While stepping outside of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service - inarguably two of the most influential names that indie rock has birthed in the last two decades - lead singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard has acquired a stunningly diverse range of collaborators, from The Monkees to Chance the Rapper. On today’s show — as DCFC approaches the fall release of their tenth album, Asphalt Meadows — Ben describes why the pandemic changed his vinyl listening habits, how he’s fallen randomly into some of the aforementioned collaborations, and the band’s explosive (literally) new video, directed by Lance Bangs. We also discuss Yoko Ono, AC/DC, Pharoah Sanders, and Ben’s soft spot for former Milwaukee Brewer Gorman Thomas. Pre-order Asphalt Meadows, via deathcabforcutie.com or wherever you get music, prior to its release September 16th.
Enjoy this encore presentation of Episode 110 with guest Matt Earley, president of acclaimed vinyl pressing plant Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland. PLUS a sneak peek on next week's guest!
Popular female country artists like Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris have scored major pop crossover hits, made huge splashes in the vinyl market and perform for sold-out crowds across the United States, yet barely have a blip on country radio. Though far from a new phenomenon, it’s one that has drawn battle lines over the last two decades between gatekeepers of a genre dominated by white males and a rightfully fervent opposition seeking accountability, diversity and equal representation. On this week’s episode, music journalist Marissa R. Moss (Rolling Stone, Billboard) explains how she tackles these issues and more in her new book, “Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be” (available today, May 10th). We also dive into why Sturgill Simpson’s latest record is best enjoyed on vinyl, the rise of Nashville’s Black Opry, and how life events influence how we hear and appreciate music. Visit marissarmoss.com for more information about “Her Country,” and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @marissarmoss.
Despite not setting out to make concept albums 100% of the time, Tim Kasher — leader of influential indie-rock mainstay Cursive — realizes that artwork, connecting songs in post-production, and other methods have made his LP’s feel like sweeping, thematic gestures to his fans for twenty-five years. This week, hot off the release of his new solo full-length Middling Age, Tim recalls the days of commercials for albums on television, the importance of beloved Omaha record store The Antiquarium, and his recent stint on the TV game show Chain Reaction. Plus, whether the community aspect of Saddle Creek’s heyday could survive today’s landscape, and why he’s attracted to songs about songwriting.
Much of what we love about vinyl records is separate from the vinyl itself: Photographers, illustrators and more play an important role in helping fans connect emotionally or otherwise with their favorite recording artists, especially in the age of social media. Today, three accomplished individuals — portrait photographer Alysse Gafkjen, muralist Kim Radford and live photographer Josh Weichman — discuss their first big breaks in the music industry and specific methods used to capture their best work, as well as advice for the next generation of visual artists.
As co-hosts of the podcast Who Cares About the Rock Hall?, comedians Kristen Studard and Joe Kwaczala examine the history, politics, annual inductions and just-as-annual snubs within the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Originally launched as a simple way for two friends to discuss music, the show has gotten the duo unprecedented access to those behind-the-scenes and in the know -- even arguably swaying a vote or two. This week, Joe and Kristen discuss the hall's controversial start, this year's nominations, how doing the podcast has influenced their views on music fandom, and why voting for less total inductees speaks volumes. Follow @rockhallpod on Twitter and Instagram, plus subscribe to Who Cares About the Rock Hall? wherever you get podcasts.
With 25th anniversaries occurring or looming for some of his earliest work with Alkaline Trio, Slapstick and Tuesday, Dan Andriano is set to release yet another chapter in a storied career next month -- Dear Darkness, his first LP with backing band The Bygones. On today's show, Dan discusses the importance the suburbs play in the story of Chicago punk rock, what kickstarted his interest in writing songs in the studio, and how some of Alkaline Trio’s most visceral album artwork came from both organic and practical means. Dear Darkness is out everywhere February 11th on Epitaph Records. Visit danandriano.com for social media, album pre-orders and more.
