Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
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.

Ellas
Diana Cabuto & Christina Igaraividez - Creators of Latinaish TV

Illustration for article titled “No Scrubs” and “Say My Name” go head-to-head in iSong Vs. Song/i, and listeners have the vote

Brenda Hernández Jaimes is the founder and host of Ellas podcast, which is devoted to fostering conversations with the inspiring Latinas paving the way for the next generation. Diana Cabuto, soon to be featured in the Netflix series Gentefied, was brought up in a female-centric Mexican household before moving to the United States, where she began developing her identity as a Mexican American actor. Christina Igaraividez is a Chicago native who found her way from advertising to improv and theatre. Together, the two have started Latinaish TV, a new media channel devoted to producing Latinx content and spotlighting a wide variety of Latinx narratives, particularly those of women. It’s inspiring to hear Cabuto talk about her journey to embrace who she is, accent and all, especially in an industry so rife with racism; meanwhile, Igaraividez is candid about her insecurities speaking Spanish and the realities of being second-generation Mexican American. [Jose Nateras]


Family Ghosts
The Ambassador

Illustration for article titled “No Scrubs” and “Say My Name” go head-to-head in iSong Vs. Song/i, and listeners have the vote

Family Ghosts is a show about the shared trauma that reverberates through families for generations. Hosted by Moth GrandSlam winner Sam Dingman, the featured stories are always exceptionally well-crafted and rich with meaning. This episode sees writer Maccabee Montandon expand on a 2013 Gawker essay about his murdered brother, except it’s not really about his murdered brother. It’s about why for decades he hasn’t had much of a relationship with his mother. If there was ever anything approaching glue that bound the two together, it dissolved when they buried the one relative they both held close. Now, Maccabee’s mother is approaching the end of her life, and he is quietly agonizing over reconnecting. An older and more reflective Maccabee wants answers to why things turned out the way they did, even if that sparks painful conversation. This is an episode that hollows you out while you listen. [Zach Brooke]


Poetry Unbound
Tracy K. Smith: A Poem For The Space Between Us

Illustration for article titled “No Scrubs” and “Say My Name” go head-to-head in iSong Vs. Song/i, and listeners have the vote

Even people who consider themselves culturally literate can sometimes struggle to engage with poetry, an art form that is so sparse on its face and hides its best attributes beneath the surface. Thankfully, there’s a new podcast willing to hold your hand through the process of poetry immersion therapy. Twice a week, Irish poet Pádraig Ó Tuama guides listeners through a reading of a new poem, letting us hear it once before discussing the symbolism, word choice, and structure, and then letting us hear it again with newly informed context. This episode, featuring a poem from former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s 2011 collection, Life On Mars, is as good a place to start as any and will have you feeling swept away by the warmth and loving care of her writing. Pretty soon, you’ll be standing around a cocktail party, beret on your head, using words like “cadence” to the dumbstruck awe of all your friends. [Dan Neilan]


Preheated
Italian Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies

Illustration for article titled “No Scrubs” and “Say My Name” go head-to-head in iSong Vs. Song/i, and listeners have the vote

This sweet small-batch baking show is hosted by long-distance best friends (and bakers) Andrea Ballard and Stefin Kohn, who use their podcast to highlight fun, low-pressure recipes for listeners to try. The bake-alongs for February, the month of love, are themed around Italian treats to share with the folks you adore. Ballard and Kohn discuss their laborious but rewarding journey of baking Italian pignoli; the weird and gross-ish history of candy conversation hearts; and why eating out on Valentine’s Day is overrated. And as they share the origins of tiramisu—an aphrodisiac originally served in brothels—you might be inspired to assemble their 10-minute version of the treat to impress a loved one.. Like a cozier, more low-key America’s Test Kitchen, Preheated is a pleasure for seasoned and novice bakers alike. [Morgan McNaught]


