Inspired by Paul’s ongoing evaluation I tried my own tiny little evaluation.
As seed I used Le Volume Courbe. I recently stumbled upon Charlotte while browsing the Last.fm music profiles of friends.
I wanted to find more of the same (unfortunately she only recorded one album), and the most obvious place to start was the Last.fm similar artist list. There’s lots of good music there, but nothing that I enjoyed as much. I also browsed the top listener profiles, and profiles of people who commented on the Last.fm page for Le Volume Courbe. Again I found lots of great music, but not really more of the same.
Next obvious stop was Pandora, but they never heard of Le Volume Courbe before. So I tried iLike but they didn’t know about any similar artists and ZuKool couldn’t help either. MyStrands had a long list, but after sampling the first two on the list I had the impression that they are pointing me in the wrong direction (too much towards electronic music). Amazon had some interesting recommendations (first time I heard about shoegaze) but not really more of the same. And finally my flat mate recommended some great and related music, but also not really more of the same.
So my preliminary verdict is: either there isn't more of the same out there, or the music recommendation services I tried need to be improved.
UPDATE: I just had a look at the AMG similar artist list. There's some interesting recommendations there, some of which I had already stumbled upon while browsing similar artists on Last.fm, but still nothing that's truly more of the same.
UPDATE Part 2: I just tried the AMG Tapestry Demo suggested by Zac in the comments. It's a lot more convenient than browsing the AMG pages, and it's similar to Last.fm's similar artist radio stations (except that it's only 30 second previews). Nevertheless, there were some recommendations on the list that I appreciated (and hadn't found in the AMG list of similar artists). However, somehow the recommendations seem to be missing some of the "darkness" I like about Le Volume Courbe. Anyway, it's great to have so many nice ways of exploring similar artists.
UPDATE Part 3: I just sampled some of the artists on the list Paul posted in the comments. Whatever system he's using, it's doing a great job in surfacing very unknown artists, some of which are even hardly present on Last.fm, and most of which seem to be present on myspace (which makes me wonder if his recommendation machine is gathering information from there?). Again, I failed to find more of the same. However, a number of the recommendations were related (in particular, some were related with respect to the lo-fi, singer-songwriter, DIY aspects I like about Le Volume Courbe), and since none of the recommendations in his list had shown up in any of the previous recommendations I had seen (at least as far as I can remember) it was rather refreshing to hear them. It's really nice to see a recommendation machine that has such a strong emphasis on surfacing rather unknown artist.
UPDATE Part 4: Oscar suggested in the comments to try the hype machine, which I did. I found some interesting comments about Le Volume Courbe there, but didn't really find more of the same. I also tried the much hyped SeeqPod, but they not only failed to find music related to Le Volume Courbe, but also gave some not so trust worthy recommendations for Mozart. Others I tried and that didn't have any results were musicmatch and musicplasma.
UPDATE Part 5: Ian mentioned that ZuKool now has Le Volume Courbe in their catalog. I gave it a quick try by adding all the songs from the album into the list (because I didn't like how when I'd only choose one track all other tracks from the same album would show up in the recommendation list). The results were as refreshing as those from Paul's list (none of them I had previously seen in a recommendation list) and they were interesting to listen to. However, I couldn't find more of the same. Btw, getting Celeste Zepponi's "Jesus Is Here" recommended when searching for similar music to Le Volume Courbe suggests that ZuKool completely ignores socio-cultural information, which makes it an interesting alternative to all other music recommenders I use.