Oliver Wang

Heat Rocks, EP3: Ann Powers on Madonna's "Like a Prayer" (1989)

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Ann Powers

The album: Madonna: Like a Prayer (Sire, 1989)

This week, Morgan and Oliver are joined by Ann Powers of NPR Music and author of the new book, Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music. Together, the three dug into Like a Prayer, Madonna's critical breakout album form 1989. As Ann lays out, Madonna had already established herself as an MTV-era mega-star with her previous albums but Like a Prayer, with its then-controversial sexual politics and surprising personal candor, marked a new level of artistic ambition.

More on Madonna and Like a Prayer

More on Ann Powers:

Tracklisting:

  • Madonna: "Like A Prayer" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Like A Virgin" Like A Virgin
  • Madonna: "Till Death Do Us Part" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Express Yourself" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Act Of Contrition" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Love Song" Like A Prayer
  • Prince: "Computer Blue" Purple Rain
  • Madonna: "Cherish" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Dear Jessie" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Promise To Try" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Keep It Together" Like A Prayer

Heat Rocks, EP 2: Phonte on Intro's "Intro" (1993)

| 0 comments
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)

Heat Rocks, EP 1: Joi on Betty Davis' "They Say I'm Different"

| 0 comments
Betty Davis/Joi
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Joi Gilliam

The album: Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different (Just Sunshine, 1974)

This was one the pilot episodes we recorded in the spring and when we left the taping, we turned to one another and knew this show had potential.

The pairing of artist and album came from Morgan and it was inspired: the undersung Betty Davis, one of the most original and fascinating figures of the 1970s, being feted by future soul artist and Dungeon Family-affiliate Joi, an artist very much cut from Betty's cloth but a generation later. We had a fantastic conversation about the importance and uniqueness of Betty and what she's meant, especially, to waves of Black women artists who've followed in her path in the 40+ years since.

On a personal note, this also meant a lot to Oliver because he's written three sets of liner notes on Betty Davis albums (including They Say I'm Different) and interviewed her extensively as part of that. He forever holds a torch for her.

More on Betty Davis:

More on Joi:

Tracklisting:

  • Betty Davis: They Say I'm Different
  • Joi: Freedom (Pendulum Vibe, 1994)
  • Betty Davis: Git In There
  • Brides of Funkenstein: Party Up In Here (12", 1979)
  • Vicki Anderson: Message From the Soul Sisters (7", 1974)
  • Betty Davis: 70s Blues
  • Betty Davis: Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him
  • Ice Cube: Once Upon a Time in the Projects (AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, 1990)
  • Betty Davis: He Was a Big Freak
  • Joi: If I'm In Luck, I Might Get Picked Up (Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome, 1996)
  • Betty Davis: Don't Call Her No Tramp

Get to Know Heat Rocks Host Oliver Wang!

| 0 comments

Maximum Fun's newest show Heat Rocks debuts on Tuesday, October 3rd! Read on to get to know co-host Oliver Wang before you check out the outstanding first episode.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I wear many hats (literally and figuratively) but my main job is as a sociology professor at Cal State Long Beach, where I’ve been since 2006. I’ve also been an arts/culture writer since the mid-90s. I started as a music critic but these days, I write about everything from urban change to food to car clubs. I’ve also been a DJ for 25 years and I continue to collect records and occasionally, play them out.

What led you to create Heat Rocks?

It may seem archaic but I still love the album as a format. The idea that an artist would sit down to create an album as a collection of ideas, as a creative statement, is still compelling. I always knew I wanted to create a podcast around albums and when I approached Morgan to be the co-host, we cooked up the idea of inviting guests to talk about the albums they love. Ultimately, Heat Rocks is an album appreciation show.

What are you most excited for people to hear on the show?

It’s the surprise factor when you hear what guests want to talk about. Phonte choosing, for example, “Intro” by Intro, an early ‘90s new jack swing album totally caught me off guard but it turned out to be an incredibly fun episode. Likewise, I wouldn’t have guessed that one of Ill Camille’s favorite albums was Common’s “Like Water For Chocolate” but she had every verse on that album memorized. Every. Verse. It was incredible.

What's your personal heat rock?

I have many! But if you twisted my arm to just pick one, I might have to go with Al Green’s “I’m Still In Love With You.” It doesn’t even have “Let’s Stay Together” on it yet it’s 9 songs, barely over half an hour long, and it’s damn near perfect.

Introducing Heat Rocks, coming October 3rd!

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks

Heat Rocks is a brand new podcast from MaxFun, hosted by music writer Oliver Wang and music supervisor Morgan Rhodes. Each episode, we invite a guest to join us - an artist, a writer, a scholar, etc. - to pick out and talk about one of their favorite albums. It's a show about music appreciation and music discovery as we probe some of the most compelling albums from the worlds of hip-hop, soul, dance, jazz, funk and more.

