It’s not a good look to hoard treasures, so I’m here to hip you to an absolutely essential podcast. For those not yet fans, clear your schedule and wipe the cue to make way for In Search of Tracks Podcast. Ostensibly two friends going all in on an album every week, it’s become a quick favorite to tolerate the day’s commute bookends.
Do you spend your idle hours pontificating the merits of your record collection? Do you find yourself debating the minutiae of obscure albums in hopes of enlightenment? Sometimes it’s best to leave that heavy lifting to someone else. Rest easy, friends.
Hosts Pete and Bob of the In Search of Tracks Podcast are an incredibly well versed twosome that has participated in the world of music as both fans and insiders. Their virtual crate digging and subsequent episodes are deliberate and thoughtful, seeming to welcome the wormhole and relish the deep dive chats we’ve likely all had.
Whether the weekly album selection happens to be a monolithic cultural touchstone or an album plucked from relative obscurity, their ongoing quest invariably ends at the most pressing question of all: Does it have tracks? These intrepid listeners go song by song and end with both a rating and an answer to the hypothetical “you gonna buy this one?”
Huge shout out to Bob and Pete, who were kind enough to indulge me some questions. New episodes drop every Tuesday at midnight so join the search party.
What’s up, In Search of Tracks Podcast? For the uninitiated No Echo reader, give me the elevator pitch for the show.
Pete: So, the idea of the podcast is that each week, we deep dive an album and dissect it. Good? Bad? Why? And obviously…are there tracks? If I’m being honest, I see this podcast as a platform to do what Bob and I are already doing together and with our larger group of friends…actively seeking out new/old music, and then thinking/talking about it.
Bob: Pete said it well. Are there tracks? What are they? Should the universal “we” be checking this out? Hopefully it’s a yes, but when it’s a NAH the episode can be just as fun. We try and touch on anything we even find remotely interesting.
At the time of writing this, you’re a week out from celebrating a year since the podcast rebrand. Firstly, thanks for the killer content during another challenging year. Care to dish a little on the inception of the show and its initial iteration as “It Came From New Jersey?”
Pete: Thanks for listening! It really just started as kind of a pandemic-era creative exercise. Initially, we launched the podcast as “It Came From New Jersey," which was really similar to In Search of Tracks in concept, the only difference being that we were focused strictly on music that came out of the greatest state on god’s green earth, New Jersey.
After about a year, though, we wanted to expand, hence the rebrand. We’ve also tightened things up a lot with In Search of Tracks, from the rating system to the aesthetic, etc. Just always trying to get better and make it a more enjoyable/smooth listening experience for everyone.
I find it equally intriguing to hear you both talk about something you know intimately well in addition to albums you’ve never heard before. What is the process for selecting the records and do you have a preference?
Pete: At this point, about 95% of the records we talk about come at the suggestion of our listeners. Whenever anyone asks us to cover a record through Instagram/Twitter/Email, we jot it down and come back to it. I always think that podcasts are a lot more fun for everyone when they’re interactive, so that’s the vibe we’re going for.
When we started, though, Bob and I each just jotted down a list of records that we thought would be interesting to deep dive, and for both of us it ended up being a combination of things had always intended on checking out, but never had, something we wanted to revisit, or just something we were curious about.
Bob: The process really is kind of that organic, poke around and think about records you loved, don’t remember well, were always curious about or otherwise unfamiliar. That contrast between a record you were intimately familiar with and then revisiting in an intense way can sometimes provide a very different perspective. It’s been especially rewarding when we get to share that experience with people who are listening along.
One thing I love is that you don’t shy away from the big albums. Having essentially tackled the Mount Rushmore of Grunge and a smattering of other monumental releases, are there any albums deemed too big or otherwise out of bounds?
Pete: Out of bounds? I don’t think so. I’m happy to discuss anything. That being said, if we were to talk about a Thelonious Monk record, I just don’t know that we’d have the language or reference points to talk through it in a way that provided any value. In that way, I think we do stay in a certain lane, but I think that’s ok. I’d rather play to our strengths.
Is there anything too big? Nah.
Bob: Nothing out of bounds. I like being totally out of a conversation loop on something because it can provide fresh commentary. I’ve had jobs where they never valued my opinion more than they did the first month or so where I was giving them completely fresh eyes to processes they had in place for years. Apply that to the music that someone is coming to from the outside.
Is there an album you’ve completely flipped your opinion on whilst doing the podcast?
Pete: Pearl Jam was probably the most shocking for me. I’ve disliked their vibe so much for so long. But Ten has tracks. U2 also led me down a little rabbit hole too, which was something I never saw happen. Ended up listening to Achtung Baby and thoroughly enjoying it. Zooropa not so much. Decided to stop there.
Bob: Pete flipping positively on Pearl Jam surprised me too. Going way back I expected to really dislike The Gaslight Anthem but I was not offended. More recently, I found that the Nebula record I thought was my favorite was in fact not (I prefer Charged over To the Center but you should check out both, as well as the record Sophomore Jinx by Olivelawn. Shout out to Eddie Glass.)
