Marcelo Lima via Flickr CC

A new study has confirmed a sad truth about our listening habits - people stop discovering new music around age 33.  Today on Word of Mouth, a seasoned music editor offers tips on how not to get stuck listening to the songs you loved in high school for the rest of your life. Plus, Song Exploder takes apart a track by Chet Faker, and a comedian wrestles with how the world should think of Bill Cosby's decades of standup material. 

Staff Picks: What We're "Gobbling" Up This November

Nov 18, 2015

David Bowie Is Waiting: The above David Bowie gif was submitted for Staff Picks without comment by Maureen, our fearless leader, though not before she sent it around to ask about assignment updates. 

Hoffnungsschimmer via Flickr CC /

Four more women just joined the federal defamation suit being brought against Bill Cosby. Even as fans and colleagues and celebrities distance themselves from the once beloved Cosby, there's still the question of how to handle his comedic legacy. Today, can you separate an artist's work from their deeds? Plus, when was the last time you really got into a new album or musician? If you're an adult, it's probably been a while. We're speaking with a life-long music lover about how to keep growing your musical tastes. 

Jeff Myers via Flickr CC /

When it comes to stump speeches, presidential contenders want their words to resonate with as many voters as possible – which may explain why Donald Trump speaks to the public at a 4th grade reading level. Today, the strategy of simplicity. Then, from speech to song…later in the show we go behind the glimmering façades and dance numbers to examine how movie musicals reflect American culture.

Season Of The Witch: How The Occult Saved Rock & Roll

Oct 26, 2015

In 1966, the top of the music charts had a decidedly split personality. Hits like Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkees and Winchester Cathedral by The New Vaudeville Gang, were sharing the airwaves with The Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows and The Rolling Stones Paint it Black

Eric Leslie via Flickr CC /

Kids grow up so fast…and it turns out that girls are growing up even faster. Why is this generation of girls going through puberty much earlier than previous ones? Plus, a conversation about magic, the occult, and rock n’ roll – from Robert Johnson’s mythical deal with the devil, to the coded messages in Led Zeppelin songs, we’ll talk about the dark spiritual rebellion that gave rock its musical edge. And, a conversation with one rock star who traded success for autonomy, and a career making kids music.

10.11.15: Sportsball

Oct 9, 2015
Drew Geraets via Flickr CC /

From dreaming of the big leagues to a roller derby revival— today, we enter the wild and wacky world of sports, starting with the origin story of the most successful non-carbonated beverage in the US and a staple of the pro sports sidelines: Gatorade. Plus, for a long time, being a Red Sox fan was to be an outsider, hardcore. That hard living, punk attitude motivated a group of teenagers to produce the most popular, and aggressive, T-shirt in Boston history. We’ll hear the Hollywood-worthy story behind the “Yankees Suck” t-shirt.

Roadsidepictures via Flickr CC /

As autumn progresses, it’s getting to be time to turn up the thermostat, and pile on the blankets. Or maybe not. On today’s show, we consider the benefits of being cold. And, we explore the curious history of one of sports’ key beverages: Gatorade.

Anders Österberg via Flickr CC / //

Stretching your artistic muscles has been shown to reduce stress and increase positive thinking, but for many people, being more creative sounds like an arduous task. We’ll talk to an artist who makes a bold case for dropping the excuses, and picking up the sketchpad. Then: aphonia, flop sweat, mic fright. Call it what you will, stage fright can be crippling for some performers. On today’s show: a pianist delves into the history of performance anxiety, and her own struggle to overcome it.

Tinker*Tailor loves Lalka via Flickr CC /

The Barbie doll has been targeted for her unrealistic proportions and for setting up an unattainable ideal for girls. Well, meet the new model - equipped with artificial intelligence, Barbie just got even more persuasive. Plus, “when a daddy really loves a mommy…” has long kicked off the story of how babies are made.  But what about now,  when surrogacy, same sex couples, and fertility labs are challenging old norms? We talk with the author of a series of books about sex for kids without gender, and without judgment. Today, we learn about the birds, bees, and biology.

thomasglobal via Flickr CC /

With every internet search come the annoying ads…popping up to obscure your view, streaming sound, or moving around distractingly in the corner. But can the internet survive without them? Today, what a new wave of ad blockers will mean for the future of the internet. Then, for a long time, being a Red Sox fan was to be an outsider, hardcore. That hard living, punk attitude motivated a group of teenagers to produce the most popular, and aggressive, T-shirt in Boston history. We’ll hear the Hollywood-worthy story behind the “Yankees Suck” t-shirt.

