True Crime Island

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Grab a craft beer, grab the least rickety deck chair — this is a review of True Crime Island.

True Crime Island is a true crime podcast about various crimes taking place in and/or involving Australia and Australian people. Pretty much all of the episodes focus on violent crimes (armed robbery, assault, murder, rape, etc.) and I appreciate that because it’s very relevant to my interests within the true crime genre. I also appreciate that the host (Cambo, who I’ll talk about in a second) offers warnings when the descriptions of the crimes he provides during the episode are going to be especially graphic.

Cambo is the sole host of the show and does a great job of reporting on an event (while adding in his opinions, which I love, because when he gets on a rant he gets on it), keeping the listener interested, and he’s also really fantastic about teaching those of us who may be either semi-illiterate or completely illiterate when it comes to Australian slang, law, geography, etc.

I highly recommend the three part series “The Last to Hang”; it details the life and crimes of the last man and last woman to be executed in Australia before the abolition of capitol punishment throughout the country. The other episode I recommend is episode 27, in which Cambo details all about the Munich Olympic massacre; it’s not an Australia-centric episode, but I like it because it’s a great episode and shows how Cambo’s way of hosting and reporting on events easily transitions to other stories and isn’t geographically stuck in Australia.

Another thing I like about this show is episode length; the average episode length is between 35-40 minutes which makes the show fantastic for my commute to work. Finally, the theme tune is a fantastic, jazzy tune that reminds me both of islands and video games and makes me feel like True Crime Island is a legit physical place. If it were, I would totally grab a pint, grab a deck chair, and talk true crime with Cambo for hours on end. Make sure you get True Crime Island in your ears as soon as possible and learn you some cool stuff about Australia.

Killafornia Dreaming: True Crime Tales from the Golden State

 

xmrl5gTO_400x400Killafornia Dreaming is a podcast all about true crime tales from California state! Hosted by the lovely Roseanne, each episode is an adventure for the listener. I was so excited to find out about this podcast because I’m originally from Northern California and have been so homesick the past few years; having this podcast has helped to lessen that feeling and also give me the feeling of “how the heck did I not know about this case?!”. I also really appreciate that Roseanne doesn’t focus on California’s many serial killers, but instead focuses on a wide variety of crimes: domestic violence, murder, animal maulings, armed robbery, etc. California has a rich crime history and I’m glad this show doesn’t confine itself to one type of crime.

Other than fantastic content, I really appreciate the presentation. Roseanne has a lovely, relaxing, calm voice and speaks with such compassion and respect for the victims. Things are presented factually with Roseanne’s opinion occasionally tossed in. Roseanne also takes time to explain things/situations that may not be common knowledge and to speak on important issues related to each case. (Examples include: mental health, domestic violence, breed-specific legislation, etc.) Nearly every episode has a detailed, appropriate, and compassionately worded content warning which is really helpful for all listeners.

In early episodes, the audio can be somewhat rough and episodes were sometimes hard to hear on my mobile phone (the primary way I listen to podcasts), but the audio gets better as the episodes progress and Roseanne’s voice becomes easier to hear.

A few episodes I recommend include: “The Tale of Apres Moi le Deluge” (all about the murder of Gianni Versache; perfect for those who are following the current season of American Crime Story.); “The Tale of the Victim Blame Game” (all about Bonnie Lee Bakley and Robert Blake.); “The Tale of the Presa Canario” (all about a dog mauling incident; I had not previously heard of this case or this dog breed, so I was really fascinated to learn about all of it.); “The Tale of Dana Plato” (an episode all about the actress best known for her role on the television show Diff’rent Strokes; a perfect episode for pop-culture and television fans.); and the newest episode, “The Tale of Sexting, Shaming, Bullying, and Audrie” (all about the 2012 death by suicide of high school student Audrie Pott.) Though I’ve only singled out these few episodes, no matter what episode you pick — there is an episode that speaks to you and for you to fall in love with.

 

True Crime Story Time

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Today I spent the day getting well acquainted with the girls from True Crime Story Time. Although I’ve listened to Casey and Samantha for awhile I rebinged the pod to get this review going. So it’s all fresh in my mind.

