What’s the Frequency?

If weird psychedelic noir is your thing, or you haven’t experienced it before, then put down the bug powder, shoot your wife in the head, and take a hit of the motherload!

Words?

words Words

Words words words words words, words, words, words words. Words words words words words, words words words, words words words words.

Words, words words words words, words? WORDSSSSS!! sdrowsdrowsdrowsdrowsdrow¿

Words. words

Words words owrds words, words srowd drows swrod, sword!

*Insert cigarette commercial*

What’s The Frequency? is like yeast extract, you’ll either love it or hate it. It is dark, it is frightening, and it makes you feel very uncomfortable… very often! It prods a boney finger in your chest asking over and over again, ‘What’s The Frequency?’ What IS the Frequency? WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY?

As I say, you’ll either love it or hate it. For a point of reference, let’s compare it to Twin Peaks. If you are one of the latter then this show is most probably not for you. In fact I would just forget what you’ve seen here and be on your merry way. For those of you that conform to the ‘like’ category, I would ask “how much do you like it?” because to be fair the analogy I’m using here is a little off, because What’s The Frequency? is more akin to Lynch’s first work, ‘Eraserhead’. Twin Peaks was a jolly jaunt through a strange town whilst high on marijuana, where ‘Eraserhead’ is more akin to being trapped in the infinite loop of a nightmarish heroin overdose.

From the start, this show goes straight for the jugular. No setting up of pretense here.

What starts as a struggle between the mob, the police, and a private investigator over a ledger providing proof of police bribery, soon escalates into something darker, more esoteric. A struggle for a power that doesn’t belong in the hands of mere mortals, yet here they are, fighting over said power. As far as the plot goes, that’s all you’re going to get from me. I wouldn’t want to spoil your tumble down this kaleidoscopic rabbit hole, so let’s move on to the style.

Imagine listening to a 1940’s private eye radio drama complete with commercials, as it was back in the day. If you’ve explored these ancient recordings to any degree then you will instantly recognise the format, although the adverts here are wonderfully sarcastic. Now imagine a reel-to-reel recording sent, accidentally of course, to the home of William S. Burroughs, who took a machete to it, mailed it to his future ghost-self, who then reassembled it with a nail gun, and attempted to play it on an mp3 player. The result, a terrifying version of words that pays homage to the radio shows of the era, and the Beat Generation. With a tongue pushed firmly into its cheek, and syringes still dangling from it’s pockmarked arms, it not only serves as a reflection of the era, but gives it a 21st century kick in the…

Most of the time it’s a perfect balance between the delivery of the story and the craziness that punctuates it, but there are a few occasions when the train just can’t seem to get back on the rails to conclude an episode, leaving me to drift off into disappointment. It’s like the darkness has taken over. The handy jolt that brings you back out of the hole to reveal the conclusion in the stalled plot has been forever lost, and you’re left spiraling the plughole until the end of the episode. I must say I’m glad that I waited until the first season was released before listening, because with a month between episodes, I feel I would have given up on it, and to give up on this story would be unforgivable.

WTF? has picked up a slew of awards from the audio drama community, and rightly so. I have been waiting for someone to push the boundaries beyond the expected norms for a while now. Not to necessarily slap the listeners in the face as it were, (although they do), but rather to question the humdrum horror/ sci-fi/ comedy/ sitcom carousel of the indie drama world. I’m not saying the indie drama scene is lacking excitement, there are plenty of amazing shows to be found in these genres, but it feels to me that rather than creating something new and exciting, many new artists out there are just using the tried and tested templates and riding the coattails, rather than striding out on their own path; and if you want to get noticed in this fast growing medium, this is something you are going to need to do.

The acting here is great on all sides, although the casting of Karim Kronfli as Walter Mix seems a little odd to me. A 1940’s PI in LA this voice is not, I would say he’s more suited to a Sherlock Holmes or a Dick Barton than a Sam Spade or Philip Marlow. It’s not enough to take me out of the story, and the dynamic between Troubles and Whit is brilliant as you would expect from these veterans, but it’s just a little niggle, a little itch behind the ear that gets the occasional subconscious scratch.

Kudos to Oliva, Danner, and the rest of the team for this refreshing piece of art. I’m looking forward to more.

If weird psychedelic noir is your thing, or you haven’t experienced it before, then put down the bug powder, shoot your wife in the head, and take a hit of the motherload!

News Desk #2

w/e Sept. 23rd 2018.

This Weeks Playlist

What's The Frequency?

With the first season of What’s the Frequency? coming to a close last week I decided it was time to venture down this rabbit hole. I listened to episode one back last year when it was first released, and quickly realized this wasn’t going to be your average thoroughfare. I was hooked! But with episodes being released once a month I decided to sit back and wait for season 1 to end, and then go on a binge. What a wait! And what a show! Review coming soon. If I can just find the words… the words… the… words…

1994 podcast

1994 is the brand new from Thoreau Smiley the creator of Attention Hellmart Shoppers! As expected this is a laugh a minute road trip/ coming-of-age extravaganza that doesn’t disappoint. I highly recommend subbing to this show! Again as above, we bump into James Oliva. At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if he appears in our next pod.

Serial podcast

Serial season three. So yes it’s back and I listened… Finally! Hailing from England I had been up waiting, like all day, and then two turn up at the same time. So that’s what you guys call justice?! Wow! Words just fail me. Impartiality much? Rather than just one off reports and stories, I hope that this season will, as it progresses, shine a bright light on the system and somehow kick start a reformation. Though I’m not holding my breath ‘Merica.

I’ve not really been interested in the docurama genre, but I must admit I enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to more. Now subscribed and deciding to explore the genre a little more. I found this little listicle over at Discover Pods that I thought might be of interest. While we wait for episode 3, What are your favorite shows? Let me know down below.


In The News

So the big movers and shakers of the industry are still at it, getting rid of unwanted podcast production that is. Last week it was Panoply, this week it’s Buzzfeed. On Wednesday they announced they were cutting back to focus on video.

This week Apple released a ‘best practice’ toolkit for marketing your podcast, which to be perfectly honest is not really that helpful to anyone but the greenest of the green. All it gives is a handful of info bites of things to consider such as creating a brief, and making sure your website is designed for mobile. All important things of course but where is the follow up content? Nothing… zero… zip… well there are a couple of links to completely unrelated shows The Nod and Anna Faris Is Unqualified.

In Other news

Podtrac release the top 20 podcasts in the US for August. NYT The Daily, This American Life and Joe Rogan have the top three slots.

Hollywood Seeking Foothold in Podcast Industry

EU approves controversial Copyright Directive, including internet ‘link tax’ and ‘upload filter’

From Podcast To Broadcast–New Podetize Platform Makes It Easy To Shine


Articles

Who Killed Julie?

This weekend sees the release of Who Killed Julie? (Sunday 23rd.) This docudrama style show differs from the likes of Serial in one small way. It’s contemporary fiction. I had the opportunity last week to listen to the entire series and you can read what I thought about it here.


Further Reading

Want to join a Podcast Brunch Club? It’s like a book club but for podcasts.

Earbuds Podcast Collective Halloween Spooks suggested playlist.

Do you write blog posts about podcasting? Maybe you’re a podcaster that would like to promote your latest blog post/ newsletter/ transcript for the latest episode. Well here at Podern Times we would love to share your work and help grow your audience. Just email me a link.


If you are enjoying our content then please consider supporting it with a coffee, (it will stop me falling asleep at the keyboard at least). Click the image below to make a donation now.

Ko-Fi donation link