Let’s pretend In Search of Tracks becomes the world’s biggest podcast. You’re now perpetually crisscrossing the country together. What’re some albums that are guaranteed to cause problems in the van? On the flip, any albums you’d both be equally stoked to listen to ad nauseum?
Pete: I listen to a ton of metal that I don’t really talk too much about on the podcast. I don’t think Bob hates any of that stuff, but I know he doesn’t reach for it. I think our tastes align to the point that choosing music wouldn’t be much of an issue at all. If anything, in that situation, we could just record the pod in real time. We’d probably butt heads more over Bob wanting to listen to sports podcasts and me wanting to listen to politics-related podcasts or something.
Bob: I would be listening to Sports Podcasts™ on my airpods while Pete was knee deep in death metal. But in reality, doubt there’d be an argument the first 10,000 miles, we’re both pretty chill. I’m more curious what records we’d truly jam out to…
The format lends itself well to being part of the conversation, so to speak. As wild as this may sound, In Search of Tracks got me to listen to my first albums by both Iron Maiden and The Melvins. Are there any albums that have launched a new discovery?
Pete: That’s great! That’s literally the intention of the podcast is to get people to check out new tunes, and to give them more context as to why certain records matter. Albums that have launched a new discovery for me personally? I would say U2, like I mentioned before. Haven’t done the full Pearl Jam deep dive yet, but maybe…someday.
Bob: Pretty easily Crazy Rhythm by The Feelies for me. I knew what it was but at the same time had no idea I’d appreciate it as much as I did. Doing a more in-depth revisit of Pink Flag by Wire rekindled a love for it that I had about 15 years ago.
We all clearly love punk and hardcore, but that conversation is fully covered by the hardcore podcast (you know the one, y’all). Was there a conscious effort to cover everything else?
Pete: Yeah, I mean I could definitely talk hardcore, but I think A2G has done such a thorough job of it, why cross streams? Bob and I have known each other for a very long time and used to talk about different, non-hardcore bands when we were teenagers, so our podcast is really just a continuation of that. And if I’m being honest, although I do keep up with what’s going on in hardcore, I also keep up with everything else, so why limit ourselves?
Bob: I will never shy away from talking punk and hardcore because I think that’s solely responsible for me being able to talk about music of any kind, and that there’s so many records in that corner of music that don’t just matter, but also could use some additional attention. As Pete mentioned, we’ve been talking about music in a more expansive way since forever but it doesn’t change any of the love for punk or hardcore, obviously.
I’m forever curious about everyone’s listening habits, methods, and formats. How do you find yourselves taking in music these days? Any tips for the best ways to find new stuff, other than binging every episode of your podcast?
Pete: It’s tough. I watch a lot of YouTube music videos, or people like Anthony Fantano. He’s turned me on to some things I never would have found myself. I still follow a ton of blogs on Twitter—metal/indie/hip-hop, etc.—and if I hear something mentioned enough times, I usually just put it on my Spotify list to check out. I’m a record collector too, so if I like something enough, I’ll usually try to find the vinyl too.
Bob: Screenshots while scrolling social media. I do still have friends who send me new things they stumble upon, and in turn I try to return the favor. In all seriousness - as you’re doom scrolling social media or mindlessly flipping IG stories, if someone posts something that looks interesting, click and save that so you can go find it later. I have come across a lot of great new—and new to me—music that way.
I’ve never thought to ask this one. Who’s responsible for the absolute best logo in the game right now? Also, is the dragon really small or are those LPs ginormous?
Pete: That would be the one and only Sean Urie! He’s the best. Give him a follow on Instagram. He also just did a killer logo for my new instagram account for record collecting/selling.
And the dragon? He’s normal size. Dragon’s listen to enormous albums.
Bob: Sean is the GOAT. A great friend and somehow an equally great artist.
Before I letcha off the hook, I’m a list-aholic. Give us a few recommendations of 2021 albums we need to give time to (any genre)!
Pete: Here’s a few in no particular order that I really enjoyed this year:
- Ad Nauseam, Imperative Imperceptible Impulse
- Afflecks Palace, What Do You Mean It’s Not Raining?
- Thulcandra, A Dying Wish
- Lana Del Rey, Chemtrails Over the Country Club
- Floating Points, Promises
- Tyler, The Creator, Call Me if You Get Lost
- IDLES, Crawler
- Nas, King’s Disease II
- Oasis, Knebworth 1996
- Cynic, Ascension Codes
- Richard Dawson, Henki
Bob: Here’s some random stuff I loved this year or last that I haven’t given enough shine to:
- СОЛНЦЕ И СТАЛБ, СОЛНЦЕ И СТАЛБ
- The Zoras, Surf the Storm
- Innuendo, demo
- Hello Mary, Ginger
- Object of Affection, Object of Affection and Night + Day
- Webbed WIng - What’s So Fucking Funny
- Supercrush, SODO Pop
- Reckoning Force, Broken State
- Internal, Scrape
- Pinocchio, Pinocchio
- Bare Mattress, Some Great Magnet Pulls
You can find In Search of Tracks Podcast on iTunes.
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