Maverick Life

Podcast Review

The podcasts to listen to if you want to switch the world off

The podcasts to listen to if you want to switch the world off
Image by Malte Wingen for Unsplash

What better way to lose yourself than into a multi-episode series? And Netflix isn’t the only place to find impeccable serial content – here are some podcasts worth binging.

A little overwhelmed with the news? In this week’s selection of podcasts, we’re only focusing on binge-worthy series: from the classical hit S-Town (by the producers who brought us Serial) to the recent,The Other Latif, here is our list of brilliantly addictive podcasts. Be warned, once you press play on episode one, you might be listening for a while.

The Other Latif – Radiolab (WNYC Studios)

The Other Latif (Image RadioLab)

  • Length: 6 episodes, 1 hour each.
  • Listen on: The Radiolab feed on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or any other podcast app, or streaming service.

When Radiolab’s Latif Nasser discovers that he shares a name with a Guantanamo Bay detainee accused of being Osama bin Laden’s top explosives expert, he sets off on a journey to discover the truth. This year’s long investigation takes the listener to Morocco, a sunflower farm in Sudan, an old jailhouse in Afghanistan and finally to Guantanamo Bay. 

While recording the series, Latif is in the process of becoming naturalised as an American citizen. His own life punctuates his search for his namesake and leads him to question what it means to be an American. This show spans the globe, teasing out the links between the personal and the political.

***

Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo – CBC Podcasts

Missing & Murdered (Image Stitcher CBC Podcasts)

  • Length: 10 episodes, 1 hour each.
  • Listen on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or any other podcast app, or streaming service.

Told through one family’s story, Finding Cleo is a series about the legacy of colonialism in Canada’s indigenous communities. Like many Cree children, Cleo, was taken from her family by child welfare workers in Saskatchewan in central Canada in the 1970s. Her siblings are convinced that she was murdered trying to hitchhike back home after being adopted in the US. This gripping series is less about trying to uncover the culprit behind Cleo’s disappearance and more about uncovering the systemic violence of Canada’s forced adoption policies.

***

Bear Brook – New Hampshire Public Radio

Bear Brook (Image NHPR Podcast)

  • Length: 7 episodes, between 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  • Listen on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or any other podcast app, or streaming service.

In 1985, four unidentified bodies were found in barrels in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, New Hampshire. Reporter Jason Moon guides us through this complex decades-long case with sensitivity and captivating storytelling. This is a classic of the true crime genre, a cold case investigation that relies on new technology for a breakthrough. 

The story culminates with the discovery of a revolutionary and controversial DNA technique that helped solve the case of the Golden State Killer and that opens up new leads in the Bear Brook case. Be warned, once you start listening, you won’t be able to stop.

S-Town – Serial Productions

S-Town podcast

  • Length: 7 episodes, 1 hour each.
  • Listen on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or any other podcast app, or streaming service.

Published in 2017 and by now a classic of the serialised audio form, S-Town, is the literary cousin of Serial. Made by many of the same producers, this richly designed and beautifully written series centres on a single character: John B McLemore. 

John lives in Woodstock, Alabama, a place he unceremoniously calls “Shit town”. The series begins when This American Life producer, Brian Reed, gets an email from John about a murder that may or may not have happened in his town. Although there is a death, it has nothing to do with the original allegations. From there, the series twists and turns leading to searches for hidden treasure and feuds over inheritance. Three years of reporting result in a highly detailed, complex story about the mysteries of one man’s life.

 If you’re wondering how to listen to these audio gems, local podcast organisation, Sound Africa, has prepared a handy guide to show you how.

Happy listening! DM/ML

Missed last week’s selection? Click below to read the review. 

Podcasts and music: A match made in audio heaven

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