Listen to Episode 164, “Spinning Patellas”

mccartney

Gobbledygeek episode 164, “Spinning Patellas,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

This week, Paul and AJ lack a plan. As always, when they lack a plan, they tend to just talk a whole bunch. Like, a whole bunch. First up, AJ gives the audience what he knows they want: an update on his health. (Here at Gobbledygeek, we want to make you feel like you’re part of the family.) Then there’s talk of music, with the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ second album coinciding with the release of On Air: Live at the BBC – Vol. 2, along with Paul McCartney’s New. On the movie front, Paul falls in love with About Time while AJ falls decidedly out of love with Robert Rodriguez after witnessing Machete Kills. Then they talk about comics. Boy, do they talk about comics.

Next: the boys take the week off, while Bat-Turkey sharpens his claws for the annual killing season known as Thanksgiving. The week after, Gobbledygeek returns to talk with friend of the show Joseph Lewis about his upcoming pilot, Nowheresville.

(Show notes for “Spinning Patellas.”)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2011

Paul and I rambled on and on about our favorites of 2011 in our second season finale, but that isn’t gonna stop us from rambling some more. This is the first in a series of top 10s that will be spread out over the next couple weeks; the rest will concern television, albums, and comic books.

But first, a word about lists. Paul has described my obsession with list-making as a “sickness,” and that’s probably close to the truth. However, even one such as I, beholden to rating and ranking everything known to man, know that these kinds of things are imperfect, to put it lightly. For one, no matter how all-inclusive you try to be, there’s always going to be a movie (or show, or comic, etc.) that you somehow missed; for example, as of this writing, neither Paul nor I have seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Shame, or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, just to name a few. And more importantly, lists are always subject to how their makers feel at the moment they’re making them. Each of our top 10s represent the movies we love right now, and with the exception of our #1 choices, their order could be fluid, changing from day to day, mood to mood.

Right now, though? These are the films we adore, and which we feel exemplify 2011.

~ AJ

PAUL: 10. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (dir. Rupert Wyatt)

The summer blockbuster that was better than any of us had any right to expect. Not only a remarkably capable relaunch/reboot of a beloved but dated franchise, but also just a damned good popcorn flick in its own right. Andy Serkis brings heart and humanity (pun intended) to the “inhuman” protagonist. It’s Pinocchio and Moses and Che Guevara.

AJ: 10. GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD (dir. Martin Scorsese)

It has been lazy shorthand for decades to refer to George Harrison as the “quiet Beatle,” and though that might have a kernel of truth to it, the man himself was far more complex. Publicly, he was quiet because he desperately hated fame; professionally, he was quiet during the Beatle years because John and Paul vetoed his material, and later, because he was content with tending to his family and to his garden. Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home definitively captured that 60s icon’s brilliance and enigma, and while Living in the Material World doesn’t quite do the same for this 60s icon, it comes close enough. In the first part of this two-part doc, the entire life cycle of The Beatles is rehashed yet again, though considering it’s Scorsese at the helm, it remains of interest. It’s in the second part, however, when things truly come alive. By telling of his unsung career as a film producer, enticing candid stories from a number of those closest to him, and showing private home movies, Scorsese paints a portrait of Harrison as a man perpetually struggling to reconcile his spirituality with his materialism, caught between divinity and mortality.

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Gobbledygeek Gift Guide 2011

On the new episode of Gobbledygeek, Paul and AJ told you about all the things you should buy this Christmas season, and now here’s a comprehensive guide! (Including a few items that weren’t even mentioned on the show.)

Note: Most links and prices are from Amazon.

BOOKS/COMICS

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline
$14.33

Hands down one of the best science fiction books I’ve read in recent memory. It’s like my admittedly overdeveloped nostalgia gland were milked and distilled onto the page. This book is my geeky, pop-culture DNA printed in ink. ~ Paul

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Ringo Starr, Keeping the Beat for 70 Years

We had a show on Paul McCartney’s birthday, but no dice for Ringo; as always, the man gets no respect. But wait! Today is Ringo Starr’s 70th birthday, and I am determined to honor him! He is a wonderful drummer; his technique during his time with the Beatles went from the simple, pleasurable backbeat of Please Please Me to the complex, sophisticated drumming of Abbey Road. Like fellow Beatles John, Paul, and George, the growth he experienced over six or seven years was remarkable. And for 40 years now, ever since the band broke up, he has quietly released a steady stream of solo albums. Some are pleasant, a couple–Ringo, Liverpool 8–have been excellent, and though most are mediocre, the fact that he’s had a recording career for close to half-a-century is a terrific accomplishment. (Plus he’s never released anything as ear-bleedingly awful as John’s Life with the Lions or Paul’s Liverpool Oratorio, so props for that, Rings. Can I call you Rings?)

So in celebration, I present to you Ringo’s Top 5 Beatles Songs!

I could probably take a broader view and determine Ringo’s best Beatles songs by taking into account his actual drumming (in which case, I’m thinking “Rain,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” or “Tomorrow Never Knows” would likely be contenders for the top spot), but I’m only going to count the songs he sang. There were only 12, but all are worthy additions to the Beatles catalogue.

