The Blerd Radio Podcast (entertainment)

After a bit of a hiatus, Thomas and Mike are back with a new episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. This one backtracks slightly from Episode 17, and the twosome discuss the #2 R&B hits of 1984. What are those songs, you ask?

-What's Love Got To Do With It? by Tina Turner

-Somebody Else's Guy by Jocelyn Brown

-Let The Music Play by Shannon

-Automatic by The Pointer Sisters

-You, Me And He by Mtume

-Freakshow On The Dance Floor by The Bar-Kays

-Don't Look Any Further by Dennis Edwards & Siedah Garrett

-The Last Time I Made Love by Joyce Kennedy & Jeffrey Osborne

In addition to these songs, Thomas and Mike discuss quite a few ancillary details about the artists who performed them; including Angela Bassett's Oscar-nominated performance as Tina Turner, The Bar-Kays' extreme adaptability to whatever sound was popular in Black music at the time, the incredibly creepy "Don't Look Any Further" video, "Let The Music Play" leading the freestyle music vanguard, the tangential connection Morrissey and George Michael have to the movie "Breakin'" and so much more.

We also plug Thomas's amazing writing and Mike's JCC radio show, on which you can hear the full versions of a lot of the songs discussed in this podcast. Enjoy! 

Direct download: 84_Number_Twos.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:43am EDT

We have now crossed into the second half of the 1980s! The 17th episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast (which does a deep dive into every song that hit Number One on Billboard's R&B singles chart during the 1980s) finds Mike Joseph and Thomas Inskeep discussing two chart-topping songs by New Edition ("Cool It Now" and "Mr. Telephone Man), as well as smash hits by Chaka Khan, Eugene Wilde, Midnight Star, and Ashford & Simpson. As usual, there are also a million side tracks and detours (including discussions about Ray Parker Jr.'s blatant plagiarism, the two OTHER cover versions of "I Feel For You" and the queerness of Nick Ashford), but it all ties together! Thanks for listening!

Direct download: JCC18.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:40am EDT

The Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast is back after a 6 week siesta! Join Mike Joseph (me) and Thomas Inskeep as they chat about every single to hit #1 on Billboard's R&B charts in the 1980s.

This episode contains a double dose of Prince, as we discuss his first two chart-toppers of the decade, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy". Of course, both songs come from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack to the film "Purple Rain", and as appropriate for Oscar season, we go deep on the 1985 ceremony.

The 1985 Oscars nominated an additional THREE songs featured in this podcast, including Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It For The Boy", Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters", and the eventual winner, Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You". The other two #1s featured in this podcast-that have no movie tie-ins whatsoever-are O'Bryan's "Lovelite" and Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)"

As is common with the JCC podcast, sidebars abound. Among the other topics covered: Thomas's love for Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You", the defense of Stevie Wonder's post-"Woman In Red" work, Don Cornelius's considerable influence in the music industry, the awesome 2-CD hits package on Deniece Williams that BBR Records recently released, and so much more.

 

Direct download: JCC_Feb_17.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 11:46pm EDT

It's a brand new episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast, in which Mike Joseph and Thomas Inskeep talk about the #1 R&B singles of the '80s five at a time. The latest episode finds us at the beginning of 1984, discussing these five songs:

"Encore" by Cheryl Lynn

"Somebody's Watching Me" by Michael Jackson Rockwell

"She's Strange" by Cameo

"Hello" by Lionel Richie

"Don't Waste Your Time" by Yarbrough & Peoples

-Thomas's karaoke favorites, and his karaoke philosophy (which is quite wise!)
-A comparison of "Encore" and the Cheryl Lynn song even white people everyone knows.
-"Encore" was the first R&B chart topper for Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, who we'll go on to discuss about 5,000,000 times over the course of the rest of this series.
-When bad fortune turns into good fortune: Prince fired Jimmy & Terry from The Time after a snow storm in Atlanta (which was probably, like, an inch), but then they became JIMMY JAM AND TERRY LEWIS. This turns into a meteorology lesson. It also turns into a brief history of "The Gong Show".
-We jump forward into the '90s for a minute and compare/contrast the soundtracks to Boomerang (helmed by L.A. Reid & Babyface) and Mo' Money (helmed by Jam & Lewis).
-Yep, there's another "Michael Jackson Hair On Fire" joke. Sorry.
-We connect Rockwell, Diana Ross, and LMFAO by the power of Berry Gordy's penis.
-Who is THIS (alligator) woman?
-Larry Blackmon, and "queer" vs. "gay".
-Sidebar: Black Ivory is awesome. Check out this and this for proof.
-There's a shout out to Cameo's dearly departed Wayne Cooper.
-Brenda Richie. So complicated.
-What is "super soft adult contemporary"?
-Of course, there has to be an in-depth discussion of the "Hello" video.
-The unattractiveness of Yarbrough & Peoples.
-No wonder they got a future gangsta rapper/actor to appear in the video.

We also shout out the Jheri Curl Chronicles radio show, which you can stream live on Wednesdays at 10PM EST on Radio Free Brooklyn. You can find archived episodes on Mixcloud. Of course, you can also follow the JCC crew on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: JCC15.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 1:27pm EDT

Guess what, listeners? It's time for another Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. In this episode, Thomas and I take a little break to discuss the #2 R&B singles of 1983! 11 songs are discussed, so we pack a lot into a little over an hour. Here are the songs that peaked at the penultimate position on Billboard's Top Soul Singles chart in 1983.

Evelyn King "Betcha She Don't Love You"


The S.O.S. Band "Just Be Good To Me"

Midnight Star "Freak-a-Zoid"

Klique "Stop Doggin' Me Around"


Sonny Charles "Put It In A Magazine"


Champaign "Try Again"


Lionel Richie "You Are"


Jennifer Holiday "I Am Love"


Irene Cara "Flashdance...What A Feeling"


DeBarge "I Like It"


Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson "Say, Say, Say"


Here's how we'll fill in the blanks on these singles (and so much more!):
-What the hell is Evelyn King wearing while performing "Betcha She Don't Love You" on Soul Train?
-The S.O.S. Band's career revival, courtesy of upcoming producers (and former members of The Time) Jimmy "Jam" Harris III and Terry Lewis.
-An ongoing theme this episode of strange/odd/real talk about relationships.
-Beats International's slammin' mash-up of "Just Be Good To Me" and "The Guns Of Brixton" by The Clash.
-Richard X and Kelis's remake of S.O.S.'s "The Finest" AND his mash-up of Whitney Houston and Kraftwerk.
-How did "No Parking On The Dance Floor", Midnight Star's best known song, not even crack the top forty on Billboard's Soul Singles chart upon release?
-Think it's coincidence that Atlantic Starr released a song called "Freak-A Ristic" around the same time as "Freak-A-Zoid"? Why they hating?
-Klique's affinity for Jackie Wilson covers.
-Who the hell is Sonny Charles, and how did he have a Number Two record with a song that neither of us remembers?
-Champaign's career as the Air Supply of the R&B charts (this is not a diss) and their singer Pauli Carman's amazing Jheri Curl.

 

-Other songs that fall into the easy listening soul category include The Pointer Sisters' "Slow Hand", which was remade into a country smash by Conway Twitty (who, according to Thomas, was the Teddy Pendergrass of country music).
-Lionel Richie's upcoming tour, with opener (it feels weird for me to even type this) Mariah Carey.
-Jennifer Holiday having the soul sucked out of her on "I Am Love".
-The Flashdance Soundtrack, and the hot bear-ness of Michael Sembello.
-Why the cover of Sembello's debut album makes us wonder if there really is a chance for either of us to go back in time and boink him.


-Thomas doesn't like either of Irene Cara's soundtrack smashes, but he does like this song.
-More gushing over DeBarge, and the fact that El does NOT sing lead on their first hit.
-Clearly the better of the three Jackson/McCartney duets.

Comments and questions are always welcome. Never hesitate to drop us a line, and thank you for listening!!

Direct download: JCC83No2s.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles Podcast (Episode 13)

Hello listeners! Welcome to the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast, in which Thomas Inskeep and I discuss every song to hit #1 on the R&B chart during the 1980s in bite-size installments of five songs each.

We were knee deep in 1983 when we concluded the last show, and in this episode, we close out the year and jump into 1984. It's a legendary list of songs! Here's what we discuss:

"Ain't Nobody" by Rufus and Chaka Khan

"All Night Long (All Night)" by Lionel Richie

"Time Will Reveal" by DeBarge

"Joanna" by Kool & The Gang

"If Only You Knew" by Patti La Belle

 

-Compare Chaka's career to that of art-house actress Tilda Swinton (?)


-Discuss "Ain't Nobody" songwriter David "Hawk" Wolinski almost reneging on his offer to give the song to Rufus and instead submit it to the King of Pop.


-Split opinion on two Mary J. Blige Chaka Khan covers.


-Look back at the 1984 Grammy Album Of The Year race, in which every nominated album turned out to be a classic (arguably the only time that has ever happened.)


-Wonder whether we should forgive Lionel for his daughter Nicole.


-Shut the door on whether that breakdown in "All Night Long" is Jamaican or even pidgin Jamaican.


-Give props to Robert Christgau (the Dean of American rock critics) and his assessment of DeBarge's In A Special Way album.


-Marvel at the fact that El DeBarge sounds virtually the same (and also looks damn good) despite years of substance abuse.


-Juxtapose the "milquetoast" quality of "Joanna" to the relatively unique flavor of the other four songs discussed (hey, even "All Night Long" was interesting, at least.)


-Cheer on Patti's first solo #1 single, released at a time when she didn't even have a recording contract.

 

-Mention that "If Only You Knew" has one of her most beautifully understated vocals...

...and so much more.

Thanks for listening, and we hope you enjoy the show!!

Direct download: JCC833.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:20am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Ep. 12)

Me and Thomas are back on the scene, bringing you a fresh episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast.

This episode finds us knee-deep in 1983, a year chock full of R&B goodness. The 5 songs we cover in this show are:

Save The Overtime (For Me) by Gladys Knight & The Pips
Juicy Fruit by Mtume
She Works Hard For The Money by Donna Summer
Get It Right by Aretha Franklin
Cold Blooded by Rick James

In between, we cover...

Gladys Knight & The Pips' fall from their mid '70s heyday, including a separation that briefly saw them recording as two separate entities.

The smooth production of the SOLAR Records camp; members of whom contributed to Gladys & The Pips' #1 success. The album Visions, which "Overtime" appeared on, also marked one of the first records to feature a Jam & Lewis  credit.

Did you know that Gladys Knight & The Pips were the first act to record "Wind Beneath My Wings"?

"Juicy Fruit"'s risque (if you read between the double entendres) lyrics and how the Mtume camp manages to corral The System, Bernie Worrell, Miles Davis, Roberta Flack, Madonna and The Notorious B.I.G.

Mtume singer Tawatha's occasional side hustle as a background diva for The Dave Matthews Band.

Donna Summer's extreme versatility, which one does not always consider when discussing The Queen of Disco. Let it be known, though, that Donna was capable of singing new waveSpringsteen songs, standards and even adapting opera.

The Aretha & Luther Vandross disaster of '83; the diva fight to end all diva fights.

Rick James adapting to minimalist synth-funk with "Cold Blooded".

For the second time, we point you guys to the amazingness of the Rick/Smokey Robinson duet "Ebony Eyes"...and we again contemplate how much cocaine was involved in the recording of this song.

There's so much more...but you have to listen. Check us out in the player below, or you can download this to your computer to listen at your leisure. Our friends at LibSyn also have the show available for streaming, or you can subscribe to us on iTunes. So many choices!

Direct download: JCC832.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:30am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016: Episode 13

From Metallica to Miles, we are covering all of the musical bases on Blerd Radio, the podcast that (usually) discusses the history and legacy of classic albums.

In this episode, Big Money Mike JosephDr. Z and Michael Parr hop in the wayback machine and land in 1970, when Miles Davis unleashed Bitches Brew upon an unsuspecting public.


While jazz has always been (and still is, to an extent) a fairly insular musical world, Miles looked to the outside for influence, incurring the occasional wrath of purists, but also gaining cred in the rock and funk worlds. Although when you break Bitches Brew down to brass tacks, it is still very much a jazz album, it can't be argued that the sounds of acts like Jimi Hendrix and Sly & The Family Stone were beginning to seep into Mr. Davis's musical vocabulary (thanks, at least in part, to the presence of Miles' muse and eventual wife, Betty Mabry Davis).

The panel acknowledges that Bitches Brew is not your typical album (no matter what genre you classify it is) and that it was groundbreaking for its time. The dense layers of sound provided by Miles, producer Teo Macero, and a sea of musicians at peak capabilities set the stage for what would later become known as jazz fusion. Miles may have sat out a solid chunk of the '70s, but the musicians who played on Brew went on to define the sound of rock and pop-influenced jazz for the next decade (via Weather Report, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, etc.)

This conversation discusses the album's unique recording and its iconic legacy, as well as the irascible main artist himself (who we posit is one of, if not the most important musician of the 20th century). We also attempt to define the sound of "rock and roll" in the months and years leading up to Bitches Brew's release, scratch our heads at the fact that several songs from the album were edited down for single release, and shout out the recent Miles biopic starring Don Cheadle as well as Dogfish Head's beer tribute to this classic album.

 

Direct download: Miles.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:21am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016 | Episode 12

Turn the volume up to 11 and check out the latest episode of the Blerd Radio podcast. In this installment, Dr. ZMichael Parr and Big Money are discussing Metallica's magnum opus, their self-titled 1991 album.

That album (otherwise known as The Black Album-not to be confused with Prince's Black Album...or Jay Z's Black Album..or The Beatles' White Album...or Jamal Lyon's Black & White Album) is a behemoth of the modern era. Over 17 million copies sold, winner of multiple American Music Awards and Grammys, and still in the top 100 25 years after its release. Metal "purists" these days may scoff at the album's quality, but the proof is in Metallica's continued success.

The album contributed to the vanquishing of the "hair metal" era, outlasted the grunge era, and inspired just about every hard rock subgenre to follow. The podcast discusses the influence of notorious taskmaster producer Bob Rock, the power dynamic of lead singer/guitarist James Hatfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, and the slight refinement of the sound Metallica put together over their four previous albums. Also discussed: everything the quartet has released in Metallica's wake, a few interesting observations regarding fellow thrash metal legends Megadeth (I'm gonna assume you all are aware of Dave Mustaine's connection to Metallica) and whether the black album truly is the crown jewel in Metallica's catalog.

Direct download: Metallica.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 6:53am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles Podcast (Episode 11)

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for another episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast, in which Thomas Inskeep and Mike Joseph listen to and discuss the songs that hit #1 on Billboard Magazine's Hot Black/R&B/Soul Singles chart during the '80s, five at a time.

Uh...make that six at a time. We've deviated from the 5 songs format quite a bit over the last several episodes (which you can listen to if you click this link), and in this particular installment, we do six songs to get all of our Thriller conversation out of the way. Why? Because three of the first six songs to top the R&B charts in 1983 came from Michael Jackson's behemoth LP. The six tracks we discuss, in order, are...

"The Girl Is Mine" by MJ & Paul McCartney
"Outstanding" by The Gap Band
"Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson
"Atomic Dog" by George Clinton
"Candy Girl" by New Edition
and
"Beat It" by...you get the picture.

We get the three Michael songs out of the way consecutively, so I guess you could say this is the first episode in which we don't totally go in sequential order. And now for some show notes...

-Clearly, 1983 belonged to Michael Jackson. For goodness' sakes, the man got a BEATLE to top the R&B chart. Stevie couldn't even do that!

-Someone might actually have a soft spot for will.i.am's McCartney-less 2008 remix of "The Girl Is Mine".

-The yacht rock conversation rears its head again; not only due to McCartney's involvement, but because the members of Toto are all over "The Girl Is Mine" and the rest of Thriller, for that matter. Our friends over at the Beyond Yacht Rock podcast recently dedicated an entire episode to "yacht soul", and they also discuss Toto's connection to the Quincy Jones/Jackson family.

-If we're talking about Michael Jackson and Toto, a conversation about the Grammy Awards can't be far behind. Thomas sidebars into a discussion about the NARAS voting policy, which used to allow for singles and albums to be nominated in the same category (and doesn't anymore).

-We take a few minutes to pay tribute to the great Rod Temperton, who contributed mightily to Thriller and who sadly passed away about a week before this episode was recorded.

-Memories of Motown 25 and Michael inventing introducing the Moonwalk to Middle America.

-Shout out to Jeffrey Daniel of Shalamar.

-"Beat It" might have been the hardest rocking track to chart #1 R&B, a tribute to Michael Jackson's momentum at that time. MJ was such a hot commodity at that point that Eddie Van Halen (who infamously played the guitar solo on "Beat It") found himself with an R&B chart single barely a year after playing on Michael's session.

-We could do an entire podcast listing songs that have sampled The Gap Band's "Outstanding", and this segment cements the Wilson Brothers as the entity we've discussed the most in the first several episodes of this series.

-We could also do an entire podcast listing songs that have sampled George Clinton's "Atomic Dog", which was not only the P-Funk mastermind's sole solo #1 hit, but also his only R&B Top Ten as a solo artist.

-Going long on Clinton, the late '70s reign of Parliament/Funkadelic and all of Clinton's satellite projects are discussed. As is the fact that the first charted recording of a former Miss America (and future multi-media megastar) named Vanessa Williams came as the result of a Clinton session.

-"Candy Girl" introduces Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike and Ralph to the world and also becomes the first R&B chart-topper to feature a rap segment.

-If it wasn't for New Edition, there wouldn't be a New Kids On The Block. As much as NKOTB gets derided, they do have an R&B chart presence as well, although some of us would rather forget this golden moment with rappers Nice and Smooth.

-Thomas saw New Edition live a few years ago, and he has a story to tell about it.

-Plugs for the Jheri Curl Chronicles Facebook page (brand new!) and the upcoming Jheri Curl Chronicles radio show on Radio Free Brooklyn, premiering November 16th at 10 PM EDT!

(We also acknowledge that a) there are some audio fidelity issues with this podcast that will be fixed next time around and b) this episode runs slightly longer than usual. We appreciate you listening!)

Oh right! The opening and closing tracks in this episode are, respectively: "I.O.U." by Freeez, and "Block Party" by Stacy Lattisaw with Johnny Gill. 

 

Direct download: JCC11.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

The Blerd Radio Podcast 2016 | Episode 11

Get your big suit on and join me, Dr. Z and Michael Parr for the latest episode of the Blerd Radio podcast. In this installment, the three of us are talking about 1983's Speaking In Tongues, the most commercially successful studio album by new wave legends Talking Heads. A million-seller, Tongues was an MTV favorite that spawned the quartet's only top ten pop single, "Burning Down The House". It also spawned a host of warmly remembered songs that have become classics in the ensuing decades; the funky "Girlfriend Is Better", the shuffling groove of "Slippery People", and the tender "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)".

This podcast acknowledges the relatively commercial bent of Speaking In Tongues (relative to Talking Heads' earlier work) and explores how the album's sound combined with the band's visual presentation to ensure success. We also talk about the Talking Heads-related side project Tom Tom Club (featuring band members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth), and how that album's unexpected success paved the way for Tongues. We shout out P-Funk keyboard legend, the recently deceased Bernie Worrell (who played a huge role in Tongues), and explore the album's foray into funk, further assisted by LaBelle's Nona Hendryx and The Brothers Johnson's Alex Weir. Props are given to the Staple Singers (who covered "Slippery People), Dave Matthews Band (who have covered "Burning Down The House" live on several occasions), and a ton of artists who have covered "This Must Be The Place", a song that deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame of love songs.

If you'd like to enjoy this and other podcasts in the Blerd Radio family, you can listen in the player below. You may also stream the podcast on Liberated Syndication, or download the audio directly to your device. Of course, we'd love it if you checked us out on iTunes and subscribed! No matter how you decide to listen, we hope you keep coming back for more!!

 

Direct download: Speaking_IN_Tongues.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:51am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 10)

Greetings listeners! Me and Thomas Inskeep are back with the 10th episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. Before we get started with this new episode, what say you backtrack and listen to the series' other episodes, which you can find here and here.

While most of our episodes focus on songs that hit #1 on Billboard Magazine's Hot R&B Singles chart in the '80s, this is one of those "very special" episodes focusing on the #2 singles of 1982. We've got nine tasty treats for you this episode, so we run just a tad longer than usual. But I can virtually guarantee that you'll enjoy every second!

Here are the nine songs covered in this latest episode:

"Truly" by Lionel Richie

"Genius of Love" by Tom Tom Club

"You Dropped A Bomb On Me" by The Gap Band

"Mirror, Mirror" by Diana Ross

"Do I Do" by Stevie Wonder

"The Other Woman" by Ray Parker Jr.

"Mama Used To Say" by Junior

"Circles" by Atlantic Starr

and "777-9311" by Prince The Time

Along the way, we discuss:

-How schmaltzy is too schmaltzy, even for Lionel Richie? And why might Laura Branigan have harbored a grudge against Lionel?

