Playlist

A.V. Club

The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends 10–15 of the previous week’s best episodes.

by Audiosearch

    A.V. Club

    Nov 21 2016

  • The Ancient One

    In a culture with attention spans as short as ours, it’s nice to know that somebody is willing to follow a story to its conclusion. That’s where Undone comes in. A brand-new podcast from Gimlet Media, the group behind Reply All, Undone seeks to explore the after-effects of stories or events that we’ve long forgotten about. In this episode, host Pat Walters, a Radiolab vet, focuses on a story that dates back two decades. In 1996, two teenagers found some human remains. Examination of those remain...more

  • A.V. Club

    Nov 14 2016

  • Now What?

    The results of last Tuesday’s election left many licking their wounds, sniping at foes and allies alike, and trying to make sense of a new American reality. News-oriented podcasts have stepped in with a wealth of listening choices this week, perhaps none as immediate and emotional as the morning-after bonus content from On The Media. Fans of the program know that much of OTM’s secret sauce comes from the push and pull between co-hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, and their tension comes in...more

  • How Did That Happen?

    The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro recorded this discussion with himself and fellow journalists Nicholas Confessore, Maggie Haberman, and Jim Rutenberg in the wee hours of November 9, just as it became clear that Donald Trump was going to win the presidential election. The 30-minute episode is most notable for its intimacy; there’s a palpable sense of defeat in the voices of these journalists, but also a calm, earnest desire to know how the election went this way. Here, the journalists who, for...more

  • A.V. Club

    Oct 31 2016

  • #27 Matt Orlando - Copenhagen, Christiania, and Compost

    Say what you will about Vice and its dubious media empire disguised as slacker culture empowerment, but without such infrastructure, something as delightfully different as the MUNCHIES podcast would likely just be another food blog-cum-podcast. What sets MUNCHIES apart is its exploration of the culture of a restaurant and the people populating its kitchen more than the food itself. It is a canny decision, given food-related audio’s lack of visual appeal, unless of course one has an audience made...more

  • A.V. Club

    Oct 17 2016

  • Seneca, Nebraska

    Following a string of episodes that tackle the big questions of science, morality, and the origins of the universe, it’s nice to see Radiolab pursue a more intimate type of story: that of Seneca, Nebraska, a tiny town grappling with the decision to formally end itself. Rifts divide the paltry population of 30 into “save” and “end” camps as the final vote on whether to unincorporate Seneca draws near, an ultimatum that’s as symbolic as it is practical. Producer Simon Adler interviews nearly every...more

  • Seneca, Nebraska

    Following a string of episodes that tackle the big questions of science, morality, and the origins of the universe, it’s nice to see Radiolab pursue a more intimate type of story: that of Seneca, Nebraska, a tiny town grappling with the decision to formally end itself. Rifts divide the paltry population of 30 into “save” and “end” camps as the final vote on whether to unincorporate Seneca draws near, an ultimatum that’s as symbolic as it is practical. Producer Simon Adler interviews nearly every...more

  • A.V. Club

    Oct 03 2016

  • Cameron Esposito

    One thing that makes listening to Alison Rosen’s podcast, Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend, so enjoyable is that she is an excellent interviewer—the kind that makes listening to two strangers talking to each other sound like a conversation between old friends. This is especially true with guest Cameron Esposito, the Chicago-born comic who now lives in Los Angeles with her wife and business partner Rhea Butcher. (The two star together in the new Seeso show, Take My Wife.) Rosen and Esposito t...more

  • The Code Switch Guide To Handling Casual Racism

    Which is worse, standing nearby as someone embarrasses his or herself in public with an unintentional stream of offhanded and unconsidered prejudiced blather, or realizing that you’re the idiot doing the blathering? It’s either infuriating or mortifying, and just about everybody has experienced this exchange from one or the other vantage point at some point in their lives. An unfortunately large percentage from both. In this week’s episode of NPR’s Code Switch, co-hosts Shereen Marisol Meraji, G...more

