Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
The White Stripes at Bonnaroo in 2007.
Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.

Adult ISH
Roots ISH (ft. Slave Plantation Tours & “Communist” Buzzcuts)

This episode is Adult ISH at its best, as it gets away from guest interviews and leans into fireside chat mode and reveals where the hosts come from and where they are going. Co-host Nyge Turner recollects a family trip where he boards a luxury tour bus for what he believes to be a wine tasting but instead ends up being a visit to the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana for a surprise tour. What begins as a disconcerting theme-park-like experience turns into a lesson from his dad he’ll never forget. Next, co-host Merk Nguyen shares a tender interview with her parents, who moved to the United States from South Vietnam in the ’80s, talking with them about her recent haircut. For them, it brings up unwanted memories of Communist soldiers, but for Merk, cutting her traditionally long hair was an act of freedom. [Morgan McNaught]


Anna Faris Is Unqualified
Lilly Singh

Anna Faris has returned with her podcast after a few months away from the microphone. In her second episode since her hiatus, she sits down with YouTube star and brand-new late-night host Lilly Singh. The two bond over their strict upbringings and have fun imagining their moms getting together to conspire against them. After reminiscing about their equally awkward prom experiences, Singh promises Faris she will one day ask her to the dance—but she won’t be dressing up for it. Singh reveals that she’s taken a “no heels” stand on her new NBC show. (Then Lilly massages Anna’s feet, and it’s almost weird that it isn’t weird.) The YouTube star opens up about her mental breakdown last year, which encouraged her to start meditating, and they discuss the horrors of trying to find love in Los Angeles before taking listener calls from people with their own dating conundrums. [Vannessa Jackson]


Attack Of The Queerwolf
“Bisexual Lighting” (w/Jordan Crucchiola!)

While Blumhouse Productions is primarily known for such horror film staples as Get Out, Paranormal Activity, and The Purge, they’re also in the podcast business, and their Attack Of The Queerwolf reflects on horror cinema through an LGBTQ+ lens. Hosted by Brennan Klein, Michael Kennedy, and Nay Bever, each episode is a witty and insightful analysis of a specific horror film. This episode, Kennedy is absent, so Klein and Bever are joined by co-host Sam Wineman and special guest Jordan Crucchiola (Vulture) to discuss the 2018 remake of Suspiria. The crew also uses their “Tea Time” to chat about Downton Abbey, the Spanish Netflix series Elite, and the most recent seasons of American Horror Story, particularly AHS: Apocalypse’s queer representation via male witches and the frightening opening scene of missiles striking Los Angeles. [Jose Nateras]


Dart
Dart S1E2

Dart, Enfield Arts’ latest offering, lives in the liminal, lonely space of the dead of night. In this fictional podcast, narrator Jenny drives her way through a dark and oppressive Boston while working for a food delivery app. In just under five minutes per episode, the series paints an ominous picture of Jenny’s struggle to reconcile her new job, grief, and the supernatural mystery slowly tightening its grip around the life she’s trying so hard to keep together. Writer and lead actress Amanda McColgan shines when her character is at her lowest: Cold dread and panic creep into her voice in a way that makes Dart’s storytelling visceral and intimate, reinforcing the inescapable darkness of the show’s setting. You never know what might be lurking. [Alma Roda-Gil]


Let’s Talk About Cats
Marley & Ruthie Toots (Ft. Chris Barron)

This offbeat interview show uses cats as a jumping-off point to pry into the private lives of their owners. Host Mary Phillips-Sandy seduces guests by way of their fluffy kitty companions into revealing facets of themselves that would not surface in traditional formats, though she’s careful not to let anyone get too comfortable. In this episode, she peppers Chris Barron of the Spin Doctors with rapid-fire questions about cats and ceramics (one of his passions) before forcing him to name the best song ever about—you guessed it—cats. Barron recovers well enough from the early antics to become an expressive and reflective guest, volunteering a story about a heavy moment he shared with his cat shortly after learning he contracted vocal paralysis in 2016. He also talks about his daily writing process and his commitment to the craft, knowing that most of his output will suck but will produce inspired moments as long as he keeps pushing. And after that, there’s some more talk about cats. [Zach Brooke]


