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Episode 002

Houses of the Holy

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin’s follow-up to “IV” arrived as they were becoming the biggest rock band in the world-but they didn’t choose to play it safe. We discuss all the twists and turns amassed on this behemoth of an album and give you some new ways to hear these nearly 50-year-old songs that still feel fresh.

Transcript

Note: our transcripts are mostly AI-generated for now. 

Episode 002: Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy": Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Episode 002: Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy": this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

You're listening to TuneDig, a podcast for music lovers. The premise is simple: in each episode, we dig deep into an album we love and then we give away a copy to you of that album on vinyl. Go to TuneDig.com To see what's up for grabs and learn more about us.

This one should be deceptively simple, we're talking about your all time favorite band and a band that you deep deepen my love of over the course of the last 15 years or so. Is this your favorite record by this band? Yep. Interesting. All right. So we're talking about Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy, 11 times platinum. Wow. Really? Yep. So 73 this is their fifth record, correct? Yeah.

First one not named a number officially or unofficially deep.

The first record came out in 69. Right. Nice. They put up four records in the span of four years. Right. The pace of this band is incredible. Their monolithic at this point. I mean, they are the biggest band in the world. They're playing the Madison Square Garden. They're playing all the big venues. They've put out what is still regarded as the biggest rock record of all time. Like if you try to explain rock and roll to an alien, you give them Led Zeppelin, for they've released the definitive huge capital R rock song and Stairway. And then this is what they choose to do next.

Why next on ancient aliens.

So talk about this record is really personal for you. And and I think this is my favorite Zeppelin record, too. But I'm not nearly the Zeppelin fan that you are. So I want to hear your experience, because we both grew up in a market where there was great classic rock radio and they were always a staple of it. Right.

So I don't know that I really started by discovering this record as an entire album in and of itself, but more like slowly hearing songs from it and starting to put together that somehow this belonged on the same record. And then at some point you're like, wow, these are all in the same place, which that feeling doesn't go away no matter how many times you listen to this record. And that's sort of, I think, what they were going for with this record. Right. That's the whole thing. Yeah. That's definitely why I love this record so much. One through four showed us Led Zeppelin is able to write, record, execute, perform, rock and roll. At its peak. No one could beat them. I think some people would probably say at least after four or Zozo or whatever it is we want to call that record because they didn't name one, because they're so good at being weird. Some folks would probably argue they were at least in competition with the Rolling Stones to figure out if their kind of biggest band in the world at this point. And one of the things that I love about this record, maybe the thing I love the most is that they they didn't try to take the success of four and push into it. They didn't try to do for part two. In fact, there's not really a song that's anywhere close to Stairway to Heaven on this record. There's not even a really consistent type of song on this record. Instead, it's it felt like they went went in with the whole approach of there's so much more that we can do that people don't know about. Let's just start sampling all of it. Yeah. Let's start figuring out how we can just do whatever we want.

To me, it's a very Led Zeppelin way to take a victory lap because they were like, let's find all these other kinds of music we find interesting and show everybody that we're the greatest band in the world by doing a really weird and us version of it and it just being awesome on its face. It's almost like I'm a Led Zeppelin mixtape of sorts.

It does feel like that. And the fact that these songs were recorded intentionally as an album is interesting to me because sometimes it feels like almost a B sides. Yeah. Or almost like Coda, like a posthumous collection of the things that hadn't been released yet. It's very cocky. It's definitely cocky. Yeah. So why do you like this record.

I like this record because I think some of my favorite songs are on this record. Right, when you really deconstruct it for sure. My number one Zep song period is on this record. No quarter. I always liked that growing up, they were part of the classic rock repertoire that I enjoyed with my dad, the 96 rock rock blocks in Atlanta, but then I came back around as we got older to Zeppelin through like Tyas and all of, like, desert stuff. And there was sort of a rock revival when we were in high school, quote unquote. Right, with like Jet.

All the bands that were aping like AC, DC and Zeppelin and The Darkness was really big in that time.

