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

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Last week, the New Yorker published a satirical piece called “Sonny Rollins: In His Own Words,” in which this legendary 83-year-old saxophonist supposedly vented about how much he hates jazz. But many jazz fans were not amused by the piece, which made a joke about jazz at the expense of a beloved figure. Others thought the piece was funny. Jazz writer Howard Mandel and saxophonist Ashley Hamer debate in a Soundcheck Smackdown.

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Soundcheck Smackdown: 'The Sign,' 20 Years Later

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Ace Of Base song "The Sign" was everywhere in 1994: but was it a triumph or a travesty? Mario Correa and Julia Cunningham debate the song's merits on a Soundcheck Smackdown. 

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Soundcheck Smackdown: Ace Of Base; Beastie Boys' 'Ill Communication' At 20; John Fullbright Plays Live

Monday, July 14, 2014

In this episode: Mario Correa and Julia Cunningham, co-hosts of Entertainment Weekly Radio on SiriusXM, debate the merits of Ace Of Base's huge hit, “The Sign” -- the Swedish pop nugget from 1994.

Then: In May 1994, the Beastie Boys released its fourth studio album, Ill Communication, and took the country by storm on the bill of the Lollapalooza festival. Grantland staff writer Amos Barshad looks back at “Get It Together,” “Sure Shot” and the legendary Spike Jonze-directed video for “Sabotage.”

And: The Oklahoma native John Fullbright picked up a Grammy nomination a few years back for his debut album From The Ground Up. Now he’s back with a new album, simply called Songs. Hear him perform in the Soundcheck studio.


The Sporkful

Is the Creator of Stuffed Crust Pizza Sorry?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tom Ryan invented the Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza, as well as McDonald’s McGriddle. We talk to this culinary mad scientist about his innovations and how to best enjoy them.  


Are You On Team Stones Or Team Beatles? It's A Smackdown!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Two all-star teams, including actor Mike Myers and NPR host Ophira Eisenberg, throw down over the two legendary bands at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

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The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones: A Live Smackdown Rematch

Monday, March 03, 2014

Two all-star teams, including actor Mike Myers and NPR host Ophira Eisenberg, throw down over the two legendary bands in front of a live audience at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. 

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Soundcheck Smackdown: Is The Sound of Music Stale?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

As the world readies itself for the NBC Sound of Music live remake, we debate the merits of the original musical and film.

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Introducing New Music To Your Parents With Paul Ford; Sound Of Music Smackdown; Danny Brown

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In this episode: Some parents stubbornly cling to music of the past: the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, that George Winston album that gets dragged out over the holidays. Writer Paul Ford joins us with some simple ways to trick parents into liking, say, Sky Ferreira.

Then, as the world readies itself for the NBC "Sound of Music" live remake, we debate the merits of the original musical and film with NPR’s Linda Holmes and Sound of Music enthusiast Peter Kiesewalter.

And, the heralded young Detroit-based rapper Danny Brown talks about his hometown, explains why he likes to cuss so much when he’s not on the radio, and tells us what he’ll be having for Thanksgiving dinner (spoiler alert: chitlins with hot sauce). Plus, he performs live in our studio.


A Scariest Musician Smackdown

Thursday, October 31, 2013

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 Clown Posse and Slipknot, to Kenny G and Michael McDonald. 

Who do you think wins each matchup? Who did we leave out? Tell us below. 


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Smackdown: When Rockers Use Choirs

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A good choir can send chills up your spine. And in recent years, choirs have really broken out of their traditionally religious mold -- like the Scala & Kolacny Brother’s choir from Belgium, which has become world renowned for their covers of pop and rock songs like Radiohead’s “Creep” and Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.”

But what about when rock and pop artists are the ones leading the choir? We asked New Yorker editor Ben Greenman and author and music writer Sean Manning to join us for a Soundcheck Smackdown.

So, What do you think. Are choirs in rock songs heavenly… or hellish?

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Rock Choir Smackdown; Josh Ritter In Studio; Justin Timberlake's New Album

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In This Episode: From the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s new track “Sacrilege,” rockers often turn to choirs to take a song just a little bit higher. We debate the use of choirs in rock tunes with New Yorker editor Ben Greenman and writer/author Sean Manning.

Plus: Before singer-songwriter Josh Ritter left for SXSW, he stopped by our studio. He plays songs from his new album, The Beast In Its Tracks.

And: A snap review of Justin Timberlake's new album, The 20/20 Experience.


Country Music Back In New York; Omar Sosa, 'Kind Of Blue' Vs. 'Bitches Brew'

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pianist Omar Sosa returns to the studio to play songs from his new album, Eggun, which is inspired by one of the greatest jazz albums of all time: Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue. Then, a Soundcheck Smackdown on two classic Miles Davis recordings: Kind Of Blue versus Bitches Brew.


Soundcheck Smackdown: Holiday Movie Music Edition

Monday, December 17, 2012

The co-hosts of The Takeaway's Movie Date podcast debate big versus small screen holiday movie music.

Comments [7]

The Brian Lehrer Show

LA vs. New York Summers: Brian Takes on Patt Morrison

Friday, June 29, 2012

In the latest installment of their semi-regular bi-coastal smackdowns, Brian spoke with his LA counterpart Patt Morrison of KPCC about which city is best in the summer: LA or New York? Take a listen to the audio below, and visit Patt's page for lots of great comments. Be sure to go in and defend the Big Apple!

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Smackdown: Is Food the New Rebel Rock?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last week New York Times writer Jeff Gordinier wrote about the rise of gourmet food at music fests - and made his prediction for a “gastronomic Summer of Love.” That prompted Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan to post an expletive-laced screed about 20-somethings who “think The Meatball Shop is akin to Run DMC.” Today, the two face off in our studio over the growing influence of foodie culture in music.

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Smackdown: Dancing to the Music

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

As the outdoor festival season approaches, our Soundcheck Smackdown series continues with a fierce debate about a highly controversial issue: dancing at concerts. Joining us to duke it out are Dean Budnick, executive editor of Relix Magazine and founder of and Steve Jacobs, co-host and producer of The Jukebox, a comedy and karaoke series at Brooklyn's Union Hall.

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Lana Del Rey's Internet Ambition: Smackdown

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Critics and bloggers have roasted singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey for her lack of “indie cred” and an underwhelming performance on Saturday Night Live. But her detractors can’t stop talking about her – and her album is selling well on iTunes. We debate this image-conscious Internet sensation – and learn more about her backstory with Chicago-based rock columnist Jessica Hopper and Washington Post pop music critic Chris Richards.

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Smackdown: Arcade Fire

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

True to their namesake, Arcade Fire are a hot commodity: the Montreal ensemble knocked Eminem off the number-one spot on the Billboard albums chart with their new disc The Suburbs. But not everyone is moved by the band's hyper-dramatic anthems and onstage theatrics.

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The Takeaway

A Barbecue Sauce Smackdown: Chef Rossi vs. Cathy Erway

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

For this week’s food segment, we host an all-new Takeaway cooking smackdown.

On the menu: Barbecue sauce.

On the mat: Chef Rossi (of the Raging Skillet and Bust Magazine, as well as star of WOMR’s "Bite This") and Cathy Erway (blogger behind, author of "The Art of Eating In", and host of Heritage Radio Network’s "Let's Eat In").

On everyone’s minds: How will Cathy Erway’s history as a BBQ judge influence her sauce making? Will Chef Rossi’s reputation as “New York’s Wildest Caterer” be evident in her BBQ sauce? What secret ingredients will each of them be bringing to the table? And whose sauce will win The Takeaway’s crown? Recipes after the jump.