John despises his Alabama town.
March 23, 2017 2:47 PM   Subscribe

From Serial and This American Life comes a seven-part podcast, S-Town. Arriving March 28.
posted by mr_bovis (41 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
A little more about the show. If the narration sounds familiar to you, it's hosted by This American Life producer Brian Reed.
posted by mochapickle at 2:55 PM on March 23, 2017

Up next: my podcast about plotting a murder so I can have a murder to solve for the podcast series after that.
posted by GuyZero at 2:58 PM on March 23, 2017 [22 favorites]

I'm excited about this podcast.

There are so many GREAT podcasts right now. I've been grooving on Hi-Phi Nation, Embedded, Code Switch, Philosophy Bites, See Something Say Something, 2 Dope Queens, The Treatment (which I guess is still a radio show). More Perfect was awesome (it's coming back, right?) and I just discovered Fake the Nation. Politically Reactive is coming back for another season and Hidden Brain has been getting deeper lately in a way I really like. 99 Percent Invisible is just always consistently good. You can listen to New Yorker short story authors read other New Yorker short stories, original radiodrama on Bronzeville, (and I loved Wooden Overcoats). There are weekly roundups from the journal Nature, academics discussing their work on Office Hours. I listen to this great, long-running bike podcast called The Bike Show that talks about everything from bike design to racing to bike camping to road design.

For people who like listening to other people talk, it's a golden age.

I still miss Mystery Show though... :(
posted by latkes at 3:38 PM on March 23, 2017 [45 favorites]

For people who like listening to other people talk, it's a golden age.


I've been on a bit of a true crime podcast kick. I'm loving Crimetown and Stranglers. The reporting is phenomenal but the subject matter is at times upsetting, so heads up. But the story is so compelling that you just want more.

I've heard some interesting things about the Missing Richard Simmons podcast but it also feels kind of weird and exploitative. So I'm not sure that I'm tuning into that one.

Thanks for sharing this, adding it to my list.
posted by Fizz at 4:08 PM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Well for those who like the true crime podcast genre there's also the CBC podcast Someone Knows Something.

Season 1:
"In 1972, five-year-old Adrien McNaughton vanished while on a family fishing trip in Eastern Ontario. Despite an intensive search and investigation, no sign of Adrien was found, no clue as to where he might be. The case has hung over the area like a dark mass ever since, especially in the small town of Arnprior, where the McNaughton family lived.

In season one of the podcast Someone Knows Something, host David Ridgen, who grew up in Arnprior, goes back to investigate. Ridgen, a independent filmmaker with a proven record of solving cold cases, asks the questions that have been waiting for answers for over 40 years. He speaks to family, friends and other members of the community, discovering new leads and evidence, trying to put the ghosts of the past to rest. "

Season 2:
"On December 31, 1997, at a New Year's Eve party broadcast on live TV, Sheryl Sheppard accepted a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, Michael Lavoie. Two days later, she disappeared. In Season 2 of SKS, documentarian David Ridgen joins Sheppard's mother Odette on her search for answers."
posted by GuyZero at 4:44 PM on March 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm going to add this to the list, but I did want to echo Fizz's recommendation for Crimetown, which is really really good and also add a recommendation for In The Dark, which has already completed its run.
posted by cyphill at 4:54 PM on March 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

Sounds like what town it is is still a mystery. Anyone heard differently?

Growing up in Alabama (ages 4.5-18+) that brief clip of John (?) talking made me shudder with horror, recognition, and nostalgia. Rural town probably pretty different from the college town I lived in, but I bet it's close enough to home (literally and figuratively) to be a little upsetting.

Ah, here we go, my hometown, conveniently linked in the sidebar. Similar dose of horror (less), recognition (more), and nostalgia (about the same).
posted by supercres at 5:08 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Up next: my podcast about plotting a murder so I can have a murder to solve for the podcast series after that.

