Mon, 10 March 2014
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)
-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 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.
Mon, 24 February 2014
This latest episode of Blerd Radio continues the conversation MJ, KJ 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:
-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?
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!
Wed, 19 February 2014
Hey, guys! Welcome to our latest Blerd Radio episode!
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.
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.
Fri, 24 January 2014
The Grammy madness continues.
It'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.
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!
Sun, 12 January 2014
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. Z, Michael Parr, Mike 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.
-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.
-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!
Wed, 8 January 2014
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:
-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?
-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.
-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!
Sun, 22 December 2013
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.
-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!
Wed, 11 December 2013
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.
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:
Don't be a mitch! Listen to the show, and if you listen on iTunes, shoot us a comment!
Wed, 13 November 2013
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.
-Mike shares memories of working a Ticketmaster counter back in the day,
Sun, 3 November 2013
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.
-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?
Also, this episode finds the team digging deep into recommendations, which include:
Paul McCartney's "New" (Parr)
Lou Reed's "Berlin" (Cunningham)