Tuesday 6 September 2016

Podcasts - Part 1

In 2016 I have mostly been unable to enjoy or even listen to music, much to the detriment of my blog. I put on normal TV for the first time in over 12 months this April only to discover Australian telly is just as shite as the last time I turned it on. I knew there was a reason I got got rid of cable a couple of years back. The free to air idiot box is even worse. The only 2 shows I've been able to enjoy are Gogglebox and Have You Been Paying Attention?, sometimes they even wear a bit thin. There are so many unfunny comedy shows, unlikable comedians, overtly crass witless characters, formulaic reality tv, terrible American tonight shows where the hosts have no craft (Fallon, Colbert & Corden all seem to be in the wrong format) and don't get me started on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting commission) let alone fucking ABC2. My love for Aussie Rules footy has waned and sports broadcasting seems to be at its lowest ebb (The Olympics) as well as being at saturation point. I didn't even fully engage with this years season of Girls, which has been the best show of the last few years.

In the search for something to fill a void for my natural curiosity (I've only been able to read one and a half books in 2016) I have tuned into the podcast world. Previously I have enjoyed The Ricky Gervais, Stuff You Should Know, Bret Easton Ellis, Finders Keepers Radio and No Such Thing As A Fish podcasts. I decided to go deeper this time. I've been checking out certain podcasts to see what the fuss is about and just came across others. Fuck there is some shite out there but a couple of gems have come to my attention. So here's a brief look at some of the casts of pod I have wrapped my ears around.

This is the one everyone talks about and it even won a Peabody award. Sarah Koenig and her cohorts excel with their 2 seasons. The first is 12+ episodes investigating a murder trial gone awry. The second is a bizarre 11 part story of an American soldier who goes AWOL in Afghanistan. Recommended.

Marc Maron presents interviews with an array of cultural figures. He's really bloody annoying and comes off awkward when talking to women. I don't think he's actually a comedian . Don't understand the popularity of this one. Wtf?

This is also quite annoying. The presenters (who call themselves comedians??) come across as so needy and desperate (also see above) while they interview people from current pop culture. Like Maron the interviews with women sometimes come across as awkward and even a bit creepy.

This one is a bunch of annoying British men who love the sound of their own voices and find themselves 'oh so interesting'. However there have been a couple of good episodes particularly the shows where excellent authors Pete Doggett and John Savage have been guests.

This is a well researched and professional podcast about music presented by a couple of old rock crits from Chicago Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. It's a bit old hat but the old hat bits are the best bits. Slayer, Bob Dylan, Toni Visconti on Bowie, John Savage on punk, Sarah Marcus on Riot Grrrl, Jac Holzman on Electra Records and Stanley Booth on The Rolling Sones are amongst some of their choice episodes. Get your retro rock information fix here.

Jeremy Dylan has a guest on each episode talking about their fave LP. Records covered are usually of the canonical variety although Comsat Angels, The Shangri Las, The Blue Nile and Shuggie Otis have had episodes dedicated to them. Dylan does his research but many episodes depend on how eloquent his guests can be about the music they love. Bob Harris on Forever Changes, Stephen Tobolowski on Ziggy Stardust, Robyn Hitchcock on Plastic Ono Band and Bad Dreams on Unknown Pleasures are some of the highlights ......Oh and Dylan loves his Beatles, he could probably do a separate podcast on that little known group. This show is at its best when host and guest are just as engaged as each other by the LP being discussed.

Bill Ackerman does a very good job presenting this show with a different guest each week discussing Horror/Genre/B-Movies etc. His guests include writers, exhibitors, bloggers, zine publishers and documentarians. He's had some of the best authors in the field featured on his podcast including Danny Peary, JA Kerswell, Kier-La Janisse and Daniel Bird. The highlight so far was episode 2 with guest Samm Deighan, she writes the excellent blog Satanic Pandemonium and has just started co-presenting the fabulous podcast Daughters Of Darkness (more on that next time). Supporting Characters is just 14 episodes in, making this a relatively new podcast on the block and he's setting the bar high. Recommended for film buffs and cult movie fans.

Kathleen's Hanna