The White Stripes were really big, right, so there was sort of a natural inclination to go back to that place, right? No quarter especially blew my mind because, you know, at that time we were really big getting really big into, like, Doom and Stoner and all of that, like heavy worship music. And no quarter was like it was like I discovered the Rosetta Stone for all that stuff and that record. I mean, that song is still so crazy to me. The live version of the song remains the same is insane. It's still so heavy. It's it's so thick. It's got like a fog in the song. It's like going in a rowboat through the swamp at night. Got a very fantastic quality to it. So I love that song. I still think the ocean is one of the coolest. That song is very effortless. Nobody other than Zeppelin could just rip off that song the same way that they do rock and roll or just some of those like fast ball over the plate type of songs. Right. It's just it's cool. That's them being the coolest rock band in the world.

And then there's all these other little turns, like the Rain song, which I think I'd also put in my top ten just because it's really gorgeous. And if you're driving in a car on a rainy day or it's a really sunshiny spring day and the atmosphere outside catches you just right, you get that really peaceful feeling. There's so many moods on this record and going for songs and breath and whatever the victory of that thing we talked about, that's one aspect of it. But I think it's really cool because it just captures all the moods they're capable of. Right. It's just it's a very vibe, heavy record. And that's what keeps it kind of cohesive. You know, there's there's sort of a central idea of just vibin. And it keeps keeps us strong throughline.

I think I think that vibe is an interesting discussion, too, because there are a lot of different ways, I think, to approach this record. And a new thing kind of emerges each time you listen to something different. But the one thing that's consistent and unique about this record is you can even just take Robert Plant's perspective on it. I love Robert Plant. I love that they've tried to occasionally get back together. I'm glad they did the O2 show. I really wish I could have gone. But he generally doesn't have a ton of positive things to say about let's say he's not extremely nostalgic about the Times and Led Zeppelin per say. I don't think he looks down on it or thinks about it negatively, but there's not a lot of times where he seems to be happy reminiscing with it.

He's definitely always annoyed by how much people want to talk about it now, however many years later, he's a true artist in that sense, whereas he talks about this record in terms of how much more he prefers it than the fourth. And he describes this as a really inspiring time. And I think that there are interesting stories. Eddie Kramer, the engineer on this record, Jimmy Page is obviously the producer.

But Eddie Kramer had a lot to do with all this stuff. And, you know, they recorded a lot of this. They had Legrange. They recorded it in some other places. But the stories that he tells in the stories that Jimmy Page tells in the story that Robert Plant tells all paint this picture of them being ecstatic just to be in a band together. There was a description of Eddie Kramer had about I think it was after they recorded the crunch that they were listening to it on the lawn and dancing together, like these four guys who are in incredible costumes performing at Madison Square Garden in the dark, wowing people being epic and majestic and all the stuff just dancing together because they enjoyed the way that their recording sounded and they were happy with it.

And that's so counter to the typical narrative arc. Right? By this time, they're super disillusioned and whatever. So it's cool. That's what makes this record so cool. Probably when you talk about the vibe, is there's an energy of like their heads in the game. They want to keep it interesting.

Right. And they're writing about themes like, I mean, Houses of the Holy. The album title was aligned with the song that didn't end up being on this record. Right. But Houses of the Holy, the concept is about us being houses of the Holy Spirit. So there's this approach of spirituality and this kind of a theory of quality of what it's like to be alive and what it's like to create art. They have the ocean in the last or at the end of the record, the ocean is just purely about the observation of how many people come to their shows and participate in their concerts. It's about the ocean of people. And so to be able to write about this in a way that's not on the nose in the way that you might expect when someone comes off of the success of the fourth album, they're one of the biggest bands, if not the biggest band in the world. They're selling out the biggest venues you can sell out. And you're still writing songs and records about this ethereal quality of being alive. You're able to be joyous with these other people in the band, being able to approach that that level of notoriety and fame somehow without the pretension that you would normally expect walking into a with to me that exemplifies or at least starts to introduce. Why this record is so interesting, I think it's an interesting approach you can take to listening to this record and really trying to place it in time and understanding how interesting and unique it was to come out with this collection of songs, whereas they could have written six, seven long epic rock songs with the templates that they created up until this point, especially considering that they have four records of either directly influenced or directly lifted blues songs.

