Friday, February 24, 2017

My favorite music podcasts

For me the last ten or twelve years has seen an almost 100% move to on-demand radio listening. The only live radio I listen to is the Today Programme on Radio 4 whilst having breakfast; I do put Six Music on at the workshop for the wiring guys, but for me (even shows produced for radio) are consumed as downloads.  Here are the things about music that I never miss.

  1. BBC Mastertapes - John Wilson presents artists talking about how they recorded a classic album. The show slips in two ("The A Side" and "The B Side") with Wilson doing the interview in the first half hour and then the assembled fans asking questions in the second. Wilson is clearly a music fanatic and never fails to engage with the artist. It comes from BBC Maida Vale and there are currently 74 hours for you to catch up on! Billy Bragg's "Talking with the Tax Man about Poetry" was the first episode back in 2012 and the glorious thing about it is I've discovered some records I never knew about and been really surprised by how much I enjoyed artists I thought were not my thing. Rufus Wainwright is a prime example. The artists always do a minimal arrangement of the well known numbers off the album their talking about and so of course the format tends to favour performers who can do it live.
  2. Between the Liner Notes - A podcast (not produced for radio) that takes some aspect of the music industry and devotes an hour to it. Really engaging and has a big radio rockumentary production feel. For me - a Gen X'er coming of age in the eighties the episode on MTV is required listening.
  3. Music City Roots - this is a "proper" radio show out of Nashville. I like it because Mike Farris has a show (which sometimes makes it into the podcast feed) but the main man is Jim Lauderdale who is a real champion of Alt-country and Americana.
  4. Sodajerker on Songwriting - Sodajerker is a songwriting team from Liverpool in the United Kingdom. Founded by co-writers Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor who, like most jobbing musos, have to suppliment their work with teaching and podcasting. They have had some great guests in their (so far 97) shows. In classic podcast fashion the length varies and the best one so far (for my money) has been Paul Simon although I've enjoyed all of them (check out ep.80 - Marcus Miller).
  5. The Bored-Again Christian podcast - a notable mention even though he stopped making shows five years ago. I discovered a few artists via this podcast; Sufjan Stevens and Danielson to name a couple.
Podcasting is the answer to the dumb mass-market HeartFM/TalkFM/LBC type radio. It's no coincidence that you don't get anything like this kind of treatment of musicians and who they do on commercial radio.

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