Discord & Rhyme: An Album Podcast

Discord and Rhyme is a podcast where we discuss the albums we love, song by song.

014: Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (1971)

Do not attempt to adjust your podcast apps. Discord & Rhyme is devoting the whole month of January to the world of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic, better known as P-Funk. Though P-Funk eventually came to comprise a single, massive collective of musicians releasing records under the names Parliament and Funkadelic, the two sides of P-Funk have different sounds and histories, and in this episode and the next, we’re going to dive in to what makes each one supergroovalistic. We’re starting with Funkadelic, as Phil takes Ben, Dan, and Mike through 1971’s Maggot Brain, a ragged, scuzzy, surreal album that some consider P-Funk’s crowning achievement. And be sure to come back in two weeks, when Mike will be covering Parliament’s masterpiece Mothership Connection, thus completing the P-Funk cosmology.

Read More

013: Meat Puppets - Forbidden Places (1991)

MEAT!!! Chris Willie Williams is the eighth and final Discord & Rhyme host to take the helm — and, ever the prankster and hopeless hipster, he has chosen an album that is out of print. 1991’s Forbidden Places was the major-label debut for Meat Puppets, a critically adored 1980s Phoenix alternative rock band known for its mixture of country and psychedelia, as well as vocalist Curt Kirkwood’s only vague regard for a song’s meter. Forbidden Places was meant to give the Puppets a Traveling Wilburys-style spitshine for the airwaves — then, three months later, Nirvana’s Nevermind came along and changed the face of music. Acknowledging the Puppets as an influence, Kurt Cobain invited Curt and brother Cris to Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged sessions to play on covers of three songs from Meat Puppets II (1983), but by that point, the band’s momentum had been interrupted. So with today’s episode, Will hopes to do justice to a fine, sturdy power pop album that, in an alternate universe, would have made the Kirkwoods & Co. huge.

Read More

012: Rhiannon Giddens - Tomorrow Is My Turn (2015)

American folk music has always been heavily influenced by black musicians, many of whom have been largely forgotten — especially the women. Rhiannon Giddens is aiming to change that by using her phenomenal voice as a spotlight and shining it on the artists that came before her. In this episode, Amanda leads the Discord & Rhyme team through Giddens’ 2015 album Tomorrow Is My Turn, a mix of well-known standards and obscure gems. The album is not only fantastic on its own, but serves as a wonderful starting point for a larger discussion of the music that has come out of American history and the women who helped to shape it.

Read More

011: Joni Mitchell - Blue (1971)

Joni Mitchell's fourth album, Blue, is host Ben Marlin’s favorite Joni album and one of his favorite albums of all time. But it's also the Canadian singer-songwriter’s most accessible album, direct and hooky in a way she would rarely allow her music to be, before or since. For that reason, it's probably the best gateway to Joni Mitchell for listeners who aren't familiar with her.

Aside from the catchy melodies, Joni’s lyrics pushed the “confessional singer-songwriter” style further than it had ever gone before. Her songs here are deeply personal, but in a way that is still beautifully universal. Dive into Blue with us and revel in Joni’s unique genius.

Read More

010: X-Ray Spex - Germfree Adolescents (1978)

DISCOOOORD AAAAND RHYME! ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR! This is our shortest, leanest episode to date, and it’s a rush! This podcast isn’t just prog, soul, and synths. We’re also into punk rock, and if it happens to have saxophones, well, that only sweetens the deal. In his first outing as host, Dan leads Rich, Mike, and Will through Germfree Adolescents by X-Ray Spex, a London punk quintet that existed aggressively for about a year before bandleader Poly Styrene started seeing visions of dayglo in the night and decided the life was too much for her. Adolescents’ 12 tracks are loud, colorful, diverse, and hilarious — though have a lyrics site on hand, because the brilliantly shrieky Poly can be nigh-on indecipherable. Germ-Free Adolescents turns 40 in just a couple weeks, and we hope this episode earns it some new fans!

Read More

009: Janet Jackson - Control (1986)

We’re sorry, Miss Jackson. For nearly two decades, Janet Damita Jo Jackson was one of the world’s most reliable hitmakers, but her reign came to a complete halt after the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show and its infamous “wardrobe malfunction.” After a stunning career spent deliberately pushing boundaries, somebody else took it a step too far and she suffered the consequences.

However, her legacy of pop masterpieces and powerful feminism was never forgotten. She kept living her life, putting out terrific albums, and never relinquishing control. Janet may have been less visible for a while there, but she never truly went away - and now that she’s been nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the third time, we’re going to do whatever we can to make sure she gets in, including making sure all our listeners know how excellent Control is. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Read More

008 (feat. Dave Weigel): Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, a True Star (1973)

Discord & Rhyme is excited to welcome its first guest co-host! David Weigel is a politics reporter for the Washington Post, but more importantly for our nefarious purposes, he is the author of the truly excellent progressive rock history The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock. But this episode is also a reunion: Dave used to geek out about music with your hosts on the teeny-tiny ‘90s music websites we lovingly called the Web Reviewing Community (WRC). And today, he’s geeking out with us all over again by helping us tear apart Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard, a True Star, track by minute-long track.

Read More

007: Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1970)

In Prog John’s first go-around as host, the Discord & Rhyme crew (John, Amanda, Mike, and Dan) turn their attention to the debut album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, an album and band that everyone in this episode agrees is far better than consensus critical opinion would suggest. John offers a spirited defense not only of the band and this album, but also of prog rock in general as well as of one of his favorite classical composers, the 20th-century Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (Mike agrees wholeheartedly with John’s Bartok love, while Amanda is far more ambivalent). This podcast offers deep dives into each of this album’s six tracks (the 12:27 “Take a Pebble” is discussed over six parts), as well as close examination of the band’s roots and influences, collectively and individually. We can practically guarantee that this will be the only podcast you ever hear that contains excerpts from ELP, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, a Bach keyboard suite, and, somehow, the Japanese anime “Cowboy Bebop.”

Read More

006: Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)

Do we really need to introduce Aretha Franklin? Undisputedly the best soul singer around — perhaps the best singer, period — her string of massive hits and modern classics is longer than some other artists’ entire careers. Her voice is so recognizable now that it’s easy to take for granted, but when she moved to Atlantic Records in 1967 and released I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, she made gospel-style music blare from American radios at a volume then unheard of, and with a confident feminist swagger.

Read More