And there's none of that here.

No, certainly some of the influence carries over. Some of the guitar playing is similar, but every member of this band is going to take an opportunity to show you something about what they can do on this record that you had not seen before. And I still continue to argue that this is the John Paul Jones record. He does something crazy on every single track. If you need one particular vantage point to take listening to this record to hear something you had never heard before, just pay attention to what John Paul Jones does. You can also do that with each individual band member on this record and get a different experience every time you can listen as well to. If you don't want to focus on an individual instrument or person, you can listen to the way that they change the flow of this album from ones that came before it. It's not linear anymore. There are some really strange songs backed up, one against another.

The whole was greater than the sum of its parts was the purpose of this band. Right. But individually, you still have the greatest musicians in their vertical, if you will. So listening to the best drummer and like literally seeing the first person povey and trying to think about how they're interacting with each other member at a given time is so I've never tried to do that with a record, but I'm going to try to do that all the time now because this is a really great example of for guys just trying to be like, what if we tried this? And they'd be like, all right, we'll do a kind of a reggae thing that kind of feels like reggae, but that's cool.

I want to go song by song, OK? We don't have to take forever on each one, but I think it's worth it's a little bit like walking through a museum, like you kind of got to do it. And I think it helps illustrate some of the points we talked about already, not only some of the individual things that shine on this particular record, but the way that things deeply contrast with one another.

Ok, so the song remains the same, which it very much does not on this record. It started as an instrumental. OK, I can see that it's like a bunch of parts it really drives.

I love that song being right at the opening of it, too, because, again, going back to this is about to be the first song that you've heard after the fourth album and all the things that are on Led Zeppelin four, then this is going to be the first thing you hear because it's easy for us to forget. But like you really didn't have the luxury of not listening to albums, starting with track one.

Right. So this is the first thing you hear after when the levee breaks. Yes. After a super slow, heavy song.

And so this has a feel that's not on many Led Zeppelin songs, honestly, it's got this kind of half jovial, half driving, but not too serious, not epic, but not silly feel to it.

Page starts to declare like a guitar tone that becomes a staple of the later period. Zeppelin records that kind of like sort of a mix between the heavy blue stuff and the folk stuff. And he just kind of settles into that mid range between them. And this is the first where you're like, OK, this is maybe their thing.

Well, and he's definitely using maybe we could say chord shapes that aren't as blues based as past things. Right. Not as heavy on just the pentatonic thing you made the. It does not remain the same. The riff changes and often enough to keep it interesting. The song itself doesn't move heavily in one direction or another. It keeps going in the same direction. But there are these changes that Jimmy Page is doing, these light layers and notes that he's laying on top of his own guitar playing that continue to take you in the same direction, but slightly tweak whatever it is he was doing before, which is again, a bit of a break from some of the staples up to this point of I'm going to repeat the major riff and then we're going to build up to a big instrumental or a solo or something like that and then repeat the major riff again. And that's noticeable because when you're this good at writing riffs, you can do that if you want to.

And so for him to take this, basically a totally new approach on the very first song was fascinating, confident and or joyful, depending on your interpretation of the record. It's true. It does feel joyful to say it's a happy record even through no quarter.

Yeah, they're just trying a thing. It's not they don't sound depressed or affected by it. It's just like it's a really cool vibe and they're like, oh yeah, let's go do that. Let's go to that place. But you're right, it's a very energetic way to start the record. Just the way that riff jangle so hard, it's sort of like you're dialing in to a frequency a little bit and you're like, oh, wow, OK, all right, let's go. And we're off.

Perfect. So then you go from that and you go into the rain song. So good.

