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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Music That Matters

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Though now a bona fide Southern Californian, your Podthinker did most of his growing up around Seattle, Washington. Despite having avoided the twin local scourges of flannel and Gore-TexTM, he nonetheless experienced a few direct collisions with such Seattle icons as Rachel the Pig, the Space Needle's slowly-revolving restaurant and, of course, KEXP.

Though memories have grown dim, your Podthinker recalls his relationship to the Emerald City's heppest radio station as something less than that which exists between a culture-starved youngster and his sole beacon of hope for tapped-in coolness. It was actually more one of near-active hostility, pushed to the boiling point by one too many chopped-up, rapped-over Steely Dan tracks spewing forth from his clock radio at 6:00 a.m. But having mellowed much since those heady high school days, your Podthinker is ready to give KEXP a shot again.

Naturally, he's made the return trip via podcasting. KEXP's Music That Matters [iTunes] [RSS] delivers full-song mixes hosted and assembled by the station's very own DJs, including John Richards, Kevin Cole, Cheryl Waters and others. Those names probably mean a lot more to you Seattleite readers.

A commenter on last week's Podthought on Sound Opinions requested as follows:
I love Sound Opinions and its NPR cousin podcast All Songs Considered, but I'm tired on having my new music curated by middle aged NPR dudes. Any recommendations of podcasts showcasing good new indie rock and hip-hop that include both music and discussion?
Anonymous dude, this may well be the podcast you want. While any given KEXP DJ may or may not currently reside in middle age — and, be prepared, some do — they certainly don't put out the "NPR guy" vibe. Track selections do come mainly from the sprawling realms of rock and hip-hop — and all over the place within them — but they often get deep, specific and rare in the ways that the Sound Opinions of the world don't. You tune into those shows to hear a levelheaded evaluation of a song you've heard or at least about; you tune into Music That Matters to hear something you might not have ever heard otherwise, especially since the playlists lean toward Pacific Northwest artists.

To estabish a little context, here are some of the nationally recognizable artist names peppered among the lesser-knowns:
  • Animal Collective
  • Vivian Girls
  • Moby
  • Raekwon
  • The Hold Steady
  • Michael Franti (and Spearhead!)
Where the program doesn't quite live up to these specifications is the "discussion" element. This is a pretty freeform operation, leaving what sounds like near-total control up to the individual DJ. Some DJs do the discussion thing after every song or two, and some let like eleven go by before they deign to say a few words. Though lengthy analysis rarely finds its way into the show, you'll sometimes get a nice, if unpredictable, chunk of history, explication, or pure enthusiasm. Just don't count on it.

Like the KEXP your Podthinker remembers, Music That Matters doesn't have a huge amount of rhyme or reason to it, beyond any given episode's theme. But also like the KEXP your Podthinker remembers, it'll almost certainly throw a few interesting pieces of music you're way if you're chilled out and willing to listen. Maybe just avoid it first thing in the morning in high school. Then you're good.

Vital stats:
Format: full-song mixes with occasional commentary
Duration: 50m-1h
Frequency: allegedly "bi-weekly," but seems to come out weekly
Archive available on iTunes: from #25 on

[Got a podcast to suggest for Podthoughts coverage or any other sort of question and/or comment for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

Demand the Monsters of Podcasting

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Today, Jordan and I had an Important Business Lunch, where we decided that we want to do more road shows. So, with that in mind, please use this Eventful widget to tell us where you live, presuming you want us to come there. If you hate us, that's cool, just don't rub it in.

Jonathan Richman - I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar

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HAVING SOME FUN YOU GUYS.

Podcast: The College Years: R.O.C.K!

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Guests: 
Andrew W.K.
Guests: 
Brendan Thorn

Our rock star friend, Andrew W.K., give's Jesse's little brother Brendan some rock n roll advice. Brendan Thorn (aka Eddy Demon) is the frontman of the band Total Annihilation.


(above: Andrew with Brendan Thorn of Total Annihilation)

Jordan, Jesse, Go Episode 121: Lawrence of Arabia with Matt Belknap

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Guests: 
Matt Belknap

Matt Belknap joins Jesse and Jordan to talk about battling homophobia through lies, about dark sides and much more.

Wow!

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Nation of Thizzlam makes a convincing argument that Princeton the Great is the worst rapper in the Bay Area... but I think they're not going far enough. Hey may be the worst rapper of all time. Worse than Jim McMahon on "Superbowl Shuffle." Holy moley.

"Sketch of the Dead"

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Sketch Of The Dead

Featuring Paul F Tompkins and Rich Sommer.

Betty Davis: Raw & Uncut

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A few years ago, I interviewed Betty Davis. In the 1970s, Davis was the wife of Miles Davis and a talented and accomplished musician in her own right. Her funk records were a bit short on vocal melody, but jam-packed with amazing grooves and raw themes. Her band featured the best funk players in the world. She was also spectacularly good looking and prone to wearing wild stage outfits.

In the late 70s, she disappeared from the music scene, and was very nearly never heard from again. At one point, a fan tracked her down so she could get the tens of thousands of dollars in royalties that she was owed by ASCAP/BMI, but she hadn't spoken publicly, much less recorded, in 20 years.

Her discography was re-released by Light in the Attic Records in 2007. She did an interview with our friend Oliver Wang for the liner notes, but that was about it. I'm a huge fan, and the people at Light in the Attic love public radio, so after weeks of concerted effort, we got her to agree to an interview with The Sound. The conditions: she wouldn't go to a studio and I wouldn't call her directly.

Our interview with Ms. Davis is one of our most popular - I think because Ms. Davis has so many fans desperate for a scrap of information about her life and career.The final interview, I think, came out pretty well. It has lots of her great music livening things up, and lots and lots of interview editing.

Since folks always ask me about this interview, I thought I'd share with you the raw audio of our conversation. Understand that the amount of editing that went into this show is very atypical - all TSOYA interviews don't sound like this in raw form. Just this one. Undoubtedly the most difficult interview of my life.

This raw interview runs 38 minutes. I won't even begin to estimate what portion of that is awkward silence.


Download MP3

TSOYA Classics: World of Wonder with Terry Gilliam & Chris Elliott (October 27th, 2006)

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This week on The Sound of Young America, two men who hold the keys to WORLDS OF WONDER.

Chris Elliott came to prominence in the early 1980s as the buffoonish foil on "Late Night with David Letterman." His career has also included the cult sitcom "Get A Life" and film "Cabin Boy," as well as several seasons on the hit sitcom "Everybody Love Raymond." Most recently, he's become an author, and his absurd 19th century mystery, "The Shroud of the Thwacker," has just been released in paperback. Be sure to take a listen to our special bonus questions for Chris for comedy nerd insider info on his specials, "Action Family" and "FDR: The One Man Show," among other stuff.

Then we speak with Terry Gilliam. Since his days as a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus, he's directed many acclaimed films, including "Brazil," "Time Bandits," "The Fisher King," & "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas." His most recent film, "Tideland," a dark & disturbing fairy tale, is in theaters now.




Listen to This Week's Show

Bonus Extra Question with Chris Elliott

Incidental Music by DJW

Download This Week's Show (mp3)
Subscribe to TSOYA Classic: iTunes / Feed

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