All posts filed under: Podcast

Bruce_Springsteen

Podcast: Bruce Springsteen’s “High Hopes”

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Bruce Springsteen’s new album, High Hopes. It’s a bit of a departure from the way he usually works — unfinished tracks from the vault, no overarching theme, a few covers, etc. — and I wanted to see if I was alone in my overall opinion, which was “Yeah, this is OK, but it’s not blowing me away.” That’s not usually my reaction to a new Springsteen record.

Brian Moote

A Fine Mess, Episode 7: Comedian Brian Moote

How to you go from growing up on a Washington farm to getting a master’s in social work to embarking on a career as a stand-up comic? You don’t get to ask that question every day, but Brian Moote proves the exception to the rule in this episode of A Fine Mess. He’s been featured on the first two seasons of MTV’s Money From Strangers, performed on Nickelodeon’s stand-up series Mom’s Nite Out, and has also been seen on the USA Network’s Characters Welcome. And now he’s here! WE’RE SO LUCKY. This episode finds us delving into everything from life on the road to the horror of doing a 30-minute set before a hostile crowd at a reggaeton concert. You think your job’s tough? Try living on baskets of fried cheese. As I say in the intro, I’ve avoided interviewing comics for A Fine Mess until now, simply because there’s no shortage whatsoever of podcasts featuring comics talking about their craft. But all the fear and blockage that creative types deal with is multiplied when …

Darden Smith

A Fine Mess, Episode 6: Songwriter Darden Smith

One of the biggest sources of pop music’s appeal is its immediacy — the way a well-written song can take you on an emotional journey in 3:05, and have you singing along by the time it’s finished. My guest for this edition of A Fine Mess understands the beauty and power of simple pop economy, but he’s also unafraid to trust his audience’s willingness to take it slow — to spend time with a record, really absorbing it, instead of devouring each track in pursuit of a quick three-chord sugar rush. I first became acquainted with Darden Smith‘s music in 1993, when he was a “new artist” (on his third album) getting a Sony-backed push for his Little Victories LP. While that record contains some of the more radio-friendly tracks in his catalog, he was still an awkward fit — on the Chaos Recordings imprint, where he shared label space with Bacdafucup-era Onyx, as well as on the Top 40 playlists of the era. Little Victories was right at home in my tape deck, however …

Justin Roberts

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 29: Justin Roberts

Hola, amigos! We know it’s been a long time since we rapped at you, but your ever-brainstorming hosts have spent much of 2013 juggling various major life events while embarking on a new project with our pal Rob Smith, and over the last few weeks, scheduling has gotten the better of us. Add that to some unfortunate technical difficulties, and here we are. Happily, “here” also includes a new episode of the Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour — one that finds us sitting down with kindie superstar and all-around musical genius Justin Roberts, whose new album Recess gave us just the opportunity we needed to discuss the ins and outs of writing for an all-ages audience, touring like a lunatic, and respecting the sanctity of a well-written pop bridge. Ladies and gents, here’s Justin: The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 29: Justin Roberts And as an added bonus, here’s Justin’s new video for “Recess”! Justin Roberts image used with permission.

Heidi Swedberg

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 28: Heidi Swedberg

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a big dummy. No second acts in American lives? Pshaw — just look at our latest guest, Heidi Swedberg. As George Costanza’s erstwhile fiancee Susan on Seinfeld, Heidi suffered the only “death by envelope” in sitcom history, only to reinvent herself as a recording artist. And not just any recording artist: not only is Ms. Swedberg the proud owner of a growing discography that includes the just-released My Cup of Tea, she’s also the preeminent ukulelevangelist on the family music scene, hosting a traveling roadshow of fun clinics that’s seen her teaching the instrument to attendees all over the world. Our manifesto here is “everyone has a story,” and we knew Heidi’s was more interesting than most. She didn’t disappoint, holding court with your hosts for a friendly and thoughtful episode of the Radio Hour that will leave you wanting to rush out and take music lessons with your kids (and wanting to cover your ears while Jeff “plays” ukulele during a “duet” with Heidi late in the show). Without further …

