WELCOME to Podd Deep!
Number four goddammit! This calls for some Khruangbin for real.
Ugh. That track is so gorgeous. So fresh and so clean. I mean this is all besides the point - I just wanted to start by saying AYO and thank you most kindly for coming in and peeping the blog. It’s a true pleasure to shout about the goodies out there, and as I said last week, it’s just so refreshing to focus on NICE THINGS and not retweet or comment on the negative stuff. I guess that does have to happen sometimes, gotta let of steam haven’t you - but this is a place for good things. Recommendations, shoutouts, sharing of items that I think you would enjoy. I very much hope you do too. Some people have commented in one place or another about how they’ve added some of these podcasts to their regular rotation which is wonderful. I would love to do this every day if I could, but if you’re cool to keep it on the weekly with me for now, I’ll make sure I present what I can to you in as timely a fashion as I can. Deal? DEAL ASSUMED!
PODSTOCK • THIS SATURDAY!
Ladies and gentlemen, first off I would like to cordially invite you along to the BFI PODSTOCK event on SATURDAY 3rd NOVEMBER! It’ll be a slammer, and I know this because one of the podcasts I produce will be going LIVE!
‘Films To Be Buried With’ is a podcast dreamed up by writer/actor/multiple threat Brett Goldstein, which goes deep into the lives of each week’s guest via a number of film choices. It hits parts that don’t often get hit, and reveals personal tales and layers that you won’t have heard before. Basically it’s a film lover and existentialist’s fantasy right there. You’ll get to see and hear Brett and the NOW ANNOUNCED GUEST WILL POULTER live and in the flesh on Saturday at 6pm!
IMPORTANT! Use the code ‘BURIED’ at checkout and get £2 off the ticket price! We look forward to making your acquaintance! I’ll be there, probably at the back in sunglasses speaking into my cuff like a security guy of some description, or dressed up like the homie Harry Caul in The Conversation, but either way, come along! It’ll be ace. And of course check out the other shows happening - it’s so great to have these things in the UK and I hope more of them happen! Such a nice thing to have a podcast celebration. If you’re anything like me this is like a mini Coachella or something. A verrry mini, micro Coachella. In London.
PODD DEEP • Volume 004 • Bullseye
TO SUM IT UP IN A SENTENCE
A pop culture magazine show for grown-ass people who actively curate their entertainment schedule.
WHERE TO FIND IT
http://www.maximumfun.org/shows/bullseye - that’s the main site. You’ll find the entire back catalogue of shows there, along with everything else on the network.
…AND THE NETWORK IS…?
Maximum Fun! The network has been going for a GOOOOOD amount of time, probably not long after that very first ever wave of podcasts - actually now I think of it, maybe earlier. The main guy behind it all, Jesse Thorn (now a full on staff I’m sure!) has been at it for so long now, and it keeps growing and attracting more and more listeners through thoroughly consistent shows, some of the most consistently punctual output of any podcasts, and a nice bunch of varied live events too which broadens the range in a lot of exciting ways. I’ll get into the details either here or later in the blog itself, as there are some shows on there which are my favourites and long term loves so hold tight!
WHO MAKES IT?
The show is hosted and produced by Jesse Thorn, he of the Maximum Fun Network and many other podcasts. He’s been involved in radio and all things recorded talking since all the way back in the day, starting out in Santa Cruz in a basement with his pal Jordan (of Jordan Jess Go) doing pledge drives and college radio stunts, and had a show a good few years back called ‘The Sound Of Young America’. This was where I first got to know him - a friend of mine had found this episode with Guy from Fugazi, and I had a few moments spare so I peeped that, and had a look through the archives and there was this treasure trove of greatness featuring a bunch of people I really liked or people I hadn’t heard of but looked really interesting. So Jesse goes deep in this game, and has been doing it solidly for years now, so you are in safe hands and can trust that the show won’t be awkward, uncomfortable or confrontational. I know, maybe sometimes you want that, and you can surely find that elsewhere - but not here, champ. He’s also DEEP in his hip hop, Bay Area and otherwise, and this really warmed me to him initially as I’d hear him cite old rap stuff and think “holy shit, he’s ON it”. Dude knows his stuff for REAL.
WHAT IS IT?
Bullseye is a place to make discoveries, hear from people that aren’t always necessarily doing press junkets and doing the rounds on the celebrity interview scene, and pick up on some great moments in popular culture. It’s not a gossipy podcast, more a show with an honest desire to present straight up good art. From comedians to musicians to artists to designers, and then with other segments referencing personal favourites, all time classics or nuggets from any given era, you can expect to get a good handful of gems to go and enjoy (and front like you found them yourself of course), and leave with a really positive feeling. I’m not saying that is utterly essential in podcasts, but if you’re in need of some cultural stimuli and a friendly group of voices, this is the pick me up you’re after. Jesse steers the conversations in all the right ways, and the linking music (kind of chilled out instrumental hip hop idents) is ideal for bridging the segments. Basically, it’s something like a late night show mixed with a bunch of cool other stuff in there too!
WHEN DOES IT COME OUT?
