The Blerd Radio Podcast
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