267 episodes

Ongoing History of New Music looks at things from the alt-rock universe to hip hop, from artist profiles to various thematic explorations. It is Canada’s most well known music documentary hosted by the legendary Alan Cross. Whatever the episode, you’re definitely going to learn something that you might not find anywhere else. Trust us on this.

Ongoing History of New Music Curiouscast

    • Music
    • 4.9 • 3.1K Ratings

Ongoing History of New Music looks at things from the alt-rock universe to hip hop, from artist profiles to various thematic explorations. It is Canada’s most well known music documentary hosted by the legendary Alan Cross. Whatever the episode, you’re definitely going to learn something that you might not find anywhere else. Trust us on this.

    Music Questions People Almost Never Ask

    Music Questions People Almost Never Ask

    I think one of the greatest gifts humans have is a sense of curiosity…the ability to question things around to learn why things are the way they are pushes us forward…

    Here are my three favourite questions that i think everyone should ask…are we alone in the universe?...who really killed JFK?...and what do dogs dream about when they twitch in their sleep?...

    But there are plenty of questions we don’t ask that we probably should…let me give you a few examples…
    When a prisoner about to be executed by lethal injection, why does the doctor swab the iv site with alcohol first?...
    Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?...
    And how about this: what’s the size of a fart …

    But you see what I mean…these are questions that probably should have answers?...if you must know, it ranges between the size of a bottle of nail polish and a soft drink can…you’re welcome

    After discussing important stuff like this with some friends, I got to thinking: can we find the same sorts of unasked questions in the world of music?...turns out we can…this is stuff we should be curious about…and are there answers to these questions?...let’s find out…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 37 min
    The Beginners Guide to Vinyl

    The Beginners Guide to Vinyl

    So you’ve decided to go all retro and dive into vinyl…no more digital for you…you are going back to the future…it’s all about analogue, baby…

    Buh-bye, mp3s and digital downloads—except maybe for the songs you want to load on your phone…but that’s the one and only exception…other than the songs you want to play through your car’s entertainment system…that’s two exceptions and no more…unless we count the songs you want to send to friends…those three situations cover off everything—except for the digital tracks you’ll stream…

    But other than those three—four!—specific needs, you’re going to give up music encoded into zeroes and ones…binary is dead…no more pathetic sampling rates resulting in harsh-sounding square waves…not counting all the cds you own, of course…those are digital files, aren’t they?...i mean, you aren’t going to throw them out, are you?...probably just rip them into my computer…

    But beyond those five situations, you’re done with digital…mostly…except when you can’t avoid it…which will be 90% of the time…

    Still, you want to experience what everyone has been telling you about vinyl—and not only the sound but the whole experience of buying, unwrapping and playing it…

    If you’re of a certain age or technology persuasion, getting back into vinyl is like riding a bike…the first time you try it again, you might be a bit wobbly…but what if you’ve never ridden that bike?...

    Gather ‘round, friends…let’s get you started…this is your Ongoing History beginner’s guide to vinyl…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 33 min
    RocknRoll Rehab

    RocknRoll Rehab

    Sometimes, the pressures of life become a little too much and the methods of escape you choose to cope with them aren’t exactly the best ones…over-indulgence with and reliance upon drugs and/or alcohol is never, ever a good thing…and once you get so far down this road, you need help…

    When you’re a musician, you have to deal with a whole new set of circumstances…long days, weird hours, bad food, poverty…or maybe you’ve struck it rich and you can’t handle the fame…

    Or maybe you love the fame a little too much…you like living in your bubble of unreality where people are afraid to tell you “no” and are only too happy to let you indulge in whatever you want, no matter how crazy…

    Sometimes people seek help on their own…sometimes they need a little, er, encouragement to get the help they need….what you’re about to hear are some rehab stories about artists who took their lives to the edge…some were able to step back….and some—well, you’ll see…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 35 min
    The Tragically Hip's "Saskadelphia"

    The Tragically Hip's "Saskadelphia"

    On Saturday, August 20, 2016, tens of millions of Canadians watched and listened to the final Tragically Hip concert from Kingston…given Gord Downie’s illness, we knew that was the last time we’d see the band perform together live…

    That was followed by one of the saddest days in the history of Canadian music…. October 17, 2017, the day Gord Downie died…one tweet summed up everything: “Canada closed: death in the family”…

    So that was it, then…after more than 30 years, the most Canadian rock band of all time was done…all we had were the music and the memories…

    But what if we were wrong about that?...what if, somewhere, there was a trove of unreleased material that no one knew existed?...and what if a strange confluence of events led to that cache of music—songs that no one (even the band) had heard for decades—being found and released?...and what if those long-lost songs were really, really good?...