Tess Henley

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 26: Tess Henley

Tess Henley is a 25-year-old kid from Seattle — not that you’d know it from listening to her new album High Heels & Sneakers, which blends Henley’s confident brand of old-school soul with colorfully empathetic (and blessedly live instrument-based) production courtesy of Roots crew associate Dice Raw. The latest in a series of well-received independent releases, High Heels & Sneakers is one of the more intriguing records of 2013, and it left us wanting to speak with Tess — to find out more about her artistic development, hear about how she manages her career while honing her craft, and learn how she managed to soak up so much soul way out in the Pacific Northwest. We think you’ll be as pleased to make Ms. Henley’s acquaintance as we were, and you can get the party started right here with Episode 26 of the Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour: The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 26: Tess Henley

Photo: Stephanie Ellis

A Fine Mess, Episode 5: Musician Dean Jones

“There were a bunch of years there where I kind of lived in tents and people’s closets.” If you’ve been a hardcore Popdose reader for any length of time (and I love you if you are), you’re probably aware that for a few years, I also ran Dadnabbit, our sibling site with a focus on kids’ culture and family entertainment. The mighty Dan Walsh has the keys to Dadnabbit now, but I still remain an unabashed fan of a number of kindie artists — including Dean Jones, who’s sort of the Joe Henry of the genre, balancing a bustling career as an in-demand (and Grammy-winning!) producer against his own artistic pursuits as a solo artist and member of Dog on Fleas. I’m always happy to hear about new music from Dean, whose solo output includes my favorite naptime record (Napper’s Delight) and my favorite kindie record (Rock Paper Scissors, recorded with the Felice Brothers), and whose work with Dog on Fleas can make a parent laugh, dance, or tear up with equal aplomb. His latest …

joy-new[1]

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 23: Joy Ike

“Loves people, hates shoes, makes music.” How’s that for a manifesto? On the other hand, those six words don’t really sum up Joy Ike‘s music — but then, you’d need more than a few pages to properly delve into her signature blend of pop, folk, and soul, which Ike charmingly classifies as “soulfolk.” She’s been compared to a long list of piano-playing songstresses whose work is as impressive as it is musically divergent — how many RIYLs include Fiona Apple and Norah Jones? — while remaining resolutely her own artist, and her latest album, the recently released All or Nothing, represents what she calls “the most realized, most complete piece of work I have ever been a part of.” We talk to a lot of independent artists here at the Radio Hour, and the responsibilities and struggles of the modern indie artist are a common theme on the show. It’s a subject near and dear to Joy Ike’s heart, as she is not only free of label backing — All or Nothing was funded via …

Emily Hurd

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 20: Emily Hurd

Emily Hurd is one of my favorite “discoveries” in the past few years. I have to give credit to longtime music publicist Anne Leighton for putting Hurd’s music on my radar. It was sometime in 2011 when a copy of Long Lost Ghosts showed up at my P.O. Box. I pulled the CD out of the package and saw the title and thought “that’s a cool name for an album.” Listening to the songs on Long Lost Ghosts, particularly “Brand New,” drew me in even further and I made a mental note that I should do something with Emily — an interview to talk about these songs, or at the very least, a review of the CD. Life got busy and that didn’t happen, but a funny thing did. Hurd kept making music. As a music fan, perhaps you know what I’m getting at. Sometimes you get a great album from somebody and then you never hear from them again. That certainly isn’t the case with Emily Hurd, who has made a total of ten …

