Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Edgy Podcast Reviews

Posted by Maximum Fun on 29th November 2009

Oh crap, this is meta. You see before you a podcast review column of a podcast that itself reviews podcasts. Hold on tight to your desk in case some sort of vortex forms.

Edgy Podcast Reviews [iTunes] [XML] (formerly, and fortunately no longer, That Podcast Show) offers exactly what its name promises. Well, it almost does — we’ll get to the deficiency later. In the meantime, your Podthinker can assure you that the show does indeed deliver podcast reviews. In fact, it rockets several per episode into your pod- or Zune-hole, accompanying its swift, star-based evaluations with side chat, phone calls, plenty of non-review segments and an abrasive intro that sounds like the love child of Max Headroom and every radio morning zoo in America.

Odd, then, that the actual reviews sound so little like Boomer and Floorwax in the A.M. or Matt Frewer through a jitter filter. Hosts Daniel and Jana come off, the odd super-conspicuous speech edit aside, like totally regular folks who just happen to really enjoy themselves a podcast or two. Or three, which is how many they seem to be mandated to review per week. Why, in just the past month, they’ve assessed Max Buffer’s Media Museum, I Know Everything and Forgotten Classics [MP3]; Movies You May Have Missed, The Bouty Bouty Squadcast and good old Battleship Pretension [MP3]; Serving Donuts, BBQ Central Radio and Jimmy in the Garden [MP3]. As you’ve surely gathered, no format or subject matter remains off limits, though D and J sound just as weary of the venerable Two Twentysomething White Guys Bullshitting About Culture genre as your Podthinker.

Not that they would say it in so many words, though. Those seeking the truly “edgy” in, say, the AM talk radio sense of the word will despair to find that the co-reviewers at the helm sound as nice as can be. Perhaps by “edgy” they mean “brimming with the milk of human kindness.” They’re friendly, constructive, positive and evidence no goal more sinister than to grassroots-found a functional, supportive podcasting community. Their hesitance to out-and-out complain about any of the podcasts under review comes through palpably. While it’s perfectly fine that they don’t viciously insult incompetent podcasters and label shows “retarded” with reckless abandon, the light touch generates something of a fog, a vagueness that requires more than a bit of effort to decipher. “But tell us how you really feel,” your Podthinker kept saying — unironically.

That is, of course, when he wasn’t busy feeling lazy for reviewing a mere one podcast per week. But then, it must be said that the substance of Edgy Podcast Reviews‘ reviews sometimes fall just south of satisfying. Daniel and Jana clearly aren’t slacking off in the actual listening and thinking — they even arrange to download different episodes of each reviewed podcast, to cover maximum archival ground — but it’s hard to shake the impression that, as they shy away from going overly negative, they also shy away from delving into their subjects’ deeper technical, structural and contextual details.

The extra stuff they throw in partially compensates. This isn’t just a show about the efforts of podcasters; it’s a show for podcasters, delivering features like the “podcast tip of the week.” They’ll tell you not to breathe heavily into your microphone like some sort of phone pervert, for instance. (Or at least that’s what your Podthinker took away.) They’re also very much into connecting podcasters with one another as vectors of mutual support and feedback and what not. Be it our cross to bear as it may, Daniel and Jana recognize that podcasting can be a lonely, lonely game.

Though they’re currently backlogged, the Edgy Podcast Reviews crew is willing to review your podcast upon request. So if they’ve got a problem with your Podthinker’s review, then, they should revew your Podthinker’s podcast. Go on, do your worst. Or nicest. Whichever. Either way, your Podthinker will next week push the meta train even farther out of the station by taking on a podcast about reviews of podcasts of reviews of podcasts. Unless there isn’t one. But… there must be. There simply must be.

Vital stats:
Format: podcast reviews with podcasting tips, essentially
Duration: 8m-30m
Running since: December 2007
Frequency: 1-4 episodes per month
Archive available on iTunes: all

[Got a podcast to suggest for Podthoughts coverage or any other sort of question and/or comment for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]