Sound Opinions

Sat 3p

Take two nationally respected rock critics, the latest music news, personal commentary, and exclusive interviews and performances, add a huge pile of records old and new, and the result is Sound Opinions—the world's only rock and roll talk show.

Based in Chicago, Sound Opinions is hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, two of the finest and best-recognized pop music writers in the nation. For over a decade they were dedicated competitors at Chicago’s two daily newspapers—Jim at the Chicago Sun-Times and Greg at the Chicago Tribune. Today, Jim writes about music for WBEZ.org and teaches criticism at Columbia College.

Every week, Sound Opinions fires up smart and spirited discussions about a wide range of popular music, from indie rock to classic rock, hip hop to R&B, and every genre under the sun.

Sound Opinions' consistently informed, engaging, and controversial dialogue makes it a unique and essential source for the top stories, albums, and trends in music. This is cutting-edge criticism and journalism presented in the great tradition of Siskel and Ebert. The discussion is as indispensible to the hardcore music fan as it is to the casual music fan who feels out of touch.

Sound Opinions is a direct result of the experience and credibility of its creators. Jim and Greg are both critically acclaimed authors who also write for some of the nation's most prestigious rock magazines, including Rolling Stone, Spin, and Vibe.

Before coming to WBEZ Chicago in December 2005, Sound Opinions aired for seven successful years on one of the Midwest's most powerful rock radio stations, Chicago's WXRT. The show has built a thriving and loyal community of inquisitive and engaged fans hungry for smart conversation and new sounds.

http://www.soundopinions.org/

Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular 2019

Dec 16, 2019

It's a holiday tradition on Sound Opinions to welcome weird wax aficionado Andy Cirzan to share his annual mix of tinsel-time tunes with us. He shares his bizarre holiday music finds and the stories behind them with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot.

Best Albums of 2019

Dec 12, 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot reflect on the best albums of the year. They also hear from Sound Opinions producers and listeners about their favorites.

The Best Albums of 2019

Dec 12, 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot reflect on the best albums of the year. They also hear from Sound Opinions producers and listeners about their favorites.

Beat writer William S. Burroughs had a profound impact and interaction with rock and hip-hop music from the 1960s through his death in the late 1990s. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with author Casey Rae about his book on Burroughs and "the cult of Rock 'n' Roll." They also review new albums from Leonard Cohen and singer and violinist Sudan Archives. 

Thanksgiving Leftovers & DJ Shadow on Sampling

Nov 26, 2019

As we finish eating Thanksgiving leftovers, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot clear out musical discussions still left over from earlier in the year. From chart-topping phenomenons to surprising archival finds, there was just too much music this year to cover it all as it happened. Plus, DJ Shadow explains how he found the sample for his latest single, "Rocket Fuel."

Songs That Make You Cry

Nov 20, 2019

For one reason or another, everyone has got a handful of songs that make them cry. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of the songs that bring tears to their eyes.

Buried Treasures

Nov 13, 2019

As we all settle in for the season, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot figure Sound Opinions listeners are ready for a playlist refresh. This week, they dip into the wealth of great new music beyond the FM dial and play you some Buried Treasures. These artists might not be household names, but they're definitely worth adding to your collection. Plus, legendary bluesman Bobby Rush shares the jazz track that got him Hooked on Sonics.

Songs About the Radio and Opinions on Michael Kiwanuka

Nov 7, 2019

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot both fondly remember discovering new bands on their FM dials; and though there are many ways to find new music, there's still a bit of magic to hearing a new favorite over the airwaves. To honor that legacy, Jim and Greg share some of their favorite radio-inspired tracks by artists like Wall of Voodoo and Donna Summer. Plus Jim and Greg review Kiwanuka, the latest album from English soul-folk artist Michael Kiwanuka.

Janis Joplin

Oct 31, 2019

Janis Joplin was known for her iconic singing voice, gregarious image and refusal to conform. But behind her chill, blues mama persona was an intellectual, intentional artist. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot discuss the life and career of Janis Joplin with author and biographer Holly George-Warren. They talk about the legacy of Joplin's music and identity almost 50 years after her tragic death.

Bands in Costume

Oct 24, 2019

Rock and roll has never been purely about the music. The image a band puts forward can be almost as important as their songs. Some bands take it an extra step and make theatrical costumes an integral part of their act. In honor of Halloween, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their favorite bands in costume.

Though originally panned by many critics, the Rolling Stones' 1972 album Exile on Main St. is now considered a masterpiece. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot serve up a classic album dissection for the deeply influential recording.

Songs We Love By Bands We Dislike

Oct 10, 2019

Have you ever listened to a song and loved it, only to find out it’s by an artist you can’t stand? Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot will explore the concept of great songs by horrible artists and share a few of their favorites. Plus they'll review Ghosteen from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and pay tribute to drummer Ginger Baker and The Muffs' Kim Shattuck.

Sound Opinions: Family Bands

Oct 3, 2019

<!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}-->The family that plays together, stays together, right? If you‘ve ever traveled in a van with your mother, father, sister or brother, you know it's not that easy. From Sister Sledge to The Cowsills, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of the great Family Bands that made it work. Plus, Jim and Greg review Ode To Joy, the latest album from alt-rock band Wilco.

