“A Woe That Is Madness”
The Synodus Horrenda was a curious historical event wherein a pope who had been dead for seven months was exhumed so that his corpse could stand trial. It is also the namesake for a macabre history podcast whose erudite and nameless host explores the many ways that death has shaped society. The podcast is divided into multi-episode arcs linked around themes such as mass hysteria or the deaths of tyrants, with this latest tale of woe kicking off a series on shipwrecks. Our mysterious narrator condenses decades of French revolutions and restorations to explain why a singularly unqualified officer was put in charge of the frigate Medusa, which sank off the coast of Africa in 1816. In the immediate aftermath, 157 crewmembers were abandoned by the upper-class officers and subjected to two weeks of hell on a half-sunk raft. Under the baking African sun, that raft would see riots, murder, sickness, and cannibalism whittle down the survivors until only 15 men were eventually rescued. All of this is told in the narrator’s detached yet warmly reassuring voice, leaving you almost comforted by the knowledge that nothing good has ever happened or will ever happen. [Anthony D Herrera]
Thinner with Josh Ruben
From horror/genre news stalwart Fangoria comes The KingCast, hosted by longtime film bloggers and lifetime Stephen King fans Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler. Although a number of King-centric podcasts already dot the audio landscape, few have the access to the sort of industry professionals KingCast is able to land, such as iconic director Mick Garris and actor Logan Marshall-Green, star of 2015’s The Invitation. This time around, Vespe and Wampler are joined by actor/director Josh Ruben, who recently garnered attention for both his feature-length directorial debut and his star turn in 2020’s Scare Me. Although Ruben came into his Stephen King fandom a bit later than some, he has a lot to add to a discussion of the 1996 big-screen adaption of Thinner and the 1984 novel upon which it was based. Additional highlights include details of Ruben’s new feature, Werewolves Within, great movie monsters, and how best to portray werewolves on screen. [Jose Nateras]
The What?! Hip Hop Questions, Legends And Lists
Who’s the Current Queen of Rap?
This hip-hop podcast is only one episode old and it already has the feel of a boisterous bull session that’s been streaming on the internet for ages. The show’s hosts—Mos Def soundalike Mouse Jones (Quarantine Nightly) and radio DJ Nyla Symone—come out the gate swinging, spending this inaugural ep discussing who’s hitting the hardest in the suddenly crowded female rap arena. The usual, platinum-selling suspects—Nicki, Cardi, Megan—are mentioned, along with others like current XXL Freshman Classmates Flo Milli and Coi Leray (who Symone has DJed for on the road). They also debate whether or not Lizzo and Doja Cat are suitable candidates since they can also be classified as singers. Later on, they bring in veteran rap journalist and author Kim Osorio, who basically reminds everyone that the rap biz is still a toxic, man-made clusterfuck, and instead of beefing and trying to out-twerk each other, female rappers should be uplifting one another more often. [Craig D. Lindsey]