Podcasts of the Week of the (Two) Weeks Ending May 5

Twenty Thousand Hertz :: ASMR

Oh my goodness, this podcast made my head tingle!

Hidden Brain :: Emma, Carrie, Vivian

A scary story of American eugenics, racism, and misogony. And not as far removed from today as you’d want it to be.

All Songs Considered :: At 70, Smithsonian Folkways Is An Antidote To Music Algorithms

A history of one the most important record labels.

Hit Parade :: The You Give Rock a Bad Name Edition

I’m not much a fan of “hair metal” but Chris Molanphy does a fair job of evaluating Bon Jovi’s role in pop music history even as he admits how much he hates them.

Hub History :: Tent City

In 1968, Boston residents fought to stop luxury development and parking in the South End, winning community-informed affordable housing instead. Something we need to do again.

99% Invisible :: The Laff Track

I always hated the laff track on tv sitcoms, but this show made me appreciate why it exists, how it’s done, the artistry of syncing the right laugh, and why laff tracks have vanished today.


Podcasts of the Week Ending January 27

A good crop of podcasts this week featuring Parliament and owls, but not a parliament of owls.

Twenty Thousand Hertz :: Six O’Clock Soundtrack

I always liked tv news music as a child too, particularly the Action News theme.  Here’s the story of how news music is made.

Sound Opinions :: New Wave & Alison Moyet

Another defining musical style of my childhood, New Wave, is examined along with an interview with New Wave musical great Alison Moyet.

Code Switch :: The ‘R-Word’ In The Age Of Trump

An exploration of when it’s appropriate to describe someone or something as racist and why some journalists are hesitant to do so.

All Songs Considered :: George Clinton & The P-Funk All Stars

Parliament Funkadelic are back and as funky as ever.

LeVar Burton Reads :: “The Truth About Owls” by Amal El-Mohtar

A sweet story about a girl from Lebanon who immigrates to England and finds her place through the study of owls and Welsh mythology.

Snap Judgement :: Senior Year Mixtape

The touching and heartbreaking of three students at a San Francisco high school over the course of their senior year.

Hit Parade :: The B-Sides Edition

The first live-audience Hit Parade episode features pub trivia questions about b-sides that became bigger hits than their a-sides and a performance by Ted Leo, “the nicest guy in punk.”

Podcasts of the Week Ending January 20

Hidden Brain :: E Pluribus Unum?

Democracy is resilient and will buoyed by the conflict of our times.

Slow Burn :: How Watergate Turned America into a Nation of Conspiracy Theorists

Turns out that one, high-level conspiracy is enough to convince people that all sorts of things are plausible.

All Songs Considered :: Our Top Discoveries from globalFEST 2018

Every year I hear the highlights from globalFEST and think “I should try to go next year.” Then I forget.  Until then I can always listen to the great music on this podcast.

Radio Boston :: Accusations Against Aziz Ansari Spur Conversation Around Sexual Misconduct, #MeToo

An interesting conversation about positive consent.

Podcasts of the Week Ending January 6

Hub History :: Annexation Making Boston Bigger for 150 Years

Boston grew first by making new land in Back Bay and the South End.  Then it grew even more starting 150 years ago by adding surrounding communities of Roxbury, Dorchester, Brighton, West Roxbury, and Charlestown.  Find out how it all happened in this podcast.

Hang Up and Listen :: The 200 Seventh Graders Versus LeBron Edition

A whimsical year-end look at some sports conundrums such as how many seventh graders would you have to put on the court to defeat LeBron James playing solo.  Or, what would a NFL field or NBA court be like if they were built with the irregularities common in baseball stadiums.

Have You Heard :: Segrenomics

The long sad story of how inequality and segregation in education have long been the source of profit in the United States.

Slate’s Hit Parade :: The Silver Medalists Edition

A look back at some of the great songs that peaked at #2 on the pop charts with a special focus on “Shop Around” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “We Got the Beat” by The Go-Gos, and “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson.

All Songs Considered :: Ice Music: Building Instruments Out of Water

Bob Boilen interviews Norwegian musician Terje Isungset who shapes and plays instruments out of ice.

Podcasts of the Week: August 26-September 8

This (two) weeks in podcasts.

