What is the relationship between a commercial space and the consumer? The American pastime of wondering late night department stores; an ongoing surreal relationship between a commercial entity’s physical manifestation and the passive consumer, a cultural element encapsulated in the vaporwave school of art.
In a recent review of Maroon 5’s Jordi, music critic Jensen Ooi shares disdain towards commercial radio’s proclivity for any band once deemed successful. “You’ll get to listen to it when you’re forced to listen to it when it comes on in any public space…”
It’s true, in a way. The best of errands usually have an underlying lack of forced exposure. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe that something as flawless as top 40 radio and commercially branded playlists would fall to the subjectivity of music like the Roman Empire to the Barbarians (/s), but it’s true.
Bombarded by the unsocial of social media at nearly all times, further forced exposure brings us all a step closer towards going postal.
What happens when the lure of commercial pleasantries becomes a red-card in the ‘company to consumer’ relationship? It’s a dynamic based entirely in underlying desires and manipulation, albeit manipulation we’ve come to accept as a function of life. A commercial entity depends on luring in consumers to a passive state of comfort and excitability over products (think ‘homeyness,’ music, food courts, etc.). But a lasso of amenities can quickly become a noose of aggravation.
So how do we design the sonic landscape of commercial entities in a mutually beneficial way? Companies have sunk more money into this than I could ever imagine (though, perhaps not including the consumers’ benefits).
Twenty Thousand Hertz, an audio podcast about audio, explores these topics in their episode “Muzak,” written and produced by Carolyn McCulley.
You can listen to the episode here:
Make sure to check out Jensen Ooi’s work over at Turntable Thoughts, a blog with “a Malaysian-focus on music worldwide.”
10 years ago, interest in true crime was still somewhat taboo, podcasts seemed like a novelty, and no one had yet seen the full potential the medium had to offer. But things have changed. Now you can listen to some of the most intriguing mysteries to have ever occurred. All of this spurred on by the medium’s high-accessibility, mass free listening, and social media sharing.
The number of true crime podcasts have boomed. Along with a cesspool of edgy cash grabs and ego based hosts, the true crime genre has spawned some of the greatest podcasts of the early years of podcasting. With so much to choose from, Resident Sound has picked our top 5 true crime podcasts worth your time.
The Doorstep Murder
Alistair Wilson was shot to death on his doorstep in Nairn, Scotland on November 28th, 2004. But now questions remain. Who did this, and why? Host Fiona Walker walks us through the fatal night in question connecting a family in mourning, community fears, and a mysterious blue envelope addressed to an unknown “Paul.”
Originally uploaded as a 6 part series in 2018, The Doorstep Murder received a follow up episode in 2020 when Alistair Wilson’s son appealed for more information regarding his father’s case.
You can check out the show over at BBC Scotland or find The Doorstep Murder where ever you listen to podcasts.
As their Apple podcast bio states, “Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” It does what it says on the tin, folks! But it also does so much more.
“I’ve always thought that a real true crime fan listening to Criminal might be a little bit disappointed… …It is a true crime show but it’s also just a show about the human experience,” said Phoebe Judge in an interview with the CBC.
Host and co-creator Phoebe Judge and co-creator Lauren Spohrer craft human stories; stories of antiquarian book thievery, community gambling, and of stopping crime with a concrete Buddha statue. Some episodes more serious (and darker) than others, Criminal is a low-commitment, high-quality podcast with at least a dozen episodes for anybody.
You can check out Criminal at their site, This Is Criminal or find their podcasts where ever you listen to podcasts.
Devil’s Teeth is an ongoing investigative true crime podcast searching for answers in the 1972 death of 16 year-old Jeannette DePalma in Springfield Township, New Jersey. While allegations of occult activity, drug overdosing, and suspiciously missing case files weave in an out, certain episodes are dedicated to some of the area’s tales of tragedy and how they bear similarities to Jeannette DePalma’s case.
While earlier episodes slightly suffer from mixing and varying audio quality it should be considered that this was only a year after the massive success of true crime podcast phenom Serial. 3 years prior, most people I had talked to didn’t know what a podcast was, let alone the appeal of the medium. Likewise, prior to Serial the whole true crime genre was considered taboo; an interest of flippant degenerates and ‘columbiners’ alike. Since then, Devil’s Teeth has drastically improved with each episode being a step up in audio and production quality.
Sometimes the best of investigative true crime podcasts have less to do with the crime and more to do with the story told along the way; the self-insertion of the investigator within the greater narrative. Clues and connections are made, and unfold upon the investigator. Not to invoke an image of Hunter S Thompson or ‘gonzo’ journalism. True crime involves a degree of tact, empathy, and professionalism that many true crime podcasts such as My Favorite Murder can’t be bothered by.
Lost Hills podcast is created and hosted by Dana Goodyear, a staff writer at The New Yorker among many other things. Goodyear explores Malibu in the aftermath of a murder. In 2018, 35 year-old scientist Tristan Beaudette is killed while camping in Malibu Creek State Park. What unfolds is a web of cover-ups, unsolved shootings, and mental illness amongst a cast of Californians at the crossroads of life, loss, and corruption.
You can check out Lost Hills at Pushkin Industries, or find their podcasts where ever you listen to podcasts.
Death In Ice Valley
The unidentified body of the Isdal Woman remains one of the most intriguing mysteries of the Cold War era. Who was this mysterious woman, and what was she doing in the foothills of Bergen, Norway when she died?
Debuting in 2018, NRK host Marit Higraff and BBC host Neil McCarthy guide the listener through a cold and rainy landscape to try to identify the Isdal Woman, her occupation and whereabouts leading up to her death. Death in Ice Valley’s sound design is simultaneously subtle and engulfing. When the hosts are out in the rain, you feel it. When the podcast let’s you back inside, the eerie sense of the mystery and Cold War paranoia sticks with you.
Death in Ice Valley is one of the best true crime and mystery podcasts to ever exist. If you were to listen to all of these, listen to Death in Ice Valley last as you will be spoiled by its high-quality, long arching story. Follow up episodes are made along with updates in the case. This lead to the 2019 episode Turning Detective – Live, in which Higraff and McCarthy comb through listeners’ leads and theories.
You can check out Death in Ice Valley over at the BBC or find their podcasts where ever you listen to podcasts.