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John Coltrane

All paths led to this. Season 1 closes on a sublime note, exploring the profound power of one of the most important albums in American history, full stop. We give thanks to Coltrane's cosmically attuned hymn of gratitude for the holy spirit he saw flowing through everything. Yeah, we dare say this one got downright profound.


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Episode 008: John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Episode 008: John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

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 To see what's up for grabs and learn more about us.

Today we're talking about "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane.

I love to start talking about this record from Coltrane's own narrative, because I think it's crucial, I think seeing where he came from to try to write a spiritual opus matters. It doesn't come from wanting to be strange. He would do that on the next two records after this. Omed sounds like having your brain deconstructed. So to come with one of the most acclaimed jazz albums of all time and have it be about spirituality goes very deep into how he got here.

The really the most important thing is that, like, this is a fulcrum moment for him. And I would argue it is like the singular number one most important jazz record of all time in terms of what it achieves and the combination of of what it achieves artistically and the reach that it had. Right. Which is the ultimate aim of all good art to express and to have that expression received by a number of people. An idea, a point, a thing. I mean, this album did huge numbers. I think it sold well over 100000 copies so that it's as challenging as it is and that it was commercially successful as it was, is really kind of incredible. I mean, it's it's watershed. There's like a once a generation record that pushes people, but also does really well commercially. And you have to talk about this record in contrast to kind of blue, which is normally the if you're going to start with jazz, just start with this record.

I love talking about those two records together, one, just to kind of talk about jazz an idea, because that's how I started getting into jazz and that will always be my entry point and so many other people's entry points.

But the relationship between those two records epitomizes our musical relationship. I think, like, I'm very kind of blue and you're very a love supreme. And we didn't even have to take a BuzzFeed quiz to know that about ourselves. But whereas everything about kind of blue is very straightforward, very feel, very pure ID, a love supreme is more cerebral. It aims to pun intended, I guess, much higher purpose. They said it really nicely in contrast to one another. And I only want to compare them because they were contemporaries. And I think using one as a mirror to the other helps accentuate each of their finer points. Enough about that. Let's talk about this record and and all the reasons that you love it.

Let's not, though, let's keep talking about it in the context of kind of blue. OK, I went to school for music for a little bit. I'm not a professor, so I want to use a little bit of what an actual professor had to say to explain a little bit more about why those two records are similar, because if we took the BuzzFeed quiz, it would be called what kind of modal jazz record are you? Which means it will never exist, but that's what it would be called. Harvard Music Scholar described this record as an exemplary recording of what was called modal jazz or what is called modal jazz in kind of blue is another example of this exact thing. And I think that it's a really important framework with which to view this record, because what we're talking about when we say modal jazz is this idea of using musical modes rather than your traditional chord progression means of creating a song. So some things that comprise modal jazz would be harmonic rhythm that moves really slowly.

Or you might play over a single chord for a lot for four to 16 measures or even more. Right. Which can also create drones, drone type feeling what's called pedal points. So SustainX tones with dissonant harmonies, creating a suppression of traditional chord progressions, literally not doing the thing you would expect to come next on purpose harmonies and melodies that are core tonal.

So inforce or quintel in fives, there is a fascinating Segway. You can go down about Coltrane's understanding of fourth and fifth and how it overlapped. I'm serious with Einstein's theory of relativity and quantum physics. There's a lot of discussion about how some of the ways that Coltrane started mapping out and drawing his understanding of the mathematics of jazz ended up being the same as representations of our universe in physics.

If you want to kind of step back and just say, what are we talking about when we talk about modal jazz outside of the ways that we just described it, it's what happens when experts go beyond the fundamentals of understanding something and are able to process it at a level that the rest of us don't get. That's one helpful way to look at kind of blue and a love supreme together. Specifically, they were two types of the same way to approach jazz, which moved well beyond the place that ninety nine point nine percent of even great jazz musicians get to.

