MP3’s, ipod’s, music blogs, myspace… they’ve all changed the way we listen to and discover new music. From the moment I first set the ipod to shuffle I’ve barely listened to an album from beginning to end. Hundreds of music blogs offer me untold MP3 riches every day. The problem used to be how can I afford all the music I want, now its how do I find the time to listen to all the music I can get.
Does it cheapen music? Was it better when you waited weeks for a release then rushed home to play it from start to finish? Or is it simply a wonderful thing that there’s now no limit to the different styles and quantity of music you can experience… except of course the hours in the day, and actually having a life away from the PC? I would answer the question but… I’ve got 50 blog MP3’s, another couple of dozen from emusic, a few itunes, a CD, and some vinyl to listen to before I go out!

The podcast (and vodcast) is another addition to my already overloaded audio world. Radio shows, mixes, current affairs… whatever you like there’s a podcast to suit your tastes. Click subscribe, and whenever a new programme is made it automatically secretes itself as if by magic on your MP3 player or computer. Its fantastic to be sat on the tube idly flicking through the ipod, only to discover an essential new mix or radio show has popped up for my listening pleasure.

Here are just a few that I try and find the time to enjoy. Please leave a comment with some more suggestions. Any musical style, comedy, whatever… which podcasts rock your world?

The subscribe links should work with itunes… if you’re not yet a slave to apple inc I’m sure there are other alternatives just as good.

First up there are no less than three Ninjatune related podcasts worth subscribing to. Coldcut’s legendary Solid Steel radio show has introduced me to more new music than anyone or anything in my life, and almost 20 years on it remains essential listening. If Im honest its no where near as good as it was when Coldcut presented it every week, but it still offers the broadest beats in london the world, and the podcast first hour of the weekly 2hr show should be at the top of your podcast list. Coldcut also have their own podcast which is irregular but throws up some great mixes, and live sets. Lastly Ninjatune’s sister Hip Hop imprint Big Dada has just launched its own podcast, kicking off with a special Ty hosted special… so if you like Ty or Roots Manuva you’ll love Dada.

[SUBSCRIBE] Solid Steel

Coldcut are not the only production heavyweights to offer their own podcasts, they’re all at it. Diplo’s Mad Descent World Wide Radio is a monthly slice of goodness too tasty to refuse, while Erol Alkan has a similarly eclectic podcast which you’d be a fool not to grab.
Mark Ronson’s weekly Authentic Shit show is a mixed blessing, it offers the finest music heavily laced with exclusive productions recently including Lily Allen’s US only “Smile” remix, and a sneak preview of an amazing funk/Dapkings style cover of the Smith’s “Stop Me If You’ve heard This Before” from Mark’s next LP. The only downside is you have to listen to Ronson’s painful ghetto fabulous, how street am I, how many times can I swear banter. Think Harry Enfields Tory Boy mimicking what Boris Johnson would sound like doing an impression of Tim Westwood. You can’t argue with the quality of music though, and my brain has somehow developed a Ronson filter rendering him magically inaudible.

[SUBSCRIBE] Diplo Mad Descent World Wide Radio
[SUBSCRIBE] Erol Alkan Monthly mixes
[SUBSCRIBE] Mark Ronson Authentic Shit radio

Indiefeed are one of the longest running podcast providers, with a mission to provide a new track almost every day from brand new independent artists. I subscribe to their Hip-Hop podcast, which turns up unheard gems on a regular basis. While looking for a link for this post I discovered they offer separate podcasts for Electronica, Blues, and Indie! Most podcasts tend to be longer form (30mins etc), but the delight of Indiefeed is its only one track every time so if you don’t like it just press skip.

Lostinyourinbox introduced me to the wonderful world of the “Contrast” podcast… she’ll also hopefully be doing a “Listen To This” very soon too. The simple but effective idea of Contrast is to come up with a theme each week, and then let people contribute one track based on that theme along with a brief introduction. Each edition can contain anything from The Jesus & The Marychain to Ella Fitzgerald. Past themes include political songs, tracks I love by acts I don’t, album openers, and may more. At the very least subscribe, but why not go one better and contribute next time?

[SUBSCRIBE] Contrast Podcast

And still my ever lengthening list of Podcasts grows:

[SUBSCRIBE] Billy Bragg – A musiclikedirt favourite and new member of the podcast world. Bragg is currently in the middle of a series of Podcasts telling the story of his career, taking in Thatcherism, the Miners, New Labour & Red Wedge along the way.
[SUBSCRIBE] Jarvcast – Always one to do something different Jarvis Cocker’s podcast offers Jarv reading a featured book each episode. So far we’ve had everything from JD Sallinger, Icelandic folk tales to Hans Christian Anderson.

[SUBSCRIBE] – Another superb UK hip hop podcast. Brand new tracks from the cream of the UK, including the fantastic and exclusive “You Must Learn” featuring the definitely not British KRS-One.

[SUBSCRIBE] Adam & Joe – The weekly highlights of their X-fm show featuring jaffa cake addiction, remakes of Robbie’s Rudebox, and musings on if its ok for Bob Dylan to have the hots for Alicia Keys. Theyve also just started a seperate Coke sponsored unsigned new music podcast. [SUBSCRIBE]

Coke FACT: Fanta was invented when the Nazi’s ran out of Coca Cola syrup. Coke had to come up with something to satisfy the Third Reichs’ need for fizzy sugar water based drinks, and Fanta was born.

Finally as you’d expect the BBC offers podcasts on everything from uk hip-hop to the latest Newsnight.

[SUBSCRIBE] From Our Own Correspondent – A BBC institution offering insights, opinion, and fascinating snapshots of life from the BBC’s foreign correspondents around the world.
[SUBSCRIBE] Today Programme – daily grillings direct to your MP3 player
[SUBSCRIBE] Wake Up To Wogan – Join Terry’s TOG’s with this weekly highlights compilation
[SUBSCRIBE] The Now Show – Radio 4’s current affairs comedy show.
[SUBSCRIBE] Question Time Vodcast – Dimbleby’s joined by the usual politicians plus a random musician or comedian to get the “kids” watching.
[SUBSCRIBE] Newsnight – Video best of Paxo.
[SUBSCRIBE] Ten O’clock news highlights – A weekly vodcast of the best stories from the 10.

At the moment the BBC’s musical podcast output is limited by rights disputes. Record companies simply don’t want listeners getting their grubby mitts on digital copies of the vast range of music the Beeb plays.
Over on the BBC’s new black music station 1xtra, Ras Kwame’s Homegrown is the exception to this, offering 100% new UK urban, R&B, Rap, Black… (call it what you will…) music every week. Its a brilliant showcase for new unheard UK music. Radio 1 also has a best of unsigned acts podcast that I keep meaning to listen to.

[SUBSCRIBE] 1xtra Homegrown – Ras Kwame brings 100% new UK hip-hop and R&B.
[SUBSCRIBE] Russell Brand – serial shagger and Amy Winehouse look-alike rambles at length.
[SUBSCRIBE] Radio 1 Best of Unsigned

So what have I missed? Which podcast’s couldn’t you live without?

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