I listen to music as I write. I try to choose music that suits the characters. At times I've listened to artists I don't care for personally, just to put myself in mind of the story.
Writing GARDEN OF STONES, which is set in both the 40s and the 70s, I faced a quandary. I don't really love the popular music from either of these eras.
Instead I looked for music about internment. I came up with a few examples:
1. Fort Minor's "Kenji" - this kicked off a monthlong Fort Minor binge. Since Mike Shinoda only put out one album, I eventually got a little fatigued with overplay, but I really like his stuff.
Give this one a listen - it features the voices of internees:
2. Hiroshima's "Manzanar" - I guess I'll admit that I pretty much loathe smooth jazz except for once in a great while...but I guess I'll make an exception for this one:
3. Tom Russell's "Manzanar" - this was an easy one for me since Tom Russell's a favorite of mine.
Last year, George Takei (yes, the Star Trek guy!) produced a musical called "Allegiance" about the internment experience. I'd love to see it.