The Best Podcasts for Discovering New Music
I love discovering my music anywhere but radio: playlists, TV soundtracks, best song lists, subway bands, TikToks, listened to songs in bars and shops, coffee shops … and podcasts. What a fantastic environment to try out new music. The music podcast is like your favorite radio show on demand – and of course many of the best ones are just rebroadcasts of real radio shows, with quieter ads and no wacky morning DJs. These are my favorite shows for discovering new and new music for me or for rediscovering old favorites.
Each show title links to the show’s website and Apple Podcasts page.
Musicians, comedians and other entertainers talk about their favorite music by playing snippets and entire songs.
Interview, discuss and listen to new music, leaning towards popular releases that snobs might still like. The hosts have this classic NPR look – intelligent affability and insightful yet varied taste.
You can play insert songs from shows on YouTube. You will also see other recommendations, such as operatic Japanese prog-rock , in the Viking’s Choice playlists.
Jazz sets with minimal comments, every week on different topics and with frequent tributes to the recently passed away great jazz musicians. Covers a wide range of jazz styles, subgenres, and eras.
Episode themes include bluegrass / jazz crossover with White Fleck, superstitious songs for Friday the 13th, Bitches Brew’s anniversary celebrations, and moon songs for Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary. Host Ken Luster loves finding a particularly good version. jazz standard. See the blog posts for track listings .
Excerpt from BBC Radio 1’s DJ Annie Mac show, featuring a five-minute DJ mix from a different guest DJ in each episode. These carefully designed mixes reveal new details from old dance club favorites; I especially love the playful references to the Who Sampled Who mix .
Song Exploder ( Apple )
Each episode is a deep dive into the creation of one song, voiced by an artist.
Like Annie Mac, Song Exploder is a great way to rediscover a familiar song or appreciate new work from a favorite artist. Each performer discusses their lyrics, melody, different tracks, effects and decisions at each stage of creation that led to this recording, as well as what other directions they could take.
When a full track is played at the end of an episode, you can highlight details and even hear a song that didn’t exist.
Carnival mix ( Apple )
Insanely funny Caribbean songs. Suitable for a party.
24/7 security without vocals or breaks. Mixes are usually around 45 minutes long, sometimes longer, and make excellent quiet background music.
It is a commodified genre, this relaxation subgenre known as lo-fi hip-hop chillhop anime beats for work / play / study. It’s popular on YouTube streams and on Spotify playlists full of one-song artists who some critics suspect were commissioned to work anonymously without rights, calibrated to minimize fees. It works because there are not many differences in the songs of this genre: they all sound the same. But the sound is good.
Some of the episodes start or end with a track from show creator Bumph, who you would never have noticed if you hadn’t read the show’s notes as they seamlessly blend into the rest of the mix. Bamf’s Dreaming album is on all regular streamers, including a YouTube video with the full album and the required peaceful anime art.
Vintage blues and soul, one hour per episode. Some notable artists such as The Temptations, The Shirelles, and Jackie Wilson appear among less obvious performers such as Little Bob, Titus Turner, and the Grand Prix.
The sound quality is disappointing, but quite appropriate, as if an old man – old enough not to look ridiculous in his hat and glasses – sat you down in his hall on the eighth floor to listen to some recordings. From time to time he gives you some of the paraphernalia from a 62-year-old concert and shares little gossip about the saxophonist.
Well, this is really an old man playing records. The site has a complete playlist for each episode, including the format in which each song is played – mostly 7 “45”.
A mix of indie, rock and other genres from Seattle’s public radio station KEXP. If All Songs Reviewed is a great course for learning about the best popular music, KEXP builds on that knowledge by spending more time with artists you haven’t heard of yet.
If you have followed public radio over the past two decades, you will notice that the programming has become less oriented towards the west. Previously, “world music” often had its own program block; it is now more likely to be welcomed by western music, and the two are more likely to share (and recognize) each other’s sounds. The recent Music That Matters Indigenous Day features indigenous rock, pop, blues and dance music (and inspired by them), and every track is a slap in the face. (Try, for example,“The OG” by A Tribe Called Red .)
Each daily episode is just one song, no bullshit. If you don’t have the bandwidth for the full Music That Matters mix, this is a great choice. Here is a single taken from Indigenous Peoples Day.
Much of each episode focuses on nagging a very famous song, second by second, and then performing a parody to “fix” it. And it’s a great way to learn about an old song.
But at the end of the episode, the hosts and guests call their “impenetrable jams”: songs that are already perfect. They have an ongoing Spotify playlist with 255 flawless tracks from all genres and eras.
Reverb radio ( Apple )
A wall-to-wall playlist, mostly suitable for backgrounds, but still distinctive and colorful. The site contains playlists of these deep cuts and forgotten tracks. When you hear the two tracks merge smoothly into each other, probably oneis a 1970s Indian single and the next is anew track from the Netherlands .
There are no comments, intros or interruptions here, which means you can easily miss that, say, the episode “Tim Hill – Payador ” is an exclusive full reproduction of the new album, released only on vinyl . Each track smells like a roadside bar with pool tables, Michelob signs and peanuts on the floor. You know, I bought this.
These two shows are over and they are not all about music, but I picked a few of my favorites from each, and so do you.
A six-part audio-drama miniseries with frequent music.
The Twilight World takes place inside a fictional radio broadcast of a sexy late night show with an amusingly non-sexy host. In between his awkward and increasingly hostile interactions with the audience, guests, and the station’s management, the presenter plays some really cool music.
90s music alternates with whimsical, disturbing comedy scenes.
Chris Morris, the British satirist behind Brass Eye and the Four Lions , made this nightly sketch and music show for BBC Radio 1 in the late 90s. It came out at midnight, although Morris really wanted to be shown at 3 AM.
While the sketches were sometimes terrifying or offensive – one episode was disconnected from the air during the broadcast – the music was not. Listen to this bootleg to remember or discover a great 90s alternative.
As always, I’m eager to hear about a hundred great shows I’ve missed.