Gobbledygeek episode 217, “The Martian: Part 3 – The Rise and Fall of Ensley Guffey and the Spider-Men from Mars (feat. Ensley F. Guffey),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
What do cannibalism, Elton John, and pirate-ninjas have in common? They all figure into chapters 13-19 of The Martian by Andy Weir, here discussed by Paul, AJ, and Wanna Cook? co-author Ensley F. Guffey. As Gobbledy-Book Club 2015 nears its end, the gang talks about the book’s stylistic and emotional weaknesses, as well as the ways in which Weir effectively builds tension. How will it all end? Ensley knows! But Paul and AJ can only make their terrible, terrible predictions. Plus, the gang gets into that whole Spider-Man business, laments Jon Stewart’s decision to leave The Daily Show, and takes a guess at what Neill Blomkamp has in store for his Alien movie.
Next: an all-star jam band reunion of our Martian readers, featuring Ensley, Kenn Edwards, and Hallie Prime.
(Show notes for “The Martian: Part 3 – The Rise and Fall of Ensley Guffey and the Spider-Men from Mars.”)
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
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.
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: