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“Cadaver Sniffing Dog”

John Darnielle has been writing and recording songs as The Mountain Goats since 1991. He’s released 17 studio albums, and also written two books of fiction.

In April 2019, the Mountain Goats released the album In League with Dragons, and in this episode, John Darnielle breaks down a song from it, called “Cadaver Sniffing Dog.” We’ll hear his original demo, and then, hear how the song evolved at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, with the help of John’s band, some incredible session musicians, and producer Owen Pallett.

You can buy or stream “Cadaver Sniffing Dog” here.

Also, check out the podcast “I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats,” hosted by John Darnielle and Joseph Fink!

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Minimoog Synth
Farm Pedals
Robert Bailey – Backup Vocals

The post Episode 159: The Mountain Goats appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Song Exploder by Christian Koons - 3w ago
“All Over Now”
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A post shared by Song Exploder (@songexploder) on May 1, 2019 at 10:05am PDT


The Cranberries formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1989. Singer Dolores O’Riordan joined a year later, and the group went on to become one of the defining bands on the ‘90s, eventually selling over 40 million records worldwide.

In January 2018, while the band was working on their eighth album, Dolores O’Riordan  passed away unexpectedly. Later that year, remaining members Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan, and Fergal Lawler  announced that they would end the band, and that this would be their final album. It’s called In The End.

It was released in April 2019, and in this episode, guitarist and songwriter Noel Hogan breaks down a song from it called “All Over Now.” You’ll hear how Hogan and O’Riordan first started the song, and how the remaining members worked to finish it without her.

You can buy or stream “All Over Now” here.

The Cranberries - All Over Now (Official Video) - YouTube

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
“Linger” – The Cranberries
“Pictures of You” – The Cure
Stephen Street – producer

The post Episode 158: The Cranberries appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Song Exploder by Nicksong - 1M ago
“Dolphin”
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A post shared by Song Exploder (@songexploder) on Apr 17, 2019 at 10:02am PDT


Panda Bear is musician Noah Lennox. He’s a founding member of the experimental, genre-defying band Animal Collective, and as a solo artists, he’s released six solo albums.

In February 2019, Panda Bear released the album Buoys, and in this episode, he and his co-producer Rusty Santos break down the opening song, “Dolphin.” You’ll hear the original demo, and how they drew inspiration from music from all over the world.

You can buy or stream “Dolphin” here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
“Tezeta” – Mulatu Astatke
Sung Tongs – Animal Collective
“Papi Dame Lo Que Quiero” – Lizz
Digitakt drum sampler
Galaga

The post Episode 157: Panda Bear appeared first on Song Exploder.

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“Seventeen”
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A post shared by Song Exploder (@songexploder) on Apr 3, 2019 at 10:07am PDT


Sharon Van Etten is a singer and songwriter who’s put out five albums. She’s also an actress–she’s in The OA and Twin Peaks. Her most recent album, Remind Me Tomorrow, came out in January 2019. In this episode, Sharon breaks down a single from that album called “Seventeen.” She shares the original demo she made with the song’s co-writer Kate Davis, and we’ll hear from producer John Congleton, who helped craft Sharon’s new, more electronic sound.

Buy or stream “Seventeen” here, and watch the music video below. You can buy her album, Remind Me Tomorrow on vinyl here.

Sharon Van Etten - Seventeen - YouTube

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Zebulon
“Wandering Star” – Portishead
“Ghost Rider” – Suicide
“Skeleton Tree” – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Heather Woods Broderick – Backing Vocals

The post Episode 156: Sharon Van Etten appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Song Exploder by Christian Koons - 2M ago

“New Brighton” (feat. Anohni)
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A post shared by Song Exploder (@songexploder) on Mar 20, 2019 at 10:45am PDT


Nakhane is a singer and songwriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. His first album, Brave Confusion, won the South African Music Award for best alternative album in 2014. He starred in the award-winning film “The Wound,” which was shortlisted for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

Nakhane’s second album was originally released in 2018, and then released in the US in 2019, as a deluxe version. The deluxe version includes this song, “New Brighton,” featuring guest vocals from Anohni. In this episode, as Nakhane breaks the song down, he talks about his complicated relationship with Christianity, why the song wasn’t on the original version of the album, and what it was like to work with one of his musical heroes.

Buy or stream “New Brighton” here, and watch the music video below.