Firstly the name of this podcast is perfect because each episode is a little story about a person, usually the victim, of a crime. Each episode is labeled after the person they talk about e.g. Karen’s Story is episode 6. Their whole philosophy is that everyone has a story and there’s something to learn from every story.

The podcast is based in Australia so Australian crimes are focused on, which is great because it means there’s a lot of crime stories here that you may not have even heard of. I hadn’t heard of any of the stories before the girls told it to me, and I’m Australian.

Samantha and Casey raise significant questions through their episodes such as the legal difference between infanticide and murder. I didn’t know the law around infanticide and I feel like I’m learning things listening to this podcast.

True Crime Story Time has unusual cases, starting with infanticide, going on to a granddaughter killing a grandfather to a strange missing person’s case where the body was found somewhere totally surprising. The cases they study are usually quite heavy in nature. They’re not to be listened to if you are faint of heart. They go into details, but not too many to the point where it becomes disgusting or uncomfortable.

The sound quality is good except I do jump at times when the episode starts because the music startles me but I’ve become more used to it not I’m listening to more episodes. They have clear voices and speak at a good pace, not too fast and not too slow and it’s easy to understand what they’re saying. The hosts do not talk over the top of each other, which is good. They tell the story together, trading off paragraphs to get the story told.

This podcast is thoroughly researched and meticulously covered. No stone is left unturned by these girls and it’s well appreciated by listeners because they anticipate questions which will be raised while listening, and they answer them. They have intelligent conclusions drawn as well.

The girls recommend a podcast episode or a whole podcast at the end of the podcast so they’re good supporters of the podcast community. They also play promos of indie podcasts. From a podcasting point of view it’s lovely to find a podcast which is so into advertising other’s podcasts.

Overall this is a fantastic podcast for any true crime fan looking for something interesting and different.

 

Podcast Review: Color Me Dead

Hi! This is Ren, here to talk about my first podcast assignment: Color Me Dead. This is an amazing podcast! I ran through the list of episodes to find one I thought would give me a feel for the show. The first podcast I chose to listen to was “Jodi Arias” (disclaimer: I picked this one because I was/am OBSESSED with this story). Before the first five minutes were over I wanted to make the hosts, Angel and Nikki, my new best friends! They’re my kind of gals.

The first thing to make me decide we should be life long friend is they hate Jodi Arias, as do I and clearly as much. They both knew a lot about the subject matter and remembering I am obsessed with this crime I know my facts! They were honest and ballsy with their take and I loved it. Political correctness can be checked at the door. I enjoyed them telling personal stories or “squirrel hunting” as they called it. They would get off track, but I didn’t mind. I actually liked it. As a woman who loves ID channel and true crime stories, it says a lot when I say I enjoyed the times we went off topic.

I learned a new term I plan on stealing “heart meets asshole” for when you’re shocked or scared. That is hilarious way of describing things. They do curse a lot, but they warn you they do this and I appreciated the warning though, I didn’t mind it at all. It let me know to put the ear buds in and enjoy some adult conversation.

The second podcast episode I listened to was “Current Events”. They talked about several current topics. They were again honest with their opinions and their facts were on point. When they got upset about some of the stories so did I. It’s nice to have people who aren’t ashamed of their feelings or try to hide them. I found myself drawn into the conversation and connecting on another level with the material and the hosts.

They discussed several true crimes currently in the news: they started with Corey Feldman and his crusade to name names of child molesters in Hollywood. Next up was the 13 children held hostage by their parents. Sick. They did a local to them story I hadn’t heard which was excellent and drew me in about a Mother who killed her children and then herself. And the last story was the gymnasts who were violated by their doctor. I found this to be a nice conversation.

They engage the audience and I often wanted it to be a call in show! I have opinions to share and wanted to dish with the ladies. While admittedly, this might not be the podcast for everyone it is a good listen and the ladies know they aren’t for everyone.