Did you too just watch the last season of Dexter?
posted by rhizome at 5:37 PM on March 23, 2017

A bit of a tangent but, if you happen to have a soft spot for both Serial-style storytelling/investigation and weird sci-fi/horror fiction, I highly recommend Tanis, which is just now a few episodes into its 3rd season.
posted by treepour at 5:59 PM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

If we're doing recommendations while we wait for S-Town to be released, here are podcasts I recommend, in no particular order, some mentioned already:
Fiction: Welcome to Night Vale, The Bridge, Getting On with James Urbaniak, Serendipity, Within the Wires, King Falls AM, Wooden Overcoats, Rabbits, Darkest Night, Homecoming, A Scottish Podcast, LifeAFter, The Black Tapes, Archive 81, Tanis, Hello From the Magic Tavern, The Truth, The Bright Sessions, Siblings Peculiar, Wolf 359, A Twilight World of Ultimate Smoothness, EOS 10, Limetown, and The Deep Vault.
Nonfiction: This American Life, The Vanished, First Time Last Time, Snap Judgement, Benjamen Walker's The Theory of Everything, Unfictional, KCRW's Here Be Monsters, In The Dark, Missing and Murdered, Stranglers, Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids, Radio Diaries, The Mortified, Criminal, Lore, Death Sex and Money, The Heart, Strangers, Love + Radio, Love Me, Serial, Crimetown, Someone Knows Something
I also have about 70 others on my list on Stitcher that I haven't really delved into, so there's always more...

It's not that I have no life or that I am really into podcasts; it's just that I do a lot of woodworking and I like to listen to something to drown out the noise of my tools, and so when you listen to podcasts 5-8 hours a day, you really develop a list.
posted by jenjenc at 8:11 PM on March 23, 2017 [12 favorites]

I was iffy about Crimetown at the start, but it's really grown on me. I'll be curious to see what they do next year, if they do a next year. It seems to me that the conceit works really well for Providence, where organized crime was totally bound up with the city government, but I'm not sure that it would work for a town where crime was a little more disorganized.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:36 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Googling around. Seems like it might be set in Selma, where John Newman runs Village Clocksmith. Maybe.

I love a good podcast. I'm nervous about the true crime genre and particularly cringed at the issues around Serial. Wondering what this will be like and hope it'll at least be more journalistically responsible.
posted by Miko at 8:50 PM on March 23, 2017

Any love for Myths and Legends?

Crimetown really grew on me. Gimlet Media has really been raising the bar for my production expectations lately.

You Must Remember This is a weird guilty pleasure that I'll never admit to in person.

I'm finding lately that politics is so exhausting that I'm trending towards escapism in podcasts, just so that I'm not anxious all the time. The Dollop is fairly lighthearted yet I still walk away learning something.
posted by montag2k at 9:09 PM on March 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have zero guilt about You Must Remember This. I love You Must Remember This.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:11 PM on March 23, 2017 [10 favorites]

Also I suppose this is going to be the unofficial #trypod thread?
posted by montag2k at 9:11 PM on March 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm finding lately that politics is so exhausting that I'm trending towards escapism in podcasts, just so that I'm not anxious all the time. The Dollop is fairly lighthearted yet I still walk away learning something.

Given a lot of the humour of The Dollop is 'America has been fucked forever' this seems like a strange antidote!
posted by Merus at 10:03 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

It certainly puts things into the perspective that it was never quite as good as people thought it was, especially so for most Americans who were not white males. I dig the message!
posted by montag2k at 10:09 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I WANT to like Tanis so much. It's a fun concept, and I've enjoyed incorporating it into my vocabulary as the explanation for anything weird that happens. I had to give it up though because the execution is SO bad. The FanFare page had some criticisms a while ago about how nobody talks like real humans. It took me a while to get that but it is so true. I wish the Tanis people would hand it over to the Limetown people. I'd listen to that in a heartbeat.
posted by emkelley at 10:12 PM on March 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Making Gay History
How To Be A Girl
How I Built This
Made of Human with Sofie Hagen
Modern Love
I Was There Too
Twice Removed
posted by ellieBOA at 10:18 PM on March 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Damn you all, as if my podcast subscription list wasn't big enough already. I guess I'll have to change jobs to somewhere that'll take least two hours to commute to.
posted by Captain Fetid at 3:58 AM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

+1 for You Must Remember This by the way; I'd lost sight of it.

And if I may add another recommendation: The Fall of Rome. It's not always as professionally made as it could have been, but it's a passionately made one-man show.
posted by Captain Fetid at 4:05 AM on March 24, 2017

I WANT to like Tanis so much.

I hear you on this. So far, the third season is better and some of the TANIS TROPES (dun-noise, police radio, etc) have been toned down. (Disclaimer, I make TANIS art now) Second season kind of went off the rails trying to recover from the first season finale.

Rabbits, TANIS's sister podcast, is off to a good start. You can really see how Terry Miles is learning as you move through Black Tapes -> TANIS -> Rabbits.

My podlist has been MaxFun infected ever since Flophouse joined the network. Besides the standard McEllroy Fare, if you like weird stuff, you might like Oh No Ross and Carrie (they investigate fringe groups) and The Beef And Dairy Network (A podcast about beef and dairy herds that approaches Twilight World of Ultimate Smoothness for weirdness).

