1980s

EP51: James Spooner on Minor Threat's "Minor Threat" (1983)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
James Spooner

The Album: Minor Threat: Minor Threat (1984)

In 2003, James Spooner released Afropunk, a personal love letter/manifesto dedicated to people like him: punk fans of a different shade whose acceptance in the scene was often hard-fought and tenuous. That became a movement, with annual afropunk festivals becoming entities unto themselves, across the world. Spooner is now a tattoo artist and graphic novelist, living in Los Angeles.

For our episode, Spooner joined us to talk about Minor Threat's self-titled compilation of their early singles, one through which he discovered the ethos of straight-edge (no drugs, drinking, etc.) and a wider world of possibilities within punk rock. Minor Threat, the short-lived but heavily-influential group out of Washington D.C., fronted by Ian MacKaye is legendary and this compilation was one of the first ways in which listeners could discover the group, their sound and their philosophy.  During our episode, we discussed how what about straight-edge appealed to him, the racial politics of punk and how a kid from the high desert of California came across this music and culture to begin with.

More on James Spooner

More on Minor Threat

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Minor Threat unless indicated otherwise):

  • Minor Threat
  • Straight Edge
  • Screaming at the Wall
  • Guilty of Being White
  • Black Flag: White Minority
  • Patti Smith: Rock N Roll N--
  • The Monkees: (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
  • Steppin' Stone
  • Bottled Violence
  • I Don't Wanna Hear It
  • The Murder City Devils: Boom Swagger Boom

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there.
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP47: Summer Spectacular feat. Quetzal

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Quetzal

The Albums: 

We wanted to dedicate an episode to talking about the music of summer, easily the one season that people have the deepest sonic associations with. To that aim, we invited the two founding members of L.A.'s Quetzal, Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores. Since 1992, the group has melded the son jarocho tradition into all manners of other genres, resulting in seven albums (and counting), including last year's The Eternal Getdown
Together, each of our quartet got to pick an album that we associate with the summer and as you see above, we covered a whirlwind of styles and eras that bring up all manners of thoughts and feelings for us. Summer love may be fleeting but it lingers, always. 
More on Quetzal

Show Tracklisting:

  • Quetzal: Fig Pulp 
  • Alé Kumá: Vola Pajarito 
  • Alé Kumá: Por Que Me Pega 
  • Alé Kumá: Oiaymelo 
  • Mary J Blige: Love No Limit 
  • Mary J Blige: Reminisce 
  • Mary J Blige: Sweet Thing 
  • Mary J Blige: What's the 411 
  • Mary J Blige: I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By 
  • The Smiths: Sheila Take a Bow 
  • The Smiths: Shoplifters of the World Unite 
  • The Smiths: Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now 
  • Kendrick Lamar: Hood Politics 
  • Kendrick Lamar: Alright 
  • Kendrick Lamar: King Kunta 
  • Kendrick Lamar: These Walls 
  • Kendrick Lamar: i 

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many of the songs above as we can find on there.

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP46: Thomas Golubic on De La Soul's "Three Feet High and Rising" (1989)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Thomas Golubic

The Album: De La Soul: Three Feet High and Rising (Tommy Boy, 1989)
I (OW) mention this on the episode but this album changed my life. It wasn't my introduction to hip-hop but it was the album through which I fell in love with hip-hop and that set me down a path that shaped the rest of my professional (and even personal!) life: as a writer, scholar, DJ and of course, humble podcast host. 
It clearly had an impact on Thomas Golubic too. Our guest for this episode is one of the top music supervisors in the game (as Morgan jokes, he's not just a member, he's the president, literally). He worked on Six Feet Under Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and right now, Better Call Saul; those in L.A. may also remember him from his KCRW days. 
Thomas and us dug deep into everything that makes this album so special, not the least of which is how it shifted the perception of what hip-hop could sound and look like. It's may be hard to remember now, nearly 30 years later, but in 1989, hip-hop was dominated by larger-than-life, superhero MCs such as KRS-One, Chuck D, Rakim, etc. But here were these four guys from Long Island, with a wholly creative irreverence, embracing their inner nerdiness (and soul ya'll) and mining a treasure trove of samples beyond the James Brown catalog (the latter would get them in trouble, which we talk about as well). The album, and group, changed the proverbial game. No more no less.  
More on Thomas Golubic

