Here’s what you need to hear ... now.
I throw the Business section of the paper into the dog-poo-pile quicker than I do the ads and coupons, and never expected to be interested in a podcast about big businesses. But SURPRISE! The backstory on how Netflix nailed Blockbuster’s coffin during a snowy VIP encounter in Colorado — WHAT? Or the punch-ups between Adidas and Nike, let alone DC and m-f-ing MARVEL? THESE are super interesting tales, and they shape the world as we know it, as people who spend money on, well, fun things like movies and sneakers. So check out Wondery's "Business Wars" STAT.
Skimm’d from The Couch
My workdays start with a skim of a week-daily email from “theSkimm,” a super conversational nugget of all the news that happened while I was working or drinking or dozing, but should be aware of for the day ahead. And they’ve just launched a podcast, called “Skimm’d from The Couch,” in which the founders field questions and lead discussions on issues that are especially pertinent to women — though still of interest to this guy.
I don’t watch “American Idol,” so learning that this talented 20-something ginger was on TV in 2011 came as a bit of a shock. But his talent and tunes mean he’ll be on my future shuffle. If the idea of a Dave Matthews Band / Frank Sinatra / Ed Sheeran mash-up works for you audibly, tunes with lyrics like “I’m high on love and drunk on you” make for great jazzy background music. And foreplay. Which, in my mind, should always have background music.
SXSW: The Austin 100
“Pop Culture Happy Hour” is a fave podcast of mine, and regular contributor Stephen Thompson has recently made available his Austin 100. GOLD. Thompson listens to more music, across every genre, than anyone you know, and he compiles an annual reflection of the best 6+ hours from SXSW. Then makes it available, for free. This is your in to kinds of music you’d never normally listen to, but then find yourself becoming a super fan of.
Did you like “Homecoming,” that office-drama-that’s-meant-to-be-a-conspiracy-theory-thriller podcast series, inexplicably starring David Schwimmer and woman-of-my-dreams Catherine Keener? I did, too! Well, the latest, newest take on the oldest form of audio drama is called “The Walk,” in which you, the listener, get a weekly bit of adventure as you personally get yourself to work as your character walks across the UK in hopes of saving the planet from forces you don’t know a thing about. Until you do. Spooky!
Ready Player One
I’m still waiting for that MoviePass card to arrive in the mail, so in the meantime I did a freebie download of Steven Spielberg’s latest blockbuster adaptation of “Ready Player One” in order to know what the movie critic, who sits next to me at work, was talking about for weeks. And it was fantastic. Geeks will appreciate that it’s read aloud by Wil Wheaton (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) and everyone will enjoy the backstory that didn’t make it to the big screen. I mean, I guess. More on that later (#MoviePass!).
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
John Oliver is an f-ing genius. Upon learning that Vice President and Super Scary Person Mike Pence’s family pet, a bunny named Marlon, had a children’s book (“Bunny of the United States”) the satirist from “Last Week Tonight” released an alternative version, in which his version of Marlon — a boy bunny who falls in love with another boy bunny lives a life that Pence would not condone. Voiced by Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ellie Kemper, John Lithgow and more, this is a very enjoyable hop as you mop (or whatever you do while you listen to audio books). If you pay for this rather than enjoying during a free trial, know that your cash is going towards the Trevor Project and AIDS United.
This free app appeals to both travelers-to-dream-town and jetsetters alike — choose between the trickle of an alpine stream in Austria or some brutal waves in Australia as the background for a very sound sleep (plus lots more — rain on a tin roof, a winter whirl of wind, etc.). Believe you me, I’m not headed to either “Aus” anytime soon, but to overpower an overnight guest’s snores or the blaring of a fire siren on the street, this can’t be beat.
This is not a paid post, so you can find the above on your favored podcast directory, Spotify, YouTube, NPR, a free trial of a service like Audible, or wherever you down-listen. Because not paying for things is awesome.