Weekly, which is the perfect amount. It’s enough time to sit with an episode and go through those rabbitholes and timeloops, but also regular enough to keep you hooked til the next episode.
WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT IT?
I’ve said it here already about the safe pair of hands that is Jesse Thorn. He’s a host who I feel like I can trust with a show, and someone who I never get that cue-card feeling from. It always feels genuine and from the heart, and in the majority of guest interviews on the show I’ve heard them comment on how good Jesse is as an interviewer. The show I quoted above is one of my favourites, where Michael K Williams (Omar from The Wire) was being interviewed and Jesse brought up an old rap video he was on - he seemed so stunned and kind of ‘how do you know about THAT?’ that I felt like I could hear Michael solidifying his own confidence in him. I’ll keep referring to this particular segment of the episode in fact, as it made me tear up hearing Michael tear up after hearing Kym Sims’ ‘Too Blind To See It’ - basically he got a job as a dancer for her, and Jesse had clearly done his research to know that this was something important in Michael’s past. I think what had particular resonance too was that I’d just finished blazing through The Wire for the second time around that point, so I’d gone through the Omar emotional roller coaster enough, and hearing him being so open and just lovely on this episode really hit me. Sometimes podcasts really do crack a hole in you and light you up - this time I was walking through London and had proper misty glasses, and had to contain myself as I strolled through town. Of course, that same thing happened again moments after, as Jesse brought on the last segment - the ‘Outshot’ - where he talks about something important or key to him, this time being the rapper Too Poetic from The Gravediggaz. He died in 2001, after a bout with colon cancer. He talks about Gravediggaz, then introduces a clip from a song by Last Emperor and him, where Poetic is really going into detail about his struggles, which is just utterly gut wrenchingly sad. This was a double punch but really made me think about him as a rapper, and the sincere, raw emotion he put into that track. It was just so heavy but really shook me into the present. Hear the song below - it’s tough but beautiful…
I’m using this episode as out of all the shows I’ve heard - which is a lot - this one really sealed the deal that I love this podcast so much. Sometimes you hear nuggets of wisdom you want to hold on to, or absorb into your own life and take on as your own, or you might hear advice or an example of how someone got to where they are and use that for inspiration. This episode had all of that, and I thought back to previous episodes and how they made me feel. I realised it had been delivering all of this every time. The interviews are guaranteed fascinating, the segments in between will always give you some amazing new art to enjoy - be it recommendations or reminiscences from invited contributors, and you have a solid hour or so to enjoy having someone navigate you through entertainment and enjoyable pathways to inspiration. You can subscribe with confidence.
WHAT’S THE FORMAT?
Here’s the usual format - but this can be shuffled! Beginning with some light beat action to introduce, Jesse introduces things up top and gives a snippet of one of the interviews about to follow. Once that’s done - “It’s Bullseye” - and then into the signature theme which is ‘Huddle Formation’ by The Go Team - an uptempo jammy to get you in the spirit. So once the table is laid, we get into the interview which has snippets and relevant pieces, some ads might intercut the interview but respectfully so, and at each juncture we’re always brought back in, and everything is refreshed so we’re not lost thinking “wait, what were they talking about…?” - it’s little things like that which make it a nice, easy listen so you’re not lost and you don’t lose concentration. The end will have Jesse’s ‘Outshot’, which is always worth sticking around for as it’s always fascinating hearing someone talk with passion about the important things in their lives. Most recently Jesse talked about who got him into talk radio, which is a great one.
PAST GUESTS INCLUDE…
Bill Withers, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Walter Murch (my hero!), Vince Staples, Beth Ditto, Marc Maron, Neko Case, Forest Whitaker, Romesh Ranganathan, Boots Riley, Meshell Ndegeocello, George Clinton, a gang of folk from The Wire, Rachel Bloom, JK Simmons, Open Mike Eagle, Paula Poundstone, Ice T - just tons. Every week it’s ridiculous. You’re in for a treat.
LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT
You can tune in and out, but of course, you might miss things that are great so I’d say you’d be best to try and tune in if you can. A good one for if you’re running, on a long commute or car ride, something like that. Perfect for a long walk. You can divide it up nicely too without losing the flow so it depends on how up for concentrating you are!
HOW MANY EPISODES AT THE TIME OF POSTING THIS?
An absolute ton. You can peep the archives at http://www.maximumfun.org/shows/bullseye and go back to the days of ‘The Sound Of Young America’ (what the show used to be called before it got all fancy and proper!), and you’ll never be bored again in your entire life.
BINGE OR ONE AT A TIME?
Certainly one you can binge on. The format isn’t boring, and you can just throw a bunch on and let it flow over you, dipping in and out when you like. It’s like the best bits of awesome interview TV shows, and I’ve sailed through a good three or four of these effortlessly in the past in one go. Easily done.
Oh my god, so many… If I had to choose though I’d suggest a handful of the following:
…and go from there!
Hope you enjoyed this one… As always, MUCH more to come, but hopefully you get a chance to peep Bullseye. Super solid.
More on those soon…!