Song Salad: A buffet of quality podcasting

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Pound for pound, Song Salad delivers more smiles-per-episode than any other non-fiction podcast I am current subscribed to. The hosts have great chemistry, the concept is solid, the content is varied, the humor is genuine.

Song Salad is a weekly musically-charged podcast in which hosts Shannon and Scott produce a short song about a random Wikipedia topic using a randomly selected genre of music.  Both driving forces of the episode are chosen by spinning a fictional salad spinner which is represented by an improvised sound effect suggested by fans of the show (to give an idea of the wackiness of said sound effects, one episode’s salad spinner noise is “a cat performing dubstep”).  Continue reading

The Habitat : a failure to launch

I like the NASA space program. A lot. When the Curiosity rover was landing I planned my day around being able to watch the livestream from JPL. I kept a papercraft model of the Orion capsule dedicated to the unmanned test flight on my desk for years. I really enjoy anything even tangentially related to the space program.

Gimlet’s newest non-fiction series The Habitat trades on that that childlike wonder for anything involving space in hopes you’ll excuse the fact the series is, in actuality, a low-stakes reality show about six people slowly becoming tired of each other. The only legit space travel content takes palce in the first three episodes whenever host Lynn Levy (late of Radiolab and Studio360) interjects relevant/fun facts about space exploration history.

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The DIY acoustic box that only cost $10 (and my dignity)

A secret weapon of many podcasters and voice actors on a budget is the acoustic box (or mic box or whatever random-ass name someone has come up with for their YouTube tutorial). At its core the concept is simple: take a box, line the inside with foam to deaden any sound bouncing around, thus giving a more professional-sounding final product. No more need to drop dollars on acoustic foam tiles that make ones’ bedroom look like they’re trying to be the next hot YouTube gamer. Continue reading

The End of Time & Other Bothers | First Impressions

EOT_promocard_apr15The End of Time & Other Bothers is an improvised role-playing game set in the fantasy universe of popular medieval fantasy podcast Alba Salix, Royal Physician. Launching the same day as this article’s publication, this role-playing game podcast is far closer to a traditional audio-drama at the DNA level than your bog-standard tabletop RPG podcast, and that is a fantastic thing.

Before I dive in, a quick disclaimer: This will probably be one of the more unique takes on The End of Time & Other Bothers.  Why? I’m one of the few people left alive who love quality audio dramas, have a soft spot for sword ‘n sorcery, and dig a diverse cast who hasn’t heard a single second of Alba Salix or either of its spin-off shows.  Continue reading

‘The Sauce’, be it satire or genuine, disappoints.

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The Sauce is an aggressively bland three-episode podcast produced by Studio@Gizmodo and Onion Labs, all under the watchful eye of fast-food megalith McDonald’s. Styled after Serial (and pulled off with the deftness of someone whose only exposure to investigative podcasts is Serial), the three-episode series is one of the most stunted, awkward attempts at telling a story I’ve encountered in my five-ish years of listening to podcasts. It’s difficult to tell if it was supposed to be a satire of investigative podcasts, a genuine attempt, or just a really weird advertisement.

Strike that last one, it is absolutely an advertisement packaged as a podcast. To discuss The Sauce one must understand the story The Sauce is trying to tell. Fortunately, the story can be told in four paragraphs and two quotes:

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We Hate Movies Presents: The Nexus | Patronized Reviews

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In this first installment of a when-I-feel-like-it feature series in which I take a break from reviewing plain-old iTunes-submitted podcasts and cover shows only available to paying supporters on Patreon!

In essence a spin-off of the amazing podcast We Hate Movies, The Nexus features hosts Andrew Jupin, Chris Cabin, Steven Sajdak, and Eric Szyszka engaging in a monthly discussion of two Star Trek series, episode by episode. Available at the $8 per-month tier (stick around to the end of the review for everything also included!), each episode discusses one episode of Star Trek: The Original Series and an episode of The Next Generation. Continue reading

Review | A Scottish Podcast: Season One

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A Scottish Podcast is a comedy-horror (note the order) audio drama that tells the story of a disgraced radio presenter who starts a paranormal podcast with intentions of capitalizing on an inherently gullible audience, only to accidentally stumble across legitimate paranormal phenomenon.

After crapping his pants on a nationally broadcast live chat show years prior, washed-up radio DJ Lee powers is looking to regain some popularity and make money along the way. In a particularly meta plot point, real-world podcast The Black Tapes inspires him to start a “real” horror documentary podcast: The Terror Files (a title that gets extra points when said with a Scottish accent). With reluctant, snarky production assistant Doug, Lee lucks upon a spooky situation that launches the podcast to instant stardom.

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Feeling alone at ‘Station Blue’ | First Impressions

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It’s time to get cold, real cold. Today I’m talking about the new isolationist horror audio drama Station Blue. This will probably be the most first-impressiony-est of my first impressions as there are only two full episodes (and three prologue shorts) released as of this writing.

Station Blue is set in a location I’m quite shocked more podcasts haven’t taken advantage of yet: Antarctica. Not only that, but Antarctica during the harsh winter when no planes can get in or out in the event of an emergency. The idea of being completely stranded in a barren wasteland of snow and harsh winds is rife for horror potential, especially when one throws a creepy/mysterious research station into the mix.  Continue reading

Dead water and goat cheese | The world-building of ‘Girl in Space’

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Source: girlinspacepodcast.com

About 18 hours after listening to every released episode of Girl in Space in one go, I’m left dumbfounded by the talent and craftsmanship that goes into producing each episode. While there isn’t a full season one for me to properly review, I feel safe in publicly saying “this is some damned good science fiction.” So good, in fact, I’d like to take a few paragraphs to highlight the brutally simplistic world-building tactics producer/writer/editor/star Sarah Rhea Werner uses to paint the world around their characters.

Three lines. That’s all we’re going to talk about. Girl in Space has three lines in episodes 103 and 104 (one apiece) that aren’t necessarily plot-important, they feel like asides more than anything else, but they’re a perfect one-two shot of world-building information that hit so hard I had to pause the podcast and work through what I’d just experienced.

Light spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t listened past episode one of the series (which you should do anyway, this show rocks).

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