  • How2OwenHart

    In 1999, in front of thousands of fans, professional wrestler Owen Hart fell to his death from the rafters of Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. It’s one of the industry’s most horrific accidents, and has sadly come to eclipse the career of the youngest Hart brother. That unfortunate truth, however, makes Hart an ideal subject for Kefin Mahon’s How2Wrestling, wherein the warm, articulate host guides budding wrestling fan Jo Graham through the lives and careers of the industry’s most notable figures. In...more

  • A.V. Club

    Sep 26 2016

  • Mike And Dave, Our Wedding Dates Not Needers

    This week’s episode of Hollywood Handbook rewards listeners who notice patterns within the show, exploiting them in ways that are consistently hilarious and never pander to an audience outside of their direct fan base. Birthday Boys’ Mike Hanford and Dave Ferguson join the hosts in an episode that doesn’t really have a foundational idea to get them started, which subsequently becomes the bit in itself. Sean Clements reveals that he and fellow co-host Hayes Davenport didn’t have their usual conve...more

  • Chain of Fools

    Last week’s episode of The Read starts off with Kid Fury’s expressive rendition of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s memorable Cruel Intentions monologue—“I’m the Marcia-fucking-Brady of the Upper East Side”—and keeps getting better from there. A lot has happened since their last show: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting a divorce, and white America is losing its collective mind (although Crissle and Kid Fury are positive Jennifer Aniston is doing just fine); Shawty Lo died in a car crash; Colin Powe...more

  • A.V. Club

    Sep 19 2016

  • Sonia Manzano & Justice Sonia Sotomayor

    Death, Sex & Money host Anna Sale is nearing the end of her maternity leave, but before her return, she’s handing the reins over to a few former guests for the next few episodes. This week Sesame Street veteran Sonia Manzano is in the host chair speaking with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The two women share more than just a first name, one they both hated as children. Manzano and Sotomayor are both from Puerto Rican families, raised in The South Bronx in New York City with alcohol...more

  • Why Do We Still Care About Tupac?

    It’s been 20 years since the rapper Tupac Shakur—who was also a talented actor, poet, and activist—was shot and killed in September 1996 at the age of 25. On NPR’s Code Switch, hosts Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji discuss Shakur’s decades-long legacy in music and pop culture since his death. It’s a fun conversation, given that Meraji’s love for the rapper is in stark contrast with Demby’s feelings. While Shakur was a major part of Merjai’s life soundtrack growing up, Demby says that as a ...more

  • Sonia Manzano & Justice Sonia Sotomayor

    Death, Sex & Money host Anna Sale is nearing the end of her maternity leave, but before her return, she’s handing the reins over to a few former guests for the next few episodes. This week Sesame Street veteran Sonia Manzano is in the host chair speaking with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The two women share more than just a first name, one they both hated as children. Manzano and Sotomayor are both from Puerto Rican families, raised in The South Bronx in New York City with alcohol...more

  • A.V. Club

    Sep 12 2016

  • Mothers Have It Hardest - Kyle Dempster Tribute

    This week’s episode of Fitz and Becca Cahall’s nearly decade-long exploration of all aspects of the “dirtbag” lifestyle—that indefatigable, at times reckless pursuit of living outdoors—is a heartbreaking work of reflexive audio. It acts as a tribute to the life of Alpine climber Kyle Dempster, who went missing on August 22 along with his partner, Scott Adamson, while climbing in Pakistan. The episode consists of a conversation between Dempster and his mother, Terry, recorded in 2014, as they dis...more

  • Lennon Parham, Danielle Schneider, Deb Tarica - Indigo Girls

    This week on Don’t Get Me Started, hosts Anthony King and Will Hines are joined by a trio of funny women, Danielle Schneider, Lennon Parham, and Deb Tarica, to discuss their obsession with the Indigo Girls. The episode captures what it is to be “obsessed” in a way that consistently brings the listener into the fold, thriving on the familiar quality the guests provide. All three women represent that cool, older sister type, and their enthusiasm (there’s a solid 20 seconds of just singing and laug...more

