My column on podcasting went online today.
I’m only a regular subscriber to a dozen or so podcasts, about half of them music-related. Between given at least a cursory listen to every promo I get in the mail, trying to keep up on the radio, mp3 blogs I feel obligated to check out, and occasionally trying to listen to something just because I feel like listening to it, my daily music time is maxed out. So I try not to subscribe to too many podcasts because if I get too many in at once, I’ll just let them back up. But if you’re still interested, here are a few that I listen to fairly regularly.
Diplo’s Mad Decent Radio is probably the most sporadically updated podcast I listen to, but it’s also one of the best. Diplo’s DJ sets are famous for their all-over-the-place genre blending, but his podcasts generally work one theme apiece. Between sets of indigenous club music from Africa and South America — a wealth of Brazilian funk carioca, if you’re into it — he’s dropped some fiery mixes in tribute to the New Orleans hip-hop scene and Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation.
The Fader magazine’s been dropping a monthly podcast for a minute now. The staff over there is almost pathologically obsessed with staying on the cuttingest of edges, and their podcast is basically a preview of the tracks and trends that’ll be running the clubs for the next few months. It’s also an expertly blended mix, finding a common thread that makes cozy neighbors of gangsta rap, electro, dancehall, indie rock, and anything else with a decent beat.
My column alluded passingly to the Garage Punk Podcast, but I actually don’t subscribe to it anymore — as much as I love garage punk, I don’t love it enough to need an hour of it sent to me every single day. Luckily they offer individual episodes on their Web site, so when you need a dose of nasty fuzz and bad attitude, all recorded poorly, you know where to go.
Seattle public radio station KEXP is a shining example of the right way for radio to embrace an online audience. Beyond streaming of their broadcasts, they offer great podcasts full of independent music, including exclusive live recordings. My favorite of their podcasts is the Song of the Day, which is exactly what it sounds like: a single new song delivered to your iTunes every day. The focus is on middle-of-the-road indie rock, which isn’t an altogether bad idea. At the very least, you don’t have to spend any effort reading indie mp3 blogs in order to realize how unexciting Tokyo Police Club is. On better days you might find your new favorite song of the week without even trying.
This afternoon I got an e-mail from a guy who does a podcast called The Best Radio You Have Never Heard. The name’s a little hyperbolic, considering that anyone exposed to college radio in the 90s has heard DJs who blend alternative power pop, 70s rock, and the occasional dance song. But this is indeed what it sounded like when the record geeks started taking the radio into their own hands to do what the big stations wouldn’t — college radio is the spiritual ancestor to the podcasting explosion.