Wed, 18 May 2016
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".
-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.
Mon, 16 May 2016
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.
Thu, 12 May 2016
The latest Constant Conversations podcast is a chat with Tristan More.
Tristan, who works in the film industry, has his own blog and podcast called Interjections, and also happens to be connected (by a years-long friendship) to our last Constant Conversations guest, Mike Duquette.
In our wide-ranging conversation, Tristan and I talk about how his interest in film developed, and why he decided to do movie reviews on the internet. We also discuss the culture of reviewing and the fear some people have of developing a contrary opinion. We talk about about discovery in New York City (Tristan's one of those Jersey guys), how to handle horror movies, where the hell "DUMBO" is (and what it stands for!), why one maybe shouldn't date their friends, what happens to child stars, separating art from the person who makes art, and film reboots.
A lot of ground to cover in just over an hour, but we do it! Enjoy the show!!
Fri, 6 May 2016
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:
Peripheral topics discussed include:
"Do They Turn You On"- a classic album cut from The Whispers
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.
Wed, 23 March 2016
The latest Constant Conversations podcast is the first in which both participants were in the same place at the same time!
I'm proud to welcome Mike Duquette, proprietor and founder of The Second Disc, to the show. He and I have a lengthy history of being colleagues and friends, working together at Popdose and with Mike D. being a one-time Blerd Radio co-host. As it turns out, we have a lot to talk about.
Mike operates in a bit of a unique space, as a millennial with a marked interest in music and culture that predates his existence, and much of the first part of the conversation is devoted to that (with a lengthy sidebar into his love for "E.T.", a recent article that suggests that the title character is gay, and lazy/unnecessarily provocative "journalism".)
We also discuss the creation of The Second Disc (which is now a label imprint in addition to being a website), common misconceptions about people in his age range, finding a dream job, living in New York City while originating from the other side of the Hudson River, being an independent and responsible human, appreciating alternate perspectives, and our upcoming trip to Seattle for the EMP Pop Conference.
Also discussed-his and my friendship, which stalled out for about a year and a half, and coming to the realization that we both may have been kinda dumb (or at the very least overly prideful and stubborn.)
You can follow Mike on Twitter @mikeduquette.
Mon, 29 February 2016
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.
Sat, 13 February 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.
Wed, 10 February 2016
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.
Mon, 1 February 2016
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 Money, Dr. Z, Michael 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.
-Blackstar's status as Bowie's first #1 album.
-Bowie-oke: Dr. Z and Cunningham task one another with Bowie covers for karaoke!
Mon, 25 January 2016
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.