I'll be honest. I'm much more particular about what I listen to than what I read. When someone recommended the twilight books to me I borrowed them from the library - but when the twilight soundtracks were coming out I pre-ordered the effers. Those bad boys, I had to OWN.
I'm snobbier, more critical and much more selective of what I listen to, always have been. I don't think I ever listened to commercial radio, preferring to listen to the same CD (or, God help how old I am, cassette) over and over again rather than risk listening to an imperfect (to me) song.
I'm not exactly proud of this, I think I do this because I have a stunted 'musical' palate. I basically listen to the kind of music I first liked in high school. I try not to be completely fossilized. I remember my friend from elementary school, Jason. His dad had jet black, slicked back Elvis hair and only ever listened to 50's era rock and roll, well into the 1980's. It's a cautionary tale, and I try to keep it in mind when iTunes starts playing Head on The Door by the Cure - again.
Still, music while I'm writing is forward motion. I can't really get started without it. I like last.fm and Pandora because I can tell it to call up, for example The National and it will create a radio station around that band and bands like that. In Philadelphia in particular there's a great music scene and an awesome radio station online Y Rock on XPN. If you like alternative music (I despise that term, but can't think of another one) check it out.
So, what do you listen to when you are working? Or is silence what helps you write? What's your playlist, right now?
My playlist from tonight:
Time of Our Lives - Paul Van Dyke
The Cave - Mumford & Sons
Some Cities - Doves
John Saw that Number - Neko Case
Never Anyone But You - The Clientele
Swanlights - Antony & the Johnsons
Lit Up - The National
Big Bamboozle - Barry Adamson
About Your Dress - The Maccabees
The Funeral - Band of Horses