-Did Tom Tom Club's success take their original band, Talking Heads, to the proverbial "next level" commercially?

-Diana Ross's long, LONG string of campy videos, which also includes thisthis, and ESPECIALLY THIS.

-"Mirror Mirror"'s co-writer, Michael Sembello, who not only fit perfectly in with the "bear" archetype, but was no stranger to camp himself.

Julio Iglesias & Diana Ross "All Of You" single cover-

This single cover. Discuss.

-Is it me, or does "The Other Woman" give you the "Jessie's Girl" feels? (not discussed in the podcast: do you think Michael Jackson and John Landis saw this video before they made "Thriller" or nah?)

-Ray's smoldering sex appeal and general caddishness.

-British soul arrives in the '80s courtesy of Junior, although it really didn't. Billy Ocean hit the Top 5 with this classic first. Oops.

-Atlantic Starr's revolving door of female vocalists.

-Why "777-9311" might be the best punk/funk single ever recorded, and Morris Day's legacy as a "pussy hound"

and so much more.

Also, we give props to our opening and closing songs: "I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On)" by the late Kashif and "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" by Michael McDonald.

You can give a listen to this episode via streaming on LibSyn. You can also listen in the player below, download the episode directly to your device, or subscribe to the Blerd Radio family on iTunes.

Please leave comments, tweet at us, and ask questions! If you have a question about '80s R&B, hit us up and we may read your question on the air! Enjoy!

 

Direct download: JCC10.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:15pm EDT

The Blerd Radio Podcast 2016: Episode 10

It’s time to get sexy with a brand new episode of the Blerd Radio podcast!

This episode takes you back to 1996. The “neo-soul” genre was just getting a foothold in the marketplace, and an Afro-ed, mysterious singer/songwriter named Maxwell showed up on the scene. His sound was both familiar and exotic, old and new. He seemingly emerged from nowhere, but he was talented enough to attract collaborators like Motown composer and producer Leon Ware and Sade’s Stuart Matthewman on his acclaimed debut, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite.

Me (Mike Joseph), Michael Parr and Dr. Z revisit Urban Hang Suite on its 20th anniversary. We discuss the album’s place in the neo-soul canon and the misguided comparisons to D’Angelo. We explore the air of mystery that’s surrounded Maxwell since day one, the subtle UK influence on his work, and his surprising connections to R. Kelly and Santana’s “Smooth”. We also discuss Urban Hang Suite’s narrative arc, Maxwell’s killer live performances, two remixes that extended the album’s life, and touch on the catalog of albums he’s released since, up to and including the recent release blackSUMMERsnight. We also share the news that Urban Hang Suite will be receiving its first release on vinyl later this year. 

Direct download: Maxwell.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

The Blerd Radio Podcast (2016/Episode 9)

Last week, Sony/Legacy announced a deluxe reissue of George Michael's second solo album, 1990's Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. Coincidentally, when that announcement was made, the Blerd Radio team was putting the finishing touches on a podcast episode devoted to that particular album.

So join me (Mike Joseph) and my partners Michael Parr and Doctor Z for a deep-dive exploration into the decidedly introspective follow-up to the mega selling Faith

While not as commercially successful-or anywhere near as pop friendly-as its predecessor, Listen Without Prejudice has become a classic. It boasted the #1 smash "Praying For Time" and the Top 10 smash "Freedom", a song that has become iconic thanks to its stylish video and universal message. With these songs, George shrugged off his pretty boy pop star image, and aimed to be taken seriously as a songwriter and vocalist. By refusing to appear in his own videos or do interviews, George incurred the wrath of his record label and set the stage for a years-long court battle that remains a tentpole event in the fight for artists' rights.

We also discuss Listen Without Prejudice's debt to '60s pop and '70s soul, George's coming out and how it may have affected the promotion and lyrical content of the album, the Cover To Cover tour George embarked on in early 1991, and much more. 

 

Direct download: LWP_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:48am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles Podcast (Episode 9)

We're ringing out 1982 in the latest episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. Me and Thomas Inskeep decided to deviate slightly from our 5-songs-at-a-time format last episode so as not to end on a bad Richard "Dimples" Fields-related note. In the interest of...symmetry (I guess?) we decided to complete the year we started in Episode 8, and deliver the last 7 number 1 R&B tracks of the year.

Before we jump ahead, have you listened to our previous episodes? No? Well, check out every JCC podcast thus far and catch up!

Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5
Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8

The songs we discuss in this episode are:

"Let It Whip" by The Dazz Band

"Early In The Morning" by The Gap Band

"And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" by Jennifer Holliday

"Dance Floor" by Zapp

"Jump To It" by Aretha Franklin

"Love Come Down" by Evelyn King

"Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye

And now for some show notes...

-The Dazz Band, like so many funk bands from the '70s and '80s, hail from Ohio. We stop to marvel at how that state spawned so many great soul and funk acts, and give props to two of our favorite (but not funky) Ohio natives, Annie and Matt.

-Is it us? Or do the intros to "Let It Whip" and "Beat It" sound somewhat similar?

-The second chart-topper by The Gap Band causes us to once again wax rhapsodic on the genius of Charlie Wilson, and we also give props to "Heaven's Girl", which unites Uncle Charlie with his direct descendants R. Kelly and Aaron Hall. There's also a little Ron Isley in there.

-"Early In The Morning"'s excellent B-side, "I'm In Love", which many folks recall from a Mary J. Blige cover version.

-The saga of Dreamgirls, and how the musical was a phenomenon not unlike Hamilton is today. We also give props to the other women in the cast with Jennifer Holliday, including Sheryl Lee "Moesha's Mom" Ralph and Loretta Devine, who appears to have acted in everything except a show in the Law & Order family.

This stunning performance from the 1982 Tony Awards.

-How "Jump To It" revived Aretha Franklin's career, thanks to the production touch of Luther Vandross. Given their egos, it's not much of a surprise that Aretha and Luther didn't always see eye to eye.

-"Champagne", and how it was a much better nickname for Evelyn King than her original pet name, "Bubbles".

-Genius author/biographer (and co-writer of "Sexual Healing") David Ritz, who both of us had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year.

-Marvin's genius string of '70s and '80s albums, and how they've been given proper justice with remastering and repackaging. We give special shouts to his underrated classics I Want You and Here, My Dear.

...and a lot more. Given the quantity of songs we discuss, this episode runs slightly longer than usual, but we hope you stick with us to the end!

-Of course, we should also give props to our opening and closing songs-Stacy Lattisaw's "Attack Of The Name Game" and Ashford & Simpson's "Street Corner"-songs that didn’t hit the top of the charts, but are definitely near the top of our hearts.

 

 

Direct download: JCC9.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 8)

Ladies and gentlemen-the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast is back! Join me and Thomas Inskeep as we discuss all the songs that hit #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart in the 1980s; 5 at a time. Well...make that 6 at a time.

In our last episode, we closed out 1981 with Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Let’s Groove” (before taking a break to talk about some of the #2 hits of 1980 and 1981). Episode 8 brings forth a new year, and new songs. However, one of those songs is patently awful, and would’ve ended the episode if we kept our 5 songs at a time theme. So, Thomas proposed that we add an extra jam to the show, and I happily complied.

Before I forget, and so you're caught up: make sure you've listened to the previous episodes in this series: Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5
Episode 6 | Episode 7

Here are the six songs we discuss in this episode:

“Turn Your Love Around” by George Benson

“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” by Daryl Hall & John Oates

“Call Me” by Skyy

“That Girl” by Stevie Wonder

“If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another” by Richard “Dimples” Fields

“It’s Gonna Take A Miracle” by Deniece Williams

Drilling down a bit, here are some of the sub-topics we talk about during the show.
-“Turn Your Love Around” being the epitome of “Yacht Soul”, boasting instrumental backing from most of Toto, as well as co-write from the future main vocalist of Chicago.
-The unlikely origin of this George Benson hit. (hint: it involves a toilet)
-Airplay: the stunning collaboration of David Foster and Jay Graydon.
-The time Thomas met Daryl Hall, and a recommendation of Hall’s 1993 solo album Soul Alone (AKA Daryl goes kinda new jack)
-Whatever happened to the “telephone break” in R&B records?
-The two awesome songs that got stuck at #2 during “That Girl”’s 9-week reign.
-Did Stevie’s Original Musicquarium show up in stores as a way to allay Stevie’s financial troubles?
-”Ebony & Ivory”
-How Boardwalk Records president Neil Bogart died in the midst of his label’s first #1 record’s run.
-Why songs that call out ugly women named Sadie who might be having Richard “Dimples” Fields’ baby suck.
-Deniece Williams’ stellar episode of TVOne’s UnSung
-Niecy’s classics “Silly” and “Free”-both of which are better than either of her ‘80s chart toppers.
-Sha la la la!

-Of course, we should also give props to our opening and closing songs-Shalamar’s “A Night To Remember” and Junior’s “Mama Used To Say”-songs that didn’t hit the top of the charts, but are definitely near the top of our hearts.

Enjoy!

Direct download: JCC7.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 7)

...and now, for something a little different.

Thomas Inskeep and I have spent the last six Jheri Curl Chronicles episodes discussing the #1 R&B songs of the 1980s in chronological order. Episode 6 closed out 1981 with an Earth, Wind & Fire-sized bang.

Before we get into 1982, however, Thomas and I wanted to take an episode to chat about the runners-up, the songs that didn't quite lift into the top spot. So, we devoted an episode-this episode specifically-to all of the #2 R&B songs of 1980 and 1981. We don't discuss them in order, and some songs get a passing mention while others get discussed more in depth. This podcast has a bit more of a loosey-goosey feel than our regular episodes, and we hope you enjoy it just as much as you have the others.

Before I forget, and so you're caught up: make sure you've listened to the previous episodes in this series: Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5
Episode 6.

And now, here are some show notes for you:

-First song up is "Funkytown" by Lipps, Inc. Believe it or not, this was the first big hit record by a Minneapolis musician in the 1980s. And, yes: Lipps, Inc's Cynthia Johnson does have a Prince connection. We also dredge up memories of this awful cover, which hit the pop top 10 barely 7 years after the original.

 

 

 

-Leon Haywood figures twice in this episode; as the performer of "Don't Push It, Don't Force It" and as the writer of Carl Carlton's monster smash "She's A Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)". You can say Mr. Haywood, who was just one of 2016's many musical departures (so far), had a way with song titles.

-How did the guys that made "Bohemian Rhapsody" score a #2 hit on the soul charts? Well, take a lot of Chic, a suggestion from Michael Jackson, and voila. History made. Did you know that Wyclef Jean remade "Another One Bites The Dust" with a little help from a future BET VJ?

-Speaking of MJ, he and his brothers had a pair of #2s during this period, including the immortal "Heartbreak/This Place Hotel". Despite not having a #1 from either of their most highly regarded albums (Destiny and Triumph), The Jacksons more than made up for it by virtue of near-constant play on dance floors. This trend continues today.

-Teddy P. is in the house! He scored a #1 towards the end of the decade, but "Love T.K.O." was arguably his most smokin' 80s jam. It was so good even Bette Midler couldn't ruin it. We also talk about T.P.'s chemistry with frequent duet partner Stephanie Mills, and the convoluted family tree of the Cooke/Womacks, two of whom wrote "Love T.K.O."

-Teenager Stacy Lattisaw found love on a two-way street, and found her biggest hit of the decade in the Moments' catalog.

We'll be back to our "regularly scheduled program" in the next episode, but we certainly hope you enjoyed this little diversion through some songs that were almost as big (and in some cases, more fondly remembered) than the tracks we normally cover.

 

 

 

Direct download: JCC_Number_2s.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 6)

 

Ladies and gentlemen out there in podcast land, Thomas Inskeep and I would like to welcome you to the SIXTH episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. Yes, folks, we’re taking you down memory lane for a discussion about songs that hit #1 on Billboard Magazine’s Hot R&B Singles chart in the ’80s.

If you’ve missed an installment, never fear. You can find them by clicking on the link for each respective episode.

We're up to Episode 6! This installment finishes out the year 1981 with a bang, as we go through the final five chart toppers of the year.

Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5

The songs featured in this episode are:

"When She Was My Girl" by The Four Tops

"Never Too Much" by Luther!

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Pt. 1" by Roger

"Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)" by Kool and the Gang

"Let's Groove" by Earth, Wind & Fire

And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.

-The Four Tops' brief resurgence on disco label Casablanca Records, which was on its last legs at the time.

-"When She Was My Girl"'s resemblance to this hit by The O'Jays, and this novelty smash by Joe Tex.

-The insane amounts of love we have for Mr. Vandross and his sterling career, although we argue that he never topped "Never Too Much", his debut solo single.

-The lengthy history of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", which hit #1 R&B for the third time thanks to Roger's rendition.

-Thomas's somewhat inexplicable and intense dislike of Creedence Clearwater Revival (they also covered "Grapevine") and the somewhat dubious chart record they hold.

-The era of sampling and how it kept Zapp's legacy alive, even though they were pretty much a one-trick pony.

-Robert Palmer's slick cover of "Take My Heart", which you'll hear a snatch of at the conclusion of this episode (our opening song is Teena Marie's 1981 jam "I Need Your Lovin'."

-We compare and contrast the legacies of Kool & The Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire while giving props to the recently departed Maurice White.

-Why waste an opportunity to talk about "Easy Lover"?

-EW&F's solid string of early '80s singles, including "Wanna Be With You" and the immortal "Fall In Love With Me".

There are a variety of ways you can enjoy this podcast. You can listen in the player below, download the mp3 file directly to your computer or device, stream the show on Liberated Syndication, or you can subscribe to the Blerd Radio family of podcasts on ye olde iTunes. Enjoy!

Direct download: JCC601.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

The Blerd Radio Podcast 2016 | Episode 8:

Here's something a bit new and different...we're adding a wrinkle to the O.G. Blerd Radio podcast. The team (including me (Big Money), Dr. Z, Michael Parr, The Packet Man, and announcing the return of Mike Duquette) have decided to devote certain episodes to specific albums. So as not to confuse you, the listener, even further, we've decided to not re-name the series (because there are enough offshoots of Blerd Radio as is). That said, the first album we've decided to spotlight is De La Soul's 1989 debut, 3 Feet High And Rising. This podcast features Big Money, Dr. Z and Michael Parr

3 Feet was wildly successful, especially by 1989 hip-hop standards. It topped Billboard's Black Albums chart, the single "Me, Myself & I" became only the second rap song to top the Black Singles chart, and the album was eventually certified Platinum. It topped critics lists internationally, placing at #1 on the esteemed Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll. It ushered in a new, creative way to approach sampling, backing away from the prototypical funk and disco loops (with a big exception for the Funkadelic-sampling "Me, Myself & I") and utilizing Steely Dan, The Turtles and French instructional records. De La had their own language-a few steps removed from hip-hop's hard, "street" aesthetic. The influence of 3 Feet can be found in not only the music made by the rest of the "Native Tongues" posse (which, in addition to De La, consisted of A Tribe Called Quest, The Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Black Sheep, Chi-Ali, and more), but also in more recent music by Chance The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Kanye West and others.

3 Feet High & Rising : incredibly musical, ground-breaking, and influential. So influential, in fact, that it cast a shadow De La Soul has been running from for a quarter century-plus. This is despite the fact that Pos, Dave and Maseo have put together one of the most consistent catalogs in hip-hop history. We discuss all this and more in the podcast. 

Direct download: 3_Feet.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:56am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 5)

Ladies and gentlemen out there in podcast land, Thomas Inskeep and I would like to welcome you to the FIFTH episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. Yes, folks, we're taking you down memory lane for a discussion about songs that hit #1 on Billboard Magazine's Hot R&B Singles chart in the '80s.

If you've missed an installment, never fear. You can find them by clicking on the link for each respective episode.

Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3 | Episode 4

In this episode, we're firmly planted in the year 1981. The five smashes we discuss during this episode are:

Chaka Khan's "What Cha Gonna Do For Me"

Rick James' "Give It To Me Baby"

Frankie Smith's "Double Dutch Bus"

Evelyn "Champagne" King's "I'm In Love"

Diana Ross & Lionel Richie's "Endless Love"

And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.

-The origins of "What Cha Gonna Do For Me", which was written by Hamish Stuart (of the Average White Band) and California singer-songwriter Ned Doheny, whose name we have lots of trouble pronouncing. Thankfully, the Chaka video above demonstrates how to pronounce "Doheny" properly.

-This Chaka soundalike single by Tata Vega, also written by Ned Doheny.

-Chaka's longtime producer, the esteemed and continental Arif Mardin.

-"Give It To Me Baby"'s kinship with the title track to the biggest selling album in history.

-Rick's excellent (and scandalous) autobiography, co-written with the amazing David Ritz.

-Was "Double Dutch Bus" an early example of a "viral" hit like "Watch Me Whip" and "Teach Me How To Dougie"? Also, why did Raven Symone cover it?

-Kashif and Morrie Brown's assistance with Evelyn King's transformation from teenage disco queen to mature artist, and "I'm in Love"'s status as one of the first all-synthesized songs to top the R&B charts.

-Our girl Janet knew what time it was when she sampled "I'm In Love" back in 2004.

-Diana's parting gift to Motown with "Endless Love", which she recorded and released on her longtime label, even though she'd just signed with another record company.

-Did you know that the movie Endless Love marked the movie debut of Tom Cruise?

-...and of course, we bring up Luther and Mariah's karaoke cover.

Direct download: JCC5.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 4)

Good day, lovely folks. Welcome to the fourth episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast, a show in which me and my compatriot Thomas Inskeep discuss every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart during the 1980s. When we last left off, we were just getting started with 1981. If you haven't yet caught up, check out the first three episodes of the series.

Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3

The five tracks featured in this episode are...

"Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)" by The Gap Band

"Don't Stop The Music" by Yarbrough & Peoples

"Being With You" by Smokey Robinson

"Sukiyaki" by A Taste Of Honey

"A Woman Needs Love" by Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio

And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.

-The Gap Band's Charlie Wilson is easily one of the most influential and imitated singers in R&B music history.

-"Burn Rubber" was one of the biggest hits from The Gap Band's decade-long run as R&B chart kings. They were one of the most successful acts of the era, and one of the acts with the least crossover success.

-Yarbrough & Peoples' astounding level of "meh"-ness.

-The "warm bath" theme returns with Smokey's yacht rock (yacht soul?) classic.

-The conversation switches to Smokey's incredible duet with Rick James, "Ebony Eyes", which didn't hit the Top 10. Then we revisit Rick & Teena Marie's legendary "Fire & Desire", a song which didn't even receive a single release.

-The "Ebony Eyes" video, which we surmise had the second-largest cocaine budget of any video during the '80s.

-Did A Taste of Honey deserve the 1979 Best New Artist Grammy?

-Ray Parker Jr.'s past as a virtuoso funk guitarist, then move away from Raydio, his move away from R&B, and his classics "The Other Woman", "You Can't Change That", and "I Still Can't Get Over Loving You".

Enjoy the show!

 

Direct download: Jcc4.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:51am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016 | Episode 7

The Blerd Radio Time Machine gets fired up again! Big Money (me), Michael Parr and Dr. Z all hop in and travel back twenty (gulp) years to land in 1996 for the latest podcast!

1996 was a pretty big year in pop culture--it was an election year, and a watershed year for music (particularly for new artists). Here are just a few of the topics discussed during the show.

-The bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta

-The 1996 presidential election: Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole, and the Whitewater scandal.

-Cloning takes its first step forward, courtesy of Dolly The Ewe.

-Radio deregulation, which led to every single terrestrial station you listen to being owned by either Clear Channel or the IHeartRadio family.

-The "East Coast/West Coast" hip-hop rivalry, and the death of Tupac Shakur on September 13th.

-An eventful 1996 for The Artist Then Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince: the icon severs ties with Warner Brothers, releases the 3-CD set Emancipation, gets married, and suffers a family tragedy.

-KISS reunites and slaps the makeup back on! Their first public appearance is opposite the aforementioned Mr. Shakur on the Grammy Awards.

-Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day" becomes the longest-running #1 single of all time.

-The Fugees break through, becoming the world's #1 cover band.

-Everyone does the God damn Macarena.

-Alternative rock is huge, and the term is vast enough to include Oasis and Metallica. During this conversation, I plug Steven Hyden's new book Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me.

-Underappreciated music of 1996: De La Soul's Stakes Is High, Chuck D.'s The Autobiography Of Mistachuck, The Heads' No Talking, Just Head and Kool Keith's Dr. Octagonecologist. Also, you should watch this video.

-The glorious one-hit wonderdom of "Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand" by Primitive Radio Gods.

-New artists of 1996: a list that includes Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, Fiona Apple, No Doubt and more...with special focus on Jay-Z and Sublime's enduring self-titled album.

-Big-name flops of 1996, and the cultural re-examination of Weezer's Pinkerton; in addition to our own re-examinations of Pearl Jam's No Code and George Michael's Older.

-TV & movies of 1996: The debuts of TVLand and MTV2, as well as Robin Williams' stellar year.

-How a movie about natural disasters spawned the angriest Van Hagar song ever.

-Finally, as it should be, a few words about anal leakage.

