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33 minutes | 12 days ago
Abraxas: Carlos Santana Truly Arrived After Woodstock
In the Season 11 premiere, we're dialing back the clock to the late '60s, a time when Santana and his band were on the cusp of a cultural sea change. They had just conquered the iconic Woodstock Music Festival, and all ears were raised for what came next. But, when you finally have the means to make the album you’ve always wanted ... is it smooth sailing? As an outsider making outsider art, did Santana feel a responsibility to represent his cultural roots? And what about meeting your heroes? Join host Jill Hopkins as she contends with all of these questions in the first episode. Along the way, she'll hear insights from the legend himself Carlos Santana, in addition to his drummer Michael Shrieve, musicologist Mark Brill, and historian Ashley Kahn. Featuring original music by Tony Piazza. Don't forget to enter our exclusive giveaway to win one (1) SE Santana Singlecut Trem in Egyptian Gold from PRS Guitars and a copy of Abraxas on vinyl.
1 minutes | 13 days ago
Welcome to The Opus - Season 11: Santana's Abraxas
Consequence Podcast Network and Sony’s The Opus is back for Season 11 with a new host and a new classic album to explore. Beginning November 19th, host Jill Hopkins (The Moth Chicago, Making Beyoncé podcast) will conjure the enduring legacy of Santana’s landmark Abraxas. Following the release of their self-titled debut and their subsequent performance at Woodstock, a world of possibility was opened to Santana for their sophomore record. Band leader Carlos Santana suddenly had the means to make the album he’d always dreamed of — but with that came added pressure. With his band of virtuosos around him, Santana set out to find new ways of blending rock music with jazz experimentation, resulting in an effort unlike anything that had come before, and something that many have striven to emulate since. As Hopkins traces the story of Abraxas from the summer of ’69 to today, she’ll be joined by Carlos Santana himself and band drummer Michael Shrieve. Other scheduled guests include musicologist Mark Brill, Dávila 666’s AJ Davila, and many more. “I’m excited to help tell the story of an iconic album that has followed me from snuck-in listens at grown-up parties to full album immersions through headphones I probably paid too much for,” says Hopkins. “Abraxas sounds just as passionate, percussive, and pervasive to our shared culture as Carlos Santana meant for it to when he and his band of equally talented players stepped off of the Woodstock stage and into musical immortality.” The Opus: Abraxas premieres November 19th, and you can subscribe now. -- Theme music by Tony Piazza.
39 minutes | 5 months ago
Whitney Houston: Behold, the Everlasting Star!
We are living in Andy Warhol's vision of the future. It’s a time when anyone can TikTok their way to 15 minutes of fame, only to disappear 15 seconds later. But there’s a strange effect to all these stars and this new galaxy: We’re all so siloed as fans that it’s easy to forget there was once a time when stars could outlast the universe. One such star is Whitney Houston. As The Opus winds down its journey through the diva's blockbuster debut, host Andy Bothwell speaks with rapper Dessa and writers Hanif Abdurraqib and Myles Johnson about what Whitney Houston meant to the world. Together, they discuss how Houston impacted such a wide and diverse range of communities and cultures, and later marvel at the strength she exhibited while facing insurmountable pressures and exorbitant demands. Stream Whitney Houston via all major streaming services or enter to win a copy of Vinyl Me, Please’s 35th anniversary Whitney Houston box set.
38 minutes | 6 months ago
Whitney Houston: The Science Behind the Voice
There's something mystifying about powerful voices. Sure, everyone can open their mouth and sing, but when we watch a force like Whitney Houston do so, it's abundantly clear there's a vast divide between her and us mere mortals. But we take such voices for granted, often celebrating their talent by simply listening. What we don't appreciate is the work it takes to get there, the work it takes to maintain such power, and the true musicianship behind every note. As The Opus continues its journey into Whitney Houston, host Andy Bothwell learns about the training and athleticism behind a voice like Houston by speaking with singer Bartees Strange and opera singer Dr. Donna Mitchell-Cox. Later, Dessa (of Doomtree Records) breaks down the science behind Houston's voice, while CNN's own Brandon Tensley explains the unexplainable -- specifically, why her voice impacts us in ways we can't always understand. Stream Whitney Houston via all major streaming services or enter to win a copy of Vinyl Me, Please’s 35th anniversary Whitney Houston box set. Follow us on Facebook | Podchaser
33 minutes | 6 months ago
Whitney Houston: Whitney's Billboard Run Contains Multitudes
It's hard to underestimate Whitney Houston’s stardom. For better and for worse, the world knows so much more about the late diva than we do about most artists from her era. Houston's meteoric rise would eventually place her own personal life under a microscope, and it's the tragic details that all too often overshadow her unparalleled legacy and groundbreaking influence. Looking back, though, Whitney Houston wasn't just a pop star. She wasn't just an incredible voice. No, she was a trail blazer, the first of her kind, who opened the door for so many artists to follow. For its highly anticipated 10th season, The Opus plans to trace those footsteps, and put a spotlight on the star that was born with 1985's Whitney Houston. Join host Andy Bothwell as he talks with music writer and chart historian Chris Molanphy about the records Houston broke with her self-titled debut. Then listen as writers Britt Julious, Brandon Tensley, and musicians Sophia Eris and Bartees Strange explain how Houston's position on the Billboard charts meant so much more than just record sales.
