5 Music Podcasts Worth Listening To
From episodes that explore the Indian indie scene to those that chart the history and mysteries of music, here are the podcasts to delve into
Music is in a constant flux. Genres are hybridized, songs are born, instruments are lost to time. These developments can be hard to keep up with when one is on the go. That’s where podcasts come in! From niche genres to music trivia and sounding boards, there’s an episode for everybody. Here are five podcasts you should definitely tune into to catch up with and explore all things music:
1. Ongoing History of New Music
Ongoing History of New Music is heavy with insight and history without being boring or daunting. Hosted by Canadian radio broadcaster and music critic Alan Cross, the podcast has been running since 1993 and is a repository on all things alternative and rock with sojourns into the genres of hip-hop, electronica and pop. The episodes take a deep dive into the history, etymology and analysis of music, bands and artists, with anecdotes and facts peppered into the segments. Cross is not an ignorant host and addresses history with due consideration to those uncredited and underrepresented, painting a picture that goes beyond what the realms of common and accessible knowledge hold. The show claims that “you’re definitely going to learn something that you might not find anywhere else” and we’re in agreement.
2. Maed in India
What makes for an incredible exchange? The ability to dig deep and ask questions nobody else is asking. Mumbai-based Journalist and former RJ Mae Thomas hosts Maed In India, India’s very first indie music podcast where stories and humour flow in between both exclusive and popular music sets with independent artists. Thomas shares an effortless rapport with her guests, creating a levity in the conversation that unearths both the unknown and riveting. With the diversity of India’s indie music scene and the plethora of artists already featured on the show — Mumbai rock/blues/jazz band Ladies Compartment, guitarist Kush Upadhyay, New Delhi singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad and more — listeners can expect an entertaining segment whenever they tune in.
3. Maximum India: an Exploration of Indian Music
Maximum India: an Exploration of Indian Music discusses and addresses the sounds of India, its roots, influence and resonance. New York-based journalist Hari Sreenivasan hosts the three part podcast wherein the instruments, their types and uniqueness are both explored and stressed, with improvisation as a form of performance coming through as a common practice. The episodes explore the vocabulary that caters to Indian instruments such as the tabla, sitar and flute among others and the diversity in the forms of each instrument from state to state. From the tetti and thun to the nah-nah-nah and ghe, streamers can both listen to and understand the texture, tone and reverberations created while learning more about the cultural, musical and religious significance of both the instruments and the sound they produce.
4. Strong Songs
Hosted by American musician and writer Kirk Hamilton, Strong Songs is a nostalgic, pedagogic and melancholic joyride. In each episode, Hamilton deconstructs one popular song from the yesteryears and the recent past — think ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “ Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” and so on. What listeners will love about the segments is how the host explores the nooks and crannies of a song with an insight that has a penchant to kick up memories, wipe the dust off records and invoke unforgettable tunes. Hamilton breaks down the song, particularly the instrumentals, even playing instruments to analyze the tune and help listeners understand the composition. His vocabulary is rich, allowing listeners to learn while also keeping comprehension within the reach of all. And as you listen, you might even find instrumental and vocal parallels to other songs you might love or know of.
5. Horns Up
Horns Up had its origins in a Twitter direct message where hosts and fellow Mumbai-based heavy metal fans Peter Kotikalapudi and Animesh Das were locked in a discussion about Indian rock and metal. It was born out of a need and want to talk about music and expand the conversation beyond the late Nineties and early Noughties, to explore Indian music in the modern-day. On Horns Up, Kotikalapudi and Das review heavy metal albums, discuss developments in the genre and its scene in India while interviewing both local and international acts — including vedic metal outfit Rudra, American death metal rockers Misery Index and black metal/thrash band The Wandering Ascetic — as they bond over their mutual love for heavy metal.
What comes through are the hosts’ passion and love for metal which is evident in the discussion and banter that ensues in every episode. It’s also an interesting space for heavy metal lovers as the episodes are punctuated by entertaining anecdotes of personal recall, experiences that hearken back to childhood and the first brush with metal. If you love heavy metal or any other variation of metal, this is the podcast to tune into.