Rude Tales Of Magic
Down For The Count

What makes Rude Tales Of Magic different from the dozens of other D&D podcasts currently in production? It’s rude, of course! And in the magical world of Cordelia (lovingly crafted by comedian, illustrator, and game master Branson Reese), “rude” means a plethora of cursing demons, the occasional twisted home-brewed monster, and no shortage of scatological humor. The cast of players is made up of comedians, writers, and artists who all throw themselves completely into their silly characters, which range from deer-human hybrid adventurers to aristocratic skull-faced lichs. Put simply, it’s a lot of fun. This week, as they make their way through the Teenage Forest, our heroes find themselves coming face-to-face with a vampire who’s recently off the wagon and a whole herd of beasts that would be right at home in the original Monster Manual if they weren’t, well, backwards. How will this rambunctious group of magical college coeds fare against these challenges? Probably pretty well, if they can manage to roll a few more natural 20s. They’ve also got a burgeoning Patreon community full of art, bonus material, and all things magically crude. [Dan Neilan]


Striped: The Story Of The White Stripes
Part 1: Don’t Feed Me Planned Obsolescence/Part 2: What A Feeling That’s Begun

In this brand-new podcast from Misfire and Third Man Records, Kentucky journalist Sean Cannon explores the origins of the legendary Detroit garage-rock band The White Stripes. Equipped with the expertise of Third Man co-founder and White Stripes archivist Ben Blackwell, the series kicks off with an in-depth two-episode release that shows huge potential for future installments. Part one of Striped sets up the music scene in Detroit, exploring the Motor City’s sound through bands like MC5, The Detroit Cobras, The Gories, and The Dirtbombs. Cannon presents several key players from the ’80s and ’90s, and a handful of the city’s rock heroes describe the coolest venues and bands the city had to offer. Part two introduces a young Jack and Meg White, detailing their early music backgrounds and shedding light on some of Jack’s earlier work before The White Stripes, including his short-lived band Two-Star Tabernacle and his experience in upholstery. [Kevin Cortez]


The Creeping Hour
Meet The Creeps

There’s an important question every parent must ask themselves: Am I raising a creep? WGBH’s new horror anthology podcast for children, The Creeping Hour, will help answer that. Each episode is hosted by a gruesome trio called the Creeps, who were once normal kids but then listened to one too many scary stories and transformed into garbage-eating, horror-loving monsters. The series premiere finds the Creeps begging children not to listen to their tale of the spooky house at the edge of town with a hungry secret waiting within, lest they undergo the same startling metamorphosis. This show boasts excellent sound production and an eerie score that evokes the feeling of a midnight campfire tale on a chilly autumn evening, but the Creeps themselves are the main selling point. Illustrations of each host are included on the website so kids can choose the insectile Weta, the bullish Toro, or the punk demon Axe as their favorite. These are chill, relatable monsters who leave the story open-ended for the listeners to decide the characters’ fate. Parents, take note: If your child assumes a bloody, gore-filled ending, you might have a creep on your hands. [Anthony D Herrera]


The Dream
Dream Stealers

The first season of investigative journalism podcast The Dream looked into the dark and manipulative structure of multilevel marketing businesses (or MLMs), which are definitely not pyramid schemes, technically, assuming you don’t look at them too closely. Before the next season begins, the team has been sharing shorter, bonus episodes, and “Dream Stealers” talks about one of the more worrisome elephants in the room: how closely MLMs resemble cults. This episode breaks down the rhetoric of cult leaders and how it dovetails with the founding philosophies of MLMs. “Dream stealers” is a term used in the industry referring to the people who try to talk sellers out of investing so heavily in MLMs; playing real audio clips from the founders of these companies, the episode shows how these leaders convince their following that any of these naysayers are just jealous of success. It’s a chilling and surreal examination of what makes MLMs so manipulative. While The Dream highlights the vulnerable communities that are targeted by MLMs, it’s fascinating (in a morbid way) to see the many tactics those MLMs use to keep their people on board. [Wil Williams]

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