Five Unique Podcasts For Alternative Rock And Roll Music Fans

23 Oct 2019
Image by Michael Cooper

Everyone loves a podcast. Whether you’re doing the dishes, walking to the pub or lying in bed, there’s always time to learn something new. But while there are plenty of music podcasts that detail the latest mega releases or chart happenings, there’s only a few that get into the nitty gritty of alternative music. So, we decided to take a closer look at five podcasts that explore some of our most cherished artists in creative and unusual ways.

Song Exploder

Ever listened to a song and wondered how each of the different elements came together, all the way from conception to mastering? That’s the essence of this remarkable podcast that lets musicians tell the origin stories of their finest work. Song Exploder has been going for five years now, and in that time they’ve revealed everything from how Fleetwood Mac paraphrased a Rolling Stones drumbeat on “Go Your Own Way”, to how MGMT hid a tiny ode to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” within their hit song, “Time To Pretend”.

Stay Free: Story of The Clash

High summer in 1976: while a riot explodes across West London, four young musicians find a way to express their anger in the blossoming punk scene. That’s how episode one begins in this fascinating podcast that tells the story of The Clash from humble beginnings to global stardom. What separates this from any other biographical podcast is its narrator, Chuck D of Public Enemy, who frequently draws interesting parallels between the social issues and energies that fuelled golden era hip-hop and those of British punk.


Disgraceland likes to lift the rug of modern music and focus on the grime and dirt that lurks beneath. Some of its most enticing episodes have focused on the murder of John Lennon, the deadly rivalry between Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. and the violent life of Sid Vicious. This one’s for the salacious listeners who like to know the dark truths behind those who write their favourite songs.

This Is Modern Rock: Alternative Rock Music of the 80's & 90's

This is Modern Rock treats every season like a time capsule. Season one began in 1988, and focused on a different iconic song for each month, unpacking the cultural resonance of hits like Lou Reed’s “Dirty Blvd” and The Cure’s “Fascination Street”. Now in its third season, they have reach 1990, and the most recent episode was a deep dive into the alt-pop classic, “Pure”, by the Lightning Seeds. It’s a perfect way to explore the way music changes over time, as new trends and technologies open the way for innovation and genius.

Drifter’s Sympathy

Such is the expensive and strict nature of copyright laws, some of the best music podcasts don’t play music per se, but instead explore the atmosphere and events that surround it. Drifter’s Sympathy is a story-telling podcast in which veteran rock musician Emil Amos (of Holy Sons) tells dreamy tales of growing up in smalltown America in the 90s. Expect forgotten garage rock classics, trippy tales about black magic, and an explosive episode about what happened the night Pink Floyd came to town.