  • The Witch Who Came From Mars

    The distinctly excellent futurology podcast Flash Forward has arrived at the end of its second season, and to mark the occasion host Rose Eveleth flipped the script on the show’s format. Instead of following the show’s weekly pattern, in which a futuristic scenario based on real-world developments is portrayed through audio drama, whose eventuality is explained by a group of experts, Eveleth has reverse-engineered this week’s episode by having an AI develop the scenario while those same experts ...more

  • Mommy Nearest

    Julie would prefer that her mother, Amy, not work out alongside her at the gym. On its face, the litigation lacks profundity; Julie should suck it up and deal with her mom. But go beyond the open-and-shut case and its obvious verdict, and listeners will discover one of the best Judge John Hodgman episodes since “Do You Want To Hoard Some Snowglobes.” First, there’s the complex relationship that pervades the case—Julie is living under the roof of the same woman from whom she’s seeking court-order...more

  • Sleep Some More

    “For best results, use headphones!” That’s the advice of The Truth’s creative team, who proudly produce short-format “movies for your ears.” In their first release back from summer hiatus, they don’t disappoint, using every ambient audio flourish in their arsenal. “Sleep Some More” is a fine example of what this Radiotopia podcast is capable of: a chilling story cloaked in the humor of relatable, everyday circumstances. College freshman Dan, who dreams of becoming the secretary of commerce, find...more

  • A.V. Club

    Aug 29 2016

  • Seersucker Suits And Tiny Flag Pins

    Can you imagine how demoralizing it would be to spend your entire adult life swimming against the cultural stream in defense and support of a strongly held ideology only to wake up one day and find that your movement has been hijacked by a con man who’s nurturing voters’ every ugly instinct in his attempted rise to power? If not, go ask a Republican friend or relative what it feels like, because that’s precisely what many of them are going through at this very moment. Or, if you don’t fancy rubb...more

  • Remembering The State

    MTV’s seminal ’90s sketch comedy series The State is a show often better remembered by today’s pop culture consumers for its comic progeny than its original incarnation. This is due perhaps to the complicated legal issues which held up the series DVD release for nearly 14 years, but also the near ubiquity of State performers in comedy since. It is then no small event when, to mark the 300th episode of the RISK! podcast, host and State member Kevin Allison devotes the show to tales of that legend...more

  • Dreezy

    As the first official rapper on Billboard’s Soul Sisters podcast, 23-year-old hip-hop artist Dreezy talks Chicago, the modern music industry, and the barriers she has to break as a woman in the game. “Everybody’s putting out bubblegum rap,” she says. Hosts Jesse Katz and Darah Golub keep things casual with the show which allows episodes to be a wonderful mix of small talk and insightful commentary. Dreezy, who now lives in L.A., hit a lot of people’s radar after the release of her remix of Nicki...more

  • Seersucker Suits And Tiny Flag Pins

    Can you imagine how demoralizing it would be to spend your entire adult life swimming against the cultural stream in defense and support of a strongly held ideology only to wake up one day and find that your movement has been hijacked by a con man who’s nurturing voters’ every ugly instinct in his attempted rise to power? If not, go ask a Republican friend or relative what it feels like, because that’s precisely what many of them are going through at this very moment. Or, if you don’t fancy rubb...more

  • Remembering The State

    MTV’s seminal ’90s sketch comedy series The State is a show often better remembered by today’s pop culture consumers for its comic progeny than its original incarnation. This is due perhaps to the complicated legal issues which held up the series DVD release for nearly 14 years, but also the near ubiquity of State performers in comedy since. It is then no small event when, to mark the 300th episode of the RISK! podcast, host and State member Kevin Allison devotes the show to tales of that legend...more

