Sound Opinions

Sat 3p

Take two nationally respected rock critics, the latest music news, personal commentary, and exclusive interviews and performances, add a huge pile of records old and new, and the result is Sound Opinions—the world's only rock and roll talk show.

Based in Chicago, Sound Opinions is hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, two of the finest and best-recognized pop music writers in the nation. For over a decade they were dedicated competitors at Chicago’s two daily newspapers—Jim at the Chicago Sun-Times and Greg at the Chicago Tribune. Today, Jim writes about music for WBEZ.org and teaches criticism at Columbia College.

Every week, Sound Opinions fires up smart and spirited discussions about a wide range of popular music, from indie rock to classic rock, hip hop to R&B, and every genre under the sun.

Sound Opinions' consistently informed, engaging, and controversial dialogue makes it a unique and essential source for the top stories, albums, and trends in music. This is cutting-edge criticism and journalism presented in the great tradition of Siskel and Ebert. The discussion is as indispensible to the hardcore music fan as it is to the casual music fan who feels out of touch.

Sound Opinions is a direct result of the experience and credibility of its creators. Jim and Greg are both critically acclaimed authors who also write for some of the nation's most prestigious rock magazines, including Rolling Stone, Spin, and Vibe.

Before coming to WBEZ Chicago in December 2005, Sound Opinions aired for seven successful years on one of the Midwest's most powerful rock radio stations, Chicago's WXRT. The show has built a thriving and loyal community of inquisitive and engaged fans hungry for smart conversation and new sounds.

http://www.soundopinions.org/

This is a Christmas special like none other. Holiday music collector and expert Andy Cirzan scours record stores, dustbins, and basements to find the best and rarest tunes for the season. And each year he treats Sound Opinions listeners to a much-anticipated hour of music and a free mix to download. This year’s compilation is called Snowbound Soliloquies: Further Adventures in Holiday Obscura.

Sound Opinions: 2017 Holiday Spectacular

Dec 14, 2017

It's time again for the annual Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular! Each year, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot are joined by holiday music collector Andy Cirzan who shares a mix of rare Christmas records scavenged from dusty record bins around the world.

Sound Opinions: Rock Criticism with Jonathan Lethem

Dec 7, 2017

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot indulge this week in a deep look at their own profession: rock criticism. They're joined by novelist Jonathan Lethem, co-editor of a new anthology of rock criticism, who makes the case for music journalism as great American writing. Plus, they look at the life and career of legendary critic Lester Bangs.

Sound Opinions: The Mekons & Opinions on Dawn Richard

Dec 1, 2017

Formed in 1977 in the original British punk wave, The Mekons are still going strong nearly four decades later. The band joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot in the studio to demonstrate its eclectic blend of country, folk, and punk rock. Plus, a review of the new album from R&B singer Dawn Richard.

It's time for the 2016 Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular! Each year, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot are joined by holiday music collector Andy Cirzan who shares a mix of rare Christmas records scavenged from dusty record bins around the world.

Sound Opinions: Hero Worship

Dec 1, 2017

Artists are also music fans like the rest of us, often paying tribute to the musicians who inspired them. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their favorite examples of Hero Worship in music – songs that name-check great artists from the history of rock and roll. Plus, the Rolling Stones pay tribute to their own blues heroes on a new album.

Sound Opinions: Jon Brion & Opinions on Emeli Sandé

Dec 1, 2017

Studio wizard Jon Brion has composed scores for films by P.T. Anderson and Michel Gondry and produced for artists from Fiona Apple to Kanye West. The multi-instrumentalist also has grown a following for his virtuosic live performances. Jon Brion speaks with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot about the art of songcraft. Plus, a review of the latest from Scottish R&B singer Emeli Sandé.

Every year, a turkey is saved from its Thanksgiving dinner fate by a presidential pardon. In that gracious spirit, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot give their own Turkey Pardons. They share their picks of lousy artists who still had one redeemable musical moment.

Many Americans are thinking a lot about Canada these days. So hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot take the Sound Opinions World Tour to Canada explore the music of our neighbor to the north. And we play our favorite performances by Canadian artists from the Sound Opinions archives. Plus, a review of the latest from Texan singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo.

Sound Opinions: Marvin Gaye's What's Going On

Dec 1, 2017

In 1971, Marvin Gaye made a career left turn with the  album What's Going On, adopting a socially conscious sound that addressed war, racism, and drugs. 45 years later, What's Going On remains as relevant as ever. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present a Classic Album Dissection of the iconic record. Then, they review a contemporary protest album from Common.

The Handsome Family gained wider notoriety for providing the theme to HBO's True Detective. But the duo's dark, literate songwriting has been acclaimed by critics for decades. Rennie and Brett Sparks of The Handsome Family join hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a conversation and performance. Plus, a review of the new album from pop superstar Lady Gaga.

Beach Slang has wowed critics and audiences alike with its loud, energy filled live performances and unabashedly personal lyrics. In front of a live audience at the Goose Island Tap Room in Chicago, Beach Slang frontman James Alex strips away the volume, but not the heart, for an intimate acoustic performance and conversation with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot.

The Replacements never had a hit song, but few bands have inspired such a deep personal connection with their fans. Bob Mehr, author of the new biography Trouble Boys, speaks with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot about the heartbreaking story and enduring legacy of the Minneapolis band.