You talk about Coltrane and you ever listen to any of his live stuff. You know, there's an urgency and a fervor and all of that to the way that he played. And it was epitomized here. But he was always reaching for for a thing. Right. And this record is literally about tapping into the cosmic consciousness. God, however, somebody may define it right. But just trying to reach that higher place. And it's a sort of beautiful and literal example of fumbling toward that just in the in the way that he plays is like a fervent, ecstatic religious quality to it. And when you think about all of his playing, if you go into the later stuff and it gets aggressive and weird and I mean truly unlistenable some of the time, like just way, way, way, way too much, when you look at it through that lens, it becomes a little more bearable, like, what is this guy trying to say about God or the universe or existence or whatever, that pushing in that urgency that you talked about places a love supreme directly on the line of when does jazz become so pretentious that it is unlistenable?

And that's not just an opinion you'll. Develop on your own. That's what jazz scholars have repeatedly referred to this record as. So one of the ways that we can understand how we got here is to understand where he came from, because writing a line of spirituality is exactly writing the line of where this record sits.

Right. If you have a spirituality that can make sense on some days, there's a million layers of the onion to unfurl and see all the depth of all the things that people have said and thought about an approach to understanding why we're here and what we're doing on other days. Everything that has to do with that spiritual model of the universe is pure pretense and it doesn't help. In fifty seven, he's playing with Miles Davis. There was nothing greater that you could really aspire to you at that particular point. He literally gets fired because he has a heroin and alcohol addiction. He shows up drunk, he's belligerent and he's apparently done it one too many times and literally gets fired from working with Miles Davis.

Like Miles Davis was a disciplinarian. You know, like if Miles Davis is going to be like, hey, man, you're one toe over the line.

There are plenty of tropes about it. But Jazz was not the Clean Tuxedo Band student side project thing that it is often today. Jazz was not appreciated by a good portion of society and there was legitimate reason for concern. And a lot of those cases, when you think about the the sheen of the fifties and the things that a lot of the culture tried to pretend where everything was normal, jazz felt like an infestation of just addiction. And darkness is dangerous.

It makes you physically feel weird. It was the heavy metal of its day for sure, let alone the racial component that added a whole other layer to it.

So to talk about, though, that moment in fifty seven of him getting fired, you have to understand what was written in the liner notes of this album, which came out in sixty four. Sixty five.

He wrote in the year of nineteen fifty seven, I experienced by the grace of God a spiritual awakening, which was to lead me into a richer, fuller, more productive life. He's talking about getting fired from playing with Miles Davis because he was an addict. This was about when you lean into those moments in life that are very hard and really gritty for you and you don't really want them at the time. And then after the benefit of years and new friendships and working on yourself and building into it and looking back on it and saying for some reason, I can appreciate that as a moment that I was given. Instead, this record is a celebration of the realization that that was a moment he was given to do something different and to become the person that he could actually become, at least in this particular context.

And to forgive another pun, it's his christening in a way. You know, like he was mostly unknown for the majority of those early years when his life was kind of chaotic and the period in which he became known this record. And after he was astoundingly prolific, he had ten years of just tie cycle type output where it was you almost wanted him to slow down.

He put out so much music and perform constantly. And I remember reading a retrospective and I want to read this quote, By the time he was a major jazz figure, almost his entire life was music. If he wasn't on stage or in a recording studio, he was practicing or studying records. Seemingly every other story of an encounter with Coltrane in the 1960s involved him in a room with a saxophone in his hand, playing scales in his mind. God had saved him and he was going to get back a love supreme was his expression of gratitude, a hopeful prayer for a better world.

So just thinking of somebody who's really devoted to the thing that almost wrecked them, but then also saved them, just sort of his reverence for the power of music is on full display here. And I think kind of was the framework for his whole deal as a musician from there forward.

Honestly, it's a thing learning about him that has helped me remember. When you're recovering from those bad moments, it's not just about, oh, God, I got fired from playing with Miles Davis. I had this massive chance and I lost it. I should just be grateful for what I have. That's one approach. But you can actually go back to the place that you were and change things for yourself if you want to. But it takes that level of work to do it right. We look at him as a genius and he was. But so many of the geniuses that we know and appreciate are there because they put in the sweat to further think about it in a spiritual sense.

