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Best new podcasts

The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Dishes, going for a jog, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s officially 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 money woes, comedians not in cars with or without coffee, a badass nurse, and a Supreme Court case.

Culture podcast

Bad With Money

Why should I listen? Power and the money, money and the power, minute after minute, hour after hour.    

How many episodes are there and how long are they? This is the fourth season, so there’s a big back catalog. Each episode is anywhere from half an hour to an hour.

Describe it in one word: Stocked.

In many U.S. households, we’re taught from an early age not to talk about money — whether or not you have it. This cone of secrecy eventually extends to our workplaces, which is great for employers who don’t really want their employees sharing their salary.

The pressure of not having money and the awkwardness of discussing your dire financial straits can feed into each other, compounding feelings of dread like interest. That’s why Bad with Money host Gaby Dunn wants to drag these discussions into the open. In the first episode of season four, Dunn speaks with Suze Orman. Dunn has some issues with the financial guru, who often berates people for fiscal irresponsibility and tells them how simple saving is. Bad with Money takes the opposite approach. Dunn commiserates with listeners. These issues are often complicated, especially for people who are young, poor, and/or members of minority communities.    

Comedy podcast

Best new podcasts

The Last Laugh

Why should I listen? It’s a great introduction to comedians you don’t know much about, or those you think you know a lot about.      

How many episodes are there and how long are they? There are four so far, each about an hour     

Describe it in one word: Droll.

Podcasts and comedians go together like jam and toast. That’s why there are so many comedian-hosted podcasts and so many podcasts where comedians appear as guests. Talking about music, history, murder, or what have you, is a little more fun with some jokes to lighten the mood.

The Last Laugh is a podcast that’s actually about comedians, though. Daily Beast senior writer Matt Wilstein asks funny people about their lives and current events, including personal topics, like joking about family members and the #MeToo movement. Guests so far have included Sarah Silverman, Ron Funches, Ramy Youssef, and Jon Lovett (as in the Pod Save America host, not as in Jon Lovitz of SNL fame).

Culture podcast

Best new podcasts

Rough Translation

Why should I listen? To get some different perspectives.      

How many episodes are there and how long are they? There will be 12 hour-long episodes this season.      

Describe it in one word: Cosmopolitan.

One thing I miss most about Anthony Bourdain is the way he reveled in places that are often only shown in snippets on TV news — usually when something bad happens. It’s hard to feel connected to people who are only discussed as numbers.

Rough Translation does a lot of what Bourdain did. It helps that NPR has correspondents that spend years living in the places they cover. In Season three’s first episode, Jane Arraf — who’s covered Iraq for decades — introduces host Gregory Warner to Suroor al-Husseini, a nurse who’s been leading teams to clear dead bodies from her neighborhood in Mosul at great personal risk to themselves. After forces freed the city from ISIS occupation, its citizens started volunteer projects — things the government was unwilling to do without a bribe. Safwan al-Madani rebuilt pipes so residents could have clean water again. The remainder of the season will look at other rebels, and how that word takes on different meanings, depending on whom you ask.

News podcast

Best new podcasts

In the Dark

Why should I listen? It’s an important reminder that justice isn’t always blind.    

How many episodes are there and how long are they? Season two has 13 episodes, between half an hour and 45 minutes apiece.     

Describe it in one word: Resolute.

In the Dark actually ended its second season in 2018, but host Madeleine Baran has started releasing new episodes. That’s because the case of Curtis Flowers went before the Supreme Court this session.

Flowers is currently on death row, accused of murdering four employees of a Mississippi furniture store in 1996. Five times, Flowers has had this conviction overturned or had a trial result in a hung jury. District Attorney Doug Evans brought charges a sixth time, and Flowers was again found guilty. In some of the trials, Evans — who prosecuted all six — was shown to have excluded potential jurors based on their race, resulting in mistrials. For over a year, Baran talked to people involved in the case, finding new information. Flowers’s lawyers say his other convictions were the result of “false testimony by key law enforcement witnesses and a jailhouse snitch, suppression of material evidence, egregious racial discrimination in jury selection, and reliance on false and discredited forensic evidence.” Now, the Supreme Court will weigh in with its verdict, likely sometime this summer.  

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