Songs of Freedom

Songs of Freedom, Episode 6: Appropriation

The sixth episode of Songs of Freedom focuses on the subject of cultural — especially musical — appropriation, using the inexplicable success of the “Harlem Shake” meme as a jumping-off point. Matthew Bolin and Lyana Fernandez discuss the difference between the meme’d Harlem Shake versus the actual dance, noting not only the lack of sample clearance by Baauer in constructing the “tune,” but the almost total dominance of white individuals taking part in this meme. Is it just a multi-layered form of cultural appropriation (or misappropriation)? Or does it go beyond even ignorance, and straight to what can be labelled “hipster racism”? This leads to discussions of what is “real” versus “artifice” and how that affects discussions of artists such as Amy Winehouse and Justin Timberlake for example. Furthermore, the idea of whether appropriation can ever actually have a positive connotation is debated, and possible examples of it are given. Matthew and Lyana also discuss whether only white fans are brought into the fold when white artists appropriate black culture, or whether, for instance, Eric …

Kenny Aronoff

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 19: Kenny Aronoff

Kenny Aronoff. For liner notes geeks like you and me, the name alone conjures up at the very least, the thought of that one really awesome drum breakdown, one which arguably put Aronoff on the radar of many for the first time. When you get the chance to interview someone like Aronoff, it’s a bit intimidating. Your mind starts to spin as you think about all of the records that this guy has been a part of…..and all of the people that he’s played with and still plays with. But as I discovered the first time that I got the chance to speak with Kenny, he’s an awesome dude. Mellow, humble and down to earth. Which is why when we started sketching out our wishlist of folks that we wanted to talk to here on the Radio Hour, I put Kenny on my short list. It didn’t take much more than sending an email his way to nail something down. From there, it was just a matter of finding a day that would work with …

Danny Seraphine

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 17: Danny Seraphine

In the rock milieu, drummers are hardly ever famous in their own right; unless you happen to sing while you’re swinging the sticks, like Phil Collins or Don Henley (or, around Popdose, Andy Sturmer), it’s exceedingly unlikely that the garden-variety fan will ever have any idea who you are (or notice when you’re fired). Just ask Danny Seraphine, who co-founded the pioneering “rock band with horns” Chicago in 1967 and held down its rhythm section until 1990 — then had to watch from the outside while the band’s ever-dwindling core of original members hit the sheds every summer with a growing cast of replacements. For Seraphine — who told his side of the Chicago story in his memoir, Street Player — his painful divorce from the band he helped start was enough to send him into a musical hibernation that, for awhile, seemed to be permanent. But the drums never stopped calling him, and in 2006, he surprised longtime fans with California Transit Authority (CTA for short), a cheekily named collective dedicated to fulfilling the …

Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 16: Roger Clyne

While we love our share of music that is deep and introspective, sometimes you just want to have some good sarcastic fun. Roger Clyne &  the Peacemakers definitely make music that treads across a wide range of emotions, but at the core of it all, Clyne and his rebellious gang of music-making diablos aren’t taking things too seriously. Clyne’s name might not resonate with you at first mention, but you’ve definitely heard his songs. As the leader of the Refreshments in the ‘90s, he unleashed two albums with the band including the tongue twisting Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy. During the course of our conversation, we found out from Clyne that the album title of Fizzy was a deliberate verbal atom bomb meant to break up the pretentious tone at alternative and rock radio at that time. It worked. If you were working in rock radio at the time that Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy came out, it definitely left an impression with its title alone. Adding to their blitz of activities, the lead single …

Ugly Kid Joe

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 15: Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe

As we reach Episode 15 of The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, today’s guest might seem a little bit unusual at first glance. But if you’ve been following along as we’ve unveiled each installment of the Radio Hour, you’ll realize that in fact, taking advantage of the opportunity to talk music and business with Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe falls right in line with what this podcast has always been about. What is common about each of our conversations that we’ve had along the way during the first 14 episodes is that we’re always seeking to get insight into not only the latest project, but also the method behind their overall creation process. Beyond that, from a business standpoint, how did they get it done? What sort of challenges were encountered along the way and if there was a period of rebuilding, how did they face that? These are some of the topics that we touch on during our conversation with Whitfield, who joined us on the phone to talk about Stairway to Hell, …