the hallowed spot for rock and rap on 1st Street you can’t name without also mentioning how Kurt Cobain shouted it out on MTV as his favorite place to play. Of course, there’s also The Ark, a non-profit home for folk music that’s been around in one form or another since the ’60s. With over 300 shows a year, The Ark is always a great bet if you want to hang out with an intelligent, music-loving crowd and hear some cool music. Some other slightly more unconventional music venues include the bookstore Crazy Wisdom, which hosts world and roots music practically every weekend; Hill Auditorium, where the University puts on top artists from around the world; Kerrytown Concert House; Cavern Club and the teen-oriented Neutral Zone.

But if you want to really get involved, you have to join up with some of the clubs here at Michigan that perform and showcases artists both local and nationally known. The University has an A Capella club for pretty much every interest disposition, from the G-Men to The Sirens to Angels On Call. There are dance, percussion and other performance groups like Groove, the Gospel Chorale, The Movement, Dance Mix and the RhythM Tap Ensemble, to name just a small, small few. There’s MUSIC Matters, which has done a great job in putting on charity concerts at Hill featuring artists like 2 Chainz and Common, and Empty Mug Records, who records and releases student musicians. There’s WCBN, the student radio station where you can DJ. And there are clubs that just focus on certain genres of music that its members are passionate about, like Hip-Hop Congress and Beat Producers of Michigan.

I’ve also heard that if you’re really passionate about music (or film, or TV, or any sort of Arts thing), you can apply and write about all of it for The Michigan Daily. I hear it’s a fun gig, too.

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