Song Exploder

A podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.

Song Exploder No. 23: Stars

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Song Exploder

Stars is a band from Toronto, who have been making music together since 2000. Their seventh album was released in October 2014. For this episode, I spoke to several members of the band: singer Amy Millan over the phone, and to Evan and Patty in their studio in Toronto along with their co-producer Liam O’Neil. Coming up, they’ll talk about the inspiration for the phrase “No One Is Lost" which is the title of this song as well as the album. And you’ll hear the original version of the chorus: one that they wrote, recorded, mixed, and finished but then, ended up changing completely.

Buy "No One Is Lost" on iTunes.

Donate to the Pablove Foundation and learn more about their mission, at pablove.org/donate.

footnotes
James Shaw of the band Metric remixed the chorus.

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Song Exploder No. 22: The Books

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Song Exploder

Before The Books broke up, they released four albums that combined composed music and found sounds. In this episode, Nick Zammuto explains how he crafted the song Smells Like Content, off of their 2005 album Lost and Safe, out of unlikely sources, like geometry, chance encounters, and a corrugated PVC pipe.

This video demonstrates how Nick Zammuto creates rhythms within the locked groove of a vinyl record:

Buy "Smells Like Content" on iTunes.

footnotes
After The Books ended, Nick Zammuto started a solo project, called Zammuto. Check out the new Zammuto record, Anchor.

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Song Exploder No. 21: Julia Holter

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Julia Holter

Julia Holter studied composition, and in the song “Horns Surrounding Me,” she arranges not only acoustic and electronic instruments, but also layers of ambient field recordings and background noise. The song was released in 2013 on her acclaimed album Loud City Song. In this episode, Julia deconstructs the recording, and talks about what she did to evoke a feeling of fear in both the music and the way she sang, changing her voice on different parts of the song to create character and texture.

Buy "Horns Surrounding Me" on iTunes.

footnotes
The song playing when Brian Ferry sings is Roxy Music's "Love Is the Drug."

Song Exploder t-shirts are now available here.

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Song Exploder No. 20: Valley Lodge

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Dave Hill

Dave Hill is a comedian and host of his own podcast that, like Song Exploder, is on the Maximum Fun network. He's also the frontman of the band Valley Lodge. In this episode, Dave will deconstruct the Valley Lodge song Go, which you might recognize as the opening credits of the HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. This is a special episode produced for MaxFunWeek, seven days of celebrating the community of listeners and shows that make up the Maximum Fun podcast network.

Buy "Go" on iTunes.

footnotes

Song Exploder t-shirts are now available here.

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Song Exploder Live

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Date: 
11/15/2014 - 21:00 - 22:00
Show: 
City: 
Seattle, WA
Venue Name: 
The Rendezvous

Buy tickets here:
http://therendezvous.strangertickets.com/events/18365890/song-exploder-live

Song Exploder No. 19: RAC

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Song Exploder
Guests: 
Andre Allen Anjos
Guests: 
Amanda Warner

Andre Allen Anjos is better known as RAC, a musician who first found success by remixing other people’s songs. His remixes for artists like Lana Del Rey have gotten millions of plays online. In 2013, RAC released Strangers, his first album of original material, and in this episode, he breaks down the song Let Go from that record. It features guest vocals from Kele, best known as the frontman of the band Bloc Party, and singer MNDR, who also talks about her experience working on the track.

Buy "Let Go" on iTunes.

footnotes
The Bloc Party song at the beginning is "Helicopter." You can hear André's full remix of the song here. The voice from Portal is the character GLaDOS from the games Portal and Portal 2. Listen to Michael Giacchino's opening theme to Lost.

Tickets for Song Exploder live in Seattle on November 15, 2014, can be purchased here. Sign up for Five Song Fridays at tinyletter.com/songexploder.

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Song Exploder No. 18: The Thermals

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Hutch Harris
Guests: 
Chris Walla

The Thermals originally began as Hutch Harris’s solo recording project. He sang and played all the instruments on the 2003 Thermals record More Parts Per Million. In this episode, Hutch breaks down his lo-fi recording of the song No Culture Icons. The track was later mixed by Chris Walla, who is known best for his work with Death Cab for Cutie, and we’ll hear some thoughts from him as well. I spoke with Hutch in front of a live audience at the XOXO Festival in Portland, Oregon.

Buy "No Culture Icons" on iTunes.

footnotes
The song by Elevator to Hell is "Roger and the Hair," and the song by The Misfits is "Astro Zombies."

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Song Exploder No. 17: Anamanaguchi

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Song Exploder

In addition to guitars, drums, and bass, the band Anamanaguchi makes their music with the 8-bit sounds that were built into Nintendo video game consoles made in the 1980s. They use software called a tracker to meticulously sequence and produce those sounds. Most of their music is instrumental, but in this episode, they break down of the first times they’ve incorporated vocals, for the song Prom Night, which features singer Bianca Raquel. Prom Night is from their most recent album, Endless Fantasy, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart when it came out in 2013.

Buy "Prom Night" on iTunes, or get the album on vinyl.

footnotes
The song by Capsule is "I Wish You," from the album Player.

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Song Exploder Live, with The Thermals

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Date: 
09/12/2014 - 20:00 - 21:00
Show: 
City: 
Portland, OR
Venue Name: 
XOXO Fest at The Redd

http://2014.xoxofest.com/

Song Exploder № 16: Spoon

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Jim Eno
Guests: 
Dave Fridmann

Spoon was formed in 1993 by singer Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno. They've released eight albums, including their most recent record, They Want My Soul, which came out in August 2014. In this episode, Jim Eno breaks down the song "Inside Out," explaining how it went from the original demo to the finished album version, including what other music influenced the recording. Plus, we'll hear from their co-producer, Dave Fridmann, whose other credits include The Flaming Lips album The Soft Bulletin, and Oracular Spectacular by MGMT.

Buy "Inside Out" on iTunes here.

Footnotes:
The Dr Dre song is "Still D.R.E." The Marvin Gaye song is the Rhythm 'N' Strings mix of "What's Going On."

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