Championed by some today’s biggest names on the fringes of country music, singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah released her most recent album, Wary + Strange, last year to rave reviews. Upon its release, Pitchfork dubbed the record “an intensely personal document (that) examines the realities of being a Southern Black LGBTQ+ woman in songs both defiant and vulnerable.” One of those tracks in particular, the Grammy-nominated “Black Myself,” matches a hypnotic groove and gritty distortion with lyrics addressing the horrors of chattel slavery and the Brown Paper Bag Test, making for an unforgettable statement that channels both Odetta and Public Enemy. On today’s episode, Amythyst discusses “Black Myself” in detail, as well as growing up with an audiophile father, being intrigued as a kid by a particular Santana album cover, and how an a cappella Tori Amos song inspired her to share her most personal struggles. Visit amythystkiah.com for tour dates, social media and more.
This year, the record industry hit arguably its greatest bottleneck yet: Though Taylor Swift and Adele have recently delivered two of the largest vinyl sales weeks of the modern era (with revenue on an incline for physical indie retailers during the pandemic), COVID-19 has made materials like PVC, cardboard, dyes, shrink wrap, paper for inner sleeves and even wood pallets increasingly harder to find, afford and ship around the world. Thus, an album by your favorite artist that comes out digitally today may not see a physical vinyl release for months. On this week's episode, Billy Fields (VP of Sales, Account Management for an arm of Warner Music Group), Eric Astor (President/CEO of Furnace Record Pressing) and Dustin Currier (an independent, Chicago-area musician whose latest album on vinyl has been delayed due to the aforementioned circumstances) participate in a roundtable discussion separating fact from fiction around these headaches, and how their own personal stake in promoting, releasing or pressing music has been affected.
Here's a brief update on what you can expect for our final episode of 2021, airing next week, and what's coming up in early 2022!
Over six proper studio albums and a slew of EP's and seven-inches within 15+ years, Seattle's Minus the Bear established themselves as one of indie-rock's most unique, shape-shifting bands. On today's episode, vocalist/guitarist Jake Snider discusses the band's new triple-LP live set recorded over several shows of their last tour in 2018, and how the band focused on the quality of the vinyl master with each recording.
Nashville-based producer/singer/songwriter Jon Randall has collaborated with a who's-who list of country royalty for two decades, from Emmylou Harris, Reba McEntire and Dwight Yoakam to Maren Morris, Little Big Town and Lyle Lovett. But this past year has brought Jon a bit more out from behind-the-scenes: He’s got his first solo album in 15 years available now, as well as The Marfa Tapes — a joint project with long-time friends Miranda Lambert and Jack Ingram — which captures the trio’s lo-fi, single-take performances under the stars of the Texas desert. On top of astounding songs and rich three-part harmonies, The Marfa Tapes’ genuine intimacy and lack of studio gloss are unheard of for mainstream country music in 2021, and the approach suggests why Pitchfork championed the LP as “a late-night love letter” to the genre’s myths. On this episode, Jon muses about ZZ Top's early cover art, his family’s bluegrass background, and how approving vinyl test pressings recently gave him hope that in the age of the digital streaming, listening to music at home can once again become a communal experience. Stop by jonrandallmusic.com for everything regarding Jon's projects.
Enjoy this episode of the podcast Rock And Roll Brunch, with guest Jim Hanke of Vinyl Emergency, from August 2021. Follow @rockandrollbrunch on Instagram and subscribe to the show on YouTube (with full video of every episode), or however you get podcasts!
Natalie Hemby has earned the type of career most Nashville artists dream of, without necessarily being a household name. She signed her first publishing deal before the age of 21, and has co-written hits for superstars like Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow and Lady Gaga, the latter of which nabbed Natalie her first Grammy. Natalie’s friendships with fellow singer/songwriters Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires led to the formation of The Highwomen, and their hit debut record, in 2019. Despite the pandemic not allowing them to tour in 2020, the supergroup has spawned legions of fans and another Grammy for Natalie’s co-write on the heartwarming single “Crowded Table.” Today, Natalie talks about an early Prince obsession, a recent collaboration with Alicia Keys, the traits one needs to be a great co-writing partner, and The Highwomen’s influence on a fierce, flourishing generation of new songwriters. Pre-order Natalie’s new solo album Pins and Needles on vinyl (out October 8th) at nataliehemby.com.
