Podcast: Rip It Up and Start Again


This week our theme is "Rip It Up & Start Again," and we investigate the history of Post-Punk music.

Our guest is Simon Reynolds, a British pop music critic, and the author of the book which gives our show its name. His book aims to retrofit the reputation of the rock music of the early 80s, describing the sonically disparate artists who created something new in the wake of the first punk movement's self-destruction.

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Music This Week / Buy Stuff

Sex Pistols - "God Save the Queen" from Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
Public Image Ltd. - Public Image from Public Image Ltd
Public Image Ltd. - Death Disco from Greatest Hits So Far
Gang of Four - Naturals Not In It from Entertainment!
The Pop Group - Thief of Fire from Y
Gang of Four - Anthrax from Entertainment!
Scritti Pollitti - Perfect Way from Cupid & Psyche 85
Devo - Whip It from Freedom of Choice
Human League - Love Action from "Dare
Slits - "Spend Spend Spend" from Cut
Joy Division - Atmosphere from Permanent
Talking Heads - "Seen and Not Seen" from Remain in Light
Matmos "Regicide" from Civil War

Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)

Podcast: Live in New York 2


Last month, The Sound of Young America recorded two broadcasts live at the PIT in New York City. This is the second of those programs.

Our first guest, Andres du Bouchet, is an accomplished stand-up comic whose show "Giant Tuesday Night of Amazing Inventions and Also There Is A Game" is a New York City favorite. He's also been on Conan O'Brien and Cheap Seats, and was a featured player on I Love the 30s. He offered our listeners "So You've Been Turned," a guide to acclimating to your new life as a vampire.

Our second guests, Elephant Larry, are a long-time Sound of Young America favorite. Their sketch parodied "8 Mile," and it's worth noting that they all wore funny sea-faring hats.

Then our relatively new friend Jonathan Coulton came through and performed three winning songs. First he played, "The Future Soon," a song written from the perspective of a love-lorn 12-year-old nerd. Then he performed a winning cover of the Sir-Mix-A-Lot classic "Baby Got Back," and closed with a charming song written from the perspective of a zombie businessman. You can download each song in his performance seperately here.

We closed with an interview with Kurt Andersen. Before Kurt became a novelist and the host of Public Radio International's excellent Studio 360, he founded the seminal satirical magazine Spy. The magazine's business was mocking the media, financial and Hollywood elite in an era before such irreverence was ubiquitous.

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Top Photo by Anya Garrett of

Special thanks to The Onion for promotional support

Podcast: Best Friends with John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton


This week on The Sound of Young America, two old friends, both of the show and of each other. We chat with each seperately, and in special blog-only bonus audio (below), we squash a long-simmering feud between them regarding cat care and a series of vicious attack ads.

Jonathan Coulton is a comic singer-songwriter. For the past year, he's written and released (free) a new song every single week. Some, like "Code Monkey," which he performs on the show, have become internet phenomena. Enjoy free downloads of his three musical performances below. He's currently touring with his best pal...

...John Hodgman. Hodgman is the author of "The Areas of My Expertise," a compendium of entirely fabricated facts, history and trivia. For many years, Hodgman was a literary agent, and counted among his clients the B-movie star Bruce Campbell. Today, he's best known for portraying the PC in the Mac-Vs.-PC advertisements for Apple, and for his regular appearances on the Daily Show. See below for special blog-only audio of Hodgman discussing his childhood interest in (but incompetence at) D&D.

If you're coming from an outside link (I see you, boingboing, Coultonblog, etc), be sure to check out our audio archive for past programs (Colbert's head writer, The Flaming Lips, Chuck Klosterman & Dave Foley, etc), and look below for past shows with John H.

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Download Jonathan Coulton's Musical Performances (Right Click, Save As)

Code Monkey / Lyrics
You Ruined Everything / Lyrics
The Future Soon / Lyrics

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Bonus: Hodgman Vs. Coulton

Bonus: Hodgman on Dungeons & Dragons

Incidental Music by DJW

Previously on The Sound of Young America:

"All World Knowledge" with John Hodgman and Fred Rees: MP3
"On the Road" with John Hodgman and Henry Rollins: MP3
"ComedyCopia" with a song from Jonathan Coulton
"Joketacular" with a song from Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton rocks San Francisco


Have you ever been to a concert where the performer asks the question, "Any math fans in the audience tonight?" and is met with a resounding cheer?

