Get jammed by Discord & Rhyme! This week, we spotlight British punk rockers the Jam, specifically their 1979 post-punk opus Setting Sons. John, Rich, Dan, and host Ben unpack Paul Weller's dark subject matter and make the case that it can still result in fun — and even uplifting — music. It doesn't hurt that the band's spare, crackling energy makes even the dourest songs danceable, and that the 20-year-old Weller's worldview — cynical and biting, but somehow still hopeful — transcends the grimy streets of late-1970s England. Join four Yanks (plus one expat in an edifying guest appearance) as we discuss how Paul Weller's message resonates with us — even 40 years later, even Over Here, and even in our decidedly un-punky mid-thirties.Read More
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Good morn and evening, friends, and get ready for a super-sized episode. Stevie Wonder has a deep catalog of classic, beloved LPs, but since this week’s host, Ben, follows the “because it’s there” approach to choosing albums for this podcast, we’re tackling the longest, most epic one of all: 1976’s Songs in the Key of Life. Encompassing two LPs and a bonus EP, Songs is “massive and meant to be massive,” Ben argues to co-hosts Phil, Mike, and John — and just look at the list of personnel if you don’t believe us. Even if not every song lands, the album is such a mountain range of joyous musical peaks that you’re likely going to emerge from it adoring at least a dozen tracks. Plus, ‘90s kids will recognize the source material for both Coolio’s legendary anthem “Gangsta’s Paradise” and Will Smith’s much less legendary soundtrack cash-in “Wild Wild West.” This one might take you a few commutes, but if you’ve somehow not yet experienced the music of Stevie Wonder, we promise you’re about to have a new favorite artist.Read More
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