The 27 best podcasts of 2018

My Dad Wrote a Porno

Best for: Putting your own familial dysfunctionality into perspective

What would you do if your dad suddenly (and seemingly drunkenly) self-published an erotic novel, despite the fact that he’s a pretty terrible writer and evidently has no concept of what’s sexy or even a basic understanding of female anatomy?

The answer probably isn’t read it to the world chapter-by-chapter, but that’s exactly what James Morton did, and he brought his two horrified and bewildered friends along for the ride. The result is a 13-part podcast that’s at turns hilarious and so cringe-inducing it hurts. Who knew the ‘pots and pans’ industry could be so debauched?  

Try this episode: Episode 4 - The Maze / The First Client

Song Exploder

Best for: Hardcore musos

Like a director’s commentary for music, Song Exploder’s 15-minute episodes take individual tunes, break them down to their constituent parts and ask the artists responsible to tell the stories behind them. That means it’s not a podcast you’ll necessarily want to listen to every episode of, more likely picking and choosing the ones that feature bands you’re into, but the insight is frequently fascinating.

Whether it’s Joey Bada$$ revealing that his producer finds samples on YouTube, Warpaint sharing an alternative ending to Love Is To Die, or the original guitar-only demo for The National’s Sea of Love, Song Exploder is a music nerd’s dream.

Try this episode: Episode 47: Warpaint – Love Is To Die

FiveThirtyEight Elections

Best for: The US Presidential Election

To misquote a blond-haired buffoon (not Boris), ‘It’s been a yuuuuge year for politics.’ Following on from the UK’s Brexit referendum and both the US Republican and Democrat primaries, it’s almost time for 2016’s greatest face-off yet: Clinton vs Trump. Will the land of the free soon be ruled by a man whose enthusiasm for casual xenophobia is rivalled only by his adoration of fake tan?

This podcast will tell you. It’s about the polling of elections, not the media narrative surrounding them, and is run by Nate Silver. He’s a statistician who correctly predicted the 2010 general election result in all 50 states. When this guy talks about politics, it’s worth listening.

Try this episode: DOC: Obama and his Pastor

Analog(ue)

Best for: Tech without the specs

A lot of tech podcasts examine their subject with a surgeon’s knife, delving into specs and release dates, but this one takes a refreshing step back by discussing how it fits into everyday life. Its two hosts also live on either side of the Atlantic (hence the title’s dual spelling), which helps it unearth the subtle differences between how the US and UK use their gadgets.

Not that it’s just about subjects like Instagram versus Twitter – the unstructured feel and range of topics means it fits more into the ‘two guys talking’ genre. But the fact the one is a developer and the other a full-time podcaster means it often returns to subjects like the unexpected benefits of Skype’s fake dialling tone.

Try this episode: Episode 67: Don't Blame The Coffee, Blame The Moron

 

The 2000 AD Thrill Cast

Best for: Comics fiends

Home of grim-faced lawman Judge Dredd, 2000 AD has been flinging oddball British sci-fi your way since the late 1970s. The 2000 AD Thrill-Cast is packed full of insight and interviews, chatting with some of the industry’s biggest creators.

The podcast has a kind of restless energy and its sometimes lo-fi discussions are frequently entertaining and interesting. Fans will also welcome the chance to win some comic-related bling and get to hear exclusive announcements about upcoming strips and merchandise. Just don’t let Dredd hear you listening or he’ll hurl you into the Iso Cubes. “Accessing subversive audio casts. Five years, creep!”

Try this episode: The John Wagner Interview: Part One

1
2
3
4