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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Edgy Podcast Reviews

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Oh crap, this is meta. You see before you a podcast review column of a podcast that itself reviews podcasts. Hold on tight to your desk in case some sort of vortex forms.

Edgy Podcast Reviews [iTunes] [XML] (formerly, and fortunately no longer, That Podcast Show) offers exactly what its name promises. Well, it almost does — we'll get to the deficiency later. In the meantime, your Podthinker can assure you that the show does indeed deliver podcast reviews. In fact, it rockets several per episode into your pod- or Zune-hole, accompanying its swift, star-based evaluations with side chat, phone calls, plenty of non-review segments and an abrasive intro that sounds like the love child of Max Headroom and every radio morning zoo in America.

Odd, then, that the actual reviews sound so little like Boomer and Floorwax in the A.M. or Matt Frewer through a jitter filter. Hosts Daniel and Jana come off, the odd super-conspicuous speech edit aside, like totally regular folks who just happen to really enjoy themselves a podcast or two. Or three, which is how many they seem to be mandated to review per week. Why, in just the past month, they've assessed Max Buffer's Media Museum, I Know Everything and Forgotten Classics [MP3]; Movies You May Have Missed, The Bouty Bouty Squadcast and good old Battleship Pretension [MP3]; Serving Donuts, BBQ Central Radio and Jimmy in the Garden [MP3]. As you've surely gathered, no format or subject matter remains off limits, though D and J sound just as weary of the venerable Two Twentysomething White Guys Bullshitting About Culture genre as your Podthinker.

Not that they would say it in so many words, though. Those seeking the truly "edgy" in, say, the AM talk radio sense of the word will despair to find that the co-reviewers at the helm sound as nice as can be. Perhaps by "edgy" they mean "brimming with the milk of human kindness." They're friendly, constructive, positive and evidence no goal more sinister than to grassroots-found a functional, supportive podcasting community. Their hesitance to out-and-out complain about any of the podcasts under review comes through palpably. While it's perfectly fine that they don't viciously insult incompetent podcasters and label shows "retarded" with reckless abandon, the light touch generates something of a fog, a vagueness that requires more than a bit of effort to decipher. "But tell us how you really feel," your Podthinker kept saying — unironically.

That is, of course, when he wasn't busy feeling lazy for reviewing a mere one podcast per week. But then, it must be said that the substance of Edgy Podcast Reviews' reviews sometimes fall just south of satisfying. Daniel and Jana clearly aren't slacking off in the actual listening and thinking — they even arrange to download different episodes of each reviewed podcast, to cover maximum archival ground — but it's hard to shake the impression that, as they shy away from going overly negative, they also shy away from delving into their subjects' deeper technical, structural and contextual details.

The extra stuff they throw in partially compensates. This isn't just a show about the efforts of podcasters; it's a show for podcasters, delivering features like the "podcast tip of the week." They'll tell you not to breathe heavily into your microphone like some sort of phone pervert, for instance. (Or at least that's what your Podthinker took away.) They're also very much into connecting podcasters with one another as vectors of mutual support and feedback and what not. Be it our cross to bear as it may, Daniel and Jana recognize that podcasting can be a lonely, lonely game.

Though they're currently backlogged, the Edgy Podcast Reviews crew is willing to review your podcast upon request. So if they've got a problem with your Podthinker's review, then, they should revew your Podthinker's podcast. Go on, do your worst. Or nicest. Whichever. Either way, your Podthinker will next week push the meta train even farther out of the station by taking on a podcast about reviews of podcasts of reviews of podcasts. Unless there isn't one. But... there must be. There simply must be.

Vital stats:
Format: podcast reviews with podcasting tips, essentially
Duration: 8m-30m
Running since: December 2007
Frequency: 1-4 episodes per month
Archive available on iTunes: all

[Got a podcast to suggest for Podthoughts coverage or any other sort of question and/or comment for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

Boston MaxFun Meetup

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Honeysuckle Duvet, the burlesque dancer we named on Jordan Jesse Go, is organizing a MaxFun Meetup in Boston for December 4th. More information on the forum. Looks like Natalie, who brought Jordan and I up to UMass Amherst a couple years ago will also be attendance. I can vouch for these two nice ladies, so it should be a good time.

Pardcast-a-Thon

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Our pals at Never Not Funny are conducting an all-night Pardcastathon to raise money for charity. Sometime late tonight, Jordan will be appearing - I was invited but can't stop by because I'm in San Francisco. Watch, enjoy, and give some money to charity!

Podcast: The College Years: NEW New

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The College Years is a look deep into the vaults of The Sound of Young America. Take a journey with us every week as we post a new program or two from our salad days.

In today's episode: The Sound of Young America boys showcase some of their comedy chops with their sketch group Prank The Dean. Also an interview with Santa Cruz's long-form sketch group Freefall.

Ian MacKaye of Fugazi, Minor Threat and The Evens: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Ian MacKaye

Ian MacKaye is a punk rock legend. His bands have included Minor Threat, Fugazi and most recently The Evens. He's also an icon in the straightedge movement and a scion of the world of DIY. His independent record label, Dischord, has run for more than 20 years without contracts. He joined us live on stage in Washington DC at the Bentzen Ball.

(photo by Jenny Lewis)

"Objectified" on PBS' Independent Lens

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A few months ago, filmmaker Gary Hustwit was on The Sound of Young America to talk about his documentary Objectified. At the time, he was touring with the film - if you missed the tour because of scheduling or geography, you can now catch the film on the PBS series Independent Lens, starting tonight.

Most PBS stations carry Independent Lens, to find out when yours does, use this handy tool.

Larry Sanders on Hulu

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All of season one of The Larry Sanders Show is now on Hulu, along with a number of episodes from seasons two and three. Not sure whether the rest will show up, but this is a great time to start watching one of the five or so best sitcoms of all time. My favorite show ever. Do it. Now.

Just added to MaxFunCon: Rian Johnson and Jad Abumrad

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More information at MaxFunCon.com.

Louis CK's Last Chance

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Very NSFW. Very funny.

Louis CK: THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: A DELIGHT.

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