Listen to a sneak preview of upcoming episodes with special guests Joi, Kris Bowers, and Dam-Funk!

Subscribe now in Apple Podcasts or wherever you download your podcasts, and catch the premiere episode on Tuesday, October 3rd. New episodes every Tuesday and we'll have full show notes available, right here.

Be sure to follow us on any and all of the following: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Pop Rocket Episode 102: Farewell

| 0 comments
Wynter, Oliver, and Margaret
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Oliver Wang
Guests: 
Guy Branum

This week, Margaret hosts a very bittersweet episode with the whole gang present (Guy via phone). This is Oliver Wang’s last show as a co-host, and the gang is talking about pop culture farewells. They talk about the departure of which characters affected them most growing up, good and bad series finale’s, and the most recent pop culture departures that really got to them. And later, Guy joins the conversation to talk about their latest jams and to say his own farewell.
P.S. because this show is about **farewells** please note that there will be many spoilers. Breaking Bad, The Affair, Seinfeld, 90210, The Walking Dead, The Wire, The Sopranos, Sex And The City, La La Land are among some of the TV and movies discussed.

That’s My Jam:
Margaret Wappler - Ragged Wood
Guy Branum - Adventures in Paradise
Wynter Mitchell - A Solid Wall Of Sound

Oliver Wang - Always In My Heart

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
Days of Being Wild Opening
Santa Barbara Soap Opening
Saturday Night Live
The Face Collection of Books

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Pop Rocket Episode 100: Pop Culture Families

| 0 comments
Wynter, Guy, & Oliver
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Oliver Wang
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

This is our 100th episode! In honor of this, Guy, Margaret (via skype), Oliver, and Wynter talk about pop culture families as a way of paying tribute to the Pop Rocket family that has formed over the past two years. Guy finds out which pop culture family the gang wishes they were a part of, and which TV and movie families represented their own. Then, they talk about the best pop culture families composed of friends (**Spoiler: Friends isn’t one of them). Then, as always, we find out what the panel’s current Jams are and what their individual pop culture obsessions are.

A very special shout out to all of the Rocketeers who have listened and made these 100 episodes possible! THANK YOU!

That’s My Jam:
Margaret Wappler - Plastic
Oliver Wang - Better Things
Wynter Mitchell - Looking Up Through You
Guy Branum - The Andy Cohen Diaries

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
Search Party
Cucumber
How Far I’ll Go- Moana
The Donna Reed Show

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Pop Rocket Episode 96: Super Dumb Comedies

| 0 comments
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branun
Guests: 
Whynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Oliver Wang
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Oliver Wang and Margaret Wappler.

This week, the gang tries to get rid of some of the election anxiety surrounding this week by discussing their favorite dumb comedies. They discuss everything from Judd Apatow to the demise of Adam Sandler, whether physical comedy can be smart, and why so many comedies are tied to “The College Experience”. Guy proposes a theory to explain why Troop Beverly Hills has a longer shelf life than Down And Out In Beverly Hills and Wynter talks about why she loves Mike Judge.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Oliver Wang and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - Unsatisfied
Oliver Wang - Somebody Kill Me Please
Wynter Mitchell - Heaven Is A Place On Earth
Guy Branum - Daddy Lessons

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org.

Emmy's and Pop Culture Comebacks

| 0 comments
Pop Rocket
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Oliver Wang
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

Oliver, Wynter, and Margaret talk all things Emmy's: why no one watched it, who the big winners were, and why Veep keeps winning. Later, they discuss the art of pop culture comebacks. Why can Drew Barrymore make a comeback, but not Lindsay? Who are our hosts waiting to make a comeback? And as always, they have some fantastic weekly jams to share!
With Wynter Mitchell, Oliver Wang and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Margaret Wappler - El Perro Del Mar Breadandbutter
Oliver Wang - Hot 8 Brass Band Sexual Healing

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hartfor MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 80: Fantasy Movies, Shows, and Books

| 0 comments
Guy, Wynter, Angry Margaret, and Oliver
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Oliver Wang
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

Rocketeers, it's been a very strange couple of weeks. The gang all come together to talk about the recent events in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Falcon Heights. This week, Guy, Oliver, Margaret, and Wynter escape reality for just a bit and talk about all things fantasy. Wynter and Guy just can't agree on Summer Jams, Oliver discusses his first Choose Your Own Adventure book, and Margaret tries to draw the line between sci-fi and fantasy.

You guys, Margaret's book, Neon Green, is out NOW! Pick it up HERE

Time is running out for the search for the Song of the Summer. Look for the official thread on the Facebook page and send in your submission so Guy and Wynter can berate your choices on the show.

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Oliver Wang and Margaret Wappler.

That’s My Jam:

Wynter Mitchell - Kanye West - Champions
Oliver Wang - Bambu – Check In
Margaret Wappler - Bat for Lashes – In God’s House
Guy Branum - Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Colin Anderson & Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Syndicate content