Outside of MaxFun, for Weird Narrative Podcasts there's also Archive 81, First season is great, second season I'm still on the fence about - that first ep was hard to listen to.

Depending on your levels of bro-tolerance, Kevin's Cryptids is fun and feels like a spec script for a Jason Mantzoukas FXX show.

On the People Talk About Weird Stuff end, I always recommend Mysterious Universe - two Australian guys, great production values, just enough snark to temper the woo. I've yet to dip in to Last Podcast on the Left, but they have an L Ron Hubbard thing going on right now and crazy LRH stories are kind of my jam, so I'll be giving that a try soon. If you like Lore but are like, "I wish instead of one guy who does a lot of research and as a great ASMR voice this show was three friends getting drunk on boxed wine and ragging on each other as they tell their weird true stories" there's Hello, Creeps! but I understand that can be an acquired taste.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:53 AM on March 24, 2017

Futility Closet is a great weekly half-hour podcast that has one or two interesting stories (the Boston Molasses Flood, H.H. Holmes' "murder castle", the invention of the polygraph... it's not as "disaster and crime" as I'm making it sound, honest) and a lateral-thinking puzzle.

We're Alive is, for me, one of the best narrative podcasts ever. It's very long, but it has a definite beginning and end and defined seasons in between. If you like zombie stories, give it a try. The Lockdown tangent series wasn't nearly as good.

Alba Salix, Royal Physician is a fantasy medical comedy. Short and well-constructed. Season 2 is coming soon, and S1 was only six half-hour episodes, so you can catch up.

The Bright Sessions starts with "What if a person with superpowers needed to go to a psychologist?", but it's about that like The Sopranos was "What if a mafioso went to a psychologist?"
posted by Etrigan at 7:30 AM on March 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

Audio media has been my favorite form of consuming entertainment since around 2009. I'm so stoked to see the medium really flourishing! There's just soooo much more stuff than there used to be. My first was Stuff You Missed In History Class. The show's hosts and format have changed a lot over the years to more professional narration and research. It's still one of my favorites, delving into women's, queer, and black history - stuff we really did miss in history class.

One (narrative fiction) podcast I really like that hasn't been mentioned yet is Return Home. It has a supernatural theme, but doesn't take itself too seriously (and it's gay!)

I haven't tried Tanis, but if it's anything like The Black Tapes (another supernatural podcast from the same production company) I don't think I'd like it. I quit midway through the second season. I'm picky about supernatural stories, and quite honestly nothing justifies like 5 ad breaks in one episode.

Wolf 359 was really good up until the third season. Some things happened that changed the focus of the show and overall made it way less compelling to me, but there are still awesome episodes like Mayday and Memoria that I point to as amazing works from the medium.

Things I didn't like:

Welcome to Night Vale. The one-man-show format just doesn't sit right in my ears. Plus, it's just a little bit too twee for me now.

The Black Tapes, as mentioned above.

I was a huge fan of Risk for a while. Unfortunately, the stories became less raw and "risky" and more produced and about things like "straight man discovers porn/kink" so I lost interest.

Reminder to myself to update this later with more recs! I have to run, but I have a huge list that I can share with people if anyone needs recommendations.
posted by scruffy-looking nerfherder at 9:14 AM on March 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I really wanted to like Someone Knows Something but I just could NOT deal with the music at the end of the show. I like to listen to this stuff as I go to sleep and jarring (or just BAD) theme music ruins the experience for me. (I wish I had more time to listen to podcasts during normal waking hours but I really don't which is kind of a bummer.)

I really liked Stranglers. Horrifying.

I love Myths and Legends, and Lore.

I also quite enjoy Our Fake History, although that sort of violates my "can't have crappy theme music" rule - GAH THE THEME SONG OF THAT ONE IS SO BAD

I'm gonna write some sort of plugin that scans a podcast episode for music above a certain threshold loudness level and either attenuates the volume in a big way or just mutes it entirely. Maybe it could also mute stuff like, too loud laughter. Or when people get too close to the mic and you can hear the gross sounds of their mouths. Taking feature requests now!
posted by capnsue at 10:03 AM on March 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Our Fake History

Oh, man. That title created a need in me for a history podcast of made up invented events ala a John Hodgman book.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:30 AM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would second most of the fiction on jenjenc's list and also add The Penumbra Podcast, Ars Paradoxica, and the Adventure Zone.
posted by beandip at 10:37 AM on March 24, 2017

'80s All Over - Movies: Two movie critics review every film released in the States in the '80s; one talks about them, the other yells about them with a weird accent.

