What solid, unusual podcasts deserve more exposure?
February 4, 2009 1:43 PM   Subscribe

What are some good, unusual podcasts that merit the attention of a high-profile review?

I write the "Podthoughts" podcast review column for The Sound of Young America's website, and as such am equipped to endow a podcast kingmaker's imprimatur on any podcast that merits one. I'm always on the lookout for solid podcast entertainment that's off the beaten track, so I figured I'd take the question to MeFi. Any podcasts you listen to that you think merit a much wider listenership? (Note that this is NOT a guarantee that I'll review the podcast you mention — though its chances can only go up — and it especially isn't a guarantee of an positive review.)

I must, with a heavy heart, temporarily forbid the suggestion of podcasts that revolve around these things, for I have grown so very weary of them:

- Comedy
- Video games
- Comics
- Movies
- Twentysomething guys in basements

The less-known, the better.
posted by colinmarshall to Computers & Internet (26 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Heh. I came in here first and foremost to mention Jordan, Jessie, Go! but I guess you know about that one. The History of Rome is a very well-done podcast about, well, the history of ancient Rome. Each episode is just fifteen minutes, but is super informative and quite entertaining. When he -- with a straight face -- related Roman battle tactics against Carthaginian war elephants to the Rebel Alliance's approach to Imperial Walkers during the Battle of Hoth, I just about lost it.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:06 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

The TwoPlusTwo pokercast is a great one about poker (highly specialized, but very funny)

Songs By Toad is a charming one by a scottish fellow about music and his twee life.

Rcd Lbl is another good music-discovery cast by a nifty free legal downloads site.

Garage Punk: Just what it says on the label.

All the rest I listen to are associated with your website.

PS I have MeMailed you some spam, feel free to ignore it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:07 PM on February 4, 2009

The New York Review of Books podcast, which is pretty new (started last August and now appears weekly).
posted by agent99 at 2:07 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

There was a wonderful podcast I heard a while back that talked about scientific issues and was interesting and fun. I was getting into a "podcast" phase and listened to a great one of theirs on the scientific basis of race. As I recall, one of the speakers in the series went to a service which tried to predict his race from his DNA.

I've since left that podcast phase and lost all traces of it. I'll try to track it down for you.
posted by losvedir at 2:11 PM on February 4, 2009

Science & the City, by the New York Academy of Sciences, is pretty fantastic. Basically, it offers interviews, lectures, and chats with very smart people involved with the sciences in a format that's accessible, digestible, and interesting no matter what your background (I'm an art/history sort of person, and I totally love it).
posted by teamparka at 2:17 PM on February 4, 2009

losvedir is talking about the awesome Radiolab from NPR.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:21 PM on February 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

P.S. Disclaimer: While I am sure that some scientists involved with the aforementioned podcast have, at one point, been "twentysomething guys in basements" who stayed cooped up in labs for days at a time, I posted my suggestion anyway, as those characters are, by no means, the focus of the series.

Just saying.
posted by teamparka at 2:28 PM on February 4, 2009

Ah, yes, Rock Steady's got it (thanks)! And good thing, too, my searching had turned up nothing. But, yes, I recommend that one.

All right, I admit, I knew if I made that comment someone would know what I was talking about. I had been looking for it for a while....
posted by losvedir at 2:37 PM on February 4, 2009

Using AskMe to crowdsource submissions your self-linked site is, dude, so not cool.
posted by mkultra at 2:41 PM on February 4, 2009

Using AskMe to crowdsource submissions your self-linked site is, dude, so not cool.

I'm pretty sure the link to the column was acceptable — people might want to get a feel for the column before suggesting a podcast to be reviewed in it — but if the mods really want to strip it out, I ain't gonna bitch and moan.
posted by colinmarshall at 3:01 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I really like Backstory with The American History Guys.
posted by one_bean at 3:24 PM on February 4, 2009

I can't vouch for it as I haven't had a chance to listen yet, but I was just listening to Scott Simpsons mentioning LSAT Logic in Everyday Life on TBTL, and it genuinely sounds interesting, as well as markedly not Several Guys Being Hilarious.

Hilariously, I was just going to list some I've found through your reviews. Thank you for introducing me to Radio Freetown!
posted by carbide at 3:31 PM on February 4, 2009

Sorry, I know typo followups are really annoying, but:

Scott Simpsons, even.

posted by carbide at 3:33 PM on February 4, 2009

Widely Ranging Interests just rocks. It's just the thing that I think most people would do with the podcast medium if they were able.
posted by Heatwole at 3:44 PM on February 4, 2009

Another musical one: the Fabric Podcast.

Unusual because it's a famous house/techno/etc DJ playing and discussing the records that first got them excited about music.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:03 PM on February 4, 2009

Skeptics' Guide to The Universe - Skepticism and general science. Worth it for the "Science or Fiction" segments alone. (They must have recently redone their website, as it's a monstrosity now.)
posted by brundlefly at 7:09 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fordham Conversations *love it*
Ockham's Razor (Australian)
Point of Inquiry
SALT- Seminars About Long-Term Thinking
Science Talk
Skeptoid: Critical Analysis
Stuff You Should Know
The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe *Gem of my skeptical universe!*
The Thomas Jefferson Hour
WFMT: Critical Thinking
posted by kristymcj at 8:59 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Free Domain Radio, an absolutely fascinating Libertarian podcast. When my daughter was young and not much for conversation, I'd put her in a sling against my chest where she could sleep and go on walks for hours listening to the above podcast.
posted by JFitzpatrick at 9:26 PM on February 4, 2009

I Should Be Writing is one of my favorites.
posted by sugarfish at 9:42 PM on February 4, 2009

"All in the mind" is a great show on Australian radio about advance in neuropsychology and the like.
posted by mateuslee at 12:12 AM on February 5, 2009

I have been a long time fan of This American Life as well as Radio Lab
posted by Heliochrome85 at 7:48 AM on February 5, 2009

Coverville (Previously, um, covered)

posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:51 AM on February 5, 2009

I'll add my vote for This American Life, and I've recently really been enjoying The Moth, which is a story-telling podcast in a similar vein to TAL.
posted by fracturing at 1:53 PM on February 5, 2009

the guy who does podrunner (and podrunner intervals) does a great music podcast, groovelectric. each mix is about an hour long.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:07 PM on February 5, 2009

Book's Music features a wide variety of music (tending towards hip-hop and old R&B, but it does always run the gamut), often blending a song that someone sampled into the song that sampled it. All podcasts are exactly an hour long, with no filler other than "station identification".
posted by sillygwailo at 5:36 PM on February 7, 2009

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