Make sure to subscribe to Blerd Radio on iTunes, and/or you can listen to the podcast in the handy-dandy box below. Alternatively, you can stream us on Liberated Syndication, or you can just download the show directly to your computer. Enjoy!

Direct download: 1996.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:58am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016 | Episode 6

Our listeners have spoken, and we’re listening! Here’s the chart for the next “Son of Chart Attack!”

"Chart Attack" is a recurring Blerd Radio feature in which myself (Big Money), Dr. Z and Michael Parr discuss a particular Billboard chart from yesteryear.

In this episode, we travel back exactly a quarter century to chat about the top 10 songs on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart dated June 8th, 1991.

10. "Now is Tomorrow" by Definition of Sound

09. "Mea Culpa, Part II" by Enigma

08. "People Are Still Having Sex" by LaTour

07. "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J

06. "Spillin' the Beans" by Jellybean

05. "Fascinating Rhythm" by Bass-O-Matic

04. "Where the Streets Have No Name" by Pet Shop Boys

03. "Tonite" by Those Guys

02. "Good Beat" by Deee-Lite

01. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" by Crystal Waters

I won't go into too much detail about the songs in the show notes, but needless to say, there's a very deep dive into some of these artists and songs, while we're also relatively shocked in regards to the bland anonymity of other songs on the list.

I will say that some of the sub-topics we touch on include the Martha Wash substitution pattern that riddled dance music for about two years, LL Cool J's legendary MTV Unplugged performance, the AIDS crisis that inspired the #8 song on the list, dance music's social consciousness, the bizarre appeal of Gregorian chant music, and the remarkable consistency of The Pet Shop Boys.

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Son_Of_Chart_Attack_3.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles Podcast (Episode 3)

Happy Day! The third episode of the award-winning (not really) Jheri Curl Chronicles is live for your listening pleasure! If you haven't yet, make sure you check out episodes 1 and 2.

For those unaware, the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast features me and Thomas Inskeep talking about every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart during the 1980s.

In this installment, we leave 1980 and jump into 1981 with these five tracks.

"Give Me The Night" by George Benson

"Funkin' For Jamaica (N.Y.)" by Tom Browne

"Master Blaster (Jammin')" by Stevie Wonder

"Celebration" by Kool & The Gang

"Fantastic Voyage" by Lakeside

And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.

-The brilliance of Quincy Jones as a producer. Along with his right-hand man, songwriter Rod Temperton, Q owned the early '80s and we make the case for him as the greatest producer of all time.

-Patti Austin's sumptuous background vocals on "Give Me The Night", her surprising lack of a #1 R&B single, and the glory that is her 1981 jam "Do You Love Me".

-Which "Love Ballad" came first, George Benson's? Or L.T.D.'s?

-The mixture of jazz and R&B that gave way to the smooth jazz movement of the late '80s and early '90s, and the stellar list of players that appeared on "Funkin' For Jamaica".

-Tom Browne's bass-playing cohort Bernard Wright, who made at least one unassailable '80s jam.

-Why Hotter Than July might be the most underrated of Stevie Wonder's albums.

-The Kool & The Gang conundrum: were they better as a funk band or a pop band?

-Kool & Co.'s divorce-themed epic "Jones vs. Jones".

-We shout out radio legend Sean Ross as well as reissue giants BBR, who have kept many of the titles we discuss on this podcast in print (further shouts out to Funkytown Grooves and Legacy Recordings).

-What the hell was in the water in Ohio? The unassuming midwestern state is responsible for Lakeside, but also The Ohio Players (natch), Slave, Zapp, and a plethora of influential funk bands.

-Yes, Lakeside-we're holding you responsible for Coolio's career.

 

Direct download: JCC_3.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:54am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles Podcast (Ep. 2)

Yep, you read it right. Episode 2 of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast is up for your listening pleasure! In case you missed it, you can check out Episode 1 here.

In this series, me and Thomas Inskeep talk about every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles (later named Hot Black Singles) chart in the 1980s. We're going five at a time, and we've got a nice meaty section of 1980 to tackle in this episode.

The 5 songs we discuss this time around are:

"Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love)" by The Isley Brothers

"Let's Get Serious" by Jermaine Jackson

"Take Your Time (Do It Right)" by The S.O.S. Band

"One In A Million You" by Larry Graham

"Upside Down" by Diana Ross

More specifically, we talk about:

-How The Isleys' Go All The Way album (which featured "Don't Say Goodnight") was originally supposed to be the first Isley-Jasper-Isley album, and which steamy bedroom classic from 1979 inspired the Isleys as they wrote "Goodnight".

-Stevie Wonder's influence on "Let's Get Serious", and the trajectory of Jermaine's career through the mid '80s, which included Devo, Iman, and an assist from his little brother.

-The absolute jammin'-ness of The S.O.S. Band's Jam & Lewis-produced output. We scratch our heads in collective wonderment at the fact that masterpieces like "Just Be Good To Me" and "The Finest" stopped (just) short of pole position. We also wax rhapsodic over "Tell Me If You Still Care", which has gone on to a long life courtesy of artists like Mariah Carey and Monica.

-One of us finds Sly & The Family Stone (the band that spawned Larry Graham) overrated. One of us (actually, both of us) also think that Larry Graham ruined Prince.

-Did you know that Diana's "Upside Down" was (allegedly) originally written for Aretha Franklin? Have you read Nile Rodgers' excellent book? We also give a shout out to Diana's camp-tastic video clips for "Muscles" and "Swept Away".

Oh, also we should give props to our intro and outro songs for this episode: Patrice Rushen's "Haven't You Heard" and Chaka Khan's "Papillon (Hot Butterfly)", two classics from 1980 that didn't make it to the top of the charts, but are always at the top of our hearts.

Direct download: JCC2.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016 | Episode 5

The Blerd Radio team (consisting of me, "Big Money" Mike Joseph + Dr. Z and Michael Parr) did a Prince-related podcast a couple of years back. There'd been conversation about expanding that show, but we never got around to it.

Then Prince died, and we knew what we had to do.

We tried to avoid regurgitating the 1st podcast we did, and I think we were pretty successful. In this episode, the team discusses how we first became aware of the Purple One's existence. We try (somewhat unsuccessfully) to succinctly describe the way he expertly balanced musicianship with pop smarts, and ponder his influence on the musical scene today. We also share where we were when we heard the news of his death, contemplate the future of his music and the celebrated "vault" of unreleased material, and obsess over tons of Prince minutiae as only a trio of Prince devotees can. 

Direct download: Prince_Cast_2.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: #JCC Episode 1

Guess what? We're spinning off a new series in the Blerd Radio family.

The Jheri Curl Chronicles finds Blerd Radio founder Mike Joseph and pop culture writer Thomas Inskeep (proprietor of the Rock Me Tonight blog) discussing every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles (later Hot Black Singles) chart during the 1980s. Each episode will feature five songs, in chronological order of when they hit pole position.

This pilot episode (featuring a few audio hiccups that will not be present in future installments) starts off with a tribute to Prince, who will not be discussed in earnest for a while yet.

The songs discussed are:

-Rock With You by Michael Jackson (#1 for 6 weeks)

-The Second Time Around by Shalamar (1 week)

-Special Lady by Ray, Goodman and Brown (1 week)

-And The Beat Goes On by The Whispers (5 weeks)

-Stomp! by The Brothers Johnson (1 week)

Peripheral topics discussed include: 

Shalamar's "This Is For The Lover In You", Babyface's remake, and the remix of Babyface's version featuring Ghostface Killah

Ray, Goodman & Brown's previous incarnation as The Moments, which produced the #1 hits "Love On A Two Way Street" and "Look At Me (I'm In Love)"

"Do They Turn You On"- a classic album cut from The Whispers

The re-purposing of "Stomp" (featuring Shaq, Coolio and Luniz!) and The Brothers Johnson classics "I'll Be Good To You", "Tomorrow" and "Strawberry Letter 23" by Quincy Jones

Tevin Campbell's "Safer On The Ground", his first new single in a decade and a half...

...and much, much more! Stay tuned for future episodes in this series as well as a continuation of the OG Blerd Radio podcast and the Constant Conversations spin-off. 

Direct download: JCC01.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016 | Episode 4 (Grammy-Cast 2016)

Ladies & gentlemen of the listening public! It's time for a new episode of the Blerd Radio podcast! In episode 4, the team of Big Money, Michael Parr and The Packet Man (Dr. Z is sitting this one out) discuss the upcoming Grammy Awards and offer up our picks in several key categories (Best Alternative Album, Best Rock Album, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best R&B Album, Best Pop Album, Best Rap Album, Best New Artist, Song Of The Year, Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year).

Here's a brief rundown of the topics discussed in this episode:

-NO MORE DEAD PEOPLE: A rush of celebrity passings have left the panel in a state of exhausting!

-BUT...we're (maybe) hiring an intern (maybe!) We list the qualifications, and wonder if anyone is willing to take the job. This leads into a discussion about overwhelming record collections, and it appears that The Packet Man might need an intervention.

-Inevitably, the chat detours into a few words about Kanye. Keep in mind that this conversation took place before February 12th came and went without a release, and back when the album was still called "Waves".

-The big nominee-and the guy we hope wins everything-is Kendrick Lamar.

-We start, however, with the Best Rock Album category-and wonder who the hell these nominees are. This confusion recurs several times over the course of the podcast. We never said we were prepared.

-There's a historical discussion of the infamous Soy Bomb Grammy incident, for the children.

-The panel contemplates the difference between R&B and Adult Contemporary, compares Lianne La Havas to Corinne Bailey Rae, and explores the sexiness of Grammy front-runner Miguel.

-Drake: like or dislike? (another ongoing topic of discussion in the Blerd Radio podcast.)

-How did James Taylor end up in the Best Pop Album category when no other nominee is even half his age?

-Taylor Swift and Kendrick are considered the front runners for AOTY, but can Alabama Shakes or Chris Stapleton sneak in from behind?

 

All that in more in the latest episode of Blerd Radio. 

Direct download: GrammyCast_2016.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:56am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016: Episode 3

We may have said in Episode 2 that cover versions would be our next topic attacked on a Blerd Radio podcast. In between that proclamation and the night we marked to record Episode 3, a musical icon passed away. With that in mind, we (the team of Big MoneyDr. ZMichael Parr and the returning Michael Cunningham) decided to devote a podcast to the music and the legend of David Bowie. 

(For some reason, the introductions got cut off...so if you don't know who we are, look in the previous paragraph!)

The task of discussing Bowie's impact proved a bit difficult to do within the framework of a single podcast episode, but we managed to cram a lot into 90 minutes, including:

-The return of Michael Cunningham after a lengthy break, which is appropriate as he is the biggest Bowie fan on the panel (and arguably the biggest Bowie fan of anyone any of us knows.)

-How did we each discover Bowie? And where were we when we heard the news of his passing?

-Is Bowie's decade-long run of "classic" albums the longest in music history? It certainly deserves to be mentioned alongside similar runs by artists like Stevie Wonder and Prince (and the Bowie/Prince comparison pops up numerous times over the course of the episode.)

-After three years plus of doing Blerd Radio, it finally comes out that Dr. Z was in a band? Who knew?

-Bowie acknowledging his own mortality on the Blackstar album and how that's nearly unprecedented on an album by a major artist (David's buddy Freddie Mercury notwithstanding).

-Bowie's enduring legacy as one of the few artists to age in the pop culture spotlight without trading heavily on nostalgia.

-The lengthy list of collaborators that Bowie was able to gather into his fold and/or introduce to the world (like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Luther Vandross).

-Blackstar's status as Bowie's first #1 album.

-Required watching/listening: the Red Bull session with Bowie producer Tony Visconti and an edition of our friend Matt Wardlaw's "Lost Together" podcast, also recorded with Visconti.

-Bowie-oke: Dr. Z and Cunningham task one another with Bowie covers for karaoke!

 

Direct download: bowie.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Five years from now, there will probably be a group of music listeners who've never bothered to purchase a live album, and probably won't understand why anyone would (like "there was a world before there was an internet."

The old fogey of Blerd Radio (Mike JosephDr. Z and Michael Parr) remember live albums well. So well, in fact, that they spend an hour (roughly) talking about them.

In this latest edition of Blerd Radio, the panel discusses the following:

-The first episode of Blerd Radio actually recorded in 2016, the gang discusses their (relatively adult) New Year's evenings...well, relatively adult till the vomit shows up.

-The subtle difference between a "live album" and a "concert recording".

-Blerd Radio Gets Jazzy! The discussion starts back in the pre-rock era, when live albums were commonplace, as large parts of the music buying audience had no way to see or hear their favorite artist live.

-One topic that weaves its way throughout the podcast is the modern era's dependence on visual spectacle, and how that (combined with easily accessible live video) has contributed to the downfall of the live album.

-How many careers were started via live albums? We think of two: one of them spits fire and has a member with a ridiculously long tongue. The other is Cheap Trick.

-Have any major artists gone their entire career without releasing a live record? The answer may stick you.

-Guess what? Blerd Radio is looking for interns? Actually, they're not, but a search for a trivia answer leads the panel to consider the idea.

-What are each panelist's favorite live albums? In an eerie bit of timing, David Bowie's "David Live" is mentioned and saluted, even though the rock icon hadn't passed when the episode was recorded.

Direct download: Live_Shows_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Happy New Year fam!

Blerd Radio is celebrating 2016...by going back to 1983!

Me (Big Money)Dr. Z and Michael Parr hop in the handy-dandy Blerd Radio time machine (which logged a lot of mileage in 2015) and land in the year that gave us Return of The Jedi and these ten tasty jams from the adult contemporary chart. Of course, no Blerd Radio episode is as simple as just counting down 10 songs, so here's just a sample of what gets discussed over the hour or so you'll (hopefully) spend listening.

-What exactly constitutes a double whiskey? And why is it so dirty?

-Parr is the first of the trio to see Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and he has a breathless review.

-Now, it's on to the purpose of the podcast: a trip in the time machine. We dive right in to Air Supply's "Two Less Lonely People In The World" and some very divergent opinions in regards to the Aussie schlockmeisters.

-Jim Steinman, who produced Air Supply's really big hit of 1983 (not "Two Less Lonely People In The World"), also comes up in conversation.

-We compare James Ingram (favorably) to club soda, and discuss how Patti Austin & James' "Baby Come To Me" gained new life as a result of General Hospital.

-Major realization: the same cast of musicians played on a solid chunk of this top ten list, and a lot of them came from Toto. More on them in a minute.

-This particularly impression-heavy podcast features impersonations of Michael McDonald, Barry Gibb, and Paul McCartney. Needless to say, we were all drinking heavily during this recording.

-We give props to our friend Julian Velard, who does a mean version of "Africa" in his live show, and apparently covers Steely Dan's "Peg" as well. (the #7 song is "Africa" and #8 is "I.G.Y. (What A Beautiful World)" by the Dan's Donald Fagen.

-The soap opera bug strikes again with Crystal Gayle & Eddie Rabbitt's "You & I", which gained legs via another ABC serial, and shed some light on that country music capital, Brooklyn.

-Uh, there's a Supertramp song here. No one is particularly enthused.

-The most laborious setup in Blerd Radio history (and that's saying something) leads to our #4 song, Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out", which was nominated for a Record of the Year Grammy...and lost to Toto. Dang it.

-We discuss whether "Truly" (#3) or "Hello" is Lionel Richie's nadir, and also discuss the sequence of songs that led to "Truly" and "Hello"'s existence. It's a tale of adult contemporary woe.

-Talking about Lionel Richie leads to a discussion about Kenny Rogers, which leads to a discussion about The Bee Gees, which leads to...our #2 song, Dionne Warwick's "Heartbreaker".

-...and then we talk about "That's What Friends Are For" and the Psychic Friends Network. We're not very happy about either of those things. Oh, and someone impersonates a harmonica.

-In conclusion, we celebrate the man who owned 1983 (and has probably taken up more aural space on our podcasts than any other human), the inimitable Michael Jackson. "The Girl Is Mine" is the #1 song on the chart, and the Michael/Macca teaming draws comparisons to other not-quite-sterling pop collabos.

-And that's it! We're back in 2016 (actually, 2015 when this was recorded). You can listen below, or you can stream it on Liberated Syndication. You can also download the podcast in mp3 format to listen to anytime you want, and/or you can follow us on Ye Olde iTunes and have new episodes downloaded to your laptop or phone whenever they pop up.

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for the next Blerd Radio podcast!

Direct download: Son_of_Chart_Attack.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

We had a lot to say about the best music of 2015; so much so that we wound up splitting the podcast into two parts.

Me (Big Money)Michael Parr and Dr. Z spent the last episode counting down our ten favorite albums of 2015. In the second half, we:

-talk about our favorite singles of the year, with a healthy appreciation for Miguel's "Coffee", Kendrick's "Alight", and the return of Chic. There's also some embarrassment regarding the appreciation of 2015 Justin Bieber, and shouts out to a song called "Drop That Kitty".

Michael Parr also really, really wants you to check out this performance of Mr. Lamar doing "Alright".

Elsewhere, we talk about Janet Jackson's comeback a little more (while also shouting out the surprise return of New Order), we question Dr. Z about the bad white dancing of Popblerd associate Matt Albright, and cap our review of 2015's live performances with a tip of the cap to the mighty Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.

A slew of our (formerly) favorite artists vie for the Most Disappointing Album of the Year prize (including Dr. Dre, Beach House and Snoop Dogg), we collectively scratch our heads at artists like Migos and Fetty Wap, and we run through some of our most highly anticipated albums of the new year (like Ra Ra Riot, Sia, David Bowie and more).

The podcast wraps up with a remembrance of artists that passed away in 2015, with a slight detour into Scott Weiland's recent passing and America's bent towards reveling in train wreck behavior. Finally, proving that we all (sort of) talk about things other than music, we give props to Empire (OK, that's technically about music, but whatever), the Purple Stuff podcast, and Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between The World And Me.

Listen in the player below, download the podcast from Liberated Syndication, or give us a rip on iTunes! Enjoy, and happy holidays!!

Direct download: 2015_Part_Two.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

Blerd Radio 2015 | Episode 15

Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time again. 

Big Money, Doctor Z and Michael Parr have donned their holiday apparel, and are sitting by the fire talking about the year in music.

Trying to sum up twelve months in music is a bit of an arduous undertaking, so this year end podcast is split into two parts. The second installment will arrive in a week.

Part one focuses on 2015's best albums. It was a great year for music, and the panel had a bit of trouble narrowing their lists down (and once that was done, there was much hand-wringing in regards to putting those lists in order!) Ultimately, the three individual lists, while featuring some overlap, offer up a cross-section of music from a wide array of genres: New Orleans jazz meets sad bastard pop, neo-disco and everything in between. That said, the entire panel is also in 100% agreement as to what the year's best album is.

The panel is also in agreement that 2015 was one of the best years for music in recent memory, which made editing individual lists even more of a pain in the ass. Dr. Z, smartly, used his own yearly tradition of making a mix CD for his friends (that you, too, can own if you get in touch with him soon enough) to whittle his list down. 

You'll have to listen to the show to get specifics on each album (as well as shout outs to a bunch of records that did not make the list), but here's each panelist's top ten for 2015.

Dr. Z

10. Nation Beat feat. Cha Wa: "Carnival Caravan"

9. Keith Richards "Crosseyed Heart"

8. Nicholas Payton "Letters"

7. Carly Rae Jepsen "E-Mo-Tion"

6. Bomba Estereo "Amanecer"

5. Janet Jackson "Unbreakable"

4. Naughty Professor "Out On A Limb"

3. Kamasi Washington "The Epic"

2. Christian Scott "Stretch Music"

1. Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp A Butterfly"

Big Money

10. Disclosure "Caracal"

9. Cee Lo Green "Heart Blanche"

8. Jason Isbell "Something More Than Free"

7. Blackalicious "IMANI Vol. 1"

6. Tame Impala "Currents"

5. Janet Jackson "Unbreakable"

4. My Morning Jacket "The Waterfall"

3. Miguel "WILDHEART"

2. D'Angelo & The Vanguard "Black Messiah"

1. Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp A Butterfly"

Michael Parr

10. City & Colour "If I Should Go Before You"

9. Coheed & Cambria "The Color Before The Sun"

8. Disclosure "Caracal"

7. The Internet "Ego Death"

6. Miguel "WILDHEART"

5. Janet Jackson "Unbreakable"

4. Blackalicious "IMANI Vol. 1"

3. The Decemberists "What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World"

2. D'Angelo & The Vanguard "Black Messiah"

1. Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp A Butterfly"

Also discussed/recommended:

The Keith Richards documentary "Under The Influence"

Dr. Z's occasionally discussed but fairly well documented hatred of jam bands.

"Black Messiah"'s appearance on 2015 lists even though it was released in 2014.

"You + Me", a sorely underrated 2014 project featuring City & Colour's Dallas Green and pop superstar P!nk.

Why is Sam Smith only tolerable when working with Disclosure?

How becoming a new dad for the third time caused Michael Parr to love Coheed & Cambria even more.

Why all Decemberists fans look alike, and so much more!