The Rain Song is the one song that if someone doesn't like Led Zeppelin, I'll at least try to get them to hear that because the arrangement is insane. It's beautiful. It goes on for a bit. It's not too long, but it's not short. It's not a commercial cut. It's this beautiful arrangement of things in which apparently Jimmy Page is responding to George Harrison and his way of writing music and trying to channel that into a ballad, because in a conversation he had with George Harrison, he asked why Led Zeppelin never did ballads. Harrison asked him that apparently so. I knew he was my favorite Beatle. But I think that that's fascinating to think about is someone like George Harrison says write a ballad and you come with the rain song. Not a simple love song, not the ways that we've thought about ballads in the past or even the way that ballads continued into the 80s. Linnear, right. I mean, this is more evocative, more it was almost like they were going for a texture for for the texture of a rainy day. Perfect. Yeah. How do you make the feel of a ballad happen without making it so simplistic, so literal. Right, exactly. Yeah. Plus a great thing I think to to check out on on this track. We talk about John Paul Jones a lot. That's a great thing to point out. He's playing the Mellotron. You can't say that. Not sounding like a nerd. Oh, I gave up. It's an electro mechanical polyphonic tape replay keyboard. And John Paul Jones arranged this song and one of the one of the quotes I like a lot from Eddie Kramer, again, his quotes are worth pulling in here, right, because they give flavor to these songs, said John. Paul Jones is a superb arranger who could conduct an orchestra while playing bass with one hand. I saw him do that one time.

He's I mean, I think we decided after we saw them crooked vultures like he's the greatest living musician, maybe, period. That dude is incredible. And he was always the secret weapon of Zeppelin. And that's become more obvious with time. I remember reading about four sticks on Led Zeppelin four, or maybe it was Misty Mountain Hop. He couldn't find the time signature issue. He was just like, I'm just going to play it straight forward. You're killing me, GPG. And I think there's a lot of that with John Paul Jones on this record where they're like, we're not even going to try to interpret what you're doing. We're just going to do our thing along with it, which is really beautiful. Right? They don't try to force it too far in any one direction.

So he's nailing it already by the second song, Deke Jones. So then we go into Over the Hills and far away.

I think it's maybe the best rock and roll song that exists. I understand Stairway to Heaven is the obvious favorite. I get it. I know why it's there. I love that song. It's epic. But if you want to take this kind of different approach to epic, just literally putting all the pieces together of a great song and creating a light mood, like maybe if you could take Stairway to Heaven and create a mood that didn't feel as heavy over the hills and far away nails this thing. And for it to have gone at this point in the record, already gone through the song remains the same, which drives into the rain song, which kind of lets up and creates a vibe for you and then back into over the hills and far away, which draws you in and then starts to create more of a traditional song structure. You're already doing three different things, three songs into the record, three very different. And I love how much they draw at the ending of the song. Yeah. So then you go from that as if it hasn't been weird enough so far. And let's make it as weird as possible because let's basically do an on the nose James Brown cover.

Yeah, I struggle with the crunch. If there's one song on the record that I skip all the time, it's the song I got to be in the mood. It's a novelty for this one. It is the silliest Zeppelin song other than like maybe Fool in the Rain Before In the Rain. So sweet that you can get past that makes me laugh. Yeah. With all the whistles and the like. Carnival breakdown.

Jimmy Page played a Stratocaster on the crunch, which created a different sound than most anything else you'd hear. Right. And he's pretty classically on, you know, the things you've seen before, the Les Paul, the double neck, S.G., whatever that other guitar is. So he pretty classically played on those other three guitars, but on the Crunch's, again, channeling the funk, doing everything else. They're actually changing his instrument to make sure that he could sound the way that he needed it to sound on that. It's an interesting departure.

Just the thought of him playing a Strat is really weird. But you forget about the versatility of that guitar where the tele is more of you're going to use it for a thing. The Strat is way more broad and he gets a great tone and a lot of different context. Yeah, the crunch is the crunch is weird, but they do it well. I mean, the funk of the song is super well executed. Right. And the GB's were like the best live band in the world. They could just play the same thing for like 20 minutes and have it be cool and different. So this this was an interesting stab at that idea. But, man, it can get a little farcical depending on your mood.

