DiscoverTalkhouse Podcast
Talkhouse Podcast

Talkhouse Podcast

Author: Talkhouse

Subscribed: 1,275Played: 21,307
Share

Description

Your favorite musicians, filmmakers, and other creative minds one-on-one. No moderator, no script, no typical questions. The Talkhouse Podcast offers unique insights into creative work from all genres and generations. Explore more illuminating shows on the Talkhouse Podcast Network.

506 Episodes
Reverse
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a whopping four guys representing three bands, more or less: Ryan Hahn and Nik Ewing from Local Natives and Sean Cimino and Isom Innis from Foster the People but, perhaps more importantly for purposes of this chat, their side project Peel. Local Natives have been around since around 2005, but it wasn’t until their debut album Gorilla Manor hit shelves in 2009 that the California band had its first real moment. They rode a similar wave to bands like Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear, with bits of folk and punk and psychedelia all wrapped up in songs that are frequently undeniable earworms. They’ve built a really impressive catalog since, and the sessions for 2023’s Time Will Wait For No One were so fruitful that they actually yielded a companion record that’s just coming out now, called But I’ll Wait For You. It’s another gorgeously layered set of songs that feels even a little weirder than what came right before it. Check out the song “April” right here. The other half of this conversation is Sean Cimino and Isom Innis, who are best known as part of Foster the People, which had a huge hit straight out of the gate in 2010 with “Pumped Up Kicks,” and which has been chipping away at incredible pop-inflected songs since. But Cimino and Innis recently released their debut album under the name Peel, which takes a much more psychedelic approach to songs, creating dancey dream-pop that sometimes looks back at the ‘90s through some gauzy glasses. Check out one of the dancier tracks from Peel’s album Acid Star right here. This is called “Y2J.” In this chat, these old friends immediately head into a conversation about the relative merits of U2 and other bands that you should or should not be ashamed to love. They also chat about their history together, which goes way back, and of course about their latest records. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Sean Cimino, Isom Innis, Nik Ewing and Ryan Hahn for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got two powerhouses in what I guess you might call modern indie-folk, though it’s a lot more than that: Gregory Alan Isakov and Jeremiah Fraites. Fraites is, along with Wesley Schultz, a founding member of the Lumineers, the band whose simple-yet-powerful take on folky Americana has been met with pretty massive success over the past couple of decades. The band’s catalog goes deeper than massive hits like “Ho Hey” and “Stubborn Love,” songs you’ve probably heard even if you’re not super familiar with the band. The Lumineers’ latest album is 2022’s Brightside, but that’s not Fraites’ latest: He just released his second solo album of intriguing, fantastic instrumental piano pieces—a big departure from the sound of his main gig, but great nonetheless. It’s called Piano Piano 2—you can probably guess what the first one was called—and it stretches into even more cinematic territory than the first. Plus, it features a guest vocal from the other half of today’s conversation. Gregory Alan Isakov may seem like an overnight sensation, but the Colorado-based singer-songwriter has been plugging away—sometimes quietly—for nearly two decades, building a fanbase for his intimate songs over the course of seven albums. His latest, Appaloosa Bones, came out late last year, and as you’ll hear in this chat, the songs ended up being a bit more fleshed out than those on his past records. He’s on tour now, and he’s featured on the new Noah Kahan single as well. So yeah, kind of a big deal. Oh, and as I mentioned a minute ago, he collaborated with Jeremiah Fraites recently, on a cover of Radiohead’s classic “No Surprises.” Check out a bit of the magic they wrung from making the song their own. In this chat, Fraites and Isakov talk about how songwriting never gets easier—sorry, budding songwriters—about Isakov’s teenage obsession with the Nintendo game Metroid, and what that has to do with music, and about finding intimate sounds in massive places like Red Rocks, aka the best venue in the universe. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Jeremiah Fraites and Gregory Alan Isakov for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time! This episode is brought to you by DistroKid. DistroKid makes music distribution fun and easy with unlimited uploads and artists keep 100% of their royalties and earnings. To learn more and get 30% off your first year's membership, visit: distrokid.com/vip/talkhouse
On this week's Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got a rare trio episode for you, since two of our guests created something very cool together: Jo Firestone, Marissa Paternoster, and Joe Steinhardt. I’ll start with Jo Firestone, the actor, writer, comedian, podcaster, game inventor, and probably some other stuff that I’m forgetting, who you may have seen on the show Joe Pera Talks With You or, like a million other things. She’s done stand-up specials and albums, she’s written for The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, and she hosts the game-centric podcast Dr. Gameshow. Firestone is currently the head writer on After Midnight, the comedy/game show hybrid that airs late every night on CBS. In other words, she’s busy. But not too busy to chat with her friends Marissa Paternoster and Joe Steinhardt about their new graphic novel, Merriment. You may recognize Paternoster are the singer and guitarist for the amazing, recently broken up band Screaming Females, and Talkhouse readers and listeners may even recognize her illustrations, which have appeared on the site over the years. Paternoster continues to make music, but the focus of this chat is Merriment, her first graphic novel. Paternoster put her eerie, singular images to a story by her old friend Joe Steinhardt, head of the long-running independent label Don Giovanni Records, which has been home to a number of incredible bands over the past two decades, including Screaming Females. These three have a fun, loose chat about Merriment, which in case I didn’t say it yet, you should definitely check out, as well as Steinhardt’s not-so-secret desires to be a comedian, Paternoster’s can’t-fail movie idea, how Firestone was once tasked with selling St. Louis pizza with a New York attitude, and a game I’d never heard of called “Somebody Pooped in the Salad.” Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Jo Firestone, Marissa Paternoster, and Joe Steinhardt for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time! This episode is brought to you by DistroKid. DistroKid makes music distribution fun and easy with unlimited uploads and artists keep 100% of their royalties and earnings. To learn more and get 30% off your first year's membership, visit: distrokid.com/vip/talkhouse
John Grant with CMAT

