Murder Road Trip

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For today’s review, I’m snacking on Vanilla Coke and Sour Patch Kids as I tell you about a fun podcast called Murder Road Trip. The premise of this podcast is a simple one: the host takes a guest (who is often the host of a podcast of their own, so we get the bonus of hearing about their work, too) on a roadtrip to a destination related to the true crime case being discussed on the episode. There were quite a few crimes covered that I had never heard of, which is something I genuinely appreciate finding in a true crime podcast (specifically because of just *how much* I consume true crime podcasts, books, etc.). Some episodes have audio issues, but these issues are minimal and always addressed and corrected by the next episode.

 

I really like the concept of the show; framing it as a roadtrip and taking the guest with you somewhere is a fun take on the conversation with a guest host that is really common in so many forms of media. Episodes I recommend: Carl Panzram, Mark Barton, HH Holmes, and John Robinson.

Mens Rea

Mens Rea is a podcast that brings us episodes all about true crime cases

IMG_20180225_045831from Ireland and the surrounding areas of the United Kingdom! Hosted by Sinead, the listeners are taken on audio adventures featuring cases that may or may not be lesser known to the audience (I know I had practically no knowledge about any of the cases and that both surprised and delighted me!).

An upbeat theme tune greets the listener and then transitions to news clips featuring information about the case being chronicled in that episode. Each episode is an average length of 30-40 minutes, so it was nearly the perfect commute podcast for me on days when I was taking public transit or being driven somewhere. I bring this really specific detail up because I must admit that I had a lot of trouble with the audio levels on the apps I used to listen to the podcast (Play Music and Podcast Addict); sometimes this was fixed by my using headphones, but more often than not I listen to podcasts in places where headphones aren’t appropriate or safe to use. I’m not sure if I am the only one who had this issue, but I was really glad to find a solution that helped me continue listening to the podcast!

So far, there are only twelve cases that have been discussed on the show (some in multiple parts, which I’m always a fan of) which makes this show easy to catch up on! My personal favourites were the cases of James Bulger (I found a great documentary on YouTube afterwards that helped to augment the information I learned in this episode because I became absolutely interested in this case!), The Acid Bath Murders (I have listened to so many podcasts about this case and always love stumbling across one I haven’t heard yet!), and The Kerry Babies (this case could be triggering for some, so please take a look at the episode description beforehand; I love that it added an element of politics and political history. I had no idea about the history of reproductive justice in Ireland and really want to learn more after listening to this episode!).

Give this show a listen if you’re looking to add Ireland to your list of countries you want to learn about through the lens of true crime!

 

 

 

 

 

But Why Tho?

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This podcast matters. But Why Tho? Is a pop culture podcast that is a bit different from all the rest. The episodes aren’t just about why some aspect of pop culture is good, bad, both, or neither; each episode goes further and explains why this bit of pop culture is important to pop culture as a whole and what it’s done to further its genre, make something more mainstream, etc. With certain areas of pop culture/fandom still seen as niche, this kind of analysis is important because it brings pop culture to those who may not be inclined to see what the chain reaction has been in society due to the creation of what is being discussed in each episode. This series covers all different kinds of things: video games, movies, television shows, older things, newer things, etc. I also really appreciate that this podcast doesn’t shy away from discussions about race, gender, class issues, and other topics that are usually seen as academic or uninteresting to most listeners but the hosts do this in a really accessible way that is easy to listen to and easy to comprehend and understand.

Other great things about the podcast have to do with the hosts and their dynamic. I love the way they converse with each other, all the jokes that get thrown in, how when a host doesn’t know something or isn’t a fan of something they aren’t afraid to say so, and also how each host gets to take a turn being the lead on a subject — especially if it’s something that’s totally their jam. This show also does some really fun crossovers and I’ll get into more about that in this next section where I tell you all about what episodes you absolutely need to hear, but I’m totally a sucker for a great crossover and/or a great guest host.

Episodes I recommend: Star Trek (a great look at one of the shows that made fandom and conventions come more into the mainstream), Hayao Miyazaki (if only just for the fun argument of whether all the Ghibli movies take place in the same universe or not), Horror (I really appreciated the guest host!), Mortal Kombat (one of my favourite game franchises and the hosts did the series so much justice with regards to its pop culture importance), Quentin Tarantino (if I recall correctly, the episode was done before all the things that have come to light recently from Uma Thurman’s experience; the episode was great, but I would love for the show to revisit this with all the new information further regarding Tarantino’s problematicness), Bill Nye the Science Guy (Matt is a really great host and I’m glad he was on this episode! If I were to get someone started on this show out of order, it would definitely be with this one. Pretty much everyone knows who Bill Nye is, but we might take for granted why he’s important to pop culture and society; this episode does a great job of breaking that down), eSports (bringing video games even more mainstream and paying people’s college tuitions; how could this show not discuss MLG and all the games that have been played professionally?), True Crime (I am huge into true crime and have been for pretty much my entire life; it’s how I’ve made most of my friends, it’s the genre that most people go searching for podcasts for, the notion of commodifying death/true crime as a form of capitalism, the cathartic use of true crime by those with mental health issues, etc.), Selena y los podcasters with It’s About Damn Crime (I love both of the sets of hosts for this episode and Selena is life so of course this episode is gold.), Religion & Myth in Assassin’s Creed (so one of my passions and something I wish I could study more is pop culture portrayals of religions. This episode wasn’t the standard kind of analysis that Assassin’s Creed usually receives and that was super important to me.).

But Why Tho? is an absolutely fantastic podcast and has easily become one of my favourites. I wish I could be friends with the hosts in real life and pick their brains. Each episode captured my attention in so many ways that I could continue to gush about, but I’ll just end this review here and tell you to subscribe and listen to this podcast right away.

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.