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The Daily Californian’s guide to the best literature, film and music podcasts

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SEPTEMBER 27, 2018

Podcasts are no longer a niche form of entertainment that only a few people are indulging in. Today, there is a podcast for everyone and for every topic you could think of, from politics to lifestyle to narrative stories told episode by episode. Among the broad range of topics are plenty of arts-related podcasts to fulfill all of your pop-culture listening desires.

With The Daily Californian’s arts & entertainment department coming out with a new podcast, “Popcorn Paperback,” in October, there’s no time like the present to examine the world of podcasts. Here is the Daily Cal’s guide to some of the best arts podcasts you’ve been missing out on.




“Overdue” is a podcast “about the books you’ve been meaning to read.” Each week the hosts, Craig Getting and Andrew Cunningham, have a conversation about a book — one of them reads the book of the week, and the other prompts questions. The books discussed on the show vary greatly, covering both classic and contemporary fiction, genre and literary, as well as dipping into plays and children’s books. Whether they’re talking about “Of Mice and Men” or “Twilight,” the hosts give each book the same thoughtful consideration, making any book into the start of a captivating, analytical conversation. It doesn’t matter if you’ve read the book or are hearing about it for the first time; with the hosts’ witty banter and their familiar, old-friend chemistry, this podcast is never boring.

“The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice”

The New Yorker publishes, arguably, some of the best short fiction out there. Many of its published writers go on to have successful careers as authors. In March 2016, the New Yorker started its “Writer’s Voice” podcast, in which the author from the week’s issue reads their own story aloud. The writers range from upcoming to well-known, from Jeffrey Eugenides to Camille Bordas. This podcast allows for the short stories to be experienced through the special lens of the writers who created them.

“Otherppl with Brad Listi”

Each week, “Otherppl with Brad Listi” features an in-depth interview with a contemporary author, oftentimes discussing a recent release of theirs. The conversations center on the author’s methods of writing and details about their works, while also diving into broader ideas on the craft of writing itself. Listi, as an author himself, offers dialogue driven by the insider standpoint of writing. The result is fascinating conversations any literature fan will enjoy, whether they are familiar with the author or not.




Hosts Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen have been talking about movies for a while — they’re nearing the 700th episode of “Filmspotting.” On the podcast, they typically discuss a recent film in depth, then move on to a top-five list that is somehow related to the recent film they already talked about — for example, the episode on “Sorry to Bother You” also includes a discourse on the “Top 5 Worst Movie Jobs.” Film lovers will appreciate the care and consideration the hosts take with each topic and movie they dive into.


This recently concluded podcast is all about diversity. Hosted by Aisha Harris, “Represent” discusses films and TV shows that are created by and/or about women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and people with disabilites. Harris brings in filmmakers or other critics to join her in dialogues about recent diverse releases. Episodes also feature a segment called “Pre-Woke Watching,” in which guests on the show discuss a film or TV show they loved watching when they were younger, but now view in a more critical light. All discussions of the show are interesting, analytical and satisfying to the listener.

“How Did This Get Made?”

“How Did This Get Made?” focuses on bad films. The hosts, June Diane Raphael, Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas delve into “bad” films. Episodes will often feature a new guest as a fourth voice in the conversation. They joke about the plots while also trying to make some sort of sense of them. Some films they’ve discussed include “Sharknado,” “Jupiter Ascending” and, most recently, “Beastly.” The episodes are incredibly entertaining, while also providing interesting looks into the details behind these “bad” movies.



“Rolling Stone Music Now”

This podcast from the famous music magazine is basically the magazine in audio form. Rolling Stone’s critics discuss news and timely music topics, and often have musicians on for interviews. They also dive into broader topics of music, such as the history of music genres or evolutions of styles. Each episode is very different from the last, yet all have the foundation of a strong critical and analytical standpoint, making for an interesting listen each time.

“Song Exploder”

Hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway, “Song Exploder” is a space for musicians to “take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.” Each episode focuses on a single song and features the artist telling the story of how their song came to be. Hearing the artists break down their own works makes for a unique and distinct look into songs you may have heard a million times, or songs you haven’t yet listened to.


In this serialized podcast, host Cole Cuchna dedicates one season to dissecting one album. He denotes one episode per song and delves into close “note-by-note” analysis. Season one covered Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, season two covered Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and season three covered Frank Ocean’s Blonde. Driven by details and immersive dissection, “Dissect” will insert listeners right into the middle of the songs being examined.

Nikki Munoz covers theater and podcasts. Contact her at [email protected].

SEPTEMBER 30, 2018

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