I'd almost say it's objectively farcical, but I think that that's another good example of why this record is so deep. It's got so many layers to it, even if the track itself is kind of silly and doesn't feel right. It's great to understand that Led Zeppelin up until this point and would continue on to borrow and basically steal from blues artists that came before them in the tradition of blues. Similarly, here they are taking the modern phenomenon of James Brown. And there's a reason that Robert Plant keeps saying, where's the bridge?

Have you see the bridge? The bridge?

Wasn't confounded bridge, and that's because when James Brown and bands like that would record, they didn't have this necessary structure. They went in, they basically jammed and James Brown would live, tell people, go to the bridge you to know. And so for them to be borrowing that style, then have Robert Plant be laying on top of it, this almost goofy throwback to what James Brown was doing when there is clearly no actual bridge in the song anyway, it kind of helps you understand why they would have had this like as a band, why they would have had this silly mood where there would be four grown men dancing out on the lawn of Hadley Grange somewhere. Right. They like this is the sort of attitude they had or they just kind of decided, let's just let's just do this. Let's throw it together. It sounds great, has this weird feel to it, but we'll put it on this record with everything else.

We got a lot of fans and we want them to dance and have fun. And if they don't just skip the song. Right, like if you don't like this mood, wait five minutes and we'll get you something you'll like eventually.

If you don't like this mood, how about the very next song that's inspired by something in the Middle East? So Dancing Days has this crazy revenant that's inspired by something totally different from James Brown and the things that came before it. So at this point, now they're now they're being influenced by a totally different style of music. The guitar riff is just bending strings really hard, which Jimmy Page was amazing at. If you've ever sat down and tried to play some of the stuff that Jimmy Page plays, things that you think are different frets are just Jimmy Page having immaculate control over the strings, being able to perfectly nail the exact tone, the frequency of bending a string, which is really hard to do. But to be able to have that level of control gives them the opportunity to create weird riffs like this, things that sound completely different from anything else.

And what's interesting is I don't really get the Eastern feel from this. Like it's not obvious, like it is in paint it black. I always thought of this song as like a flower child song. Maybe it's because of the lyrical content, but it just seems like it seems kind of Woodstock to me, you know, like almost like a heavy Mamas and the Papas type of thing. So that there's Eastern influences is really cool and it doesn't feel like appropriation, which I could get silly or disrespectful or whatever really quickly. So I'm glad that they made it their own. And that's in direct contrast to the direct aping of James Brown. Right. If they've done that twice in a row, it would have been like, all right, guys, cool it.

Yeah, I think that influence comes in just really at that beginning lick. It's easy for us to forget. I think that Western music has our 12 note scale. Eastern music doesn't have that. There are many more notes in between. So being able to bend a string in that direction where it kind of covers those notes that we don't otherwise appreciate or recognize as being on pitch. Also, another call out to GPG on this track, because synth is super weird. As soon as you try to listen for the synth on this song, you'll never be able to not hear it again. It's loud. Blends so well into the rest of the song that it's almost unnoticeable until you look for it. So we've got the driving song to start with. We've got the Rain Song, the beautifully arranged ballad to Go Next. We've got the classic Over the Hills and Far Away song. We've got the Crunch's, the James Brown, The Funk coming in. Then we've got this mildly Eastern Influence piece and Dancing Days. And now, you know, Kyle. What we should do next is maybe maybe what if we did like a reggae and doo wop song? What if we did that next?

And that's where the band, the whole band three eleven came from. But if we just said reggae for 30 years and rap, you know, they covered Diyarbakır on three 311 day one year.

The thing about that 311 cover that really ruined it for me was the vocals, and it makes you appreciate going back to talking about the individual performances on this record. This song would have really sucked without a really nuanced vocal performance from Plant. And I don't think he was trying very hard to be nuanced. He's just a really good singer. Right. So there's something about the performance that he just decided to do where it's like strong in the right places and it's delicate and the right places.

