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The Music Podcasts You Should Be Listening To Right Now

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Music is an art form that enhances everyday life in innumerable ways, but sometimes you crave listening to something a little different while away the hours on that morning and evening commute. Over the last decade, podcasts have risen to become one of the new, dominant mediums for intelligent conversation, impactful interviews, and new discovery. Favorite hosts become something like reliable friends you can return to and check in on at any time to seek out their wisdom or humor.

While there are thousands of podcasts that touch on nearly every topic under the sun, the options for music lovers are patently overwhelming. With that in mind, here are 15 of the best music podcasts to help you discover new artists, or go deep on old favorites.

Related: The Best True Crime Podcasts You Need To Listen To Right Now

Celebration Rock

93X

Okay, maybe there’s a little bias going on here, but Steven Hyden’s podcast Celebration Rock deserves top-billing in any ranking exercise strictly on the merits. Whether it’s his in-depth interviews with the likes of Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, Father John Misty, or Courtney Barnett, his back and forths with esteemed critics like Rob Sheffield, Amanda Petrusich, Ian Cohen, or Chuck Klosterman about rock releases both past and present, or his multi-part series on Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam, Hyden always makes for incredibly engaging listening experience.

Check out the full library here.

Sound Opinions

WBEZ

One of the longest-running music podcasts in the game is also one of the best. Hosted by two of the most esteemed rock critics in the game today, Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis, this Chicago-based pair tackles an impressively wide-range of different topics and genres on a weekly basis, with a kind of authority that only comes from literal decades of experience. With over 650 episodes and counting, there’s no shortage of material here to wade through and discover.

Check out the full library here.

KEXP Music That Matters

KEXP

KEXP is one of the best radio stations in the US, hands-down, bar-none. Operating out of Seattle, KEXP gives a platform to a wealth of burgeoning local and national acts you might not hear on any other broadcast. They bring a similar spirit to their weekly podcast, Music That Matters, which features a wide-ranging collection of songs put together by some of the stations most knowledgeable DJs like Kevin Cole, Cheryl Waters, and John Richards.

Check out the full library here.

Song Exploder

Song Exploder

Song Exploder is one of the most fascinating programs to check out if you’re deeply interested in learning how a song is constructed. The idea is simple. An artist comes in and explains in exacting detail the different pieces of equipment they used on a given track, the ideas that went into it, and even the stories behind the lyrics. Thus far, they’ve had Lorde in to deconstruct “Sober,” MGMT recently unpacked “Time To Pretend,” U2 were on for “Cedar Road,” and St. Vincent explained “New York.” Each episode only runs 20-minutes or so, so they are also incredibly binge-able.

Check out the full library here.

The Art Of Process With Ted Leo And Aimee Mann

The Art Of Process

Ted Leo and Aimee Mann have both enjoyed long careers in the music world, both with bands, by themselves, and even with each other as The Both. And that experience should make for a quality podcast, as the pair launch this new biweekly series in early 2019. Their subjects go beyond the music world into various creative fields, examining the intricasies that come with being a creator.

Check out the full library here.

The Combat Jack Show

Combat Jack

Sadly, Reggie Ossé aka Combat Jack died from colon cancer last year, bringing an end to his era-defining podcast, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t worth checking out. The Combat Jack archives are overflowing with incredible content, featuring interviews and in-depth discussions with everyone who’s anyone in hip-hop culture. We’re talking old heads like RZA, Wyclef, Lox, and Eric B, to the next generation like Cardi B, G Herbo, Zaytoven and more. RIP Combat Jack. Your legacy lives on and on.

Check out the full library here.

All Songs Considered

NPR

NPR is maybe the most prestigious music podcast platform out there. While there are several incredible podcasts that operate under their banner — you can never go wrong with Tiny Desk — All Songs Considered is the flagship enterprise. If you’re looking to get an edge on what’s happening right now, which albums are dropping, which tracks are popping, this is the place to find out, courtesy of host and musical director Bob Boilen.

Check out the full library here.

Rolling Stone Music Now

Rolling Stone

With Rolling Stone running the show, you know you’re in for a bevy of marquee musical talent. Hosted by cover story writing guru Brian Hiatt, the program featuring a rotating band of Rolling Stone’s finest writers hashing it out over the big stories of the week, or sharing audio interview segments from interviews they’ve recently conducted for the magazine. It’s a highly polished program, and a great place to learn more about some of the biggest musical acts in the world today.

Check out the full library here.

Watching The Throne

Watching The Throne

No musical artist on the planet today inspires as much heated discussion as Kanye Omari West. Whether that means fans ranking his albums, critics decrying his brash personality, hypebeasts picking apart every piece in his Yeezy fashion line, or casual fans wondering where the f*ck the new album is, it’s hard to keep Kanye out of the conversation. Watching The Throne leans into the skid with an impressive understanding of both his music, and makeup. If you’re a real Yeezy head, this is a can’t-miss.

Check out the full library here.

