The festive season usually means over indulgence followed by an overload of TV specials and comforting films. But there are also a host of audio options waiting to be discovered. Here are just a few to get you started.
What began in 2014 as a pop-up store and online radio station in London’s Soho has now become one of the city’s cultural stalwarts, still broadcasting daily from its shop-front location, as well as adding a New York branch in 2020. Residents spinning everything from reggae to jungle, pop and R&B include sound system stalwart Norman Jay and pianist James Heather, while a range of talkshows are hosted by record label and publishing company Rough Trade, documentary festival Doc N’ Roll, and activist group Extinction Rebellion.
If your listening habits veer further afield, this ingenious online platform and mobile app allows listeners to tune in to curated playlists from across the globe and through time, ranging all the way back to 1900 and forward to 2070, where artists have been tasked to create new songs based on their visions of the future. Highlights include Brazilian samba from the 70s, thumping new wave hits from 80s England and 90s Bollywood classics. If you’re overwhelmed by choice, there are tabs that produce thematic tracks ranging from “slow” to “fast” and “weird”, as well as a social media function where users can share their new discoveries.
For those of us whose festive season is largely punctuated by bickering about current affairs with our loved ones, try this long-running podcast. It’s presented by journalist Sarah Marshall and is the perfect repository for facts and opinions bound to give you the upper hand in your next debate. With each episode picking an event or person that has been miscast through history, You’re Wrong About’s topics are refreshingly wide-ranging, including recent spirited discussions about actor Amber Heard, abortion rights in the US and the time-draining existence of email.
A cornerstone of the podcast boom, true-crime series have come to dominate the format with harrowing stories being unearthed at an alarming rate. The latest addition to the genre is Pulitzer prize-winning writer Gilbert King’s investigation into the 1987 death of 18-year-old Michelle Schofield. Opting for an authoritative, research-oriented tone, the nine-part series paints a sobering picture of the flaws in the US justice system. While Schofield’s husband was initially sentenced to life in prison for her death, new DNA evidence points to another suspect – the violent teenager Jeremy Scott.
Each year, the number of new albums, shows and films being released seems to increase at such a pace that it can feel impossible to keep up. Comics Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers play the perfect curators in their charming and chatty pop culture podcast Las Culturistas. Starting out with playful takes on the biggest releases of the moment – from Taylor Swift’s Midnights to Beyoncé’s Renaissance and the sequel to murder mystery Knives Out – the pair typically progress into fascinating analysis on the impact commercial culture can have today. The perfect way to catch up on the 2022 releases you might have missed.