99% Invisible - Design, history: In a lot of ways, this has taken the place of TAL in my listening habits. Wide-ranging and always engaging.

Canadaland - Media, current events: Jesse Brown takes Canadian media down a peg; often as annoying a bunfight as it sounds, but when it's good it's very good. Canadaland Commons is their politically-specific show; in it's current iteration, it's three woke kids who manage to be simultaneously grating and boring. The Imposter is their arts show, I've not listened to it much.

Colour Code - Race, current events: Currently on hiatus, Hannah Sung & Denise Balkissoon & occasional guests discuss race in Canada. Greatly missed.

Comic Books Are Burning In Hell - Comics: Joe (Jog) McCollugh talks about comics, Chris Mautner, sometimes Tucker Stone, and occasionally Matt Seneca try to keep up. Jog's a monster.

Crimetown - Crime, history: Currently it's a fascinating look at organized crime's grip on Rhode Island, though the hosts are kinda pesty. Theme song makes me feel like a badass.

Hardcore History - History: Dan Carlin presents engaging historical events. Also has an American current events series, Common Sense, which I threw in the garbage when he started peddling a 'Neither side has clean hands, they need to work together' line of shite.

Dana Gould Hour - Banter, pop culture: Dana Gould talks at comedians & other people about various things. If you listen to a bunch at once, you notice Eddie Pepitone laughs too hard at the same jokes he laughed too hard at two episodes before. Gould's mid-episode mini-biographies are really enjoyable.

The Observatory & Design of Business/Business of Design - Design, business, duh: Designers Michael Beirut & Jessica Helfand talk about design & interview their peers. Not sure about Helfand, but Beirut is quite good and was in a recent episode of 99%.

Gentlemen of Elegant Leisure - Booze, banter: 2 to 3 guys make cocktails and jokes. Warning: Sometimes they shake the shaker too close to the microphone and you will hear people drinking and smacking their lips.

History of England - History, England: Charming as heck history of England with dad jokes and references to the rough end of a pineapple.

Ideas - Stuff: Venerable CBC Radio programme featuring interviews & documentaries on a plethora of topics.

In Our Time - History, arts & sciences: Melvyn Bragg is guided through a historical subject by a panel of experts; tea or coffee at the end.

Jesuitical - Current events, faith: 3 nice young lay-editors of America magazine look at news of the day through a Jesuit/Catholic perspective.

Juvenalia - Banter, pop culture: Hibernian humourist Alan MaguireM'sO & funny friends interview an interesting person about pop culture stuff when they were young. Recent Stephen King ep was quite good.

Making It - Building stuff, personal development: Bob Clagett, Jimmy Diresta, and David Piscutto talk about their respective projects and how they work. Jimmy loves everyone but has a weird definition of what trolls are.

Politically Re-Active - Humour, current events: Comedians W. Kamau Bell & Hari Kondabolu & occasional guests discuss the issues of the day. It's just returned from hiatus; you're welcome, everyone.

Process Party - Comics, interview: Cartoonists Mike Dawson (Ink Panthers) & Zack Soto interview other cartoonists with laughs and insight, and discuss their craft with laughs and insight. Full of laughs and insight.

Revolutions - History; Mike Duncan (History of Rome) explores the series of revolutions which have changed our world, starting from the English Civil War.

ScriptNotes - Movies, writing; Scriptwriters John August & Craig Mazin & occasional guests discuss the art and business of their craft.

Sneaky Dragon - Banter, humour: Cartoonists/writers/friends-since-school Ian Boothby & David Dedrick talk about everything under the sun in a way only good friends can, from the ridiculously silly to the deeply personal. The podcast I either listen to immediately or save for the very last. Their Totally Tintin and Compleatly Beatles album-by-album review/bio podcasts are well worth checking out too.

Travis Bickle on the Riviera - Movies; Writers Sean Witzke, Tucker Stone, & artist/cartoonist Morgan Jeske talk movies, often involving violence and Tom Cruise. Frankly, I'm sort of worried about Sean these days.

Wait, What? - Comics, banter: Two friends talk comics, except for when they don't, in which case, ugh, enough about fucking waffles, already.

You Must Remember This - Katrina Longworth enunciates her way through the secret and/or forgotten history of Hollywood's first century.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:10 PM on March 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Truth Politics & Power -- Neal Conan from NPR's Talk Of The Nation does a weekly hour of analysis with knowledgable guests. Brand new, worth a listen.