The more I was reading about Coltrane, the more it seemed like he adopted the practices of a monk, just a complete devotion to the thing that he knew was going to save his life and his soul. And when you talk about. Creativity or your craft, I guess, broadly defined, if you know a thing can be truly great or the best thing for you, you have to give yourself to it. You can't you can't receive from it unless you give to it in equal measure.

And I think that's another important way to view how this album could happen, because when you go further into a love supreme over and over again, you find this level of detail that's immense. And it's it's hard to believe that you could create something this dense. But on top of the individual levels of practice and dedication, we see movies and we watched the montage that glosses over the part.

Right. You see a few cut scenes are just running up and down the stairs and somehow you're magically in shape and now you be now you can be the Russian artist and sell us to. And we want to be those people, but we don't truly understand that I hate the word champions, but we're going to use them here, champions or people who work harder than you. There's definitely a physicality. I could never be a center in the NBA because I'm like a five nine marginally athletic person, and that's fair. But even if I was six, eight and tremendously athletic, I could still never be an NBA center unless I worked every day of my life to get there. Right.

Like that great blues trope. Everybody want to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

And that helps us understand to how McCoy Tyner could talk about how this album was a culmination and an extension of their chemistry playing together. So not only was Coltrane learning to understand jazz on a level that surpassed most people, but they also had a chemistry as a as a group playing together.

And that is such a huge component of this.

And as we'll talk a little bit more about some of the specifics of how Coltrane makes this album so dense, it just it can't be overstated the way that we're talking about. It's not just getting good at jazz. It's moving into a different level, like we talked about with modal jazz. To be able to move beyond the common constructs of a song requires you to basically be able to move common musicality into your subconscious. Right. So that the thing that you're focusing on is no longer the music itself, but turning the music and twisting it and stretching it to do things, being able to think further ahead of where you're playing God, imagine being able to play the saxophone at the at the rate and level and precision that Coltrane was playing it at and not be actively thinking about trying to do that, but instead thinking about where you're going and not just you, but the other three people in that room, too.

Exactly. So that's the great experiment in jazz that you see to varying degrees of success or failure. You have to play together a lot. Right? So nobody's first attempt, like a jam session is never going to be as good as something like this where these guys have been playing together for a little while, like this was his signature quartet. And it was interesting to read about the reissues where they you they have the rehearsals with the tenor saxophonist and the other bassist. And there were six people and they were playing with these same pieces of music. And it doesn't work. It's stiffer.

It's weird. And you don't appreciate how fluid and tight the interplay is until you hear other people try to jump in on that conversation. It's like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You're not in the friend group. This is a this is a great sense of being able to achieve something much bigger than you'd be able to achieve on your own.

I mean, I don't know about you, but I can't record the greatest jazz album of all time in one take. This was done in one take, one session on December 9th. Nineteen sixty four.

How's that possible?

I had no idea that was the case. Oh, my God. Any time you sit and actively listen to this record, you pick up on a new thing every time.

But the best way to be really blown away by this record is not to take in the whole thing, but to listen to it a bunch of times, having taken in the whole thing. So you kind of know where the moves are and then to focus on one person for as long as you possibly can and just to hear how they're having a conversation with other pieces or or whatever. It's a great record to learn jazz vernacular with because they're doing really challenging expert things. And just some of the stuff they're playing, you're just like, whoa, whoa.

There's there's such a little bonus to all of the playing. It's very loose, but it's also very precise. So give me a couple of examples of that.

If I'm if I'm new to this record, what are some 10 polls I should be listening for?

