WBEZ is known to some folks on this blog as the home of “This American Life,” which is my favorite radio show on public radio (perhaps my favorite of all time, in which case I’ll register apologies to both Bob and Ray). As if that’s not enough, it has solved a problem for me:
Since the more-or-less collapse of the music industry, which means the end of record stores, I can no longer walk into an indie store, ask what’s new, and triangulate my taste of some known quantity like my friend Pat Cochran and the new records in the bin and figure out what new thing I want to explore. I’m special ordering CDs at Off Square Books, buying downloads of iTunes (and still not able to bring myself to be happy with not getting some tangible thing when I do that), buying stuff from small labels (e.g. the Original Jazz Label’s magnificent reissue of western swing genius Bob Dunn, about which more later) but still with no obvious answer to my taste in current pop and rock issues.
And so I was delighted to discover the radio show off WBEZ in Chicago that’s a product of two rock critics, “Sound Opinions.”
Based in Chicago, Sound Opinions is hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, two of the finest and best-recognized pop music writers in the nation. For over a decade they were dedicated competitors at Chicago’s two daily newspapers—Jim at the Chicago Sun-Times and Greg at the Chicago Tribune. Today, Jim writes about music for Vocalo.org and teaches criticism at Columbia College.
They express themselves clearly and in context of what’s come before, and they play enough of the music that you can draw your own conclusions. I’ve been listening for about a month, and my wife’s reaction was to immediately want the Ce Lo Green record for our drive back from Houston (and, I’ll have to say it’s a favorite of mine among recent neo-soul releases).
In any event, check out the Sound Opinions podcast. Subscribing is free. Oh, and you can also subscribe free to a podcast of This American Life.