It’s that time of year again. Not a specific time I’ve set up beforehand (like I probably should) but, as the title suggests, that time of year where I’ve been finding tons of cool new stuff to share with all of you!
So without further ado and in no particular order, let’s go!
I first heard about Chet Baker probably five years or more ago when I was trying to get into jazz. It’s a tricky genre because it can veer from amazing to obnoxious on a dime for me, and in the slew of recommendations, I think poor Chet got lost in the shuffle. In trying to get back into jazz (again), I decided to look him up again, and man, am I glad I did.
The perfect mesh of boyish optimism, charm, and melancholy for me, I find him intensely romantic (in the same way I find bachelor detectives and cozy sweaters and fall romantic, not in the usual sense). Extra bonus, look at the album cover for this delightfully passive-aggressive love song. Magical.
“Hey girl, wanna come hang out with my dope sweater in my crazy chair? My trumpet can come too.” Love it.
Edict Zero – FIS
My favorite recommendation for this round, Edict Zero – FIS is a sci-fi audio drama, and it is AMAZING. For one thing, the production quality is off the charts. Secondly, the writing itself is incredible. The world is rich and complicated with details paced at just the right speed, the characters are charming, deep and diverse, and the exposition (one of the easiest downfalls for audio dramas) is handled beautifully.
The story follows a team of five federal agents as they seek to unravel the mystery behind an explosion at a nightclub on New Year’s Eve, 2415. According to their site: “The story is cyberpunk, being a mix of science fiction, law enforcement procedural, crime, suspense/mystery, and dark fantasy. Listeners have made comparisons to Bladerunner, The X Files, Fringe, Lexx, The Prisoner, Twin Peaks, Millenium, The Matrix, Tron, and a diversity of shows.”
Naturally, it’s the kind of thing I would adore, and I do.
As they’ll warn you at the start, there are some violence/language issues to be aware of if that’s a trigger for you, but if you really want to sink your teeth into something meaty, smart, and beautifully crafted, I can’t recommend this enough (oh that the production schedule was more reliable/that they had a larger backlog for me to devour).
Extra bonus: Special Agent Nick Garrett, who is rapidly becoming one of my all-time favorite characters across well, any form of media.
You can find them on iTunes or here: https://edictzero.wordpress.com/
We are So Bad at Adventuring
In discovering my new love for audio dramas, I also managed to stumble across this quirky one following the adventures of Thornwick and Bob, a would-be wizard and a spearman determined to find their way to The Road in order to reach the Big Battle (at least in season 1).
A bit of a guilty pleasure given how deplorable the main characters can be, if it weren’t so witty I probably wouldn’t have listened as far as I have, but it is a fun one to work to. The second season has been a little shaky so far in some of the back and forth development of the characters and it does fall into the exposition through straight up explaining things trap (a fact of which they’re aware and make fun of at least), but it’s still a fun show. You can find more about it at http://www.terribleadventurers.com/.
Audio drama runner-ups
Because I usually binge find things that I enjoy, I’ve also scrounged up the following audio drama podcasts.
It’s About Time is a podcast about Charlie and Steve, two normal guys who get hired at a time travel agency, hijinks sure to ensue. It’s light, charming and clever, and the theme song (a longer version available on the first episode) is so catchy and fun, it cheers me up whenever I hear it.
Deadly Manners, a Clue-style podcast about a dinner party gone horribly wrong features some big name talent such as Lavar Burton and Kristen Bell and has production quality to match. Though it hasn’t gotten very far yet, what it does have so far is great, Olivia and the Fortune Teller being my favorite.
The Once and Future Nerd is a podcast about three average high schoolers who get magically transported to your classic high fantasy world. I haven’t listened to more than a couple episodes, but have liked what I’ve heard thus far. There is a fair amount of bad language in it, so if that’s not your jam, I would skip this one (it’s the main reason I haven’t listened to more myself), but the narrator has a Monty-Pythonesque wit that I really enjoy.
We’re Alive is a zombie apocalypse survival podcast with great production quality and a thus far enjoyable story. I’m not crazy for zombie stories most of the time (surprise!), which has probably kept me from listening to more, but what I have heard has been of really high quality with distinct characters and some nice tension. They also handle exposition well and have a backlog that will be sure to keep me satiated for quite some time.
The Girl from the Other Side
This one is a manga series by Nagabe (art credit for below as well). A dark fairy tale along the lines of Over the Garden Wall, the story follows a little girl abandoned in the woods and her “cursed” Teacher. The girl, Shiva, is the epitome of innocence, and the tenderness of Teacher could melt a robot’s heart. First suggested to me on Amazon, I was delighted to find that three of the books were available so far, of which I have read two. Though some of the imagery is probably a little creepy, the story and heart of the series is so sweet I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. The art style is unique and beautifully inked (though I will admit sometimes it’s a little hard to distinguish because of how much black is used with Teacher and the other cursed beings that crop up). If you like that mix of eerie and sweet, you’ll love this.
Anyway, that’s probably enough for recommendations for now. I’m sure if I find more I’ll let you know.
What about you? Anything you’re dying to tell the world about lately? It doesn’t have to be podcasts or books. Let me know in the comments below!