  • Dreezy

    As the first official rapper on Billboard’s Soul Sisters podcast, 23-year-old hip-hop artist Dreezy talks Chicago, the modern music industry, and the barriers she has to break as a woman in the game. “Everybody’s putting out bubblegum rap,” she says. Hosts Jesse Katz and Darah Golub keep things casual with the show which allows episodes to be a wonderful mix of small talk and insightful commentary. Dreezy, who now lives in L.A., hit a lot of people’s radar after the release of her remix of Nicki...more

  • A.V. Club

    Aug 22 2016

  • Small Batch: You're Listening To Delilah

    For listeners, one of the better trends to come out of the podcasting world in the last few years is the proliferation of timely, shorter-than-usual bonus episodes, like the ones weekly roundtable programs NPR Politics Podcast and Linda Holmes’ Pop Culture Happy Hour have embraced and now produce on a regular basis. Not only do those “Small Batch” and “Quick Take” segments acknowledge the reality that, for many people, podcasts are now the equivalent of daily newspapers, but they’re a way to cur...more

  • Small Batch: You're Listening To Delilah

    For listeners, one of the better trends to come out of the podcasting world in the last few years is the proliferation of timely, shorter-than-usual bonus episodes, like the ones weekly roundtable programs NPR Politics Podcast and Linda Holmes’ Pop Culture Happy Hour have embraced and now produce on a regular basis. Not only do those “Small Batch” and “Quick Take” segments acknowledge the reality that, for many people, podcasts are now the equivalent of daily newspapers, but they’re a way to cur...more

  • A.V. Club

    Aug 15 2016

  • Haitian Radio On American Airwaves

    Afropop Worldwide is a spotlight series with a focus on the influence of African music and culture around the world. This episode shines a light on radio, particularly the Haitian radio stations in Flatbush, Brooklyn that broadcast on frequencies that aren’t officially licensed. Fifteen minutes in length and packed with loads of information, this sonically rich investigation features conversations with the people behind four New York-based subversive Haitian stations: Radio Soleil, Radyo Panou, ...more

  • Generous Orthodoxy

    Elderly white men who hold respected positions within their rural orthodox religious communities aren’t usually the people who are held up as exemplars of forward-thinking tolerance. So, in that regard, Chester Wenger is somewhat of an outlier. The 98-year-old Mennonite minister from Lancaster, Pennsylvania came to national prominence after “An Open Letter To My Beloved Church”—an opinion piece he penned for The Mennonite magazine two years ago—surprisingly went viral. In another regard, he’s ju...more

  • Haitian Radio On American Airwaves

    Afropop Worldwide is a spotlight series with a focus on the influence of African music and culture around the world. This episode shines a light on radio, particularly the Haitian radio stations in Flatbush, Brooklyn that broadcast on frequencies that aren’t officially licensed. Fifteen minutes in length and packed with loads of information, this sonically rich investigation features conversations with the people behind four New York-based subversive Haitian stations: Radio Soleil, Radyo Panou, ...more

  • Generous Orthodoxy

    Elderly white men who hold respected positions within their rural orthodox religious communities aren’t usually the people who are held up as exemplars of forward-thinking tolerance. So, in that regard, Chester Wenger is somewhat of an outlier. The 98-year-old Mennonite minister from Lancaster, Pennsylvania came to national prominence after “An Open Letter To My Beloved Church”—an opinion piece he penned for The Mennonite magazine two years ago—surprisingly went viral. In another regard, he’s ju...more

  • A.V. Club

    Aug 08 2016

  • Craig Bartlett

    Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett talks about the development of the legendary football-headed character and how he got his start in animation with Nickelodeon Animation Podcast host Hector Navarro. From the show’s jazzy music to the emotional stories, Bartlett describes how Charlie Brown was his biggest inspiration for Hey Arnold!. “Charlie Brown was long sad walks in the snow to blue smooth jazz music,” he says. “And I was, like, man this is cool. This is about feeling.” Navarro asks all the ...more