John Grant with CMAT

2024-03-2853:41

On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got two songwriters whose music bursts with personality, but in oddly different ways: CMAT and John Grant. CMAT is the stage name/alter ego of Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, who’s already hit it pretty big in her native Ireland with funny, frank, and flamboyant songs about break-ups and time travel and everything in between, I guess you might say. She was recently nominated for a BRIT Award for Best International Artist—she wore a jaw-dropping dress to the ceremony—and her second album, Crazymad, For Me went to number one in her home country as well. Now she’s ready to take on the States a bit, to see if her music—queer-friendly, over-the-top pop—can make as big a splash here. Check out “Where are Your Kids Tonight,” which features today’s other guest John Grant, and catch CMAT on tour in the US right now. Dates are at cmatbaby.com. John Grant is a tough guy to explain: On the surface, his music can sound like party-friendly electro-pop, but the themes and lyrics run deep and often pretty intense. Grant started out in the Denver band The Czars, but it wasn’t until he spread his wings as a solo artist—starting with 2010’s Queen of Denmark, which he made with help from members of the band Midlake—that he really found his unique voice. Since then it’s been a series of fascinating records with a series of fascinating collaborators, including Cate Le Bon, who produced his 2021 album Boy From Michigan. Grant just announced the release of his sixth album, The Art of The Lie. It comes out in June, and it promises a no-punches-pulled look at America in 2024, yet with some funk to help ease the medicine. Check out the song “It’s a Bitch” right here, and you can pre-order the whole record at johngrantmusic.com. In this conversation, Grant and CMAT have pretty dissimilar demeanors—she’s brash, he’s a more quiet sort of intense—but it works: Clearly these two are fans of each other’s work, as you’ll see, and they have a great chat about language, the ugliness of social media—especially for queer and/or female artists—and CMAT’s ass crack, which was “pixelated by the Daily Mail.” Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to John Grant and CMAT for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the goodness at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
This week’s Talkhouse episode was recorded live at the On Air Festival in Brooklyn recently—that explains why you’ll hear some audience questions at the end—and it features Hamilton Leithauser and Randall Poster, two interesting guys who were just meeting for the first time. Leithauser is best known as the frontman for The Walkmen, the New York band that put out a string of incredible records between 2000 and 2013 before going on a hiatus that lasted a decade—they reunited for a tour last year and have some festival dates lined up for this year. But Leithauser kept plenty busy during the band’s downtime, releasing three great records on his own—and he’s apparently got another one just about ready to go. Perhaps more relevant to this conversation, at least a bit, is the fact that he’s recently gotten into making music for film and TV. Avid Talkhouse listeners will remember that he was on the podcast last year talking with Ethan Hawke about a Paul Newman documentary they worked on together. Leithauser’s latest project in that realm is music for a doc series that just premiered at Sundance, and he also just finished up his yearly residence at the posh Cafe Carlyle. You may not immediately recognize the name of today’s other guest, but Randall Poster has almost certainly played you a song that you love at some point over the past few decades. As the go-to music supervisor for some incredible filmmakers, he’s helped set the mood for more than 200 movies. Perhaps most notably Poster has worked repeatedly with Wes Anderson, a director for whom the soundtrack is massively important. Watch the credits next time you love the song choices in a movie, and you might just see his name. Poster also recently curated a huge 20-LP box set called The Birdsong Project Collection, which you’ll hear about in this chat as well. Elsewhere, Leithauser and Poster talk about their jobs, about other podcasts—including one they had in common, called Call Your Grandmother. They get into the story of how Poster got into his unusual profession, and Leithauser talks about a Springsteen cover he recorded that may never see the light of day. Leithauser also talks about the time the presence of Christian Bale basically ruined a Walkmen show, though he can’t quite remember the movie it was surrounding: Guys, it was Terrence Malick’s already-kinda-forgotten film Song To Song. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Hamilton Leithauser and Randall Poster for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the goodness at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time! This episode is brought to you by DistroKid. DistroKid makes music distribution fun and easy with unlimited uploads and artists keep 100% of their royalties and earnings. To learn more and get 30% off your first year's membership, visit: distrokid.com/vip/talkhouse
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of songwriters who broke out in the ‘90s and early 2000s and have had fruitful careers since—and who happen to be old pals—Ben Kweller and Brendan Benson. As you’ll hear in this chat, Kweller got his rock life started early, learning guitar as a teenager and hustling hard for gigs in the small Texas town where he grew up. His first band, Radish, got a big record deal while Kweller was still a kid, and while they never exactly blew up, there’s definitely some love out there for the band’s early records. Kweller went solo in the early 2000s with the classic album Sha Sha, which was an early release on Dave Matthews’ record label ATO—and which last year got the deluxe anniversary reissue treatment. He’s had a run of great solo records since, and was in a supergroup called The Bens with Ben Folds and Ben Lee. He also started a music collective called The Noise Company, which is a sort of hybrid studio/management/record label. They’re having a big blowout at this year’s South by