Each week I publish the most Delicious Ingredients of my Audible Feast … the scrumptious, delectable, savory, rich, sweet, spicy, and best podcasts that have fed my ears over the last week. They’re listed in no particular order. You can see what I’ve been listening to here to see the competition these shows beat out to earn their spot as the best of the best. This week I listened to 48 episodes for this podcast review recap – four new shows for me this week, one of which made it on this list. Two shows on the list this week are celebrating their 100th episodes – congratulations to Criminal and Varmints!
Song Exploder: Cat Power – Woman (10/4/18): What it’s about: “Chan Marshall is a singer-songwriter who’s been making records under the name Cat Power since 1995. In 2018, she put out her tenth album, Wanderer. It includes this song “Woman,” which has Lana Del Rey on backing vocals. In this episode, Chan breaks down the song and what it means to her, as she tells the story of how she made “Woman” in Miami and Los Angeles over the course of a few years.” Why it’s great: Cat Power is open about her struggle with substance abuse and stage fright, and the way she explained the song “Woman” made me really feel for her, I could tell there has been a lot of struggle in her life and she pours her emotion into her songs. (18 minutes)
Read my 4-star review of Song Exploder here! (July 2016)
Serial, S03 Episode 04: A Bird in Jail is Worth Two on the Street (10/4/18): What it’s about: “What happens when the right evidence points to the wrong man?” Why it’s great: Serial season three continues to make me frustrated with the justice system, just as In the Dark did in each of its two seasons. I really appreciate knowing the actual impact of what happens when someone is arrested. This was a heartbreaking story for a father who lost a baby girl in a shooting, but also heartbreaking to hear from a man who was (wrongfully? we’ll see in the next episode …) arrested and parked in jail for a year when there was no evidence he committed the crime, just hearsay. (61 minutes)
Varmints!, Episode 100: Emus (10/3/18): What it’s about: “Emus! Woo hoo! It’s our 100th episode and we have all sorts of fun stuff in store! First, we’re joined by nationally recognized biologist and TV personality, Corbin Maxey, to discuss emus! And, we announce the winners of our Cellphone Backyard Wildlife Photo Contest! It’s going to be a fun ride, and we’d like to thank you, the listener, for making 100 episodes possible. You Varminions rock! Let’s get our giant bird on!” Why it’s great: Congratulations to Varmints! on 100 episodes! Paul and Donna have profiled dozens of critters, have kept the show fresh and creative the whole time, and truly produce something fun, funny, family-friendly, and educational to listen to. How awesome is it that Corbin Maxey binge listened to all 99 previous Varmints! episodes? And he didn’t just come on for a guest spot, he stayed for the whole episode about emus, because Maxey has one (of course!). If you haven’t heard Varmints! before, one of my favorite parts is when Paul and Donna debate how intelligent an animal is on a scale of 1-10. Emus are … not bright. (58 minutes)
The 2180 Podcast, Episode 02: Jennifer Pharr Davis (4/11/18) *First appearance on Delicious Ingredients*: What it’s about: “Jennifer Pharr Davis has hiked the Appalachian Trail three times, won the 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award, has written five books on her adventures outside and at one point, held the record for the fastest known thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. But before she was an icon in the American hiking community, in 2005, she set out on her first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail as a recent college graduate with little knowledge of the outdoors in hopes of taking a risk and finding something else along the way. In Episode 2 she talks about her youth, the tragedy she encountered on the trail, and how she learned to be confident in who she was and overcome her own insecurities.” Why it’s great: I’ve been listening to quite a few episodes in the back catalog of The 2180 in the last couple of weeks after creator Andrew Iden pitched it to me. I love that each episode features the “diary” of a person who has walked the AT in their words only – much like HumaNature or Outside/In. I’m fascinated by solo adventurers. Davis, the woman sharing her story in this episode, encountered a suicide on her trip – I can’t even fathom going on, but she did. I also loved her commentary about how her thoughts on beauty and body changed because of her trek. (27 minutes)
Scene on Radio: Himpathy (MEN, Part 7) (10/3/18): What it’s about: “Several years after Janey was sexually assaulted by her former boyfriend, Mathew, she told some of her closest friends, and her mother, what Mathew had done. Janey was so troubled by her loved ones’ responses, or lack thereof, that she went back to them years later to record conversations about it all. In this episode: Janey’s story, and philosopher Kate Manne, who coined the term “himpathy” in her 2017 book, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny.” Why it’s great: Whew. It’s been a sucker-punch week or two for women. The himpathy evident in the U.S. Senate is ridiculous (see also this Texas Monthly article about my Senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, thanks to my mom for sending). This was yet again, a heartbreaking episode about how himpathy is deeply, deeply embedded in how we view boys and men – we feel bad for them when they are accused (or convicted!) of treating a woman unfairly. I have experienced this in my life. A coworker treated me very inappropriately and I myself didn’t want anything “bad” to happen to him. Why? Why are men protected in this way? (51 minutes)
Read my 4-star review of Scene on Radio here! (April 2017)
No Feeling is Final, Episode 02: The Vast Wasteland (10/2/18) *First appearance on Delicious Ingredients*: What it’s about: “”Hunting for a psychiatrist is a lot like hunting for ‘The One’. Only much more expensive and with a tiny dating pool.” A desert. A gameshow. A desperate attempt. Miles of red tape. And finally, an answer?” Why it’s great: This podcast is about feeling suicidal, and I think it’s good to talk about it rather than pretend it doesn’t exist or people aren’t feeling that way, but some people may not be comfortable with the topic. That being said, I find it very raw but hopeful, and I love that music is a very big part of the show. (26 minutes)
Heavyweight, Episode 16: Rob (10/4/18): What it’s about: “Rob remembers breaking his arm as a kid. But the rest of his family says it never happened. Did he break his arm? The answer will determine Rob’s sanity.