Part two will cover the year's best singles, as well as a few words regarding 2015's most notable comebacks, the least-understood musical trends, and a final salute to some of the musicians that left us this year. Just chill...till the next episode.

 

 

Direct download: Best_Of_2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

Blerd Radio 2015 | Episode 14

The penultimate episode of Blerd Radio's 2015 season focuses in on hip-hop, as each member of the panel counts down their 10 favorite emcees of all time. The inspiration for this episode came about because of this Billboard article, and while the piece itself was a source of derision for many, the lists created by me (Big Money)Dr. Z and Michael Parr all shared at least half their content with the Billboard tally.

Before we get to the hip-hop section of the show though, one major musical feat has to be addressed-Adele's monster debut. For the first few minutes of the episode, Adele's success is analyzed. While Blerd Radio podcasts are fairly well-known for intense sidebars, this might be the first time a podcast has ever BEGUN with a sidebar.

Now, it's on to the discussion. Before the panel counts down from 10-1, a few defining factors are discussed. First and foremost, what makes a great emcee? Is it flow? Is it storytelling ability? Is it vocabulary? Is it some intangible "X" factor? Or is it a combination of all those factors? Also tackled the age old question of why some of the greatest technical emcees are saddled with the worst possible production.

New-school hip hop (with a few notable exceptions) is summarily yawned at, with a couple of shots thrown in Drake's direction. The lists' bias towards NYC is also discussed (just as Big Money broadcasts his first show from the tri-state area).

A lengthy discussion about the dearth of quality female rappers follows; as no femcees made any of the top 10 lists (and Billboard's inclusion of Lauryn Hill seems more like forced inclusiveness than a ranking based on true skill).

Next up? The lists. We won't spoil any of the podcast by enumerating the choices in this show summary, but suffice to say you will be surprised by some inclusions/omissions, and you will be completely not surprised by others. The lists are different enough from one another that they provide some interesting discussion.

Stay tuned for the next episode; in which the panel discusses the best music of 2015!

(Also, apologies for some sound quality issues...there was a computer freeze about 2/3 of the way through the episode.)

Direct download: Top_10_Emcees.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

Blerd Radio 2015 | Episode 13

Hello and welcome to another episode of Blerd Radio.

In 2013 and 2014, we took time to talk about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, its induction process, and that year's crop of nominees. While there was talk about retiring the Hall of Fame-cast this year, 2015's crop of nominees resulted in some of our most spirited conversation to date. 

Of course it helps that the gang's all here: so join myself (Big Money), Dr. Z, Michael Parr and Mike Cunningham The Packet Man for an episode full of music geekery, along with a few laughs and more than the average episode's share of impressions. 

Here's some of what you'll hear on this episode:

Impressions Galore!: The Packet Man brings his comedic A-game to this episode, offering impersonations of RZA, Ice-T and Mike Tyson. The entire panel takes a crack at Ringo Starr, and Parr steals the show with his Donald Duck impression, though.

Not so much Jann Wenner/Nominating Committee Vitriol: The decision was made to not focus too much on the process and give most of our time to the artists that are nominated this year. For your reference, they are:

-The Cars

-Chaka Khan

-Cheap Trick

-Chic

-Chicago

-Deep Purple

-Janet Jackson

-The J.B.'s

-Los Lobos

-N.W.A.

-Nine Inch Nails

-The Smiths

-The Spinners

-Steve Miller

-Yes

We also place our personal ballots for five artists on the list. Additionally, we talk about the two currently eligible artists we would induct, and stand up for one modern-day artist each who we would place in the HOF.

Man, for an institution none of us is crazy about, we sure talk a lot about it. 

Also, The Packet Man discovers a whole world of food bracing courtesy of Chaka-lates, Parr is traumatized by Cheap Trick's smash "The Flame", the panel remains firmly divided on the merits of the Velvet Underground, and there's a lengthy gush about Gwen Stefani and No Doubt. Enjoy!

Direct download: HOF_Podcast_2015.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio 2015 | Episode 12

About a year ago, we recorded a show discussing two legendary pop stars: Madonna and Janet Jackson. Then my Macbook died, taking the podcast with it. The release of Janet's "Unbreakable" album made us realize that it was time to revisit the topic. So, here we are once again, talking Madge and Janet.

Here's some show notes for y'all:

-We welcome Michael Parr back after a baby-related absence! (Although in true "the Lord giveth..." fashion, we're missing The Packet Man this time around.)

-I (Big Money) wrote a well-received review of Unbreakable. You should read it.

-Between the solid reviews, a #1 debut, and her nomination for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Miss Jackson is having a pretty awesome week.

-Oh hey--Madonna also released an album this year. Two of us were scared away by the song titles and guest lineup. The one of us who did give Rebel Heart a listen didn't come away with the warm fuzzies, exactly.

-Which begs the question; how does one age gracefully in pop music? Is it necessary to keep up with the younger artists, many of whom are influenced by Madonna and Janet?

-Are we unfair to Madonna because she dares to express herself as a sexual being in her fifties, or are we just tired of her doing things seemingly for shock value?

-Does Madonna have a run of albums comparable to Janet's legendary Control/Rhythm Nation/janet/Velvet Rope sequence?

-We do an Unbreakable deep dive. Dr. Z, not wanting to spoil the listening experience, is still waiting for his copy to come in the mail so he can listen. 

-Why haven't Madonna and Janet (and many other legendary female artists) been the focus of remaster/reissue campaigns like many of their male counterparts?

-In case you forgot-these ladies also act. Well, you probably haven't forgotten. But we understand if you'd like to.

-We discuss our favorite album by each artist, which sidebars into the alleged Janet Jackson/The Time movie that was discussed in the wake of Control's success.

-Next up: our 3 favorite songs by each artist.

-We wrap up by discussing the most underrated songs or albums by Madonna and Janet, and pay tribute to the guy who was so stoned he called the cops on himself. No, it has nothing to do with Janet Jackson or Madonna, but we do go off on tangents quite a bit. This should be expected!

Direct download: Janet_v_Madonna.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Blerd Radio 2015: Episode 11

Greetings, Blerd Radio fans!

We've been gone for a bit (one of us had a kid!) but the three non-sleep deprived members of the Blerd Radio team (Big Money, Dr. Z and The Packet Man) have returned for a new podcast!

In this episode, we're headed to the Multiplex for a discussion of movies about music. It's the first of a two-part discussion (and because we say "fuck linear threads", part 2 will come at a later date...or rather, it won't be the next thing we cover.)

The podcast gets off to a rousing start as we salute the good fortune of our brother Parr (and also send him a get-well shout on account of his recent surgery), leading right into our main topic, which is...

...'90s porn actresses! Oh, wait...

The very beginning of the "rock and roll" film, with shouts sent in the direction of '50s classics "Blackboard Jungle" and "Girl Can't Help It"...seguing into golden era celluloid masterpieces like...uh, "Krush Groove" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Did "From Justin To Kelly" sound the death knell for the "rock and roll movie"?

How did a movie like "Purple Rain" come off so well when most films in this vein land with a thud? Something about a little-discussed quality called "mystique".

A discussion about favorite films leads into a seven-minute breakdown of the plot synopsis for the Dan Aykroyd/Digital Underground vehicle "Nothing But Trouble"...in which John Candy plays a challenging male/female dual role.

So, what's up with those biopics? And why do so many people pronounce that word incorrectly? Hint: it doesn't rhyme with "myopic".

We are interrupted by The Packet Man's cat, Miles, who sits in on the podcast and calms the panel down with melodic purring for a minute or two.

Great performances in biopics: a surprisingly short list that focuses on Gary Busey's Oscar-winning performance in "The Buddy Holly Story" and Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's "The Doors".

Not so great performances in biopics, which leads to reminiscing about VH-1's mid-Oughts flirtation with Lifetime-esque music bios, including the MC Hammer Story and the misguided casting of comedian Flex Alexander as Michael Jackson. Yes, that Flex Alexander. And that Michael Jackson. 

We very quickly talk about "music nerd" films, i.e. "High Fidelity" and "Empire Records", and give props to the King of the Music Nerd flicks; Jack Black.

And...documentaries/concert films? Nah, that's the next podcast. Enjoy this for now! We promise we won't take so long to return!

Direct download: Zack_Stiegler_Michael_Cunningham_on_2015-09-24_at_20.14.mov
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

And now for something completely different...

Our friends at Popdose introduced the Chart Attack format years ago. With their blessing, we have reactivated the brand and are now introducing you to Son Of Chart Attack! 

Big Money, Michael Parr (both Popdose and Chart Attack alumni), Dr. Z and Mike Cunningham the Packet Man are hopping in the wayback machine-as they often do-and counting down the top 10 of Billboard's Top Alternative Tracks chart for the week of 7/23/94. 

The Top 10 Singles That Week are (in reverse order)

"Big Empty" by Stone Temple Pilots

"Stay (I Missed You)" by Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories

"Selling The Drama" by Live

"Shine" by Collective Soul

"Prayer For The Dying" by Seal

"Girls & Boys" by Blur

"Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden

"Vasoline" by Stone Temple Pilots

"Come Out And Play" by The Offspring

"Fall Down" by Toad The Wet Sprocket

In addition to discussions about each song, you'll also hear about:

-What each member of the panel was doing during the week in question; and which panelist got his first hint of nookie during the summer of '94.

-How Lisa Loeb spawned the birth of "adorkable".

-The awesomeness (or not) of the '90s alternative rock soundtrack.

-Billy Corgan's litigious nature.

-The one band on this list that each panelist has seen live (it's not who you'd expect).

-The uber-gay Pet Shop Boys remix of the #5 song on this list.

-The creepy, creepy, CREEPY "Black Hole Sun" video.

-The connection between one of the two Stone Temple Pilots songs on this list and parody rock band Green Jelly (admittedly, it's a stretch.)

-Offspring lead singer Dexter Holland and his head full of noodles (as opposed to Noodles, who is another member of The Offspring.)

-Why so many Toad The Wet Sprocket songs have the word "down" in the title.

Subscribe to our podcast and make sure you leave us a rating if you're checking us out on iTunes!

 

Direct download: 1994_Alternative_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

We live in an era when misdeeds seem to be amplified-which raises an interesting question. How easy is it to separate great art when the people making the art are creepy/icky/criminal/horrible people?

The Blerd Radio team: Big Money, Dr. Z, Michael Parr and Mike Cunningham The Packet Man, discuss this in the latest podcast.

Intro Music: The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" (this gets explained later in the show.)

Let's break down some of the highlights of the discussion:

-Dr. Z has headed straight to Blerd Studios from the dentists's office, where his oral hygienist proceeded to give him an unwarranted political lesson.

-On the day this show was recorded, "Cosby Show" co-star Joseph C. Phillips posted a thinkpiece online dedicated to this very topic: obviously in reference to his former television father-in-law.

-We wonder if there's a natural sociopathy that comes with being an artist or wanting to be famous? Deep psychological shit here.

-Do we have a different set of standards for creative/famous people than we do for ourselves?

-Does fame breed even more sociopathy? We talk about how celebrity can make one less a person and more a character, and we also wonder what it must be like for someone's sense of self when they're surrounded by sycophants. 

-Kanye & Kim: Everyone's most hated rock star (except by us) and his equally hated wife. Does Kanye feed off of the hate? And are feminists who slam Kim K total hypocrites?

-A distinction is made between artists who are just obnoxious (Kanye) and artists who have criminal pasts, with an example being Axl Rose, who wrote "Sweet Child O' Mine" for a woman that he later was accused of beating the shit out of.

-We discuss R. Kelly and his insistence on making overtly sexual music when it's fairly clear that he's some kind of criminal sexual deviant (lack of conviction be damned.)

-Is it easier to forgive sociopathic behavior in our artists when their public image is that of a lunatic? (Example: Ol' Dirty Bastard)

-The Cee Lo Green saga of 2014 is explained to half the panel.

-Death: The Great Equalizer?

-What's the line at which we would no longer support/enjoy an artist's work?

-Why do female artists tend to avoid the same criminal behavior as their male counterparts?

-Hell, are there _any_ artists whose personal lives don't cause us to reconsider their work a little bit? (The Packet Man is severely disappointed when he's told about age-old Bill Withers rumors).

Spread this podcast to your friends! Tell them to spread it to their friends on social media, etc. Follow us on Twitter and leave a nice note for us on iTunes!

Direct download: Ugly_Artist_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Blerd Radio 2015-Episode 8

Piggybacking off of our last episode, in which Mike Cunningham The Packet Man jokingly stated that he was the leader of the Pittsburgh chapter of the NAACP, we (Big Money, Dr. Z, Michael Parr and The Packet Man) decided to do a podcast about cultural appropriation. This is definitely more of a circular discussion (with no real conclusion) than many of our other podcasts, but it's an interesting discussion.

Some highlights:

-We discuss what made us finally decide to pull the trigger on this discussion, with a special shout out to "Black-ish"!

-What exacty _is_ cultural appropriation? Big Money and Michael Parr look up two separate definitions that all pretty much boil down to the same thing. We also take a quick second to express disgust at how casually this is treated in the fashion world.

-Why is a panel made up of three straight white guys (and one guy who happens to be black and gay) doing this podcast anyway?

-"Good appropriation" vs. "Bad appropriation", or rather-being legitimately influenced by a culture that's not yours vs. doing it strictly for commerce.

-The beginnings of cultural appropriation as it pertains to music: minstrelsy, vaudeville, Al Jolson, Elvis.

-A lengthy sidebar about The Rolling Stones and songs like "Brown Sugar", which are fairly offensive. Is their manner of cultural appropriation offensive, even though various members have taken pains to credit their forebearers and influences? (this is clearly not an easy question to answer).

-Appropriation of other cultures: Latin culture, gay culture, Eastern culture...

-Most egregious offenders (Eminem, Madonna, Iggy Azalea, Gwen Stefani)

-Particular focus paid to Madonna's somewhat shameless exploitation of multiple cultures, which seemed somewhat natural (or at least appeared to come from a good place) early in her career, but quickly progressed (or regressed) into something more sinister, and certainly less heartfelt.

-When it comes to artists who appropriate, how much responsibility do they have to expose their fans to their influences?

-We finally decide to put one of our longest running gags to rest.

-Finally, what will be the ultimate low point of cultural appropriation?

Direct download: Appopriation_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Over the course of the last three podcasts, the Blerd Radio team has been exploring nostalgia. Well, we've been specifically exploring nostalgia. After all, this podcast spends a lot of time looking back.

This three part series concludes (after a bit of a break...sorry y'all, life happens) with a look at how our romanticism of the past plays a part in the media we consume today. We also welcome our friend The Packet Man back! He sat out the first two episodes, but that just gave him the opportunity to come up with a bunch of Rachel Dolezal jokes.

Elsewhere in this podcast, we discuss how the film industry has turned nostalgia into a major money maker thanks to reboots like Jurassic World. This also seems to be crossing over into television, with the success of Girl Meets World and the impending threat of Fuller House (featuring D.J. Tanner, the unluckiest woman on the planet when it comes to losing loved ones unexpectedly.)

(The Packet Man also reveals a retroactive crush on Kimmy Gibler).

A discussion of the ridiculously awful trailer for the (likely) ridiculously awful film Pixels leads into some serious superhero/comic nerdery on the part of the panel.  We wonder when the reboots for the BatmanSuperman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series will end.

Finally turning over to music, we discuss how some of our favorite current artists directly or indirectly call back to styles/musicians we enjoyed in our youth. Whether these artists creatively meld a variety of sounds from the past and turn it into their own sound (like D'Angelo or Jack White) or directly (and in some cases egregiously) copy (like Duffy or Chromeo), the fact of the matter is that almost all of what passes for popular music these days is based on sounds originated by others.

Of course, "Uptown Funk" has to be part of this conversation. Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars each have been lauded for/accused of putting a "now" sheen on older sounds/being unoriginal (where you stand on this issue depends on how you feel about the artists themselves.) This song seems to have brought the "ripoff" argument to the fore.

(Why is The Packet Man so quiet during this portion of the podcast? Turns out that he's hesitant to join the conversation for fear of implicating himself!)

Ultimately: have we reached a stage in music where nothing at all can be called completely original? And if completely original music does exist, will we ever hear it in this increasingly fragmented landscape?

In addition to The Packet Man (can you tell we're happy to have him back?) please follow me (Big Money), Dr. Z and Michael Parr on Twitter.

Check us out in the player below, listen to us on Liberated Syndication, or subscribe to us on iTunes! Enjoy this episode!

Direct download: Nostalgia_3-_Nostalgia_With_A_Vengeance.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the latest episode of Blerd Radio, co-starring Big Money, Michael Parr, Dr. Z and Mike Cunningham (AKA The Packetman)

This time around, we're continuing our discussion about nostalgia that began with the previous podcast. Our focus this time shifts to the music industry's time-honored tradition of repackaging, reissuing and creating deluxe anniversary editions, and how that all trades on nostalgia to generate sales.

Included as part of the discussion:

The team (minus Cunningham for the second straight episode) ponder the exact moment record companies realized "oh shit, we can keep mining our catalog for reissues!"

The tie in with greatest hits compilations is explored, as are themed compilations i.e. "love songs", "dance jams", etc. Big Money mentions the Sly & The Family Stone disco compilation as one of the first instances of this phenomenon. The rest of the panel expresses a morbid curiosity to check this record out.

-Spurred on by a discussion with our friend Steve Cunningham, the team talks about the recent spate of anniversary-related deluxe packages and whether they're worthwhile or anyone even cares (we point to recent packages from Bryan Adams, Tears For Fears and The Spin Doctors as examples)

At what point does the reissue/remaster train stop, in light of digital mastering and the fact that the CD market has shrunk so much?

Which legendary artists still need to have their catalog sonically re-evaluated? Prince, Stevie Wonder and Janet Jackson are at the top of the list.

The panel wraps up by naming their favorite reissues: Dr. Z stumps for Bruce Springsteen's "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" package, Big Money reps for Hip-O's exhaustive Marvin Gaye reissue campaign, and Parr votes for Peter Gabriel's "So".

Part three's coming soon! Stay tuned!!

Direct download: Reissues_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Greetings!

The Blerd Radio team (Big Money, Michael Parr, The Packet Man & Dr. Z) created a lengthy (and pretty intense) podcast about being record geeks, a topic that's pretty much the reason this podcast even exists. Then Big Money's Macbook shit the bed (why am I talking about myself in the third person?), taking the podcast with it. After a couple weeks to regroup, the team is back and we're talking about another topic near and dear to our hearts: nostalgia.

This article is a good jumping off point for the podcast, as all three panelists (The Packet Man is AWOL for this one) are above the age most people (allegedly) stop listening to new music. I guess a good sub-heading for this show would be "getting older as a music fan".

A good chunk of the podcast also concerns the "music was better when I was a kid" argument, which may not necessarily be so. Particularly when it comes to pop music, there have been equal amounts of great songs and shitty songs for half a century.

Two important musical genres that have come of age along with us are hip-hop and metal. How does the forthright and often aggressive (and sometimes misogynist/racist/homophobic) lyrical content of either genre sit well with us as grown-ups? Does the same discomfort apply to overtly sexual lyrics?

As a music geek, how do you justify loving a piece of music objectively vs. loving it because you associate it with personal memories? (our example in this discussion is Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A.)

...and because we can, the podcast ends on a Chumbawamba joke, followed by a Vanilla Ice joke.

Thanks for listening and feel free to leave feedback!

 

Direct download: Nostalgia_Podcast_Pt_1.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(2015, Episode 4)

Last week, I posted the first portion of our 2-part series celebrating all that was great (and a few things that weren't) about 1990. While the first part focused heavily on film and TV, most of this second part is dedicated to our bread and butter-music.

Here's some of what gets discussed by Big MoneyMichael ParrDr. Z and The Packet Man (Michael Cunningham) in this episode:

The Milli Vanilli Lip Sync Scandal: And how no one thought it odd that people who barely spoke English were able to successfully not only sing, but rap in American accents. 1990 was not only the year that Milli Vanilli was found out, but vocalist Martha Wash found her booming instrument used on records by no less than three huge dance acts (Seduction, Black Box and C+C Music Factory) without her consent.

Jordy: No, the rapping toddler didn't make his musical debut for another three years. but once Cunningham goes on a tangent, there's not much pulling him back.

Rap Blows Up/Goes Pop: Thanks to the biggest artist of the year, MC Hammer, hip-hop goes mainstream to a level that no one could have predicted. Hip-hop snobs, already displeased with Hammer, see red when a white rapper of dubious credentials (Vanilla Ice) steals a page from Hammer's playbook and takes rap further mainstream. Thankfully, there was not only a fair amount of authentic hardcore hip hop, but also albums like LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out, a work that skillfully balanced mainstream accessibility with hip-hop's street aesthetic.

Will SmithThe Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air debuted in 1990, catapulting the "Parents Just Don't Understand" rapper to superstardom. The panel discusses when Will lost his "cool" card (don't worry...we all agree it was long after Fresh Prince went off the air).

Musical Debuts Of 1990: This was the year that brought us the mellifluous tones of Mariah Carey (and a classic first single) as well as The Black Crowes, a rootsy band that served as an antidote to the pop/metal theatrics currently ruling the day (like, for example, Nelson--a group that also made their debut in 1990).