More on Three Feet High and Rising

Show Tracklisting (all songs fromThree Feet High and Rising unless indicated otherwise):

  • Say No Go 
  • Sia: Breathe Me 
  • Nat King Cole: Pick Yourself Up 
  • Little Richard: Hurry Sundown 
  • The Magic Number 
  • The Turtles - You Showed Me 
  • Transmitting Live From Mars 
  • Steely Dan: Black Cow 
  • Peter Gunz: Deja Vu (Uptown Baby) 
  • Say No Go 
  • The Invitations: Written on the Wall
  • Plug Tunin 
  • Bob Dorough: Three is a Magic Number 
  • The Magic Number 
  • Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge)
  • Kool G Rap and DJ Polo: Road to the Riches 
  • Say No Go 
  • Intro 
  • Eye Know 
  • Me Myself and I 
  • Tread Water 
  • D.A.I.S.Y. Age 
  • Double Huey Skit
  • Cool Breeze on the Rocks
  • I Can Do Anything

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP39: Eliza Skinner on the "Pretty in Pink" soundtrack (1986)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Eliza Skinner

The Album: Pretty In Pink Soundtrack (1986)

Actress and comedian Eliza Skinner is part of the brand new Maximum Fun scripted comedy show, Bubble, and hosts her own music podcast, Cool Playlist. For her guest spot on Heat Rocks, she wanted to revisit one of the iconic soundtracks of the 1980s: Pretty in Pink. The film is a key part of the John Hughes pantheon, alongside The Breakfast Club, 16 Candles and Ferris Bueller's Day Off and arguably boasts the most storied soundtrack of all of them, including now-classics that were written expressly for the film such as OMD's "If You Leave" and Echo and Bunnymen's "Bring On the Dancing Horses," and of course, the reworked, sax-ified version of the Psychedelic Furs' "Pretty In Pink."

Eliza and us discussed how soundtracks can create an invented nostalgia for a time we never knew, what lesser known tracks off this album still bump, and why Ducky really didn't deserve to belong with Andie.

(That said, Ducky did kill it during his "Try a Little Tenderness" scene)

More on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack: 

More on Eliza Skinner:

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Pretty In Pink unless indicated otherwise):

  • Pretty in Pink
  • If You Leave
  • Left of Center
  • Simple Minds: Don't You (Forget About Me)
  • The Barden Bellas: Bellas Finals: Price Tag/ Don't You (Forget About Me)
  • Get to Know Ya
  • Prince: Kiss
  • Prince: Purple Rain
  • Deniece Williams: Let's Hear it for the Boy
  • Modern English: I Melt with You
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Wouldn't it be Good
  • Otis Redding: Try a Little Tenderness
  • New Order: Thieves Like Us (Instrumental)
  • If You Leave
  • Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
  • Wouldn't it be Good
  • Here's the Spotify playlist of as many of the songs above as we can find on there.

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP33: Fredara Hadley on Anita Baker's "Compositions" (1990)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Fredara Hadley

The album: Anita Baker: Compositions (1990)

Ethnomusicologist Fredara Hadley had been on our wish list for a while and as luck would have it, she came to Los Angeles earlier this spring and things lined up nicely. For our episode, Fredara wanted to get into the queen of the quiet storm from the 1980s and early ‘90s: Anita Baker and her platinum-selling 1990 album, Compositions. During our conversation, we got into the nuances of Baker’s voice and how she compelled your full attention, how she fit (or didn’t) with the sound of R&B in the early ‘90s and how, as successful as she was, she could have thrived even better in an era where jazz and R&B overlap is better embraced.

