Today, I had a few minutes to invest in new music.
CMJ's top college chart is the only place you need to go to find the newest bands brewing under the radar. They've integrated LALA services into every listing, so you can listen to the entire album (once) in hi-fi before buying it completely or by the track.
My find of the day is The Obits, arguably the new Strokes. Their first track (Widow Of My Dreams) is some exciting stuff — maybe the top track so far for 2009. They are the top buzz band of the year, and were signed by Sub Pop after a few gigs and before any single or indie release could be put out. That's a good sign (remember last year's MGMT? Same type of story/buzz).
If you visit CMJ's charts every month or so, and invest a few minutes, you'll have the pulse of new music.
PS — Check out Pitchfork too. The uber-review site will keep you up to date on new releases AND it offers a ton of legal-free MP3's from up and coming bands (like The Thermals).