So one of the reasons I think this record works is because we set a tent pole up immediately, the very first song and acknowledgment. Right, Tony, just to remember, this is a record trying to express the spiritual appreciation that John Coltrane has for his own life and trying to share that as less of a message. This is not a conversion pitch to anybody else. This is a moment of appreciation that we're trying to envelop gratitude just exactly. So you start with a gong, you get a symbol, wash immediately, and then you get Coltrane. I can play literally all the notes on the saxophone at once. Ready. But what happens after that? You get the E at the cymbal wash, you get the chromatic the standard Coltrane stuff kind of flowing in, and then you get the basis of the entire thing with the bass. The Forno riff that gets repeated over and over and over again, because this record is partially a mantra, it's a meditation, it's taking the same very simple thing and repeating it over and over and over again. Until you stop thinking about it as much, it just becomes part of the music. And then you can watch the way the music moves around it. And then you can kind of see again some of the ways that Coltrane especially but everyone else was able to latch onto the idea that we have a single tent pole, this baseline, essentially, and we're going to create messages and feelings around it and through it.

One of the great examples that I think is that you take those same four notes that the bass is laid out at the very beginning. And Coltrane, in this first part of it, an acknowledgment. He repeats the four notes with small variations in every key that's possible in the song. So he flows through it. You can kind of hear then and then and in it, and he goes through all of them as if to say, if you're looking for spirituality, it's in every possible place you could be looking. It's the same for note rips is simple as it can possibly be in jazz, but we're going to play every variation in different times and then in all the different key signatures to make sure, you know, it's not somewhere, it's everywhere. Now, let's do something completely different that doesn't usually pop up in a jazz record and let's chant. Right. We're going to get Coltrane himself chanting the name of the album. He's going to drive the point home because the point is that we're here, it's everywhere, be here for it, right? That's it. And I think that that's a phenomenal thing to hear from someone coming from seven years ago hitting what's, you know, rock bottom for a lot of people.

And having come back to this moment and just trying to repeat the very simple thing over and over and over again to you in order to set up the entirety of this is how to express my thankfulness. Let's center around the one thing. That's one key part you can look at in the first song. That's pretty easy. A love resolution, the next one. And I love it because the the way that the saxophone comes in, I feel like I would never be walking into a cool nightclub looking like a bad ass, but that makes me feel like I am. You've kind of got the whole setup, you've got what they've called acknowledgment in the first track, making sure you know what we're setting up and what we're going through. And then I love their resolution comes second. It's not the last song. And so I love that that goes ahead and comes straight out from the beginning. And so you start to get this sensation of emotion instead of resolution being this place you land and stay resolution becomes this place that you're walking around in. If you pick one thing to listen to on this particular song, The Snare is doing some really unique things here. You should always spend time listening to the drums on this album. We were just laughing about the with the drum solo on Pursuance. Right.

And how it occasionally feels like we forget that we haven't used cymbals yelling like just kind of throw it in there after we've been jamming you and even make a Segway into Borrus.

Well, I was going to ask you actually, and hearing you describe the whole thing about a mantra, do you think Coltrane was your entree into Sun? You're a huge Sun fan.

Do you think there's a through line there?

I do. It's not direct, though, ideological maybe at best. I think it's conceptual about how the music gets experience, because hopefully we'll get a chance to talk about a Mars Volta album in the same way that the Mars Volta had this.

This way of expanding their music so wide that you could no longer take in the individual parts, but instead we're kind of experiencing whatever it is that they were trying to to kind of put out there, the way that everything felt together is a lot of the way that I was able to experience this record. It was just I was in a place where I really wanted to know more about, for lack of a better word, experimental music, people who were doing something less straightforward.

I think that's what's fun about records like this. If you don't have it, if it's not the right point, if you're not in the right mood, if you don't have the right setting, it will sound absurd. It will sound like someone trying to warm up. I sort of disagree.

I think what's amazing to me about this album is when you really try to dig in with it, that is what's happening. But they're so good that it's never like free jazz, right where it feels like for people freaking out very separately at the same time, like when I listen to Charles Mingus, sometimes it sounds like nobody can hear anybody else in the room. These guys are doing sort of that same thing very tightly together in a harmonious way, like. Yeah. Is it dissonant?

Yeah, there's dissonance all over this record, but always in the service of the thing driving them forward, which is incredible.

Another great example of exactly that in the second song in resolution three and a half minutes in the piano starts doing something that's really disconcerting and it's really loud. It's playing really dissonant chords in the background just over and over.