Fugazi Classic Album Dissection

Sep 26, 2019

Washington D.C. post-punk band Fugazi reshaped the definition of punk in America. Their 1990 debut album, Repeater, connected with a generation and eventually sold more than a million copies. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with founding member Ian MacKaye about the writing and recording of the album and its impact. Plus we review Sturgill Simpson's new album, Sound and Fury, and learn what song got a member of the band Dehd "Hooked on Sonics."

With an influx of new music, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot decide it's time for a review roundup. They share their opinions on records by Tool, Lana Del Rey, Common and more. They also pay tribute to the late Cars' frontman Ric Ocasek and solo artist Daniel Johnston.

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot are always on the lookout for buried treasures - newly released music that is flying underneath the critical and commercial radar. They're back this week with some exciting new songs. Jim and Greg also talk with a member of a somewhat buried treasure act from the past, Peter Lewis of Moby Grape. They discuss ways the 1960s San Francisco group turned convention on its head and some of the bad luck that befell the band.

This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot are joined by legendary funk and R&B bassist James Alexander of the Bar-Kays. They discuss his early days as a pivotal part of the Stax Records house band in Memphis and the enduring legacy of 1971's Shaft Soundtrack, which featured the Bar-Kays as the backing band. Then, Jim and Greg share some of their favorite bass lines and their players... who usually aren't the flashiest members of a band, but they're a pivotal part of its heartbeat.

Sound Opinions: Quitting Songs and Whitney

Aug 29, 2019

While critical and commercially successful “soft rock” music is rare in 2019, the Chicago band Whitney found a way to make it work. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with the two main members of the band about how they came to their unique sound and their new album Forever Turned Around. Plus, the hosts select their favorite songs about quitting work.

Sound Opinions: Best Music Cameos

Aug 22, 2019

Sometimes, all it takes for a song to go from good to great is the addition of a guest artist, whether it’s a rapper going in on the verse or a guitarist shredding a solo. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of their favorite musical cameos.

The Mountain Goats & Opinions on Sleater-Kinney

Aug 15, 2019

Over the course of 17 albums, The Mountain Goats have gone from a super lo-fi solo project to a polished four piece combo. We're joined by the whole band for an exclusive performance and interview with songwriter John Darnielle and drummer Jon Wurster.

Sound Opinions: The Legend of Robert Johnson

Aug 8, 2019

For decades, the myths surrounding Robert Johnson overshadowed his contributions as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. From the legend that he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to mystery surrounding his untimely death at age 27, the truths of Johnson’s life have remained untold. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with music historian Bruce Conforth about Johnson’s career, death and working to give the guitarist his identity back.

Sound Opinions: Why the Ramones Matter

Aug 1, 2019

Back in the 1970s, punk was shorthand for a subculture that took pride in breaking the mainstream’s mold. And at the vanguard of punk rock was The Ramones. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the cultural contributions of the band, beyond the myth, with the author of Why The Ramones Matter, Donna Gaines. Plus, they revisit their 2007 conversation with the late Tommy Ramone.

Sound Opinions: Julia Jacklin

Jul 25, 2019

While Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin’s voice has a soft vibrato and sweet tone, her lyrics are laced with a dry sense of humor and unflinching honesty. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk to Julia about her new album, the pressure to appear perfect on social media and how as a performer and woman she sets boundaries to stay sane. She also gives a live performance at the Goose Island Tap Room in Chicago.

Buried Treasures & Tasha

Jul 18, 2019

It's time again for hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot to share their latest buried treasures: recently released, under-the-radar albums you need to hear! They'll also chat with Chicago singer, songwriter and guitarist Tasha about her music, which champions marginalized people as well as prioritizes topics like self care.

Sound Opinions: Marvin Gaye's What's Going On

Jul 11, 2019

This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot look back on Marvin Gaye's classic album What's Going On. They discuss the tracks, cultural climate and overarching themes of the 1971 album, many of which are more relevant than ever today.

Forty years later, Neil Young and Crazy Horse's masterpiece Rust Never Sleeps still captivates listeners and critics with its simple melodies, complex lyrics and punk-inspired sound. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot discuss the album's impact and how Young's blend of acoustic and electric made for an iconic musical experience. They'll also discuss the electric Rickenbacker 12-String guitar, an instrument that was featured prominently in songs by bands ranging from the Beatles to the Byrds.

Sound Opinions: Songs That Made Us

Jun 27, 2019

<!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}-->Most music lovers can point to a song that made them: perhaps one that helps define them, or just one of those songs that defines a time in their life. This week, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share some of the music that made them.They also talk with music journalist Jody Rosen. They discuss his investigative article for New York Times Magazine about the Universal Music Group Warehouse fire and the thousands of master recordings that were lost.

Roky Erickson and his group the 13th Floor Elevators spread the psychedelic gospel in the heart of Texas in the 1960s and influenced groups like REM and ZZ Top. After a tumultuous life that included a long battle with schizophrenia, Roky died last month at 71. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot pay tribute this week on Sound Opinions. Plus, Greg interviews Jim about what he learned about the nature of music in 19 years of investigating R. Kelly.

Sound Opinions: Mavis Staples

Jun 5, 2019

As a member of her family group The Staple Singers and as a solo artist, Mavis Staples has used her huge voice to power the Civil Rights Movement and inspire generations. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot revisit their intimate discussion of her life and career as the gospel and soul legend approaches 80 years old.

Sound Opinions: Buried Treasures

May 30, 2019

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot are ready and raring to go with some new buried treasures: recent, under-the-radar albums that you need to hear.

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