Wednesday, July 12, 2006

To podcast, or not to podcast

As you may or may not know, the concept of a Hipster, please! podcast is rapidly shifting from the realm of "idle notion" to the domain of "definite possibility." Not a big jump, but when you’re as lazy as me you take what you can get. I’ve not discussed this idea openly in the blog before, obviously due to my fickle nature, but I have let it slip out to a few of the faithful via private channels. Those select few have been very supportive of the idea, so I feel I owe it to them to at least consider getting off my flat honky arse and having a go at it

Other than my own exceptional personal level of sloth, there is another obstacle that impedes Hipster, please! joining the podcast revolution™: There are many, many podcasts currently available and the vast majority of them just don’t appeal to me. Between the sound quality, the subject matter, and the lack of preparation/structure, the standard podcast, for me at least, lacks much to be desired. Y’all know that I don’t like to hate, but with so many podcasts out there, it seemed for a long while that I was always coming across the ones with minimal appeal. I sometimes fear that, were I to contribute, I would simply add to this glut.

There are, however, some notable exceptions. Within the past several months I’ve been fortunate enough to come across several that really do it for me. I always find myself anxiously awaiting the next editions of the following podcasts. They display the kind of attitude, attention to detail, and overall personality that, should I actually begin this undertaking, I hope that I could personal bring to a regular podcast. If you believe any of these would interest you, then by all means check them out. And feel free to recommend other jewels that I may have heretofore overlooked.

Cheapy D & Wombat of CAGcastCAGcast – I’m a big supporter of Cheap Ass Gamer. CAG, for those of you not in the know, is a community based entirely around the concept of helping you get the games you want for less and the games you don’t want for nearly nothing at all. Could there be a nobler, more selfless end? I think not. The CAGcast is a regular feature of this popular site during which founder and occasional television personality Cheapy D and his right-hand marsupial Wombat entertain the listeners with gaming news, Cheap Ass deals, and the always compelling CAGbag, a feature during which the hosts answer questions from the CAG message boards.

This was the first podcast that I ever made a concerted effort to stay on top of and not simply because the focus of the show is on gaming. Cheapy and Wombat come off as genuinely likeable guys who actually know what the hell they’re talking about. Cheapy takes care to prepare show notes beforehand so that he and his co-host can have some semblance of flow and structure. Interestingly enough, even on the occasions when Cheapy doesn’t do his homework the show still works: the chemistry between he and Wombat is just that good. CAGcast exists to supplement that CAG community, and, as a fairly longstanding member of that community, I can say with some certainty that it succeeds. Even when the show diverges into the personal lives of the hosts, it manages to stay interesting. Here I could recount a tale scatological horror that Cheapy related from his Tokyo hideaway just weeks ago, but you’d do better to get it from the horse’s mouth.

Radio Clash – Shortly after discovering the CAGcast I found myself bored and listless at work.Tim of Radio Clash To stave off sleep, I began searching podcast listings for something, anything to keep me interested during the post-lunchtime doldrums. I began typing in random search terms and, to my surprise, the string clash + mash-ups actually returned a valid result.

Radio Clash is a (usually) weekly podcast by a delightful Englishman named Tim. Tim is a designer by trade, but he’s also a mash-up artist (who sometimes boots under the moniker Instamatic). He has a real passion for music and is quite knowledgeable. Despite his personal protests to the contrary, he is often touted as our generation’s John Peel. Though I can only speak from personal experience, I have to agree that Tim has turned me on to a great many artists and more than a couple of genres, disseminating his love for varying styles and sounds in a very Peel-like fashion.

Though the original focus of Radio Clash was on mash-ups and bootleg culture, Tim doesn’t discriminate. He’s featured everything from country to metal and all points in-between. He even threw in some nerdcore on his alt.alt.alt.rap show at my request. His love of music and his appreciation of his listeners make this a podcast not to be missed. And, lest I forget to mention, the sound quality is excellent.

