The growth of the podcast has altered the way we approach radio.
Now, you don't need to sit beside the speaker with a cassette poised on 'pause' waiting for the latest Evening Session to begin - you can simply dial up at your leisure.
As a result, a host of independent outlets have sprung up, a kind of digitally enhanced CB radio that moves from true crime all the way to pop culture.
With today - September 30th - being named International Podcast Day (and no, we don't know who decides these things either...) Clash decided to round up some of the best music podcasts around.
- - -
Ever wondered what really went into the construction of your favourite songs? Look no further than the brilliant Song Exploder, where musicians take apart their tracks piece by piece, and tell the story of how they were made.
In a tight 20 minutes (dubbed “probably the best use of the podcast format ever” by New York magazine's 'Vulture' site) host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway takes us through everything from personal anecdotes behind songs - on recent episode Denzel Curry breaks down ‘RICKY’, named after his father - the writing process (such as Björk writing a staggering sixty strings lines for ‘Stonemilker’), and the minutiae of recording and instrumentation… just exactly what did it take to create the drama of the Game Of Thrones theme tune?
The perfect podcast for all the stans out there. - Emma Finamore
- - -
Hip-Hop Saved My Life
Romesh Ranganathan (and his long-suffering producer Rupert) is a joy for fans of old-school hip-hop and comedy alike. From a well-articulated hatred of mumble rap, to the challenges of playing rap (or not) around your young children - see this Twitter thread for tips and potentially kid-friendly playlists - HHSML features a stellar line-up of guests, earworm novelty rap-style indents for regular sections (“Man! Hip-hop gripes” is a personal fave), and a healthy does of cynicism.
Recent stand-out guests include Mercury nominee Little Simz - talking about her schooling in classics like Biggie, as well as the importance of local youth clubs in developing her ideas and love of music - and Louis Theroux, but delve back into the podcast archive to find a live Rodney P episode, comedian Jamali Maddix on Wu-Tang, GZA and MF Doom, a slightly drunk Snowy Danger, the legendary Afrika Baby Bam of Jungle Brothers and many, many more… - Emma Finamore
Table Manners - Jessie Ware
As if her solo material wasn’t enough of a showcase for that incredible voice Jessie Ware has constructed a parallel career as a warm, funny, and continually fascinating podcast host.
Her show Table Manners just kicked off its seventh season, and it runs around a remarkable simply format: just Jessie, her mum, and a hand-picked guest talking about food and family direct from their very own kitchen table. Season Six highlights included a wonderful spot from fellow London resident Neneh Cherry and the infectious laughter of Olly Alexander, while Season Seven opened with a visit to Edinburgh Fringe.
Developing a cult following of its own, Table Manners is a meal worth savouring. - Robin Murray
- - -
George Ezra & Friends
Long regarded on these pages as one of British music’s most sincere exhibits of positivity George Ezra makes for the perfect host on his regular podcast.
The format is a fairly simple In Conversation vibe, with George Ezra & Friends allowing the titular folk-pop wonder to sit down with some real heroes. Season Two was typically broad, with the guitarist chatting amiably to everyone from Kurt Vile to Sir Tom Jones, Sigrid to Nile Rodgers.
Somehow fitting his presenting into a hectic touring schedule, the decision to end his ‘Staying At Tamara’s’ tour with two (sold out) nights at the Royal Albert Hall should give George Ezra plenty of time to hang out with his podcast chums. - Robin Murray
- - -
One of British pop’s true gentlemen Will Young has always come across as an affable, intelligent, and genuinely funny personality. Linking with filmmaker Chris Sweeney for the regular Homo Sapiens podcast, the two bill themselves as ‘Woman’s Hour For An LGBTQ+ Audience’ which pretty much nails their approach perfectly.
Having pushed their way to a mighty 35 episodes there’s perhaps too many highlights to mention, but you should definitely check out Sam Smith’s meeting with the pair, Skin’s wonderfully outspoken visit, and their tete a tete with comedian Julian Clary, who is at his waspish best as he looks back on his early days in London clubs.
It’s not just comedy, though – there’s an in-depth look at the lesbian community in Hebden Bridge, analysis of LGBTQ+ inclusivity in schools, and a meeting with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. - Robin Murray
- - -
Iconic Led Zeppelin frontman turned solo wizard Robert Plant has a deep and avowed love of music, with his record collection moving from rockabilly to Arabic culture, via British avant folk, metal, and more.
Digging Deep affords the rock icon space to explore some of these inspirational releases, while looking back on his career via one iconic release at a time. Moving through his catalogue on a bite-sized yet also in-depth basis, this is the rare chance to hear a bona fide legend on reflective form.
Oh, and the best part? A whole new season has just kicked off. - Robin Murray
Bigmouth - Andrew Harrison
Andrew Harrison has long been an advocate for the podcast artform, going so far as to host two of his own – the politically-minded Remainiacs, and the musically-gifted Bigmouth.
We’re fans of both, but for the purpose of this list Bigmouth gains the nod. Andrew – formerly of Q and much-missed chronicle The Word – chats to Sian Pattenden, the pair make perfect foils for one another as they traverse the musically-inclined elements of pop culture.
Recent episodes pursue BBC3’s UK Rap Game, Sky’s Mod weekend, and the Factory Records exhibition in London, using these as cyphers for the pair to explore broader themes in the cultural conversation. - Robin Murray
- - -
Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.