28 minutes | 7 months ago
The Infamous: Mobb Deep Crafted Their Own Language
For decades now, rap and hip-hop has been the most fertile soil for slang and new language across pop culture. But when looking back on Mobb Deep, the duo didn't just have their own slang, they had their own language. In this bonus episode of The Opus, host Andy Bothwell breaks down the history of "The Dun Language" with rappers Slug (of Atmosphere) and Evidence (of Dilated Peoples), who discuss the influence that language has played on their own work. Shortly after, we'll hear from original member Havoc, legendary hip-hop photographer Chi Modu, and The Infamous executive producer Schott Free, who shed a light on the oft-elusive, secret third member of Mobb Deep. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, stream Mobb Deep's The Infamous – 25th Anniversary Expanded Edition via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a copy of The Infamous on vinyl -- signed by rapper Havoc himself. Follow us on Facebook | Podchaser
41 minutes | 7 months ago
The Infamous: Experience Outweighs Practice
The world seems to have gone mad since the release of Malcolm Gladwell's The Outliers. Thanks to his 2008 best-selling book, everyone seems to think that all you need is 10,000 hours of practice to achieve greatness. While that may work on a skill or a craft, the rules go out the window when it comes to art. Prodigy and Havoc certainly put a lot of hours into making beats and rapping before they made The Infamous, but there are other powerful forces that truly shaped them into becoming artists. After all, 10,000 hours will only take you so far, and much of that greatness depends on perspective and experience. In this season's final episode, host Andy Bothwell is joined once again by Mobb Deep’s Havoc who breaks down the experiences that helped shape the duo. What's more, rappers Brother Ali and Don Will, in addition to writers Jeff Weiss and Mosi Reeves, also weigh in on how the late Prodigy was able to channel his own trauma into something the world had never seen before. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, stream Mobb Deep's The Infamous – 25th Anniversary Expanded Edition via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a copy of The Infamous on vinyl -- signed by rapper Havoc himself.
42 minutes | 7 months ago
The Infamous: Finding Success By Learning From Failure
The mid-90's produced a crowded field chock full of brilliant rap records. With debuts from Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and Jay-Z, artists really needed to bring their A-game if they were going to try and stand out. Mobb Deep could have easily been lost in the ether, especially given the mixed reception towards their debut album, Juvenile Hell. Instead, like so many of the artists we've covered in The Opus -- Miles Davis, Simon & Garfunkel, Ozzy Osbourne, the list goes on -- Mobb Deep leaned on that failure to chase their own success. Because without the bitterness of defeat, Prodigy & Havoc may have never been driven to evolve into the powerhouse that created The Infamous. Join host Andy Bothwell as he speaks with Havoc and Executive Producer/A&R's Matt Life about the setbacks the duo faced and how they overcame them. We'll also hear from CSU-Long Beach professor and music journalist Oliver Wang about the story behind the song that changed it all for Mobb Deep, in addition to Evidence of Dilated Peoples and both Slug and Ant of Atmosphere on what sets The Infamous apart from the other titans of the genre.
33 minutes | 7 months ago
The Infamous: Mobb Deep's Commitment to the Truth
Rap in the modern age is drowned in theater. Today, the lines between reality and fiction are often so blurred that it's tough to tell what's fact or fiction. Ironically, the old adage of "keepin' it real" was tossed around too lightly amidst the Golden Age of Hip-Hop. One exception to that rule was Mobb Deep. A quarter century ago, Havoc and Prodigy helped ignite the East Coast hip-hop renaissance with their sophomore album, The Infamous, which held up a dark, gritty, realistic mirror to their particular world. Using their lyrics like a photojournalist might use their camera, the duo brought listeners into their often haunting and impoverished corner of Queens. Add in the powerfully sparse, jagged production, and you have a record that changed the perception of hardcore rap forever. For its ninth season, The Opus heads to Queens to discuss the landmark album. Join host Andy Bothwell as he gets the street-level facts from Havoc (the surviving member of Mobb Deep) and Infamous Executive Producer/A&R Schott Free. He also hears some insights from syndicated radio host Headkrack, rapper and Paid Dues curator Murs, and Pitchfork writer Paul Thompson. Together, they discuss how Mobb Deep's journalistic devotion to spitting the truth raised the bar to an impossible standard that even the greatest rappers of their day could never match. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Mobb Deep's The Infamous via all major streaming services.
