The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Dishes, going for a run, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s simply impossible to keep up. There are new ones debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.
Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t put down. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your two into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts about a missing mom, the mighty library, and musical legacies.
True crime podcast
Why should I listen? It’s a bizarre case with no easy answers.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? So far, there are six episodes, each between 45 minutes and an hour.
Describe it in one word: Baffling.
In the 1938 movie The Lady Vanishes, a British train passenger searches up and down for an elderly lady whom she met on the voyage. No one else on the train claims to have seen the woman, and everyone urges her to give up the hunt.
In the podcast, which has the same name but nothing to do with the Alfred Hitchcock film, Sally Leydon is also told to stop looking. Her mother, Marion Barter, has been missing for over 20 years. Many people think the former school teacher disappeared of her own free will, to make a new life. After all, she sold her house and secretly changed her name before leaving on a year-long trip. Hosts Alison Sandy and Bryan Seymour try to help Leydon make sense of the clues, because she’s one of the few people still looking for Barter.
Why should I listen? Libraries are just the best.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? There are five 20-to-25-minute episodes so far.
Describe it in one word: Circulating.
In the TV show The Magicians, the Librarians rule over knowledge and in some cases, magic itself, restricting access to certain books. It’s a dark spin on how Felice Belle felt about librarians as a child: “The librarian is the guardian of all this magic,” she said in the first episode of Borrowed.
Belle hosts the podcast along with librarian Krissa Corbett Cavouras. They both work at Brooklyn Public Library. As any card-carrying member knows, libraries are about more than just books. They often hold classes; lend movies, games, and music; and serve their communities in a variety of ways. (In case you can’t tell, I love libraries, and I love Librarian Twitter.) Borrowed starts at the library, then spins out into stories about the Greenpoint oil spill, drag queen story hour, and how Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Maria.
Why should I listen? You like music’s lesser-known tales.
How many episodes are there and how long are they? Season one has 12 episodes, most around half an hour. Season two has two episodes so far.
Describe it in one word: Obscure.
All my CDs from my teen years are in my parents’ basement, but Spotify and YouTube have given me back the music of my youth. It had been years since I listened to The Descendents’ “Hope 13,” but when I did, I heard the lyrics very differently this time around: “But I’ll have my way / You won’t have a say anyway / ‘Cause I’ve got you / You don’t stand a chance.”
Around the same time that Descendents song came out, Rob Rosenthal was playing in a punk band called The Freeze. Years later, he was mortified when he heard his daughter listening to one of the band’s songs with some cringe-worthy lyrics. In the first episode of Season 2 of Lost Notes, Rosenthal confronts his past and talks to his former bandmates about their legacy. The Beastie Boys famously apologized for their adolescent lyrics for songs like “Girls,” and The Descendents have songs they’ll no longer play. But Rosenthal left The Freeze to go to college, before he had much time to grow and reflect on the music he was collaborating on. Host Jessica Hopper introduces stories of musicians and their legacies for the other episodes in Season 2.
- The 10 scariest horror podcasts
- The best podcasts of 2020
- The 30 best movies on Disney+ right now
- The 35 best movies on HBO right now
- Here’s how to listen to podcasts on Android and iOS