R&B

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"

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Heat Rocks, EP 9: The Shacks on The Sapphires' "Best Of" (1960s)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
The Shacks

The album: The Sapphires: Best Of (Heritage, 1994)

This week, we are joined by The Shacks, the NYC-based duo of singer Shannon Wise and producer Max Shrager. Maybe you heard their cool cover of The Kinks' "This Strange Effect" on that Apple ad this fall? Or maybe you were already up on them from their EP, released by Big Crown? Either way, Max and Shannon threw us a curveball with their choice: a 1994 compilation of nearly two dozen sides recorded in the mid-1960s by The Sapphires, the obscure-ish R&B trio of Carol Jackson, George Gainer and Joe Livingston that recorded with Swan and ABC-Paramount before dissolving circa 1966. We talked about the unique sound of The Sapphires, the roots of Philly soul, and what it's like to dig through the crates to figure out your own sound.

This episode was both the first time we had a group in the studio, which was fun, and the first time we tackled an album from the 1960s. Hopefully, it won't be the last, for either.

More on The Sapphpires and their Best Of anthology:

More on The Shacks:

Show Tracklisting:

  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Who Do You Love"
  • The Shacks: The Shacks EP "This Strange Effect"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Lets Break Up For A While"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Gotta Have Your Love"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Evil One"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Come On And Love Me"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Your True Love"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Evil One"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Your True Love"
  • Edison Lighthouse: Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Hearts Are Made to be Broken"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "I've Got Mine, You Better Get Yours"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Evil One"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Who Do You Love"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Slow Fizz"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Baby You've Got Me"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Hearts Are Made To Be Broken"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Let Break Up For A While"
  • The Sapphires: The very Best of the Sapphires "Gotta Have Your Love"

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

Heat Rocks, EP 8: Ernest Hardy on Sade's "Love Deluxe" (1992)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Ernest Hardy

The album: Sade: Love Deluxe (Epic., 1992)

This week, we are joined by cultural critic Ernest Hardy. Oliver first got to know Ernest through his remarkable writing in the LA Weekly and other outlets, some of which has been compiled into his Blood Beats Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 collections. For this episode, he chose Sade's Love Deluxe, which came out 25 years ago this fall. Ernest's deep love and appreciation for Sade was readily apparent to both Morgan and Oliver and it produced what we think is one of the most insightful episodes we've taped thus yet. We really loved this episode, we hope you do too.

More on Sade and Love Deluxe:

More on Ernest Hardy:

Show Tracklisting:

  • Sade: No Ordinary Love
  • Massive Attack: Blue Lines
  • Smith and Mighty: Too Late
  • Sade: King of Sorrow
  • Sade: Pearls
  • Funk Brothers: Since I Lost You (Instrumental)
  • Sade: Cherish the Day
  • Sade: Feel No Pain
  • Sade: When Am I Going to Make a Living
  • Sade: Clean Heart
  • Sade: Pearls (Live, Hollywood Bowl)
    Sade: Bulletproof Soul
  • Sade: Somewhere In My Sadness
  • Sade: Kiss of Life

(Also, this episode was edited by co-host Oliver Wang!)
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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 2: Phonte on Intro's "Intro" (1993)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Phonte

The album: Intro: Intro (Atlantic, 1993)

This week rapper, producer, and songwriter Phonte (Foreign Exchange, Little Brother) joins Oliver and Morgan to talk about R&B group Intro's 1993 self-titled debut album. The release was part of the changing tide of R&B music, when slow jams were giving way to more uptempo hits and singers were exchanging suits for Timbs and jeans.

Phonte shares about what Intro's brand of new jack swing meant to him as a teenager learning about life in Greensboro, North Carolina. Don't get him wrong: he was a hardcore hip-hop head, but he grew up both in an R&B household and in the church where singing was a big part of his musical formation. Phonte breaks down the group's influence on his understanding of songwriting, lyrics, and the balance between uptempo and down-tempo songs. He also discusses the album's mature themes, crediting them for helping a young brother's macking game.

More on Intro

More on Phonte:

Tracklisting:

  • Intro: Love Thang
  • Intro: Let Me Be The One
  • Jodeci: Forever My Lady
  • Brick: Dazz (1976)
  • Heavy D & The Boyz: Mr. Big Stuff
  • Jade: Don't Walk Away (1992)
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Award Tour
  • Mary J. Blige - You Don't Have To Worry
  • Intro: Come Inside
  • Intro: Why Don't You Love Me?
  • Intro: Ribbon in the Sky
  • Intro: One of a Kind Love
  • Faith Evans: Reasons
  • Intro: Ecstasy of Love
  • Intro: So Many Reasons
  • Intro: Don't Leave Me
  • Intro: It's All About You
  • Foreign Exchange: If She Breaks Your Heart (feat. Yahzarah)

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

Bullseye: Chuck Klosterman & W. Kamau Bell

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Chuck Klosterman
Guests: 
W. Kamau Bell

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Chuck Klosterman on consuming culture on the Internet and how the present will be perceived in the future

Chuck Klosterman has written countless articles for GQ, ESPN, The Washington Post, Esquire, The Guardian and more. His new book, But What if We’re Wrong, examines how the present will be perceived it as the past. What exactly will be thought of as important events to people that are hundreds of years removed from it all? Is it even possible to get every fact correct when writing about the past?

