Fill Your Ears with Culture: Top 10 Podcasts to Listen to Right Now

Photo by Elice Moore on Unsplash

By Elly Savva

Whether you’re a podcast veteran or you’ve only just started listening to keep yourself busy during self-isolation, podcasts are a great way to relax and discover various aspects of culture during this time. Here are 10 shows to distract yourselves with, along with a recommended episode of each.

Modern Love: Nursing a Wound with Jake Gyllenhaal

The podcast that has grown from the popular New York Times column documents modern tales of ‘love, loss, and redemption’. Whilst the world feels scary and uncertain, this show provides the perfect antidote of humanity and love. Some of the stories are incredibly moving, but they’re all uplifting and life-affirming at a time when we all deserve some extra warmth.  The pieces are read out by big names in Hollywood such as Uma Thurman, Greta Gerwig, and Jake Gyllenhaal, making the whole experience a treat for the ears as well as the heart.

Song Exploder: Soccer Mommy – Circle The Drain

For music lovers everywhere, Song Exploder is a must-listen. The artists themselves narrate the podcast- leading you to the songwriters, producers, sound designers, and all the talent working behind the scenes. Songs are broken down into their individual elements which you follow as they grow, evolve, and form the final thing. It’s a really beautiful insight into the whole process of making music, rounded off perfectly by a play of the track in full at the end of the show.

A Piece of Work: Tavi Gevinson Wonders When It’s Done

Presented by Abbi Jacobson in association with MoMA, A Piece of Work is an accessible, lively podcast about modern art. From RuPaul discussing performance art to Tavi Gevinson wondering when abstract pieces are ‘finished’, the show talks about all the questions you may have about art that you were probably too afraid to ask. It’s informative yet completely relaxed and fun, reassuring you that you don’t always have to ‘get’ art to appreciate and engage with it.

Desert Island Discs: A.A. Gill

Before podcasts were even a thing, there was Desert Island Discs. Most people will be familiar with the format: guests become ‘castaways’ who are sent to a desert island and have to choose 8 tracks, a book, and a luxury item to take with them. Their musical choices lead to an interview about their journey, with most castaways picking out songs that reflect significant moments in their lives. It’s an interview with a difference, and it’s probably the most complete idea you can get about a celebrity from one sitting. The show has been going since the 40s and is now available as a downloadable podcast, which gives you years of material to dip into!

Art Matters: Decoding Astrology in Art with Klemens Ludwig

The Art Matters podcast bridges the gap between art & pop culture, looking at the places where they intersect. Presented by the Art Historian Ferren Gipson, the show covers a wide range of Topics: from power and beauty to astrology and Beyoncé, there’s something for everybody. Informative yet soothing, Art Matters looks at visual culture and art history in a way that connects with our everyday lives, giving you a new insight into the meanings that items and concepts have held throughout time.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Books To Make Your Isolation Feel A Little Less Lonely

Looking for ways to stave off cabin fever? Pop Culture Happy Hour is the perfect place to find things to dive into and help your mind escape. Since we have gone into isolation, the show has been releasing episodes focused on helping us all through this period. Recent topics include calming pop culture, books to help you feel less lonely, and things to watch with your family whilst you’re quarantining together. Spanning across television, music, films, and books, the show covers plenty of ground to help keep you occupied.

You’re Booked: Dolly Alderton

You’re Booked allows you to take a private tour around writers’ bookshelves. It’s like looking backstage in their minds, as they tell you all about their reading experiences- from their favourite childhood stories and biggest inspirations to the books that they couldn’t quite manage to push past 20 pages through. It’s presented by the lovely Daisy Buchanan (@notrollergirl on twitter) and if you like books, you will just love this podcast.

Adam Driver: Paterson & Silence

The Awards Chatter podcast features in-depth interviews with the biggest names in Hollywood. The interview is reflective of their entire journey and all the experiences that propel them towards their successes in their career. You leave each episode with new-found loves, even for characters who you might not have been fond of before. You hear personal tales about all the processes behind creating film: from difficult directors and behind the scene difficulties, to the moments that make things really beautiful.

Fake Heiress: Episode 1

Set against the grandeur of the New York art world, Fake Heiress tells the tale of the ‘socialite scammer’ Anna Delvey. Fusing together documentary and drama, this six-part series takes you through the rise and fall of the young fraudster who forged a fake identity as a German heiress, racking up thousands of dollars of debt whilst living a hedonistic lifestyle of private jets and glamorous parties. The story embodies a particular cultural moment: filled with Instagram influencers and celebrity personal trainers, the show even references the infamous Fyre Festival…

The High Low: Why Mental Health Is Nothing To Do With Wellness, with Author Bella Mackie

Last but not least, The High Low is a hugely popular favourite for many pod-fans. Presented by journalists Dolly Alderton & Pandora Sykes – the weekly show talks about all things pop culture and current affairs. The hosts’ feedback on everything they’ve consumed recently, from Netflix series to books and radio shows. Amongst all the current bad news, some good news is that they will be returning from their maternity leave break with episodes released out on both the 1st and 4th April!