Distraction, we wager, is the best way to endure something unpleasant, whether it be that 30 minutes on the treadmill or violently Marie Kondo-ing your earthly possessions. Which is to say: Consider these local podcast picks as you try to stick with those New Year's resolutions. Change might not be pleasant, but with these options, it might at least be tolerable.
Joe Reviews Intersections on the Way to Work | For Weirdo Urbanists
This 12-episode series—think This American Life in cadence, deadpan Always Sunny in tone—documents each intersection on "walking enthusiast" Joe Wozny's hourlong commute. Installments range from Jacobsian readings of our urban landscape to Dr. Seuss-style poems about walking to just him listing all the gross crud he sees piled on the side of the road. He'll muse on Kafka, Heraclitus, and the "Lizard Man" with a forked tongue he sometimes encounters mid-commute. Occasionally, there will be guests, like his wife, who talks about their dog who eats the trash on the side of the road. Of course, this all might sound banal and uninteresting, and that's something Wozny addresses firsthand: "You might say why would I want to listen to one dude talk about something? And that's a good question. I'm not sure why you would. The compulsion to produce is perverse." We say bask in Wozny's perversion. It's hilarious, in a deadpan way, and you'll certainly leave thinking about the streets you travel in new ways.
Space Case | For Pop Culture Obsessives
An offshoot of local beepboop, synth-driven music duo Space Kiddettes, Space Case is a semi-weekly podcast that follows "space-brained delinquents" Trent Lira and Devin Will as they dissect RuPaul's Drag Race, assess the state of rock music, and kvetch about their lives as Space City musicians (among other mysteries). Expect plenty of memes and catchphrases.
The H | For Fans of a Plain Ol' Good Interview
Two seasons in, and we're still fans of The H, Luke Brawner's podcast that devotes an entire episode to one fascinating local. Past guests have included Kam Franklin (of The Suffers fame), George Foreman IV (of...George Foreman lineage), and Matt Toomey (of Boomtown Coffee ownership). Consider now your chance to catch up before the inevitable Season 3.
Looped In | For Those Wondering About that Empty Lot on the Corner...
Maybe your homepage is Swamplot, or maybe you're just curious about who's winning the Houston grocery store wars. Either way, listen in as Houston Chronicle real estate reporter Nancy Sarnoff surveys trends, interviews experts, and drills guests in always-fun "lightning rounds" that inquire about their favorite local hotspots. We recommend starting with Ep. 44, in which former Chron Managing Editor Vernon Loeb rhapsodizes about Montrose's uniquely Houston charm.
Hurricane Season | For the History Buff
Houston, if you weren't aware, gets a lot of hurricanes. This eight-episode Houston Public Media series done in partnership with the Houston Flood Museum looks back at a century of hurricanes—from the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 through Harvey—to show how nature has shaped the "development, policies, and people" across our patch of coastal prairie.
InterBrews | For the Beer Lover
Get it? Like interviews? But about beer? In a crowded world of suds-soaked podcasts, we recommend InterBrews for its survey of the Texas beer landscape, with the most recent episode featuring Houston's very own Platypus Brewing. At about 90 mins per episode, this one does run a bit long, so we give you permission to enjoy it with a beverage or two. You're welcome.