Paul Townsend via Flickr CC /

Harvard, like other prestigious Ivy League schools, is a non-profit. Still, its 36-billion dollar endowment is bigger than the GDP of Jamaica. So why does it remain tax free? Then - meditation, sitting, mindfulness: whatever you call it, it’s springing up everywhere, from Google’s corporate offices to high school classrooms in the Bronx. But can techniques developed to help hospital patients really improve the lives of low-income students? We find out why mindfulness has a place in the classroom. Plus, music industry insiders clamor to predict and announce the summer’s most popular hit – but what about the song of the fall?  We’ll discuss the qualities that make up a classic autumnal anthem. 

Lucius Brings Uniquely-Styled Indie Pop to N.H.

Sep 16, 2015
Photo courtesy of

Lucius, the five piece indie pop band, formed in Brooklyn, NY, is playing tomorrow night at the Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Lucius flips the script on the traditional pop configuration of men prancing out front and girl singers in the back. Instead, a pair of identically-dressed women front the band, and the three fellows mostly stay out of the way. We spoke with one of those guys, multi-instrumentalist (and Concord, N.H. native!) Peter Lalish.

Earth Touch via Flickr CC /

Among the things we take for granted in today’s America is knowing the time …which makes transportation, business and national events possible. This, however, was not always the case. Today, from building sewers to standardizing time, we’ll talk about the invisible innovations that got us where we are today. Then, more than 30,000 African elephants are poached every year, mostly out of East Africa. In an effort to understand the illegal ivory trade, a journalist commissioned a tusk made of fake ivory with a GPS tracker inside. We speak with the man behind that tusk.

It's official - 2015's song of the summer is "Cheerleader" by OMI. So now that horse race is over, what about an anthem for Autumn? And how do you even make that choice?

If a summer song needs to be fun, upbeat, and sound good blasting from car windows at Hampton Beach, what qualities define a memorable fall tune?  Pumpkin-related lyrics?  Wistful melodies, and acoustic guitars?  We asked three music industry insiders to tell us what they think 2015's (Unofficial) Song of the Fall should be and why -  and here's what they had to say.

9.15.15: Mindfulness in Schools & The Song of the Fall

Sep 15, 2015
Fuzzy Gerdes via Flickr CC /

Meditation, sitting, mindfulness: whatever you call it, it’s springing up everywhere - from Google’s corporate offices to high school classrooms in the Bronx. But can techniques developed to help hospital patients really improve the lives of low-income students? Today, why mindfulness has a place in the classroom. Plus, music industry insiders clamor to predict and announce the summer’s most popular hit – but what about the song of the fall?  We’ll discuss the qualities that make up a classic autumnal anthem. 

8.19.15: The Case Against C8 & The Power of Two

Aug 19, 2015
Roadsidepictures via Flickr CC /

C8 - it’s a chemical you may or may not have heard of.  And yet…“99.7% of Americans have some amount in their blood. It’s a manmade chemical that didn’t exist a century ago.” Today, an investigative reporter dives into chemical giant DuPont’s role in a tobacco-industry scale cover-up of the dangers of C8.  And, the myth of the lone genius gets knocked down by an exploration of creative duos. We’ll find out why artistic and scientific breakthroughs often come from dynamic collaborations.

Amadscientist via Wikimedia Commons /

Tomorrow marks the fortieth anniversary of the longest running film in continuous release ever – The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Today, a critic deconstructs how the long-running cult classic introduced the LGBTQ community to the mainstream. We’ll also hear from the organizers of a Rocky Horror convention on the appeal of midnight showings and fishnet stockings in America’s rural and suburban towns. 

The Merge Show

Aug 6, 2015

The English language is awash in portmanteaus, words or sounds that merge together to create something new. Spoon and fork combine to make spork, breakfast and lunch join to create brunch. Merging words, sounds or celebrity names is easy. Other types of mergers? Not so much.  Today’s show is all about what happens when two things become one - and from traffic lanes, to company buy-outs, to organ transplants, we’ll discover that merging is anything but simple.