Recommendations: The panel delivers three recommendations each from 1990, and it's a wild list that includes Public Enemy's magnum opus, the greatest hip-hop teen movie of all time, a masterpiece from a group of new wave icons, and...Parker Lewis Can't Lose!

Grab a listen in the player below. You can also stream or download it directly from Liberated Syndication or iTunes!

Direct download: 1990_Part_Two.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

(Episode 3, 2015)

Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to another thrilling episode of Blerd Radio, in which the team of Big MoneyMichael ParrDr. Z and The Packet Man (Michael Cunningham) get into the big ol' time machine and travel back a quarter-century to 1990.

When planning this episode, we initially figured that since 1990 wasn't a watershed year in pop culture, this would be a quickie. Boy, were we wrong. We talked, and talked, and talked some more, and the end result is that we had to split this podcast into two parts. Part 2 will arrive next week. In the meantime, here's some of the stuff we discussed.

The Gulf War- The two older members of the panel share their fears about getting drafted, while everyone attempts to figure out what "SCUD" stood for and Cunningham blows minds with his recollection of Desert Storm trading cards.

Madonna- Was Dick Tracy the dividing line between mildly titillating Madonna and straight-up controversy whore Madonna? And who decided that American kids were gonna sit for a movie based on a thirty year old comic that was already outdated?

How horrid was 1990 for film? Home AlonePretty WomanBack To The Future IIIThe Godfather III (SPOILER ALERT), Ghost.

Better mob movies than The Godfather III: 3/4 of the panel reps for My Blue Heaven and Goodfellas.

Graffiti Bridge- Because we are all Prince geeks, we have to give some time to the celluloid masterpiece that is Graffiti Bridge. We also talk about the Prince-directed Time reunion that took place around the film's release.

Ninja Turtles Are Forever- TMNT blew up in 1990, thanks to a hit movie and some serious merchandising that included Coming Out Of Their Shells-The Album & Documentary (documentary??)

The Simpsons- Matt Groening's classic cartoon sitcom made its debut at the very end of 1990, and within a year it was a sensation, complete with a soundtrack and an assist from the King Of Pop. Due to its original placement on Thursday nights, we also talk about how the show helped destroy The Cosby Show and throw a couple of inappropriate Bill Cosby jokes in for good measure.

Oh, speaking of Cosby...and bad movies...Ghost Dad came out in 1990.

TV in 1990: The ending of Pee-Wee's Playhouse and 227, the beginning of Twin Peaks & Beverly Hills, 90210, a show that was cool enough that Dr. Z lied about being on it to impress a girl.

Part one ends with a discussion of the glory and wonder that is Cop Rock! 

You can listen in the player below, download it directly off of Liberated Syndication, or subscribe to us on iTunes.

Enjoy, and stay tuned for Part Two next week!

Direct download: 1990_Part_One.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

If you're a music fan and you've not been living under a rock for the past several weeks, you'll know that a jury decision to award 7.3 million dollars to the Marvin Gaye estate was big news. Of course, this decision came thanks to a suit that alleged the Robin Thicke smash "Blurred Lines" (written by Pharrell Williams) copied and didn't credit Gaye's #1 smash "Got To Give It Up". The Blerd Radio team (consisting of musicians Michael "The Packet Man" Cunningham & Michael "No Nicknames, Please" Parr, professor Dr. Z (whose syllabus has covered copyright law) and general layman Big Money) investigates in the latest podcast.

Some highlights from the podcast:

-If Thicke & Pharrell owe Marvin Gaye's family seven million dollars, how much does EVERYONE owe Bo Diddley?

-Did the "Blurred Lines" team investigate the court proceedings because they sniffed out plans to sue by the Gaye clan?

-Pharrell's long history of making songs that sound like other songs.

-Several examples of similar legal proceedings that have taken place in the past; most notably the case which saw a court declare that George Harrison "unconsciously" borrowed the melody of The Chiffons' "He's So Fine" for his "My Sweet Lord". Ultimately, Harrison had the last laugh...

-Cunningham's late arrival spawns a loosening of the discussion in which he manages to name check his old band Neighbours as well as several past episodes of Blerd Radio.

-In between the jokes, Cunningham also notes that this ruling was based on the sheet music alone; the jury was not allowed to hear the actual sound recordings.

-Does parody count in a case like this?

The ultimate discussion is: was the decision the jury made correct? (the panel unanimously answers "no".) What repercussions will this ruling have in the future? And will the judgment be overturned on appeal?

Stay tuned...and check out the podcast by clicking below. You can also download it directly from Liberated Syndication or check us out on iTunes.

Direct download: Blurred_Lines_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Blerd Radio 2015 | Episode 1: The Neo-Soul Podcast

Welcome to Blerd Radio's first podcast of 2015. In our new year debut (never mind it being mid-February) the team of Big Money, The Packet Man, Dr. Z and Michael Parr discuss the music and influence of what is commonly known as the "neo-soul" era.

Particularly in light of D'Angelo's Black Messiah album's suprise release and rapturous reception, we though it would be a good idea to talk about the era he birthed, in a way. Here are some related topics we felt it necessary to discuss over the course of an hour (and some change).

-The birth of "neo-soul"

A marketing concept developed as a reaction to the twin powers of "quiet storm" (Luther Vandross, Anita Baker) and "new jack swing" (Bell Biv DeVoe, Bobby Brown) designed to create music of a more organic nature than those two sub-genres were known for.

First artists that could fall under the neo-soul umbrella; the British acid-jazz movement (Brand New Heavies, Soul II Soul, Jamiroquai), Me'shell Ndegeocello, Tony Toni Tone.

-The King & Queen of "neo-soul"; D'Angelo & Erykah Badu and the impact that they made on the scene.

-Often compared but wildly different in actuality; D'Angelo & Maxwell

-Other artists that fall under that umbrella; Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Musiq (Soulchild), Alicia Keys? (side convo: when did Alicia Keys start screaming so god damn much?)

Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill: neo-soul? hip-hop? or just "Lauryn Hill Music"?

Has the music made during this era held up well over the years?

-Neo soul influences; Prince & Chaka Khan (side convo: Chaka's chocolate line; creatively entitled Chakalates).

-What's up with the lengthy delays between releases for many of these artists?

D'Angelo: nearly 15 years between Voodoo & Black Messiah

Maxwell: 8 years between Now & BLACKsummersnight. 6 years since BLACKsummersnight with no follow-up in sight.

Lauryn Hill: Miseducation is 17 years old. No proper follow-up in sight.

-Neo-soul newbies; including Jesse Boykins III & Taylor McFerrin, to name a few.

-Going independent; only a few artists from the era still have major-label contracts (which they don't need to further their brand). The Roots recently announced that they are free agents.

-The wonder of Dave Chappelle's Block Party

-Props to Rachid and Remy Shand, two artists that dropped interesting debuts but never followed them up.

Direct download: NeoSoul_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 1:41pm EDT

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the final Blerd Radio podcast of 2014!

Big Money, Michael Parr, Dr. Z & Cunningham have gotten all gussied up and we're ready to take over your New Year's Eve...at least before all the parties and fun and stuff.

Anyway, picking up where we left off on Part One, the panel wanders through the highlights and lowlights of pop culture in 2014, including:

-The return of Prince, which elicits a massive yawn from super-huge Prince fan Dr. Z

-Cunningham gives his rundown of the best movies of the year, giving props to Boyhood, Birdman, Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets, & Jingle Bell Rocks!

-He also gives a thumbs-up to the small screen's Mike Tyson Mysteries

-The panel shakes its collective head at the ongoing Bill Cosby saga, one of the weirdest WTF episodes of 2014.

-We say goodbye to Philip Seymour Hoffman & Robin Williams.

A few 2014-wrapping round robins commence:

-Best Concert of 2014, in which we give props to Stevie Wonder, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Living Colour and the late Ian McLagan.

-The "Person of the Year" category leads to a discussion on the recent civil unrest in the U.S. as well as brief chats about the state of the modern music industry.

-Most anticipated Kany...uh, album of 2015.

(also: new albums from Chic, Kendrick Lamar, The Decemberists and Giorgio Moroder get mentioned)

And, finally, the panel picks their three favorite albums of the year-this part of the discussion cuts a swath through The Afghan Whigs, Julian Velard, Big K.R.I.T., Flying Lotus, Big Freedia, White Lung, The Gotobeds and more.

The Blerd Radio Team thanks you all for listening and subscribing. Wait till you see what we have in store for 2015! Happy New Year!

Direct download: Year_End_Podcast_02.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Ladies and gentlemen!

Welcome to The Blerd Radio team's 2014 wrap-up; or at least the first part of it. True to form, we gabbed so much we had to split the episode in two; lest we be responsible for your being glued to the computer for two hours plus.

It's been sort of an underwhelming pop culture year, but that didn't stop me (Big Money), Michael ParrCunningham The Packet Man and Dr. Z from touching on a variety of topics, which include:

-D'AngeloBlack Messiah came out on the day we recorded this podcast, and the surprise release was heavy on everyone's mind.

-The biggest-selling albums of 2014, including the Frozen soundtrack, Taylor Swift's 1989, and Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour. We discuss Taylor's ubiquity and business smarts and question how involved she is in the construction of her music, while wondering if British pop can give us something a little less beige than Mr. Smith.

-Is there still hope for pop music? Betty Who? comes up in conversation as a non-cookie cutter pop artist that might break here in the U.S.

-Jeff Giles, friend, occasional Popblerd contributor, media Grand Poobah, introducer of Ariana Grande.

-The panel imagines Cunningham as a rebellious prep school girl (after he expresses a taste for Lana Del Rey.)

-Why does Ryan Tedder poison everything he touches, and why is he so damn popular?

-Cultural appropriation at its worst-personified by one Iggy Azalea.

-The U2 Songs Of Innocence/iTunes fiasco. Is Bono the white Kanye? (or, is Kanye the Black Bono) Also, how much disbelief do we have to suspend in order to imagine that Rolling Stone's voting of Innocence as the best album of 2014 wasn't an example of the Old Boys Network at its best?

Give this podcast a listen in the player below, or direct download it at this link.

You can also download/listen on Ye Olde iTunes!

Direct download: Year_End_Podcast01.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 5:41pm EDT

One thing we didn't properly cover on our 1989 podcast from earlier this year was director Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing. Over the course of many conversations, the Blerd Radio team (myself, Michael Parr, Cunningham The Packet Man and Dr. Z) discussed dedicating an entire episode to Do The Right Thing specifically, or doing an episode on Spike's oeuvre. 

Then Ferguson happened. Then Cleveland happened. Then Staten Island happened. And it seemed like the most obvious (and timely) thing to do from a pop culture perspective was to talk about Do The Right Thing and how prescient the movie seems in light of current events. 

We all knew going in that discussing the movie was going to lead into a greater discussion about things like race, police brutality and the general state of this country. Any time you get four passionate people in a room together (as "virtual" as this room may have been,) you're going to get an interesting discussion. What we ended up with is , to my ears, one of the best podcast episodes we've ever done.

Yes, we talk about the film at length. If you've never seen Do The Right Thing and you've been curious (and trust our opinions) , you'll hopefully find plenty to enjoy over the course of 90 minutes. It is a tremendously important movie for a variety of reasons. It was the magnum opus of a critically acclaimed screenwriter and director, it was the film debut (or an early-career screen turn) for a number of soon-to-be superstars like Samuel Jackson, Danny Aiello, Rosie Perez, Jon Turturro and Martin Lawrence, it was beautifully shot, it contains great music and it's a compelling story. We cover all of that. And, as befitting a film that's probably more comedy than drama, there are plenty of light moments throughout the podcast.

We also wind up having the sort of discussion that great film should provoke. It's not always an easy, or comfortable discussion (and I'd like to think that we handled it pretty smoothly given our disparate backgrounds) but it's an important one. And in this case, hopefully an entertaining one.

Direct download: DoTheRightThing.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 11:26pm EDT

Our discussion about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was so involved, we had to split it up! You can listen to Part One here.

The estimable Dr. Z had to sit this podcast out (something about a bikini wax?), but Michael ParrMichael Cunningham The Packet Man and yours truly held down the fort in Z's absence.

The second half of the show covers:

-The "Recently Deceased" argument and whether it greases the skids for Lou Reed's induction as a solo artist.

-Cunningham attempts to explain Lou Reed's appeal to me, drawing a (not wrongheaded) comparison to Bob Dylan.

-Will the hopes of a Morrissey/Johnny Marr reunion (even though it will never happen) be a boon for The Smiths and their chances at induction?

-What about those Morrissey cancer rumors anyway?

-How many R&B vocal groups should be inducted?

-Should there be a rule about inducting solo artists who are already in as members of groups?

-The collective shock we experience upon discovering that Stevie Ray Vaughan was not already in the Hall.

-Parr waxes rhapsodic over "Lenny," a song that is not about Mr. Kravitz or the partner of Squiggy.

-Are The Meters in? Or are they out?

-Bill. Motherfuckin'. Withers-king of everything.

-Does a certain Afro'ed drummer who is more or less the patron saint of this site hold a serious amount of sway as far as inductees being chosen?

-The team casts their own ballots--I can't say we'll surprise you too much there.

-Will a female rapper ever be inducted?

-We also pick two artists not presently up for induction and explain why they should be nominated/inducted.

-Matt Wardlaw gets mentioned in a second consecutive podcast. We should just invite him to do one of these damn things.

-Parr delivers a note-perfect Aaron Neville impression.

-Do you want some Doobies in your hall?

And more. You guys know the routine.

 

Direct download: HOF_Cast_Part_2.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:54am EDT

Last year, the Blerd Radio team had one of its most interesting discussions centered around the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. That discussion went so well, we decided to attack it this year with a fresh list of nominees. The end result was another interesting discussion. How interesting, you ask? So interesting that we had to split the discussion in half. Look for the second part later this week.

Dr. Z couldn't make this podcast, so you're left with a trio of Mikes: myself, Mr. Parr and Mr. Cunningham. Three is definitely not a crowd in this instance, and the first half of this edition of Blerd Radio covers:

-General overview: what elements of the Hall of Fame do we like and dislike? This is a rehash of our discussion from last year...what are the parameters, and will there come a point when everyone is in the Hall of Fame? Furthermore, what is rock 'n roll?

-Ladies and gentlemen, the ageless Jann Wenner.

-Are we looking at a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Taylor Swift and Britney Spears in 15-20 years? And can we get some love for Cher, for Chrissakes? (leading to a discussion on whether the Hall of Fame is discriminatory towards female artists.)

-This year's nominees are:

PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND- (collective yawn and WTF? from the panel, for the second straight year.)

CHIC- Another second-straight-year nominee, and one we're all (still) quite passionate about. We run through a list of Nile Rodgers' accomplishments, and also make the connection between Nile and another performer on the list of nominees, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

-Did Chic kick off the modern-day producer's era?

(we almost go into fits about Isaac Hayes not being in the HOF, before realizing he was inducted thirteen years ago.)

GREEN DAY- Are Mike, Tre and Billie Joe first-ballot worthy? They're certainly influential, although Cunningham might be not as much a fan as the rest of us. How punk rock!

-Sidebar: Might the HOF go easy on the star power this year?

JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS- Does an induction for her (them? Who are The Blackhearts, anyway?) ensure that The Runaways will never get inducted? And what does this mean for other rockers of the '80s? (Melissa Etheridge, Tracy Chapman, Sinead O' Connor...)

-Is the HOF unfairly biased against non-American artists?

KRAFTWERK- This really just gives Parr and Cunningham a chance to bust out their German accents.

THE MARVELETTES- Does "the 5th best girl group on Motown" deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame?

N.W.A.- Is Dr. Dre the richest Black musician in the world?

Does N.W.A.'s music deserve a critical re-evaluation? Where do they stand in the hip-hop canon?

We also show respect to Salt 'n Pepa (who haven't even been nominated yet) while also cracking a joke at their expense.

NINE INCH NAILS: Let's be real, here. This is one fairly long gush for Trent Reznor.

There'll be a Part II!: We talked so much we decided to split the podcast up. Look for the second half, coming soon.

Direct download: HOF_Edit_Part_1.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:01am EDT

Ladies & Gentlemen, welcome to 1989!

Yes, the Blerd Radio team (Big Money, Michaels Parr & Cunningham, and the Incredible Edible Doctor Z) are hopping in the old time machine and turning it back a quarter century (!)

George Bush I is president, the World Wide Web is in its infancy, the Berlin wall came down, and baby Taylor Swift made her way into the world. We talk about none of these four things during the course of this podcast.

We do, however, discuss...

-The San Francisco earthquake and the differences in the reporting of natural disasters in the '80s vs. our instant news via social media.

-Dr. Z goes apeshit over The Wizard, co-starring Fred Savage.

-Cunningham gives props to the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack. Too hot to handle, too cold to hold!

-Big Money discovers that We Were Promised Jetpacks were named after a line in Back To The Future 2.

-WHITE BOYS LOVE CHRISTIAN SLATER!!

-The Batman phenomenon...Jack Nicholson as The Joker, Hot Kim Basinger, and more...oh yeah, there was a soundtrack too. Some dude we all like recorded it. And may originally have meant to record it with someone else we all like.

-Madonna's Like A Prayer, a fount of dissenting opinion. And we are remiss for not mentioning the anniversary piece written by our friend Annie Zaleski.

-What were The Jacksons doing in 1989? Moonwalker & Rhythm Nation.

-Hair Metal-palooza, which is very closely tied in to Power Ballad-palooza. Special shouts to Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood and Aerosmith's Pump. Cunningham is definitely not the strongest link in this particular conversation.

-Black rock takes over: introducing Living Colour & Lenny Kravitz, which dovetails into a conversation about the exquisite and gorgeous Zoe Kravitz.

actress and singer Zoe Kravitz

-Apparently, hiding your musical tastes from your friends (or separating that from different groups of friends) is a thing?

-Hip-hop underwent a transitional period in 1989. Pop hits from Tone Loc & Young MC ruled the roost, but there were great not-as-recognized records by MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane and more. There was also the debut of MC Hammer. And classic albums Paul's Boutique and 3 Feet High & Rising, which was the winner of the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll that year.

-Alternative rock begins to go mainstream: Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana debut, and The B-52s and The Cure have their biggest hits.

-New Invention: Fred Schneider GPS. We're copyrighting that shit.

-TV in 1989: the debuts of SeinfeldThe SimpsonsArsenio and Saved By The Bell, starring TAT AKA Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (apparently she's got an acronym thing happening now.)

-"We Didn't Start The (Fucking) Fire"

N.W.A. and the (muppet) Posse

...and so much more...

Check us out here on LibSyn. You can also download the podcast from iTunes and make sure if you do, you rate us and leave a comment!

 

 

Direct download: 1989_podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 11:23pm EDT

The Blerd Radio team (me AKA MJ AKA Big Money, Dr. Z.Cunningham and Michael Parr) is at it again, dedicating this episode to Stevie Wonder on the launch of his Songs In The Key of Life retrospective tour. An all-Stevie episode has been on the agenda for quite a while, but we finally decided to go for the gusto, focusing on his "golden" era, a period that covers his iconic albums Talking BookInnervisions, Fulfillingness's First Finale, and Key of Life.

Among the topics discussed over the 80-minute podcast:

-The newsworthiness of the "Stevie Wonder Truthers"- a group of people who've surfaced with the hypothesis that Stevie has been feigning blindness for the past 64 years.

-Pre-Talking Book Stevie- 14 albums (!!) some killer singles, glimpses of a monster talent, and a version of "Light My Fire" that's leagues better than the original ('cause fuck The Doors.)

-Which living Motown artist/personality will helm the era's definitive biography? Why hasn't Stevie written a book yet?

-"Maybe Your Baby"-yea or nay?

-The mention of Don McLean's American Pie (which was nominated for a 1972 Album of the Year Grammy when Talking Book was not) sets Cunningham into a tizzy-the ensuing rant is priceless.

-How songs as sappy as "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" and "Isn't She Lovely" managed to capture the hearts of people who were not predisposed to such Hallmark-card sentiment.

-Innervisions as Big Money's first Stevie album and (arguably) his favorite album of all time.

-Peak Period Stevie's ability to deliver messages while not seeming heavy-handed.

-Stevie's Sleeper: Fulfillingness' First Finale

-The weird bond between Stevie and Bette Midler (at least as pertains to the Grammy Awards)

-Key of Life covers and Celine Dion's reminiscings about being a little nappy-headed child.

-How unique it is to have a multi-record set that's good ALL the way through.

-Driving straight from the middle of the road into the ditch via Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants.

-Modern-day Stevie's material getting short shrift thanks to the long shadow cast by his best work.

-"I Just Called To Say I Love You"-because.

-Alicia Keys getting sonned (nicely) by Stevie on national television.

-Stevie's amazing vocal agility-still largely intact after fifty+ years of singing.

-Cunningham (the star of this particular podcast) confuses Stevie with Ray Charles because of course! He also relates the story of hip-hop producer Peanut Butter Wolf meeting Stevie at a urinal.