Southwest, so if you’re down there, it’s at the Mohawk on March 15. Check out a little bit of a great Kweller song right here, “American Cigarettes.” Brendan Benson, as you’ll hear in this chat, is a bit older than Kweller, but he’s had a similarly remarkable career. Benson’s debut solo album came out back in 1996, but if you’re looking for a place to start with his driving rock songs, check out 2002’s Lapalco. Benson has eight solo albums to his credit, including 2002’s Low Key, but he might be best known as the co-frontman of The Raconteurs, along with his old friend, bandmate, and Detroit-area native Jack White. Check out a great Benson track for earlier days right here, “What I’m Looking For,” and catch him at the Noise Company showcase this weekend as well. These two old pals sound delighted to be chatting, and they jump right into an unplanned episode of Car Talk—Kweller, as it turns out, might get himself a Tesla Cybertruck. They also talk a lot of the spark of creativity that led them to their chosen careers, and they each mention the embarrassing first songs they ever wrote. Kweller tells a great story about hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time as well, and Benson admits that The Three Stooges have had a huge influence on how he harmonizes. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Ben Kweller and Brendan Benson for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
This episode originally aired on October 19, 2023. On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got two women who lead fierce, fantastic rock bands: Karly Hartzman and Marisa Dabice. Hartzman is the driving force behind the band Wednesday, which started as a solo-ish vehicle for her songs back in 2017 but has blossomed into a full band with an already-sizable catalog. Everything they’ve done is worth checking out, but it sure feels like Wednesday hit exactly what they’d always been striving for on the album Rat Saw God, which came out earlier this year. Hartzman’s lyrics are both pointed and poetic—amazing in their specificity and delivered with some serious passion, whether in a country-ish moment, or one that feels almost metal. Today’s other guest, Marisa Dabice, thinks Wednesday sounds like Black Sabbath meets Sparklehorse, which is both accurate and something that’s probably never been said about any band before. Check out “Bull Believer” from Rat Saw God. Marisa Dabice is the voice behind Mannequin Pussy, a band that’s been releasing blistering music since 2010. Just this week, Mannequin Pussy announced the release of their long-awaited fourth album, I Got Heaven, which will come out in March of 2024. Hartzman, as you’ll hear in this conversation, has already gotten a listen to the record—which was produced with John Congleton—and she loves it. The title track is already getting rave reviews for taking Mannequin Pussy’s intense punk energy and adding a bit of sweetness with some synths and a sugary chorus, but those aspects almost make it sound even more confrontational in a way. In any case, it’s awesome: Check out “I Got Heaven” right here. In this chat, these two friends talk about touring, and specifically about how unusual it can feel to perform—and how that can lead to actual tears on stage, not the most fun experience. They chat about the difference between Mannequin Pussy and Wednesday fans, and about the pressure to enjoy your success while it’s happening. Oh, and about saunas. You’ve gotta love a sauna. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Maria Dabice and Karly Hartzman for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting service, and check out all the goodness elsewhere on this site. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
I’m so excited to to share this week’s episode of the Talkhouse Podcast, which features a fascinating, deep yet kind of low-key conversation between two really talented people that you might not have expected to be paired up: Bob Odenkirk and Marcellus Hall. I’m guessing most people listening to this podcast will know who Odenkirk is. A longtime comedian and writer, he and his pal David Cross gifted the world some of the funniest TV ever created in Mr. Show With Bob And David, and if that was the only thing Odenkirk ever did, it’d be plenty. But of course the other really huge thing in his career is his portrayal of Saul Goodman on both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, two dramas that stand among some of the best TV ever. And I haven’t even mentioned his books, the movies he’s produced and directed, or the many things he’s starred in. Without Bob, there would be no motivational speaker Matt Foley from SNL or any Tim and Eric Awesome Show. He’s a legend, and he probably wouldn’t want me saying that, which makes him a legend even more. Bob has also been a huge booster for things that he loves over the course of his career, including the aforementioned Tim and Eric plus things like the Birthday Boys and the unheralded movie Girlfriends Day, which he also stars in. And Bob has been a vocal fan of today’s other guest, Marcellus Hall, for many years, too. Hall’s music career goes back to the 1990s, when he was the frontman of the band Railroad Jerk, a clattering blues-punk band whose self-titled debut was one of the first albums ever released by Matador Records. Railroad Jerk is one of those bands that never quite hit it big, but those who saw them play live—I did once, in Madison Wisconsin—never forgot it. After that band broke up, Hall started another one, called White Hassle, and eventually started releasing albums under his own name while simultaneously enjoying a career as an illustrator—he’s done a bunch of New Yorker covers and put out a really touching graphic novel a few years back called Kaleidoscope City. But this conversation was inspired by Hall’s return to music after some years away. He just released a brand new album called I Will Never Let You Down. Here’s the album’s title track, which these guys chat about. In this lengthy and intimate conversation, which took place at Hall’s New York apartment, he and Odenkirk start and end by talking about Jack Kerouac, and in between they go to a ton of interesting places. Sometimes these Talkhouse chats really feel like you’re eavesdropping, and this is definitely one of those. They talk about Hall’s work as well as Odenkirk’s, and they dive into the notion that it gets harder as you get older to find that spark of inspiration. Odenkirk admits to some feelings of imposter syndrome, even after all of his success, and they both come across as guys who are still seeking, even after all these years. It’s contemplative, but I think ultimately inspiring. This may be the last podcast you hear Odenkirk on for a while, as he’s decided to stop saying “yes” to quite as many things as he did in the past. I love that, too. So get yourself some headphones and give this one your full attention—you won’t regret it. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Marcellus Hall and Bob Odenkirk for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the goodness at Talkhouse.com. This episode was recorded by Mark Yoshizumi and produced by Myron Kaplan. The Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week's Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a very cool episode that was inspired by a very cool performance coming up in Los Angeles soon. It’s David Longstreth in conversation with Phil Elverum. Longstreth is the focal point of the band Dirty Projectors, which formed about 20 years ago in Brooklyn, and was part of a scene that kind of elevated indie-pop into something more serious and timeless. It’s been clear throughout the years that Longstreth is a musical searcher, having never been content to repeat himself. That’s led to an incredibly varied catalog that can even border on pleasantly confusing, and the huge undertaking that he’s in the midst of—and the starting point of this conversation—is no exception. About 10 years ago, Longstreth began working on what I’d guess you’d call a contemporary classical song cycle called Song of the Earth, which he performed with the ensemble stargaze a few years back. He’s since been refining and reworking the piece, and along with Dirty Projectors and the world-renowned L.A. Philharmonic, he’ll perform it on March 2 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. That’s a huge group of people and a massive undertaking—and not to be missed. At almost the opposite end of the spectrum will be that evening’s opening act, Mount Eerie, aka renowned minimalist songwriter Phil Elverum. Elverum is almost a mythical figure in indie-rock, having forged a truly unique path over the past decade, first under the name The Microphones and later Mount Eerie. His music is often deeply personal, and he’ll move from simply structured indie-folk into fully immersive lo-fi drones in ways that can confound and disarm. His catalog is wide and deep, though if you’re unfamiliar with his music, a good place to start is 2001’s The Glow Pt. 2. At this concert, he’ll not only open the show for Dirty Projectors but he’ll also—as you’ll hear—participate a little bit, because Longstreth tapped Elverum to help out on a Song of The Earth piece called “Twin Aspens.” They were nice enough to give us a preview of the piece here, so check out a little bit of a not-quite-final version of “Twin Aspens,” composed by Longstreth and with some help from Elverum. As you’ll hear in this conversation, these guys are deeply immersed in music, and certainly not just pop music. From hearing them chat I learned about Japanese Gagaku music, among other things. They also talk at length about Elverum’s incredible album-length song “Microphones in 2020,” which is essentially a history of his own evolution, with a fascinating visual to go along with it. They also talk a lot about starting the creative process with a palette in mind, which I found fascinating as well. Enjoy the chat, and if you’re in the L.A. area, I think there are a few tickets left for this once-in-a-lifetime performance on March 2. Enjoy.  Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast and thanks to David Longstreth and Phil Elverum for talking. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. Annie Fell has my eternal thanks for stepping in to record it at the last minute, too. See you next time!
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of songwriting visionaries who came to prominence in the 1990s with well respected indie bands, and who both have vital new music out now: Jason Lytle and Gruff Rhys. Lytle started making music under the name Grandaddy back in 1992. He was a pro skateboarder who found a second passion in home recording, and as you’ll hear in this chat, kind of stumbled upon some guys who helped him flesh out the sound into something both humble and grand. The first run of Grandaddy albums—including Under the Western Freeway and 2000’s classic The Sophtware Slump—felt a bit like quieter, more heartfelt cousins to the music the Flaming Lips were making at the time. After that initial run, the band eventually split up, only to reform sporadically over the years. Lytle also recorded some really fascinating solo records while also taking time—as you’ll hear—to try and leave the music world behind a little bit. But he’s been called back to the Grandaddy world with a brand new album called Blu Wav, and it’s everything you’d expect from his brain: a mixture of sweet sadness with fuzzy guitars and synths from another age. Check out “Cabin in My Mind” from Blu Wav right here. The other half of today’s conversation is Gruff Rhys, who just released his 25th album overall in a career that has spanned 35 years and taken some fascinating turns. He’s still probably best known as the frontman of the colorful, psych-leaning Welsh pop band Super Furry Animals, which was signed to the venerated Creation Records label back in the 1990s, and whose records and visuals always zigged when you thought they might zag—that’s a compliment. For his solo work, Rhys has been genre-expansive to say the least, but his brand new record, Sadness Sets Me Free, is refreshingly straightforward pop. As you’ll hear in this chat, it was recorded pretty quickly, without a lot of fuss. It doesn’t sound miles away from the new Grandaddy album, really. Check out “Bad Friend” right here. As it turns out, these two toured together a million years ago, and each has fond memories of that time—a soccer match, a special parting gift, and more. They also chat about Lytle’s preference to stay away from the madness of the big city, even as he lives perilously close to it once again as well as their tendency to make up words in their songs when the ones that exist just won’t do. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Gruff Rhys and Jason Lytle for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, the Talkhouse theme was composed and performed by the Range, and we offer special thanks this week to Keenan Kush. See you next time!