21 minutes | 8 months ago
Bitches Brew: Breaking Down the Album Artwork
In many ways, an album's physical packaging is a dying art form in the modern era of streaming services. Instead of picking up a record, we scroll through them, searching for light amidst a seemingly infinite sea of digital album covers. With that in mind, there's never been a greater need for eye-catching album covers in the history of the medium. Bitches Brew is one such record, only the artwork serves a much greater role. It's not just an avatar for the album, or a marketing tool for the label, but a physical continuation of its themes. It accentuates and visualizes the very philosophies being observed by Miles Davis within the seminal album. It's an extension of the album, if you will. In this special bonus episode of The Opus, host Andy Bothwell is joined by painter/illustrator Michael Gaughan and photographer Cameron Wittig. Together, they break down the details of the album artwork for Bitches Brew -- both inside and out. So, for one last time, pull up a chair, and listen above. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Bitches Brew via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win the massive 43-CD The Genius of Miles Davis box set, which includes the four-disc The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.
36 minutes | 8 months ago
Bitches Brew: The Expanding Universe of Miles Davis
A good album leaves a mark on you, but traditionally, that impact lasts as long as the album itself. It starts, you hear a bunch of great songs you love, and then it's over. Maybe it put you in a better mood? Or perhaps it even gave you some time to think about things? Whatever the case, when the record stops, all too often the influence goes along with it. What makes an album like Bitches Brew so special is that the influence doesn’t die when you pick the needle up. Instead, it continues to expand out infinitely in all directions. An album like this is more than just a collection of great songs, it's a whole universe of influence, one that continues to grow and shape culture, even decades after its release. Join host Andy Bothwell in Columbia's Studio B, where he wraps up Season 8 of The Opus alongside journalist and engineer from ThePudding.com, Matt Daniels; Techno musician Black Asteroid; Jazz innovators The Bad Plus; and touring machine Andy Frasco of Andy Frasco and the UN. Together, they explore the ever-expanding universe of Miles Davis. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Bitches Brew via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win the massive 43-CD The Genius of Miles Davis box set, which includes the four-disc The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.
40 minutes | 8 months ago
Bitches Brew: The Indefinable Greatness of Miles Davis
Fifty years later, there's something about Bitches Brew that still feels strange, wild, and unfamiliar. There's a magic in Miles Davis' cauldron that binds the ingredients to create a potion that is somehow greater than the sum of its exceptional parts. There's an almost indefinable something that somehow elevates the album to new heights -- and that mystery ingredient is what makes the brew so special. Today, The Opus attempts to chase that "something" in the second part of its Bitches Brew season. Join host Andy Bothwell in Columbia's Studio B, where he presides over an equally talented crew that includes: musician and professor Mark Gould (Julliard/New York Trumpet Ensemble); bassist and composer Ben Williams (Kamasi Washington/Pat Metheny); Sound on Sound columnist and author of Miles Beyond: Electric Explorations of Miles Davis 1967-1991 Paul Tingen; Brainfeeder artist and Berklee School of music Faculty Daedelus; and composer and author of 33 1/3: Bitches Brew George Grella. Together they dive deep into Miles Davis' stellar supporting cast and band, discuss the role of producer Teo Macero, and chart how it all circles back to the man of the hour. So, once again, pull up a chair, make yourself another drink, and listen above. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Bitches Brew via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win the massive 43-CD The Genius of Miles Davis box set, which includes the four-disc The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.
36 minutes | 8 months ago
Bitches Brew: The Importance of Challenging Music
Jazz can often be seen as a genre that challenges listeners, but one of the greatest jazz records of all time -- Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew -- was born out a need to challenge the genre, to push back on the establishment, and to break down old conventions and notions about what jazz could be. Davis saw the future of music coming fast, and it was in funk and rock. If he didn’t catch up, he and jazz would get left in the dust. What resulted from this future forward approach would not only change the genre, but launch Davis from the dark basements of jazz fame to the main stages of stardom. This season, The Opus has booked some time at Columbia's Studio B, where host Andy Bothwell has dialed things back to August 1969. His first night's guests include: Deantoni Parks (The Mars Volta/Technoself), Daedelus (Brainfeeder/Berklee College of Music), Loren Schoenberg (Julliard/National Museum Of Jazz), and writer George Grella. Together, they discuss the importance of challenging music like Bitches Brew and detail how this Grammy-winning album shook up the world of jazz and brought a legend into the mainstream. So, pull up a chair, make yourself a drink, and listen above. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, stream a legacy edition of Bitches Brew via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win the massive 43-CD The Genius of Miles Davis box set, which includes the four-disc The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions.
