I'm going to use the English band 1,000 Violins as an example of how to discover a band and enjoy a sumptuous feast of music as a result.
This week, I have been hanging out at Sideroom Singles, a really cool and interesting concept blog from Australia. The concept is that the author takes ten 7" singles from a pile in his side room, and posts all ten as a continuous podcast. A parallel blog also records the associated B-Sides. Being from Australia, there are a lot of 80's bands that I've never heard of, but it's a real musical mixture starting at around 1979 and running through to the late 80's with a few more modern releases, such as Royksopp, thrown in. He also scans the singles covers and backs which makes the whole enterprise akin to wandering into a friends back room, shuffling through his stack of records, and occasionally thrusting up a sleeve with the question, "So what does this sound like then?"
One artist mentioned was 1,000 Violins with their song "If I Had Words", and seeing as I liked the sleeve I downloaded the podcast and ripped that individual track (using the marvelous Audacity, if you must know). Within about three seconds of the intro, I knew I liked it and set of into the blogosphere for more information.
Turns out that the band is widely known in the C86 scene and was tipped as a worthy successor to The Smiths. Next stop was one of my favorite indie-pop blogs, Take The Pills, who naturally mentions the band several times and featured their 2001 compilation reissue Like 1,000 Violins at this post. If you should stop over, then I dare you to surf away without finding at least another half dozen indie-pop gems to enjoy. A great, great site.
A little more digging led me back to another old favorite, the Cactus Mouth Informer. Another afficionado of the C86 scene, his new year's eve post last December included the solitary LP released by 1,000 Violins, entitled Hey Man That's Beautiful. It certainly is. From there it was just a hop and skip to finding additional posts about the band on The Rain Fell Down and a very detailed description of the background of the band's first record label at Down With Tractors. Most of the bands from the C86 scene remain unknown to me, so expect a few more posts on the topic in the future.
For a great overview of all things C86 related, then stop by Indie MP3, a site that's been around so long I sometimes forget to mention how great it is. There's also a comprehensive essay here.