Jenn and I chat with rock writer Jessica Hopper, and we’re talking about the revised and expanded edition of her book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. Plus: Plus: Madonna’s lederhosen, Gen X feminism, how to find new music now, and: how much money would you need to be a 24-year-old again? It’s a good one, so do listen in, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please do join our Patreon for all sorts of cool exclusive content and fun, free merch!
Kim, you asked Jessica about recommendations for finding new music, and my favorite way is to look up a genre on Spotify and scroll through the playlists until I find one that looks cool. Since it sounds like we have similar yacht rock/mellow classic rock taste, here are a few recent favorites that I highly recommend (keeping in mind “new” in this case would mean new to me, not contemporary). The names in parenthesis are the users who uploaded them:
Psychedelic Country & Weird American Music (Tyler Roberts)
Ventura Highway: 70’s car radio slbrincat)
Laurel Canyon, LA 1966-1972 Approximately (Bruce Carlisle)
Cosmic American Music: Psychedelic Country Rock (Noah Lopez)
As for finding new music, I still go to festivals like Desert Daze in Joshua Tree or Levitation Fest in Austin, both of which feature a lot of modern pych rock/garage rock along with older bands (I saw the Zombies one year). Both festivals have playlists on Spotify worth checking out. I also have TuneIn Radio, which is an app that gives you access to radio from all over the world, as well as in each state, and my favorites for modern music are KXLU Los Angeles and WZBC Boston, as well as Freeform Radio in Portland, Oregon, and Radio Valencia in San Francisco.
I get bored with music fast because I play the bands I love to death, and I am a huge music lover so I’m always trying to find new stuff.
KXLU also has a great salsa show on the weekends. So nice to see it mentioned. They need a bigger antenna though …
My method for finding good music is to key into the seminal producers of your genre. So let’s say you like 90s hip-hop, you make a Pandora channel for Timbaland. For new wave, maybe Brian Eno. For Delta blues, T-Bone Burnett or somebody. Pandora will play the various artists who’ve worked with those producers, and you thumbs up and thumbs down until it’s dialed in the way you like. Because sometimes it’s not an exact artist you’re responding to; it’s the sound and production and arrangements. If you find a producer whose tastes align with yours, you get a lot of great new suggestions.
My method on Spotify is to, uh, brute force transfer all my favorite songs to Spotify arranged into playlists by occasion or mood. Spotify is what I use most of the time, but they never play anything new or different for me. Pandora’s algorithms seem to do a lot better at ‘ah, you liked that track because of the particular key and syncopation, try this other thing. yes? no?’
I’m a parent of a teen so I hear a ton of pop music on car rides. Some of it is fun but a lot of it is not. I’d like to highly recommend WFUV which is Fordham U’s station for a great mix of music. One minute you’ll hear Joni Mitchell or Roxy Music and then a new release from Sleater-Kinney or some other amazing song from someone you’ve never heard of. It was the soundtrack to my 20s commute and I was sad when I moved out of their listening area but you can stream the station online and they have an app.
thanks – that sounds perfect, i added it !
I really enjoyed this episode. I find that I get a lot of new music recommendations from my kids. The funny thing is, they also listen to a lot of stuff they grew up with from us. I particularly love when Spotify leads them to something new they haven’t heard and I can say, “oh yeah, I saw them live in 1989…” My son was very impressed that his parents second date was a butthole surfers show.
I couldn’t get passed the first ten minutes. It was just not interesting and the guest has a delivery style that I found extremely boring and not enough upbeat for a podcast. I am unfamiliar with her written work, so perhaps she can covey her message better that way.
I do enjoy, however, your one – on – one convo, although I disagree with most of what you’re saying, you do have a way of keep it real (- sort of eavesdropping on a personal convo which you’re not privy to).
we are deeply flawed but I appreciate that we can please you in some small way! thanks for listening 🙂
I’m late to this blog post, but I have to say this—
Jenn, this is the PERFECT response to that comment! I very nearly LOL’d in my very quiet office. I’m going to use a variation of it any time I receive criticism from now on. Love you guys. 💙
Loved this episode. The Hiss Golden Messenger recommendation was spot on for me, as another GOACA and Wilco fan. There is nothing better than someone making a music reco for a band you’ve never heard of, but love immediately. Curious if you liked HGM too, Kim?
I think this was my favorite EIF episode! I really related to the conversation between Kim and Jenn in the beginning and I got teary eyed when Kim said she would like to have known what it was like to cook for her kids 😢. I thought Jessica Hopper had so many smart and interesting things to say about being a woman in the music world and about aging. Thank you!
yes, i felt exactly the same when Kimfrance said that.
i loved this episode, that movie sounds so interesting,
that discussion about guiltily enjoying your gendered role Kim – so real –
and i am not really up on music criticism but found it all fascinating.
And i so agree w/ your comment about Madonna – i expected her to be ..more unique at this point in her life.
Also, one my favorite ways to hear about new music is to listen to my local high school radio station (WLTL!).
Interesting conversation. But mostly – I’m happy for Kim digging her gendered role. To me feminism was always about CHOICE.
My husband calls me ‘Miss Daisy’ bc I hate to drive ; ) — but I’m also the breadwinner of my family, handle the $$. Gender roles can be layered… As long as there is love and respect and choice – what matters is what works for the 2 people in the relationship. That’s it.
Great episode! Two things she said stood out to me: she wishes she had known not to try to have serious relationships in her 20s (great advice which would have saved me a lot of heartbreak and probably allowed me to have more fun romantically) and that she’s regained her 19-year old rage. I have, too, and what I like about my anger now is it doesn’t consume me, but it can drive me. Really enjoyed hearing from her.