I last visited the world of music podcasts in 2013 when, admittedly, I had a much harder time coming up with five music-related podcasts worth listening to. Since Serial came out and seriously raised awareness of podcasts, there has been a tremendous increase in podcasts in general. So much like TV, there is now the problem that there are not enough hours in the day to listen to good, worthwhile podcasts. So here are the best five music podcasts that I would wholeheartedly recommend.
In the style of so many great narrative podcasts like 99% Invisible, Radio Diaries, and Criminal, Pitch finds interesting stories and themes related to music and delivers a tight 10-20 minute narrative. Host Whitney Jones has covered commercial music, how to scream well, and how to paint music among many other things.
4. Sound Opinions
Led by long-time music critics Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis, Sound Opinions remains one of the best podcast/radio programs for all-things music, especially Chicago-centric artists. Their album dissections, especially their recent take on London Calling, remain some of the best listening around.
3. The Talkhouse Music Podcast
Ever wonder what musicians talk about with each other? That’s just what the Talkhouse delivers on, removing media and journalists from the equation and letting two musicians with some level of commonality just chat for 30-60 minutes. Some of the best recent episodes have been L.A. indie artist Ezra Furman talking with Art Brut’s Eddie Argos, Lower Dens’ Jana Hunter speaking with Perfume Genius aka Mike Hadreas, and the Pixies Kim Deal talking to Courtney Barnett.
2. Song Exploder
Packing more punch per minute, Song Exploder is 10-20 minutes of great musicians dissecting how they made their great songs. This year, Song Exploder has really upped its game, pulling in big names like U2, Ghostface Killah, My Morning Jacket, and even dissecting the Game of Thrones theme song! On a per-minute basis, Song Expoder is the best thing out there.
1. All Songs Considered
While Song Exploder is certainly great, it’s only 15 minutes a week. The reigning champ, NPR’s tenured All Songs Considered, remains the best especially now that they’ve added a second podcast every week in their Friday +1 podcast. Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton do a better job than anyone of displaying a wide spectrum of music without delivering judgement, truly giving every song a fair shake. And their Guest DJ’s and Interviews remain the best out there.
Honorable Mention: NPR’s Microphone Check, Switched On Pop, the sadly-ended U Talkin’ U2 To Me?, Wits
Noteworthy Pop Culture Podcasts: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, the new deceased Do You Like Prince Movies (R.I.P. Grantland), Not Ready for Primetime Podcast (for SNL fans), WTF with Marc Maron.