276 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 • 365 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.

    The Unsung Heroes of Music: Part 2

    The Unsung Heroes of Music: Part 2

    In the winter of 1417, a young man named Poggio Braciolini was searching through a library when it found an odd manuscript sitting on a shelf…it was a thousand years old—the last surviving copy of a poem by a roman philosopher named Lucretius…

    What Lucretius said in this poem was radical—heretical, in fact…what it contained was against all the teachings of God and men…it was called “On The Nature of Things”…

    First, he posited that the universe operated without Gods and that matter was made of tiny, tiny, particles that were in constant motion…

    Despite the danger—this was explosive stuff in 1417—Bracciolini translated the poem…copies were carefully distributed over the next couple of hundred years…and the intellectual impact on Europe was incalculable…

    Lucretius’ notions inspired new ways of thinking, leading to the renaissance, the enlightenment and all that followed…Bracciolini’s translation of “On The Nature of Things” quite literally changed the course of humanity…

    Scholars have argued that because of him, the world became modern…that everything we take for granted today in terms of culture and thought happened because Bracciolini happened to find that one-and-only manuscript…

    Yet have you ever heard of Poggio Bracciolini?...probably not…he is one of the great unsung heroes of history…

    Now let’s apply the same sort of thinking to the history of rock…are there similar such people—people who did something that altered the course of this music yet we don’t know about them?...absolutely…and it’s time to give them some credit…this is part two of great unsung heroes of rock…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 28 min
    The Unsung Heroes of Music: Part 1

    The Unsung Heroes of Music: Part 1

    Not everyone who managed to change the world is famous…it is possible to do something absolutely, monumentally world-shaking and not receive any recognition for it…

    I’ll give you a name: Vasyli Arkipov…it’s possible that this guy is the only reason any of us are still alive…seriously…

    October 27, 1962…it’s the height of the Cuban missile crisis…the soviets had nukes in Cuba aimed at the u.s. and more were on the way…John Kennedy responded by setting up a blockade around the island…

    The USS Randolph was one of the ships in charge of enforcing the blockade…they spotted a Soviet sub that was sent to protect the flotilla of Russian ships approaching the island with more missiles on board…this one particular sub—a Foxtrot class b-59—was armed with nuclear missiles…Arkhipov was the second in command…

    The Randolph began dropping depth charges in an effort to get the sub to surface…b-59 suffered damage…the crew couldn’t breathe…they wanted to fight back…the sub commander tried to raise soviet command for permission to fire—but he couldn’t reach them…

    Because they’d been cruising submerged for days, they hadn’t heard anything from Soviet high command…but they had been monitoring American civil broadcasts which offered non-stop coverage of the crisis…and now they were under attack…maybe the war had finally begun…if that was the case, shouldn’t they launch their missiles?...

    Captain Valentín Savitsky was in favour of an attack…so was political officer Ivan Maslennikov…but in order to launch the nukes, Stavisky and Maslennikov also needed agreement from Arkhipov…“what do you say, Vasyli?...do we engage the Americans with our special weapon?”…

    Vasyli took a breath and replied “nyet…we do not fire…we have no proof that we are at war…what if we’re wrong?...if we launch, we risk starting an all-our nuclear war and  wipe out all life on the planet”…

    The commander wasn’t happy with that, but rules were rules and he ordered that the crew stand down…no nuke would be fired that day…and when the sub did surface, it was confirmed that hostilities had not broken out…this is why Vasyli Arkipov is widely regarded as the man who single-handedly prevented a global nuclear war on October 27, 1962…yet how many people know his name?...

    Now let’s take a big pivot into music…what kind of unsung heroes might we find there?...

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    • 27 min
    Bond...James Bond...Music

    Bond...James Bond...Music

    When a movie is successful, someone somewhere wants more…that’s when we get a sequel…if that follow-up does well, then the sequel gets a sequel…and if that film has traction, well, then you reach the level of franchise…

    We’ve seen many movie franchises over the decades, Star Wars and Star Trek being among the most famous…but then we have all the Fast and the Furious films, Harry Potter, Rocky, Mission Impossible, Planet of the Apes, Toy Story, Lord of the Rings, and so on…

    And I haven’t even mentioned the marvel cinematic universe, which has something like three dozen movies and the dc extended universe, which has almost 30…

    Studios and producers love movie franchises because they’re reliable sources of revenue forever…fans will flock to any new release while they’re still bingeing on all the older movies…and don’t even get me started on things like merchandising…

    What’s the oldest movie franchise?...that would probably be King Kong…the first Kong movie came out in 1933…the first Alice in Wonderland movie came out the same year…

    The Wizard of Oz fits our definition…there have been four films since 1939…that counts…Godzilla…first one was 1954…and then we finally get to James Bond…

    There have been 27 Bond films, starting with Dr. No in 1962…box office grosses are now around $14 billion U.S. dollars…that is just the movies…

    Then we have the music…there are few crossover points between music and film that are more prestigious than being tapped to do the theme for a James Bond movie…