-This turn in the conversation occurs thanks to Cunningham's recommendation of Yesterday's New Quintet.

-The Songs In The Key of Life listening party documentary.

...and so much more!

 

Direct download: Wondercast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:13pm EDT

Blerd Radio 2014 | Episode 13: The In Sound From Way Out

KICK IT!

(and give me props for not going for the obvious "Fight For Your Right" intro on the actual podcast.

This episode pays tribute to three bad brothers you know so well--Ad Rock, Mike D., and the late, great MCA: better known as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame artists The Beastie Boys.

Over the course of 90 minutes, the team of Big Money, Michael Parr, Dr. Z and Mike Cunningham discuss the legacy of the three East Village punks who shook up the hip-hop world and morphed from bratty caricatures to elder statesmen with cachet in the rap and alternative rock communities. 

From the sophomoric but still enjoyable Licensed To Ill to the trippy Paul's Boutique to their uneven more recent efforts, the Beasties were never less than interesting throughout their three decades as a unit. 

Some questions/statements that come up over the course of the discussion:

-How important a factor was the Beastie Boys' race in their success? (also, the first-ever comparison might be made between the Beasties and New Kids On The Block)

-Does Paul's Boutique hold up a quarter-century later? (we also discuss the excellent 33 1/3 volume dedicated to the album and revisit sampling laws.)

-The court of public opinion is split on the Beasties' more recent efforts, although no album provides more dissenting commentary than 1999's Hello Nasty.

-The immortal "Skills To Pay The Bills" VHS and the role of video in the Beasties' career.

-What is their legacy and will there be another group like them?

Listen, comment, do your thing!

Direct download: Beasties.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT

No, we didn't spend an hour and a half talking about The Return Of Bruno.
 
This episode of Blerd Radio finds Big Money, Dr. Z, Michael Parr and Mike Duquette discussing The Boss: singer/songwriter/showman Bruce Springsteen.
 
Frequent co-conspirator Michael Cunningham is MIA this episode because he hates Springsteen. And is a commie bastard.
 
It's the 30th Anniversary of the classic Born in the USA album, which sold multi-millions, was the #1 album of 1985 (despite being released in 1984) and spawned a record-tying 7 Top Ten singles. The album is a cultural touchstone for many that came up in the era, and we discuss its importance in the pop music landscape as well as whether its highly regarded by Bruce's cult of diehard fans.
 
As with many albums recorded in the mid-late '80s, there was a bit of a compromise with certain songs being remixed or geared to fit in with a more dance-centric/MTV audience. Case in point: a slightly really odd dance version of "Cover Me."
 
In addition to Born In The USA, we talk about the role of the E Street Band over the course of Springsteen's lengthy career, showing appreciation to the individual members but also wondering if Springsteen hasn't kinda given them the shaft when it comes to co-billing them over the years. Perhaps his ill treatment is the cause of Little Steven's perennial resting bitchface?
 
(of course, a Blerd Radio podcast wouldn't be a Blerd Radio podcast with at least one major sidebar--which we utilize to take a shit on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.)
 
We also shout out our favorite Bruce albums, give props to the fact that a 65 year old man can probably kick all of our (significantly younger) asses, and at least one of us discovers the true meaning of "Pink Cadillac" for the first time. Who knew?

 

Direct download: Brucecast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:20am EDT

Blerd Radio 2014 | Episode 10: Summah Summah Summah Time

Greetings, dear readers! Guess what time it is? If you guessed "time for another Blerd Radio podcast," then you, sir or madam, are correct!!

This podcast features panelists Michael CunninghamMichael ParrDr. Z and Mike Duquette along with myself, and we're throwing our annual summer party.

You're invited to listen in as we discuss:

-The concept of the "Summer Anthem," a fairly new conceit that most agree began in the early '90s with DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's "Summertime," but which has roots in '60s classics by The Beach Boys and the Motown label.

-This AV Club article which laments the death of the "Summer Anthem," in light of Iggy Azalea's fairly forgettable hit "Fancy," but the panel wonders if the summer anthem is just taking a long nap, as opposed to being dead.

-The mention of Iggy Azalea leads to a short discussion about female rappers and one panelist is left in disappointed awe after being told that many popular female rappers likely didn't write their own lyrics (and, allegedly, neither does Iggy.)

-It's summer movie season! What's popping at the box office? Duquette gives us the lowdown on "Transformers," "22 Jump Street" and many of the season's hottest flicks.

-The panel collectively scratches its head about "Jersey Boys."

-A discussion about summer television immediately goes nowhere, because none of us really watches TV. God damn, we're pretentious!

-Binge watching...yay or nay? You might be surprised by the panel's opinion.

-There is a lot more reading being done, though, and most of it is music related. Whether it's the umpteenth book about Michael Jackson, a classic 33 1/3 book, the tales of guitar god Joe Satriani, or the posthumous autobiography of Rick James, pages are being turned!

-Non-entertainment related summertime activities! Dr. Z and Cunningham give it up for amusement parks, roller coasters and funnel cake. I finally receive a satisfactory explanation as to what funnel cake actually is.

-We find out that Parr's wife is a "G" for persuading her husband to go on a roller coaster. Props!

-Recommendations include Dave Holmes' column on Vulture and more. Listen to get the full scoop!

Enjoy!

 

 

Direct download: Summer_2014_Blerd_Radio.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:28am EDT

Blerd Radio 2014 | Episode 9: Slipping You Some (Native) Tongues

After a lengthy hiatus, the original Blerd Radio team is back with a tasty podcast that discusses the impact of the Native Tongues crew: specifically A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul.

Among the many sub-topics discussed by Big Money, Dr. Z, Michael Cunningham & Michael Parr are:

An appearance by the God Rakim Allah at a local strip club/music venue in Pittsburgh, which makes the panel question the appearance of Pittsburgh natives Dr. Z & Cunningham on the podcast (when they could be rocking with Ra.)

This podcast was recorded on the birthday of the great Johnny Gill, leading to a story about how Cunningham rubbed some female karaoke patrons the right way.

Why are we doing this podcast in the first place? A rundown of the achievements (mostly unheralded) of the Native Tongues.

Were De La, Tribe and the others too complicated for middle America? Or does the general populace only like seeing their rappers of the cartoonish gangsta variety?

The Tongues influence spreads wide and includes the introduction of jazz into the hip-hop ouevre, the proliferation of the posse cut, and the popularization of the (somewhat dreaded) hip-hip skit.

We give props to the Jungle (the Jungle) the Brothers (the Brothers)

"Beats, Rhymes & Life" (the album)-classic? Or not?

Did Consequence break A Tribe Called Quest?

"Low End Theory" vs. "Midnight Marauders"

"3 Feet HIgh And Rising" vs. "De La Soul Is Dead"

and finally...De La vs. Tribe

 

 

 

Direct download: Tongues_Cast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:55am EDT

Welcome to the latest episode of Blerd Radio!

In this episode, Big Money (the titular Blerd) is joined by his West Coast compatriots, Garrett "GG" Gonzales and Kevin "KJ" Johnson. Free from the constraints implied by a specific theme, this podcast is a freewheeling hour (and change) that touches on the following topics:

-Sir Mix-A-Lot's plush new gig making announcements at SEA/TAC airport, and whether it's appropriate to call Mix a one-hit wonder.

-The differences between hip-hop radio on the East and West coasts in the early Nineties.

-MC Hammer's ubiquity on West Coast hip-hop radio around that time leads to a discussion about the infamous "Pumps And A Bump" video and whether anyone on the panel would be caught dead in a leopard-skin banana hammock.

-Did Hammer really have a leg to stand on when challenging Michael Jackson to a dance-off, and do any of today's singer/dancers (Timberlake, Chris Brown, Usher, Ne-Yo) hold a candle to the King of Pop on the showmanship tip?

-KJ and Big Money finally met in person! Get the lowdown on their thrilling face-to-face.

-Also, find out how KJ came into possession of a teddy bear modeled after Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. Yes, you heard that right.

-A discussion on turning 40, from three men in their late thirties. The operative word is: frightened. This discussion somehow turns into the initial planning stages for a Popblerd guys' weekend in Las Vegas. If and when this happens, there will be pictures.

-Alcohol tolerance; as discussed by someone who finds himself out and about fairly often (Big Money,) someone who hangs out occasionally with his much-younger co-workers (GG,) and someone who goes out every fourth full moon (KJ.)

-Which '90s R&B group member should have had the biggest solo career?

And that's the tip of the iceberg, folks. You can listen in the player below, or download the podcast directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes!

Direct download: MikeGGKJ414.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:41am EDT

Two podcasts in a week? Yes, folks, we at Blerd Studios have been working overtime to entertain you.

In this episode, I am joined by Bill Bodkin, co-owner and editor-in-chief of our sister site, Pop-break.com.

As Bill is quite Irish, and it is March, St. Patrick's Day is discussed. Among other things, like...

-Bill's low batting average when it comes to predictions on our Grammy-cast from earlier this year.

-The incredulity that arises when Big Money is told that New Jersey governor Chris Christie was at the gym when he first heard the news of the "bridge scandal."

-BM and Bill (both diabetic) eye Subway's new Flatizza.

-Bill gives us an Academy Awards report, giving props to Matthew McConaughey and comparing this year's host, Ellen Degeneres, to last year's host, Seth MacFarlane.

-Do Muppet movies in the 21st century compare to the classic run of Muppet movies in the late Seventies and early Eighties?

-Jimmy Fallon's resuscitated "The Tonight Show" with the help of Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, and Brian Williams, whose daughter is apparently an actress! (which I'm sure many of you knew, but Big Money did not as he is cable-deficient.)

-How unbelievably bad is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit these days? Bad enough that Bill's been threatened by some of the show's diehard fans after writing an unfavorable review.

-SXSW, shows, and claustrophobia.

-Our new music wrapup includes quick chats about the new Beck & Pharrell Williams albums, and Bill discusses new artists he's into like We Are ScientistsYellow Ostrich and Eagulls.

And more...

Direct download: MikeBillMarch.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:47am EDT

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another fun-filled Blerd Radio podcast. In this episode, Big Money is joined by co-hosts Michael Parr, Mike Duquette and Zack Stiegler, and a very special guest: The Popblerd Time Machine.

We are hopping in and heading back to 1984, a year that signified a seismic shift in popular culture. Here's a quick rundown of some of the topics discussed:

-The 1984 presidential election: the first time there was a viable black candidate, and the first female vice-presidential candidate (but don't blame her for Sarah Palin.)

-The Summer Olympics, boycotted by the Russians, but definitely not boycotted by Lionel Richie. A discussion of this event serves as a memory jogger for some events that Parr had successfully blocked from his psyche.

-Michael Jackson's 1984, which was awesome (Grammy Awards) and not awesome (hair catching on fire.)

-The breakthrough of a younger grain of female superstar in the forms of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. The former starlet is widely credited with helping bring the WWF to dominance, while the latter's videos revolutionized the art form...well, maybe except for "Borderline."

-Was Tina Turner (whose comeback was a major story in 1984) history's first GILF?

-There is a somewhat lengthy (but respectful?) discussion about the pre-teen discovery of breasts (thanks to Vanessa Williams' Penthouse spread, Apollonia's purification in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, and Daryl Hannah in Splash)

-1984 was a watershed year in film, spawning classics including the still-relevant This Is Spinal Tap and the not-as-funny-as-you-may-think (according to Parr) Beverly Hills Cop.

-The film adaptation of George Orwell's 1984, which was one of Richard Burton's final film roles (and boasted a soundtrack performed by Eurythmics.)

-The bizarre deaths of Andy Kaufman and Marvin Gaye.

-Stevie Wonder jumps the shark with "I Just Called To Say I Love You," which was a lowlight in a year full of negligible movie songs.

-The panel is asks which of the following four songs they'd choose if they were held at gunpoint and forced to listen to one of 1984's worst-"I Just Called To Say...", "Footloose", "Let's Hear It For The Boy" or "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."

-Of course, there's one Adele Dazeem joke.

-We almost omit one unforgettable item-The Cosby Show debuted in 1984, revitalizing the sitcom and giving us Lisa Bonet and Phylicia Rashad.

-We discuss the dawn of "college rock."

-Finally, we each pick our top 3 singles from the year, but not before Duquette regales us with the story of going to see Ashford & Simpson in concert.

 

 

Direct download: 84_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

This latest episode of Blerd Radio continues the conversation MJKJ and GG were having on the last podcast. Unfortunately, it also contains the same audio problems (albeit to a lesser extent.) However, as I said last time: the conversation's interesting enough that hopefully you can forgive the fidelity issues-this time.

Topics discussed this go-round include:

-The 10th anniversary of The College Dropout by Kanye West: How the album changed hip-hop, and what both GG & MJ saw in Kanye that made them fans right off the bat (and still to this day.)

-It looks like Michael Sam is going to become the NFL's first gay player (barring not being drafted or injury,) and the panel discusses why this is such a big deal for the NFL, for the LGBT community, and for homophobes.

-The perceived anonymity of the internet, of course, allows for people to casually espouse ignorance under the guise of...well...various forms. GG talks about his regulation of an NFL message board that found itself mired in homophobic comments.

-Will Sam's pre-draft admission hurt his chances of getting drafted highly? Which team will take him? Might the Miami Dolphins, looking to do some image makeover, draft him?

-Can we officially do away with the terms "no homo" and "pause"? Especially for the over 30 crowd? Thankfully, in suburban Washington State, KJ is blissfully unaware of what those terms mean and has to consult good ol' Urban Dictionary.

-Does Macklemore's big night at the Grammys also signify the official end of his career? Or does the ongoing success of significantly less-talented rappers like Flo Rida and Pitbull augur well for a bright future?

-What is Drunk White Girl music?

-Finally, should our girl Mariah Carey take a tip from Toni Braxton and team up with Babyface for some work worthy of her still considerable talent?

You can listen to Episode 5 in the player below, or direct download it at the link below. You can also search for us on iTunes, download the podcast there. Feel free to leave a comment and vote for us...even if it's to say that MJ should stop whispering (sorry, I had a sleeping nephew in the house when I was recording this) and get his mic fixed!

Direct download: Feb_MJGGKJ2.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:37am EDT

Hey, guys! Welcome to our latest Blerd Radio episode!

I am (for the second time this year) joined by my cohorts GG and KJ for an All Initials Podcast!

A few things to note: One, this will be a two-part podcast. We talked for a long time. Part 2 should be up over the weekend.

Two, I had my mic settings all jacked up and as a result, I sound like  I'm on a different planet than GG and KJ. That said, this is a really entertaining podcast, so we hope you listen anyway.

Among the topics discussed:

Sportz!: The Winter Olympics are underway, the NBA All-Star Game finished literally minutes before we started recording, and KJ might still be a little sore from the results of the Super Bowl. We also give a critique of Bruno Mars' halftime performance.

We also contemplate artists that could potentially headline the halftime show for the 2015 Super Bowl, and we come up with a somewhat unlikely, but hip and edgy candidate-Pharrell Williams!

Music: Valentine's Day weekend was a big one for free music, as Ne-Yo and JoJo both released mixtapes, and hip-hop legends De La Soul released most of their catalog for free on their website. We discuss why this is an awesome marketing move, and we briefly compare and contrast De La with their Native Tongue brethren A Tribe Called Quest.

The conversation then turns to Aubrey Drake Graham. GG reveals a previously hidden hip-hop snob and wonders if Drake is "stealing from the game." KJ, relatively unfamiliar with Drake, says that he confuses the Canadian rap star with a long-forgotten British pop star, while I contemplate the similarities between Drizzy and P.M. Dawn.

We also discuss the Rolling Stone cover story beef, in which Drake voiced his displeasure with being replaced on the magazine's cover with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The first release of 2014 that all three of us are geeked over: Toni Braxton & Babyface's Love, Marriage & Divorce.

The second release of 2014 that all three of us might be geeked over: the new Jacksons record (although it probably won't come out anytime soon.) GG recaps the brothers' appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show and wonders whether Marlon Jackson would've been a bigger star had he not been in his younger brother's shadow.

Direct download: Feb_MGK_Part_One.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:47am EDT

The Grammy madness continues.

GrammyIt's a convergence of multiple podcasts! Our latest episode of Blerd Radio brings together MJ/Big Money, Michael Parr and Mike Duquette from the 4 1/2 Mikes podcast, along with pop-break.com's Bill Bodkin and renaissance man GG for an in-depth look at this year's nominees and potential winners.

This blue-ribbon panel picks the winners for Song Of The Year, Best Rock AlbumBest New ArtistBest Rap AlbumBest Pop AlbumBest R&B Album, Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year.

In addition to the predictions, you'll hear:

-Why there can never be any such thing as a Beatles reunion again.

-Will Lorde be the bell of the Grammy ball?

-What would an Ozzy Osbourne Grammy speech even sound like? (hint: it involves subtitles.)

-James Blake is NOT the guy who sang "You're Beautiful."

-Looking at the last decade or so of winners, it might be time to reassess the perception of the Best New Artist Grammy as the kiss of death.

-Middle America's love/hate relationship with Kanye West.

-Mos Def's humble beginnings as a co-star of a TV show with Nell Carter.

-Was Justin Timberlake's "Pair Of Wings" written by a pre-teen?

-Lana Del Ray: musical tranquilizers?

-The horrible production values of Faith Evans' R&B Divas album.

-We LOVE LOVE LOVE (all of us) LOVE Nile Rodgers.

All that and more in this special episode (and apologies for the sound issues...my stupid laptop fan was running extra high.)

Nevertheless, listen in the player below, or direct download here, OR head on over to iTunes, check out our other podcasts, and leave some feedback!

Direct download: Grammy_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:01am EDT

The gang is back...for the first time in forever.

4 1/2 Mikes has been operating at 80% capacity for months due to scheduling conflicts, but MJ/Big Money is, once again, joined by Dr. ZMichael ParrMike Cunningham AND Mike Duquette for a fun-filled hour of...talking about books? Books about music, to be specific.

Some of the topics that come up amongst our well-read group are:

-Michael Parr's new food website, and the enlistment of extreme peer pressure to make sure the site gets populated with content.

-The first impression of the new year-Dr. Z does Dr. Phil proud.

-One final discussion about Christmas, which leads into chats about Z's mysterious 12-hour Christmas bug and the year Big Money got chicken pox from Santa. Also, Z got a really ugly Jerry Garcia tie and reveals that he was a pre-teen Deadhead.

-Did you know that the Ying Yang Twins played a strip club in Pittsburgh in mid-December? Z and Cunningham (who live in PGH) didn't, and that makes them mad.

-Speaking of Pittsburgh, you should definitely check out the hip-hop comics drawn and written by Ed Piskor.

-A discussion of Nick Hornby's "Song Book" detours into a talk about "High Fidelity" (the alpha and the omega of music-geek fiction) and a pause to take in the overwhelming beauty that is Lisa "Lilakoi Moon" Bonet.

-So, where did the obsession with music books start? We go up the music mag ladder, from the teen rags to Rolling Stone, Spin, and the much-missed Blender.

-We stop for a second to laugh hysterically at the mess that was Michael Jackson's Moonwalk, the first music bio that at least two of us read.

-Parr immediately gets ambitious on our ass, touting The Frank Zappa Book, while Cunningham gives a thumbs up to Ray DaviesX-Ray and a massive thumbs down to Pete Townshend.

-The panel is asked who they'd most like to read an autobiography of, and the answers reveal a lot of '80s pop icons. And a lot of drummers. (Quick, name one '80s pop icon who's also a drummer. Sussudio! You've got it!)

-Big Money chats a bit about the best Michael Jackson bio, and inserts a plug for Joe Vogel's The Man In The Music, a book in which he is quoted. Twice. Parr and Z, meanwhile, give props to Per Nilsson's The Vault, a book which is apparently unavailable on Amazon because Prince found all the copies and burned them. It's the definitive book on Prince, no matter what Toure may have you think.

-Modern-day music geeks are rightfully jazzed about the 33 1/3 series-except for maybe the recent Andrew W.K. entry.

-Finally, we recommend our favorite music books.

(Duquette picks Steve Knopper's Appetite For Self-Destruction, Cunningham goes with Nelson George's Hip-Hop America, Parr suggests Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, Big Money reps for Jacob Slichter's So You Want To Be A Rock 'n Roll Star?)

-Listen in the player below, or directly download at this link. You can also download and subscribe to us on iTunes! Please leave a comment!

Direct download: Music_Books_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:52pm EDT

Hey folks. Welcome to a new year of Blerd Radio podcasts!

The first episode of 2014 shakes things up a little. For the first time in a while, MJ teams up with GG (occasional contributor to Popblerd, founder of Fight Game Blog) and for the first time ever, teams up with KJ (also an occasional contributor to Popblerd and founder of his own Wordpress site.) Over the course of a fun hour, the trio discusses:

-NFL Wild Card weekend, which featured a couple of exciting games, including a wild finish by the Indianapolis Colts that brought a tear or two to KJ's eye.

-Why if it wasn't for bad luck (or good Luck, as it were,) Andy Reid would have no luck at all. Wait, does that make sense?

