The Blerd Radio Podcast
The Constant Conversations Podcast: Episode 4

In the fourth episode of the Constant Conversation podcast, Mike Joseph talks to Bill Bodkin, the founder and editor of Pop-break.com. Topics of their discussion include the struggle to write as a career, Bill's life as a husband and new father, attempting to stay healthy as a diabetic, and the changing tides of pop culture.

Bill's work can be found at pop-break.com.

He's on Twitter at @bodkinwrites. 

Direct download: Bill_Bodkin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am EST

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 EST

Blerd Radio Presents Constant Conversations: Episode 3

The latest installment of the Constant Conversations podcast features Mike Joseph talking to John Hill, founder of the music blog Pop Music Notes. This particular discussion strays far from the confines of music and ventures into everything from sexuality to football (this episode was recorded prior to Super Bowl 50.)

Among the topics discussed:

John's nomadic existence, which has taken him everywhere from New York State to Miami to his current (and maybe forever?) home in Colorado.

Life as a newlywed, and getting married in the shadow of the DOMA.

The coming out process, and how younger queer men and women generally have a much easier adjustment than we "older folk" did, particularly in the shadow of the AIDS crisis.

The parallels between hip-hop and country music.

John's current side gig as a rodeo scorekeeper and how he ended up becoming a part of that culture.

Free-form radio, and how it was used as a tool to expose listeners to different types of music in its heyday.

The episode is concluded with a (not really) bold Super Bowl prediction. 

Direct download: Constant_Conversations_3-_John_Hill.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28am EST

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 EST

Blerd Radio Presents: Constant Conversations

The new episode of Constant Conversations features writer/marketer/musician/metal Renaissance guy Seth Werkheiser

A wide-ranging, tangent filled conversation with Mike Joseph ensues, in which the following topics are covered:

-Seth, Mike, and the first Constant Conversations guest, GG, were all born within two weeks of one another (in the same year). May 1976 was a great time in history!

-One of Seth's current projects is the Workbench Podcast, and we carry over a discussion from one of his shows about credit card minimums. 

-Another one of the many things Seth has his hands in-#Metalbandcampgiftclub.

-If you don't think Seth has enough jobs, and if you're a fan of metal trivia, then you should also check out Skulltoaster.

-The metal word is an interesting and unusual place, filled with many odd band names. Why does the genre seem to have a near-monopoly on monikers like Couch Slut and Goatwhore?

-Perhaps contrary to the image presented by those band names, metal fans tend to be some of the most soft-spoken, genuinely nice music fans around (at least Mike thinks so). This phenomenon is also explored.

-A place with not as many soft-spoken, nice people? The internet. Why are people such assholes on social media?

-On the eve of 40th birthdays celebrated by both panelists, Seth and Mike discuss getting older, being a nomad, living without regrets, and tiny houses. No, seriously...tiny houses. 

-How many of you guys remember "back masking"? A movement that got Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and others in deep doo-doo is discussed.

-The podcast wraps up with Mike showing admiration for Seth's impressive facial hair situation.

Direct download: CC2-_SETH_W.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

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 EST

Constant Conversations Podcast 1: GG

...and now, for something completely (well somewhat) different...

The Constant Conversations podcast is an offshoot of the Blerd Radio you know and love (which isn't going anywhere). This podcast is a one-on-one conversation between Mike Joseph (AKA Big Money) a rotating cast of guests. It will center on pop culture, but more how pop culture relates to every day life; things like aging, raising families, dealing with personal triumphs and challenges, and the changing world around us.

The first Constant Conversations guest is GG, who runs the website Fight Game Blog and its attendant podcast. He also runs the website roheblius.net. GG and I (Mike) have known one another since 2002, meeting on the now-defunct epinions.com. That site was a precursor to much of the social media that exists today.

Topics discussed include the early days of social media and internet 2.0, young fatherhood, maintaining good relations with an ex in the wake of divorce, knowing when to leave a relationship, and growing older as a hip-hop fan.

Direct download: cc1-GG.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST