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Soundcheck - Smackdown

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Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

When it comes to music, arguments can get passionate -- and even heated. Join us every Tuesday to share your opinions on Soundcheck Smackdown, our weekly debate series. Guests square off on new releases, controversial artists, or polarizing trends – then we take your calls and comments.

Twitter:

@soundcheck

Language:

English

Contact:

WNYC Radio 160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013 (212) 433-9692


Episodes

The New Yorker's Sonny Rollins Satire: Funny Or Infuriating?

8/7/2014
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Last week, the New Yorker's web site published a piece called “Sonny Rollins: In His Own Words,” in which this legendary 83-year-old saxophonist -- one of the most legendary living figures in jazz -- supposedly vented about how much he hates jazz: Jazz might be the stupidest thing anyone ever came up with. The band starts a song, but then everything falls apart and the musicians just play whatever they want for as long they can stand it. People take turns noodling around, and once they...

Duration: 00:21:44


Soundcheck Smackdown: Ace Of Base's 'The Sign,' 20 Years Later

7/14/2014
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This summer Soundcheck is looking back to the summer of 1994 to explore the hits, defining albums and pop culture of 20 years ago. Twenty years ago, Swedish pop group Ace Of Base had the No. 1 hit with "The Sign." And with its danceable synthy confections and gender-balanced band lineup, Ace Of Base seemed like a logical heir to the throne of ABBA. But while lots of people loved the band — the album went platinum nine times over — many people didn’t. Soundcheck invited Entertainment...

Duration: 00:11:07


Soundcheck Smackdown: Is The Ukulele Lovely, Or Just Lazy?

2/27/2014
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Who knew such a tiny instrument could elicit such strong feelings? In the pop music era, the ukulele has gone from cultural artifact and jokey sidearm, to songwriting tool and ironic totem. The four-string made a high profile cameo on a recent episode of How I Met Your Mother, and many online commenters were swift and harsh in their condemnation, says writer Jesse David Fox. So harsh, in fact, that Fox wrote an article in defense of the ukulele for Vulture. And while Ben Greenman didn't...

Duration: 00:19:08


Soundcheck Smackdown: Is The Sound of Music Stale?

11/26/2013
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On December 5, NBC will air a live version of the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music. The live show will star Carrie Underwood and True Blood's Stephen Moyer, and will undoubtedly have fans ready to compare every shot to the iconic 1965 film. In anticipation of the latest iteration of the musical, we brought NPR's Linda Holmes and musician Peter Kiesewalter to Soundcheck to make their case: is The Sound of Music a living monument to American theater, or has it gotten...

Duration: 00:22:58


House Of Horrors: A Scariest Musician Smackdown

10/31/2013
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All this week in Soundcheck's House of Horrors, we’ve been posing this question: Who is the scariest musician of all time? Today, it’s time to pit some of your nominees for scariest musician against each other in a quickfire Soundcheck Smackdown. Chris Weingarten, senior editor for Spin magazine, and Melissa Locker, freelance music writer for outlets like Time and Rolling Stone, help decide who's the scariest in each round of our smackdown, from Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper, to Insane...

Duration: 00:18:06


Soundcheck Smackdown: Record Store Day Edition

4/18/2013
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For faithful fans of vinyl, the third Saturday in April means one thing: Record Store Day. This year, it falls on Saturday, April 20th. It's a day set aside to celebrate those increasingly rare independent "brick-and-mortar" record stores and the people who love them. And every year since its inception in 2008, more and more diehard music listeners and collectors line up at the doors in hopes of scoring limited edition 7" singles and enticing reissues. For many, it's a fun day meant to...

Duration: 00:17:10


Smackdown Singles Edition: Bohemian Rhapsody

6/14/2011
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It’s a Soundcheck Smackdown singles edition! We’re throwing Queen’s 1975 hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" into the ring for our weekly debate. Emily Rems, managing editor of Bust magazine, and Entertainment Weekly editor-at-large Ken Tucker join us to debate a song that is either ingenious…or just indulgent. And, Queen biographer Mark Blake explains the story behind the song. Watch the video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" below...

Duration: 00:29:40


Web Extra: An Odd Future Smackdown

5/13/2011
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Please be aware that this podcast contains explicit material that some listeners may find offensive. With the help of music journalists Laina Dawes and Jaime Lowe, we debate whether Odd Future is a step forward or backward for hip hop in this special Soundcheck Smackdown: Web Edition. Their name isn’t exactly a publicity agent’s dream—Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All—but then again, the hip hop collective otherwise known as OFWGKTA or Odd Future doesn’t seem to really care much about...

Duration: 00:17:16


Smackdown: Whistling

5/3/2011
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Whistled melodies have inspired great music from Otis Redding, Paul Simon and others. But whistling has also inspired murderous looks on the subway. We debate the sometimes-awesome, sometimes-annoying art of whistling. Guests include New Yorker editor and writer Ben Greenman and singer, teacher – and competitive-whistling champion – Emily Eagen. Listeners: What do you think about whistling in music? Angelic or annoying? Leave a comment below.