    To answer those questions: yes, there was a stash of unheard songs…yes, their rediscovery was the result of an accident…and yes, they are really, really good…

    The result was essentially a brand new Tragically Hip album that brings fans back to the band’s glory years of the early 90s…it’s like a time machine…the hip are together playing great—and Gord is back…

    The new record is called “Saskadelphia”…we’ll hear all these once-missing tragically hip songs: how they were made, what happened to them, and how they were finally found…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 39 min
    A Requiem for Daft Punk

    A Requiem for Daft Punk

    It takes a special kind of band to obscure their appearance…but if you can do it right, then it moves from being a silly gimmick to an important piece of your identity, image, and brand.…

    When Kiss came along in the early 70s with their Japanese kabuki-inspired makeup, it wasn’t that far out…they came from New York where there was a glitter scene that had a lot of guys wearing make-up…kiss just took it to an extreme: The Demon, Star Child, Spaceman, and Catman…

    It worked--eventually…Kiss has sold 100 million albums…there was that period after 1983 when they wiped off the greasepaint and showed their faces to everyone, but that’s not what the fans wanted, and they eventually brought it all back…

    A more contemporary example is Slipknot…their masks have been an essential part of their identity since the band started up in 1995…it started with the clown wearing a clown mask for the band’s first gig shortly before Halloween that year…the rest of the guys thought it was dumb at first, but then they all joined in…

    Fans now keep close tabs on each member’s mask, parsing what each new iteration—and they can change or be updated almost yearly—might mean…

    There are other mask-wearing bands: the residents with their eyeball heads…any number of dark metal bands from Scandinavia like Ghost and Lordi…Pussy Riot (largely to keep their identity hidden from the authorities)…then there’s Gwar, who have taken it to a completely different level entirely with their alien costumes…and deadmaus has had his big mouse head for years…there are tons of others, but you get the idea…

    This brings me to Daft Punk…from 1993 until their breakup in February 2021, they acted like robots with elaborate helmets that completely obscured their identity…we knew they were French, and we knew their real names…but beyond that, they were a cool mystery that we played along with…

    Now that they’re done, though, it’s time to dig through their history…what the hell was Daft Punk all about?...and why did they matter so much?...here is their requiem…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    The History of the Record Store

    The History of the Record Store

    Before we begin, I am very aware that there are people listening to this program who have never, ever set foot in a record store…they came of age musical after the Internet changed everything about how we hear about, acquire, and consume music…

    But remember this: for over a hundred years, the only way you could hear music on-demand was to own it…you had to purchase a piece of plastic for x dollars and for that price, you could listen to that music an infinite number of times for no additional charge…

    You made not just an emotional investment in that music, but a financial one as well…and dammit, you were going to make sure you listened to that piece of plastic until you wrung out possible bit of enjoyment you could from it…otherwise, you’d have to come to terms with the fact that you wasted your money…

    There was another aspect to this emotional investment, too…in order to acquire this music, you had to leave your home, find your way to a record store, and search through all the shelves hoping the find something…if you were looking for something specific and it wasn’t in stock, you had to special-order it, which was a whole new level of emotional investment…

    And while you were at the record store, you interacted with records that you didn’t know about…just flipping through the racks looking at albums was an education in itself…maybe you’d go with a couple of friends, fan out across the store and then compare finds…

    Maybe you’d meet a stranger and strike up a conversation…and if you were a regular, it’s possible that the person behind the counter became a trusted source for recommendations…or maybe you’d go see an artist play live or for some kind of autograph session…

    Record stores are still with us, but there are fewer and fewer of them—certainly way less than the glory days of music shopping from the 60s through to the late 90s…and a lot of legendary stores and chains have disappeared forever…

    But while it lasted, it was pretty amazing…this is the story of the record store…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
3.1K Ratings

3.1K Ratings

UmraoJaan ,

The BEST

I've listened to Alan Cross and TOHONM for 25+ years. Before the internet and podcasts I'd be parked in my car in the driveway because I couldn't tear away from a minute of the show. This is by far the best music radio show and now the best music podcast. Always impeccably researched and riveting.

Judge 9 ,

Genius at Work

I’ve been listening to Alan since the 80’s when the edge was CFNY 102.1 and when he used to DJ at a dance club called Amnesia. We used to harass him to play Everyday is Halloween by Ministry and other songs that were almost 10 years passed before Whiskey Saigon exploded with retro night in the 90’s. Alan would often oblige and play many of our requests providing us with memories that still last with us today. I cherish an old book of his and now it’s great to be able to refer to his endless research efforts on this podcast. Thanks Alan for providing such a wealth of knowledge and countless hours of entertainment. Waiting to hear when the U. Of Winnipeg will give you your honorary Ph.D. You deserve it!

LarryDawid ,

“Rehab episode”

Very disappointing. Trainwreck of a person? Junkie? There’s better ways to describe people who use drugs that aren’t loaded with judgmental over and undertones.
You think people listening who have substance use issues are more or less likely to try and seek help after hearing the sort of language used in this episode?

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