Listening to this podcast is like sitting at a friend’s kitchen table and talking. You will laugh, you might cry, but you will definitely learn about true crimes. There’s a chance you will learn some new words or saying and if you’re like me you might want to be life long friends with Angel and Nikki.

Trace Evidence

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First post of 2018, woo!

I ended 2017 with the flu, started 2018 with the flu, and then spent the last two weeks with the flu. Since there are two strains going around, it only makes sense that I would catch both, right? Sigh, my life.

But we’re not here to talk about me and we all know that. Today, we’re here to talk about Trace Evidence. I’ve been really excited to get to this, and I’ve been waiting to get a moment to really give this the attention and effort it deserves.

I try to be as neutral as possible, and for the most part I can contain my bias, but there are quite a few pods (as you can see from previous reviews) that I just love more than life, and this is one of them.

Steven is the kind of person that you wish could host any and all of your favorite pods. He has the perfect voice, the perfect pacing, the perfect enunciation. When I listen to Trace Ev, it’s such a soothing experience for me, even though the topics themselves are morbid and dark. Steven just has the kind of voice that can make you feel calm in any circumstance.

Trace Evidence as a show is the epitome of everything you’d ever want out of a true crime podcast, specifically unsolved mysteries ranging from murders to disappearances. Most episodes average between an hour and an hour and a half long, which means he has plenty of time to really get into detail about these cases. I will say that Trace Evidence is not for the faint-hearted. Steven divulges details about these cases that can be disturbing or troubling and uncomfortable. I feel that goes for all true crime podcasts, but it’s important to mention specifically for this pod, because Steven really doesn’t leave anything out.

One of the things I look for when it comes to reviews is accuracy of information, so this review has been in the making for a while because the episode lengths combined with the amount of information made for a lot of studying on my part. But I’ll be damned if Steven hasn’t gotten everything right. He is dedicated, moreso than a lot of pods in the same genre. You turn on any episode, and you can hear the passion he has for these cases, for the victims and the lack of justice. However, he is professional in his delivery; regardless of how he personally feels, his cadence rarely changes. He will not overwhelm the information by allowing his voice to give away his emotions. It’s a very calculated, measured way to go about divulging this information. I personally appreciate this, because I love being able to form my own opinion about the case without the inflection of the host’s voice swaying me one way or the other. Steven is pretty consistent with saving his personal opinions for the end of the episode, which adds to not having my opinion swayed prematurely.

He is also really good about picking cases that haven’t been discussed to death. He’s bringing attention to cases that deserve recognition. Not to say that other cases don’t deserve such attention, but I’m a firm believer that all should be covered equally. He does a great job at putting that into practice. Like I’ve mentioned, you get a sense that he genuinely cares about the victims and their families, he cares about seeing justice for these cases. And to care that much equally across the board is so incredibly important.

Another thing that is incredibly important, especially to me when it comes to these reviews, is how much a podcaster interacts with their listeners. Steven is incredibly engaged with his listeners, to the point where you can see there is a legitimate friendship between him and his listeners.

He’s active on Twitter, he posts & comments often in the Facebook group. He keeps the website up to date and puts a lot of content up on Patreon. He is quick to respond to questions and observations, and he is incredibly approachable. That’s why it’s no surprise to me that his 364 reviews on iTunes have led to a perfect five stars. He completely deserves it.

To step back from the show itself, and to venture into something more personal, Steven is genuinely the sweetest human. I adore him for always being so kind, always having something nice to say. For a brief but very difficult time, Steven was the only person who showed me any kindness. I have a very special place in my heart for him, because he’s always treated me like a friend. When you find yourself in a dark and lonely place, and someone comes along and helps ease that loneliness, you don’t let that go.

So, Steven, thank you. Thank you for having respect for these cases, the victims, and their families. Thank you for treating your listeners like friends. Thank you for your unending kindness even to strangers. You are inspiring and unforgettable. You leave an impact on everyone you talk to. There aren’t enough words to describe just how important and amazing you are.

Generation Why

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Life happens to all of us, and though I debated opening this review with a detailed explanation of how life happening to me has kept me from reviewing as frequently as I want to, I’m just gonna bypass that completely. I’d rather discuss some guys who sit down and talk about the strange and often terrifying things that occur when life happens.

Aaron and Justin – the hosts of The Generation Why Podcast – pick out the strangest mysteries, most compelling conspiracies, and terrifying true crimes, then dive into all the details. I’m talking the who, what, when, where…and, often the most important piece of the puzzle, the why.

If I’m remembering correctly, this is the first podcast that really sparked my interest in listening to pods. Sure, I had listened to My Favorite Murder & similar pods (all of which are incredibly good – do not misread me!!) but none of them had caught my attention the way Gen Why did. The first episode of Gen Why that I heard was episode 234: Dee Dee & Gypsy Blancharde. Ironically, this was a few weeks after I’d ever heard about that case at all, and I wanted to hear what somebody else thought of it.

And oh boy, that started a damn addiction.

I spent weeks listening to Gen Why in between shifts at work, during my commute, while eating, doing laundry, cleaning the house, literally all the damn time. I was hooked. How? Why?

Because Justin and Aaron are damn good at what they do, that’s why.

As of writing this, there are 259 available episodes of Generation Why – including the archived episodes. That is hours upon hours upon hours of researching, recording, and editing. Regardless of the content, that is true dedication & passion – you can tell that Justin and Aaron care about what they’re doing.

Part of my reviewing process is cross-referencing the research that pods do for their content. And I have not, in the multiple episodes I’ve listened to, found any fallacies or inaccuracies. Is it possible that there are some? Of course. We’re all only human. I’m just saying that I personally haven’t found any. After looking through several episodes, I just resigned myself to the fact that they research, and they make sure their shit is straight before they post it.

The thing about Justin and Aaron that also sets this podcast apart is that they are both serious and witty, with just the perfect blend of somberness & humor to keep a listener engaged but not be disrespectful to victims or anyone otherwise effected. Their conversations, speculation, and opinions are presented in a way that is not only passionate and insightful, but also makes you as the listener feel like you are a part of the conversation.

If you are a fan of true crime/mysteries/conspiracies, or if you’ve ever watched and enjoyed Unsolved Mysteries, this pod is for you. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is one of my favorites – one of the pods that I am always excited to listen to, that I have no problem with listening to the same episode repeatedly, and one that I’m always excited to see pop up when they release new episodes.

Their social media presence is strong, too. You can like them on Facebook, join the Facebook group, as well as follow them on Twitter Instagram. They also have a YouTube Channel. On their website, there is a blog. According to the site, the blog is run by a lovely lady known as Miss Lindsay, who is a blogger from England who runs her own very impressive (and frankly beautiful) blog called Real Life Is Horror. And just to make sure I’m not leaving anybody out, I also want to acknowledge Jessica S. – the researcher for Gen Why. Aaron, Justin, Lindsay, and Jessica are obviously a great team considering how successful all facets of this pod are. Thank you guys for working so hard.

Any and everything else you’d ever want to know can be found on the Gen Why site; you’ll find the aforementioned blog, archived episodes, links to Patreon & merchandise, a list of sponsors, along with a few other links. Check out the site, honestly – it’s impressive how nice and user friendly it is.

As of this moment, Gen Why has 2129 ratings on iTunes, coming to a 4.5 out of 5 stars. They also have 13.3k followers on Twitter. They’re very interactive with and appreciative of their listeners, which is always a good thing as well.

I genuinely can not think of a better way to spend my time than listening to Gen Why. As a podcast that covers all of my favorite topics, with well rounded research and hosts that are passionate & also incredibly friendly, there really is something here for everybody. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to find a reason to dislike this pod, to be honest. And that says a lot, in and of itself.

So to Aaron, Justin, & anybody involved in this podcast – thank you. Thank you for taking the time & effort to make something that isn’t only interesting & educational, but also for building a community that is friendly and welcoming to like-minded people. Thank you for all that you do.

Thinking Sideways

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This review is not brought to you by Thinking Sidways. It is instead brought to you by…oh, I dunno…a hot dog in a tutu or something.