Duration: 00:30:32


Soundcheck Smackdown: The "Kiss" Off

4/26/2011
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Prince's hit song, "Kiss," is a beloved masterpiece- but could a cover top the original? In this Soundcheck Smackdown, we pit the original version against the 1988 Art of Noise/Tom Jones cover. Representing His Purpleness is Prince biographer Jason Draper, and making doves cry is music reporter Gary Burton.

Duration: 00:18:55


Soundcheck Smackdown: Aja

4/19/2011
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Steely Dan’s 1977 album “Aja” rebelled against the disco and rock hits of the day and achieved a new level of smooth. As of this year, the Library of Congress has also deemed it so culturally and aesthetically significant that it's now going to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. Following up on our review of the 25 sound recordings that were most recently given this honor, we Smackdown Steely Dan's "Aja" with St. Petersburg Times media critic Eric Deggans and freelance music...

Duration: 00:26:21


Smackdown: The Strokes

3/29/2011
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Julian Casablancas and Co. debuted in 2001 with the critically acclaimed album Is This It and helped put New York rock back on the map. Now the Strokes are back - after a puzzling, difficult five-year hiatus - with the new album Angles. J. Edward Keyes, editor-in-chief of eMusic, and Sophie Harris, music writer for Time Out New York, join us to debate this comeback album. Listeners: What do you think of The Strokes new album? Is it a return to form? Or just a return? Weigh in!

Duration: 00:26:37


Smackdown: The Concept Album

2/15/2011
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Concept Albums. They’re the pop-music equivalent of the novel. But, sometimes … novels can be really, really boring. On today’s Soundcheck Smackdown, music critic Amanda Petrusich and Steven Wilson of the prog-rock band Porcupine Tree debate whether the concept album is ingenious…or just indulgent. Plus, journalist and biographer James Kaplan tells us about the concept album’s surprising history. Listeners: What do you think? Are concept albums ingenious or indulgent? Leave a comment below!

Duration: 00:30:59


Smackdown: The Concept Album

2/15/2011
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Concept Albums. They’re the pop-music equivalent of the novel. But, sometimes … novels can be really, really boring. On today’s Soundcheck Smackdown, music critic Amanda Petrusich and Steven Wilson of the prog-rock band Porcupine Tree debate whether the concept album is ingenious…or just indulgent. Plus, journalist and biographer James Kaplan tells us about the concept album’s surprising history. Listeners: What do you think? Are concept albums ingenious or indulgent? Leave a comment below!

Duration: 00:31:40


Smackdown: White Christmas vs. Silent Night

12/21/2010
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Some dream of a "White Christmas"...others prefer a "Silent Night." Jody Rosen of Slate.com and Rolling Stone debates WQXR host Jeff Spurgeon over which classic Christmas tune really puts the shine on Santa's shoes.

Duration: 00:17:21


Smackdown: Battle of the Brits

12/21/2010
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It's a British tradition--a race to top the music charts each Christmas season. Music critic Sophie Harris of Time Out New York and BBC contributor Gary Burton square off on their favorite seasonal hits from back home.

Duration: 00:15:12


Coward or Porter

12/7/2010
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Our weekly Soundcheck Smackdown pits Nol Coward against Cole Porter -- two titans of 20th-century popular music go head-to-head in our weekly debate. Guests include Barry Day, editor of two books of Coward’s writing, and singer and actress Andrea Marcovicci. Tell us: Anything goes for Cole? Or is Nol your hero? Leave a comment below.

Duration: 00:25:49


Smackdown: Kanye v. Pusha T

11/16/2010
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On today’s Soundcheck Smackdown we’re asking the question: Who is the best MC of the new millennium? Our guests are pitting two MCs currently in the spotlight against each other: Kanye West and Pusha T. Though they may be collaborating together on West's upcoming album, we look at the questions on fans' minds: Who has the best flow? Whose lyrics have the most poetry? Whose rhymes best match the beats? Amos Barshad of New York magazine’s Vulture blog, and Jay Smooth of illdoctrine.com...

Duration: 00:14:19


Stop Buying That Stairway

11/9/2010
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Led Zeppelin nostalgia is at a fever pitch, with rock heir Jason Bonham leading a tribute tour and biographer Stephen Davis revisiting the subject matter that made his “Hammer of the Gods” tell-all so scandalous. Today, our single-song edition of the Tuesday debate throws down the gauntlet on the band's controversial classic, “Stairway to Heaven:” arena anthem or eight minutes too long? Guests include Emily Rems, managing editor of Bust Magazine, and Phil Freeman, writer of the Headbang...

Duration: 00:22:56


Too Rye Ay

10/26/2010
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The hip insiders at Pitchfork recently gave high marks to a reissue of "Searching for the Young Soul Rebels," the 1980 debut album from Dexys Midnight Runners. But most Americans know this British pop-soul group as a one-hit wonder that brought us something else: the oft-covered '80s standard "Come on Eileen." Squaring off on this karaoke staple are: Steve Almond, author of Rock and Roll Will Save Your Live and music writer Gary Burton. Today's Playlist: 1. "Come On Eileen" - Dexys...

Duration: 00:17:38

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