If CAGcast made me realize that there were podcasts out there that genuinely appealed to me, then Radio Clash showed me that a music-centered ‘cast was not only plausible, but that it could provide a damn fine alternative to the shit that you’re served on a silver platter by corporate radio and MTV.

The GoNintendo CrewGoNintendo – I have no qualms about admitting that I am a Nintendo fanboy. The GoNintendo podcast is geared toward my ilk, so it’s no surprise that I enjoy it. It did take a little getting used to, though. This particular podcast has a stable of hosts, with the only constant being site founder RawmeatCowboy. It can be a little confusing listening to a half-dozen people cracking-wise while one lone voice tries to make its way through a news story or press release, but it’s that madness that makes GoNintendo great. While CAGcast makes you feel like part of a community, the GoNintendo podcast makes you feel as though you’re part of a family.

Every GoNintendo listener has his or her favorite team member: the young fellows love that fiery Nintenho, the jokers and smokers love Lube’s half-drunken ramblings, personally, I’m a fan of the good-natured and matronly tones of MomBrain, but we can all agree that it’s ‘Meat’s jovial personality and tireless work that keeps the site and the podcast running. Sure, sometimes the sound may be a little off, and the dialogue may wander, but the GoNintendo crew bust ass to provide more exclusive content and Nintendo love than any other podcast I’ve come across.

Just Another Lazy Podcast – As a Beefy of Just Another Lazy Podcastcard-carrying member of the sacred Seven, I feel it’s my duty to espouse the JALP gospel. Once a week, Beefy, Jones, Paige, and newcomer Amy join their power and energy in a sonic gestalt similar to that of an ├╝ber-nerdy (and occasionally drunken) Voltron. Just Another Lazy Podcast blends just the right amount of music, humor, and idle chitchat to make it simultaneously amusing and endearing. Beefy and crew not only spread the good word of nerdcore, but manage to make riffs on primetime television and Chinese food sound instantly engaging. What’s more, the podcast regularly features audio-boobs, wine in a box, and surprise sex. Who could ask for more? A Doc Pop theme song? Shit, they've got that too!

Beefy also seems to have a definite agenda with his podcast: make with the funny, play a couple songs, and the get the hell out. A usual edition of JALP lasts only a half-hour, and that’s important to me. I like that the crew keeps things brief and makes a concerted effort not to overdo it. It’s refreshing to have a podcast that I can listen to start-to-finish during my morning commute.

And those are the four podcasts that I truly enjoy. Likewise, each taught me something about the fine art and delicate science of podcasting: CAGcast enlightened me to the importance of preparation and proper planning, Radio Clash showed me that the secret to making a good music-based podcast was to expand horizons without compromising integrity, GoNintendo explained that making the listener feel like an intrinsic part of the process goes a long way in establishing a podcaster-listener bond, and Just Another Lazy Podcast demonstrated that fun, quick, and dirty always makes for excellent listening.

Will I actually launch a Hipster, please! podcast? Who knows. If so, will I apply any of this abstruse knowledge? I sure as hell hope so. The only thing worse than a shitty podcast is a shitty podcast no one listens to.


Benjamin Bear said...

so make with the podcasts already! i was thinking about doing one myself, but decided I didn't have anything to say...

Z. said...

Thanks for the vote o’ confidence, Ben. I’ve actually got a song list and some show notes that I worked up right here in front of me. There are still a few kinks to work out, but it’s looking like “Radio Free Hipster” might actually happen.

Benjamin Bear said...

always remember:

yahoo messenger w/voice + voice chat + recording with "stereo mix" on your sound card = long-distance audio interviews.

for future reference. ^_^

Beefy said...

You've got my support buddy. And we all thank you for the kind words!

Z. said...

Just showing the love to whence ‘tis warranted, Beef.

And thanks for the tip, Ben. I’ll put that shit in the bank.

tim from Radio Clash said...

thank you for the very nice review.

I'm not worthy etc. *blushes*


Z. said...

I only give credit where it’s due, Tim, and you’re show is continually top-notch!