- Nathan Yoder
Sounds from the Gulch
DC's official slogan is "a space to discover new sounds," and so far, all the "new sounds" featured on this site have been musical in some sense. Albums, songs, concert reviews - stuff like that. But podcasts absolutely qualify as sounds (of course), and though I'm not a big consumer of the medium, there's one particular podcast I'd like to highlight today.
It's a Beautiful Day In the Gulch has a simple enough premise, but is wholly unlike anything else I've heard. Basically, each episode is a meandering conversation between Miles and Alex, the pod's creators. Just chats about whatever, really. Bugs? Yup. Birds? Often. Sandwiches? Sure. I've never been to Bloomington, Indiana (where the show is recorded), but listening to these two describe their favorite haunts, the town is oddly starting to feel familiar to me. The episode I most recently listened to featured Miles and Alex just having a stroll outside during the April 2020 lockdown, sharing observations about their surroundings.
At this point, you might be thinking, "so another buddy podcast?" right? But the way these two converse, and the subjects they discuss, makes Gulch feel special. It's not a show of hot takes or edgy subjects. Miles and Alex don't bicker or swear (much). All in all, it just feels pretty wholesome. Both hosts are curious and love to learn new things. They look up answers to questions while recording. They invite local experts onto the show from time to time. They broadcast episodes from museums and wildlife areas. It's funny and light for the most part, and even when Miles and Alex inadvertently wade into deeper philosophical subjects or heavy current events, it's still a pretty chill listen.
I first discovered the podcast this past June, after I ordered Alex's excellent tape of poetry from F.I.N.E. Editions (I highly recommend checking it out if you haven't yet done so). Alex is from Goshen, the same small Midwest town where I went to college, and while we ran in similar circles for a couple summers back in the late aughts, we weren't very close. But some of his friends are also my friends, and social media is a great connector. Anyway, I loved the tape, and figured I should dive into the podcast after which it's named.
For me, personally, listening to It's a Beautiful Day in the Gulch is calming. I take in a lot of news and have a pretty stressful job, so I love putting on a 'sode when I'm watering my plants or going for a walk. Sometimes I'll zone Miles and Alex out, and that's okay, and other times I'll listen in closely and laugh along with them. I've only heard about a quarter of their posted content, so maybe the show has changed over the past couple of years. Who knows. I do know, however, that listening to the early Gulch episodes has given me a lot of joy this summer, and for that I am grateful.
So finally, to the point of this rambling post. Miles and Alex talk about music every so often, and it made me curious about their tastes. On the show, they've discussed jazz, hyperpop, nu-metal v. butt rock, spoken word Spotify stations, and alluded to their wild DJ sets. A little bit of everything, I suppose. I reached out, asking them both if they'd each like to curate and share playlists with me to post to the site, and they were super into the idea! You can find both of their creations embedded below.
Honestly, there is no prescribed order of operations here. Like me, you could go 1) Alex's poetry, 2) a few Gulch episodes from the beginning, 3) playlists. Or you could scramble it up. Whatever feels good.
Thanks a bunch to Miles and Alex for the podcast content, and for the rad playlists.
I hope readers out there enjoy it all as much as I do.