Well, blind-sided I am again with the holiday season, and as I scamper to get some great Christmas stories in the line-up, I figured I’d take the time to highlight some of my favorite listening of this past year, as well as the stuff that’s a sure-win for any audio fan on your list. And hey, even if they don’t love audio yet, give them some love! They may turn into fans yet…
The first place to start with is ZBS. While it’s a damn shame that Lodestone shut down, ZBS is almost undebatably the most diverse and interesting contemporary audio theater catalog out there. You of course have the marvelous work of Tom Lopez aka Meatball Fulton, with such classic series as Jack Flanders and Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe and searing new work by Crazy Dog Audio Theatre and Great Northern Audio Theatre.
I just recently finished the two classics Moon over Morocco and The Fourth Tower of Inverness, which are as well deserving of canonical audio theater status as the works of Orson Welles, Norman Corwin and scratchy recordings of Lights Out and The Shadow. And speaking of the classics, The 60 Greatest Old-Time Radio Shows of the 20th Century selected by Walter Cronkite as recommended by Tony Palermo, is as good an introduction to what OTR is about than any your likely to find (and once you’re hooked, check out Noirdame.com for some really juicy stuff).
Back-tracking to ZBS for a moment, I was very exciting to see that they have Crazy Dog’s latest, The Stuff of Myth and The Salmon of Black Pool. I recently had the chance to hear both care of Roger Gregg himself and was completely blown away, especially with the latter… just don’t listen to them too quickly and spoil your chance to hear them on this show!
Now a great stocking stuffer is a subscription to Audiofile Magazine, produced locally in Portland, Maine and amazingly supportive of audio drama arts, especially the work of William Dufris (who has several great audio horror collections).
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the work of Dry Smoke and Whispers, who you’ve heard several times on the show. Their fantastic stories take the gritty splendor of the detective story and sprawl it across a galactic empire both exotic and familiar. Treat your fantasy or sci-fi junky with one of their beautifully packaged CD collections and prepare yourself for a thank you card that comes with chocolate.
Another gift that might break some medium boundaries is the BBC’s fine adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. While purists will still have their stones to throw, it’s a heck of a lot truer to the text than that Peter Jackson thing and has some really great “visual” moments… making it the perfect gift for someone who’s yet to learn how to use their ears! In general, the BBC has more audio drama collections to purchase than I know where to start with and certainly has got something for anyone.
Also take a listen to Blackstone Audiobooks, who have impeccably fine taste and produce the likes of Yuri Rasovsky — famous for his great adaptations of classic texts. Quicksilver, I’d love to throw you guys a link to follow up this claim, but I believe they’re yet to make it on the web!
As a closing note, don’t forget the profound gift that is an audio player (and far be it from me to get into comparing audio players and picking out ear buds), especially to someone who knows how to use their iPodder… and why’s that?
- Decoder Ring Theatre
- Dick Dynamo
- Dream Realm Enterprises
- Darker Projects
- Doug Bost
- Central Audio Theatre
- The Wireless Theatre Company
- Eye of the Storm
- Second Shift
- Wander Radio
- Shadow Falls
- Icebox Radio Theater
- and of course… Radio Drama Revival
- Not to mention the dozen or so I’ve inevitably forgotten… to whom I apologize and will add on this never ending list of diverse and compelling audio producers, experienced and newcomers alike, who make this whole internet thing so exciting for us audiophiles
Hopefully this is enough to get you started!? And hey, pick up a thing or two for me while you’re at it…