    Every time a new chapter in the franchise is announced, tenders go out for someone to do the theme…and the competition is furious…

    Sounds like there’s some interesting music history here—and there is…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    The History of Portable Music: Part 2

    The History of Portable Music: Part 2

    There are three moments when I remember looking at something in my hands and realizing that this was going to change my life…

    The first time was on my sixth birthday when my grandmother gave me a portable transistor radio…I was still awfully young, but I somehow knew that I could now control not only what I listened to but where and when…

    The second time was in 1999 when I was given a prototype of a device called an RCA Lyra…it was an early digital music player, capable of holding up to an hour’s worth of music…no matter how hard I shook it, the music would not skip…for someone who liked to go running to music, that was a big deal…

    And the third time was when I searched for—and found! —an obscure song on my iPhone…I had just installed the long-gone Rdio app and was still very skeptical about this whole new streaming thing…the idea that you just paid for access and not to own the music?...rubbish—until that day when I figured it out…

    We’ve come such a long way when it comes to making music portable, especially in the 21st century…what was once science fiction is now reality…taking our music with us is so easy right now, we forget how long it took to get us to this point—and how much technology we had to go through to get here…

    This is the history of portable music, part 2…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 33 min
    The History of Portable Music: Part 1

    The History of Portable Music: Part 1

    One of the many great things about music is that we can enjoy it anywhere…I’m talking about the recorded kind…everyone has a smartphone, and every smartphone has the capability of playing music, whether you’re listening to tracks stored in its memory or streaming something from a service like Spotify or apple music…as long as your device has juice, you can enjoy listening to music anywhere you are…

    Take this program, for example…in its radio show form, it’s being heard in homes, cars, offices, and workplaces either over the air or through a stream…if you’re listening to the podcast, you might have downloaded it to a phone, a tablet or a laptop which you can fire up anywhere at your convenience…

    But imagine for moment that you couldn’t take your music with you…if you wanted to listen to your favourite songs, you had to be present in a specific place and you couldn’t move from it…and that usually meant music inside the home—or perhaps someplace with something like a jukebox…

    This might sound absolutely awful to you…I mean, we’re so used to conjuring up music whenever we want and wherever we are…we take it with us everywhere…it’s hard to imagine life without that ability…

    That’s the way it was for most of human history, though…for centuries and centuries, the only way to make music portable was to bring a musical instrument with you and play it yourself…

    The idea of making recorded music portable—at least in a way that is convenient, cheap, and reliable—is more recent than you might think…and it went through way more incarnations than you may realize…

    What do you say we take a look at the history of portable music?...

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 35 min
    Studio Stories with David Botrill

    Studio Stories with David Botrill

    Long before I started doing this for a living, I had the notion that I was going to be a record producer…after all, I loved music and the idea of being able to help record it would be a great job…

    So as high school wound down, I started to look around for schools that taught music production…and that’s when reality set it…all of them asked for a portfolio of past work…I was 18 years old and from a small prairie town…how was I supposed to have a portfolio of past work?...

    They also made it clear that I had to be musically adept…I was a pretty good drummer, but that wasn’t enough…and I had seven years of accordion lessons, but that didn’t really cut it…I couldn’t play guitar or any other type of keyboard…

    Long story short, I gave up on that dream after a few rejection letters and here we are…but I’m still fascinated by the talent and equipment that goes into making records—which is why anytime I get a chance to talk to anyone who does that, I’m in…

    David Botrill is one of those guys…he’s a Canadian record producer who has worked with took, muse, peter Gabriel, the smashing pumpkins, rush, and a ton of others…he’s got three Grammy’s and has worked in some of the most famous recording studios from here to the UK.

    And I’ve got a chance to talk to him about being a record producer?...let’s go…

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
365 Ratings

365 Ratings

Ted Asregadoo ,

Incredibly informative!

Alan Cross is not only a Canadian broadcasting treasure, but this podcast is one of the most informative and well researched ones out there. I recommend it to my fellow music fans when I get the chance. Great stuff!

brooklynhistorianLars ,

Great

Great just great. I have heard evrey office cleaner but please issue the old radio episodes as podcast episodes. I mean this podcast started in the 25th year of the radio show

Briana1 Courtney2 ,

Weird condescending tone on the female episodes

I absolutely love this podcast and I’ve learned so much, but the way this guy speaks about women on specifically the 90s Part 2A & 2B: Solo & Front Women podcasts is so condescending and really rubs me the wrong way. He hypes up each woman for their musical talents, but then when he gets to Courtney Love’s stripping career he’ll pause, lower his tone, and say “…stripping…” or how about when he talks about Donita Spark’s feminist performance: “There were many stories about her *pauses*….fearlessness…the most tame one being a time when L7 played on British TV show The Word. During her performance, she stripped off all her clothes from the waist down…just to make…some kind of point.” He makes remarks like this for just about every single female performer. How about you stick to the music history and leave your personal sexist remarks to yourself.

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