1980s

EP109: Gabrielle Civil on Prince's "Parade" (1986)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Gabrielle Civil

No single artist has come up on this show more than The Purple One and it's not hard to see why. His enormous discography is filled to the brim with timeless records and undeniable fire. 

Parade came at an interesting time in Prince's career; it would be the last album he recorded with The Revolution and was, ostensibly, the soundtrack to Prince's film Under the Cherry Moon, a critical and commercial flop. Parade endured and became one of his best selling albums, garnering near universal praise and launched his already successful career into the stratosphere. 

Writer and artist Gabrielle Civil joins Oliver and guest co-host Ernest Hardy in the studio to discuss Under the Cherry Moon, the chances Prince took with the production of Parade, and the role of women in his world. 

More on Gabrielle Civil

More on Parade

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Parade unless indicated otherwise)

  • Do U Lie
  • Life Can Be So Nice
  • Venus De Milo
  • Christopher Tracy's Parade
  • I Wonder U
  • Under the Cherry Moon
  • Girls & Boys
  • I Wonder U
  • Prince: Old Friends 4 Sale
  • Sometimes It Snows in April
  • Meshell Ndegeocello: Sometimes It Snows in April
  • Sometimes It Snows in April
  • Life Can Be So Nice
  • Anotherloverholenyohead
  • Kiss
  • Prince: When Doves Cry
  • I Wonder U
  • Under the Cherry Moon
  • Kiss 
  • Anotherloverholenyohead
  • Christopher Tracy's Parade
  • New Position
  • Sometimes It Snows in April
  • Stevie Wonder: Send One Your Love
  • Aretha Franklin: Something He Can Feel
  • Camille: 1,2,3

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

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

EP97: Summer Spectacular feat. Quetzal (redux)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Quetzal

The Albums:

Note: This is a rerun of an episode from 2018 that has been re-edited and remastered.

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 2017'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: Olokun y Yemayá
  • Alé Kumá: Las Olas De La Mar
  • Alé Kumá: Volá Pajarito
  • Alé Kumá: ¿Por Qué Me Pegá?
  • Alé Kumá:Oiaymeló
  • Mary J Blige: Love No Limit
  • Mary J Blige: Slow Down
  • Mary J Blige: Reminisce
  • Mary J Blige: Sweet Thing
  • Mary J Blige: What's the 411?
  • Mary J Blige: Leave a Message
  • Mary J Blige: I'll Do 4 U
  • Mary J Blige: You're All I Need
  • Mary J Blige: I Don't Want to Do Anything
  • The Smiths: Sheila Take a Bow
  • The Smiths: Shoplifters of the World Unite
  • The Smiths: Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want
  • The Smiths: Half a Person
  • The Smiths: Panic
  • Kendrick Lamar: Momma
  • Kendrick Lamar: You Ain't Gotta Lie (Momma Said)
  • Kendrick Lamar: Alright
  • Kendrick Lamar: These Walls
  • Kendrick Lamar: i

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

Switchblade Sisters Episode 89: 'Donnie Darko' with 'Braid' Director Mitzi Peirone

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Guests: 
Mitzi Peirone

Donnie Darko

Mitzi Peirone was born and raised in Turin, Italy. After high school Peirone left Italy to study theater in New York City at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She ended up writing and directing a short film called “Chaosmos,” and directing another short called “Versperlings” while she geared up for a feature. The screenplay for Braid rapidly became her main focus, and in 2016 Peirone partnered up with entrepreneur Joseph Lubin to create a new business model to finance her film, which became the first one ever to be fully financed through a cryptocurrency equity crowdsale. The sale raised 1.7 million dollars in two weeks. The film premiered at Tribeca in 2018 and won Best Picture at the Lausanne Underground Film Festival. Braid, which tells the story of two women who decide to rob their wealthy psychotic friend - but must participate in the friend’s perverse game of make believe, received worldwide distribution via Blue Fox Entertainment. Mitzi then signed with ICM, and her next directorial effort is a sci-fi thriller set in a tech-apocalypse, starring Bella Thorne.

The movie Mitzi chose to discuss this week is a real mind bender - 2001's cult classic, Donnie Darko. Part of the reason that Mitzi loves this film is that, much like her own movie Braid, it can be hard to tell what is real and what is imagined. She discusses her unusual fundraising technique for the movie which involved a cryptocurrency equity crowdsale. Mitzi also emphasizes the need for filmmakers not to concern themselves with whether the audience will completely understand their vision. Plus, she talks at length about her belief that there is no difference between reality and dreams - a conversation that makes April's brain explode.

You can see Braid streaming now.

And if you haven't seen Donnie Darko yet, go watch it!

With April Wolfe and Mitzi Peirone.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

EP90: Prince Special

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Anil Dash
Guests: 
Meshell Ndegeocello
Guests: 
Illa J

The Albums: 

Hard to believe but Prince's landmark album Purple Rain turns 35 years this week (and the Purple One himself would have just celebrated his 61st birthday last week). In honor of these milestones and the fact that Prince is one of Heat Rocks' Triple Crown winners (i.e. his albums have been featured three times so far), we decided to offer you a "Best of Prince" episode that splices together highlights from our previous three Prince eps:

Show Tracklisting (all songs by Prince unless indicated otherwise):

  • When You Were Mine
  • Dirty Mind
  • Controversy
  • Sister
  • Partyup
  • Sister
  • Dirty Mind
  • When You Were Mine
  • Head
  • D'Angelo: She's Always In My Hair
  • Gotta Broken Heart Again
  • D.M.S.R.
  • Little Red Corvette
  • Let's Pretend We're Married
  • 1999
  • Little Red Corvette
  • Lady Cab Driver
  • All The Critics Love U in New York
  • Lady Cab Driver
  • Let's Go Crazy
  • For You
  • When Doves Cry
  • I Would Die 4 U
  • Let's Go Crazy
  • Computer Blue
  • The Beautiful Ones
  • When Doves Cry
  • Purple Rain
  • Housequake
  • Let's Go Crazy

Shout out to our Producer Supreme, Christian Duenas, for doing the edit work on this episode and if you enjoyed the highlights, be sure to download and listen to the entire episodes!

