Within the past decade, we have seen the rise of a new form of media: the podcast. We have witnessed the ascension of the podcast personality (Marc Maron), the establishment of podcasting networks (Nerdist), and even the mainstream embrace (ESPN). For some, podcasting is a means of getting themselves heard, even when it appears no one is listening.
The independent and underground music scenes have definitely seen the benefit of podcasting. Whether it is punk, hardcore, ska, or emo, podcasts allow all of those individual voices to be heard. It also allows the creators (bands, labels, promoters) to tell their stories in more than a few sentences or a sound bite. Simply put, the podcast has given rise to some of the most crucial ‘radio’ to be produced in a number of years.
Below, you will find 5 podcasts put out on a regular (or semi-regular) basis for your enjoyment. Each of these podcasts comes from a very unique place and has a very unique voice. A lot of these guys are also doing this for free. If you can, I highly encourage you to donate and help them out. Enjoy listening!
Going Off Track
Hosts: Steven Smith (former host of Steven’s Untitled Rock Show, MTV Geek), Jonah Bayer (journalist, United Nations guitarist, former music editor of Alternative Press), Mike Cangemi (TV Producer and Music Documentarian), Brad Worrell (producer, former member of the Goops, Clowns For Progress)
With all due respect to the other podcasts I will be talking about, this is hands down my favorite podcast, and one of my favorite pieces of media, that I consume. Most of the time, the best conversations happen off-air, that is the format for Going Off Track. It is a free-form discussion with the weekly guest about anything and everything. If you are ever going to do your own podcast, listen to this over and over. The production, writing, and execution are near flawless. The 4 hosts have a chemistry that you cannot fake and they play off of each other so well. (Mike Cangemi has been absent on many of the conversations due to his day job but the podcasts he is included on are many of the best). The charm of the podcast is that it is less an interview program and more of a loose discussion amongst a close group of friends. Smith is masterful as master of ceremonies, keeping the conversation going but allowing both the hosts and guests to go into some brilliant tangents. Special shout out to podcast producer Brad Worrell. Sonically, this is the best sounding podcast on the net. Also, Jonah Bayer is my hero.
Washed Up Emo
Host: Tom Mullen
When I think about this podcast, the first word I think of is passion. While I don’t know Tom personally, I can tell the music he speaks about, the bands he speaks to, and the times he has had in the scene are things he cherishes. Tom’s absolute love for the genre is also apparent when it comes to knowing his history and being able to pick out key threads throughout many of the interviews he has conducted. No matter where the interviewee is from many of the same influences, records, and events all seem to pop up and Tom has been able to identify and correlate much of this. I like to imagine Tom has a ‘Homeland’ like bulletin board with threads linking bands, releases, shows, and the like. It is this passion that makes Washed Up Emo so great. It is a lifetime of experience and love going into each edition of the podcast. Personally, I would also love to hear Tom do ‘topics’ editions of the podcast. He has brought up a number of things such as ‘the money note’ and regionality in music scenes that would make for great conversations.
Hosts: Rotating panel of Punknews writers/editors including Adam White, Chris Moran, Bryne Yancey, John Gentile, Kira Wisniewski, and others
The merry band of misfits over at Punknews gets together once a week to talk about the biggest stories on their site and also feature some new music. The podcast is a roundtable style discussion with each member of the panel giving their unique take on each story. One of the strengths of the panel is that each member generally comes from a diverse background, which leads to some good debates (and some playful ribbing).
100 Words or Less
Host: Ray Harkins (Taken, Mikoto, Sound and Fury Fest, First World Problems Podcast)
Ray Harkins is the Marc Maron of hardcore. On a weekly basis, Ray interviews a who’s who of independent music going beyond the typical questions. Ray really digs in to each interviewee’s evolution. Who inspired them? Why are they doing what they are doing? The podcast doesn’t just solely focus on heavy and hard music. He has also done some fantastic interviews with people who may be involved tangentially in the scene like Goldfinger frontman/producer John Feldmann and comedian Jonah Ray. One thing I adore about Ray is that he is one of the most positive people in the scene. His enthusiasm totally shines through in everything he does. He is a true lifer and one of the best representations of the subculture and independent music as a whole.
Nothing to Write Home About
Host: Matt Pryor (Get Up Kids, New Amsterdams, Terrible Twos)
This is the newest of all of the podcasts on the list. Most episodes are typically interviews done by Matt with many of his modern day peers. Matt has a very unique viewpoint of having lived through a band that was extremely popular and can speak with many of the bands he interviews about the peaks, valleys, and industry as a whole. Matt is truly knowledgeable about the music industry and has very keen insights on the way things operate. The geographic point of view of this podcast also helps to separate it in a very unique way. While a number of podcasts, music or not, are based on either the East or West Coasts, NTWHA is firmly based in the middle. We get to hear from a number of bands that you may not get to hear from on a regular basis such as Coalesce, Koufax, and the Anniversary. I would be remiss to not speak of the Tuesdays With Reggie chats. These are mostly conversations between Matt and the highly entertaining James Dewees (Reggie & The Full Effect, Get Up Kids). James has some of the craziest tales and just when you think his story is already awesome, Matt gets him to expose that next level detail that makes it absolutely epic.
I spend a lot of time commuting. I listen to a lot of podcasts. If you have another podcast I should be listening to, let me know. Hit me up on twitter at @stevenrbauer or email me here. Also, be sure to check out all of these guys and if you can please donate to them.