8.04.15: Tattoos & Lists of Note

Aug 4, 2015
Megan Tan for NHPR

Grocery lists, to-do lists, guest lists – human beings are compelled to put things into manageable order…and sometimes the result is anything but mundane. Today we look at some of the most memorable lists ever written – from Walt Disney’s un-used dwarf names, to a day in the life of country legend Johnny Cash. Plus, we’ll talk about tattoos in the workplace, and how gender stereotypes play into how people perceive ink.

steve lodefink via Flickr CC /

We are of course smack in the middle of summer, a great time to get out and play lawn games like croquet, cornhole, or bocce – games that have survived in some cases for thousands of years. Today we dig in to those games, along with some alternatives that are on the rise. Then, technology has altered the way we experience the present and past – so we ask, are iPhones really ruining summer camp? And, according to a recent analysis, pop music is getting stupider. But, does music have to be smart to be good? 

Where Were You: The Mekons

Jul 16, 2015
Press Photo /

We're better off crafting our own things in isolation. The best times when the band has really been? When we thought nobody was that interested in us, so I think that's when the really creative moments have come about, when we didn't think there was anything at stake, when we could just do what we wanted. - Jon Langford

Rumor has it, they once asked a bass player to leave because he was too good.  

Alex Proimos via Flickr Creative Commons /

Is authenticity really essential to educational and scientific value? Now, advanced 3D printing gives museum curators the option of keeping rare artifacts safely kept away -- while providing no less science or history to visitors. On today's show, we talk about 3D printing at the Smithsonian. Then, a job you probably didn't know existed:  a costume historian, a woman who makes mannequins for museums to show historic textiles on. But she's also somewhat of a dress detective. And finally, a British rock band that has been together for nearly 40 years -- no breakup, no scandal, no drug addiction. It's the Mekons, the coolest band you may have never heard of. 

6.30.15: Pop Songs, The Steel Wheels & Mountain Men

Jun 30, 2015
RubySky Photography /

According to a recent analysis, pop music is getting stupider.  Today, we ask a critic whether music has to be smart to be good. Plus, Merril Garbus of tUnE-yArDs offers a firsthand look at what goes into a catchy hook. And, a member of the mountain string band Steel Wheels explains how flatpicking master Doc Watson moved him give up punk music and pick up the banjo. 

Sarah Neufeld grew up playing the violin, but she never really approached the instrument in the classical sense. To her, the violin was just a different kind of guitar. When Colin Stetson picks up the saxophone, the once familiar brass woodwind sounds unfamiliar. Together, the duo push the sonic boundaries of their traditional instruments.

Opera North brings classical music theatre to school groups and local theaters. Its summer festival has a wide following, and its outreach program brings free live opera to school groups. Lindsey Anderson sang the role of the Julia Child in Bon Appetit! which the company brought to Upper Valley schools. 

Matt Ward via Flickr (

Is there a song that has stuck with you for years?  Maybe a tune your parents sang to you as a child, the notes imprinted on your mind and became a part of your being.  As the Something Wild team shared the melodies imparted to us, the conversation turned (as it often does) to birds.  Is our musical learning similar to that of our avian neighbors?

For most pet-owners, dogs are a symbol of love and loyalty.  Throughout history though, man's bestie has also held darker associations.  Today, we talk about death and the dog, from Greek mythologies three-headed hell-hound named Cerberus, to the modern use of cadaver-detection dogs. Plus, we go on the trail with a blind hiker and his guide dog as they summit 48 of New Hampshire's 4,000-footers in a single winter!

The Juan MacLean will be playing live at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth at 9:00 pm tonight (April 29th). Tickets and more information on the show can be found at this link.

When you think of electronic musicians, DJ's that spin thumping dance tracks to swarms of sweaty dancers at A-list parties, do you think of Dover, NH?

Sex Ed By The Dashboard Light

Apr 12, 2015
Ben Miller via flickr Creative Commons

The talk” is a rite of passage for many young Americans. It often happens either too soon, too late and usually leads to hilarious tales of awkwardness between parent and child. But when it comes to the real nitty-gritty of sex education - that’s when the classroom takes over, for better or worse. For Word of Mouth senior producer Maureen McMurray, it was probably for worse.

Listen to what just might be the most awkward talk about the birds and the bees ever told.