EP84: RJ Smith on James Blood Ulmer's "Odyssey" (1984)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
RJ Smith

The Album: James Blood Ulmer: Odyssey  (1984) 
“Electric guitar” and “free jazz” may not be terms that folks normally pair together but when James Blood Ulmer first began collaborating with jazz giant Ornette Coleman in the mid 1970s, Ulmer found an instant kinship is the heady, improvisational style of Coleman’s harmolodics theory. The influence would shape the beginnings of Ulmer’s solo career later in the decade, culminating, for many, in Odyssey, recorded in 1983 with just Ulmer, drummer Warren Benbow and violinist Charles Burnham. Since then, the album is considered one of Ulmer’s greatest achievements, what longtime New York music critic, Robert Christgau lauded as a “ur-American synthesis that takes in jazz, rock, Delta blues and even country music…you’d be hard-pressed to pin just one style on any of this painfully beautiful stuff.”
Odyssey came to us via music historian and author RJ Smith. He's already written  books on everything from the Los Angeles post-war jazz scene to photographer Robert Frank to an R&B artist named James Brown. He's currently working on a new biography, this one about Chuck Berry. For RJ, Ulmer's masterpiece represented a distillation of musical movements all colliding together in early 1980s New York City and where Odyssey's opening song felt like an invitation to prayer and mediation. 
More on RJ Smith

More on Odyssey

  • Robert  Christgau's review of Odyssey (and other Ulmer albums of the era)
  • 1998 interview between Ulmer and Jason Gross (Furious.com)

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

  • Love Dance
  • Church
  • Smothered Soul
  • Ornette Coleman Quartet: Live in Roma
  • Swing and Things
  • Wynton Marsalis: When It's Sleepytime Down South
  • Swing and Things
  • Church
  • Please Tell Her
  • Little Red House
  • Are You Glad To Be In America

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

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

EP68: Chani Nicholas on Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual" (1983)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Chani Nicholas

The Album: Cyndi Lauper She's So Unsual (1983)

She's So Unusual dropped October 14th, 1983, and introduced much of the world to Queens' pop punk tough girl Cyndi Lauper. She presented as a colorful character with colorful hair and colorful homies and charmed her way into pop culture with ten tracks recorded for CBS at the Record Plant, NYC.

The former front woman for rockabilly band Blue Angel took a demo written by Philly rocker Robert Hazard and retooled it to become an anthem for her and the Eighties. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" was the hit single that launched She's So Unusual and Cyndi Lauper into fame and led the album to platinum success, with six singles, two Grammy Awards, and critical acclaim for days.

She's So Unusual was the pick of astrologer/activist Chani Nicholas, who joined us to break down the relevance and resonance of the album in her life, Cyndi's star appeal, the queer gaze present on the album, Cyndi's quirky Cancerian coolness, and the her impact on music and the masses.

More on Chani Nicholas

More on She's So Unsual

Show Tracklisting (all songs from She's So Unsual unless indicated otherwise):

  • Time After Time
  • Girls Just Want to Have Fun
  • Money Changes Everything
  • She Bop
  • Divinyls: I Touch Myself
  • When You Were Mine
  • Prince: When You Were Mine
  • When You Were Mine
  • Money Changes Everything
  • The Brains: Money Changes Everything
  • Time After Time
  • Money Changes Everything
  • Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Early Guitar Demo
  • Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Demo
  • Girls Just Want to Have Fun

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!

EP60: Chris Molanphy on George Michael's "Faith" (1987)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Chris Molanphy

The Album: George Michael: Faith (1987)

In the fall of 1987, it wasn't a foregone conclusion that George Michael's solo debut, Faith, would be a hit. As successful as Michael had been as half of the Wham! duo, going solo was always going to be a risk but as it turns out, it was one worth taking. Faith turned out to be a runaway hit, not simply a #1 album but spawning four different #1 singles, including the lively title song which became the best-selling song of 1988 in the U.S.

It wasn't without controversy however, especially with conservative outcries against the song, "I Want Your Sex," and its video for being too racy or explicit, all the while Michael, as we learned later, was insinuating hints about his own changing sexual identity into different verses. These were all topics of discussion that came up with our guest, Chris Molanphy, creator and host of the Hit Parade podcast which analyzes chart histories to provide incredibly in-depth discussions about pop music. Chris takes on the sometimes arcane peculiarities of music charts and uses them as a way to jump into far broader discussions about pop trends, figures and transformations. Chris had previous taped an episode of Hit Parade devoted to the parallel careers of Michael and Elton John and he brought that wealth of knowledge to our conversation.

More on Chris Molanphy

More on Faith

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

  • I Want Your Sex (Parts I & II)
  • Wham!: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
  • George Michael: Careless Whisper
  • Hard Day
  • Father Figure
  • I Want Your Sex (Parts I & II)
  • Sinead O'Connor: Nothing Compares 2 U
  • One More Try
  • Hard Day (Shep Pettibone Remix)
  • Hard Day
  • Kissing A Fool
  • Father Figure
  • Hand to Mouth
  • Limp Bizkit: Faith
  • Faith
  • Estelle: No Substitute Love
  • Kissing A Fool

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!

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!

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