Ever since the Serial podcast came out in 2014, podcasts, in general, have become increasingly popular. Gripping story lines, candid interviews, unbearable cliff hangers — what’s not to like? But there’s another kind of podcast that hasn’t received the recognition it deserves, one that doesn’t revolve around people talking and the drama of a particular story as much as it does the exciting process of sharing and learning — music podcasts.
Music podcasts are a great way to hear new music while learning about the story behind it, which often enhances the experience of listening to it. To celebrate the convenience and engaging nature of music-related podcasts, we’ve rounded up some of the best existing and upcoming ones. Because we want you to have the best time getting to wherever you’re going.
Turned Out a Punk
Damian Abraham, the lead singer of the Canadian hardcore punk band Fucked Up, sits down each week with someone from the entertainment industry to discuss how his guest discovered punk music and how their life changed thereafter. Punk is one of those music genres that speaks to people at particular moments in their lives with exceptional force, and this show is dedicated to learning more about those kinds of experiences from individuals in all different areas of the entertainment industry. Abraham’s past guests include Neko Case, Meredith Graves, and culinary rebel Anthony Bourdain.
KEXP’s Music that Matters
The Seattle-based public radio station KEXP has a few different podcasts, all of which are great, but Music That Matters is arguably its best. Hosted by a different KEXP radio DJ each time, Music that Matters is a weekly roundup of new independent music, with an emphasis on what’s coming out of the Pacific Northwest, a historical hotbed of great music. Cheryl Waters and DJ Larry Rose are two of the recurring hosts for this program with wonderful tastes.
The Sub Pop Podcast
Although The Sub Pop Podcast hasn’t officially begun yet, the trailer for it promises a conversation-based program for those of you who prefer to hear a lot of backstory and context. Hosted by Alissa Atkins and Arwen Nicks, two Sub Pop employees, the new podcast that premieres on February 2nd will share stories from “inside, outside, and adjacent to” Sub Pop, one of the most beloved indie music labels that has put out records by Nirvana, the Shins, and Beach House, which barely scratches the surface of its impressive catalogue. The program will also dive into the artists and stories behind Sub Pop’s newer sister label Hardly Art. The podcast will be self-produced, so this will be your go-to for a DIY podcast if that’s your cup of tea.
Rolling Stone Music Now
Hosted by Executive Editor Nathan Brackett, Rolling Stone’s first-ever podcast Music Now will consist of interviews with big-name artists and commentary by Rolling Stone’s own editors and writers, including Rob Sheffield, Brittany Spanos, and David Fricke. The program premieres on February 1st and will cover the best new music, what’s playing in the Rolling Stone offices, and other adjacent topics concerning new music.
If you’ve ever read XLR8R’s online site, you know that it’s good at diving deep into the expansive electronic genre and unearthing some stellar and underrated music. One thing to note about the XLR8R podcast is that, while other podcasts are discussion-based, this one is music-heavy. The hour-long sessions are primarily DJ sets by that week’s guest, sometimes accompanied by a short Q&A on the website. This podcast is perfect for people who would rather zone out to some deep house or ambient tunes rather than get engaged in a conversation.