A great new podcast explores the cultural and political impact of the Only Band That Matters: the Clash

I met Andy Bothwell on Warped Tour in the summer of … 2003, I think? My friends' emo band had somehow secured a spot on the Code Of Tha Cuts Hip-Hop side stage. He jumped on stage to freestyle during a song in his MC alias as Astronautalis, and absolutely blew me away. We did a few shows together over the next couple years, but I've remained a huge fan of his talkin'-blues-indie-rock beats ever since. He's gone on to tour with artists like Tegan & Sara, and recently put out a new collaboration with POS from Doomtree that — coincidentally — includes a song about the late great Joe Strummer.

Being that I was a teenager hanging out on Warped Tour, it's perhaps no surprise that I'm a huge of the Clash. But I was surprised to find that this brilliant indie rapper I'd hung out with a few times was hosting Consequence of Sound's new podcast, The Opus, and that the latest season would focus on the only band that matters.

Admittedly, I haven't listened to the other seasons of The Opus yet, which focus on albums by Willie Nelson, Ozzy Osbourne, and more. But the three-part series on "London Calling" is absolute essential listening. Bothwell oozes excitement as he talks about the band's magnum opus. He also brings on a diverse range of guests to share their own takes, including Lee "Scratch" Perry, Laura Jane Grace from Against Me!, Donita Sparks, Houston rapper Fat Tony, and more.

The season is cleverly broken up into three distinct and digestible half-hour segments. The first episode focuses largely on the band's influences, and the context around which "London Calling" was produced. Episode two looks at the cultural impact of the album, and the Clash's way of paying-it-forward with the artists who inspired them (and includes perhaps my favorite discussion about "cultural appropriation"). And the final episode examines the band's lasting political influence, and how sometimes it feels like the older you get, the more you realize that the band was right about, well, everything.

The whole thing's worth a listen — even if you're not a huge fan of the band, and just like culture or politics.

(Also, listen to Astronautalis)

The Opus

Image via John Joe Coffey/Flickr