10 Music Podcasts to Broaden Your Horizons

Written by on January 9, 2018

10 Music Podcasts to Broaden Your Horizons – From mixes and interviews to shows that break down the science of writing pop songs, podcasts help you be the best music fan you can be. Dave Hanratty, host of NO ENCORE, suggests 10 must-listens.

Song Exploder

It might seem a given to throw Song Exploder into a rundown like this, but there’s a reason for that. The Los Angeles-based bi-weekly keeps it simple, inviting guests of varying styles and status into the studio to break down their artistry in relaxed, revealing and sometimes remarkable fashion. The genius lies in addressing just one song of choice, which almost always yields passionate and fascinating insights. A-listers and indie darlings abound, but make time for turns from James Vincent McMorrowKelelaMetallicaGrimes and Joey Bada$$.

US rapper Joey Bada$$ performs on the Red Bull Studios Stage at Oppikoppi 2017 in South Africa.
Joey Bada$$

Couch Wisdom

Another podcast delving behind the scenes in an attempt to breakdown the artistic process is Red Bull Music Academy‘s Couch Wisdom. Delving into the inexhaustible pot of Red Bull Music Acadmey lectures, this weekly podcast features in-depth, warts-and-all interviews with musical luminaries such as BjörkThe Black MadonnaMoodymannSuzanne CianiIggy Pop and many more.

Talkhouse Podcast

From the minds that gave us Ezra Koenig‘s wonderfully surreal review of Drake‘s Nothing Was The Same comes the Talkhouse Podcast, a forum where journalists are left out in the cold as superstars quiz one another about whatever is on their minds. Memorable mash-ups include Andrew WK and Dan DeaconTori Amos and Shirley Manson, and Future Islands frontman Samuel T Herring sitting down with Vic Mensa.

Switched On Pop

It doesn’t matter if you’re obsessed with the pop charts or utterly confused by them – you’ll still want to hear US podcast Switched On Pop. Having survived both college and playing in the same band together, musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding combine to make sense of the biggest songs that make up the current pop landscape, dissecting and analysing them with sparkling wit and the kind of factual asides you’ll consider passing off as your own work.

Hip Hop Saved My Life

Let’s say that you’ve never encountered hip-hop before. You might think that a show that places the genre front and centre isn’t for you, but then you’ve probably never heard British stand-up comedian Romesh Ranganathan‘s buoyant passion for the subject. As you might expect from its title, Hip Hop Saved My Life adopts something of a joyful approach, and yet Ranganathan isn’t afraid to take aim at sacred cows when the mood arises. His approach is reflected in an eclectic chorus of guests that includes culture-dissecting UK comedian Adam Buxton, hip-hop producer and samples king DJ Yoda and Mercury-nominated British rapper Loyle Carner.

Loyle Carner raps at Future Sounds Of Hip Hop, part of the RBMA UK Tour 2016 in Liverpool.
UK rapper Loyle Carner

WTF With Marc Maron

Although he’s not strictly a music interviewer, American stand-up comedian Marc Maron has welcomed some of the industry’s biggest and most intriguing names onto his WTF podcast since 2009. The comedian and actor is an engaging host who knows how to get the most from his subjects – including Barack Obama, who turned up on his show a while back. The music-related highlights over WTF’s near-decade include an episode exploring the wild origins of Father John MistyLorde waxing lyrical about Fleetwood Mac and a tricky chat with Nick Cave that pulled back the curtain on the Australian musician’s ambitious script for a never-made Gladiator sequel.

Distraction Pieces

Having shot to fame in the UK as an especially loquacious orator, poet, spoken-word artist and political rapper, Scroobius Pip has found a new voice with his current venture. Named after his second studio album, Distraction Pieces finds Pip (David Meads to his mother) digging deep into the world around him, asking considered questions of musicians, actors, writers, comedians and, on special occasions, the general populace.

Light In The Attic

Seattle’s Light In The Attic podcast – by the people who run the well-loved US record label of the same name – reflects the strong sense of community that exists in the independent music scene, from record stores to labels. Two members of the label’s staff interview musicians, industry creatives and everyone in between, and display the same passion for music and doing-it-yourself that has powered their day job since 2002. They also champions music’s backroom professionals who work tirelessly on the records you’ll come to love.

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