Monday, December 31, 2018

Top 10 Podcasts of 2018

I spent a lot of time in 2018 listening to podcasts.  In fact, podcasts are my preferred listening choice while at the gym.  I first got into podcasts four or five years ago and for the longest time I only listened to professional wrestling related shows.  Since that time I've found a variety of shows that range in topics from music to comics to movies to television, and those are just the shows I follow on and listen to on a regular basis (when the mood hits, I may dabble in a bit of politics and current events).

Below are my 10 favorite podcasts of 2018.  These are the shows that I follow, and in many cases, listen to religiously.  Some of these shows I've followed for years and a few I discovered in 2018 but all are worth your time (if you are interested in said show's subject matter obviously).  I've also included five honorable mentions.  And in case anyone is curious or cares, my preferred podcast app is Stitcher.

Honorable Mentions -- 
Around the Ring
Hit Parade: Music History and Music Trivia
Punks in Pubs
These Miracles Work: A Hold Steady Podcast
Girl Germs: A Podcast About Bratmobile's Pottymouth

10.  Political Beats
Official, Twitter
I found this show through Celebration Rock (I think...).  Here's the concept:  two political journalists/commentators talk to another political journalist/commentator about said individual's favorite band.  Crazy idea, right?  Well it works.  Some of the artists that have been covered include Queen, R.E.M., and The Clash, just to name a few.

9.  Celebration Rock
93X, UPROXX, Twitter
This is another show that I discovered in 2018 (I think it was the Can Liberals and Conservatives Still Bond Over Music? episode that got my attention).  I've gone back through the podcast's history and picked out various episodes, including the seven-part Pearl Jam series that was more interesting than I thought it would be.  Sadly the show is going on a bit of a hiatus in 2019 but there are still plenty of older episodes to check out. 

8.  The Great Albums
Official, Facebook, Twitter
I first heard about The Great Albums on an episode of The Album Club.  When I checked out the show, I was greeted by an episode covering Fugazi's Repeater, so needless to say I was hooked.  On each episode the hosts discuss an album in detail, including track-by-track analysis, history of the artist, etc.  After hearing that first episode, I've gone back and started at the beginning, listening to each episode (even the ones about bands that I don't like). 

7.  Geek History Lesson
Official, Facebook, Twitter
Geek History Lesson covers everything from comic books to fantasy novels to science fiction franchises and then some.  On each episode they pick a topic (often a character, team, starship, etc.) and discuss its history (fictional and publication), characteristics, major storylines, and offer recommended readings.

6.  Solomonster Sounds Off
Official, Facebook, Twitter
This is the show that got me into podcasts and is easily one of the best fan-made pro wrestling podcasts out there.  Covering mostly WWE, the Solomonster provides in-depth reviews and analysis of variously weekly wrestling television shows plus monthly pay per view events.  This one is a must for wrestling fans. 

5.  Voices of Wrestling Flagship
Official, Facebook, Twitter
The Voices of Wrestling Flagship podcast is simply the best professional wrestling podcast out there.  Period.  The show covers practically everything from across the world of wrestling including New Japan Pro Wrestling, WWE, the American indie scene, Pro Wrestling NOAH, Dragon Gate, and much more. 

4.  Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
Official, Facebook, Twitter
This one is special.  Harry Potter and the Sacred Text take J.K. Rowling's fantasy series and treat it like a sacred text.  Each episode the hosts discuss a chapter from the series through the lens of a specific theme (for example generosity, forgiveness, friendship, etc.).  I've spent a lot of time this year with Harry Potter, listening to the audio books, re-watching the films, discussing the series with friends and co-workers, and Harry Potter and the Sacred Text has been a big part of that journey.

3.  Mable Syndrome
Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Speaking of something special...  Mable Syndrome is all about women in punk rock and it is freaking glorious.  Hosts Kristen and Jessica discuss everything from life to experiences at shows to bar fights to their love of Face To Face, plus they interview great bands including Teenage Bottlerocket, The Homeless Gospel Choir, Dave Hause, and Bad Cop/Bad Cop just to name a few.  This show is not only entertaining and hilarious but important.

2.  Collider Heroes
Okay, technically this is a show on YouTube but they do push their episodes out via PodcastOne and iTunes so I'm counting it.  What started as an extension of AMC Movie Talk (and followed said show from AMC to Collider), Collider Heroes covers the world of super heroes and comic books better than any other show on the internet.  In July, host Jon Schnepp suddenly passed away.  This death hit me harder than any other celebrity death this year.  Jon was a strong voice, passionate, and by all accounts a truly tremendous person and his death left the world a little bit of a darker place.  The show continued when the reigns were handed over to regular guests Amy Dallen and Coy Jandreau who have made the show their own while keeping Schnepp's memory alive.

1.  The Album Club
Facebook, Twitter
My lord do I LOVE this show!!!  I first discovered The Album Club in 2017 when their episode on Pearl Jam's Vs. popped up on my feed in Stitcher.  I gave the show a listen and was instantly hooked.  Since then I went back and listened to every episode (except the one about The Byrds...for whatever reason I just couldn't) and followed the show religiously through the end of season 2 (which dropped towards the latter half of 2017).  Then there was radio silence.  For months there were no new episodes or updates and then there was a post on the show's social media stating that new episodes were unlikely.  This was heartbreaking news.  BUT that all changed when new episodes started dropping in September.  The format was the same but the cast of characters was down one going from a power trio to a duo but the magic was still there and the shows have been great!  The format is basically the same as The Great Albums (which they freely admit to borrowing) but done with Australian flair.  I really can't recommend this show enough.   

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