23 minutes | 9 months ago
Bridge Over Troubled Water: The Sounds of the Influenced [Bonus]
The Opus has yet to leave the Bridge. Although Bridge Over Troubled Water was the swan song of Simon & Garfunkel, it was really only the beginning of their enduring legacy. Since then, countless musicians and artists alike have followed in their footsteps to myriad results. In this surprise, bonus episode of Season 7, host Andy Bothwell speaks to a trio of eclectic musicians who have all crossed the proverbial bridge. First up is David Draiman of Disturbed, who discusses the band's unlikely cover of "Sound Of Silence". Next is CJ Camerieri of Y Music/Bon Iver, who happened to perform "The Boxer" with Paul Simon on the night Muhammed Ali died. And finally Har Mar Superstar shares how his "cover" of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" got him banned for life from the Steele County Fair in Owatonna, Minnesota. In celebration of the album's 50th anniversary, stream a selection of Simon & Garfunkel's best tracks via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a vinyl bundle featuring the duo's entire collaborative discography.
31 minutes | 9 months ago
Bridge Over Troubled Water: The Importance of Creative Conflict
The Opus has reached the end of the Bridge. A lot is made of the fact that Bridge Over Troubled Water was Simon & Garfunkel’s final album. Even 50 years later, fans and historians see the album as the end of the era, when it's so much more than that. Bridge Over Troubled Water wasn’t the end of a road, but a mile marker on a very long highway, full of surprising and exciting twists and turns. It's a portrait not of conflict, but a crucible of honest creative confrontation. On the Season 7 finale of The Opus, host Andy Bothwell speaks to musicians Nick Thorburn (Islands/Unicorns) and Mattiel on the importance of creative conflict, in addition to CJ Camerieri (Y Music/Bon Iver) on what it's like to be in the studio with Paul Simon. He also speaks with writer Jordon Hoffman (The Guardian/Vanity Fair) and Jay Sweet (Newport Folk Fest) about the impact of Bridge Over Troubled Water at the time of its release, and the way it has shaped American culture ever since. In celebration of the album's 50th anniversary, stream a selection of Simon & Garfunkel's best tracks via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a vinyl bundle featuring the duo's entire collaborative discography.
32 minutes | 9 months ago
Bridge Over Troubled Water: The Bridge to Beyoncé
The Opus is halfway across the Bridge. What does Alex Jones, Beyoncé's Lemonade, and Simon and Garfunkel have in common? More than you think! In 1969, the two bards were asked to make a TV special to debut 1970's Bridge over Troubled Water. Rather than opting for the traditional approach -- think: Elvis Presley's 1968 comeback special -- they created a visual album. Ring a bell? Songs Of America, directed by Charles Grodin (yes, that Charles Grodin), was an experimental, non-linear, collage of live footage, behind-the-scenes shots, and proto-music videos set to news footage from the turbulent 60's. The result cost them their lead sponsor, pissed off a million Americans, and even lead to death threats if you can believe that. Host Andy Bothwell speaks to culture reporter Steve Marsh (GQ/Esquire/Pitchfork) on what caused this film to illicit such a strong reaction from America. He also connects with Bon Iver's design team and video directors Eric Carlson and Aaron Anderson, who weighin on the through-lines between their work and this 50-year-old TV special. In celebration of the album's 50th anniversary, stream a selection of Simon & Garfunkel's best tracks via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a vinyl bundle featuring the duo's entire collaborative discography.
