Discord & Rhyme: An Album Podcast
Summary: On each episode of this music podcast, we pick an album and discuss it song by song, including background information about the band, the making of the album, and how we all discovered it in the first place. We're opinionated and passionate, so there is plenty of both discord and rhyme. You'll find lots of rock here, but also funk, R&B, hip-hop, jazz, and maybe even a symphony or two.
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. See complete show notes at https://discordpod.com/listen/014-funkadelic-maggot-brain-1971
Happy holidays from Discord & Rhyme! When we realized our schedule had us releasing an episode on Christmas, we had no choice to but to plan the episode accordingly. Instead of talking about a specific album, we’ve each picked one or two of our favorite holiday songs to share with the class. We really enjoyed sharing all these great songs with each other — and because we are incapable of staying on topic, this episode also covers sketch comedy, the state of Michigan, the correct pronunciation of Ray Davies’ last name, the King’s Quest series, and, of course, the Moody Blues. See complete show notes at https://discordpod.com/listen/simply-having-a-wonderful-discord-amp-rhyme
MEAT!!! 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 — 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. Find complete show notes at https://discordpod.com/listen/013-meat-puppets-forbidden-places-1991
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. See complete show notes at http://discordpod.com/listen/012-rhiannon-giddens-tomorrow-is-my-turn-2015
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 her 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. See our website for complete show notes.
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! See our website for complete show notes.
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. See complete show notes on our website.
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. See our website for complete show notes.
In Prog John’s first go-around as host, the Discord and 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.” See complete show notes on our website.
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. When we recorded this episode, we had absolutely no idea that we were doing it at the end of the Queen of Soul’s reign. We’re all very glad we took the opportunity to delve into her amazing recordings, and we hope we did her justice. The Queen herself may be gone, but she’ll never, ever be forgotten. See our website for complete show notes.
Everybody go put on your sundresses over babydoll t-shirts and turn your baseball caps backward, because this is a mid-’90s party! Amanda took the opportunity to make Phil, Rich, and Will revisit 1994 and Under the Table and Dreaming, Dave Matthews Band’s studio debut. We all enjoyed this album when we were teenagers in the ‘90s, but since then, at least one of us has soured on it considerably. Come for the discord, stay for the rhyme, then visit discordpod.com for complete show notes. Stick around at the end to hear us accidentally channel Bart and Lisa and make an inadvertent crank call.
It's Discord & Rhyme's first hip-hop album! In this watershed episode, our producer, Mike, walks Rich, Will, and Phil through hip-hop supergroup Deltron 3030's self-titled 2000 dystopian sci-fi opus. Deltron 3030, a collaboration between emcee Del the Funky Homosapien, turntablist Kid Koala, and producer Dan the Automator, is at once funny, action-packed, thematically dense, and searing in its social commentary. It also boasts an encyclopedic range of samples, both typical of Automator's eclectic taste and of particular interest to Mike as a fellow producer. The album served as a gateway drug to hip-hop for all four hosts this week, and if you're on the fence about the genre, we hope it will do the same for you. See www.discordpod.com/listen/2018/8/4/episode-004-deltron-3030-deltron-3030-2000 for complete show notes.
We're talking about Ween today, so listener beware: Here be dragons, also salty language. For his first outing as host, Phil Maddox leads his co-hosts through New Hope, PA, alternative rock duo Ween’s highly idiosyncratic and mildly sophomoric 1997 release The Mollusk. Ween initially gained notoriety in the early ’90s, when major labels were snapping up every weird band under the sun in search of the next Nirvana, and it was awesome. The band is best known for its grating MTV hit “Push th’ Lil’ Daisies,” but The Mollusk is more of a loving homage to progressive rock and sea shanties — with a few jarring doses of Ween humor. Rated R for language. Complete show notes at discordpod.com.
In Episode 2, we talk about an album all four of us know by heart and love passionately: On the Threshold of a Dream, the third album by the Moody Blues. We start with our own adaptation of “In the Beginning,” the poem that begins the album, and we couldn’t resist throwing in a Simpsons joke. (You get a bunch of thirtysomethings together, Simpsons jokes are inevitable.) We provide an overview of the Moody Blues' entire career, using this album as an anchor. If you enjoy listening to people talk enthusiastically about stuff they really, really love, this is the episode for you. See www.discordpod.com for complete show notes.
For the inaugural episode of Discord & Rhyme, host Rich Bunnell uses EWF’s 1977 release All ‘n All to illustrate that EWF were far more than a playlist’s worth of hit singles. All ‘n All is the arguable peak of an incredible run of late-’70s albums, several of which deserve to be viewed as part of the canon alongside Revolver, Songs in the Key of Life, and Dark Side of the Moon. Three out of four co-hosts this week had little to no experience with All ‘n All before researching this episode, so this premiere should be educational! For complete show notes, please visit discordpod.com.