I tried, anyway.

Hi again. I’m here to talk about one of my favorites, Thinking Sideways. I’ve been trying to find the best way to describe this podcast, and it’s really hard. TS is incredibly unique in two specific ways: the topics they cover, and the hosts themselves.

Thinking Sideways is a podcast that takes unsolved mysteries – from internet lore to murders – breaks down the background information on that topic, and then speculates on what really happened.

Steve, Devin, and Joe are incredibly interesting. I mean, of course they’re weird – how can you live in this world & keep some semblance of sanity without being weird? But what’s incredibly interesting about them is their chemistry. They genuinely make a great team.

Most of the podcasts I listen to either have only one hosts or just two hosts. But we’ve got a team of three here. Three different senses of humor, three different outlooks, and three (for the most part) different personalities.

I’m one of those people that genuinely enjoy seeing multiple angles and opinions – assuming that the reasoning to back it up is logical. It’s nice to listen to three people discuss some of the more mysterious topics. Typically, if there are only two hosts, you can kind of predict what the outcome will be. Having three hosts means that there could be a third opinion or stance, maybe one that nobody else has considered yet.

It’s almost like having a wild card – you never really know what to expect. Will they lean more towards one opinion over another? Or will they have their own opinion overall?

Another great thing about this podcast is that these three keep things humorous while still being informative and respectful when necessary. You’re gonna get some laughs, but not at the expense of victims or otherwise. There is a fine line between a good sense of humor and just being calloused – these guys have a good sense of humor.

My favorite episode, personally, is the Dyatlov Pass Incident. It was the first Thinking Sideways episode that I listened to, but this goes beyond that. Joe, Devin, and Steve go through and exhaust all the possible scenarios (including a visit from my favorite cryptid, Mr. Chupacabra) before sharing what they believe really happened.

(My other all time favorite episode is the Lost Cosmonauts episode, in case you were curious).

I feel like I’m constantly just counting the days to the next Thinking Sideways episode, because I just cannot get enough. I love when I get that feeling, because not many podcasts capture me like that. This one definitely did.

I feel like one of the most important things a podcast can do is offer a safe space or distraction from someone’s day to day life. My life isn’t terrible by any means, but we all have our struggles – I have a lot of hard days (weeks). I love knowing that I can come home, turn on this podcast, and just escape from the pressure and pain of my reality for a little while. They offer an escape through their podcast, but also through social media.

Thinking Sideways has some of the best listeners. Honestly, these people are so kind and caring, and it’s always encouraging when a podcast can create a family like that. Life happens to all of us but we don’t lose our humor or our curiosity. There’s a sort of camaraderie between all of the listeners, and the hosts as well. It is incredibly encouraging.

Speaking of social media, you can like Thinking Sideways on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and even subscribe to their sub on Reddit. They honestly have their own subreddit. Is that not the most badass thing ever?

They (okay…typically Devin) are very interactive with their followers on each platform, which is also something that I believe is very important. It appears to me that they are very humble, and are incredibly thankful for all of their listeners. You’re gonna feel wanted, and that is one of those things that also really means a lot to me. They’re also constantly taking listeners’ suggestions on topics, which makes for some pretty unique and interesting episodes.

Thinking Sideways has 1,546 ratings on iTunes, the majority of which are five stars. Their overall rating is four stars (but should be, like, seventeen stars). They have a lot of episodes, which makes them perfect for binge-listening. So if you are interested in unsolved mysteries of any kind, this is going to be the podcast for you.

Or, if you just need some good laughs and to be distracted for a while, you can listen to this as well. There’s really not a bad time to listen to Thinking Sideways, honestly.

So, to end the review, just a quick little thank you note from me to the hosts specifically:

Thank you guys for making my days a little better, for getting me to laugh, for giving me a way out of my own head for a little while. Your podcast is one of my go-to’s for when everything else is going wrong. Thank you for working so hard and being so good to your listeners. You’ll never know exactly how big of a positive impact you have on peoples’ lives, but you definitely leave a big one. Thank you guys for being all around just some of the greatest people. Thank you.