More and more like Cluster's, somebody described it as cluster's, where it's just like you just picking a hand shape almost.

It's strange because when you start to focus on it, yes, you realize it's intentional because obviously that's a phenomenal jazz pianist that's playing it.

There was a method to the madness with McCoy Tyner, for sure.

Absolutely. And that's where Coltrane stays more disciplined in his playing. When the piano starts to feel like it might go off the rails, the saxophone backs off of the chromaticism and starts driving towards something more specific instead.

Ok, so that's the thing you've hit on the thing. They're not all equally dissonant all the time, right? One person, that's their version of soloing, kind of when they're all playing together, one person gets to be the aggressive weirdo person and intuitively the other's back off of it.

That's a really astute insight in that's a common thing in jazz that's taken to a professional and extreme level here. I got to play in a jazz band. Anyone who has before knows there's there are standards and then you rotate through being able to kind of solo. And so everyone backs off, but they usually back off from a complexity perspective. They back off from a volume and intensity perspective. But it's not usually a if the solo is going to be coherent, I'm going to be incoherent to create the tension on a song called Resolution. And so that's the magic of what they're doing, not only because the dissonance and the resolution on top of each other maybe makes its own point, but because it takes an extreme level of understanding of the music to then come back in three minutes, later reintroduce the main coherent riff of the entire song all over again. The ability to go that far in and still come back out that quickly is what makes so much of this stuff rare. I think the comparisons, for instance, to a band like the Mars Volta might end a little bit there. Sometimes they can come back out of it, but oftentimes they just leave you uncomfortably in the mush.

They definitely drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you right to walk back to town yourself. Right. Which Coltrane and them don't don't do.

Now you find out that Coltrane is in the car you thought was abandoned in the backseat. He just pops out, comes back to the driver's seat and takes off again.

Oh, hey, were you were you here the whole time you were worried? Were you? What did you think?

We weren't good kind of skipping even to the last song and going to song. There's more depth there. There's depth in the third song, too. There's there's way more depth than we could cover anyway. But I think the last one is interesting. When we talk about a song and we try to talk about its spiritual context as well, why is it named that at all? I think there's a few different reasons we can know about it. But it's it's also interesting to hear the shape of the song in the context of calling it a solemn one of them. And we can be more clear about this. I think that the connections are more direct here.

There's literally a poem that's in the liner notes that he writes that's much more in the vein of a traditional psalm, which is generally it's either sad or happy. They can be both, but they're often just an expression of here's how I feel in this moment without judgment about myself whatsoever. Sometimes it tries to express a feeling of gratitude towards a greater thing. Sometimes it expresses sadness towards the greater thing. But more than anything else, it just tries to express what it is at that moment without judgment about it and without trying to change it. And so that's why I think a psalm is an interesting thing for Coltrane to end on here instead of once again a resolution, because it doesn't end. There's no neatly wrapped portion of a spiritual experience. We never get done feeling uneasy about it. But what we can do is say without reservation, here's where I am right now. And so this poem that we've that we mentioned in the liner notes, he's literally trying to play a musical version of a poem that he's written at the end of this song. The attempt to take something like literal words and a literal poem and transcribe it into a saxophone kind of feels like the way we would talk about any level of spiritual or non spiritual experience that we have anyway. There's this completely untouchable portion of language that we can try to translate. And no matter what we say or how we try to translate it, it's not going to sound anything remotely like the thing that we're imagining in our head. Right. And we're going to try to do it and we're going to let it be.

That's why music is such an important part of our lives. And we know that intuitively. Right. It expresses that which we cannot otherwise express.

It reaches a really reaches the top of the mountain place here.

And it's interesting that you say that about a psalm and you're acknowledging all these things that are like basic mindfulness concepts. Right? Like that's the nature of enlightenment. Like this whole record is is about the very nature of enlightenment and goes through that journey. It's so interesting when you talk about that, like stop trying to surf and just surf, don't do anything, don't try to surf, don't do it. The less you do, the more you do go into that place that your mind knows but won't tell you the instructions explicitly. But we'll just get there if you just stop and trust and all that, that if you really dig in with this record, it is kind of an instruction manual in that way and how to be more mindful.

