Episode 108: Don Cheadle, Shredding History, and Speculoos

This week: Actor Don Cheadle (“The Guard”) kisses and doesn’t tell… Music history gets a blast to the eardrums… And Rico discovers the best waffle topping you’ve never heard of. Plus, an uncool joke from Emma Straub, and new old soul from The Shakes.

Icebreaker: Emma Straub
Emma Straub, author of the acclaimed story collection Other People We Married, serves up a cheesy joke that burns the cool.

Small Talk: Rate Your Priest
Richard Lawson, staff writer for Gawker.com, tells us about a website that lets users cast judgement upon a special group of service providers.

A History Lesson with Booze: The Electric Guitar & an “Electric Lemonade
This week in 1937, lap-steel guitarist George Beauchamp and partner Adolph Rickenbacker patented the modern electric guitar, laying the foundations for ear-splitting rock ‘n’ roll, youth revolutions, and holding up your lighter during a power ballad. Toast the greatest invention ever with this amped-up take on a cocktail standard:

“The Electric Lemonade (Variation),” as mixed by Megan Jones of Crosby Restaurant in Santa Ana, CA – home of Rickenbacker HQ:

In a chilled highball glass add:

  • 1.25 oz. vodka
  • .5 oz. St-Germain Elderflower liquor
  • .25 oz. freshly-squeezed lemonade
  • splash of soda water or ginger ale

Sip, pump fist, bang head. Repeat ‘til deaf.

BONUS AUDIO: FIRST ELECTRIC GUITAR RECORDING! Gage Brewer, a small-time performer from Northwest Oklahoma, picks away at electrified Hawaiian and Spanish-style Rickenbackers in a home recording from 1932. Gage was the first musician ever to play live with an electric guitar — his “Frying Pan” sits proudly at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, and the only copy of this 78-rpm belongs to local Scott Kern. He generously gave us permission to listen in on an excerpt:

Guest of Honor: Don Cheadle

Don Cheadle is equally at-home in Oscar-winning dramas (Hotel Rwanda, Crash), and summer fare like Iron Man 2 and the Ocean’s 11 series. So it shouldn’t come as a total surprise that his new film The Guard (rolling out this month) takes him into more uncharted terrain – a pitch-black cop comedy set in rural western Ireland. Don tells Brendan about Brendan’s greatness (!), the subtle perks of celebrity, and Cobalt.

Main Course: Letting Loose Speculoos
L.A. waffle shop Shaky Alibi serves a sweet Belgian topping called “Speculoos” that Rico says is the most delicious thing that ever happened to fried carbs. The spread — increasingly popular (and controversial) in Europe — is still a specialty item in the U.S. Shaky Alibi owner R.J. Milano explains why that’ll likely change… and why he can’t always keep the stuff in stock.

One For The Road: The Shakes! – “You Ain’t Alone”
Unsigned Athens, AL outfit The Shakes! (Update 4/10/12: now very much signed and better known as Alabama Shakes) embrace the old-school soul sound so completely you’d swear their songs were recorded decades ago. But the band’s sensitive lyrics and surprising arrangements are totally 21st-century. Slow-burning barnstormer “You Ain’t Alone” features the Otis Reddingesque wails of frontlady Brittany Howard — best heard on a hot summer night after the last dance.

Music On This Week’s Show:

Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Girl/Boy Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Andy Iona & His Islanders – “Maui Girl”

Replicants – “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”

Dogs Die in Hot Cars – “Celebrity Sanctum”

Butterglory – “Fight Fight Fight”

The Shakes! – “You Ain’t Alone”