Hello and welcome to the Talkhouse Podcast, I’m Josh Modell. On this week’s episode we’ve got a pair of friends who, as you’ll hear, have provided emotional support and advice to each other throughout interesting, winding careers over the past couple of decades; Mary Timony and Joe Wong. Timony is probably best known as the leader of the ‘90s indie-rock band Helium, but her catalog goes far beyond it. Prior to Helium, Timony came up in the DC punk scene as part of the band Autoclave, and after she’s been part of Wild Flag with members of Sleater-Kinney, fronted a band called Ex Hex, and released records under her own name. That’s mostly why we’re here today, because Timony is about to release her first solo record in 15 years, and it’s fantastic. It’s called Untame the Tiger, and it picks up on some of the psych elements that Timony has wrangled in the past—and even includes a guest appearance by the former drummer of Fairport Convention, Dave Mattacks, as you’ll hear in this chat. Untame the Tiger was also produced in part by today’s other guest, Joe Wong. It comes out February 23, but check out the song “Dominoes” right here. As I mentioned, today’s other guest is Joe Wong, who grew up in Milwaukee and played in indie-rock bands before finding his creative path in two amazing ways: as a composer for TV and film and as a podcast host. He’s written music for the likes of Russian Doll and Master of None, and he helms the popular podcast The Trap Set, which originated as a way to spotlight his favorite drummers, but has since expanded into deep and incredible conversations with all kinds of creative folks. But a few years back, partly at the urging of his friend Mary Timony, Wong began writing songs for himself rather than for other people’s scores. He just released his second album, Mere Survival, and while it still has late-’60s big-pop vibes, it gets even bigger and weirder than his first. It features not only Timony, but also Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron, among other guests. Check out the title track from Mere Survival right here. This conversation took place shortly after two big release shows for Mere Survival for which Wong gathered a 20-piece band, so you’ll hear a bit about that, as well as some thoughts on songwriting itself. Wong and Timony also get deep on how their parents’ illnesses brought them together, about self-sabotage and perfectionism, and much more. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Mary TImony and Joe Wong for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great written pieces at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of visionary artists who came from different backgrounds but ended up in the same place—sort of. Dawn Richard jumped into the deep end when she auditioned for the reality show Making the Band 3 back in 2004. She made the cut and subsequently became part of the Diddy-manufactured girl group Danity Kane, which hit it pretty big for several years. Richard then formed Dirty Money, which eventually added Diddy himself as a member. But Richard’s artistic ambitions went far beyond mainstream pop, and about 10 years ago she leaned into more experimental music—while also filling her time with a vegan food truck, representing brands, and working with Adult Swim. She’s often compared to artists like Bjork and Imogen Heap, which makes sense in that she’s always surprising her audience. In what seemed like an unusual pairing, she signed with indie powerhouse Merge Records for the universally acclaimed album Second Line. She’s subsequently released an album with sonic experimentalist Spencer Zahn, and as you’ll hear in this chat, she plans on working with him again. Check out “Babe Ruth,” which is taken from Richard’s most recent EP, The Architect. Torres—aka Mackenzie Scott—has also found a home at Merge Records, and her records—powerful, emotional indie-rock with big aspirations—are perhaps more in line with the sound the label was built on. The sixth Torres album just came out, and it’s got the best title you’ll hear all year: It’s called What an Enormous Room, and it’s the most expansive set of songs she’s ever done, with big hooks and big emotions to match that big title. Torres just kicked off a big tour that’ll take Scott and her band around the world this year, so whether you’re in Berlin or Boise, you can check them out. And you should. In the meantime, check out “Jerk Into Joy,” a song that Richard loves, as you’ll hear in this conversation. Elsewhere in the chat, Scott and Richard talk about whether full albums and bigger concepts can compete with digital singles and instant internet culture, and they get into how running is a vital part of their creative processes. Richard tells Scott that the secret to getting everything done is not sleeping, and they compare church upbringings, and how religious songs left a big impression on both. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Dawn Richard and Mackenzie Scott of Torres for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting service, and check out the wide variety of other shows available on our network. