by Tim Crisp (@betteryetpod)
Chances are, that if you spend time reading a website such as this, then music is something you actively consume. The podcasting landscape is vast and bloated, but there are plenty of shows out there centered around DIY. Here’s a guide to a few that are doing it right:
ANGRY GRRRL MUSIC OF THE INDIE ROCK PERSUASION
Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, Amanda Starling’s Angry Grrrl Music of the Indie Rock Persuasion is an interview podcast featuring musicians and creators in the DIY and punk community. Community is the operative word as Amanda traces the paths of each guest’s journey into punk culture, along with their aspirations as creative forces. Starling is an enthusiastic and warm interviewer; her energy is palpable, with each conversation clearly stating that the chief motivation behind AGM is pure love. Angry Grrrl Music focuses on women, LGBTQI+, and people of color, providing a platform for unique voices and backgrounds. Starling’s focus on community and the power within shows that everyone’s journey within DIY is different, but there’s so much joy to be shared inside.
Where to start: Mars Dixon of Aye Nako
AXE TO GRIND
The reigning, defending, undisputed champions of hardcore podcasts, Axe To Grind is the preeminent provider of all things hardcore and hardcore-adjace. Based in Brooklyn, its hosts come from similar, but slightly different backgrounds, each with particular perspectives that, when brought together, provide a captivating listen. Bob Shedd spent time working at Revelation Records doing A&R and was a part of the Sound & Fury festival from 2006–2009; Tom Sheehan sang in New York hardcore bands Indecision and Most Precious Blood; Patrick Kindlon is the singer of Self Defense Family and Drug Church. The title Axe To Grind refers to an intention set at the show’s inception, where anyone expressing a biased opinion on a band or person would qualify it with the statement “I’ve got an axe to grind.” While the grievances have tapered off, what remains is a set of frank and honest opinions about hardcore, past and present. ATG is an invaluable source for deep dives (see: Pat’s strong-armed analysis of Integrity or the year 1992) and a guide to the current climate in hardcore.
Where to start: Episode 15 - New Music Episode / No Punk Cops
For more Patrick check out Worst Possible Timeline FKA Wrestling Cinema
I am not normally one to self-promote (and certainly with the possible conclusion one might come to, that maybe this whole list thing is just one big put-on to plug my own podcast, the discomfort is amplified even further), but I do an interview podcast called Better Yet. I started the show with Marc Maron and Terry Gross in mind, looking to put together biography and real life context to the musicians I care about; people who may sit beneath the radar of those larger outlets. It’s given me the chance to talk to some of my favorites making music today like Rick Maguire and Julia Steiner of Ratboys as well as foundational figures like Ginger Alford of Good Luck and Travis Shettle of Piebald. It’s a dream, truly.
Where to start: Charlie Pfaff of Tall Friend
Also check out my other show As You Were: A Podcast About Alkaline Trio with David Anthony
GOING OFF TRACK
Gleefully unfocused, Going Off Track lives up to its title. Hosts Jonah Bayer (journalist and former music editor of AP), Gaslight Anthem drummer Benny Horowitz, and Steven Smith (Steven’s Untitled Rock Show) have a knack for following their guests down deep tangential holes, while still finding a way to pull out plenty of topical conversation. 300 episodes in, Going Off Track has built an empire capable of bringing in big gets like Living Color, but they’ve also turned this ability inward to wrangle in the likes of Harley Flanagan and Arthur Smilios. Much like Axe To Grind, the real strength of this podcast is the different perspectives brought in by its hosts, most especially with topics related to the music industry as it functions in its present form.
Where to start: Jeff Rosenstock interview from January of this year
Vish Khanna is a journalist, and his approach to Kreative Kontrol reflects an attention to storytelling and an eye for detail that will leave the music-obsessed in an enthralled state of wonder, praising not only Khanna, but the entire podcasting medium as a benignant gift-giver. We need look no further than Khanna’s two-part interview with Steve Albini and Ian MacKaye—two enticing guests no matter the topic, but with Khanna focusing specifically on a session Fugazi recorded with Albini for songs that would come to form In on the Kill Taker, we’re brought into the room for a detailed talk on a little known piece of history. Based in Ontario, Khanna’s interviews with Canadian guests like Pup and Shehzaad Jiwani of Greys provide particularly keen insight on Canadian music.
Song Exploder’s concept is simple and brilliant. An artist sits down and unpacks one of their songs piece by piece and talks about how they came to be, from the germinating idea, into writing, recording, and releasing. Song Exploder is a Radiotopia program so it has a certain lightness to it, with an episode list featuring artists you’ll find on NPR’s Best of the Year lists. But for those who have graduated from DIY to the higher tier like Julien Baker and Mitski, or the occasional curve balls like Oathbreaker and Converge, it’s a platform worth noting. SE gives an insight into people’s processes and intentions, and every episode is guaranteed to drop one recording related factoid you’ll be stoked to share (did you know that the harp sounds at the end of “Cranes In The Sky” were made on a toy organ from Toys ‘R’ Us?)
Where to Start: Scroll through the episodes and find someone you’re into. There’s a good chance you’ll end up listening to more, even people you don’t care about.
100 WORDS OR LESS - Going 7 years strong, you’d be hard pressed to find people in punk and hardcore who haven’t sat down with Ray.
ALL MY FRIENDS ARE IN BAR BANDS - David James Young has a knack for sitting down with everyone from and passing through Australia.
DO YOU REMEMBER - Five part audio documentary about Hüsker Dü featuring all three members; released in conjunction with the Numero Group Box Set.
NO PLUS ONES - Dan Ozzi of Noisey and David Anthony of As You Were: A Podcast About Alkaline Trio look at the current state of music criticism and consumption. Or at least they did, they are on hiatus for now.
TURNED OUT A PUNK - Damian from Fucked Up’s interview show. He’s stoked about everything.
WRITE SONGS YOU IDIOT - think Song Exploder meets Going Off Track