TBTL -- The podcast that just might be Too Beautiful To Live. Luke Burbank (Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, Livewire) and Andrew Walsh do about 90 minutes a day, 5 days a week. I'm not exactly sure WHAT they do, but I'm a Ten.

The Frame -- KPCC's culture half-hour. Good interviews and interesting things happening in music, movies, theater, or art.

Little Red Bandwagon -- A podcast about the podcast TBTL. Very inside baseball.

WTF with Marc Maron -- Marc's interviewing skills are so so good....

Graham Norton -- Graham does a 3-hour show on BBC2 radio, they edit out all the music and just give you the talking bits ~1hour. Interesting guest interviews mostly about theater and music in the UK.

I did listen to the Missing Richard Simmons podcast (6 episodes, ~3hours). It didn't feel exploitative to me much. It's one of the best produced podcasts I've ever heard.

Also, You Must Remember This is great. Her series on the Manson murders was some of the most interesting true crime listening I've ever encountered.
posted by hippybear at 2:03 PM on March 24, 2017

I WANT to like Tanis so much. It's a fun concept, and I've enjoyed incorporating it into my vocabulary as the explanation for anything weird that happens. I had to give it up though because the execution is SO bad.

It has its missteps and occasionally cringe-worthy voice acting for sure, but I don't find the execution bad at all. In particular, I find the background effects and music to be extremely effective in drawing me in, and I think Nic, Meerkatnip, and Alex are all convincing enough for me to suspend disbelief. That said, it does come across as being produced by relative newcomers to the format who are figuring it all out as they go along, which I guess I find more endearing than off-putting.
posted by treepour at 2:12 PM on March 24, 2017

What?! My podcast is not on any of your lists?? I am insulted! (Not really.)


Wonderful suggestions for me, tho.
posted by Kitteh at 5:39 PM on March 24, 2017

You know what's a good podcast I just rediscovered? Song Exploder. It doesn't try to be ambitious, the host is invisible, the pacing is perfect, it's interesting even if you don't know the song and wonderful when you do.
posted by latkes at 6:23 PM on March 24, 2017

Kitteh, tell us about your podcast!
posted by latkes at 6:38 PM on March 24, 2017

Wait, What? - Comics, banter: Two friends talk comics, except for when they don't, in which case, ugh, enough about fucking waffles, already.

I played the Jeff Lester "Um Um Yeah" drinking game once and now I am dead.
I love Wait, What and their deep dive podcast episodes into the Avengers and Fantastic Four are not to be missed. Their despair at Byrne's run on FF going from gold to poop is on par with The Worst Idea of All Time (another one - two guys watch the same movie every week for a year and talk about it).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:37 PM on March 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing Stuff You Missed In History Class and In Our Time. In Our Time is very consistent in quality and has women scientists and scholars on it all the time and they simplify without dumbing down. It has been breakfast listening on school days as a result.
I like Stuff You Should Know too. Their pace isn't for everyone but I love it as an antidote to the super produced stuff. Plus the kids and I make a game of what have the hosts said that will sound awesome at half speed. These are the only guys it seems to work on.
Honorable mention to You Are Not So Smart as well.
posted by drowsy at 2:12 PM on March 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

All the episodes dropped this morning, and today is one of those days that I curse having a short commute. Fifteen minutes into the first episode and I really like it so far. Hopefully it lives up to the hype.
posted by noneuclidean at 4:55 AM on March 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Careful: one episode segues into the next, and before you know it, you're in so, so deep, until the spellbinding last sentence. (FanFare thread here.)
posted by progosk at 4:59 PM on March 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just finished the last episode. I binged the whole thing today while doing spring cleaning and then knitting a hat. I am on spring break so I thought I would listen over the next couple days. I couldn't stop listening. There is so much to think about. No spoilers, but if you are looking for something like Serial, this is not that. It seems to start as one thing and then becomes another, but it all comes together in the end.

Someone else listen soon so we can talk about it!
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 10:14 PM on March 28, 2017

Oh wait, fanfare. See ya later.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 10:15 PM on March 28, 2017

So I'm just going to say, the 7 hours of this podcast are an astounding work as a whole. It's radio journalism taken to a level I haven't experienced before. Truly a worthwhile listen; I recommend it entirely.
posted by hippybear at 12:42 PM on March 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

DH and I got hooked on Tuner and now we wish there were more episodes. Music fans deconstruct pop songs. Link
posted by wenat at 10:40 PM on April 2, 2017

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