The Popdose Guide to Chicago

[Jefito’s Note: So it’s come to this. For as long as I’ve been writing Idiot’s Guides (and/or hosting them – I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve actually had to do one of these things myself), the shadow of a Complete Idiot’s ...

The Popdose Guide To… The Melvins

I didn’t pick up on the Melvins right away. In fact, I’m not sure when I started listening to them but when I did, there was no stopping me.  I loved the quirky rhythms, the ever changing styles on their records ...

The Popdose Guide to Raphael Saadiq

The name Raphael Saadiq still probably isn’t familiar to the average casual music fan, but that shouldn’t discount the fact that the Bay Area native has been perhaps the most consistent R&B singer/songwriter/producer of recent times.

Born Charlie Ray Wiggins, Raphael got ...

The Popdose Guide to Michael Jackson, Part Four

It’s kind of hard to say anything about Michael Jackson’s adult solo career that hasn’t been said a million times before. It is worth noting that even when you strip away the many commercial superlatives awarded to those albums, there’s still an ...

The Popdose Guide to Michael Jackson, Part Three

In 1975, four of the five members of the Jackson 5 signed a contract with Epic Records, leaving the Motown label, which had been their recording home for six years. Only Jermaine, who was married to Motown boss Berry Gordy’s daughter Hazel, ...

The Popdose Guide to Michael Jackson, Part Two

Michael’s family members might have wanted to keep the Jackson 5 a democracy, but Motown Records knew a superstar when they saw one. Furthermore, they noticed what competing label MGM was doing with the Osmonds (whose initial pop success was due to ...

The Popdose Guide to Michael Jackson, Part One

Some folks call him the King of Pop. Others call him Wacko Jacko. However you refer to him, you can’t deny that Michael Jackson was one of a kind. In just under 51 years on Earth, the man rewrote the rules for ...

The Popdose Guide to Patty Griffin

One Friday evening in March 1997, Patty Griffin strolled onto the stage of Washington, DC’s sold-out 9:30 Club … to practically no response whatsoever. A touring neophyte whose debut album had made little popular impact, she was at the bottom of a ...

The Popdose Guide to KISS

Most people born before 1990 have some familiarity with the rock band KISS. Fans my age (44) remember the glory years in the mid- to late ‘70s, while younger fans remember the reunion tours of the ...

The Popdose Guide to Utopia

Though Utopia isn’t quite to Todd Rundgren what Tin Machine was to David Bowie, there are definitely some parallels that can be drawn between the two projects. Both represented an already established artist subverting their egos to pursue a completely ...

The Popdose Guide to Jimmy Smith

Hi all!

Click full screen to get the full effect. Also, just so you know, I’ve never done radio, a podcast, or pencast in my life, so please consider this the rookie effort it is.

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The Popdose Guide to Marti Jones

To fans of her four albums of marvelous acoustic pop in the mid-to-late ’80s, Marti Jones seemed on the cusp of becoming the next (albeit far hipper) Linda Ronstadt. Jones had inherited La Ronstadt’s knack for putting a mainstream sheen on the ...

The Popdose Guide to Juliana Hatfield

Listening to rock radio in the early ’90s — particularly the college and ‘alternative’ varieties — was an experience like no other. The ratio of tolerable to intolerable music was so high that no aspiring hipster ever needed to flip through top ...

The Popdose Guide to the Pogues

In The Pogues’ breakthrough 1988 single “Fairytale of New York” (download), songwriter Shane MacGowan and guest vocalist Kirsty MacColl portray a codependent couple. He’s an aging alcoholic, gone beyond repentance, no longer even able to summon up an insincere promise ...

The Popdose Guide to Del Amitri

A drunk, an atheist and a poet walk into a bar. They’re all the same guy, and there is no punchline. Welcome to Del Amitri!

Anchored by the stereotypically “dour Scot” Justin Currie, Del Amitri has always been an overlooked gem of ...

The Popdose Guide to Badfinger

Few bands in the history of rock n’ roll have been simultaneously as lucky and doomed as Badfinger. Lucky because they were not only one of the wildly eclectic assortment of artists the Beatles signed to their Apple Records label in 1968, ...

The Popdose Guide to Matthew Ryan

Yes, gentle readers, we treated you to an interview with Matthew Ryan on Monday, and today — which just happens to be the day his new album comes out — we’re giving him the full-on Popdose Guide treatment. That’s what the dudes ...

The Popdose Guide to Chris Whitley

(This guide was originally published in 2005, before Chris Whitley’s passing. It’s been expanded and edited, but may still contain a few vestiges of its original form. Apologies in advance.)

Let’s talk about the blues.

It only seems appropriate, after all, given ...

The Popdose Guide to David Mead

He hasn’t released nearly as many albums as most (all?) of our previous subjects, but David Mead is a perfect Popdose Guide artist — which is to say that vast portions of his catalog (or his entire catalog — whatever) remain sadly ...

The Popdose Guide to Nick Lowe

Doesn’t look like the godfather of punk, does he?

Well. Maybe not the godfather, but perhaps a kindly uncle. Either way, Nick Lowe’s footprint on punk — hell, on all of British pop music, really — is a whole lot larger ...

The Popdose Guide to Al Jarreau

What, you thought we were kidding around with the whole “Al Week” thing? Shame on you. And while we’re at it, shame on you for thinking Al Jarreau is too square for the retrospective treatment. Yes, he’s made his share of dreadful ...

The Popdose Guide to Toto

I love rooting for the underdog. In almost any scenario, whether it’s sports or politics or just plain real life, I root for the little guy. This means I’m frequently frustrated, of course, but that’s neither here nor there; I’m giving you ...

The Popdose Guide to Tom Waits

[He doesn’t write them anymore — in fact, they aren’t even online anymore — but truth be known, it was my good friend Ben Wiser who inspired the original Idiot’s Guide series, via his impassioned, messy, and always entertaining Field Guides. He ...

The Popdose Guide to Lloyd Cole

[Editor’s Note: I just checked, and it was November 24, 2005 when I got an e-mail from Ken saying “If you ever want someone to do a guest Idiot’s Guide to: The Smiths, R.E.M. or Lloyd Cole, I’m your guy.” He later ...

The Popdose Guide to Ornette Coleman

I am not one to toss around the word “hero” lightly. It takes extraordinary courage to earn such a designation. I am also not one to write one of these artist overviews with too much usage of the first-person singular pronoun. I ...

The Popdose Guide to The Call

Welcome to the Popdose Guide to The Call, a semi-forgotten group that had a couple of hits in the ’80s, but has seen its catalog fall out of print and into obscurity over the last ten years or so. It’s a ...

The Popdose Guide to Nanci Griffith

Nanci Griffith is arguably the most important folk-music artist of her generation. That statement is risky not so much because there are so many other contenders for the throne, but because we live in an era when the term “folk music” ...

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