Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 324, “Thor: Ragnarok – Friends from Work”

Gobbledygeek episode 324, “Thor: Ragnarok – Friends from Work,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

For a return to our regularly scheduled pop culture chatter, Paul and Arlo ride their hammers to the faraway world of Asgard, which is in a spot of trouble. Avenger and heir to the throne Thor Odinson must defend his people from the villainous Hela; along the way, he gets imprisoned by an eccentric weirdo named the Grandmaster and is forced to do battle with the Hulk, his infamous “friend from work.” The boys discuss why Thor: Ragnarok is among the very best the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer, what perspective New Zealander Taika Waititi brings to the franchise, what the film says about immigrants (besides cueing up the perfect Robert Plant wail), and if we’ll ever see Bruce Banner again. Plus, they discuss the pop culture they enjoyed during the show’s hiatus.

Next: in two weeks’ time, Paul and Arlo pick up their Four-Color Flashback exploration of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man with Vol. 8: Kimono Dragons.

(Show notes for “Friends from Work.”)

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Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 304, “Oh Hi, Superman”

Gobbledygeek episode 304, “Oh Hi, Superman,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

If only these walls could talk, the secrets they could tell. Among them: murder, betrayal, lies, infidelity, and how in the hell Tommy Wiseau made a movie. It’s time for another Geek Challenge, and Arlo has seized the opportunity to finally force Paul into watching Wiseau’s 2003 cult classic The Room. In turn, Paul has challenged Arlo to Sidney Lumet’s much more dignified 1982 crime comedy Deathtrap. The boys discuss the advantages of stage over screen, and vice versa; questionable acting, be it Dyan Cannon or Greg Sestero; homoerotic subtext (or maybe it’s just text); and, yet again, Arlo’s fascination with epically bad filmmaking. Plus, Paul got his ears blown out by the Alabama Symphony’s Led Zeppelin performance.

Next: Kenn Edwards joins Paul and Arlo for the next installment of their year-long Four-Color Flashback discussion of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man. This time, the gang will talk Vol. 3: One Small Step.

(Show notes for “Oh Hi, Superman.”)

Listen to Episode 90, “Once Upon a Time…in Nazi-Occupied France”

Gobbledygeek episode 90, “Once Upon a Time…in Nazi-Occupied France,” is available for listening or download right here.

Atten-SHUN! It’s the last week of Tarantino Month, so that means one thing, and one thing only: we’re here to discuss Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino’s charmingly misspelled WWII epic. Points of interest for the boys include Brad Pitt’s ridiculous accent, the puzzling nature of Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa, the film’s Spaghetti Western stylings, the greatness of Mélanie Laurent, and what Tarantino has to say about the power of cinema. Plus, AJ recounts his Lez Zeppelin experience and Paul has a few extra thoughts about The Hunger Games.

Next: The Geek Challenge returns when AJ challenges Paul to Donnie Darko, and Paul retorts with Real Genius.

(Show notes for “Once Upon a Time…in Nazi-Occupied France.”)

Whole Lotta Lez: Lez Zeppelin at Musica, 3/24/12

I’ve often wondered about tribute acts. What’s it like to devote your life to recreating the sounds of another band? Don’t you ever want to play your own material? The tribute groups I’d seen before were Beatles acts, and though some of them were very impressive (I’ve seen Rain twice, and I’d like to see them again), they attempted to slavishly recreate everything about the band, which included adopting fake Liverpudlian accents and calling each other “John” or “Ringo.” