From The Big Day Out to Dolly Parton, the RNZ Music team has hand-picked six outstanding music podcasts for your lockdown listening pleasure.
1. Inside the Big Day Out (Double J)
A superbly produced five-part series, charting the birth and subsequent death of the Big Day Out. From its successful early years, to its demise, the podcast takes an honest, warts-and-all look at what went on behind the scenes. The audio is amazing, pulling in live performances and interviews from Triple J’s archive to compliment the in-depth reporting - Charlotte Ryan
2. Dolly Parton's America (WNYC)
Country music superstar Dolly Parton is the great American uniter in this podcast from Jad Abumrad and Shima Oliaee (Radiolab). While she has been underestimated and derided in the past, she's had a comeback over recent years, and appeals to Boomers and Millenials, Democrats and Republicans, black, white, LBGTQ and homophobic alike.
With carefully worded interviews from Dolly herself, personal stories from the producers, and interviews with fans and experts this nine-part podcast is a really enjoyable romp through the Dollyverse. - Kirsten Johnstone
3. Cocaine & Rhinestones (Independent)
A great deep dive into country music in the 20th Century. Includes full episode breakdowns of some legendary tracks along with excellent anecdotes about different country stars over the years. You don't even need to be a fan of country or Americana to get down with this one. - Francis Cook
Ed’s note: Cocaine & Rhinestones host Tyler Mahan Coe has another great podcast called Your Favorite Band Sucks, in which he and co-host Mark Mosley are hilariously mean to pop/rock musicians including Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Nirvana and more.
4. Mogul Season II
An immaculately-produced deep-dive into the birth of Miami Bass, starting with the emergence of controversial hip hop group 2 Live Crew. Known for their supremely offensive lyrics, the group’s debut record was deemed ‘obscene’ by a Florida judge, and frontman Luke Campbell was thrown in jail. The controversy ramps up from there, including (but not limited to): hip hop’s most shocking stage show ever, more jail time, and a lunchbox full of cocaine. - Alice Murray
5. Song Exploder (Radiotopia)
This one’s for music lovers who want to learn the back story behind their favourite songs. Each episode features a different musician taking a track apart piece by piece, dissecting the lyrics and discussing how the sounds came together. My favoruites include Caribou’s 'Home', Sharon Van Etten's ‘Seventeen’, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’, and Lorde’s ‘Sober'. - Charlotte Ryan
6. What Makes This Song Great? (YouTube)
How can you spend 20 minutes talking about one four-minute song? Like this. It's kinda like a video version of Song Exploder, although you can easily just listen. I love the episodes on Alanis Morrisette's'You Oughta Know', and Soundgarden’s ‘Outshined'.
Host Rick Beato is enthusiastic AND knowledgable. It's a super nerdy delight. He covers a bogan-friendly range of tunes from the 70s, 80s, 90s.
There's also heaps of stuff to listen to on the RNZ website:
There’s Music 101, which includes:
- Pocket Edition – a highlights package of our Saturday afternoon radio show Music101
- Song Crush – a weekly handpicked selection of good music from Aotearoa and abroad.
- The Mixtape – An hour of conversation and music selections from some of NZ's well-known music people.
- Most of the interviews we do for Music 101
There's The Sampler, where our resident music expert Nick Bollinger reviews the latest albums from both here and abroad, and New Horizons, where William Dart draws on his encyclopaedic knowledge and gargantuan record collection to offer insights and surprising links into rock, pop, country, folk and beyond.