I turn to podcasts for a lot of my news and political discussions, but sometimes I just want to pop in my ear buds and escape from all that for a bit. These are some of the best podcasts I listened to this year that provided that escape, covering a wide range of topics and interests. Hopefully you’ll find something that’ll help you tune out the darkness, too!
An LGBTQ music podcast, HOMOGROUND is a great place to go if you need more music recs or like to hear queer artists talk about their work and process.
13. Wrote Podcast
This is a literary podcast all about LGBTQ storytelling in all genres and mediums. I definitely recommend it for writers!
12. The Imposter
While it focuses on Canadian pop culture, you don’t have to be from Canada to appreciate the cultural deep-dive of The Imposter. Host Aliya Pabani specifically focuses on art, music, film, literature, etc. created by indigenous people and other marginalized groups.
If you read Rookie, you really should be listening to the brand new podcast, too! Guests have included Roxane Gay, Janet Mock, St. Vincent, and Alia Shawkat. Tavi Gevinson hosts, and it’s as warm and welcoming as the site.
10. Radio Menea
A podcast all about queer feminist analysis of Latinx music? Yes, please! I started listening to this podcast after Yvonne recommended it in this excellent list, and it’s super fun! Queer co-hosts Miriam Zoila Pérez and Verónica Bayett recently put out their Best Of 2017 episode, and it’s fantastic.
The only thing better than the most recent season of Real Housewives Of New York was the most recent season of Bitch Sesh from comedians Danielle Schneider and Casey Wilson. It is my number one goal in life to guest on this show so I can talk about all the sapphic subtext of the Real Housewives shows, so yes I do technically have an ulterior motive for including it on this list! But if you’re a Bravo head like me, it really is a must-listen.
A podcast in which two people merely shoot the shit about actual murders should not work so dang well, AND YET. Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, whose friendship is predicated on their shared fascination with the macabre, are funny but smart and probing in their recounting and discussion of various murders from history and hometown murders sent in by listeners. While not explicitly a political podcast, they do of course touch on some deeper issues regarding true crime, mental health, and the legal system.
LAMAT technically only released two episodes in 2017, and it’s a short-form show, so those episodes are bite-sized. But the laid-back call-in style of the show and excellent editing makes it a calming and immersive experience. One ruminates on stories about family (which, fair warning, includes a tiny bit of politics but only on the personal relationship level), and the most recent jumps headfirst into a very important topic: SAUCES.
Attention all Riverdale fans: Are you listening to Dial M For Maple? Well, you should be! It’s the greatest Riverdale breakdown podcast around, and it’s hosted by Cameron Scheetz and Marah Eakin from The A.V. Club, who are devout fans of the show and also are fully obsessed with the cast and their off-screen antics. Satiate your Riverdale thirst during the show’s current winter hiatus by catching up and follow them on Twitter if you want to chat ongoing conspiracy theories!
Sook-Yin Lee consistently delivers some of the best narrative storytelling in the podcast world, and in Sleepover she joined three complete strangers in a hotel room overnight, and together they try to solve personal problems, friendships forming in real-time. It’s as weird and delightful as it sounds. This season’s Vancouver series (each sleepover results in three episodes that each focus on a different guest in the trio of strangers) features trans tween Tru Wilson.
3. The Read
The Read is one of the best pop culture podcasts around, precisely because it’s about so much more than pop culture. Queer co-hosts Crissle and Kid Fury are relentlessly hilarious and sharp, their commentary entertaining and thought-provoking.
Co-hosts Kristen McCallum and Lamika Young have cultivated a safe and radical space with #SafeWordSociety, a podcast for and by QTPOC that centers our experiences and provides a (brief) escape from the bullshit of the world. It’s all about living and surviving as a QTPOC in NYC, and it prioritizes lifting listeners up instead of just adding to our anxieties and fears.
In Buzzfeed’s Thirst Aid Kit podcast, certified thirst scholars Nichole Perkins and Bim Adewunmi present a thorough investigation and analysis of human desire, sexuality, and the many ways to slake your thirst. Funny, candid, and brilliant, Thirst Aid Kit is the best new podcast of the year. In the second episode of their first season, Nichole and Bim are joined by queer guest Krutika Mallikarjuna to discuss the hotties of comic books and superhero film/TV, and they speak with several comic book artists about what goes into drawing sex appeal. Later in the season, Mallory Ortberg joins to discuss literary baes. Every episode ends with Nichole and Bim reading self-insert fic drabbles about whoever the object of thirst is for that week, and they never disappoint. If you read or write fanfiction, form obsessive crushes on celebrities or fictional characters, or just have a deep appreciation for the performance of thirst, this is the podcast for you. Please listen, subscribe, download, etc, because if this podcast doesn’t get a second season I will be very sad!