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week's Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of friends who make sometimes challenging yet often incredibly catchy and tuneful music, one of whom you’ve seen and heard on Talkhouse several times before: Mac DeMarco and Kirin J. Callinan. DeMarco has been on the podcast before, and we keep inviting him both because we love his music and because he’s a great conversationalist. For the music part, DeMarco has been making dizzyingly catchy songs since around 2012, when his confusingly titled debut, which is called 2, came out. But it’s been part of his fun-loving persona to keep it light and a little bit silly, even as he’s zapping you with catchy pop. Sometimes he ventures into soft-rock, other times he's vaguely psychedelic. For his latest album One Wayne G—and I’m not actually sure you can call it that—DeMarco assembled 199 songs that run almost nine hours. Songs might be a little strong a word to use for most of these tracks, which are often instrumental ideas more than fully fleshed out “songs”—he even says that on this podcast. Check out one of those ideas right here, whose title is simply the day it was recorded, “20190205.” Now Kirin J. Callinan’s records are, like DeMarco’s, often referred to as “provocative,” but these two guys push buttons in different ways. While his friend Mac gives off chill vibes onstage, Callinan likes a little bit of danger in performances. His records can be grandiosely pop-centric while his persona is… intense. He’s often compared to either David Bowie or Nick Cave, and I think the truth is somewhere in between. He’s played on a lot of other folks’ records, including songs with DeMarco and appearances with Caroline Polachek and Mark Ronson, and he starred on the TV series Top of The Lake, so it's been a varied career to say the least. February 2 will see the release of Callinan’s fantastic new album If I Could Sing. Check out the song “Young Drunk Driver.” You’ll realize quickly that DeMarco and Callinan are old friends: They get right into talking about Callinan’s recent dye-job and other chummy topics. Some are less fun, including the recent theft of Callinan’s motorcycle—recent meaning he had just gotten off the phone with the police when this chat started. They also talk about the relative coolness of tennis versus golf, Callinan’s new record, and potential future collaborations. You heard it here first. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Mac DeMarco and Kirin J. Callinan for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got two guys whose work I’ve admired for decades, but who I never realized were as close as they are personally: David Wain and Craig Wedren. Wain is a writer-director-actor (and more) who first came to fame with the hilarious sketch-comedy group The State, whose mid-'90s MTV show was and is a cult sensation—and still holds up to this day. Proof of that: The State has been doing reunion shows recently, and today’s podcast was inspired by the fact that I saw today’s other guest, Craig Wedren, in the audience for their recent Chicago show. After The State, Wain went on to direct a bunch of hilarious movies, including Wet Hot American Summer, Wanderlust and Role Models. He’s also done lots of acting, and way more stuff than I can list here in a reasonable amount of time. On top of that, he started the just-for-fun, cheekily named Middle Aged Dad Jam Band, whose core also includes State alumnus Ken Marino and lots of big special guests. The Jam band will be playing at SF Sketchfest, which starts today, with tons of other great acts, including… The State. Craig Wedren started his career as the singer of Shudder to Think, the DC-based band of art-rockers whose early records came out on Dischord. After that band split up—which had something to do with Wedren being diagnosed with a pretty serious cancer in his mid-20s—he switched his focus to scoring and soundtrack work, at which he has undoubtedly succeeded. He’s made music for tons of TV and film, including many of Wain’s projects. He’s also made some fantastic solo albums, including one that’s due for release next week called The Dream Dreaming. It’s maybe the most accessible thing he’s ever done, but as Wain points out in this conversation, accessible music by Craig Wedren is still beautifully odd. Check out “Play Innocent” from The Dream Dreaming. As a huge fan of both Shudder to Think and The State, I’m surprised I didn’t realize that Wain and Wedren weren’t just professional collaborators, but literally life-long friends. They’ve known each other since they were about 4, and they started making creative things together not long after that—they get into that history here. In this conversation, they talk about their history together, what they’re doing now, the ups and downs of doing it yourself, bath-time tips, and Wedren’s health issues over the years, including one that just happened. It’s a great chat. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to David Wain and Craig Wedren for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting service, and check out all the goodness at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
Hello and welcome to the Talkhouse Podcast, I’m Josh Modell. On this week’s episode we’ve got the return of one of our favorite repeat guests in conversation with an equally fantastic songwriter making her first Talkhouse Podcast appearance. Sharon Van Etten is a singer and songwriter who’s been making records for the past decade plus, growing and changing and taking chances in exactly the way you hope truly talented people will. Her amazing early records were quietly intense, very confessional affairs, but she burst from the seams with subsequent releases. In 2019, she released Remind Me Tomorrow, which brought in bigger sounds and colors and an entirely different kind of confidence to her songwriting and performance. In 2022, Van Etten released another incredible album called We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, which puts into intense songs some of the feelings we’ve all been feeling through the last few years. As you’ll hear in this chat, Van Etten has already written a ton of songs for her next album, and now she’s trying to figure out how to get there. Check out "Mistakes" from We've Been Going About This All Wrong. The other half of today’s chat is Canadian singer-songwriter Charlotte Cornfield. Yes, that’s her real last name—you can actually read the story on Talkhouse.com from 2021 where she explained its origins to Amy Millan of the band Stars. Cornfield starting releasing music back in 2008, and her fifth album, Could Have Done Anything, was released in May of 2023. This conversation was originally meant to be recorded back then, but Cornfield had a baby around that same time, which as some of you surely know, changes your schedule pretty intensely. But motherhood is a big part of this conversation: Van Etten has a six-year-old, and the two openly talk about the joys and challenges of raising a child. Check out “Gentle Like the Drugs,” from Could Have Done Anything. In addition to getting deep about parenting, Van Etten and Cornfield talk about Van Etten’s creative in-between space, about the plusses and minuses of New York vs Los Angeles vs Toronto, and about how Southerners eat trash—but in a good way. