| "My Radio, Believe Me I Like It Loud" |
Last year podcasts finally hit the mainstream with ‘Serial’, a spin-off of the traditional radio show ‘This American Life’ (which is also available as a podcast). For those who missed it and don’t know what a podcast is, here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
“A podcast is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio or digital radio, subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.”
More simply put: it’s on-demand radio on your phone or computer, usually broken up into episodes that are released in a certain rhythm. Also, they are free.
Although Serial is what introduced podcast to many people, it is not exactly like most podcasts. Most podcasts are either people talking about certain subjects (like music, video games, books and so on) or music mixes. Some have amazing sound quality and are backed by big brands, others sound very DIY and are someone's hobby. Personally, I like both types, as long as they are authentic and smart.
As you can imagine, they are a great way to stay up to date on many different things, especially if you have a lot of time that you can spend with headphones in your ears. They are certainly one of my main sources to stay updated and to discover new and old things. I therefore decided to share some podcasts that I like a lot and that can be a valuable source of knowledge for anyone, especially on the field of pop culture.
Oh and by the way: I decided to break this whole thing up into two parts. I start with podcasts focusing on music and the cultures surrounding it. Next week, I’ll be focusing on a broader range of subjects.
Hip Hop Podcasts
Juan Epstein: Juan Epstein is a high quality Hip Hop podcast out of New York City. It is hosted by Peter Rosenberg, co-host of the Hot 97 morning show, and Cipha Sounds, DJ and comedian (and former host of the Hot 97 morning show). Although they go off format from time to time, Juan Epstein is usually about the hosts going in-depth with Hip Hop legends. They have countless classic episodes, but if I had to pick one to get you started, I’d recommend their Jay Z interview, which you can also find on Youtube (right here).
Kinda Neat: Kinda Neat is a high quality Hip Hop (mostly, but not exclusively) podcast out of L.A. It is hosted by Lee Shaner, also known as Intuition, a photographer and occasional Rapper (an amazing one, by the way). Unlike most other Hip Hop podcasts, it does not focus on big names but rather on being the podcast that brings you interviews with up and coming artists that are about to blow up. The interviews are very in-depth - Shaner usually likes to pretty much start at the birth of the people he interviews. As you can imagine, the interviews are always interesting and quite often emotional. Shaner does an amazing job. If I had to pick one episode to get you started, I’d recommend his Kreayshawn interview, which you can also find on Youtube (right here).
Microphone Check: Microphone Check is NPR’s high quality Hip Hop podcast, hosted by NPR’s Frannie Kelley and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, DJ, Producer and one third of the legendary group A Tribe Called Quest. They conduct indepth interviews with Hip Hop artists and personalities, often with a heavy focus on the music itself (unless they talk to a non-music personality, of course). Unlike Juan Epstein and Kinda Neat, this podcast regularly features the big artists of the moment and their current projects. All their episodes are great, but if I had to pick one to get you started, I’d recommend their Pusha T episode, which you can find here.
Honorable Mentions: The Combat Jack Show, Shots Fired Podcast.
The Modern Vinyl Podcast: The Modern Vinyl Podcast is hosted by three guys from www.modernvinyl.com, and, like the website, is loosely concerned with music that is being released on vinyl. In practice that means they talk about all genres, but mostly about music that you might call ‘Indie’ or ‘Alternative’, although the big Pop releases of the moment usually do come up. It is always pretty funny, often insightful and you can hear that these three guys love music. Since this is a podcast that comes out regularly and is usually concerned with new releases, it is not really possible to point out a single episode. Just check out the most recent episode.
Music Popcast: Music Popcast is the high quality Pop music popcast from the New York Times. It is hosted by New York Times music critics Jon Pareles, Ben Ratliff, Jon Caramanica and Nate Chinen. As you can imagine, it largely deals with current releases and events in the field of popular music (which includes many genres), with a heavy emphasis on critical darlings. Since this is a podcast that comes out regularly and is usually concerned with new releases, it is not really possible to point out a single episode. Just check out the most recent episode.
Americana Music Show: Americana Music Show, hosted by Calvin Powers, is a high quality podcast concerned with Country, Roots Rock, Rockabilly, Blues, Classic soul, Alt Country, Cowpunk, Western Swing, Cajun, Bluegrass and Gospel. As you can see, it covers a lot of genres usually ignored by other music podcasts, which is nice. Episode are usually concerned with new releases and feature songs by and short interviews with a variety of Americana artists. It’s very much like a traditional radio show, which in this case is a good thing. Since this is a podcast that comes out regularly and is usually concerned with new releases, it is not really possible to point out a single episode. Just check out the most recent episode.
Honorable Mentions: Washed Up Emo (Post-Hardcore/Emo), AbsolutePunk Podcast (Indie/Punk/Rock).
Come back next week for more podcast recommendations.
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