5. “What Goes On,” Rubber Soul (1965)

I met you in the morning, waiting for the tides of time. But now the tide is turning, I can see that I was blind.

Rubber Soul is an album fraught with girl troubles, and even the usually happy-go-lucky Ringo finds himself at odds with a lying, cheating girl. As with many Ringo songs, “What Goes On” has a country-and-western flair, though I doubt many C&W songs sport anything as lovely as John and Paul’s background harmony. Paul’s stabbing bass provides a nice counterpoint to George’s clean guitar lines, nicely capturing the song’s mood.

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Hey, Mr. AJ: Pavement, Emeralds, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Bettye LaVette, Eminem

Album reviews are divided into six sections: MAXIMUM GOBBLING for the masterpieces; GOBBLE IT for the merely great; WORTH GOBBLING for other good releases; GOBBLE? for those albums which aren’t really good or bad, just sort of okay; DO NOT GOBBLE for the shitty; and RUN, DON’T GOBBLE! for the awful.

QUARANTINE THE PAST: THE BEST OF PAVEMENT
by Pavement

As with most compilations, you could quibble as to why Quarantine the Past exists; Pavement only had five albums, and all the early EP’s were compiled on Westing (By Musket & Sextant). But let’s not quibble, shall we? After more than a decade, Pavement, the seminal 90’s indie band, came together for a reunion tour this year, and Quarantine the Past serves as both a celebration for long-time fans and a primer for new listeners. It’s all here, from Pavement at their most accessible (the sing-along almost-hit “Cut Your Hair”) to the band at their most obscure (“Unseen Power of the Picket Fence,” a track singing the praises of R.E.M.); from ephemera (EP cuts like the noisy “Debris Side”) to essentials (like the majestic “Grounded”). And yet for all the weirdness, all the guitar fuzz and noise, Pavement never lose their keen sense of melody. Leader Stephen Malkmus’ lyrics are largely inscrutable; what are you to make of a line like, “And all the sterile striking, it defends an empty dock you cast away”? What you’re to make of it, I presume, is what you make of it. The words may sound nonsensical out of context, but in the way that Malkmus’ voice intertwines with the music and plays off of it, they convey all you need to know. Like any great band, Pavement means different things to different people, and it’s up to you to fill in the blanks. My Pavement will likely always be the Pavement of the 1992 masterpiece Slanted and Enchanted, represented here by several great cuts including my two favorites, the oddly wistful “Here” and the glorious “Summer Babe (Winter Version).” But it all works, and despite the growths and strong personalities of each of their albums, it all sits side-by-side perfectly; I hesitate to call it a document because documents are boring, locked rigorously into certain perceptions of time. That’s not Pavement. Pavement remain free of such shackles, their music alive and full of color after all these years.

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Listen to Last Night’s Gobbledygeek

Last night’s Gobbledygeek, “Father McCartney,” is available for listening right here. We discuss our favorite Paul McCartney songs, both with the Beatles and without, then move on to underrated/guilty pleasure bands, the True Blood season premiere (and all of the attendant homoerotic pandering), and why Macs are so much better than PC’s.

We also unveil a forthcoming feature: our Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture. In the next several bonus hours, Paul and I will each list our favorites (and by “modern” we mean from the dawn of the 20th century on), then the top ten will be a main topic in a future show. Should take about five weeks, provided we don’t have to skip any.

Gobbledygeek #13 Tonight!

The thirteenth episode of Gobbledygeek airs live tonight at 10:30 PM EST right here. Today just so happens to be Sir Paul McCartney’s 68th birthday, so we’ll be discussing his best work, both with the Beatles and without them. If you have a favorite McCartney song or memory, why don’t you go ahead and write into us? If you do, we’ll read your e-mail on the show (during the live part now, not the bonus hour!).

Reminder: If you’ve got a free Skype account and a free BlogTalkRadio account, you can use the free “Click to Talk” button to call in…for free!

The Movement You Need Is On Your Shoulder

This past Wednesday, June 2, President Barack Obama honored none other than Sir Paul McCartney with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. That’s a high honor, and I’ve never seen Paul–occasionally prone to flights of egotism because, oh, I don’t know, he’s only the most successful songwriter to ever walk the planet–so humbled as when Obama was on stage singing his praises. Nor do I think I’ve ever seen him in such awe as, when Obama passes him the mic, he says in hushed tones, “The President of America. Barack Obama.” Obama’s speech is typically powerful, and McCartney’s thanks are also touching. Watch it here, then head after the jump for the most surreal video I’ve ever seen:

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The Songs We Were Singing: Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Originally published on April 28, 2010

(“The Songs We Were Singing” is a new column in which I plan on discussing some of my favorite albums. )

“After all is really said and done, the two of us are really one.”

It is impossible to separate Double Fantasy from the events that came after. As the world knows, on December 8, 1980, less than a month after Double Fantasy‘s release, John Lennon was murdered outside of his New York home, the Dakota. This record only had three weeks to work on its own merits before being imbued with another, permanent layer of poignancy. And though from the bottom of my heart I wish this hadn’t been John’s final finished work, it is nevertheless the perfect closing chapter in a life filled with so much love, anger, triumph, and disillusionment.

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