Klosterman sits down with Jesse to talk about how we consume culture, how historians frequently reinterpret historical events, and how writing online and writing for print are fundamentally different undertakings.

Chuck Klosterman’s book But What if We’re Wrong? is available now.


Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

W. Kamau Bell on the Best Advice He’s Received

Socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell shares with us the best piece of advice he’s ever received.

The Outshot: Tony! Toni! Toné!

Jesse talks about Tony! Toni! Toné! and how they successfully merged soul music and hip-hop to create a new type of R&B.

Bullseye: Mary Roach & William Bell

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Mary Roach
Guests: 
William Bell

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Mary Roach on Shark Repellant, Submarines and “The Suck”.

Though she didn’t earn a degree in the sciences, author Mary Roach has a knack for writing about them with insight and wit. Whether she’s describing what happens to the body after death or the many aspects of human sexuality, Roach makes her topics accessible and fun.

Roach has authored half a dozen books including: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, as well as articles for magazines including Vogue, GQ, and National Geographic.

Mary Roach sat down with Jesse about whether shark repellant actually exists, life on submarines and how leaches inspired her to write a book on military science.

Mary Roach’s new book is Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War


Photo: Jesse Thorn

William Bell on the Family at Staxx Records, His Career Before and After Being Drafted and His Voice, Then and Now

William Bell is a soul singer and songwriter whose distinctive sound is forever associated with the legendary Stax Records. Along with with performers like Otis Redding, Sam and Duke, Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers, Bell helped create music that continues to entertain and inspire.

He is famous for his hit songs including You Don’t Miss Your Water, Private Number, A Tribute to the King and Everybody Loves a Winner. He also co-wrote the classic song, Born Under a Bad Sign which was originally performed by Albert King and later covered by Jimi Hendrix, Etta James, Cream and even Homer Simpson.

William Bell joined Jesse to talk about what it was like beginning his musical career while still a teenager, how he returned to his career after being drafted and what he thinks about his own voice, now that he is in his seventies.

William Bell’s new album is This is Where I Live.


Photo: Peter Kramer/Getty Images

The Outshot: Tanya Tucker’s What's Your Mama's Name

Jesse shares why Tanya Tucker’s voice and classic song, What’s Your Mama’s Name manages to move him every time he hears it.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Mavis Staples

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Mavis Staples


Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Mavis Staples talks about Singing Gospel, Civil Rights, and Working with Prince

Mavis Staples is one of the greatest singers of our time-- a gospel, soul and R&B vocalist known for her rich, throaty voice. She began as the lead member of The Staple Singers in the 1950's, a family gospel group formed by Pops Staples and several of his children.

The Staple Singers achieved hits with "Respect Yourself", "I'll Take You There" and "Let's Do it Again". They also became a musical voice of the American Civil Rights Movement with their protest music.

Staples has reinvented her sound over the decades. She's worked with Curtis Mayfield, Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan and Prince (Yes, THAT Prince).

Her most recent album One True Vine was released in 2013 and produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. You can find a partial transcript of this interview here.

This segment originally aired January 30th, 2011.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.

My Brother, My Brother and Me Offer Pop Culture Advice

Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy from My Brother, My Brother and Me join the show to answer pop culture quandaries from listeners.

Are you ever too old to hang up posters on your walls? Should you ever tell your children that the shows they like actually suck? Is it ever a good idea to talk to a stranger about the book they're reading? The brothers proffer their advice with a healthy amount of goofs mixed in.

If you liked what you heard, over 200 episodes of My Brother, My Brother and Me are available on
iTunes and right here on Maximumfun.org

This segment originally aired February 28, 2012.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this segment.

The Outshot: Bill Cunningham New York

Jesse examines the often superficial fashion world and finds a stunningly sincere and emotional portrait of a man. The man is New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, and the portrait is Richard Press's biographical documentary Bill Cunningham New York.

This segment originally aired March 24, 2012.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this segment.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band, Mark Frauenfelder

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Charlie Wilson
Guests: 
Mark Frauenfelder


Mark Frauenfelder Recommends: "Good Dog" and Super Durak

Mark Frauenfelder, founder of BoingBoing and host of the Gweek podcast joins us to weigh on his latest obsessions in the form of geeky pop culture. This time, it's Graham Chaffee's Good Dog and the virtual version of Russian card game Super Durak, for iOs.