Right. So the the part that's really terrible in the cover is the higher part. The when I read the letters, you left me part and it really cracks. And they have two people singing the song on the cover and plant just has such range on that song. It's one of those where you don't think about the vocal performance the whole time. But then when you watch somebody really with it, then you're like, wow, that's really hard to do. And I think that was sort of plants whole thing. He just made it look so easy all the time. And as he's gotten older, he ends of the range of kind of compress and everybody talks about how he can't do the high Banshee stuff anymore. But he's still a really amazing vocalist because he had that crazy range. And it wasn't like in a classical sense, he his voice was an instrument. And it's easy to do if you're a guy who's ever been in a band or been around bands to complain about the singer who just sings, but like he more than pulled his weight. He he made it a thing. And this is a really good example, tiremaker of like taking a kind of stupid idea and making it cool and worthwhile. Like, I've never heard the Duop thing, but I think adding that layer, that blue eyed Western layer made it a little more permissible.

Also, another track where the John Paul Jones perspective is interesting. He's really vocal and how much he hates this track. And yet his contributions on both bass and piano make the song along with everything else. Again, if you're noticing a theme, it's that individually everyone is great.

Collectively, everyone is great. This record is great. It's almost like it's the greatest record of all time.

It feels weird to say that, right, because it is not that cohesive of an idea and you kind of have to put it in silver medal position because it doesn't really, like, do a thing. But yeah, we're we're really making a we're mounting a case for it in our own minds. I feel like as we go along, it's hard to say Diyarbakır maker.

Right. Literally saying the song title is pretty strange because it apparently comes from this very odd phrase. It would be better if I read this instead of recollecting. It will just lift this directly from Wikipedia. So I'm sorry. In advance, the name of the song was derived from the phonetic spelling of a British pronunciation of Jamaica from the old joke, My wife's gone on holiday. Jamaica? No, she went of her own accord. So apparently if we wanted to pronounce this right, we need some sort of weird accent and basically try to say, did you make her go on holiday?

No way. Seriously, if you want a rabbit hole, right, there's one everywhere. You put your foot on this record. That's a great example. So anyway, no quarter. Let's talk about no quarter because that's that now that's going to come after the strangeness of dire maker. And then we're going to go straight into no quarter, which is probably one of your favorite songs, if not your favorite, just objectively fantastic. No, it's it's for sure. My favorite Zeppelin song, I decided a long time ago.

Oh. And we're still trying to.

Kevin.

Five, just the heaviness of the vibe, it was the first song that made me think about atmosphere. It's just so thick with atmosphere and with darkness and it feels like you physically enter a space that's uncomfortable for sure. You can trace the again, the John Paul Jones thing. You can trace the influence of the Keys and so many other places. I read in an article somebody was they connected it to everything from lounge to acid jazz to R and B to all of these other places where it's just like an approach to the keys that he took from God knows where there's a heavy layer right on the low end. And then there's like a really tickly jazzy layer on the high end. And in that contrast is so weird. It just kind of does such a thing to you.

And lastly, the ocean feels really straightforward, I think, at this point, which is an interesting part about that song and one of the reasons I love it so much. You've come out of so much complexity so much. I just keep saying vibe modulation the most the more we talk about this kind of thing. But coming out of a feeling like no quarter and going into the ocean, which is just it's almost Led Zeppelin template coming back for the first time on the record, give me a big Jimmy Page riff. Give me a big driving beat behind it, move it forward, get a good hook in there.

I hadn't thought about it that way, but it is a palate cleanser and I love that it's so live. Bonzo counts it off at the beginning of the song and I always think that's really fun that it that's like. All right everybody, this is it. Like let's do the last thing and get out of here. You know, like it's it's very fun in that way.

It's like a whole thing. Well, they were already using this song for encores before they recorded and released it. Oh, right on. I didn't know that. That's cool. That makes a lot more sense. Right. This is a total Oncor song, Rasher. So it's an encore song written about the crowds of people who want them to play the encore, which is nice. And Medda. That's cool.

I think it helps place things a little bit more the way that that guitar comes in on the ocean and it feels like it has this extra tight reverberation on it. That's because they put a Fender amp in a fireplace and recorded it that way.

Hey, we did that thing with the drums from far away. Let's do a thing with the guitars up close.

