Hello. Welcome. And in news you might already know, the latest episode of the Adam Buxton podcast with special guest Chris Morris really is that good. That’s my major takeaway from the past fortnight in Podcast Land. That, and the exchange where Sue Perkins explains what a podcast is to Mary Berry is the most charmingly two minutes of podcasting you’ll hear all month.
But let’s get on with the recommendations. As ever, here’s five podcasts I’ve been listening to and here’s five you’ve been streaming. If you want to share your love of a podcast with the world in the next column I’m @GregCochrane on Twitter, or you can tweet @NME using the hashtag #PodcastsForThePeople.
What Greg’s been listening to
Striped: The Story Of The White Stripes
The low-down: It’s heading for a decade since The White Stripes called it quits “for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve that is beautiful and special about the band”. Their 13-year existence was as bright as it was relatively brief; this first series from Jack White’s Third Man Records hones in on the early days.
Music journalist Sean Cannon, who was close to the duo, is your time-traveling host. It all starts out with some thorough Detroit music history, and a young JW practising in his attic. The contributors are impressive – members of The MC5, Pavement and half of Motor City’s early-Millennium glitterati – and the music’s obviously great. The big miss? Well, anything fresh from the band. “They’ve already said their piece,” explains Cannon acknowledging their absence. Although that’s a shame rather than a deterrent. Get stuck in, Jack ‘n’ Meg fans.
Where to hear it: Apple Podcasts
Dear Joan & Jericha
The low-down: Yes! The podcast universe’s most hilarious, filthy-minded agony aunts are back. That’s Joan (Julia Davis) and Jericha (Vicki Pepperdine) with a second series of atrocious advice. Each week they set about “helping” with a series of problems, almost all of them involving a bodily excretion or revolting old people sex problems. For the uninitiated, there’s loads of satirical piss taking going on; whether that’s the general play on straight-faced old-fashioned man-sympathy advice dished out by 80s women’s magazines or the modern chat show equivalent.
As ever it’s excruciatingly detailed, and almost painfully funny. Take this snippet from episode one for example: “Dear Joan and Jericha, after sex my husband has taken to whacking my face with his penis and I don’t know how to tell him I don’t like it. I’m 72… Yours, Brenda Sanderson – Sherborne.”
Where to hear it: Acast
The Road Taken
The low-down: Ahhh, the world of a touring musician, it’s all Tesla tour buses and dressing rooms stuffed with as many posh kettle crisps as you can eat, right? Not so, apparently. Chris Tomson and Chris Baio from Vampire Weekend are here to burst that myth in a podcast that gets into the gritty reality of life on the road. The pair – who occasionally can be a little… stilted? – are doing that via chats with their “peers, idols and rivals”.
That means you get larger-than-life Patrick Carney from the Black Keys banging on about not rehearsing (smoking a pipe throughout recording) and Winston Marshall from Mumford & Sons discussing the collaborative project he toured with Austrian techno outfit HVOB (who knew?). If you want to get under the bonnet – so to speak – of touring have a listen. Or don’t, if you like to live in ignorant excitement of imagining BTS are escorted between gigs in a private plane with their own faces on it.
Where to hear it: Apple Podcasts
Mean Book Club
The low-down: Book Clubs; makes you think of intellectuals wearing chunky knits getting together in a community hall somewhere to eat home-baked muffins and celebrate wooooonderful literature. Not Mean Book Club, they smash that notion to bits. The four friends who host are not here to equip you with tips for your next top page-turner. Instead, in this U.S. podcast they’re taking apart the New York Times’ best sellers list apart one book at a time. And some sacred cows are getting the boot. Bridget Jones’ Diary – get in the bin! Cruel you might say. Yeah, kinda, but also a deliciously refreshing listening.
Where to hear it: Stitcher – or wherever you get your podcasts
The Mysterious Mr. Epstein
The low-down: The story of Jeffrey Epstein – the money manger and convicted child sex trafficker – is a horrifying modern scandal. When he was found dead in his prison cell in August that wasn’t anywhere near the end of the story, especially for his many victims. There are still so many questions about who he was and how he operated. This six-part attempts to answer some of them, or at least shine some light on how money and power meant he wasn’t brought to justice for more than a decade. It’s shocking stuff. Be aware this show contains graphic detail of Epstein’s crimes.
Where to hear it: All major podcast platforms
What you’ve been listening to
Recommended by: GnawMean, @Gnomesain on Twitter
The low-down: If you’re after some serious variety in your music shows. Heat Rocks has a wide open policy; each week hosts Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes are joined by a guest to visit a “hot rock” from music history – basically an album that stands the test of time. There are more than a century of episodes to devour.
GnawMean says: “A great music pod. Every NME reader should listen.”
Where to hear it: Apple Podcasts
Recommended by: Carla Danaher, @CeeEmDee on Twitter
The low-down: What makes a big hit a big hit? Critic and all-round pop music chart nerd Chris Molanphy interrogates the reasons why the songs we know and love (not always) went on to become mega chart smashes. A place to start? The Beatles episode from this past summer contains some A+ trivia.
Carla writes: “The best podcast on music. Meticulously researched and beautifully produced.”
Where to hear it: Slate, Google Podcasts, Apple – or wherever you get podcasts
The Saucer Life
Recommended by: @Clubdroda on Twitter
The low-down: A podcast about the history of flying saucers? Sure, why not. This isn’t a show that sets out to prove the existence/non-existence of extraterrestrials, instead the show tells stories about “encounters, sightings or events” as if they’re folklore. Cue *spooky music*.
Clubdroda recommends: “High production values and uniquely informative, entertaining and often hilarious content about a niche yet broadly appealing topic.”
Where to hear it: Podbean, Stitcher and other podcast places
Recommended by: Ghoulby, @ KolbyEatWorld on Twitter
The low-down: Comedian Ryan Sickler had a difficult upbringing but he’s made a career out of turning even the bleakest moment into some kind of light relief. Each time he’s joined by a guest to hear their story.
Ghoulby says: “Because there’s never a dull moment when comedians are highlighting the lowlights.”
Where to hear it: On YouTube – and the major podcast apps
Do Go On
Recommended by: Char, @Char_ok
The low-down: Our first Australian podcast on P4TP! And who doesn’t love a good fact? This one sees comedian hosts Matt, Jess and Dave don their trivia hats and discuss topics as diverse as the history of the penis (yes, really) and the first person in space. They’re even doing a UK live tour in December.
What Char says: “Makes me die laughing.”
Where to hear it: Acast, Apple and other podcast apps