Sound Opinions

Saturdays 9-10 PM
  • Hosted by Greg Kot, Jim DeRogatis

Sound Opinions is where music lovers come together. You can make discoveries, debate, learn about pop culture, engage, have fun and find new ways to further enrich your life through music. Whether you're an expert, or just a casual fan, Sound Opinions is your source for smart and engaging music criticism and conversation. Each week on the show, nationally respected rock critics Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis interview artists, talk about pop culture and music industry news, review new record releases and give trends a historical context. And, because on Sound Opinions,“everyone's a critic,” you are invited to join in the debate.

Ways to Connect

Sound Opinions: Jason Isbell

Apr 19, 2018

For country singer/songwriter Jason Isbell's latest record, "The Nashville Sound," he wrote about his role as a father and an artist in today's America. It ended up being his most political album yet, addressing issues like white privilege and working class frustrations. Jason joins Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot to talk about songwriting, ethics, sobriety, and performs a special acoustic set. 

Sound Opinions: The Legend of Captain Beefheart

Apr 12, 2018

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot explore the legend of Captain Beefheart, a musician with a larger-than-life personality who blurred the lines of music, art and noise. Also, they talk with longtime Captain Beefheart collaborator Gary Lucas and share their thoughts on why Beefheart's music, however difficult, is of value.

Sound Opinions: The Regrettes

Apr 4, 2018

The Regrettes are a young band that blends 1960s girl group sensibilities with the edge of Bikini Kill. Their debut album, Feel Your Feelings, Fool! was a Best of 2017 pick for both Jim and Greg. The Regrettes joined Greg for a performance and conversation.

The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St.

Mar 29, 2018

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

Sound Opinions: SXSW 2018

Mar 22, 2018

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot make their annual pilgrimage to the South By Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas. They'll report on some of their new favorite bands that music lovers need to hear. 

Sound Opinions: Songs About the Music Industry

Mar 14, 2018

What happens when artists take a look inward at the music business? Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot play the best Songs About the Music Industry. Then, they sit down with the dynamic Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra.

Sound Opinions: Buried Treasures & A Giant Dog

Mar 8, 2018

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot dig up some buried treasures - albums that aren't yet in the mainstream but that deserve some more attention. Plus, cult rock outfit A Giant Dog join them for an interview and performance.

Sound Opinions: Film Soundtracks

Mar 1, 2018

A film's soundtrack can be as memorable as its visuals. So as awards season winds down, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot pick some of their favorite film soundtracks. Plus, Jim and Greg review the soundtrack for the film Black Panther.

Sound Opinions: Don Was

Feb 22, 2018

Don Was is a bassist in the band Was (Not Was), a successful music producer for artists like The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, and the president of legendary jazz label Blue Note Records. This week, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot pick the brain of the multi-talented Don Was about his influences, what he looks for in an artist and what he loves about music. Plus, Jim and Greg review new albums from indie rock band Superchunk and rapper Dessa.

Sound Opinions: Sir The Baptist

Feb 15, 2018

In many ways, Chicago artist and producer Sir the Baptist is a chaplain in the R&B scene. He creates hip hop infused music that bridges the gap between his gospel roots and the world around him. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk to Sir about making music with a message, plus he performs in studio with a 10-piece band.

When candy, flowers, and love notes fail to woo your sweetie back, there's only one thing left to do: stake out under a window, hold up that boom box and blast an “I Want You Back” song. This Valentine’s Day, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present their favorite pleading songs. Plus, they'll review the new album from Justin Timberlake.

Sound Opinions: Cover Songs

Feb 1, 2018

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk to author Ray Padgett about his book Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time. They discuss the roots of the term "cover" and dig into the surprising stories behind some of rock's most notable examples, from Elvis's rendition of "Hound Dog" to the Feelies doing the Rolling Stones. Plus, Jim and Greg share a few of their favorite cover songs.

On his debut record, The Autobiography, Vic Mensa raps about his life growing up on the South Side of Chicago. With a confessional tone, he explores topics like community, violence, drugs, and racism. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk with Mensa about his influences, his struggles and the experience of growing up “five blocks from the projects and five blocks from Obama’s house." Plus, they review the latest album from tUnE-yArDs, Jim pays tribute to the late Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries and Greg bids farewell to South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela.

Sound Opinions: New Wave and Alison Moyet

Jan 18, 2018

Jim and Greg talk to Lori Majewski about her book Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and the Songs That Defined the 1980s, co-written with Jonathan Bernstein. In it, the authors reveal why New Wave caught on so strongly with pop fans and the media, especially post-punk in the U.K. Plus, an interview with Alison Moyet, an English singer-songwriter that came up in the New Wave scene, and is still making waves musically.

