I’ve been working so much that I have had little time for my typical routine of listening to a record or two while I unwind at night, so what I covered in this week’s Featured Release Roundup is more or less my playlist for the week. However, since many people are cooped up with time to kill, I thought I would recommend a few of my favorite podcasts:
You Don’t Know Mojack
The conceit of this podcast is that the two hosts—two charming, music-obsessed Canadians—go through the entire SST Records catalog, with one episode devoted to each release. They’re doing the catalog in order, and they’ve now done well over 100 episodes. They are insanely thorough and often have guest interviews that provide information you can’t find anywhere else. This podcast is so fun that I devour every episode whether they’re talking about bands I love like Black Flag or the Descendents or bands I’ve never heard and probably never will, like Zoogz Rift. This is one of those things like The Best Show that might seem bewildering to an outsider, but once you’re hooked, it’s your favorite thing ever.
Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio
Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio is the podcast arm of the long-running zine Dynamite Hemorrhage. Jay Hinman, the man behind both enterprises, is insanely knowledgeable about music, but if you created a Venn diagram of our backgrounds and tastes, they’d only have about a 20% overlap. He’s well-versed in 90s garage and UKDIY (areas I know a little about, but not a ton), so every episode leads me to check out several bands I knew nothing about. His tastes skew toward the intellectual and arty (the overlap with what Sorry State carries would be labels like Ever/Never, Digital Regress, and C/Site), so if that interests you, you should check out this podcast.
Garbage in My Heart
If Dynamite Hemorrhage overlaps with my wheelhouse about 20% of the time, Garbage in My Heart is about 90%. That means they play a ton of music I love, with emphasis on the kinds of things that Sorry State carries. If you’ve always yearned for a podcast version of the Sorry State newsletter, this is as close a version as you’ll find, and it’s extremely well produced.
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
Definitely the most mainstream selection here, I had to include it because it’s been my favorite podcast for the past few months. Conan O’Brien is hilarious, and the loose, unscripted podcast format plays to his strengths. I’ve gathered that Conan ruffled some feathers in the podcast community because his show has gotten so much attention, but I think that’s less because of his material resources and more because the show is just that good.
Life During Wartime
You might remember me promoting this show a few weeks ago when I was a guest, but I still listen to every episode even if I’m not on it. They have killer bands play live in the studio (the podcast is based in Portland so they have a pretty much bottomless well), and the segments when they play records feel like hanging out with your buddies, slamming beers and cracking wise while you all try to play the coolest stuff for one another.
This is a documentary podcast about the history of the Runaways, though it digresses into other related subjects, making it more of a podcast about the history of women in rock music. This one has excellent, NPR-level production, and even features Scott Plant from Droid’s Blood as the voice of Kim Fowley!
The Nimrods Podcast
Just as the You Don’t Know Mojack podcast goes through the SST Records catalog, The Nimrods Podcast analyzes every single song in Green Day’s extensive catalog. Sometimes the vibe is a little goofy (as you might expect given the hosts are two guys in their early 30s (I think) who are lifelong Green Day fans), but there’s plenty of interesting history and analysis here too.
This one is way outside my wheelhouse, but I still enjoy it. Noisextra started as a show examining Merzbow’s recorded catalog, but a few months ago they expanded their scope to cover other classics of the noise genre. The hosts are extremely knowledgeable, and I’ve learned a ton about noise by listening to this. I just wish the records they talked about weren’t so hard to find…
Lost Notes is a music history podcast by KCRW, an NPR affiliate in Los Angeles. Each episode tells a different story, sort of like This American Life, but all about music. Probably the best-produced podcast on this list, and even when they’re talking about music I know nothing about it’s still great.
Henry & Heidi
This is Henry Rollins’ podcast that he does with his assistant Heidi. I’m a fan of Rollins’ weekly radio show on KCRW, but there’s no music on this one. Instead, Heidi proposes a topic and Henry just talks about it until he runs out of steam. Some of my favorite episodes have been about Henry’s experiments with LSD, his experiences on the Lolapalooza tour, and his relationship with Black Sabbath and its members. You need to have some degree of Rollins tolerance to enjoy this one, but if you’re a fan, this is essential.