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Sharon Van Etten and Charlotte Cornfield for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week's Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got an episode for the drummers and those who like a great story: Jon Wurster and Stewart Copeland. Copeland is of course the drummer for the legendary, gazillion-selling Rock and Roll Hall of Famers the Police, who were called “the biggest band in the world” during their mid-'80s heyday. Their hits have endured over the decades, too, and that’s in no small part due to the special chemistry the trio enjoyed—and that chemistry, as you’ll hear, often manifested itself in fights between Copeland and his old bandmate Sting. Copeland has made a fascinating career for himself since; he directed a documentary about his old band that made interesting use of their music, and he’s got a new album and tour called Police Deranged for Orchestra, which features those classic songs redone in wild new ways. As you’ll hear in this chat, Copeland also found a side career as a film composer, working on everything from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street to the classic Francis Ford Coppola movie Rumble Fish. Check out a little bit of “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic“ from Police Deranged for Orchestra right here. Now the other half of this conversation is a drummer from a later era and, as you’ll hear, a huge fan of Copeland’s work. Jon Wurster is a renaissance man who’s played most regularly with Superchunk, the Mountain Goats, and Bob Mould, but whose list of credits goes way beyond those amazing acts. He’s also a comedy writer and half of the duo Scharpling and Wurster, which gave birth to some of the funniest characters in radio comedy ever. This summer, Wurster will tour with both Mountain Goats and Bob Mould, so chances are good that he’ll be in a city near you. In this conversation, Wurster—as I had hoped he would—gets deep into specifics with Copeland, asking him right off the bat about a gig from the early 1980s. They also chat about how Copeland’s orchestral tours actually work and about his forays into the soundtrack world—I had never heard the term “shit chord” before. They get into the fights that Copeland had with Police frontman Sting, and about how band therapy helped sort that all out. Wurster also gets a chance to ask about the lyrics to a deep cut called “On Any Other Day.” Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Jon Wurster and Stewart Copeland for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week’s episode we’ve got two guests who might know each other better than any two prior guests of this podcast ever have: brothers Ben Nichols and Jeff Nichols. Ben Nichols is the singer, guitarist, and chief lyricist for the long-running Memphis band Lucero, and when I say long-running, I mean it: Assuming you’re listening to this podcast the day we release it, the band played its first show exactly 25 years ago today, on April 13 of 1998. In that time, they’ve released an even dozen albums, making the journey from punk-influenced country—or maybe that’s country-influenced punk—to soul to straight-up rock and roll. I’ve always felt like Lucero was the Southern version of The Hold Steady, purveyors of great story-songs and always an incredibly good time live. The newest Lucero album came out in February, and it’s a very intentional back-to-basics rock record called Should’ve Learned By Now. Check out “Macon If We Make It” from that record. Ben’s younger brother Jeff followed a similar independently creative path, but down a different road: He’s a successful—and incredible—film director whose credits include Mud starring Matthew McConaughey, a drama about the real life battle over interracial marriage called Loving, and my personal favorite, Take Shelter, in which Nichols’ frequent collaborator Michael Shannon plays a family man who may or may not be coming unglued. Each is very different from the next, and each is excellent. Jeff Nichols next film is called The Bikeriders, and it will star Tom Hardy, Austin Butler, and Jodi Comer, among others. It’s very loosely based on a book of the same name that Jeff was introduced to by Ben. As you’ll hear in this conversation, it’s not the only time the two have influenced each other. They talk about how Lucero songs have found their way into Jeff’s movies, about how the brothers came upon the same exact story in different ways, and about Jeff’s potential future as the man who may attempt the impossible: adapting some of Cormac McCarthy’s more complicated books, including Blood Meridian, for the big screen. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Ben Nichols and Jeff Nichols for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great written stuff we’ve got at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of New Zealanders who’ve forged incredible careers in music and comedy and comedic music: Jemaine Clement and Ruban Nielson.  I’m guessing Clement is best known to our listeners as half of Flight of the Conchords, his musical and acting duo with Bret McKenzie. They haven’t put out a record or toured much in the last decade or so, but their albums and HBO series definitely endure with their subtle hilarity. Clement has of course been plenty busy post-Conchords as both an actor and director. His 2014 mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, co-directed with his old friend Taika Watiti, spun off into one of the funniest shows on TV, and you’ve also heard or seen him in everything from Despicable Me to the latest Avatar movie. In the awful event that you’re not familiar with Flight of the Conchords, here’s their David Bowie tribute, simply called “Bowie,” which is discussed a bit in this episode. Clement seemed excited—and well prepared!