More on Compositions

More on Fredara Hadley

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Compositions unless indicated otherwise):

  • “Talk To Me”
  • Anita Baker: Rapture “Sweet Love”
  • “Fairy Tales”
  • Peabo Bryson: Crosswinds “Crosswinds”
  • “More Thank You Know”
  • Mariah Carey: Mariah Carey “Vision of Love”
  • Lisa Stansfeild: Been Around The World “Been Around The World”
  • En Vogue:Born To Sing “Hold On To Your Love”
  • “Look What I Got”
  • Drake: Comeback Season “Think Good Thoughts Feat. Phonte and Elzhi”
  • Perri: “Airstream”
  • “Perfect Love Affair”
  • “Love You To The Letter”
  • “Feel The Need”
  • “Whatever It Takes”
  • “No One To Blame”
  • Jill Scott: The Light of the Sun “Hear My Call”
  • “Lonely”

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP29: Nite Jewel on Kraftwerk's "Computer World" (1981)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Nite Jewel

The album: Kraftwerk: Computer World (1981)

When we invited L.A.'s own Nite Jewel to join us, it probably shouldn't have been a surprise that she picked Kraftwerk's Computer World; after all, she's toured the world performing the albumIn sitting down with us, NJ (aka Ramona Gonzalez) broke down how she first became obsessed with the album, walking the streets of Berkeley, thinking about German philosophy (no, really!) and why the LP is such a masterpiece of fusing a variety of musical elements all colliding in the early 1980s.

More on Computer World

More on Nite Jewel

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Computer World unless indicated otherwise):

  • ”Computer Love”
  • Nite Jewel: Real High “2 Good 2 Be True”
  • Roger Troutman: The New Zapp IV U “Computer Love”
  • ”The Dance”
  • Derrick May: “The Dance”
  • Moodyman: Forevernevermore “(logo)”
  • The Egyptian Lover: Electro Pharaoh “Electro Pharaoh“
  • 20 Fingers: 20 Fingers “Short Dick Man”
  • Afro-Rican: “Give It All You Got”
  • ”It’s More Fun To Compute”
  • ”Numbers”
  • ”Artificial Intelligence”
  • ”Home Computer”
  • ”Pocket Calculator”

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Heat Rocks, EP 13: Jay Smooth on Run DMC's "Raising Hell" (1986)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Jay Smooth

The album: Run DMC: Raising Hell (Profile, 1986)

 

Jay Smooth was always on our list of "people who we gotta get for Heat Rocks." His cultural and political commentary, much of which he does through his pioneering Ill Doctrine videos, have positioned him as one of the hip-hop generation's leading pundits and he's also hosted one of the longest running rap shows in the world: The Underground Railroad on WBAI.

For this show, Jay wanted to revisit Raising Hell a paradigm-shifting rap album that, as we discuss, has seemingly become underrated through the passage of time though it is unquestionably one of the most important hip-hop releases, ever. We get into the moment in which Run DMC first arrived, how they changed the game for rap artists (for better and for worse) and of course, all our fire track and sleeper jam picks off this LP.

More on Run DMC's Raising Hell

More on Jay Smooth

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Raising Hell unless indicated otherwise):

  • Walk This Way
  • Run DMC: Sucker MCs
  • Run DMC: It's Like That
  • Raising Hell
  • Eric B. and Rakim: I Ain't No Joke
  • It's Tricky
  • Peter Piper
  • Bob James: Mardi Gras
  • Dumb Girl
  • Is It Live?
  • My Adidas
  • Proud to Be Black
  • You Be Illin'
  • NWA: Straight Outta Compton
  • Run DMC: Tougher Than Leather
  • Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man
  • Jay-Z: Jockin' Jay-Z

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP10: B.Slade on Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814" (Recorded live!)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
B.Slade

The album: Janet Jackson: Rhythm Nation 1814 (A&M, 1989)

This episode is the edited version of our special live launch party we held on Nov. 11 in Los Angeles, as part of the Voyager Institute. We were joined by Grammy-nominated soul artist B.Slade, a self-described "Rhythm Nation-pedia" who, indeed, brought incredible insight and knowledge to our discussion of this seminal Jackson LP. How many people can name every single dancer in Janet's "Miss You Much" video? Exactly.

