Don’t say we don’t give you variety with Podcasts For The People. From Robbie Williams having a laugh about boxing Liam Gallagher’s ears in, to a real-life docu-series about undercover police infiltration of the grimmest corners of the Darknet. That’s where this, column 10, is taking you. It also feels worth noting that since starting in July this fortnightly column has now recommended a nice, round 100 new podcasts. Feel free to dip back in – they’re all here. And thank you for all your tips, it quite literally would not work without you. Please keep them coming, either by tweeting me @GregCochrane or using #PodcastsForThePeople to contact @nme.
Of course, given that the most recent estimates suggest there are something in the region of 750,000 shows out there, together we’ve barely begun to scratch the surface. Podcasts For The People will be back in early 2020. Until then, happy podcast listening.
What Greg’s been listening to
The Lost Art Of Conversation – A Pink Floyd Podcast
The low-down: The company behind this year’s Listen Up – The Oasis Podcast and Gregory Porter’s The Hang bring you a show that avid Pink Floyd fans will lap up. It’s all about the band’s output from around 1987 onwards – that’s where episode one begins. David Gilmour discussing the band’s work on ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ while they struggled to disentangle themselves from their famous bad-tempered legal dispute with Roger Waters. Emotionally, that clearly still stings as Gilmour – who rarely gives long-form interviews like this – revisits the period with the capable guidance of presenter Matt Everett. And while, yes, this podcast does conveniently accompany a shiny new box set release (‘The Later Years’) it feels less like a few rushed liner notes and more like a substantial bolt-on. An insight into a particularly eventful portion of Floyd’s eminent history.
Where to hear it: YouTube, Apple, and other podcast platforms
At Home With The Williamses
The low-down: Forgive me. For some of you, the thought of listening to celeb couple Robbie Williams and Ayda Field evangelise about how great they are and how incredible their Christmases are is about as enticing as sticking tree needles in your ears. But – but! – turns out podcasting is kind of the ideal format for the wife/husband duo’s playful, gossipy conversation. Ayda, in particular, is ready with the quick-witted comebacks, consistently bringing the garrulous Williams down a peg or two. It’s also a reminder that they’re from contrasting backgrounds, and that until they met Robbie’s Christmas sounded a bit bleak. So, yeah, plenty of laughs if you can get past the lovey-dovey you’re-great-no-you’re-great stuff (which there’s a lot of). Scrooge, moi?
Where to hear it: Apple podcasts, and normal podcast places
The low-down: Prepare for a complete gear change. Hunting Warhead is a journey into the depths of a horrendous, evasive and disturbing online criminal underworld. It retraces the investigations of a Norwegian newspaper VG, whom a couple of years back, began looking into a child abuse community on the darknet. Their search quickly went from local to international as they unexpectedly uncovered a covert police operation who were carefully steering a honeypot trap to capture a bigger network of perpetrators. But this isn’t just a behind-the-scenes podcast about how those types of deviants are caught – it also throws up all manner of modern ethical questions about internet law, new technology and human psychology. Important to say, it contains content some people may find upsetting.
Where to hear it: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more
Prince: The Story of 1999
The low-down: As we say goodbye to the 2010s it’s hard not to think of the music legends we’ve lost. Prince, of course, being one of the most notable. Again, like The Lost Art of Conversation, this show has been put together to promote a bumper reissue – in this case, Prince’s ‘1999’. And while that gets plenty of mentions, this podcast – officially sanctioned by his estate, so they can use the music – is essentially a really well-produced mini-doc. Given its intention it’s all very positive and mythologising about the genius of The Purple One but there are many genuinely insightful voices sharing their experiences. Like Michael Howe, the guy who holds the key to the vast vault of Prince’s unreleased material, and Peggy McCreary, Prince’s favourite studio engineer.
Where to hear it: Stitcher, Apple and other podcast apps
The End of the World
The low-down: I’m not saying the low-level caterwauling of the upcoming UK General Election has driven me to a podcast about how the world is going to end but… actually, no, that’s exactly what I’m saying. The End of the World is a 10-part series, and each episode details a different way the world could/might/will probably end. Cheery! First example: some kind of fatal confrontation with extraterrestrials. If this all sounds like a set-up for some kind of gag, it isn’t. It’s a scientific walk-through about how the planet might cease existing. Josh Clark, from Stuff You Should Know, does his best Professor Brian Cox impression as host. Be prepared, it gets fairly technical about astrophysics and other concepts that might make your brain ache. Dare I say it (given how it’s about how we’re all going to die), it’s a calming listen. Or at the very least, it puts a few things into perspective.
Where to hear it: Stitcher, Apple and other major podcast places
What you’ve been listening to
My Chemical Fancast
Recommended by: Crypticxcoffin, @Crypticxcoffin on Twitter
The low-down: With the big My Chemical Romance reunion happening later this month (they’re back on stage together in L.A. on 20 December) what better time to visit this mega fancast hosted by MCR aficionados Kat and Hallie. There’s plenty to discuss.
Crypticxcoffin says: “These two fans have a way of delivering info about MCR in such an understandable and relatable way, not to mention that they’re so much fun to listen to.”
Where to hear it: Apple, Google or on their website
Recommended by: Jack, @jackisawstr on Twitter
The low-down: A dose of gripping science-fiction storytelling here. Dr. Winifred Eurus is stranded on a previously unexplored planet called Fons with “hostile tidal forces”. She’s attempting to survive out there long enough for someone to rescue her…
Jack tweets: “I started and finished Tides in a couple of weeks – it’s incredible.”
Where to hear it: Apple, Stitcher and Player FM
Calling Peston: The ITV News Election Podcast
Recommended by: David, @VivaLaVidavid on Twitter
The low-down: Take your pick, there have been any number of podcasts launched the past month in order to track, analyse and decipher the UK General Election on 12 December. Not necessarily a straightforward job when there’s so much mud-slinging, but this daily show has been making an admirable attempt.
David says: “Because it marvellously succeeds in handling the difficult task of making sense of the most nonsensical people in the UK.”
Where to hear it: Spotify, Apple and Stitcher
Recommended by: Rogue Adore Delano, @karysssaleigh on Twitter
The low-down: You can’t accuse this comedy show of jumping on the pod popularity bandwagon, My Brother, My Brother and Me started almost 10 years ago and has released roughly 500 episodes. Brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy get together for this weekly dose of laughs – the jump-off point for their rambles are questions from listeners, or stuff found on Yahoo! Answers.
Rogue says: “The funniest thing I’ve ever listened to, I can’t stop.”
Where to hear it: Stitcher, Apple and other big podcast platforms
Set Piece Menu
Recommended by: Rhodri Evans, on Facebook
The low-down: Football fans aren’t starved for choice when it comes to podcasts. One of the most in-depth is this one where Rory Smith, Hugh Ferris, Steven Wyeth and Andy Hinchliffe get together over a meal once a month to chew over the big issues.
Rhodri writes: “Best football podcast out there.”
Where to hear it: Soundcloud