32 minutes | 10 months ago
Bridge Over Troubled Water: Sailing with Simon and Garfunkel
The Opus is crossing a bridge into its seventh season. All good things come to an end, and that is certainly the case for Simon and Garfunkel. With 1970's Bridge Over Troubled Water, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sewed a button to their timeless collaboration. At the time, though, the album wasn't exactly the ideal swan song for critics, who were mixed on the release, contending that the collection of songs didn't live up to its predecessor, 1968's Bookends. History prevailed, though. Bridge Over Troubled Water went on to win Album of the Year at the 1971 Grammys, taking home both Record and Song of the Year for its title track. What's more, the album went on to become one of the highest-selling albums of all time. Since then, tracks like "The Only Living Boy in New York", "Baby Driver", and "Cecilia" have all become permanent fixtures in pop culture. That was then and this is now. In the season seven premiere of The Opus, host Andy Bothwell traces the footsteps of the two bards, even visiting the locations where they recorded. In fact, you'll hear the very halls that helped raise their voices into the heavens. What's more, Bothwell will peel back the immaculate production of the album's most eclectic tracks. It's an aural journey of the senses. Fortunately, he's not the only living boy on this episode. Joining Bothwell is an assembly of guests that include Nicholas Thorburn of The Unicorns and Islands; recording engineer and Tape Op founder Larry Crane; and hip-hop musician and Anticon co-founder Yoni Wolf of Why?. Together, they chart the album's rampant influences and deduce that everyone's ripped off "Cecilia". So, get your plane right on time, and climb aboard. In celebration of the album's 50th anniversary, stream a selection of Simon & Garfunkel's best tracks via all major streaming services. You can also enter to win a vinyl bundle featuring the duo's entire collaborative discography.
32 minutes | a year ago
London Calling: Radio Clash's Timeless Transmissions
The Opus has one more lesson about The Clash. The same curiosity that drove the English rockers to discover new genres of music also drove them to understand and empathize with the struggles going on far from their homes. That call for political action, of course, is all over London Calling -- right down to its title. Yet the reason why generation after generation continues to answer their call stems from the songwriting itself. These aren't just any ol' political anthems; they're catchy rock songs, the likes of which have crossed borders and cultures for decades. In the third and final episode of our London Calling series, host Andy Bothwell attempts to explain these cross-cultural transmissions. Once more, he's aided by a rotating panel of guests, specifically Spoon’s Britt Daniel, Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman, AJJ’s Sean Bonette and Ben Gallaty, Worriers’ Lauren Denitzio, Let Fury Have the Hour author Antonio D'Ambrosio, journalist Robert Evans, and filmmaker Joseph Patel. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of London Calling, revisit a selection of The Clash’s best tracks via all major streaming services, and enter to win a Fender Player Precision Bass just like the one Paul Simonon played.
31 minutes | a year ago
London Calling: Clash of the Cultures
The Opus can't fail with The Clash. The diversity of influences on London Calling go way beyond reggae and dub. In fact, they go deeper than the music itself. This is an album that gets its hands dirty by digging right into the culture that wound up influencing the four English rockers. Is this cultural appropriation? If not, how did they manage to pull it off? And what can musicians today learn from their approach to making music? The Opus attempts to answer these questions as it continues to unpack the iconic double album. In the second episode of our London Calling series, host Andy Bothwell is joined by Spoon's Britt Daniel, Texas country legend Joe Ely, Houston rapper Fat Tony, South Florida Genreless musician Yeek, British LGBTQ activist and Big Joanie drummer Cardine Taylor-Stone, Head of Design for MOMA PS1 Vance Wallenstein, and filmmaker Joseph Patel. What are you waiting for? Join 'em aboard this train in vain above. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of London Calling, revisit a selection of The Clash’s best tracks via all major streaming services, and enter to win both the 40th anniversary London Calling Scrapbook and Super Bundle.
28 minutes | a year ago
London Calling: The Clash's Great Rebellion
The Opus is getting lost in the supermarket for its sixth season. The Clash were at a crossroads in 1979. The first wave of punk rock ended a year prior when the Sex Pistols called it quits, leaving the movement to explore new avenues, from New Wave to hardcore, and the band to wonder, What are we gonna do now? The answer was London Calling. As Margaret Thatcher continued to remake Britain by looking into the past, so did The Clash, and the English rockers opened up all the rock 'n' roll doors their fellow punk colleagues had slammed over the last decade. They brushed up on their history, they let their sound travel overseas, they started writing narratives. By doing so, they defied any kind of label for themselves, starting a rebellion in the process, and one that The Opus plans to follow. In the first episode of our London Calling series, host Andy Bothwell is joined by Lee "Scratch" Perry, Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace, L7’s Donita Sparks, writer Dan Reilly (Rolling Stone/Spin/Entertainment Weekly), and filmmaker Joseph Patel (Vice/MTV Docs). Together, they discuss how London Calling didn't need to be punk to prove how punk it was, how it didn't need to be a giant arena record to prove how much it rocked, and how it managed to introduce all kinds of culture with zero pretension. So, hop in their brand new Cadillac and listen now. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of London Calling, revisit a selection of The Clash’s best tracks via all major streaming services, and enter to win both the 40th anniversary London Calling Scrapbook and Super Bundle.
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