Michelle and Lane both binged the addicting new podcast: S-Town. Plus, old and new music, comedy specials, and Jonathan Groff.

Michelle

1. New Music Fridays: Bleachers, Broken Social Scene, Kendrick Lamar

So this binge is currently happening, but I think it should still be noted. One of the benefits to being as nocturnal and sleepless as I am is being up for the middle of the night/early morning releases of new music and television. Today was one of those days where release after release, you feel like you’re receiving some special gift. New Bleachers (yes yes yes Jack Antonoff with the 80s aesthetic always), new Kendrick Lamar to remind us who really sits on the throne in the hip hop world, and new Broken Social Scene after a seven year hiatus…these are a few of my favorite things. After the stressful and depressing week I had endured, these songs came into my life and provided a form of free therapy for me. You can check out these songs and plenty more on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist here.

2. S-Town Podcast (It’s honestly that good, guys)

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The producers of This American Life and Serial created a new podcast that encompasses all of the best investigating and storytelling those programs possess. In S-Town, Brian Reed investigates the story of a murder in Woodstock, Alabama as provided to him by a man named John B. McLemore who reached out in a series of emails describing the injustices of his town. I won’t say much, because it’s something you should sit through and experience for yourself, but I will say this: John B. McLemore is one of the best characters I’ve ever heard on a radio/podcast program. His storytelling, intelligence, quirkiness, and personality are a lot to take in at first, but completely captivating. Without ever seeing Bibb County, his illustration of his home is so precisely drawn out through his descriptions and cynicism. This podcast on paper seems overdone and typical for NPR, but I promise you it’s unlike anything you’ve heard before. You can hear all seven episodes on iTunes, NPR.com, or at the S-Town podcast site.

3. Netflix Original comedy specials

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As a member of the comedy world, I like to stay up to date with released specials from comedians. Netflix recently slated a new comedy special pretty much every week for this year which means we will all be busy. I’m not sure if it’s the pressure to continuously produce fresh, quality content or the duration of each special, but recently I’ve noticed a decline in some of today’s leading comics’ performances. Dave Chappelle had two specials released after a major hiatus, and they were pretty solid for the most part. However, Amy Schumer’s latest special was pretty atrocious. An attempt at incorporating more of a narrative driven set on top of her usually explicit jokes about sex fell very flat. Jo Koy’s recent special didn’t impress me either, and felt like a repetitive set I’ve seen countless times over the last 6 years. Maybe I’m jaded and numb to comedy since working in it for so long, or maybe I’ve developed too cynical and critical of an eye to judge them fairly. Either way, I hope that with the large release schedule we have an opportunity to see an extensive range of styles, performances, venues, etc. and that means all the good and bad in the mix.

Lane

1. S-Town Podcast (really, y’all)

Michelle said it best: the less you know, the better.

2. Jonathan Groff YouTube videos

My Jonathan Groff binge actually began out of an Andrew Rannells YouTube binge. After last Sunday’s stellar Elijah-centric Girls episode, I started watching all of Andrew’s musical performances on YouTube. Which led me to this Ham4Ham performance, which then led me to a Groff obsession. This man can do no wrong.

3. Eight Days a Week (The Beatles documentary on Hulu)

Someone I follow on Twitter posted that the Eight Days A Week Beatles documentary was a fun, light documentary. I had a major Beatles obsession in middle-high school (I read all the books, saw Across the Universe on my birthday, etc. etc.) and Ron Howard’s documentary rekindled that for me. I re-listened to a bunch of Beatles albums I haven’t heard in awhile. I also dove into the gossip/rumors surrounding the band’s friendships and relationships… just a lot of Beatles last Sunday. The documentary is okay, but listening to The Beatles is always a treat.