  • There Must Be Another Way

    Voting third-party in a consequential presidential election is either a powerful means of communicating one​’​s dismay at the poor choices offered up by the two major political parties, or it’s an embarrassingly masturbatory squandering of an opportunity to participate in the democratic process. Maybe it’s neither or possibly both. On this week’s On The Media, cohost Bob Garfield evaluates the value of ballots cast for the Green Party or Libertarians by speaking with Nathan J. Robinson, the edit...more

  • A.V. Club

    Aug 01 2016

  • Attachment Parenting

    Gimlet Media is the proud new parent of Science Vs, an Australian import wherein cheery host Wendy Zukerman weighs scientific evidence against the seductive forces of popular opinion and conventional wisdom. Gimlet was wise to acquire it, as the show’s main methods of investigation—bipartisan interviews with experts and laypeople, backed by a fun soundtrack—fit snugly within the podcast network’s slate of convincingly altruistic programming. This week, Zukerman walks listeners through the cardin...more

  • A.V. Club

    Jul 11 2016

  • (2016/07/01) Independence Day, but only for some (Racism)

    Best Of The Left’s goal is to present exactly what you’re furiously searching for on Google. Haven’t heard Jesse Williams’ remarks from the BET Awards? You can listen to it here. Have conflicting feelings toward Independence Day? (I’m not talking about the movie.) You can listen to James Earl Jones read a speech from Frederick Douglass that touches on that very issue here. This curation of clips from other podcasts and media makes Best Of The Left a great source of weekly information and a path ...more

  • TDF 358 Wil Anderson

    Stand-up comedian Jackie Kashian has, for more than 350 episodes of The Dork Forest, displayed an amazing ability to indulge her guests’ deepest, dorkiest desires to talk at length about their sometimes odd obsessions. These obsessions tend to be traditionally nerdy pursuits—comics, television shows, video games—but with this week’s episode, Kashian welcomes prolific Australian comedian and podcaster Wil Anderson to talk about the game of cricket. The discussion works on a few levels, acting som...more

  • Kittens Kick The Giggly Blue Robot All Summer

    Each More Perfect looks at Supreme Court cases and explains why each one was momentous. Its hosts are so enthusiastic and curious, and the episodes are so well-written, that what could have been a snoozefest is instead a wonderful political rabbit hole. (The caliber of writing and production are no surprise, given that this is a spin-off of Radiolab.) This week, Jad Abumrad and contributors look at Marbury v. Madison, a court case that changed American history, but the details of which will be ...more

  • #69 Disappeared

    This week’s episode of Reply All covers two stories that share a surprising emotional core about living in the shadow of one’s creations. The first story is about how Azer Koçulu, the author of a seemingly simple program called Leftpad, almost broke this omnipresent thing we call the internet. The story steadily reveals the very human inner workings of this godlike yet fragile thing we rely on without second thought. It describes open source, a community of people who write and share codes as a ...more

  • Sword and Scale Episode 70

    Sword And Scale is a true-crime podcast that reveals how the worst monsters are real. This week, host Mike Boudet takes listeners into two very different stories. The first is about Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Casino and the bomb that would eventually destroy it. Boudet brings in Adam Higginbotham, author of A Thousand Pounds Of Dynamite, to help explain the intricacies that made it one of the most complex bombs ever created as well as explain the convoluted plan of its creator. It’s a narrative that g...more

  • (2016/07/01) Independence Day, but only for some (Racism)

    Best Of The Left’s goal is to present exactly what you’re furiously searching for on Google. Haven’t heard Jesse Williams’ remarks from the BET Awards? You can listen to it here. Have conflicting feelings toward Independence Day? (I’m not talking about the movie.) You can listen to James Earl Jones read a speech from Frederick Douglass that touches on that very issue here. This curation of clips from other podcasts and media makes Best Of The Left a great source of weekly information and a path ...more