Sound Opinions: Fall Review Roundup & Buckwheat Zydeco

Dec 1, 2017

September is bursting with major new album releases. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot give their take on several of the biggest new records, from Bon Iver to M.I.A. to Against Me!, in this Review Roundup.

Trumpeter Herb Alpert has had a remarkable, multifaceted career. In addition to scoring his own hits with the Tijuana Brass in the '60s, he cofounded A&M Records, signing a diverse roster of artists ranging from The Carpenters to Janet Jackson. Herb Alpert joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a conversation. Plus, a review of the new album from legendary band Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

Sound Opinions: Buried Treasures & Alex Ross

Dec 1, 2017

Many great albums are released each year, but only a handful get the attention they deserve. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their Buried Treasures of 2016: the best albums that flew under the radar. Plus, they speak with critic Alex Ross about the use of music as a weapon.

Sound Opinions: Mudhoney & Opinions on Wilco

Dec 1, 2017

Mudhoney was at the forefront of Seattle's exploding music scene in the '80s and '90s, paving the way for grunge with its distorted, chaotic sound. Though the group never received the world-wide attention of its peers Nirvana, Mudhoney has achieved a cult following. Mudhoney talks with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot and performs in front of a hometown Seattle audience.

With lyrics about sun, surf, and young love, there are plenty of songs that welcome in the summer. But how do you musically say goodbye to warm weather and prepare for the fall? Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot swap their swim trunks for their sweaters and share their favorite End of Summer Songs.

What goes into writing a hit song? Sound Opinions takes a look at the craft of songwriting, from the Righteous Brothers to Beyoncé. Jim and Greg talk with legendary Brill Building songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil about their decades long career. Then they talk with Ryan Tedder about penning songs for Adele and Taylor Swift. Plus, a review of the long-awaited new album from Frank Ocean.

With all eyes turned toward the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Sound Opinions World Tour makes its next stop in Brazil, a country with an unmatched musical influence on the globe. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the rich musical history of Brazil, including the bossa nova, MPB, and Tropicália phenomena of the 1950s and '60s.

Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett’s 2015 album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit was a critical success and Sound Opinions favorite. Her conversational songwriting manages to be simultaneously clever and poignant, and her guitar technique combining lead and rhythm parts is nothing short of impressive. All of her skills are on display as Courtney Barnett joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for an interview and intimate solo performance in front of an audience.

Sound Opinions: Songs of Thanks

Dec 1, 2017

Thanksgiving is a time to gather around the dinner table with family and friends to reflect on the past year and give thanks. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their favorite songs that say "thank you." Plus, the story of the twangy guitar-bass hybrid instrument known as the Bass VI, and Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath shares the song that got him Hooked on Sonics.

Sound Opinions: Al Green's The Belle Album

Dec 1, 2017

Al Green sang some of the most acclaimed soul records of the 1970s. So when he decided to leave it all behind for the church, many questioned why. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot discuss Al Green's life and his pivotal transitional record, The Belle Album, with biographer Jimmy McDonough. 

Sound Opinions: Ted Leo

Dec 1, 2017

After a seven year gap, veteran rocker Ted Leo has expanded his sonic palette with his latest solo record, The Hanged Man. Written in the wake of emotional and financial turmoil, the album is perhaps his most personal work to date. Ted Leo joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot in front of an audience at the Goose Island Tap Room for an interview and intimate solo performance. Plus, a review of the new album from eclectic Las Vegas singer-songwriter Shamir.

Sound Opinions: Buried Treasures & Ron Gallo

Dec 1, 2017

Each season, there's a few highly anticipated albums with a ton of buzz behind them. Then, there are other deserving records that won't get that kind of attention. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their latest batch of Buried Treasures: hidden musical gems that everyone ought to hear. Plus, a conversation and live performance from Philadelphia indie rocker Ron Gallo.

Sound Opinions: Musical Costumes

Dec 1, 2017

Halloween is all about being someone else for a night – and musicians like to put on costumes, too. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their favorite examples of artists temporarily donning a musical costume and performing in a different style under a fake name.

Sound Opinions: Julie Klausner

Dec 1, 2017

As creator, writer, and star of the critically acclaimed TV comedy Difficult People, Julie Klausner not only crafts the show's jokes but also guides its soundtrack. This week, she joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a hilarious discussion of the show's music and her own musical tastes, and she even attempts to win them over to musical theatre. Plus, Jim and Greg review a new album from Beck and a collaboration between Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.

Sound Opinions: Jamila Woods

Dec 1, 2017

On her debut album HEAVN, Jamila Woods contrasts weighty issues like police violence and the invisibility of black women with a breezy musical touch. The Chicago-based poet, singer, and songwriter joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for an interview and performance. Plus, a review of the new album from St. Vincent, and folk legend Judy Collins tells us about the song that got her Hooked on Sonics. 

Sound Opinions: Tom Petty

Dec 1, 2017

Tom Petty was a master of the perfect three-chord pop song and an icon of American music. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot pay tribute to the late Florida rocker. They discuss Petty's tremendous songwriting gifts and revisit their 2003 interview with him on Sound Opinions.

Sound Opinions: Mavis Staples

Dec 1, 2017

This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with gospel and soul legend Mavis Staples. She speaks about her role on the front line of the Civil Rights Movement as part of the Staple Singers and recounts a harrowing story of touring through the Jim Crow South. Plus, a review of the latest from Protomartyr, and a tribute to the late soul singer Charles Bradley.

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