Secret Societies
The Hellfire Club Pt. 1

Illustration for article titled “No Scrubs” and “Say My Name” go head-to-head in iSong Vs. Song/i, and listeners have the vote

Parcast’s Secret Societies explores the histories of the shadowy organizations that may or may not be running our lives. In the first of a two-part series, hosts Greg Polcyn and Vanessa Richardson unpack the facts and rumors about the diabolical 18th-century anti-Catholic group known as the Hellfire Club. Though accused of many crimes, the Hellfire Club was ultimately nothing more than a frat house for rich edgelords who wanted to freak out the normies. Several frat houses, in fact: After the original club folded, their brand recognition was so strong that many similar groups took up the mantle. The most successful was led by Frances Dashwood, who loved to troll clergymen by showing off his garden, which was arranged in the shape of a nude woman urinating. Most of the groups showcased on Secret Societies are similarly juvenile and pathetic—and that’s the scariest part. The podcast illustrates again and again that the people in charge of the world love the dumbest shit. [Anthony D Herrera]


Song Vs. Song
“No Scrubs” Vs. “Say My Name”

Illustration for article titled “No Scrubs” and “Say My Name” go head-to-head in iSong Vs. Song/i, and listeners have the vote

Which was the better musical tribute to a continent: Toto’s “Africa” or Men At Work’s “Down Under”? If this question has stirred up some very strong feelings within you, then you’re going to need to check out Song Vs. Song. In each episode, hosts Todd Nathanson and Dany Roth pit a pair of thematically similar songs from the same pop era against each other to determine (with the help of listeners) which one reigns supreme. This week sees the battle of two turn-of-the-century anthems about the shittiness of lying, broke-ass men. While there is plenty of debate about each song’s merits (or lack thereof), Nathanson and Roth also take the time to place “No Scrubs” and “Say My Name” in their proper historical context, noting that this period marked the untimely end of TLC and the beginning of a meteoric rise for Destiny’s Child. Other topics of discussion include whether the two hosts are themselves scrubs. [Anthony D Herrera]


The United States Of Anxiety
Two Schools In Marin

Illustration for article titled “No Scrubs” and “Say My Name” go head-to-head in iSong Vs. Song/i, and listeners have the vote

History is inescapable: Our nation’s past transgressions will always linger in the background of our present-day struggles. Progress is measured by how well we learn from history and how quickly we pivot away from it, which is stressful work. The United States Of Anxiety, from WNYC, personalizes this struggle by highlighting communities whose plight illustrates some part of the American story. Its story this week centers around two schools in Marin County, California: one a diverse and affluent charter school with several well-funded after-school programs, the other a long-neglected public school in a majority-Black neighborhood directly across the freeway. A state-mandated order to actively desegregate this divided school district stirs up a long history of racism, class conflict, and cultural blind spots that could apply to any number of American communities attempting to outrun their own complicated pasts. [Dan Neilan]


Uncover: Satanic Panic
“It Was Hell”

Illustration for article titled “No Scrubs” and “Say My Name” go head-to-head in iSong Vs. Song/i, and listeners have the vote

The satanic panic of the 1980s had people across North America convinced that devil-worshipping cultists were everywhere and would soon be coming for their children, and by 1992, that paranoia would rip apart the small Saskatchewan town of Martensville. CBC’s Uncover: Satanic Panic attempts to make sense of how allegations of sexual abuse at a Martensville daycare center could lead residents to believe they were under attack by Satan himself. In this episode, host Lisa Bryn Rundle travels to Martensville with reporter Dan Zakreski, who covered the case at the time. They visit the infamous “devil’s church” where children were allegedly forced to drink blood and take part in satanic rites. Even though there was no evidence to support these bizarre stories, Zakreski and other members of the media fanned the flames of frenzy by reporting them as fact. Zakreski now regrets his actions but explains, “This was the fight between good and evil, and I was on the side of good.” [Anthony D Herrera]

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