Exactly. So much of this record and other records, any time they were at Headley Grange was just trying to find places where they could put either John Bonham or an amp in a unique place, and they put a microphone in a weird place and catch natural reverberations coming off the building instead of trying to do it all in post-production. Basically. Also a side note, I just figure we're throwing in because I learned around a minute and a half in minute. Thirty seven seconds you can hear the studio telephone ringing.

I've never heard that before. That's really cool.

So I imagine that's probably bleeding through from them. Also opening up a mic so that he could count in.

It's clearly super live. And that's what I love about the song. And you we talked about the joy with all the way back in the first song. The song remains the same and then middle of the record on the crunch. Right. This is just four dudes having a really, really good time. And they're doing their old thing in a new way.

And it's just a strange song overall, when you get a little bit further into the details, it's in seven, eight. There's an a cappella part. The riff gets just awesome right before the a cappella part happens. So there's this giant feel of creating a stadium anthem again in Led Zeppelin own way. I feel that similar to how you asked Led Zeppelin to make a ballad and they make the rain song. You ask them to make an anthem and they make the ocean a song that's just basically holding up a giant mirror back up to everybody else who is interested in being a part of their concert experience and just kind of saying, this is what we think of when we think of you and playing that back out to people. It's just phenomenal. I get really excited about it.

Fun. It's a fun way to close a record. Right. And when a lot of bands, it seems like think about album closers are like we got to do the stairway thing even though they put Stairway in the middle of the record. Right. The ocean is such an interesting album, Closer, because it's like, all right, we've done the whole like we've been through the ups and downs. We don't need to take you to the mountain top like, well, let's just have fun and then go have a beer. Have you read the Rolling Stone record review? No. So in seventy three, the whole thrust of the review is basically like, do the same thing you've been doing. I mean, it's, it's a really Cringely thing to read all the way through. And I mean they were the first really glaring example of like people get it, but the nerds don't get it as I've gotten older. That's become one of my favorite things about music are the Groer type records where you're really not into it when you start. But I can never explain it. There's always something there that makes you go back and listen a second time and a third time, and then it's next thing you know, two years later and it's one of your favorite records. It was just that the artist had to kind of like pull you along by the hand and be like, come to this new place that you will learn to like. And that's that's really the beauty of music and art. It's like it teaches you to explore places in your mind that you didn't know were there and the doors were locked. And this record is a really great example of that. Right. Like the Rolling Stone critic never got it. But for everyone else, they were like, oh, this is cool and different and new. It's just like a it's a whole life philosophy thing.

I think what you hinted at is a great way to be able to approach music, especially music that either feels unfortunate when it comes out as if they could have done something better and they chose not to give it some time and some space and especially being able to go back and listen to other albums that people appreciate, even if you don't appreciate it at the time, even when you go back and listen to the first time, give it some space, go back and try it again later. A lot of things benefit from that level of time and space. And that made me think of I was watching John Mayer gave a clinic at Berkeley in 2008 about songwriting. He talked about, you know, he's in this auditorium at Berkeley, Berklee. School of Music is full of brilliant people. And there's a bunch of people there who are dedicating their lives to being great songwriters. And he says one of the things you have to be careful of is deciding that you're smarter than the other people who listen to your music. It's really easy to write a song that you think is brilliant and then you put it out in front of other people and they say, no, I'll pass. And it's easy for you to say you don't get it.

Yeah, you don't get it. Yeah, you're not as smart as I am. He's like, if you think about it, who's not being smart in this situation? And I think understanding that we often will have a tendency the more you love music, I think the more you tend to bring into it and often the stronger reactions you'll have the first time you listen to something. And so that was a bit of a tangent to say. I think it's good for us to remember that people didn't always like Led Zeppelin albums like this one when they would come out. They felt like they were wrong or inappropriate or something like that. But given the context of time, given a little bit of space to think through them and just given that it's easy for us as music fans to think that we're smarter than other people and we have that tendency to try to keep that in the back of your head, to maybe observe your mind leaning in a direction or not when you're listening to something, and just try to give it the benefit of the doubt and try to hear what other people are hearing. Gives you a chance to experience something like this record sooner rather than later.