I think the greatest thing we could do in service of this record is not try to create an ending to not try to fold this into a singular thought. Think that kind of betrays the entire point of this thing that Coltrane managed to do for us. For himself. Sure. But the fact that he shared it with everybody else and that it exists means that he was willing to put it out and let other people experience it. And so in the same way, trying not to say and that's a wrap on understand that album. Now, listen to it. Now that we've explained it to you, you should be able to get it. I think a lot of what Coltrane is trying to say here is good for us and is maybe designed to speak to the type of people we are trying to speak to this podcast anyway. There's never a good enough explanation. There's always a million ways to look at and receive anything that you enjoy and want to pay attention to. I think here John Coltrane trying to put a period on his spiritual sentence instead of trying to say all is one. In a lot of ways he's just saying, you know what, one is all look for it everywhere. If you want to dig into something, dig into it as hard as you can. Everything else will come to you in time.

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TuneDig Episode 026: A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauders”

Most artists would’ve crumbled under the pressure of following up an instant classic like The "Low End Theory", but Tip, Phife, and Shaheed dug even deeper, delivering an even more “precise, bass-heavy, and just right” work in sound and in spirit. Midnight remains a watershed moment for hip-hop, so we must bear witness.

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TuneDig Episode 018: Janelle Monáe’s “The ArchAndroid”

Picasso said that “art is a lie that makes us realize truth.“ Grand artistic statements like "The ArchAndroid" reveal intimate ideas beneath layers of disguise, drawing in the audience to connect to the story’s feelings rather than its facts. This one’s about the fight for freedom and love … and who doesn’t want more of that?

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TuneDig Episode 017: Björk’s “Homogenic”

For an artist as creative as Björk, finding the essence of her sound meant pushing farther out than ever before. Ideas, sounds, and approaches that seemed at odds added up to something greater on "Homogenic". The result was vast, nuanced “emotional landscapes” unlike anything we’ve ever experienced … do yourself a favor and walk around them with us. We dare you.

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TuneDig Episode 016: Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”

There’s little doubt at this point that "Miseducation" is a great album, but after really spending time with it, we came away with a deep belief that it’s one of the best ever, full stop. It’s a perfect record — albeit from an imperfect vessel — delivered at the perfect moment for maximum impact, and we only manage to scratch its surface here. We hope it hits you like it has us.

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Episode 015: The Mars Volta’s “Frances the Mute”

TuneDig Episode 015: The Mars Volta’s “Frances the Mute”

Frances the Mute is a sonic séance, conjuring spirits buried beneath stories left behind by lost souls. The album finds restless living spirits walking a hallucinatory hall of mirrors of space and time, trying to find light beyond the darkness of a friend gone too soon. Don’t be afraid to get your mind bent—we’re here to guide you.

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Episode 014: BADBADNOTGOOD’s “IV”

TuneDig Episode 014: BADBADNOTGOOD’s “IV”

If you’re worried about kids these days and/or the pitfalls of technology, we’d like to point to an antidote to all those fears. Meet BADBADNOTGOOD, the jazz quartet you can crowdsurf to, and IV, the album where they found their own voice. What a time to be alive.

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Episode 013: Cream’s “Wheels of Fire”

TuneDig Episode 013: Cream’s “Wheels of Fire”

Clapton. Bruce. Baker. This supergroup was a strange brew that was simply too potent for the world (not to mention the band themselves), and we see that on display in "Wheels of Fire". The double album finds the trio at—ahem—a crossroads, the contrast between their inspirations creating tension to mixed—but often magical—effect.

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Episode 012: Mono’s “You Are There”

TuneDig Episode 012: Mono’s “You Are There”

File "You Are There" under evidence for Huxley’s thesis that, “after silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.“ We gave our best effort trying to capture Mono’s magic, who don’t utter a single world but manage to say everything about life, death, and all that’s between.

