Tape Club is a podcast review show. Episodes are short - 15 minutes tops - and contain recommendations of two or three other things to listen to, as chosen by me and a handful of other devoted podcast enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic. Everything from big budget audio journalism to weird and wonderful bedroom productions get a look in because, as Duke Ellington once (almost) said, there are only two kinds of podcast: bad ones, and ones that deserve to go on Tape Club.
Apple very kindly decided that the show was 'New and Noteworthy' when it came out; we're now petitioning for it to be recognised within the 'Established and Venerable' category.
Scroll down for the most recent episodes; or you can subscribe via iTunes here.
A gem from the archives and two podcasts from more recent times, starting with Why Bother?, improvised conversations between Chris Morris and Peter Cook from 1993 -- still every bit as funny now as it was back then. Second up, Capital, a briliant political satire following a group of civil servants who are struggling to implement a contentious referendum result. And finally Battle Scars, striking, sobering interviews with servicemen and women about their experiences of combat.
Something for everyone in this festive edition of Tape Club -- assuming that everyone likes either film reviews, Watergate documentaries or weird Christmas mixtapes.
Recommendations from two brilliant guest critics, James Shields and Ella Watts, in this edition -- they discuss the Radio 4 output of the great Jon Ronson, a laugh-out loud satire of investigative podcasts called Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald's, and a steam-punk comdy drama set in Victorian London, called Victioricity.
A trio of podcast recommendations this time around -- behind the scenes of some of the best pop songs of recent years with Song Exploder; upscale audio journalism from The New Yorker Radio Hour; and a gripping digital drama, Tracks, from the BBC.
BBC Radio 4 turned 50 in September 2017, and to mark the occasion I picked a couple of my favourite series from their back catalogue to recommend here. They are, in order of appearance, the superlatively good R4-British Museum collaboration, A History of the World in 100 Objects, and the ever-surprising, ever-engaging Archive on 4.
With special guest Julie Shapiro -- who is Executive Producer of Radiotopia, the finest indie podcast network in the US. She recommends three remarkable series: Ear Hustle, a life-behind-bars documentary made by inmates at San Quentin; a weird and wonderful cultural magazine show called The Organist, and a beautifully crafted hip-hop documentary called Mogul.
Sexy, funny, candid tales from Anthony Bourdain's time in the NY restaurant scene in Kitchen Confidential -- which as of July 2017 is no longer available online (sorry). And ALSO Homecoming from Gimlet, which is a supremely tense and atmospheric thriller starring Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaacs, David Schwimmer and David Cross - the most stellar cast assembled in a podcast to date - and which is available indefinitely.
Up this time: An embarrassment of musical riches via Live in Concert from NPR's All Songs Considered (with clips from Mavis Staples, Anderson Paak and Courtney Barnett); a genuine innovation in audio journalism from the New York Times; and one of the best things ever made by Radio 4.
Shows recommended in this debut episode were Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy from the BBC World Service, still one of my favourite documentary series of the last few years; and By The Way, In Conversation With Jeff Garlin, in which the Curb Your Enthusiasm star reveals himself to be one of the US's great conversationalists.