in Android, music, podcasts

Podcast Recommendations and Pocket Casts

I’m an avid fan of podcasts, and have shared recommendations (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) for quite a few in the past. For me, podcasts fill in a void left when traditional radio became irrelevant and deliver content that is better in nearly every way. I listen to many hours of podcasts each week and have become very selective about the tools and content I carry with me.

The best tool I’ve found for listening to podcasts is the excellent Pocket Casts for Android devices. It was recently updated with a beautiful interface, improved features and a lot of under the hood upgrades. Being able to playback at variable speeds has saved me a lot of time and that alone makes this an essential app for me.

Stay up to date with all the latest podcasts with one easy to use app. Simply add your favorite podcasts, and you’ll be able to download or stream new episodes as they become available. With cross device syncing support, an extremely sexy UI, tablet support and built in variable speed playback, Pocket Casts is the best way to listen to podcasts, on any platform. It’s everything I’ve wanted in a podcatcher and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

  • Standout features: Syncing and backup: back up your subscriptions, podcasts, playlists & progress with our server and your other android devices. You can now drop your phone in a toilet and not lose your podcasts. After syncing, setting up a new phone has never been easier 
  • Powerful smart playlists: Want a list of every unplayed, downloaded podcast? Right here. How about a list of video episodes that you haven’t downloaded yet? 
  • Easy Built in variable speed playback: all the way from 0.5x to 3.0x, no dodgy plugins to download, no fuss, just pure unadulterated speed 
  • Stunning phone and tablet interface: We’ve kept a close eye on the Android design guidelines while building the simplest and most powerful Pocket Casts interface yet. Simple, powerful, beautiful. 
  • Video & audio: Pocket Casts lets you toggle video podcasts to audio (when Leo comes on), then back again (when someone better looking is speaking) 
  • Absolute control: Control your podcasts from the notification center, lock screen, headphones, bluetooth and many other ways 
  • Auto download: configure the smart playlist of your choice, and then tell the app to auto-download your favorite episodes 

As I mentioned, I’ve recommended a lot of podcasts in the past and stand by most of those recommendations. I do want to share five ‘casts I’ve recently been enjoying for now and will update soon with many more favourites.

El Diabolik’s World of Psychotronic Soundtracks

My taste in music is very eclectic, and El Diabolik provides a wonderfully weird mix of music that made up the soundtracks of films. There is a wealth of music we usually aren’t exposed to outside of films and the hosts of this ‘cast do an amazing job at digging up gems. It’s kitchy, strange and exactly what I want for walks home at night.

El Diabolik’s World of Psychotronic Soundtracks is a film soundtrack and Library Music podcast, hosted and created by El Diabolik and Simon McLean (AKA Lord Thames). All tracks played come from our own collection, nearly all from original vinyl.

In Beta

Though I don’t work actively in development, part of my post-secondary education was in computer science. I still have a great deal of interest in how software is created and the process behind making the tools that make our daily lives better. In Beta explores behind the scenes of software development and the world of tech in general. Host Gina Trapani is one of the writers I trust most in the technology sphere, and she’s also a host of some of my other favourite podcasts that focus on technology.

In Beta is a talk show about tech culture, making open source software, and how mobile, social, and web apps are changing the world.

Radiolab

Radiolab is, as the name might suggest, an experiment in broadcasting. It’s filled with great sparks of journalism and is more often hit than miss. It delves into fascinating territory, such as the story of Robert Johnson in “Crossroads” or elderly, conservative terrorists from Atlanta in “Grumpy Old Terrorists“.

Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.

Radiolab is heard around the country on over 300 stations.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Jessie Thorn might be the greatest interviewer in radio or podcasting. He’s compassionate, probing and above all enthusiastic. His passion for culture is contagious and his editorial choices always yield interesting recommendations and superb interactions with guests. Each week Bullseye is one of the best hours of audio I experience and I look forward to being surprised and inspired with every episode.

Bullseye is a public radio show about what’s good in popular culture. With a keen editorial eye, Bullseye sifts the wheat from the chaff, and brings you hot culture picks, in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary creative people and irreverent original comedy.

Bullseye is equal parts funny and fascinating. Whether you’re already plugged in to the culture map, or looking for a signpost, Bullseye will keep you on target.

The Memory Palace

There aren’t many podcasts that can be as moving as The Memory Palace. Nate’s delivery is so heartfelt and succinct that it’s hard not to be rapt while listening to his accounts of history. The episodes are often very short and are infrequent, but the high level of quality makes this worth every effort to follow. “50 Words Written After Learning That the Arctic Bowhead Whale Can Live for up to 200 Years” is an excellent example of just how good this podcast gets.

From award-winning public radio producer, Nate DiMeo, comes The Memory Palace. Short, surprising stories of the past, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hysterical, always super-great. For history buffs, fans of public radio shows like This American Life, Radio Lab, and whatnot, and for all admirers of things that are super-great.

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