Everyone’s got a podcast now – let’s help each other find the best ones
To borrow a trick from any decent true crime podcast, let’s start with a recap. Last time out was the very first Podcasts For The People, our new podcast recommender. The idea’s simple: every fortnight, I big up five podcasts, and you – NME’s readers – do the same. The reason? There are roughly 750,000 of them out there and we’ve all only got two ears and busy lives… so let’s help each other find the best new listens.
It’s easy to get involved. Use the hashtag #PodcastsForThePeople and hit up NME on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Or come direct on Twitter – I’m @GregCochrane. Tell me what series you’re enjoying and why. Not just music podcasts, anything *waits for the incoming deluge of Peaky Blinders podcasts*. Thanks to everyone who got in touch with tips after the first column, already I’ve discovered a bunch of brilliant shows. So, keep ‘em coming.
Let’s get on with it then. This time, on Podcasts For The People…
What Greg’s been listening to
FEIST’s Pleasure Studies
The low-down: To be clear, this is a podcast by FEIST not about FEIST. Bar each episode’s elegantly written and delivered intro, the Canadian musician doesn’t appear at all. Instead, each one zooms in on a few individual personal experiences. Woven together they explore a common theme. So things like lost dreams – the story of champion hurdler Perdita Felicien is both agonising and uplifting – and, well, you can’t help but think we should all be a bit more like Grindmother (episode 3), the growling grindcore granny who released her debut album ‘Age Of Destruction’ in her late sixties. Inspiring stuff about what it means to be human.
Where to hear it: Acast, Apple, and The Talkhouse website Start with this.
The low-down: Football’s back! The new Premier League and WSL seasons kick off imminently and there’s so much podcast choice, from classic fan chats to pundit rants. Giant does something different altogether with its documentaries “devoted to the football stories that matter”. Right now there are six to get into, including the famous breakup of Wimbledon FC and their plucky rebirth in a new guise. If you’re after something that’s more bants-based stick to That Peter Crouch Podcast or Stan Collymore’s new one. Giant’s colourful podcasts feature people being as central to the stories as players are.
Where to hear it: Spotify. Start with this.
The low-down: Each series of Dissect (there are four so far) takes a forensic deep-dive into an album. So, yes, that means breaking down Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ song by song into 16 episodes and more than 11 hours of analysis. You’ll need dedicated ears; these aren’t reviews, they’re thesis. The most recent run examines Tyler, the Creator’s ‘Flower Boy’. What’s extraordinary is the attention to detail – ensuring you’ll never listen to those dissected LPs in the same light again.
Where to hear it: Spotify – it’s on other major platforms, too. Start with this.
Stuff You Should Know
The low-down: In the podcast world, SYSK is a big daddy – over 10 years old and with 1000+ episodes. But like a latecomer to a classic album, I don’t mind admitting I only got around to listening to it recently. What’s it about? Everything. It’s QI meets TedTalks in podcast form. Almost every imaginable subject explored, it’s catnip for the curious minded. You can rifle back through episodes like How Human Cannonballs Work, What Was Tin Pan Alley? and 12 minutes dedicated to Prison Food. Basically, a pick ‘n’ mix of subjects you didn’t even know you were interested in. Like How Sloths Work…
Where to hear it: On all the major platforms (because the archive’s vast, their website is helpful at navigating through it all). Start with this.
My Favourite Elliot Smith Song
The low-down: From one podcast that’s about everything in the world (and a bit more) to one that’s dedicated entirely to the genius of a single songwriter. This week, August 6, the late Elliot Smith would have turned 50. Presenter Rob Comba keeps the format straight forward: talking to musicians, writers, producers, friends (anyone with a connection to Smith) about his work and their favourite Smith song. In the scheme of things, it’s niche, but what a way to ensure his legacy lives on. Start with enthusiasts like Louis Theroux, Phoebe Bridgers and Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle.
Where to hear it: Audioboom, Apple and on their site. Start with this.
What you’ve been listening to
The Three Track Podcast
Recommended by: @deepcutstweets on Twitter
The low-down: Host Gabriel Ebulue describes himself as obsessive about music, and The Three Track Podcast is his chance to indulge in his passion with a new guest each time. Often writers, comedians and podcasters, they bring in a trio of tunes for a comprehensive nerd out. Deep Cuts, who runs his own music reviews YouTube channel, got in touch saying: “you need to check it out – great music conversation.”
Where to hear it: Find it on Libsyn, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Start with this.
Recommended by: @vorratonn on Twitter
The low-down: Finding “treasure in the trash” is the mission of hosts Paul Gannon and Eli Silverman in this comedy podcast in which they dig through the local charity shop or car boot sale to “get the best out of the worst”. Basically, it’s a celebration of bargain tat from cut-price fizzy drinks to crappy old toys. More often than not that turns into two hours of wildly tangential, daft and rude witticisms. @vorratonn with the tip: “It’s hilarious, and easily my favourite of anything…”
Where to hear it: Soundcloud, Spotify and elsewhere. Start with this.
Recommended by: @Steph_Mo on Twitter
The low-down: “100% Fascinating” – that’s the tagline of this long-running US show. Like Stuff You Should Know it’s a podcast about big things we barely notice, the design and architecture that surround us in everyday life. So if you want some enlightening brain-feed during your morning commute, this is for you. Warning: the archive is vast, start on their website and follow their recommendations. Steph on Twitter says: “One of the best podcasts out there. Roman Mars has the best voice, and each episode is so insightful.”
Where to hear it: On major platforms, and the 99% Invisible website. Start with this.
Beef And Dairy Network
Recommended by: @Luke_morton on Twitter
The low-down: Luke does a fine job of selling this: “A fictional comedy, sometimes dark/kind of surreal, about farming and the beef industry. Different guest comics each episode. Really worth a listen.” There you have it. Even the piss-take adverts on the front are hilarious. Josie Long’s improv work on the latest episode is superb. Work backwards from there.
Where to hear it: Apple podcasts, Libsyn and other podcast platforms. Start with this.
Folk On Foot
Recommended by: @folkonfoot on Twitter
The low-down: Let’s finish on something wholesome. FOF got in touch about their series. “Why not try us! Top folk musicians walking, talking and singing in the places that have inspired them,” they say. Listening to Folk On Foot is a transportive and restorative listen visiting the communities that influenced the artists. Try The Unthanks episode recorded in picturesque Northumberland. Oddly relaxing, it’s a breath of fresh air, like a folk version of Countryfile that feeds the soul.
Where to hear it: Podbean, Apple Podcasts and more. Start with this.