That's a really important rule, right? It's not like it objectively sucks because a person has put their heart and soul and themselves into it to try to carve out a place in the world and to say that it sucks and it has no reason to exist as to invalidate somebody's existence. Right. Music in that way has been a good vehicle to help us both grow up and around. Friends point like Houses of the Holy, where a lot of people didn't really get it when I first came out, and there are so many records like that where it was a little better, a lot ahead of its time. It's been a really good vehicle because it's like in our DNA, these records that have stuck with us for years and years to be like, oh yeah, that's right. Just let people be themselves and have their space.

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SEASON 5 EPISODES

TuneDig Episode 36: Son House’s “Father of Folk Blues”

All American music traces back to the blues, and deep at the root sits Son House. That the recordings on "Father of Folk Blues" even exist is something of a gray area that cuts to the heart of the great American myth, but wherever you land after hearing these stories, you’ll find that what matters most is what the great Muddy Waters once said of House: “That man was the king.”

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TuneDig Episode 35: Melvins’s “Stoner Witch”

The futility of describing the Melvins has stretched critics in the direction of absurd words like “Dadaist” for nearly 40 years now. They’ve belligerently flogged any attempt to pinpoint their essence simply by being themselves, but "Stoner Witch" remains a reliable mall directory for the Melvins’ vast and wild discography. Grab yourself some pretzel bites.

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TuneDig Episode 34: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”

We should talk about Dolly the way we talk about Prince. Her extraordinary kindness and unique kitsch both make her universally loved, but what gets left out of the conversation is the very thing that made her famous: the music. Join in as we focus attention on the sonics and songwriting of the low-key masterpiece "Jolene".

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After stepping away from talking about albums in 2020, we took time to regroup and reground in why we started this thing in the first place.

Join us as we share our renewed perspective on music coming out of Hell Year and tee up the special group of albums we’ll be diving into over the next few months. There’s a little something for everyone.

RADIO EPISODES

SEASON 4 EPISODES

SEASON 3 EPISODES

SEASON 2 EPISODES

SEASON 1 EPISODES

BONUS TRACK EPISODES

Kyle and Cliff

BONUS TRACK: How We Got Here

We got a bunch of interesting listener feedback in our off-season, and it encouraged us to shed some light on why we do things the way we do ‘em. Also, we reflect on our first writeup, which was ... interesting.

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ABOUT US

We're Cliff (left) and Kyle (right). We’re two dudes born and raised in ATL with day jobs in tech and entertainment, respectively.

We met in middle school, and in one way or another, music’s been the thing that’s kept us close for the two decades since — whether it’s sharing and talking about new music (like this podcast, except in our texts or over beers), going to shows, or working with our favorite record stores to help them survive and thrive.

We started TuneDig as a little art project that connects us more deeply ourselves and to the world through the infinite gift of music. We hope you’ll join us for the conversations, let us know what you think, and share discoveries of your own.

More About TuneDig

TuneDig began as a little something called MusicGrid.me, which we created after realizing there was no place online to directly exchange music recommendations with your friends. Our aim was simple: to make rating albums simple, useful, and social. We got some love from places like MashableWiredEvolver.fm, and Hypebot. We managed to foster conversation between music lovers, get thousands of reviews, and meet great people.

Along the way, we realized that record stores were an essential part of the music lovers’ community. After many a conversation about how we could helpfully connect them to the people who loved them, we began helping them leverage technology to create new revenue streams and embrace streaming services without giving up what’s unique to them: expertise and curation. (Long live the counter clerk who knows exactly which record will be the right introduction to jazz fusion!)

TuneDig is our vision to connect music lovers with the music they love, because no matter how much has changed in the way we discover and enjoy music, recommendations from people you trust and respect will always be the best way to find new music you’ll dig. With this podcast, we’re channeling the spirit of trusted curation pioneered by record stores, and bringing you something to take you deeper into music you can love.