—to speak with Ruban Nielson, the singer-guitarist behind Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Though both of these guys are, as I said, from New Zealand and fans of each other’s work, they had never met before. UMO, as Nielson’s band is known for short, has been making a sort of uncategorizable music since 2010; they most often get pegged as psychedelic rock, which isn’t wrong, but also doesn’t tell the whole story. There are also elements of lo-fi indie rock, a bit of funk, and some garage rock. But the fact that it’s tough to name is part of what makes UMO’s music so appealing. Check out a little their song “The Garden,” which opens the latest UMO album, V.  These guys have a fantastic conversation that spans everything from the history of New Zealand and their shared Maori heritage to an in-depth examination of the Jagstang, a guitar designed by Kurt Cobain and favored by Nielson. They talk about bombing on stage—and getting bombed before getting on stage—and they share stories about coming up in a shared place. Also, you’ll hear the phrase “sad funky ghost,” perhaps for the first and last time in your life. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Jemaine Clement and Ruban Nielson for chatting. If you like what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and be sure to check out all the goodies at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a rare but not totally unprecedented pairing of a couple—by which I mean boyfriend and girlfriend, for lack of better words—in conversation, both fantastic songwriters: Briston Maroney and Samia. Briston Maroney is an earnest, powerful songwriter who first caught attention via American Idol, but perhaps lucky for him and us he didn’t ride that appearance into the pop world. Instead, over the past decade Maroney has built a solid catalog of personal songs that include folk and indie-rock influences, but that could really play anywhere people like a good tune. His latest album is called Ultrapure, a word he uses to describe those incredible moments in life that you might not even know you’re experiencing until they’re gone. Check out “Body” from Ultrapure right here. The other half of today’s conversation is Maroney’s partner of the past few years, the singer and songwriter Samia. She’s a bit more interested in the darker sides of life than Maroney, as you’ll hear them laugh about in this conversation. Her latest album, Honey, features bitter breakup songs that will strike right at your heart: It’s no wonder she’s been compared to the likes of Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. But Samia has her own thing going, and for my money, Honey is one of 2023’s best albums. Check out the intensely fantastic “KIll Her Freak Out” right here. Though they live together, this conversation took place on different continents, as Samia was at their now former home in Nashville—they just moved to L.A., as you’ll hear—while Maroney was on tour in Europe. They joke at the outset that they hadn’t spoken in two years, but really they’re in constant contact, and know each other super well. They chat about horror movies, their dog camera, and how writing in the same physical space might lead to accidental song theft. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Samia and Briston Maroney for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve got two guys from very different musical worlds who’ve collided over the years in really interesting and fruitful ways, Vic Mensa and Johan Lenox. Mensa is a Chicago-bred rapper who first found notice with the group Kids These Days, but who quickly established himself as a solo artist around 2013. He’s collaborated with an amazing array of artists, from Kanye West to Weezer and all points in between. Mensa’s second proper album—there are lots of mix tapes and guest appearances out there, too—came out last year, and it’s called Victor. Once again, Mensa displays an incredible agility, bouncing from fun to deep and back again; he’s an incredible lyricist equally adept at party starters and deep thoughts, both of which are on display here. Contributors to the album include Jay Electronica, Chance the Rapper, Thundercat, Ty Dolla Sign, and may others, including today’s other guest, Johan Lenox. Now Lenox did not come up through the hip-hop world, but rather the world of classical music. Hearing Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy pushed Lenox out of that bubble, though, and led to a cultural mash-up called Yeethoven, which utilized a live orchestra to mash up Kanye West and, yes, Beethoven. Lenox has since worked as a producer for West, Lil Nas X, and many others, and worked with the likes of No I.D. and Big Sean. He also put out a solo record of R&B-ish jams called What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up (technically titled WDYWTBWYGU, but that's hard to pronounce) and another record, also in 2022, credited to Isomonstrosity, a trio he formed that treats classical music like hip-hop, chopping and mixing it into something new and bold. Earlier this year, he released a string album called Johan’s Childhood Chamber Nostalgia Album. But let’s check out a track from the Isomonstrosity record that features Vic Mensa. This is called “Wake Up.” In this conversation, Lenox and Mensa talk about being inspired by everyone from Kanye to Kurt Cobain, about how Mensa wants to inject his sense of humor into more of his music, about artificial intelligence and the future of music, and a songwriting trick they recently learned. Enjoy. Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Vic Mensa and Johan Lenox for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the good stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
loading
Comments (4)

Phil Di Palma

As a long time fan of Ida, Nanang Tatang, Mountain Ocean Sun, Dan's solo records... this was a fascinating and inspiring encounter. I'm definitely going to check out more Skullcrusher!

Feb 26th
Reply

Alisa Morshneva

Matt ❤️

Apr 28th
Reply

Michael Kemp

can someone suggest to the interviewer he practices nodding instead of saying 'right' all the time?

Sep 22nd
Reply

Daren Browdie

I saw these two amazing musicians live twice in Ohio. Sean Lennon & Les Claypool's Album "The Monolith Of Phobos" is a beyond 5 Star Abum. You will be not disappointed.

Mar 26th
Reply
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store