Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Podcast of the Week

This week's podcast highlight is NPR's "All Songs Considered". This podcast, which varies in length and content from week to week, usually leaves it to host Bob Boilen to sound old and nerdy as he discusses the latest in indie and alternative rock (and various other genres). For this week's podcast though he drags Robert Christgau, Meredith Ochs, and Will Hermes along to raise the geek factor considerably. These four could not sound anymore like they belong on NPR, and any less like they should be discussing Modest Mouse, Wilco, Arcade Fire, etc....It's like if your mom was all of a sudden into your favorite band.

The show's subject - Spring Music Preview. It is a great chance to hear yet to be released tracks from Wilco, Bright Eyes, Mavis Staples, Tori Amos, Kings of Leon and others.

The show's low point - the reviewers together singing a bit of Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning" before playing a cover version by a country singer named Elizabeth Cook (from whom they also play a song called "Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman").

Also check out - "Guest DJ" episodes from some weeks back. There is one with Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and one with Lily Allen. Unfortunately too often Bob just leads them into playing what he wants to hear rather than something they've chosen. I think it's Conor Oberst who tells Bob he was heavily influenced by a certain track on an album, but Bob decides he'd rather play a different track from that album.


tinydesk said...

i guess when i was 15 if my mom liked to listen to my MC5 records or my Pink Floyd records I'd have probably tossed em out and found something more outrageious...so on one hand i know how you feel when some guy maybe your dad's age is talking about bands that you like.
The thing is I love this stuff...this isn't some public radio mission statement...find some guy that likes music and give him a show...i started this thing 8 years ago or so cause i've always had a passion for music and it turns out i made my lifes work about music.

you like to write about music...what would you do when you are in your late 20's and a new generation of music comes along? It's an interesting dilemma. I guess you'll find out.
In my late 20's i sold my car, quit my job and decided ...enough of this selling records in record stores..i'm going to get a band together.
The band turned out to be pretty good ... we were the first band to play the 9:30 club when it opened. One reason NPR is doing shows from the 9:30 club has a lot to do with those days in the late 70's and early 80's and the people that were part of the music scene then...people like the owners of the 9:30 club that didn't abandon their love for good music...they didn't go work for clear channel, the built a club with an incredible reputation..ask any band.
Look, i'd love you to love the show we do. hey i wish i were 20... just know that the shows we pick the cd's we play are picked cause we think their good, not cause someone tells us we think they are good...all the publicity we get hits the recycle bin before we ever see it.
So keep writing, always be wary and critical and maybe start your own show!
if you are ever in washington dc, drop a note
allsongs@npr.org and i'll show you around if you wish.
all the best

bob boilen

Jason said...

To Bob -

First I better come clean - I'm 32, so I'm not exactly on the youthful end of indie rock fandom myself. I think sometimes it's just easy for us not to feel it until we're at the live show and realize we're the oldest in the room (which happened to me most recently at a Canada/Page France/Margot & The Nuclear So and Sos show).

I poke fun at you guys as a fan (and maybe being insecure in my age I have to strike out at those older than myself to make me feel better?). I listen to the podcast most every week and always enjoy it. I'm glad you're not on Clear Channel and I'm glad you're not trying to sound like Ryan Seacrest (though wouldn't it warm my heart if Ryan Seacrest and Clear Channel were promoting the bands you are).

So thanks for your gracious comments on my blog - keep up the good work, let your guest DJs pick their own songs, leave the Velvet Underground songs to the Velvet Underground, and I will certainly take you up on your offer if I am ever in DC!

tinydesk said...

Well you had me fooled; i figured you for 20!
Anyway i'll try not to sing again...though Sunday Morning is a hard one to resist... i think the last time i tried to sing in public might have been when our band Tiny Desk Unit played our first show and we ran out of tunes... Michael Barron ...our guitarist launched into another Velvet Underground tune...Sweet Jane...and not knowing a synth part...i launched into some vocals.
(never again!)
I will let the dj's pick their tunes...though in this case Conor...who was hazy on the cd title ..lit up when i mentioned the horns on Sally Can't dance...so i thought in the name of spontaneity, we'd head that direction. there is always a fine line between interview and conversation and whenever i can break down that interview thing I go there... it is so much less tedious for the guest, especially someone that is uncomfortable with the interview format the way he and so many musicians are...it just takes away that defensive posture ("ah now you're going to ask me abuot my personal life!")
i can't stand that stuff...

be well ...best of luck with the blog and with life.
nice chatting with you
bob boilen
all songs considered

Jason said...

I hadn't made the connection until just now that 2 of my complaints were about separate Lou Reed related offenses.