Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Podcath Part II

It's been about 18 months since I made my first forays into the world of podcasts, and I am officially hooked! Thanks to some excellent suggestions in the comments of my last podcast post, some recommendations from my hilarious new sister-in-law, and some finds I've made on my own, I have more podcasts than I have time to listen to, and I love it! I listen to music podcasts all day at work, and spoken word while I'm getting ready in the morning, stretching, exercising (it happens occasionally), cooking, cleaning, and when I'm on the bus or SkyTrain.

There have been a couple of times recently when a friend (most recently Alyssa) has asked for new music recommendations, and I've referred them to podcasts rather than bands. This is how I find most of my new music now - if I like something I hear on a podcast, I write it down (sometimes rather cryptically) and look it up on iTunes later. (Given that I listen to a lot of unsigned band podcasts the songs I like aren't always available in the store, but I'll try again every few months). So I thought I'd list my favourite podcasts here for easy reference! I'm still listening to all the podcasts I mentioned last time, but for this post I'll focus on the new stuff.

I'm too lazy to find all the links, but I'm sure my readers are perfectly capable of looking things up in iTunes or wherever else you get your podcasts from!

My favourite podcast in each category is in blue.

Music - single song podcasts
  • Current Song of the Day - Minnesota Public Radio
  • Indiefeed - I subscribe to the Alternative/Modern Rock, Blues, Dance, Electronica, Hip Hop and Indie Pop channels. I <3 Indiefeed!
  • KEXP Song of the Day
  • NPR: Second Stage
  • Triple J (recommended by Professor in Training and Mermaid)
Music - multisong podcasts
  • Bands Under the Radar - excellent tunes, but the length (~2 hours) can sometimes be a bit much.
  • CBC Radio 3 - an online-only radio station that plays exclusively Canadian music, all genres, live and studio recorded. I subscribe to the combined feed to get all their podcasts. There's so much more to Canadian music than Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Nickelback and Justin Bieber! 
  • Coverville - a new find. The shows alternate between sets of covers of / by a specific artist, and "who did it better?" episodes featuring two or three versions of the same song by different artists, with an online poll so you can vote for your favourite.
  • Mad Decent Worldwide Radio - more uptempo and clubby than anything else I listen to. Good for a late afternoon energy boost.
  • NPR: Live Concerts - great if you like the band they're featuring, but some of the longer live shows can be a drag if you're not into the band; I end up skipping about a third of them. They also have a habit of not updating for ages and then dumping eight 90 minute shows into the feed at once, which causes problems for those of us with limited space on our 8GB iPhones!
  • The Sound Culture - again more clubby than the others, but less so than Mad Decent. I really like this one.
  • Triple J: New Unearthed Music - unsigned Aussie bands. (Recommended by Professor in Training and Mermaid)
Music - Blues
At one point I downloaded the entire back catalogue of the Indiefeed Blues podcast, and listened to ten tracks a day for a couple of weeks. I quickly realised that blues is the perfect music to work to; I don't know why, but something just gels. True aficionados will be horrified by this, but the specific band or song don't seem to matter - the whole genre works for me!
  • BluzNdaBlood
  • Friday Night Blues - a bit more high energy than the others.
  • Murphy's Saloon - the host sounds grumpy is a prince among men, the soul of patience, and tells a bad joke on each episode, but and the music's great :) <-- see comments :)
  • Nothing but the Blues - the only UK-based blues podcast on my list, although the tracks are international, and the only one that plays some old (sometimes really, really old) recordings mixed in with the more modern stuff.
  • Texas Blues Cafe
Moving on to spoken word...

