I think I can admit that in spite of being a radio personality on KZYR, I don’t always listen to the radio. I know sacrilegious, but I also don’t always listen to recorded music on CD or MP3s either. In fact I must admit I have been dipping into some Podcasts of late. Now those of you who read this article for my insights into music and all too often lately, for my obituaries of rock legends, don’t fret this week’s column is about Podcast but only music ones. Podcasts fill that nice void for me on those drives into Denver when you hit some no man lands and the radio is on the blink. Also my car’s left speaker just stopped working so it’s pretty disrespectful to listen to music that way; therefore I found myself indulging in some podcasts about well music.
Some of them are surprisingly good. Others were great but then disappeared and others are truly a magically mix of words and music. The best podcasts I have found on music are:
Rolling Stone Music Now– The magazine is facing challenges but this weekly podcasts provides wide ranging, deep dives into single topics. Think of it as a 30 minute plunge into a cover story. The topics have ranged from “The Case For Taylor Swift” to “The Secret Lives of Lou Reed.” See, I told you they were diverse. The conversation is refreshing and fast paced. Even topics I didn’t think would mean much to me taught me something.
Song Exploder– This is the podcast as art. The editing on this show is nothing short of spectacular. Each week, they take one song and break it down with the song writer and others who had input and explain how it was actually assembled into a song. A must for anyone who considers themselves a songwriter, producer or lover. From The Killers “Rut” to Lorde’s “Sober,” each song has a story. What separates these 20 minute gems of a podcast is the sound editing itself. As the artist is explaining an instrument part or a lyric interlude, you hear it right away and gain an appreciation of the craft of songwriting. The coolest part is at the end. After listing being in the audio assembly line, you just want to hear the fainted product. And of course they play the song in it’s entirety and you will never listen to it the same again.
WTF with Mark Maron– Ok so he is one of the most popular podcasters around and not all, in fact only a small portion of the interview podcasts from his garage, are with music artists; but those that are are must listens. His Alice Cooper interview is legendary and I enjoyed Dweezil Zappa a ton more than I thought I would. His Elvis Costello chat also scores high marks.
The Thread with OZY– This is more along the lines of the most popular podcast ever- Serial from NPR. The concept here is they take one story and through various threads link it with other unknown tales of history. The reason it shows up in a column about music podcasts is the thread right now is undeniable. It’s called The Murder Of John Lennon. It is only in week three and I am hooked. It promises to take us from Lennon to Lenin. So far we have gained insight on Lennon’s last hours to the JD Salinger’s writing of Cather In The Rye in World War 2 and how Charlie Chaplin’s 18 years old fourth wife played an intricate role. Oh its all here and it’s ridiculously good.
So when you are in the Vail Valley keep listening to the Zephyr its good for your connection to the valley but in the canyon turn on a music podcast and raise your musicologist IQ.