All Songs Considered: All Songs +1: The Weird World Of ‘Feature’ Credits

Ever wondered what has lead to the great increase in songs with a “feat.” artist in the title over the past couple of decades? Or why the featured artists appears in the song title rather than the performer? Or what the difference between “feat.” and “with” or even “x” and “vs” all means?  Apparently, it’s all about metadata.

HUB History: Perambulating the Bounds

Local law requires Boston City Councilors or their designees to walk the boundaries of the city every five years, a practice that was often a boozy ceremony in the past, but has been ignored since the 1980s.  If the city is looking for citizens to take up perambulating the bounds again, I put my foot forward.

99% Invisible: The Age of the Algorithm

How algorithms, purportedly designed to replace subjective judgments with objective measurements, have been used as a cover for discrimination and  marketed for purposes they’re not designed for.

Have You HeardEducation Can’t Fix Poverty. So Why Keep Insisting that It Can?

The history of the most misguided myth about education, that it will resolve poverty with no other interventions required, and how it has set up schools to fail.

Finally, there are two podcasts that actually replayed episodes made by another podcast this week:

Code Switch: An Advertising Revolution: “Black People Are Not Dark-Skinned White People”  originally from Planet Money

An interesting story of the first African-American advertisement executive who showed how supposed free market capitalists were losing out on money due to white supremacy.

99% Invisible: Notes on an Imagined Plaque originally from The Memory Place

Nate Dimeo’s thoughts on what should be placed on a plaque on a Memphis statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest to mark the reasons why the statue exists.

Bands I Broke Up With

Recently, the All Songs Considered podcast rebroadcast an episode called Breaking Up With Your Favorite Bands.  It’s all about the moment when your realize that the band or artist you loved so much, you just don’t love anymore.  It could be them, it could be you.  You might still love the old stuff, or you might make a clean break.

So here are some of the bands that I broke up with and the reasons why.

eddie from ohio

Through the 1990s I was a huge fan of this folk-pop band who are actually from Virginia and I saw them in concert more times than any other performer.  They were an energetic and fun live band with great banter between songs. Their songs were introspective and witty (some songs made me laugh every time I heard them), they alternated vocals among three singers, and everything was powered by a unique percussion of Eddie Hartness’ drumkit.  Then in 2001 they released an album called Quick, the music sounded more light rock and the funny bits made me laugh once if at all.  Worst of all, in concert they seemed to abandon all the old songs I loved as well as their silly personas to become more button-down.  I think they’ve only released one album since our breakup and don’t tour much anymore, so maybe the time was up for them as well.

Dave Matthews Band

Another band I came to like when I went to college in Virginia.  During my freshman year they were playing bars in college towns, but by my senior year they were doing national arena tours.  In between that I saw them open for a concert at William & Mary for Toad the Wet Sprocket (who were actually a big deal at the time).  Their sound was unique for the mid-1990s and I liked the emphasis on the virtuoso performances of the fiddler, saxophonist, and drummer.  Then I went to  New Year’s concert in 1997 and realized that Dave Matthews himself was a obnoxious dudebro.  But what really brought an end to our affair was that after the first two albums, the sound of the band turned more into the typical bland, post-grunge sound that was common in that era.  I broke up and didn’t look back.


I first became aware of Sting and The Police when their Synchronicity album came out in 1983.  My sister was a big fan but I could take it or leave it.  But something about Sting’s …Nothing Like the Sun album appealed to me and I went back and discovered the earlier Police albums and I became a fan.  For a bit.   I was excited when The Soul Cages came out and it seemed profound that it was all about the death of his father at the same time that my own father died.  But the more I listened to it, the less I liked it. Ensuing Sting releases were increasingly bland and I reverted to my earlier take on Sting.

Lenny Kravitz

Let Love Rule came out in 1989 and I randomly selected the tape from Columbia House.  While the music is deeply derivative of 60s and 70s psychedelia and soul, it also didn’t sound much like anything else released at the time.  Add to the fact that I was coming out of my Klassik Rawk phase and it was nice to have a currently released album I could enjoy.  Perhaps it was a bridge to more contemporary released music for me?  At any rate, subsequent releases by Lenny Kravitz were cheezier and poppier, and I quietly stepped off the Kravitz bandwagon.