  • The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos (video) - George (aka Canada's Boyfriend) is a Canadian institution, but you don't have to be Canadian to appreciate the sheer awesomeness of his guests. Current episodes on my phone include Slash, Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, and (d'oh!) Nickelback. The interviews are always interesting!
  • Today in Canadian History - daily short (~8 minute) snippets about recent and (relatively) ancient history - everything from Captain Vancouver's voyages up the west coast to sport to politics to space exploration. The shows feature interviews with some very interesting people (an astronaut today!) including academics, politicians, and lots of others.
  • Vinyl Cafe Stories - OMG I LOVE this show! The host, Stuart McLean, has a true gift as a story teller and as someone who can find extraordinary pleasure in the most ordinary things. He once spent ten minutes praising mandarin oranges and it was fantastic. It took me a little while to get into the stories he tells of a fictitious family - you have to get to know the characters - but it's been totally worth it. Sometimes very, very funny, sometimes very, very sad, but you always get a lovely warm-and-fuzzy feeling. The live shows also feature music and readers' own stories. My all-time favourite podcast. (Recommended by Alyssa and Wayfarer Scientista. Thank you!)
  • The Moth - live recordings of people standing up and telling a true story from their life, without notes. Not all of the stories are funny, but almost all of them are interesting and well worth listening to. 
  • NPR: Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! - comedy news quiz. Great stuff, especially once you get to know the panellists! (Recommended by EcoGeoFemme)
  • Zeitgeist (video) - short snippets of silly news stories presented by a host with a really dry sense of humour.
News/current events/other
  • The bike podcast - from the Guardian. UK-oriented, but great listening for all the cyclists (recreational, race, and/or commuter) out there.
  • From Our Own Correspondent - from the BBC. Each episode features several short reports on current events (or just cultural observations) from foreign correspondents based all over the world, mostly serious but with one more light-hearted story at the end. Extremely high quality journalism.
  • Savage Love - I LOVE Dan Savage, having been introduced to his weekly column (syndicated in our awesome free weekly  indie paper, the Georgia Straight) by a labmate during my first month in Vancouver. This show is not for the squeamish as some of the sexual problems people call in with are rather weird and wonderful, but his advice is (usually) great and I think he's really doing some important work on this podcast and in his column. Check out his "it gets better" video campaign, which aims to bring hope to gay teens being bullied at school by describing to them the life as happy, well adjusted gay adults that they can't imagine having for themselves while stuck in small-town high school life.
  • This American Life - two or three stories on a given theme per episode. Again, the quality of the journalism is great and they find some amazing stories. Sometimes funny, mostly serious. (Recommended by Wayfarer Scientista and EcoGeoFemme)
  • WNYC's Radiolab - similar to This American Life, but with scientific themes. The shows are really well done and appeal strongly to me (a scientist) and Mr E Man (not a scientist, but interested in Stuff In General). THIS is how you bring science to the public!
Great, now the next time anyone asks for new music recommendations, I can just give them a link! And if anyone has any new suggestions, bring it on! Maybe I can do a Part III in another 18 months.

I might review my favourite iPhone apps (mostly games) next, if anyone's interested!


  1. Very interesting list! I'll check some of them later!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very interesting list! I'll check some of them later!

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Not all your videos are hyperlinked - can that be remedied?

    When I was in Portland (OR), I got introduced to the Savage Love column, syndicated in the local newspaper. I agree with you completely: he is doing great work, and his advice is usually very grounded and thoughtful.

  4. Oh - now I have lots to explore! Thank you! And I'd definitely be interested in your iPhone app list too.

  5. Thanks, Mr G! I hadn't come across your blog before but will check it out now. Immigrants Unite!

    SUIRAUQA, like I said I'm waaaay too lazy to link all these podcasts! If there's anything you're particularly interested in that you can't find, let me know and I'll be happy to point you in the right direction.

    Yay, Dan Savage fan club!

    Alyssa, have fun exploring!

    So one vote for my app list, eh? That's enough for me! Look out for that post in the next couple of weeks!

  6. Grumpy? Me? I'm a prince among men, the soul of patience and I tell a bad joke on each episode ... ;-)

    Granted, I'm not Canadian myself, but I have a ton of relatives in New Brunswick — does that help?

  7. HA! I wasn't expecting this :)

    Your good-natured comment leaves me no option but to take back my grumpy comment, with my apologies :)

  8. Wheeee! "Return comment high five":! I shall direct my idownloadamable thingamijob at these links forthwithaste.

  9. Pfpfffff, stupid late night formatting differences and forgetting to preview.


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