This lockdown is going to last a while, folks. So in case you’ve inhaled every episode of Tiger King – there is a podcast version of the Joe Exotic story, in case you’re after more – here are a fresh set of recommendations: five from me, and five from NME readers. As always, keep your tips coming in. Tweet me @GregCochrane, or @NME using #PodcastsForThePeople.
Meet you back here in a fortnight? To be honest, I probably won’t have moved from this spot on the sofa.
What Greg’s been listening to
The low-down: It’s the feeling all podcasts aim for, but only a handful achieve: Girl Taken is the podcast equivalent of a book you cannot put down. The true story of a missing child, it has more turns than Silverstone. The investigation is led by BBC reporter Sue Mitchell. A few years ago she encountered ex-soldier turned volunteer worker Rob Lawrie at the Calais Jungle, the refugee and migrant camp in northern France. Lawrie, driven by empathy, found himself trying to help a man and his daughter reach their family in the UK. All was not what it seemed, though. Many years later – via family breakups, emotional breakdowns and some incognito missions – Mitchell and Lawrie still found themselves working on that specific case compelled to piece together the fragments of a human story that’s desperate, hopeful and complicated.
Where to hear it: BBC Sounds
Start with this: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00055n1
The low-down: It’s been a welcome trend to find mental health being discussed more openly within the music industry (and beyond) the past few years. However, there’s still some distance to go. Shows like Killing It can only help. Fronted by Rizzle Kicks’ Jordan Stephens – a long-term mental health advocate – this series hopes to develop conversations around subjects like anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Stephens sets a candid example by discussing his own struggles in the first episode. New shows – which take the form of mini therapy sessions – are weekly, and forthcoming guests include: Liam Payne from One Direction, Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol and Mutya Buena (Sugababes). Just released, Ella Eyre talking about grief and crippling anxiety is an engaging listen. On this same topic, see also the excellent Phone A Friend.
Where to hear it: Spotify
A Little Moore Conversation
The low-down: Dance or electronic music fans are generally spoilt for choice when it comes to podcasts, but traditionally they’re dominated by mixes and archive sets useful for your morning run/Friday night. Selection is limited when it comes to conversations. Journalist and music manager Ralph Moore has crossed paths with many of the biggest names in that world. Here, in season one of this new podcast, he’s in relaxed conversation with the likes Pete Tong, Erol Alkan and Kolsch. Fatboy Slim appears on the opening episode, chatting about his interest in art, and why he’s a compulsive collector: he’s kept every festival laminate, magazine cover, any kind of momento throughout his career. And The Black Madonna, who doesn’t do that many interviews, is also engrossing discussing her work with Help Refugees and her new album.
Where to hear it: Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other major podcast places
The low-down: In case the recommendations have all been a little heavy so far, here’s a new show that supplies some sweet comic relief. Comedians and real life couple Catherine Bohart and Sarah Keyworth sit down with famous partners to talk about the often brilliantly mundane details of their relationship. So you’ve got Joel Dommett and Hannah Cooper arguing over toilet bleach, that kind of thing. It’s quick-witted, silly and trivial – which might be exactly what you need right now. Joe Lycett – or that Hugo Boss? – is going to appear in an episode talking about being in a relationship with himself later in the run. Not to be missed.
Where to hear it: BBC Sounds
Start with this https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08855xn
The low-down: If, like me, your knowledge of musicals doesn’t extend much beyond the Hamilton soundtrack, Musicalsplaining promises to be a show for people who love musicals… and those who hate them. Each new episode is an entertaining education, hosted by old schoolmates Lindsay Ellis and Kaveh Taherian. Lindsay: big into musicals. Kevah: cannot stand them. Each episode profiles a different show. So far, that’s been Cats, Hadestown, Frozen, Beetlejuice and, the absolute daddy of them all, The Phantom of the Opera. Phantom mega-fan and evangelist Angelina Meehan guests on that episode, and does a convincing job of selling Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation as the best thing ever.
Where to hear it: Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and more
Start with this https://open.spotify.com/show/7iRwCh450ZrLeAxuRjyrJo
What you’ve been listening to
What’s In The Bag?
Recommended by: Josh, @JJShreeve on Twitter
The low-down: Most of us have a box somewhere stuffed with gig tickets, merch and miscellaneous stuff – each episode sees someone take a rummage through their musical memories.
Josh says: “Guests bring on 5 music-related items from their past to talk about and submit their most prized possession into the Hall of Fame.”
Where to hear it: Apple Podcasts
Recommended by: Rose, @SwissMinx on Twitter
The low-down: Host Dr. Brian Klaas – along with a bunch of guest experts – delves deep into the “hidden and often nefarious forces that shape our world”. Expect money laundering, assassinations and lots of dodgy deals.
Rose says: “Truly ace. I recommend one episode per day only, however. Might be a tad too much reality for some, currently.”
Where to hear it:
Stitcher, Apple and other podcast apps
Why did the US government spend millions developing bat bombs? Why did Mao's decision to kill sparrows also kill millions of people? Which covert operation failed partly because they didn't set their clocks right?
— Power Corrupts Podcast (@PowrCorrupts) March 20, 2020
Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know
Recommended by: Iris, @KonstantPhotog on Twitter
The low-down: Staying on the subject of abusive power, STDWYTK throws in theories about UFOs, psychic powers and government cover-ups for good measure.
Iris writes: “This has been my saving grace! It’s super informative (without being too “off-the deep end”) and just enough to freak you out at 8:00AM.”
Where to hear it: iHeartRadio
Here's where it gets crazy… Chemtrails Were Real — At Least in the UKhttps://t.co/ljhRNbGvLD
The concept of chemtrails has been more or less dismissed by scientists and the mainstream media, but in at least one country, something like chemtrails was very much a reality. pic.twitter.com/VgmGg6tm7R
— Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know Podcast (@ConspiracyStuff) April 8, 2020
Recommended by: Ric, @richmarc1214
The low-down: Definitely amongst the more abstract podcasts BBC Sounds has shared – 10 mini dramas by different writers that collectively have been dubbed a “magical realism anthology.”
Ric says: “It’s been described as a kind of audio Black Mirror.”
Where to hear it: BBC Sounds
Start with this https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07w07fy
Pick A Disc
Recommended by: Sarah, @blonde_sazzle on Twitter
The low-down: Host Matt Latham keeps it simple for this music podcast – his guests share their thoughts on one LP that means a lot to them.
Sarah tweets: “It’s interesting to hear people’s thoughts on an album that is either their favourite or one they can’t stop listening to.”
Where to hear it: Player FM
Start with this https://player.fm/series/pick-a-disc-2493834