Enjoy this encore presentation from February 2020 with guest Jason Narducy of Split Single. His new album Amplificado is out now!
The child of two professional singers who gigged heavily within their local nightclub scene, Chris DeMakes grew up surrounded by 45's, primarily so his mom and dad could keep up with (and cover) new music. That consistent rotation of entertainment in the house fueled Chris' collector habits early on: Memorizing liner notes and label logos, as well as keeping at least one copy of every record or piece of merchandise that his influential ska/punk band Less Than Jake has put out over their career, three decades long and counting. On this week's episode, Chris dives into his recent book, the fascinating songwriting podcast he launched during quarantine, and a slew of outlandish LTJ vinyl rarities throughout the years, some of which came in pizza boxes and pie tins. Visit lessthanjake.com and chrisdemakes.com for news updates and social media, and hear Chris DeMakes A Podcast wherever you listen.
Born in Scotland but moving to Australia by the age of 14, Colin Hay grew up around a music shop owned and operated by his parents, who sold everything from pianos to LP’s. Finding worldwide success and a Grammy win in the early 80’s with Men At Work, Colin has penned some of the most endearing songs of that decade (“Down Under,” “Who Could It Be Now?,” “Overkill”) as well as unassuming yet emotionally resonant tracks since then, like “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin” and “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You.” His charm has always lied in crafting bleakly beautiful melodies, blanketed by lyrics that somehow find comfort in isolation or discomfort in new surroundings. On June 4th, Compass Records will release a 20th anniversary vinyl pressing of Colin’s album Going Somewhere, and on today’s show, Colin discusses the process in revisiting that material, how moving from Scotland to Australia was like changing “from black-and-white into technicolor,” and how he became a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. Pre-order Going Somewhere from compassrecords.com and follow @ColinHay on Instagram for updates.
Over the last twenty-five years with acclaimed acts like Nickel Creek, I'm With Her and Watkins Family Hour (as well as her own solo material), Sara Watkins has become one of the most prolific musicians in folk and bluegrass. Dig into your record collection, and you'll also find her work on albums from Steve Earle, The Decemberists, Mandy Moore, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett and Father John Misty, to boot. Her latest solo release is Under the Pepper Tree, an album of lullabies, hopeful songs from kids films and tender melodies that have otherwise served her into adulthood. Today, Sara discusses the origins of Under the Pepper Tree (especially how she envisioned the album on vinyl from the very beginning), how her dad crafted a makeshift turntable out of a sewing needle and paper, and how one Nickel Creek fan went from the front row on the band's recently-released live album to testing the trio for COVID. Under the Pepper Tree is available now on New West Records, wherever you get music. Find Sara's socials, upcoming live dates and more info at SaraWatkins.com.
Beginning strictly as a dance-a-long live show, Koo Koo Kanga Roo has exploded over the last decade -- thanks to digital streaming and word of mouth from elementary teachers -- becoming a hugely popular duo amongst toddlers and grade school kids. Whether rapping about the unbridled joys of pizza, rainbows, monsters or fanny packs, Bryan Atchison and Neil Ostad are approaching 150 million views on YouTube as of this recording, and have collaborated or toured with Frank Turner, the Aquabats, the Harlem Globetrotters and members of Doomtree. Today, Bryan and Neil discuss Koo Koo's history, lessons they absorbed from Asian Man Records founder Mike Park, getting spoofed by Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa this past Halloween, and the logistical nightmare of traveling with vinyl overseas for the first time. Plus, Jim's son George makes his first official appearance on the podcast as he meets his favorite band! You can pre-order Koo Koo Kanga Roo's new album Slow Clap on vinyl and find videos + social media at kookookangaroo.com. Bryan and Neil's podcast Banter Buddies can also be found wherever you listen.
Enjoy this encore presentation of Episode 46, recorded live 01/14/17 at Pinwheel Records (Chicago) with vocalists/guitarists Bob Nanna and Chris Broach from Braid.