A few weeks ago I discovered The Next Track, a podcast “about how people listen to music today,” hosted by by Doug Adams and Kirk McElhearn. I really like it, and I’m working my way through many of the back episodes now.
- Music critic Alex Ross talking about classical music today
- A really good discussion about DACs
- Peter Chilvers talking about writing code for algorithmic music with Brian Eno
Then I caught up with a bunch more, and I’m still at it.
Shows are about half an hour long and come out on Fridays. They’re very well produced and sound great. The two hosts have a lot of experience in the music business, and they have good radio voices, too. They’re both Mac users, so sometimes they get into detail about iTunes or something else I don’t care about, but that’s no big deal. Different episodes cover file formats, differences between streaming services, home media servers, equipment like DACs and amps and speakers, how the industry is changing, how composers work, and more: all angles of how we listen to music today.
Adams and McElhearn often mention musicians and bands, of course, though that’s not the focus. Their musical tastes overlap with mine: Miles Davis and Bill Evans, or prog bands like King Crimson, ELP and Yes. They’re a little bit older than me, I think, so generally their memories of things like buying records or what radio used to be like match mine.
At the end of every episode they mention something they’re listening to right now, and often I head over to Tidal right after to listen myself, most recently to Domo Arigato by The Durutti Column.
I’m going to suggest they interview Ben Ratliff about his book Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways to Listen in an Age of Musical Plenty. It would be a great match.