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Episode 011: Rage Against the Machine’s “Rage Against the Machine”

TuneDig Episode 011: Rage Against the Machine’s “Rage Against the Machine”

On the eve of an opportunity for Americans to lift their voices in demand of a more perfect union, we seek wisdom for this moment from the uncompromising, incendiary vision of our generation’s most effective revolutionaries. Troubling as it may be that so much still rings so true in Rage’s quarter-century-old debut, there is strength to be drawn from its message: We, the People, have a world to win.

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Episode 010: Kanye West’s “The College Dropout”

TuneDig Episode 010: Kanye West’s “The College Dropout”

The Kanyepalooza™ of the past few months made us question if Ye ever actually made anything that made him worth all this fuss. (SPOILER: He did.) This investigation wasn’t as simple as missing the old Kanye — because every Ye fan seems to have a different favorite album — but we wound up looking back with admiration on the first time Donda’s son held the zeitgeist in his hands and turned it upside-down.

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Episode 008: John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”

TuneDig Episode 008: John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”

All paths led to this. Season 1 closes on a sublime note, exploring the profound power of one of the most important albums in American history, full stop. We give thanks to Coltrane's cosmically attuned hymn of gratitude for the holy spirit he saw flowing through everything. Yeah, we dare say this one got downright profound.

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Episode 007: Hüsker Dü’s “Zen Arcade”

TuneDig Episode 007: Hüsker Dü’s “Zen Arcade”

The antagonistically long, spastically eclectic Zen Arcade is about growing out of where you’re from and into a form you don’t yet fit. For better or worse, it’s as punk as punk gets. Join the fun as two grown-up punks reckon with the good, the bad, and the WTF of a hardcore staple they’d missed until long after their best pitting years.

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Episode 007: Hüsker Dü’s “Zen Arcade”

TuneDig Episode 006: Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!”

Consider this our RT of FX’s John Landgraf, who warned the world to “underestimate Donald Glover at your own peril.” This episode finds us talking a little about Gambino’s afro-futurist awakening on “Awaken” as a vehicle to talk a lot about Glover’s many punk rock masterstrokes.

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Episode 005: Soundgarden’s “Superunknown”

TuneDig Episode 005: Soundgarden’s “Superunknown”

The spirit of "Superunknown" perhaps is best captured by an offhand press quote from Kim Thayil: “Human beings are a wild composite of temporal events and insights and motivations and restrained behaviors ... and memories both delusional and accurate.” In this episode, we reflect on a masterpiece that captured the contradictions and complexity of raw emotion, and we explore the black hole-sized void torn open by the loss of a musical titan.

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Episode 004: “Dopesmoker” by Sleep

TuneDig Episode 004: “Dopesmoker” by Sleep

It’s easy to make a punchline out of this “album” (read: single 63-minute song) and the circumstances surrounding it, but as we explore the music that wound up becoming a heavy music landmark, we found something profound. On Sleep's "Dopesmoker", the journey really is the destination after all.

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Episode 003: “Dummy” by Portishead

TuneDig Episode 003: “Dummy” by Portishead

Portishead’s dark, timeless mystique is hard to capture, so instead we mostly meditate on “the air around the thing.” Venture into the fog with Bristol’s anti-heroes and the cinematic landscape of what the BBC called “quite simply one of the greatest debut albums of the 1990s.”

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Episode 002: “Houses of the Holy” by Led Zeppelin

TuneDig Episode 002: “Houses of the Holy” by 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.

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Episode 001: “Stankonia” by Outkast

TuneDig Episode 001: “Stankonia” by Outkast

We kick off the podcast with one of our all-time favorite records, embedded deeply in our hometown. It turns out the south did have something to say, and it's influenced decades of music just as much as it borrowed from the funkiness of the past.

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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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We're Kyle (right) and Cliff.

We aren't journalists or musicologists or professors.

We're two dudes from Atlanta who care a lot about music. We've been talking to each other about it for more than 15 years.

This podcast is our way of bringing you into that conversation and taking you deeper into these albums that we love.

More About TuneDig

TuneDig began as a little something called, 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, 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.