Sam Beam has been releasing his signature indie folk records under the moniker Iron & Wine for over 15 years. His 2017 effort, Beast Epic, returns to his stripped down, acoustic roots. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot interview Sam Beam at the Goose Island Barrelhouse and they talk about his sound, collaborations and fatherhood. He also delivers a performance in front of a live audience. Plus, a review of the new album by punk rocker Jeff Rosenstock.

Sound Opinions: Alex Cox & Opinions on N.E.R.D.

Jan 4, 2018

Few filmmakers have embodied the punk aesthetic like Alex Cox. He joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot to discuss the classic LA punk soundtrack to Repo Man, the making of the Sex Pistols biopic Sid and Nancy, and his fruitful collaborations with Joe Strummer. Plus, a review of the new album from Pharrell Williams's side project N.E.R.D.

Sound Opinions: Mixtapes 2017 & Musical In Memoriam

Dec 27, 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present DJ sets full of some of their favorite songs of the year. They'll also pay tribute to some of the musicians who died in 2017.

Bob Ezrin

Dec 20, 2017

Bob Ezrin, the "producer's producer," has been behind the boards for many blockbuster epic albums over the years. He shares stories with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot about working on classic albums by Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Peter Gabriel. Plus, up-and-coming R&B singer Amber Mark shares the song that got her Hooked on Sonics.

This is a Christmas special like none other. Holiday music collector and expert Andy Cirzan scours record stores, dustbins, and basements to find the best and rarest tunes for the season. And each year he treats Sound Opinions listeners to a much-anticipated hour of music and a free mix to download. This year’s compilation is called Snowbound Soliloquies: Further Adventures in Holiday Obscura.

Sound Opinions: 2017 Holiday Spectacular

Dec 14, 2017

It's time again for the annual Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular! Each year, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot are joined by holiday music collector Andy Cirzan who shares a mix of rare Christmas records scavenged from dusty record bins around the world.

Sound Opinions: Rock Criticism with Jonathan Lethem

Dec 7, 2017

Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot indulge this week in a deep look at their own profession: rock criticism. They're joined by novelist Jonathan Lethem, co-editor of a new anthology of rock criticism, who makes the case for music journalism as great American writing. Plus, they look at the life and career of legendary critic Lester Bangs.

Sound Opinions: Mixtapes 2016 & Musical In Memoriam

Dec 1, 2017

Sound Opinions closes out 2016 with the year in song. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present a mixtape of tracks that tell the story of the the past year. And we remember some of the many musicians who passed away in 2016.

Sound Opinions: The Mekons & Opinions on Dawn Richard

Dec 1, 2017

Formed in 1977 in the original British punk wave, The Mekons are still going strong nearly four decades later. The band joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot in the studio to demonstrate its eclectic blend of country, folk, and punk rock. Plus, a review of the new album from R&B singer Dawn Richard.

Sound Opinions: The Best Albums of 2016

Dec 1, 2017

If you're a music fanatic, the end of the year means one thing: best of lists! Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot reveal their favorite albums of the year. And Sound Opinions listeners weigh-in with their favorites of 2016.

Sound Opinions: Hero Worship

Dec 1, 2017

Artists are also music fans like the rest of us, often paying tribute to the musicians who inspired them. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot share their favorite examples of Hero Worship in music – songs that name-check great artists from the history of rock and roll. Plus, the Rolling Stones pay tribute to their own blues heroes on a new album.

Sound Opinions: Jon Brion & Opinions on Emeli Sandé

Dec 1, 2017

Studio wizard Jon Brion has composed scores for films by P.T. Anderson and Michel Gondry and produced for artists from Fiona Apple to Kanye West. The multi-instrumentalist also has grown a following for his virtuosic live performances. Jon Brion speaks with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot about the art of songcraft. Plus, a review of the latest from Scottish R&B singer Emeli Sandé.

Every year, a turkey is saved from its Thanksgiving dinner fate by a presidential pardon. In that gracious spirit, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot give their own Turkey Pardons. They share their picks of lousy artists who still had one redeemable musical moment.

Many Americans are thinking a lot about Canada these days. So hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot take the Sound Opinions World Tour to Canada explore the music of our neighbor to the north. And we play our favorite performances by Canadian artists from the Sound Opinions archives. Plus, a review of the latest from Texan singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo.

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

Dec 1, 2017

In 1971, Marvin Gaye made a career left turn with the  album What's Going On, adopting a socially conscious sound that addressed war, racism, and drugs. 45 years later, What's Going On remains as relevant as ever. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot present a Classic Album Dissection of the iconic record. Then, they review a contemporary protest album from Common.

The Handsome Family gained wider notoriety for providing the theme to HBO's True Detective. But the duo's dark, literate songwriting has been acclaimed by critics for decades. Rennie and Brett Sparks of The Handsome Family join hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a conversation and performance. Plus, a review of the new album from pop superstar Lady Gaga.

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