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Life of the Record

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Life of the Record

Classic albums, told by the people who made them.

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Recent Episodes of Life of the Record


The Making of I WANT TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT - feat. Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson

The Making of I WANT TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT - feat. Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson

For the 50th anniversary of Richard and Linda Thompson’s first album as a duo, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After Richard helped pioneer British folk rock in the late 1960s with Fairport Convention, he was feeling burnt out and decided to leave the band to focus on writing. In 1972, he married Linda Peters, who had been performing in the folk scene during the same time as Fairport. Richard was under contract with Island Records and released his first solo album, Henry the Human Fly in 1972. Th...

Episode 1 30 April 2024 1h, 19m and 57s


The Making of VENEER - featuring José González

The Making of VENEER - featuring José González

For the 20th anniversary of the debut album by José González, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After getting his start playing in hardcore bands in Gothenburg, Sweden in the 1990s, José González began studying biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg. While he was a student, he continued playing in multiple bands while recording his solo material on the side. His band Junip was working with a local label called Kakafoni and they agreed to release a 7-inch of the solo songs he was recording on a 4-track. The “Hints” and “Deadweight on Velveteen”...

Episode 12 13 March 2024 1h, 14m and 54s


The Making of OUT OF STEP by Minor Threat - featuring Ian MacKaye

The Making of OUT OF STEP by Minor Threat - featuring Ian MacKaye

In celebration of the recently unearthed Out of Step Outtakes, we take a detailed look at the making of the original record. After Minor Threat formed in Washington D.C. in 1980, they began to find an audience in the American punk scene. Their first two seven-inch records contained songs written by Ian MacKaye, such as “Straight Edge” and “Out of Step,” which kickstarted the straight edge movement within punk. By 1982, guitarist Lyle Preslar had left for college and Minor Threat temporarily broke up. After speaking with H.R. of the Bad Brains, MacKaye was convinced of the impact the band was...

Episode 11 20 February 2024 1h, 32m and 7s


The Making of I SEE A DARKNESS by Bonnie "Prince" Billy - featuring Will Oldham

The Making of I SEE A DARKNESS by Bonnie "Prince" Billy - featuring Will Oldham

For the 25th anniversary of the first Bonnie “Prince” Billy album, we take a detailed look at how it was made. Will Oldham grew up studying acting but decided to pursue music while he was attending Brown University. In 1992, he released his first single with Drag City under the name Palace Brothers. A series of albums followed under several variations of the Palace name, which reflected Oldham’s unique approach to treating the album, rather than the artist, as the primary entity. In 1998, he had an epiphany that he could inhabit a new character named Bonnie “Prince” Billy for his music...

Episode 10 19 January 2024 1h, 38m and 6s


The Making of SUPERFUZZ BIGMUFF by Mudhoney - featuring Mark Arm and Steve Turner

The Making of SUPERFUZZ BIGMUFF by Mudhoney - featuring Mark Arm and Steve Turner

For the 35th anniversary of Mudhoney’s first 12-inch record, SUPERFUZZ BIGMUFF, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After Mark Arm met Steve Turner at a show in Seattle, they became fast friends and began playing in multiple bands together. They started Green River with Jeff Ament and Alex Shumway and eventually added Stone Gossard on second guitar. Tensions over the musical direction of the band eventually caused Green River to dissolve with Ament and Gossard going on to form Mother Love Bone and Arm and Turner deciding to form Mudhoney. With Mudhoney, they had a...

Episode 9 13 December 2023 1h, 35s


The Making of CHUTES TOO NARROW by The Shins - featuring James Mercer

The Making of CHUTES TOO NARROW by The Shins - featuring James Mercer

For the 20th anniversary of The Shins’ second album, CHUTES TOO NARROW, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After getting their start in Albuquerque in the early nineties as a band called Flake, James Mercer, Neal Langford, Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval eventually morphed into The Shins. Mercer had first conceived of The Shins as an outlet for his quieter songs that weren’t working for Flake. Sandoval joined him initially and when Flake called it quits in the late nineties, Langford and Crandall also ended up joining The Shins. They caught the attention of Sub...

Episode 8 8 November 2023 1h, 17m and 20s


The Making of HOUDINI by Melvins - featuring Buzz Osborne

The Making of HOUDINI by Melvins - featuring Buzz Osborne

For the 30th anniversary of the Melvins’ 1993 classic, HOUDINI, we take a detailed look at how the record was made. Buzz Osborne, Mike Dillard and Matt Lukin had formed the Melvins in 1983 when they were teenagers living in Montesano, Washington. Drummer Dale Crover ended up replacing Dillard early on and has remained with the band to this day. When Osborne and Crover decided to move to San Francisco, Lori Black took over on bass, and they began a series of releases with indie label, Boner Records. By the time, they got to their fifth album, they decided to sign to...

Episode 7 4 October 2023 56m and 28s


The Making of Cursive's DOMESTICA - featuring Tim Kasher

The Making of Cursive's DOMESTICA - featuring Tim Kasher

In celebration of the deluxe edition of Cursive’s DOMESTICA, we take an in-depth look at how the record was made. Following the breakup of the Omaha band, Slowdown Virginia, Tim Kasher reunited with his former bandmates, Matt Maginn and Stephen Pedersen, to start a new project called Cursive. They brought in drummer Clint Schnase and released their first 7 inch on their friends’ label, Lumberjack Records, which later became Saddle Creek. Two full-length records followed, but when THE STORMS OF EARLY SUMMER was released in 1998, the band had already called it quits. Kasher had gotten married and moved to Port...

Episode 6 12 September 2023 1h, 20m and 34s


The Making of GIVE UP by The Postal Service - featuring Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello

The Making of GIVE UP by The Postal Service - featuring Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello

For the 20th anniversary of The Postal Service record, GIVE UP, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After Jimmy Tamborello was looking for vocalists to collaborate with for a Dntel album he was working on, he connected with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Gibbard agreed to provide vocals for a track that became, “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan.” The two of them worked so well together that they decided to work on more material and form a new project. Tamborello’s friend, Tony Kiewel at Sub Pop heard about their collabo...

Episode 5 18 July 2023 1h, 22m and 15s


The Making of SURFER ROSA by Pixies - featuring Joey Santiago, David Lovering and Steve Albini

The Making of SURFER ROSA by Pixies - featuring Joey Santiago, David Lovering and Steve Albini

For the 35th anniversary of Pixies’ landmark debut album, SURFER ROSA, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After Charles Thompson and Joey Santiago bonded as suitemates at the University of Massachusettes Amherst, they decided to form a band. By putting an ad in the Boston Phoenix for “a female vocalist into Hüsker Dü and Peter, Paul and Mary,” they connected with Kim Deal, who was the only one to answer their ad. Deal’s husband, John Murphy, introduced them to drummer David Lovering and the Pixies lineup was solidified. As they began playing around Boston, pr...

Episode 4 6 June 2023 1h, 48m and 21s

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