Chaffee's book, out this week, is a tour through a stray dog's life as he weighs a life of independence against the security of being a house pet, exploring the psychology of dogs in a vein similar to White Fang. Frauenfelder also suggests downloading the Super Durak app for a card game with a unique twist -- there are no winners.

Click here to share these recommendations with your friends.


Charlie Wilson: Creating Funk Jams with the Gap Band, Overcoming Addiction, and Recovering a Career

From his years as the frontman of the funk-R&B group the Gap Band, to singing hooks for rappers like Snoop Dogg and Kanye West, to his solo career recording R&B hits in his airy tenor, Charlie Wilson has been all about music. He grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of a Pentecostal preacher and a music minister mother. Wilson spent his early years singing for his father's congregation and formed the Gap Band with his brothers, Ronnie and Robert, as a teenager.

In the late 1970s and early 80s, the Gap Band took their signature funk and R&B sound and made chart-topping hits like "Burn Rubber on Me", "Outstanding", "You Dropped a Bomb on Me", and "Party Train". The band's management was rocky in the mid 1980s, and Wilson's life took a downturn. A few years later, he was addicted to drugs and living on the streets. But a love for music and sense of pride helped right the course, and he retooled his career into Grammy-nominated solo work.
Wilson talks to us about crafting the now-classic sounds of the Gap Band, encounters with Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone, and why he returned to music after years of isolation and addiction.

Charlie Wilson's newest record is Love, Charlie. He'll receive BET's Lifetime Achievement Award on June 30th.

Embed or share this interview with Charlie Wilson by clicking here.


Comedy: Al Madrigal Meets the "Cholo Soccer Dad"

There's a very specific kind of subculture you might encounter in East Los Angeles. Al Madrigal explains his encounter with it in this clip from his new stand up special, Why Is the Rabbit Crying?.

Al Madrigal is a stand up comic. You can catch him on the road in selected cities this summer and fall, and on TV as The Daily Show's Latino Correspondent.

The Outshot: "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton" by The Mountain Goats

Jesse explores a song about two high school friends, a death metal band, and dreams. It's "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton".

The Mountain Goats are on tour this summer. You can find those dates on their website.

Got a cultural gem of your own? Share your own Outshot on the MaxFun Forums.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Stephen Tobolowsky and Kasper Hauser News

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Stephen Tobolowsky
Guests: 
Kasper Hauser
Guests: 
Maggie Serota
Guests: 
Tom Scharpling
Guests: 
Daniel Ralston

Subscribe to Bullseye in iTunes or the RSS feed! And if you enjoy this episode, SHARE IT! You can find links to each of our segments on our SoundCloud page.


Music Picks with the Low Times

Tom Scharpling, Maggie Serota, and Daniel Ralston from the Low Times podcast join us this week with music suggestions. Maggie recommends “What Have I Done to Deserve This” from Pet Shop Boys, Tom suggests “Stud Spider” by Tony Joe White, and Daniel thinks we should check out Bill Fox’s “Bonded to You.”

(Embed or share this segment with the Low Times)


Photo credit Jim Britt

Life Stories with Stephen Tobolowsky

You may best recognize Stephen Tobolowsky from his role as Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day, but his considerable body of work spans several mediums. He's appeared as a character actor in hundreds of films and television shows, including the HBO series Deadwood, he hosts The Tobolowsky Files podcast, and he's now written a book called The Dangerous Animals Club.

The stories in his podcast and his new book are about his life, but they aren't Hollywood gossip. They're funny, intimate, and often profound recountings of things from his normal life – like falling in love for the first time, being held at gunpoint at the grocery store, and spending Christmas Eve tripping on acid. He joins us to share some of those stories.

(Click here to listen and share more of our conversation with Stephen Tobolowsky that didn't make the radio cut!)


The News with Kasper Hauser

The intrepid journalists of Kasper Hauser news team have their fingers on the pulse of fake news, and they return this week to keep you updated.

The members of Kasper Hauser are based in San Francisco and are the authors of Obama's Blackberry, Weddings of the Times, and the forthcoming Earn Your MBA On the Toilet.

(Embed or share The News with Kasper Hauser)


The Outshot: Frank Ocean's Channel Orange

R&B has lost its edge in recent years, but Frank Ocean’s album Channel Orange is a new, exciting example of the genre. Ocean channels emotions and harnesses distance to create beautiful, memorable songs and a masterful record.

What's your favorite R&B album? Head over to the MaxFun forum and share YOUR outshot.

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