It was a delightful conversation and having the live audience was great. It was our first time taping in front of an audience but hopefully won't be our last. Thanks to all those who came out and to those who couldn't, we're happy you finally get to listen to this.

 

More on Janet Jackson and Rhythm Nation 1814:

More on B.Slade:

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Rhythm Nation unless indicated otherwise):

  • Intro from "Rhythm Nation"
  • "Interlude: T.V."
  • B.Slade: Alright 2016
  • "Knowledge"
  • "Interlude: Livin'...In Complete Darkness"
  • "You Need Me" (b-side of the "Miss You Much" single)
  • "Miss You Much"
  • "Alright"
  • Beyonce: "Freedom"
  • "Rhythm Nation"
  • "Miss You Much"
  • "Love Will Never Do"
  • "Someday Is Tonight"
  • "Living In a World They Didn't Make"
  • DeBarge: "Love Me In a Special Way"
  • The Carpenters: "Close To You"

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Heat Rocks, EP 7: Anil Dash on Prince's "1999" (1982)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Anil Dash

The album: Prince: 1999 (Warner Bros., 1982)

This week, we are joined by Anil Dash, the tech entrepreneur and activist whose love for The Purple One is legendary. He takes us into the Heat Rocks deep dive for Prince's 1999, the album that marked his new wave turn. All three of us share tales of our older family members being scandalized by the sexy-sexiness on the album. Mmmmmm...spicy. 

More on Prince and 1999:

More on Anil Dash:

Show Tracklisting:

  • Prince: 1999 "1999"
  • Prince: 1999 "Delirious"
  • Prince: 1999 "D.M.S.R."
  • Michael Jackson Thriller "Thriller"
  • Prince: 1999 "Little Red Corvette"
  • Prince: 1999 "Lady Cab Driver"
  • Prince: 1999 "Something in the Water"
  • Prince: 1999 "Free"
  • Prince: 1999 "All The Critics Love U in New York"

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Heat Rocks, EP 5: Dam-Funk on Change's "Miracles" (1982)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Dam-Funk

The album: Change: Miracles (Atlantic, 1981)

This week, we are joined by Dam-Funk, Stones Throw recording artist, resident DJ for the legendary Funkmosphere parties and all-around apostle of the boogie. He was one of the very first artists we invited to tape Heat Rocks, back in its pilot stage, and we're very pleased to finally shared the episode in which he took us on a deep trip into Change's Miracles.

Along the way, we talked about the post-disco, Chic-era of funk and R&B, how Italian and New York musical communities collided on this album, and how a young kid, growing up in Pasadena, would drive up to Mt. Wilson, bumping this on cassette.

More on Change and Miracles:

More on Dam-Funk:

Show Tracklisting:

  • Change: Miracles "Paradise"
  • Dam-Funk: Invite The Lights "Just Ease Your Mind From All Negativity (Feat. Snoop Dogg and Joi Gilliam)"
  • Parliament: Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome "Flash Light"
  • The Bar-Kays: Money Talks "Holy Ghost"
  • Mtune: Juicy Fruit "Juicy Fruit"
  • Chic: Risqué "Good Times"
  • Change: Miracles "Heaven In My Life"
  • Nite Funk: Nite-Funk "Let Me Be ME"
  • Change: Miracles "Miracles"
  • Change: Miracles "Hold Tight"
  • Dam-Funk: A Beautiful Day "A Beautiful Day"
  • Dam-Funk: Adolescent Funk "When I'm With You I Think Of Her"
  • Change: Miracles "On Top"

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