Neither had I, until Sunday night. I was home in San Francisco this past weekend, visiting family and friends, and was lucky enough to attend just such a concert -- Jonathan Coulton at Cafe du Nord.

The Cafe is a cozy venue, with seating for about 75, but it was packed to the gills with perhaps 125 attendees for Coulton's show. My party of four ended up standing in the back, which afforded us a wonderful view of both the delightful show and the nerdosity blossoming before us in the house.

A word about the crowd: I'd never been to an event so nerdy as this. It even surpassed the Society for American Baseball Research events I attended in my teen years. I expected as much, but was surprised by the audience's wide age range. Unlike, say, Indie Rock, nerd is a subculture that folks tend to wear throughout their lives, and it was impressive to see a few of the 20-something fans I expected alongside lots of 30- 40- and 50-something fans who surprised me. At first I wasn't sure what to make of it, but then I decided it was great. The nerd quotient ranged from "laughably" to "modestly," but I don't think you should let it stop you from going to the show, whether you yourself are a nerd or not.

After a strong set from opener Mark Silverman, and after I met a TSOYA listener(1) named Chad, who is very nice and once printed business cards for me as a donation, JoCo took the stage to much approbation from the gathered nerd-masses.

A lengthy and delightful set followed, along with two encores. Many of Jonathan's most popular tunes were played, the audience mouthed the words along with him, and so forth. Hilights included a charming and heartfelt song about George Plimpton and a delightful sing-along in which the audience was scolded for not sounding "zombie enough."

JoCo is currently on an oddball tour that will take him to San Diego, LA, Portland, Seattle, Vienna Virginia, Aardmore Pennsylvania and Annapolis Maryland. It's certainly worth your time.

(1) If you see me at a public event, please feel free to introduce yourself. It will shock me, but is unlikely to bother me. Even if we have met before, I will likely have forgotten at the least your name, and probably what you look like. This is an MP, not a YP -- please do not take it as a sign that I don't care about you. For example, last week I couldn't remember for several days the name of a girl I went out with for almost a year in high school. I just am bad at remembering. Also, I am suprised because someone knew who I was, not because I hate meeting listeners or something.

Podcast: Andrew W.K.


Rock & roll star Andrew W.K. is an old friend of The Sound of Young America. His propulsive, almost absurdly anthemic songs are the official soundtrack of The New Sincerity, and have blown listeners' minds around the world. Combining the intensity of the hardest hardcore with an unquenchable thirst for good times, Andrew is a unique and remarkable dude.

Andrew's most recent album, Close Calls with Brick Walls, was released last year in Asia, and will be released in a special vinyl-only edition in the United States soon.

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From the Archive:
Santa Cruz, You're Not That Far with Andrew W.K.

(above: Andrew with Brendan Thorn of Total Annihilation)

Note: In a portion of this show, Andrew discusses his experience with a substance popularly called Salvia. He's describing his own personal experience, and I ask that you please not interpret his description as either an endorsement on the part of the show or on the part of Andrew.

Indeed, a listener writes in: "In your latest episode, Andrew W.K. spoke about an experience he had smoking salvia... I tried it myself and had an ABSOLUTELY HORRIFYING EXPERIENCE. Luckily, there were no ambulances or police involved, but this is only due to the intervention of a good friend. Scant research will show you that SALVIA IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE. I would not want anyone to go through what I went through last night, and just wanted to pass that along to you. If I were you I would add some kind of warning to this particular episode, just for the benefit of your listeners (like me), telling them to use EXTREME CAUTION when dealing with this substance, and to do some research about it before deciding to try it. "

As many listeners know from discussions on Jordan, Jesse GO!, I choose not to use any mind-altering substances, including alcohol, so I'm particularly sensitive to this issue. Please make your own, informed choices and be mindful of your health and the law.

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