The Vinyl Me, Please Podcast

Vinyl Me, Please

Vinyl Me, Please is one of the great success stories in the music world. From its select subscription service, it’s fantastic editorial content, and its eye-popping subscriber-only store, they’ve turned themselves into an essential component of any real music-lovers lives. That passion also extends to their podcast. Hosted by co-founder Tyler Barstow, the program headlong into a wide range of different topics from Sharon Van Etten’s full discography to the latest War On Drugs album with an impressive degree of authority.

Check out the full library here.

Talkhouse Music Podcast

Talkhouse

Who better to talk about music than musicians? Makes sense right? Talkhouse is the premier place to hear some of the best most intriguing and thoughtful artists out there today discuss amongst one another the trials and tribulations they face in the music industry and the effort and inspiration that goes into their every project. Where else can you hear Questlove from the Roots mix it up with Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney, or Kid Cudi unload with Paul Reubens aka Pee Wee Herman? Exactly.

Check out the full library here.

Rap Radar

Rap Radar

There are a lot of talking heads out there in hip-hop who enjoying spouting off just to get a reaction. I’m not going to name any names, but if you’ve been following along for any length of time, you certainly know who they are. Elliott Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller are two of the most well-respected journalists in hip-hop history and bring a breadth of knowledge and insight to their podcast that’s incredible to behold. Their recent, multi-part interview with Jay-Z just after the release of 4:44 is mandatory listening.

Check out the full library here.

Switched On Pop

Switched On Pop

Its kind of absurd the lack of good and compelling podcasts that deal exclusively in pop music. As you’ve seen already, the wealth of rock and hip-hop pods are incredible, and it’s disappointing that pop has lagged so far behind the other genres. The best of the bunch is probably the Switched On Pop program hosted by musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding. The pair take on their subjects like Demi Lovato, Camilla Cabello, and Justin Timberlake with a passion that never drifts into condescension or snark like others might. Whether you’re a Katy Kat or a Swifty, there’s a lot here to like.

Check out the full library here.

Cocaine & Rhinestones

Cocaine And Rhinestones

Country music is a genre with a very long, very convoluted, very violent, and very passionate history. Hosted by Tyler Mahan Coe, Cocaine & Rhinestones, seeks to unpack the stories and people who made country music what it is throughout the 20th century. You will learn more about famous names like Wynonna, Loretta Lynn, and Merle Haggard, while also discovering less-heralded folk such as Spade Cooley and Shelby S. Singleton.

Check out the full library here.

These Miracles Work: A Hold Steady Podcast

These Miracles Work

There are few bands of the last 20 years that have inspired as feverish of a fanbase as The Hold Steady (and, the flip side of that is there are few bands that have people hard pass in quite the same way as they do on The Hold Steady, too). This podcast series features interviews with band members about the making of their landmark Stay Positive in celebration of that record’s 10th anniversary, giving insight as to the group’s trajectory at the time, and how they continue to exist now.

Check out the full library here.

Popcast

New York Times

The New York Times has long reigned as the paper of record in the US, and lately has rolled out a series of podcasts in a variety of realms to establish its voice in that world as well. Hosted by the esteemed writer Jon Caramanica, Popcast is a semi-weekly series of talks between different writers tackling the major events and album drops of the moment. No topic is too off the beaten path, with chats recently regarding the death of rapper XXXTentacion, as well as American Idol and the Drake Vs. Pusha-T beef.

Check out the full library here.

LSQ

Jenny Eliscu

Music writers come and go with every passing era, but some, through sheer wealth of talent and personality manage to stick around for the long haul. Former Rolling Stone writer Jenny Eliscu is certainly among that privileged set. For her LSQ podcast, the writer switches on the microphone to hold engrossing chats with and about an eclectic array of different artists, from Jack Antonoff and Spoon’s Britt Daniel to Angel Olsen and Danielle Haim.

Check out the full library here.

Disgraceland

Disgraceland

Crime podcasts have become all the rage ever since Serial burst onto the scene a couple of years back, and as everyone knows, the history of popular music has its fair share of bodies. Disgraceland combines the worlds of music and murder together to tell incredible, and sometimes, little-known stories involving some of the most impactful artists of all-time. What, you didn’t know that Jerry Lee Lewis might have killed one of his wives? Find out more about it here.

Check out the full library here.

Questlove Surpreme

Pandora

I think it’s probably fair to say that Questlove has one of the most enviable rolodexes in all of popular music. Fortunately for all of us, he isn’t afraid to spin that thing every so often and call in some of the most indelible creators out there for wide-ranging and deeply, fantastically nerdy chats on his regular Questlove Supreme podcast. His recent sit-down with Jack White is a can’t-miss.

Check out the full library here.

Pay Close Attention

XL Recordings

There are few record labels with the history of XL Recordings. With a roster that has included Radiohead, Vampire Weekend, Adele, Frank Ocean, M.I.A., and Kaytranada, a podcast series featuring interviews with artists from their roster is highly attactive. They’ve only launched their first installment as of the start of 2019, but this will be a fascinating podcast to watch grow.

Check out the full library here.

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