Nakhane - New Brighton feat. ANOHNI (Official Video) - YouTube

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
“Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela)” – Hugh Masekela
“The National Anthem” – Radiohead
Port Elizabeth
Fort Frederick
“Hope There’s Someone” – Antony & the Johnsons

The post Episode 155: Nakhane appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Song Exploder by Christian Koons - 2M ago

“Beloved”
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A post shared by Song Exploder (@songexploder) on Mar 6, 2019 at 10:05am PST

Mumford & Sons are a Grammy-winning band that formed in London in 2007. They’ve put out four albums, and sold millions of copies. Their last three albums have all debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. The most recent of those albums is Delta, which came out in November 2018. The band is made up of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane, and in this episode, Marcus and Ben break down a song from Delta called “Beloved.” You’ll how the song went from Marcus’s original raw voice memo to the intricate finished track.

You can buy or stream “Beloved” here, and buy Delta on vinyl here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Hammond Organ
Paul Epworth
“Six Pianos” – Steve Reich
Yamaha DX
Voicelive Harmonizer
Yebba

The post Episode 154: Mumford & Sons appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Song Exploder by Christian Koons - 3M ago

“Scott Street”
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A post shared by Song Exploder (@songexploder) on Feb 20, 2019 at 1:50pm PST


Phoebe Bridgers is a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. In September 2017, she released her debut album, Stranger in the Alps. One of the breakout songs from that album was “Scott Street,” a song Phoebe co-wrote with her drummer, Marshall Vore. In this episode, Phoebe and Marshall break down how the song went from an unfinished cassette demo, to the finished album version.

Buy or stream “Scott Street” here, and stream the music video below.

Phoebe Bridgers - Scott Street (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Tony Berg – Producer
Optigan
Rob Moose – String player

The post Episode 153: Phoebe Bridgers appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Song Exploder by Christian Koons - 4M ago

“Boyish”
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A post shared by Song Exploder (@songexploder) on Jan 23, 2019 at 10:04am PST


Japanese Breakfast is the musical project of Michelle Zauner, who’s been making music under that name since 2013. In July 2017, she released her second album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, to critical acclaim.

In this episode, Michelle breaks down a song from that album called “Boyish,” along with her co-producer and bandmate Craig Hendrix. We’ll hear the original demo, plus a version Michelle recorded with her old band. And she’ll talk about how her perspective on the song has changed over the years.

Buy or stream “Boyish” here, and stream the music video below.

Japanese Breakfast - Boyish (Official Video) - YouTube

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
“Boyish” – Little Big League
“Be My Baby” – The Ronettes
Harpsichord
The Beach Boys

The post Episode 152: Japanese Breakfast appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Song Exploder by Christian Koons - 4M ago

“Nina Cried Power” (feat. Mavis Staples)
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Andrew Hozier-Byrne is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter from Ireland. His debut single from 2013, “Take Me to Church,” was a massive, multi-platinum hit.

In September 2018, Hozier released the song “Nina Cried Power,” which features the legendary gospel singer Mavis Staples. In this episode, Hozier breaks down how he made the song, and Mavis Staples tells the story of how she got involved.

Buy or stream “Nina Cried Power” here, and stream the music video below.

Hozier - Nina Cried Power ft. Mavis Staples (Official Video) - YouTube

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
“Sinnerman” – Nina Simone
Booker T. Jones
“Green Onions” – Booker T. & The M.G’s

The post Episode 151: Hozier appeared first on Song Exploder.

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“Prelude, Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, by J.S. Bach”


Yo-Yo Ma is perhaps the most famous and well-loved cellist in the world. He was born in Paris in 1955; his family moved to the US when he was 7. He played for President Kennedy that year. He played at Carnegie Hall for the first time when he was 16. He’s won 18 Grammys and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And for this special episode of Song Exploder, the last episode of this year, Yo-Yo Ma’s is going to break down this piece—which he didn’t create, but he’s performed so many times. It’s the Prelude from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suite Number 1 in G Major. It’s one of the most famous pieces of music written for the cello. Yo-Yo Ma first recorded the Bach Cello Suites in 1983, at age 27. He recorded them again in 1998. Now, at age 62, he’s recorded them for what he says may be the last time. It’s for an album called Six Evolutions: Bach Cello Suites. Yo-Yo Ma talked to me about what’s changed about the way he approaches this piece of music.

Thanks to author Eric Siblin for providing historical context around the Cello Suites. Check out his book The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece.

You can buy or stream Yo-Yo Ma’s 2018 recording of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major: Prelude here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Yo Yo Ma’s 1983 recording of Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major: Prelude.
Pablo Casals – Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I. Prelude. Moderato
Yehudi Menuhin – Sonata for Violin Solo No. 1 in G Minor, BMV 1001: II. Fuga

The post Special Episode: Yo-Yo Ma appeared first on Song Exploder.

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