Andy Reid

-Hey! Arsenio Hall is back, and he's brought MJ back to (viewing) late night TV!

-Arsenio was not on New Year's Eve, but MJ was still parked in front of the television, and he barely knew who anyone was, with the exception of a noticeably meatier (corset-less) Mariah Carey. Is pop culture passing us all by?

-There might be something to this Arianna Grande chick.

-Miley CyrusJustin Bieber and the new breed of child/young adult stars acting like complete fools.

-With the high level of MJ fandom in the room (thanks to MJ and GG,) it's inevitable that there be a short discussion about Michael Jackson. A question from GG's youngest son leads us to ponder the role Debbie Rowe has in her childrens' lives, and also to ponder whether Michael and Debbie (and Michael & Lisa Marie) actually did the nasty.

-Did you know that KJ and his two brothers (The Brothers Johnson?) have a couple of not embarrassing at all lip-sync videos?

-What was that sound? Hey, it was the surprise album Beyonce released last month that KJ somehow knew nothing about.

(Queen Bey also inspired the title of this particular show)

-Speaking of Beyonce, when did she become such a freak?

-Can you really have a believable feminist persona when your music is largely written and produced by men?

-What does "roheblius" (GG's Twitter handle) actually mean?

You can (and should) also follow Kevin on Twitter.

Listen to the podcast in the player below. Or you can direct download it here. OR you can subscribe and listen on iTunes. If you choose the latter option, feel free to leave us a rating or comment!

Direct download: Blerd_Radio_2014_Episode_1.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:22am EDT

Hey Folks! It's the very last Blerd Radio podcast of 2013. Big Money (the actual "blerd" of the show) is joined by his usual colleagues Mike DuquetteMike CunninghamMichael Parr and Dr. Z.

Except wait. Michael Parr isn't on this one. Ah well. One day all five will be on the show at the same time.

At any rate, this podcast discusses the best (and some of the worst) of the year that is just about to end. While the panel focuses mostly on music, there is also discussion about film, television and politics...the usual things that make Popblerd tick.

In this episode:

-We catch up with Cunningham, who missed the last podcast because his band, Neighbours, was rehearsing for a gig in which they had to play strictly Christmas songs.

-A discussion about Christmas music (carried over from the last episode) leads into Cunningham giving sincere praise to the Ying Yang Twinz holiday offerings.

-Beyonce's surprise album leads to a discussion about music consumption that highlights Amazon.com and their auto-rip feature...something that's referenced often throughout the rest of the podcast. Matter of fact, if Blerd Radio had sponsors...(hint, hint...)

-There's a weird foreign noise that appears in the background for about two minutes which turns out to be Big Money's radiator. It goes away, we promise.

-Cunningham ponders a disturbing trend in popular music; songs sounding ridiculously alike. He points to Sara Bareilles (which he has a little trouble pronouncing)'s "Brave" and Katy Perry's "Roar" as the most egregious example. Big Money simultaneously attempts to uncover a Grammy Award conspiracy involving the two songs.

-Duquette's brother did his senior thesis about "iCarly." This is not a joke.

-Names are thrown about for the best music of 2013, and Daft Punk and Disclosure give our lists a highly electronic sheen.

-What the hell is "Blurred Lines" fatigue?

-The panel attempts to figure out what the hell happened to rock music, while Dr. Z croons a few bars of a Led Zeppelin classic for our listening pleasure.

-As our conversation switches over to film, Cunningham and Dr. Z both agree that Idris Elba is the man, while Big Money tries to uncover another conspiracy; this one involving the news of Nelson Mandela's passing.

-The rest of the panel attempts to force Big Money to watch a Madea Tyler Perry movie.

-"Arrested Development" returns, and a member of the panel has a weird (and extremely vulgar: be on notice!) explanation for how Portia De Rossi's face ended up looking like this.

Portia

-Finally, the panel picks their "People Of The Year." We won't give away the names before you listen, but the honorees include a religious icon, a troubled whistleblower, a comely actress, and the baddest drummer in all the land (nope, not Dave Grohl. Sorry y'all.)

See you all in 2014!

Direct download: Best_2013.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

Our latest podcast episode takes its name from an unheralded Christmas classic. A soul-stirring movie starring Ving Rhames (yes, that Ving Rhames) as...a female impersonator who looks suspiciously like disco superstar Sylvester.

Holiday Hart

As you would expect from a December podcast, our focus is on the holidays. Most specifically, holiday movies and holiday music. The ultimate '80s movie showdown takes place, as Big Money, Dr. Z and Michaels Duquette and Parr decide once and for all which is better- "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" or "Scrooged."

Michael Cunningham is taking the week off to concentrate on schoolwork, his band, and disliking Karen Carpenter and Hall & Oates, which, of course, we filter and come up with "Cunningham hates white people!"

As far as tunes, the team discusses their favorite "nontraditional" Christmas music; a list that encompasses everything from Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" to The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping."

Along the way, you'll hear the shocking story of when a near-teenage Duquette realized that Santa Claus didn't exist (SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING THAT STILL BELIEVES IN SANTA,) and the gang wonders whether the infamously mercurial Prince ever fired a member of his staff in person (because, of course, there has to be a Prince reference in every podcast.) Also, have your hearts and your nether regions warned by Dr. Z's story of the strangest Christmas gift he's ever been witness to.

Oh, and there's also the first actual instance of gas on a Blerd Radio episode. So, there's that.

 Our recommendations on this podcast are as follows:

Big MoneyDamnation Alley Distillery in Belmont, MA

DuquetteDisney's brand new movie, Frozen.

ParrForeverly, the brand new duets album by Billie Joe Armstrong & Norah Jones. Oh, and Real Husbands of Hollywood

ZThe 33 1/3 book discussing Portishead's classic album, Dummy, written by RJ Wheaton.

Don't be a mitch! Listen to the show, and if you listen on iTunes, shoot us a comment!

Direct download: Xmas_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 6:13pm EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 | Episode 22: 30 Odd Foot Of Podcast

Hey Folks,

On this episode, Mike is joined by Bill Bodkin of Pop-break.com. We have a couple of relatively minor audio issues (which will be corrected in future episodes,) but we hope you listen anyway!

Without one central topic to discuss, the conversation winds up covering tons of juicy pop culture goodness. In this episode, you'll hear:

-Apparently this show was recorded on NATIONAL METAL DAY (and also Veteran's Day.)

-Bill went househunting with Jim Florentine-sort of. Not really.

-Who listens to the radio anymore and will it ever return to prominence?

-Oh HEY WE HAVEN'T INTRODUCED OURSELVES YET (10 minutes into the podcast...)

-Mike counters Bill's 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts listening experience with his Kevin Federline listening experience.

-Thanksgiving's coming up! Why is it a favorite holiday of both panelists? (Hint: FOOD)

-Can diabetics drink vodka? What about The Situation's "Devotion Vodka?" (disclaimer: it's not his vodka. He was the face of it for a time, though.)

-Bill and Mike try to make sense of "Black Friday"

-Bill really, REALLY, REALLY loves KISS (an addendum to the last two podcasts we did-which covered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) Bill apparently also really, REALLY, REALLY hates John Mayer. Mike has a sad.

-Mike is incorrect-Willie Nelson is NOT in the RNRHOF.

-A conversation about the most recent episode of "Law & Order: SVU" leads one of the panelists to admit that he's a fan of Taylor Hicks. SOUL PATROL!!!

-Are music-based reality shows going to go the way of the dinosaur?

-Why are "American Idol" superfans so cray-cray?

-We wrap up with a brief discussion about bullying and the Richie Incognito fiasco.

Make sure you follow Popblerd AND Pop-break on Twitter.

-Mike shares memories of working a Ticketmaster counter back in the day,

Direct download: Mike_Bill_November.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 6:05pm EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 | Episode 21: Jann Wenner Can Bite Me (Part 2)

Now that we've discussed the nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class Of 2014, it's time to get into the nitty gritty.

Dr. Gonzo, Big Money, Cunningham and Parr continue their Hall of Fame discussion, with a large part of this episode based around two questions:

-What *is* "rock and roll" music?

-Why does this museum exist in the first place?

This conversation leads us down a few different words, and also leads to one of the team's more, shall we say, spirited discussions.

Also discussed:

-Is the induction ceremony an actual event? Do people care? 

-Which artists have been left off the party list? And are the voters biased against British acts/bands?

-What is the shelf life of the museum? How long after Jann Wenner passes away will the Hall of Fame actually exist?

-Will these two Hall of Fame moments ever be beat? (Prince's guitar-gasm and Mike Love's freak out)

Also, this episode finds the team digging deep into recommendations, which include:

Christine Feldman's book "We Are The Mods" (Gonzo)

Paul McCartney's "New" (Parr)

Lou Reed's "Berlin" (Cunningham)

Toad The Wet Sprocket's "New Constellation" and Questlove's Soul Train book

Please follow us on Twitter: The main popblerd feed | Parr | Cunningham | Gonzo

Also, don't forget to like Popblerd on Facebook, and please leave comments for us on iTunes!

Direct download: RNRHOF_Podcast_Part_2.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:30pm EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 | Episde 20: Jann Wenner Can Bite Me (Part 1)

In case ya missed it, nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class Of 2014 were announced several weeks ago. The list includes The Paul Butterfield Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Kiss, LL Cool J, The Meters, NWA, Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, The Replacements, Cat Stevens, Link Wray, Yes and The Zombies. 

Being the pop culture (specifically music) gluttons that we are, we couldn't resist the urge to talk about the nominees, and we talked SO much about them (and the institution of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame & Museum) that we have yet another two-part podcast.

Of course, with the loss of Lou Reed over the weekend, we had to discuss that as well. In Part One, you'll hear:

-Why Big Money (and Cunningham)'s Lou Reed memories will always have at least a tangential tie-in to Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch

-Recommendations of the best work of Lou, both solo and with Velvet Underground, and a promise of mix CDs from Cunningham & Gonzo to Big Money.

-Will Link Wray or The Paul Butterfield Band be 2014's wild card?

(Gonzo also attempts to sing the Paul Butterfield Band's "Love March")

-Gonzo's woeful tale of being dragged to a latter-day Deep Purple concert.

-Cunningham's assertion that Sponge will find themselves in the HOF someday.

-A discussion about when Hall And Oates became cool with hipsters.

-Ice Cube's complete lack of gangsta credentials.

-Cunningham hates ABBA, Hall & Oates and KISS and is therefore a Communist.

-Gonzo and Big Money both appear to have trouble with the alphabet.

-A group version of an Aaron Neville impression, and the thought of a Neville/Barry Gibb duet.

-Gonzo's Fred Schneider impression!

-What Cat Stevens & Jim Morrison have in common.

-The introduction of the 5-year rule for prog rock bands

And so much more.

Please follow us on Twitter: The main popblerd feed | Parr | Cunningham | Gonzo

Also, don't forget to like Popblerd on Facebook, and please leave comments for us on iTunes!

Direct download: HOF_Podcast_Part_One.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:42pm EDT

With the regular team temporarily indisposed, the erstwhile Big Money joins forces with Bill Bodkin, the creator and editor-in-chief of Popblerd's sister site Pop-break.com for what they hope will be an occasional podcast.

The resulting episode is a delightfully all-over-the-place conversation that, like most Blerd Radios of late, had to be cut into two parts. In Part One, you'll hear:

-A general State of the State of Pop-break.com, including some sizzling interviews with today's biggest artists.

-Government shutdown my ass! Bill has a new job!

-Why Bill is your ultimate bachelor party guest.

-Kids, don't try 151 rum, you might end up passed out in someone's lap.

-Why don't they make 'em like Axl Rose anymore?

-You've heard of "Waiting For Godot?" Well, there was the one time Bill appeared in "Waiting For Grohl."

-Pop-break.com correspondent Maxwell Barna has fine taste in cardigans.

-The new fall season is upon us! Bill is digging "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," but Mike can't watch.

-Meanwhile, Mike is digging "The Michael J. Fox Show,' but Bill can't watch.

Of course, there's tons more. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and hey, leave a nice comment for us on iTunes!

Direct download: Blerd_Radio_2013_Ep_18_Bill_1.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:52am EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 | Episode 18: 1993 (Part Two)

How difficult is it for five people to get into one studio?

Oh wait, that's how we started the last podcast.

Here's part two of our time machine trip to 1993. Dr. Gonzo is, once again, MIA, but the remaining crew of Big Money, Cunningham, Mike Duquette and Michael Parr hold down the fort until the next podcast with a series of humorous and educational anecdotes about a pivotal year in pop culture.

What will you hear/learn?

-We shout out Billboard's Top 10 albums of 1993, where Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" uncomfortably shared space with Eric Clapton's "Unplugged" and Kenny G.'s "Breathless," which sold 3.6 MILLION COPIES in 1993. Just for reference's sake: Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience" is the best selling album of 2013 so far. Mr. G sold almost double that in one year.

-We attempt to figure out which of Garth Brooks' albums was in 1993, since the covers seemed to follow sort of, a...template?

-Cunningham indulges his Britpop fetish with a discussion about The London Suede.

-What's your beef with U2's "Zooropa?" The album that confounded millions of fans is now regarded as something of a cult classic (and rightfully so, if you agree with the gang.)

-Why did the NYPD love Fat Joe so much?

-Parr geeks out over The Smashing Pumpkins' "Siamese Dream" and his personal favorite track, "Mayonaise."

-Although two iconic bands of the '80s came back in 1993 (Duran Duran and Run-DMC, for those playing at home,) did 1993 represent the end of the "old guard" of the previous decade?

-We pay our respects to Frank Zappa (who passed in 1993) by asking the immortal question...can you enjoy his music without the aid of drugs?

-We also briefly discuss the 1993 passing of another icon, actor River Phoenix.

-We set a record for the most awkward time machine jokes of all time!

-Parr sets a personal record for most bands involved with in one year...a record that might have been broken since by Dave Grohl.

-It's Big Money's 20th workiversary and he's fishing for props!

-The podcast concludes with a lesson in "Pittsburgh-ese" from Cunningham.

If you are so inclined, please download this podcast from iTunes, or just leave us a rating and a comment!

Also, make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Direct download: 1993_Podcast_Part_2.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 4:40pm EDT

How difficult is it for five people to get into one studio?

For the third consecutive podcast, we are down a man. This time, Michael Cunningham is back and the lovable, huggable Dr. Gonzo is out.

However, the four remaining co-hosts (Big Money, Cunningham, Mike Duquette and Michael Parr) do not suffer in Dr. Gonzo's absence. Actually, enough material was recorded for two podcasts. So take that, Zachary!

Anyhow, this two-parter finds us hopping into the Blerd Radio Time Machine (not unlike the Great Space Coaster) and taking a trip back in time...landing in 1993. It's a transitional year that brought forth everything from the falls from grace of pop icons to hip-hop's nexus shifting Westward. In part one, you'll hear:

-Michael Parr provides us with a Michael Winslow-esque soundtrack for our time travel adventures.

-A tip of the hat to the film "Addams Family Values" and props to the late Raul Julia.

-WTF Moment #1 of 1993: Michael Jackson being charged with child molestation, being forced to strip for the LAPD, and broadcasting his innocence Live From Neverland Ranch.

-WTF Moment #2 of 1993: Prince changes his name to an unpronounceable symbol. Or, wait...maybe there *is* a pronunciation.

-We briefly discuss old people who stay with MTV too long (Kurt Loder, Jon Norris, Su Chin Pak, Sway)

-It's the 20th anniversary of the releases of two seminal albums: "Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers)" and The Breeders' "Last Splash."

-Cunningham does the best RZA impression in the history of the world.

-Has West Coast hip-hop not aged as well as East Coast hip-hop? And what of the revolution in Southern hip-hop that had yet to occur in 1993?

-What the hell is President Obama doing in the "Whoomp! There It Is!" video?

-What the hell is Drake doing in a movie called "Charlie Bartlett"?

-Cunningham explains "intrinsic ethos" as it pertains to artists today (Lupe Fiasco) and yesterday (Ice Cube/2Pac)

-Why are we talking about Drake and Lupe Fiasco on a podcast dedicated to 1993?

-Cunningham Goof #1: This is not Faith Hill

-Cunningham Goof #2: Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre were not members of the N.W.O.

-Cunningham redeems himself by offering up the most white people-friendly version of 2Pac's "Strictly 4 My N-----" album title possible.

-Discussion of two more albums celebrating their 20th anniversaries: Nirvana's "In Utero" and Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way" leads to...

-Is Lenny Kravitz underrated?

-We discuss how to properly pronounce "Vanessa Paradis"

-And finally, we examine the subtle differences between musically harkening back to a particular era (a la Amy Winehouse) and directly ripping off the sound of specific artists (like our pal Lenny.)

Part two will be up very soon, so don't fret! Your favorite artist will be covered!

If you are so inclined, please download this podcast from iTunes, or just leave us a rating and a comment!

Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Direct download: 1993_Podcast_Part_1.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:55pm EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 | Episode 16 (F'Real): Ga Ga For GaGa (Oh Ra Oh Ra Ma!)

Whoops...did we say the last episode was #16? Actually, THIS episode is #16. Hey, we're podcasters and pop culture gluttons, not mathematicians. Anyway, the latest episode of Blerd Radio focuses largely on one person and one person only--the estimable Lady Gaga. Yes, it's a Gaga podcast--and three of the four participants are heterosexual.

Anyhoo, the team is down a Mike for the second consecutive show, although Mike Duquette has returned from a one-episode absence. Unfortunately, Michael Cunningham decided to play dutiful boyfriend and attend to his ailin lady. Although we think he just didn't want to talk about Lady GaGa.

Among the sub-topics Big Money, Michael Parr, & Dr. Gonzo explore are:

-Does Lady Gaga's fixation on artistic credibility detract from her considerable pop smarts?

-Is Lady Gaga's embrace of elements of gay culture helpful or hurtful?

-How big is the Haus of Gaga?

-What was the purpose of the viral video with the naked...whatever she was doing?

-Is ArtPop the end for Lady Gaga as a cultural force, and if not, when will the end be?

Oh, and we talk about Madonna. A lot.

Recommendations this week include the Michael Jackson "Bad 25" documentary. John Mayer's Paradise Valley, the band Haim, and the documentary Bury The Hatchet. We also give props to Cunningham's band Neighbours and their great new album.

If you are so inclined, please download this podcast from iTunes, or just leave us a rating and a comment!

Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Direct download: Blerd_Radio_2013_Ep_17.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:19pm EDT

It's almost VMA time, so the great minds of the Blerd Radio podcast decided to spend an hour (or so) talking about MTV and its evolution over the past thirty years. However, our normal team of 4 1/2 Mikes is down one Mike this week-Mike Duquette called in sick to the podcast. So, it's up to Big Money, Michael Parr, Michael Cunningham and DOCTOR Zack Stiegler to pick up the proverbial slack. And pick up the slack, we do.

Highlights of this episode include:

-The podcast delving into a tangential conversation about Prince within five minutes of the opening bell.

-A fairly shameless plug for Cunningham's band Neighbours, who have a record out right now.

-Have radio and MTV (at least as a vehicle for music videos) completely gone the way of the dinosaur?

-Despite the bevy of options available to us for consuming music, how the chances of discovering new music have decreased sharply.

-The VMAs vs. The Grammy Awards

-We coin the term "Jehovah Pan"-yes, it's in relation to Michael Jackson

-Kanye West has performed on 7 VMA shows-how come we don't remember all of them?

-We discuss the most awarded artists in VMA history and ask how and why Fatboy Slim has nine moonmen.

-Is Lady GaGa the only pop artist flourishing currently in the medium of music video? Hell, why are music videos even made anymore, period?

-Michael Parr indulges his semi-inexplicable man crush on the band Coheed And Cambria.

-We try to convince Cunningham to leave his job and become a video director.

-Best VMA moments, including Krist Novocelic beaning himself with his bass, Howard Stern as Fartman, a wheelchair-bound Snoop Dogg, Poison scrapping on stage, and the Diana Ross/Lil Kim titty incident.

If you are so inclined, please download this podcast from iTunes, or just leave us a rating and a comment!

Also, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Direct download: Blerd_Radio_2013_Episode_16.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:39pm EDT

An innocuous comment made by our own Zack "Dr. Gonzo" Stiegler in an email thread led to a whole damn hour of the 4 1/2 Mikes crew (Stiegler + Big Money Mike + Michaels Cunningham, Duquette and Parr) talking about music of the '90s and whether it holds up to other decades in musical history. In this episode, you'll hear:

-The concert Dr. Gonzo went to that reads like a rummage through a '90s refuse bin

-Why we all secretly envy Mark McGrath

-Why the death of the commercial single made careers out of many of the bands *in* that refuse bin.

-How badly mixed/mastered two of the decade's defining albums are (and why Big Money should probably get his hearing checked.)

-Dr. Gonzo's Anthony Kiedis impression

-Cunningham's Madd Rapper impression

-Why the double CD is a thing that should never, ever, EVER happen again

-Buck O Nine. Really. Buck O Nine.

-"All Eyez On Me": yay or nay?

-"Emancipation": yay or nay?

