Favourite podcasts: Getting through 2020 and beyond
One of the many things podcasts do well is help us cope with the unpredictability and constant changes that life can throw our way, especially in a year like the one we just had. Looking back at our first year as a network, we asked some of our members to reflect on the podcasts that got them through the global pandemic, revolution-filled year that was 2020 and beyond. In this series, we ask: What podcasts are helping you get through? What podcasts are inspiring you? What are your all-time favorites?
We hope each post will give you a glimpse into the individual team members that make up The Amplify Network. If you have a podcast that helped you get through 2020-2021, share it with us at @AmplifyPodcasts on Twitter or send us an email, we’d love to hear from you.
In Favourite Podcasts Post #8, Lisa Quinn, Director of WLU Press, shared her favourite podcasts bringing humour to American history and southern cooking to your pandemic plate.
Next up in our Favourite Podcasts series, we hear from Amplify collaborator Jason Camlot on the podcasts nourishing his passion for music, conversation, and the curiosities of sound.
Although I've been a pretty avid radio listener all my life, I didn’t really become a podcast listener until I got involved with The SpokenWeb Podcast. As a result, my listening has tended toward podcasts that were especially focussed on framing sonic events and questions.
The first podcast that I really got into was Song Exploder. It's a podcast that essentially focuses on ways of contextualising the production of songs. I love popular music and I do write songs myself so it’s interesting to hear songwriters, engineers, and producers tell the stories of how their songs were made. Song Exploder approaches the making, I guess you could say the process of song writing and recording, from many different angles whether it is someone’s life story or really digging down into the particular sounds and sound processing choices. If I had to pick a favourite episode, I’d say episode 107 with Alt-J because it is very technical. In it they break down their track “In Cold Blood”. I enjoyed the sound-oriented and modular approach to song creation they describe. It's as though they're giving us a multitrack tour of the making of that song.
Another one, and I realise these are really canonical podcasts, is 99% Invisible. Often, I find episodes in this series are about the migration of events or entities or artefacts through different cultures. Nothing's too silly or small for them to examine because everything is culturally fascinating. My favourite episode that really illustrates this is “Whomst Among Us Let the Dogs Out”. It's about the story of the song “Who Let the Dogs Out” and how it migrated through cultures on its way to becoming a global earworm. It's a really amazing story about the plasticity of authorship and ownership of sound, which unfortunately does repeat that riff throughout (so be forewarned).
I guess my interest in both of these series relates back to my work with SpokenWeb in that The SpokenWeb Podcast is focused on sonic artefacts, entities, and events. While the series has developed a strong identity for itself, it can really vary in its form, in the sounds, and the approach that it takes to its sonic subject matter from episode to episode. Our multi-generic and experimental approach probably goes against the grain of how podcasts are often designed, but I think this is a powerful and innovative aspect of our podcast.
Jason’s Bonus Play: As I was discovering podcasts myself, my son also decided he wanted to make a podcast. We storyboarded some ideas together and he came up with his podcast the Gr8 Deb8. It’s a podcast where you have really important debates about really banal things; hotdogs vs. hamburgers, taking the bus vs. riding a bike, and things like that. He only made three episodes, but I think it’s one of the funniest podcasts out there (says the biased home producer, editor, and theme song writer).
Keep your eyes peeled and your ears tuned in the months to come for more Favourite Podcasts posts from the Amplify Podcast Network.