Sowing the Seeds of Discord & Rhyme
by Rich Bunnell
I’m stunned that less than a year into this project, there are people — some of whom we haven’t even met! — who are actually willing to pay money for what we do. As much as we promote our “tip jar” on the show, Discord & Rhyme is foremost a passion project by eight friends who have kept all of this obsessive energy bottled up for years and finally have an outlet. Patreon covers our hosting and equipment costs, reimburses us for the time and work we put in to every episode, and hopefully will eventually grow to a level where we can start directly supporting the artists we cover.
The eight of us met online in the ‘90s as teens and sort-of-adults, writing very opinionated, occasionally musically literate album reviews for a cluster of websites that we informally called “the Web Reviewing Community.” There was no central website — we all sort of just found one another through pre-Google search engines and built a community out of our shared passion for assigning number ratings to Moody Blues albums. John McFerrin’s Rock and Prog Reviews is the only site still updating in 2019, but “Cosmic” Ben Marlin had a lime-green site still available on the Internet Archive, and the rest of us were affiliated with Mark Prindle’s Record Reviews and the very Web 1.0 Music Junkies Anonymous in some fashion.
I bring this up because there was a real power in numbers to the giddy, un-self-conscious way we shared our journeys through music with one another, and it all built toward a pretty formidable body of musical knowledge for a bunch of kids. Now that we’ve reunited as podcasters and weather-beaten adults, we’re feeling the same energy a thousand-fold, and it’s part of what we try to convey with the show. In that collaborative spirit, no creative project is an island, and I want to cite some of the music podcasts that have specifically inspired me before and while producing Discord & Rhyme:
Switched On Pop: Chart hits from a music theory perspective. The hosts are very sincere and curious, and it’s obvious they’ve been friends for a long time. This show straight up got me into podcasts, and it just made a very well-deserved jump to Vox.
Dissect: This cast breaks down one album per season, with each episode (sometimes two) devoted to a single track. Cole Cuchna’s research is impeccable and he has an admirable empathy toward his subjects. So far it’s been exclusively devoted to hip-hop and R&B, Cuchna’s passion and area of expertise.
Hit Parade: The Billboard charts are the baseball stats of music nerddom, and like any sports journalist, Slate’s Chris Molanphy is terrific at identifying the broader narratives that underly the raw numbers.
Political Beats: This is actually from a member of our old community, Jeff Blehar, which inspired us to follow his example. This cast is 100% full discography dives, done with enthusiasm and thoroughness.
Screw It, We’re Just Gonna Talk About the Beatles: We’re Fabs fans like anyone else, and we’ve been obsessed with this hangout cast for months, put together by a group of Los Angeles UCB improv locals. These guys do friendly banter professionally, so it’s a great primer on how to talk about music.
Twenty Thousand Hertz: I’ve become much more interested in audio since Discord & Rhyme began, influenced by both Producer Mike and this podcast. It’s both an excellent, horizontal dive into how sound manifests in the world and, fittingly, a beautifully engineered piece of sound design in its own right.
The Art of Process: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo replicate their hilarious, down-to-earth banter from when I saw them in concert as The Both, but in a podcast setting. The two interview creators from all walks of art about their process and anxieties, and it’s the kind of thing a budding podcaster needs to hear.
Now that I’ve given you a whole list of podcasts that aren’t ours to listen to, thank you again for the time you’ve put into our gargantuan, tome-like episodes. We have some really exciting and in some cases downright mind-bending albums on the immediate horizon. Be ever wonderful!