” Why it’s great: Rob Corddry is the Rob featured in this episode, so you know it’s going to be funny yet sweet. This is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Heavyweight, and I love it every single time – multiple twists and turns, family and/or friend doubt, and a happy resolution. I’m thrilled the show is back. (18 minutes)
Mass Exoneration, Episode 1: Fred (9/16/18): What it’s about: “From a creaky door in a group home, to the flash of a gun in the dark, to a face-to-face meeting with the man who thinks you killed his brother, this is the story of Fred Clay. This episode airs on the anniversary of the day Fred was sentenced to life without parole — for a crime he didn’t commit.” Why it’s great: There are other podcasts in the wrongful conviction world, but I like this new entrant because it showcases how human these people are, instead of just a story of injustice. Clay talked about his emotions, how he felt about missing his mother’s funeral … it was really touching. (56 minutes)
The Competition: Leather: Ben (9/30/18): What it’s about: “Ben has a love story that sounds like it’s straight out of a R-rated Disney movie.” Why it’s great: I actually think the love story is a little more Disney than R-rated – I think it’s very sweet how Ben and his partner got together. Ben is another example of the diverse backgrounds that compete to represent the leather community. Next week is the competition episode – I can’t wait! (33 minutes)
Read my interview with James Kim, producer and co-host of The Competition, here! (September 2018)
I also reviewed Season 1 of The Competition here. (September 2017)
Crimetown, S2 E01: Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets (10/1/18): What it’s about: “Detroit, 1971—a city riven by blight, racial strife, and rising crime. In the first episode of Crimetown Season 2, the police form a controversial undercover unit called STRESS—Stop The Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets. One of the unit’s cops kills so many black men that he earns a nickname: Mr. STRESS. Can anyone stop him?” Why it’s great: I’m into shows about corruption, depressing as they may be. The pacing of Crimetown episodes was great in season one (the show appeared on my best-of-the-week list a few times) and that continues here; creators Zac Stuart-Pontier and Marc Smerling have also mastered the artful cliffhanger. (33 minutes)
Criminal, Episode 100: Ten Thousand Feet in the Air (10/5/18): What it’s about: “On the afternoon of June 23rd, 1972, Martin McNally walked into the St. Louis airport with a wig, a sawed-off rifle, and a plan.” Why it’s great: Criminal’s 100th episode (congratulations!) features Phoebe Judge interviewing McNally, both of them very calm and pragmatic in conversation, about his hijacking experience. I’ve heard this story before, but a Criminal episode always seems more magical than other shows. I picture Phoebe calmly sitting across a room with eyes narrowed, cocked head, listening intently – the guest so disarmed by her that they spill everything. So great. In the next episode we will get to hear what happened when McNally went to prison. (33 minutes)
Read my 4-star review of Criminal here! (September 2015)
Latino USA: The Immigrant Woman Who Confronted Senator Jeff Flake
Committed: A Modern Southern Romance
Last Seen, Episode 3: Not a Bunch of Jamokes
The Dream, Episode 3: Yes, I Would Like to Swim in Cash
All episode descriptions and artwork come from the linked sites. What else was fantastic this week? Send me a note! firstname.lastname@example.org or @audible_feast on Twitter. I’m also on Instagram at @audiblefeast.