The Doors

Speaking of the Klassik Rawk period, I suppose there’s a time when many a teenager starts listening to The Doors and thinks that Jim Morrison was a tragic poet.  I didn’t get too deep, although I did read No One Here Gets Out Alive.  Nevertheless, it didn’t take me long to realize that after their debut album, most of the music released by The Doors was crap, a view I still hold to this day.


Fishbone was the first band I ever saw in concert, and wow – what a first concert. Intense music, dancing, moshing, crowd-surfing (I was nearly dropped on my head, naturally). Lead singer Angelo Moore even inducted concertgoers into the Fishbone family.  So it was very hard when Give a Monkey a Brain and He’ll Swear He’s the Center of the Universe came out in 1993 and the band seemed to have abandoned their consciousness-raising ska/funk/soul for something that sounded like metal with nonsense lyrics.  Apparently the band was going through a troubled stretch and maybe I shouldn’t have abandoned them at such a hard time, but I still love what we had in the good days.

They Might Be Giants

Here’s a band I broke up with but then got back together again.  I was a huge fan in high school and college, and TMBG ended being the second band I saw in concert (back when it was the two Johns and a drum machine).  I listened to Flood and Lincoln endlessly, and their other albums slightly less often.  Then their album John Henry came out in 1994 and it left me cold.  The magic was gone.  Fast forward about five years and I randomly picked up their live album Severe Tire Damage, and suddenly, the magic was back.  I saw them in concert again and it was awesome.  They started releasing family/children’s albums and they were awesome.  I went to one of their family/children’s concerts and it was awesome.  We are now happily growing old together.


Probably one of the most painful breakups.  I became of fan of REM in the late 80s and basically got all of their albums at once.  There was a long break, it seemed, between their last album of the 1980s, Green, and their first album of the 1990s, Out of Time.  When it finally came out, I was excited, but after hearing “Losing My Religion” for the umpteenth million time on the radio I was tired of it and realized I didn’t like much else on the album.  I had big hopes for the next album Automatic for the People, but I liked it even less.  Worse, at the time I was growing disillusioned with REM, the rest of the world was falling in love with them and making these two albums best sellers.  I may have said some nasty things, like “corporate sellout.”  But ultimately, we were just going in different directions.  We get back together now and again – I even liked UP at the time it was released – but mostly REM is pleasant memory of my youth in the 1980s.

So what bands did you break up with? Let me know in the comments.

Song of the Week: “Yeah, I’m Okay With My Shit Life” by Bethlehem Steel

Don’t read too much into this, but I feel this song speaks to me right about now.

Bethlehem Steel is band All Songs Considered describes as “shrug rock.”  Despite the name, they’re not from Pennsylvania, but based in Brooklyn.  The song is “Yeah, I’m Okay With My Shit Life.”


Song of the Week: “Boys Latin (Andy Stott Remix)” by Panda Bear

I failed to post a Song of the Week last week, so this week will have two.  First up is “Boys Latin” by electronic artist Panda Bear (a.k.a. Noah Benjamin Lennox) as remixed by Andy Stott.  According to All Songs Considered, the remix “strips out nearly all the voices and locates the darkest parts of the song.”

Song of the Week: “Low” by Young Fathers

Young Fathers is a hip-hop trio from Edinburgh, Scotland.  Their sound is described as psychedelic with comparisons to De La Soul (which is a good group to compared to imo), but I found their sound unique with classic soul and electronic sounds strengthening the mix.  Check out “Low” below, the track brought to my attention by the most recent episode of All Songs Considered.



If you have a new sound you’d like to share, let me know below in the comments.

Song of the Week: “Elon Mentana” by Clap! Clap! (feat. DJ Khalab)

Clap! Clap is the alter ego of jazz artist Cristiano Crisci of Toscana, Italy.  I’m having trouble finding much about him on the internet, but he does have Facebook and Soundcloud pages.  I learned about it via NPR’s All Songs Considered, who also mentioned that Crisci made an electronic album for children.

“Elon Mentana” is described as Afrofuturism, but I just call it a groove like no other.

What makes you groove this week?