Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Pitch, A Podcast For Music Nerds & Non-Music Nerds

I've found recently that my time spent with headphones on, has become increasingly spent listening to podcasts instead of music. I have a job where music and listening to music, sometimes the same track several times in a row, is a big part of what I do. At my desk I am constantly listening to music of all kinds on many different formats for many different reasons.

But I've found that when I'm heading off for my day in the office or I'm finished and going home, I prefer not to listen to music. My ears won't appreciate the subtitles of jazz or withstand the volume of hard rock or navigate the new textures of electronica. I need something identifiable, relatable but engaging enough so that I don't fall asleep on my 1 hour commute. So I turn to podcasts.

Like all aspects of media, the internet has thrown the doors wide open for unsupervised and unregulated production of audio programming. One of the top rated podcasts available and a personal favourite of mine, Marc Maron's WTF, is produced independently in his garage. Podcasts also allow you to listen to great, professionally made radio shows from far flung lands. American public radio productions like this American Life and the audible delight that is Radiolab have found huge new global audiences as podcasts. There are podcasts on almost every subject you can think of and probably a few on subjects you would rather not think about. Of course there are plenty on music.

One of my favourites is the independently produced Pitch. No other podcast out there captures my enjoyment of the geeky minutia that surrounds music as well as Pitch does. It's a podcast for music lovers who like stories and story lovers who enjoy music. Presented and created by Alex Kapelman and Whitney Jones, Pitch is different from other music shows in that it's not an interview show (like some podcasts) or a new music programme as much as it is a series of short audio documentaries.

Each episode takes on a small but interesting aspect of music. Whether it's the rise of Karaoke, the story of a song about a drummer in a 60's band or the strange laws around dancing in New York, Kapelman and Jones tell each tale with a level of interest that is usually only reserved for the obsessed, but in a way that even those with just a casual interest in these subjects will find enjoyable. My personal favourite is episode 3, “Rock The Longbox”. Not just because it goes into detail about the most (justifiably) maligned type of record packaging there is but because it's a story about how music, specifically R.E.M's “Out Of Time”, can make big changes in the world at large.

The podcast also has a wonderful newsletter too, discussing the most talked about music stories of each week and shining a light on some of the more important and perhaps not as widely covered stories that affect music listeners and the industry itself.

As someone who is often ridiculed, in a  good-natured way, for his music nerd tendencies, I have to say that I find Pitch's tone and content comforting. It's nice to know that small, sometimes almost unnoticeable parts of music lore and knowledge can be used to create relatable and interesting stories. That the minutia of it all can be used to do what music essentially does, build a strong, meaningful connection to the outside world.

You can get Pitch here on iTunes and follow them on twitter here.

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