These days, podcasts can seem a dime a dozen, but some are certainly more compelling and attention-grabbing than others. Whether you’re bored on the bus or want something educational to listen to on your drive to work, these music podcasts are sure to please.
Dissect is not your average podcast. There are no guests, no music news and episodes aren’t released on a regular basis – yet, the podcast still managed to top the New York Times‘ best of 2018 podcast list. In each season of the show, host Cole Cuchna dissects an album by a popular artist; conducting an in-depth, long-form analysis of each track and exploring their lesser-known intricacies. Cuchna mostly focuses on hip hop music, and previous seasons have included an exploration of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Lauryn Hill’s iconic Miseducation album. The meticulous style of analysis gives audiences insight into the hidden influences and research that goes into creating music. In turn, Cuchna fosters deeper respect for artists and their work. You can listen to every episode on Spotify.
All Songs Considered
All Songs Considered is a weekly podcast hosted by respected US music journalists Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton. The show is a part of NPR and is perfect for those who want to stay in the music loop, but aren’t interested in simply hearing about the latest pop release. Every week, Boilen and Hilton delve into an array of new music from around the world and deliver a top-tier selection of what they’ve uncovered. The podcast traverses a selection of new music from all corners of the globe – from Ethiopian hymns to Billie Eilish. You can listen to and download episodes of All Songs Considered online.
Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians perform a short dissection of one of their songs and explain how the track came to be. Host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway has been praised for the simplistic yet creative nature of his podcast. Hirway edits the interviews so the podcast contains only the artist’s voice, making for short, sharp episodes that are as interesting as they are easy to digest. There are more than 150 episodes of the podcast so far, featuring notable artists including Björk, Courtney Barnett, Fleetwood Mac, Weezer, Alt-J, Metallica and even an episode where Ramin Djawadi explains how he came up with the main title to Game of Thrones. You can listen to every episode of Song Exploder online.
The J Files
The J Files is a weekly podcast broadcast on Double J. The episodes generally run for about two hours each, so they’re perfect to pop on for a long car trip or a big PT commute. Host Gemma Pike uses each episode to shine a light on one particular artist and explore the deeper stories behind their music. Recent episodes have focused on artists such as M.I.A, Arctic Monkeys, The Roots and Missy Higgins. You can tune in to The J Files every Thursday night from 8-10pm or listen to episodes online.
If you’re a lover of both true crime and music, Disgraceland is the podcast for you. This podcast uncovers the dodgier side of musicians – those who’ve ‘gotten away with murder’ throughout their careers. The multi award-winning show began in 2018 and has become one of the most popular music podcasts to date. Creators describe the bi-weekly episodes as the intersection between “music history, true crime and transgressive fiction”. It’s important to note that some of the stories they tell are somewhat fictionalised for dramatic effect: “[Disgraceland isn’t] “sit around the campfire” storytelling. More like ‘slightly buzzed guy at the end of the bar who’s seen some shit’ storytelling.” Recent episodes feature stories about Snoop Dogg, John Lennon and XXXTentacion. You can listen to all three seasons of Disgraceland online or on Spotify.
LSQ is a podcast hosted by well-respected music journalist Jenny Eliscu (pronounced like l-s-q). In the first part of each episode, Eliscu chats to musicians and songwriters about their musical and creative evolutions. The second part of each episode features a look-back into the archives of Eliscu’s extensive interview collection, which includes conversations with well-known artists such as Amy Winehouse, Lars Ulrich and Kanye West. The episodes run for about 40 minutes to an hour, so they’re perfect to chuck on during your morning commute. You can listen to every episode of LSQ online.
Hosted by US pop chart analyst Chris Molanphy, Hit Parade is all about uncovering why the most popular songs are, well, so popular. Episodes are packed with stories about songs, conversations with guests and you can even test your music knowledge with the podcast’s music trivia episodes. Past episodes include a look into how rap went pop in the early ’90s and Aretha Franklin-themed music trivia. You can listen to Hit Parade online or on Spotify.
Déjà Vu, hosted by US entertainment journalist Stereo Williams, is a podcast which explores the link between past and present musicians in the pop scene. Each hour-long episode uncovers the ways in which music from today’s biggest artists is inextricably linked to popular music of the past. Maybe Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna and Beyoncé weren’t as original as you thought. All episodes are available to listen to on Spotify.
Music Now is a podcast curated and hosted by the writers and editors of Rolling Stone — so it’s bound to be pretty damn good. The episodes range from long-form interviews with musicians to big roundtable discussions about music news, history and suggestions on the best new tracks to listen to. Recent episodes include ‘Green River and the Birth of Grunge’ and ‘How Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X are reshaping music’. All episodes are available online and on Spotify.
If you’re a fan of listening to music that’s truly under the radar, Not 97 is the one for you. In each episode, three hosts and a guest get together to discuss the best in new, largely undiscovered music from around the world. They play songs from artists who a) have a social media following of fewer than 10,000 people and b) have released their music within the past six to eight months. What’s more, they often listen to and discuss new talent from around Australia, including artists such as The Cactus Channel and Stella Donnelly. All episodes are available to listen online and on Spotify.