-The enduring appeal of Sublime

-Cunningham's not being fit for a high-top fade

and so much more.

(oh, by the way...Cunningham's band has a new album out. You should buy it.)

Make sure you like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and say nice things (or, hey, bad things too) about us on iTunes

Direct download: 73113_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:40pm EDT

Blerd Radio 2013: (Get) Lucky #13

Big Money, Michael Parr, Mike Duquette, Mike Cunningham and Zack (Dr. Gonzo) are back for their summer review podcast. However, things take a bit of a turn, and the team ends up discussing 2013's three most talked about music releases: Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories," Kanye West's "Yeezus" and Justin Timberlake's "20/20 Experience."

Each of those three albums has been a lightning rod for controversy. Daft Punk defied expectations by making an album that sounded like it came straight out of 1979, and are nevertheless enjoying the greatest success of their career while also providing a platform for the return of the legendary Nile Rodgers. Meanwhile, Kanye (whose name probably means "abrasive" in another language) made the most difficult and uncommercial album of his career. The remaining question is: did Kanye know exactly what he was doing when he recorded/released "Yeezus?" And what does this mean for his future?

Meanwhile, JT's latest album is far and away 2013's biggest seller. Is it an artistic as well as a commercial triumph? It certainly forms the musical bed for the podcast intro ("Let The Groove Get In.")

Make sure you like Popblerd on Facebook and Twitter, and feel free to download previous episodes directly from iTunes.

Direct download: July_15_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:25am EDT

Blerd Radio Episode 12: The PrinceCast (Part Two of Two)

Know what today is? It's the birth date of one of the greatest musicians to ever click-clack his high heels across a floor. Yes, we are celebrating the 55th (!) birthday of Prince Rogers Nelson with Part Two of our Prince Podcast!

Once again, Big Money is joined by the team of Mike DuquetteZack (Dr. Gonzo) Stiegler and Michael Parr, in addition to welcoming recent Popblerd recruit Michael Cunningham (AKA “ThePacketMan”) 

Picking up from where we left off (Prince's recruit of Larry Graham as an Obi Wan Kenobi-type mentor, we discuss)

-What would have happened if Prince had not followed Larry Graham, but gone with, say, Sly Stone instead?

-Possible future collaborators for Prince, including ?uestlove and D'Angelo.

-What is the best Prince album of all time? (there was no majority vote.)

-Cunningham makes a somewhat uncomfortable comment in reference to "Sister."

-Duquette takes some good-natured roasting from the whole team.

-Is Prince "pop", "soul," or some ridiculously unclassifiable genre?

-The "Prince Drones": the sexy, indistinguishable string of proteges that he is most famous for.

-Did legitimate talents like Sheila E. suffer at the "Prince Drones"' expense?

-Would you have a beer herbal tea with Prince?

-Our Prince recommendations; which include a book or two, some 12" mixes, and lots of D.M.S.R.

We hope you not only enjoy our Prince-cast, but come back for future ones!

PopblerdFacebook | Twitter | Leave a note for us on iTunes

Music: "We All Wanna Be Prince" by Felix da Housecat.

Direct download: Princecast_Part_Two.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 Episode 11: The Prince-Cast, Part One

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to bring you...

Part One of our Prince Podcast (AKA "The Princecast)

In this purple episode, Big Money is joined by the team of Mike Duquette, Zack (Dr. Gonzo) Stiegler and Michael Parr, in addition to welcoming recent Popblerd recruit Michael Cunningham (AKA "ThePacketMan") We're all huge Prince fans, and we yapped so much about the Purple Yoda that we had to split the podcast into two parts.

In Part One:

-"New Prince" and 3rd Eye Girl: How does Prince appeal to the kids in an age of Skrillex and Britney Spears? Will he ever have another pop hit?

-What's the story with the 22 year old manager Prince found on...MySpace? Can he really be managed to someone who wasn't born until "0----|--->" came out?

-Zack tries (in vain) to defend "Lotusfl0w3r."

-What is Prince's worst studio album?

-Prince acolytes: Justin Timberlake and Maroon 5. If they can break through, why can't the originator?

-Please please please let us get Prince remasters (but if you're tired of waiting, there's always DJ Foefur's bootleg remasters. Go Look 'em up on YouTube)

-What's Tony M. doing these days, and can he do it in 30 minutes or less?

-The "Ultimate Prince" fiasco and this awesome Popmatters article.

-Good Prince vs. Bad Prince: the Purple Piano/Sampler

-Larry Graham's influence on Prince and what caused Prince to fall under his spell.

Stay tuned for Part II, coming in about a week (quite possibly on Prince's birthday, June 7th.)

PopblerdFacebook | Twitter | Leave a note for us on iTunes

Direct download: Princecast_Part_One.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 1:19pm EDT

Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to this year's 10th episode of Blerd Radio! In this episode, Big Money joins forces with Bill Bodkin from Pop-break.com for a wide-ranging hour of chat that focuses heavily on what music, movies and television we'll be checking out this summer (holy crap, it's almost Memorial Day!)

Popblerd: Facebook | Twitter | Main Site | Leave a note for us on iTunes

We also discuss:

-The origin of the name Pop-break.com and how it relates to...Keanu Reeves?

-Why television's representation of the Jersey Shore (from where Bill originates) is ALL WRONG.

-That one time when Bill almost killed Simon Pegg.

-Big Money getting all hubba hubba over Zach Galifianakis

-We coin the term "gutler." 

-Bill's undying love for Leonardo Dicrapio DiCaprio

-Future president Chris Christie and a cautionary tale about having sex with someone who has had lap band surgery.

-Eazy-E and ODB's upcoming holograms.

-Why the cancelling of "Happy Endings" is the worst thing to happen to TV

and a whole lot more. Enjoy the show and be on the lookout for future Big Money/Bill podcasts!

Direct download: Mike_Bodkin_1.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:44am EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 Episode 9: Playoff Action, Its Fantastic!!

As we do every now and then, Blerd Radio is making a quick diversion into basketball territory. 

In this episode, Big Money is joined by GG as well as Jay from The New York Knicks podcast for an hour of playoff talk.

Although several games have been played since the episode was recorded, the teams involved remain the same. So, we discuss...

Do GG's Warriors really have what it takes to pick off the veteran San Antonio Spurs? (and why does GG want to get rid of David Lee so much?)

Can the Oklahoma City Thunder stand strong against the intmidating physicality of the Memphis Grizzlies without Russell Westbrook? In retrospect, do you think it might have been a good idea to keep James Harden, seeing as Serge Ibaka has faded into the background?

Is Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibideau playing mind games with the league officials, considering several questionable calls have popped up in their series against the Miami Heat? And why isn't Miami wiping the floor with a ridiculously shorthanded Bulls team?

Are the Indiana Pacers a junior version of the Memphis Grizzlies, and will the New York Knicks' JR Smith learn to stop partying with the likes of Rihanna and concentrate on basketball? Also...why does Jay call Amar'e Stoudamire the "black cloud?"

Also...

Who the hell voted Denver Nuggets coach George Karl Coach of the Year?

Will Chris Paul stay with the Los Angeles Clippers although he and superstar Blake Griffin appear to have major beef?

How fucked up are the Los Angeles Lakers?

(according to Jay, not as fucked up as the Brooklyn Nets.)

If the Miami Heat wins championship #2, are LeBron James' days numbered?

GG and Jay can both be found on Twitter, as can we, of course! Check us out on iTunes also!

Also, make sure to like us on Facebook!

Direct download: Roundball_Soundoff_Playoff_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 11:16pm EDT

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Blerd Radio is back.

We're fresh from the month of May and joining us are some of our favorite people: Mike Duquette, Michael Parr, and Zack "Dr. Gonzo" Stiegler. 

This episode finds us going on more tangents than usual. Key topics include

*the return of Daft Punk, and other reasons why May is going to be an awesome month for new music

*you'll find out what "twee music" entails.

*Will Ferrell is NOT as bad as Adam Sandler

*How does Lauryn Hill owe the government money and Pras doesn't? (also, Dr. Gonzo makes an incredibly labored Lauryn Hill pun...)

*Dr. Gonzo makes up for the pun by discussing his efforts running the Pittsburgh Marathon.

*Mariah Carey loves the Eighties!*

*A discussion about Parr's baby leads into the topic of adult onesies (leading to the quote that provides this podcast with its title)

*The new Superman is packing some serious salami in the downstairs department.

*A sendoff to Kris Kross's Chris Kelly leads to the unanimous complaint that it should be easier to figure out where the back and the front are on men's underwear.

*Big Money tells an incredibly gross Record Store Day story

*John Mayer returns!

*Recommendations

We'd love it if you took the time to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and leave a nice (or nasty) comment for us on iTunes!

Make sure you like Popblerd on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and leave a comment about our podcast on iTunes!

Direct download: May_6_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:30am EDT

Welcome to another thrilling episode of Blerd Radio! In this episode, Big Money is joined by Demick, from the Fantasy Bookies site and podcast. Of course, there is nothing about fantasy bookmaking discussed. Hell, there's barely anything about sports discussed. But you will find out...

*The origins of the name "Demick," as well as the names that Demick uses whenever he has to reserve a table at a restaurant (or at Panera Bread.)

*The greatness of the actor we all know and love as "Leon."

*Television programming; more specifically the OWN Network, which just debuted a LaToya Jackson reality show.

*Is Michelle Obama the new Oprah?

*What the hell is The Wobble?

*Living Colour at Wrestlemania (the podcast begins with a few seconds of "I Want To Know," which can be found on their debut album Vivid.

*Brad Paisley and LL Cool J's "Accidental Racist", the inequity of trading "gold chains" for "iron chains," and is Paisley really Brad's last name?

*White people using the "N" word and why it's wrong.

*Who is the Bob Dylan of rap? Hint: it ain't Jay-Z.

*The increase of long-term story arcs in television and where it started.

*The artistic merit of Chris Brown (and an unintentional crack from Demick that involves the music of Brown "not striking him."

*Your responsibliity as a famous person.

*Bands that don't play their big hit, epecially when it's their ONLY hit.

*Why does Rick Ross have a sneaker deal?

You can find Demick at the Fantasy Bookies website, and also on Twitter.

You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, our usual site, and make sure you leave a comment for us on iTunes!

Direct download: 4_13_Mike_Demick.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:51pm EDT

Get your boogie shoes on (or crank up those power chords if that's your thing) because the Popblerd crew has devoted an hour to talking about the Seventies!

Check out our list of the 100 Best Albums of the Seventies

In this episode of Blerd Radio (featuring Big Money Mike, Zack, Mike D, and special guest Jay Kumar from Competely Conspicuous,) you will hear about:

-The fact that only one of the co-hosts actually lived through the decade in question, and another of our co-hosts wasn't even born until 3/4 of the way into the following decade. 

-What the podcast contributors are drinking (hint: we're all pretty boring)

-Why Zack hates Chicago (and Kansas...and..Asia?)

-Why EVERYONE (except Big Money) hates The Eagles. Oh, excuse me--EAGLES.

-The term "fat sweaty guy angst" is coined to discuss rock star Meat Loaf.

-Koomdogg's introduction to the world of music...via the Village People.

-The Ringo Starr Record Store Day release (no, really.)

-Our enduring and undying love for Stevie Wonder

-A lovely VMA moment featuring Stevie getting stranded on stage by Will Smith, Kool Moe Dee, and most of Dru Hill.

-"The Beatles Pass."

-We invoke our temporarily sidelined co-host Michael Parr in a variety of discussions. It's almost like he's there! Well, kind of? Hmmm...not really.

We also discuss in detail each of the albums that made the top 10 on our list. I attempted to mix in a portion of a song from each album into the podcast, but that pursuit quickly became futile. So, sorry everyone.

Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and also leave a comment about our show on iTunes!

Direct download: 70s_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:40am EDT

On this free wheeling episode of Blerd Radio, Big Money is joined by author, pop culture critic, and all-around mensch Dave Smokler.

Topics covered include:

-"Oz the Great and Powerful": Why's everyone hating?

-The "Police Academy" 2014 reboot: will Steve Guttenberg come back?

-Bing is a viable search engine! Who needs Google? (don't screw my computer up, Google)

-Big Money learns the term "Costanza Ring"

-Who is the "Alpha Baldwin?"

-We talk a little about the lost Blerd Radio podcast with Jesse, and his gift of Dale Jr. potato chips.

-How many people have to be in a sexual scenario before it can be called an orgy?

-Megan Fox's "toe thumb"

and a bit of racial politics are thrown in there as well (for the record, Big Money is black and Dave is Jewish...so don't come after us!)

Make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! Also, subscribe to the Blerd Radio podcast on iTunes and leave us a comment!

Make sure you follow Popblerd on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to us/leave a comment on iTunes!

Direct download: Smokey_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:55am EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 Episode 4: Blerd Radio Plays the Hits

This one's for the music geeks:

Big Money, Dr. Gonzo, Mike D., and Michael P. discuss the evolution of the greatest hits album. What started them? Why are they popular? Which artists are best served by compilations? Which artists will never release a greatest hits album? Which artists have too many greatest hits albums?

Along the way, several tangents are explored, including:

One of us has smoked too much pot in his life to only own one Bob Marley album.

For all our freestyle fanatics, Stevie B. gets a shout out!

Anyone else know that U.K. band Squeeze re-recorded all their hit singles a few years ago?

Does anyone know that more recently, Toad the Wet Sprocket re-recorded all of their hit singles (plus a few key album tracks.)

Aunt Bunny fell down the steps!

Mike D. does a pretty good Billy Joel (speaking, not singing) impression.

The gorilla from the Rolling Stones "GRRRR" album has a name. And a twitter.

Why does anyone prefer Prince's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" to Sinead O' Connor's?

Also, there are dick jokes, Jay-Z stabbing jokes, and even a Clive Davis gay joke for your giggling pleasure.

Enjoy, and don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Direct download: Blerd_Radio_2013_Episode_4.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:09pm EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 Episode 3: Just Ridiculous!

As we do every now and then, the Blerd Radio podcast hoops it up. This basketball-centric episode is co-hosted by Big Money, GG and Jay from the NY Knicks Podcast. We celebrate the mid-point of the 2012-2013 NBA season and All-Star weekend by giving midseason assessments of our favorite (and least-favorite teams,) predicting who will make it to the NBA finals, and reminiscing about All-Star weekends of years past. 

Highlights include:

-A mid-season appraisal of our beloved (and suddenly REALLY GOOD) New York Knicks

-GG low-key calling out Big Money for being a fairweather fan.

-We find out what the initials "J.R." in J.R. Smith's name really stand for, and shake our heads in disapproval of the Twitter hashtag #vamplife, which Mr. Smith is apparently fond of using.

-A discussion of Roy Hibbert's dazzling mediocrity.

-The word "vociferous" makes its way into a Blerd Radio podcast for the first time.

-why Dwight Howard is the Tin Man of the NBA (no heart!)

-Jay realizes that his preseason NBA finals picks weren't so farfetched after all.

-Is the All-Star game still relevant?

-A celebration of Baby Jordan, "Sky" Walker, and the handful of folks who were better Slam Dunk contest participants than they were actually NBA players.

-The first discusson of Terence Stansbury in years by anyone not related to Terence Stansbury.

-Some revised championship predictions.

Make sure you subscribe to us on iTunes and also, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Make sure you check us out or subscribe to us on iTunes, and we love it when folks leave comments!

Direct download: Blerd_Radio_2013_Episode_3.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:09pm EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 Episode 2: Effin' Problems

On this episode, Big Money Mike is joined by Demick from the Fantasy Bookies podcast. This particular show covers quite a bit of ground, including:

-Big Money's Napoleon complex

-Demick's tryout for his high school basketball team

-The life lessons that one can learn from World Star Hip Hop

-What happens when you insert a random black person into a traditionally "white" sitcom (e.g. "Girls," "Friends," "Seinfeld") (answer: mostly awkwardness)

-Kufis are cool.

-The 10th anniversary of the premiere of "Chappelle's Show," the greatest comedy sketch show of all time.

-Political awareness in popular music as exemplified by Lady GaGa and Ke$ha

-How do you make a radio version of a song that's almost all swear words?

-What happens when a gay dude suddenly realizes that Manti Te'o might have pulled the fake girlfriend ruse to cover up his own sexuality?

-When will an active athlete in one of the big four American pro sports come out of the closet?

-A certain trivia host's presumably prodigious endowment.

-Carmelo Anthony might just be really, REALLY stupid.

-Demick wishes he was gay. Kinda.

Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as well!

Direct download: Blerd_Radio_2013_Episode_2.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:04am EDT

Blerd Radio 2013 Episode 1: Cat Butt

Apologies for our delayed start to 2013, but Blerd Radio is up and running. The first show of the year joins Big Money Mike with his cohorts Mike Duguette, Michael Parr, and Zack "Dr. Gonzo" Stiegler. 

This potpourri-scented effort covers a lot of ground, including:

-Season 12 of "American Idol"

-What Nicole Kidman sees in Keith Urban, and what Aussies might be a better fit for the actress.

-The television show and movie "Catfish."

-The Manti Te'o mess, including some semi-serious psychology and media analysis.

-The Roots' Picnic lineup, in addition to their upcoming album and collaboration with Elvis Costello.

-The album that was almost called "Cat Butt"

-The comeback of soul singer D'Angelo (but not his abs.)

-New singles from David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, Destiny's Child and will.i.am

-Sharts

-Justin Timberlake is overrated/Ne-Yo is underrated.

-Prince's plans for 2013

-Recommendations from each guest.

In addition: the first mom joke of 2013 occurs barely two minutes into the show, Duquette makes a slightly awkward Foghat reference when discussing the "Idol" co-hosts, Parr brings up the much-beloved show "Cheaters," our friend IrishJava gets shouted out, several bad jokes about Naughty by Nature are made, we coin the term "pullin' a Roker," and Duquette-in a frighteningly prescient moment-calls a Fall Out Boy reunion less than 24 hours before it was actually announced.

AND SO MUCH MORE!!!!

Direct download: Blerd_Radio_2013_Episode_1.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:30am EDT

Blerd Radio Season Whatever, Episode 4: We Think You Might Like It

Yes, folks, it's the inevitable Holiday edition of the Blerd Radio podcast. Big Money is joined by staff members Mike Duquette, Michael Parr and Zack (Gonzo) Stiegler to spread holiday cheer throughout this great nation of ours by discussing all that's glorious and bright in pop culture. In this episode, we discuss favorite holiday songs, gift recommendations (SOCKS!!) and the real meaning of Christmas, but we also express confusion at the recent John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John reunion. As far as non-holiday stuff, topics of discussion include the recently released iTunes 11, and the best music of 2012. Much like Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz, we do a lot of laughing at our own jokes, but unlike Fallon and Sanz, we're actually funny. Ho ho ho!!!!!

Direct download: December_10_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Volume Whatever, Episode 3: Roundball Soundoff Live! (AKA Ball Don't Lie)

For the latest episode of Blerd Radio, Big Money is joined by occasional co-host GG, as well as Jay and Marc who co-host the New York Knicks podcast (www.thenewyorkknckspodcast.com.) Marc is forced to join the podcast via cell phone, which results in worse audio quality but no difference in piss and vinegar than if he was live. We discuss the worst NBA team names in history (inspired by the New Orleans Pelicans,) and the Knicks podcasters waste no time talking junk about the Brooklyn Nets. We also pay tribute to the basketball genius of Rasheed Wallace, wish Larry Bird a happy birthday, talk about the Kobe Assist statistic, and of course, we talk at length about our beloved (well, 75% beloved) Knickerbockers. Hell, there's even a Waiting for Godot reference!!

Direct download: December_7_Podcast_JayMarcGGFinal.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

It's Saturday, and that cold, empty feeling that comes with the work week is slowly melting away. How could it get any better? How 'bout a new episode of Blerd Radio for your ears to enjoy?

This episode has a fun little history. Regular co-host Dr. Gonzo suggested a great topic about film soundtracks, but had to bow out of recording. In his absence, Big Money, Mike Duquette and Michael Parr engaged the talents of another non-Mike: Dave Lifton, noted author and co-host of The Popdose Podcast. Together, the quartet engaged in the usual repartee of pop-cultural insights, current events (Taylor Swift being particularly prominent) and immature jokes in late October with an eye to releasing the episode by Halloween.

Of course, anyone who remembers the last week of October on the East Coast remembers the temporary power outages and other serious inconveniences offered by Superstorm Sandy; combine that with increasingly busy schedules (against the task of whittling down the group's rambling!), and it seemed as if the episode would never see the light of day. But, this once-lost episode is now found!

So sit back and relax as the Mikes (and Dave) wax nostalgic about their favorite soundtracks, as well as the (de)evolution of the soundtrack compilation as a whole and the memories that soundtrack songs are quick to conjure up. As a special treat, we've also dropped a Spotify playlist featuring some of the killer cuts we mentioned - the perfect antidote to hearing Parr, as always, greet Big Money with a hearty "Ssssssexual Chocolate!"

Enjoy this latest episode of Blerd Radio, and look for a new one sooner rather than later!

Direct download: Blerd_Radio_November_final.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

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