The new "Food 4 Thot" podcast was designed in response to what its creators see as the anti-LGBT and pro-white nationalist rhetoric coming out of the new Trump administration. The podcast is a roundtable discussion on modern queer identity featuring Tommy "Teebs" Pico, Dennis Norris II, Joseph Osmundson, and Fran Tirado. “We like to think of our podcast as a gorgeous seated dinner, serving you both healthy food and junk food, giving sluts like us a seat at the scholarly table,” said Tirado. "We were all writers who enjoyed intellectual conversations about things like queer theory, politics, and Toni Morrison. But we also liked talking about sex toys, our exes, and Mariah Carey’s Vine account." – HUFFPO
Splitsider's "Pod-Canon" pays tribute to Episode 222 of the "Last Podcast on the Left" show, entitled "Manifestos." On the episode, the hosts take a look at the rhetorically confused, sometimes downright stupid manifestos of various spree killers. Much time is focused on "Virgin Killer" Elliot Rodger's epic screed, which "would be a masterpiece of unintentional comedy on par with 'The Room' if there weren't a bunch of dead bodies and brutally ended lives connected with it." Yes, the humor here walks a razor's age of misanthropy, but if you're in the right mood and have the right kind of sick sense of humor, you might end up playing this episode twice. – SPLITSIDER
Afropop Worldwide has a new hour-long podcast up about the recent boom of African music reissued on vinyl. The show investigates "some of the complex and shifting dynamics of neocolonialism, cultural ownership, and audience in the African vinyl market.” Interviewed during the hour are reps from labels Strut and Comb & Razor and a pair of Nigerian record label bosses. Also discussed is the unfortunate recent history of Austrian label PMG, who flooded the market recently with poorly put-together reissues of various Nigerian albums. – FACT
Spotify has expanded its selection of podcast offerings, including three new original series, and promises that there's even more to come. The new shows are "Showstopper" (live now), examining favorite musical moments in TV, and hosted by Editor-in-Chief of The Fader magazine, Naomi Zeichner; "Unpacked" (coming March 14th), which will focus on interviews with creatives at various festivals like SXSW; and "The Chris Lighty Story," (April) which will focus on the story of the music industry exec and his success promoting the careers of several major hop-hop artists. – TC
MashReads this week urges listeners to read George Saunders' novel "Lincoln in the Bardo" as soon as humanly possible. Saunders' new book is a postmodern novel that the hosts find "both incredibly timely and quintessentially timeless." The book, set in 1862, imagines the night that a grief-stricken Abraham Lincoln visits the Georgetown grave of his recently deceased son Willie three times. But the cemetery is packed with ghosts stuck in "the bardo," the moment between death and whatever comes next. The book is told through 166 of these different ghostly voices. Saunders himself guests to talk about the book MashReads calls, "A perfectly crafted novel about the universal themes of grief, empathy, family, and the existential angst of moving on." – MASHABLE
The "Missing Richard Simmons" podcast is undeniably gripping, but Wired also says it's "kinda icky." The show follows the mystery of Simmons' disappearance from the public eye in 2014, like a vaguely ironic version of "Serial." Unfortunately, Simmons isn't participating and does not seem interested in engaging with the public right now, and Wired's Charley Locke says that factor can make the show "at times feels more like self-serving exploitation than accomplished storytelling." Locke goes on to argue that the proliferation of "Serial" copycats has led to similar ethical issues for many podcasts, with "Simmons" just the latest to make him a bit queasy. – WIRED
Scott Carrier's "Home of the Brave" is a quizzical, dryly funny, often soulfully incisive political podcast. Carrier's low-key tone and delivery may take a minute to get used to (especially if you're trying to determine his political leanings by his voice, as I am sometimes stupidly wont to do), but what he says is often fascinating, never simplistic, and quite human.
The most recent episode, "It's All Over Now," begins with several minutes of listener calls edited for maximum impact. In a past episode, Carrier had raised the notion of a protest where thousands would go to Washington and literally surround the White House. His listeners, a dryly funny bunch, are not so sure the plan has merit. One listener says he is "not so into surrounding the White House literally," which leads to a momentary reverie by Carrier on how one might surround the White House "metaphysically." After another plan (everyone shaves their heads and sends all the hair to Washington) is beaten about a bit, Carrier moves on to the meat of the show, where he delivers a quietly stirring op-ed.
For this episode, Carrier's op-ed frames President Trump not as a villain but as a "tragic hero," "a fraud who knows he's doomed to fail," but who "rose to power blending truth and fiction like a jazz musician." Carrier sees a moment soon when Trump will no longer know the difference between reality and lies, "and at this point Donald Trump will have entered The Twilight Zone." He says that we need to take control of the narrative and start characterizing Trump as a tragically flawed Charles Foster Kane type.
That's all well and good (and it really is compelling), but what sold me on "Home of the Brave" was the episode's coda, where Carrier ends the show with audio of Bonnie Raitt performing Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" some years ago on David Letterman's show. Signing off, he says the performance comforted him, because it reminded him that "Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan and David Letterman are bigger and better than Donald Trump."
Title: "Home of the Brave"
Episodes Available: 64
Episode Length: 20 minutes
Where to Download: iTunes
Host: Scott Carrier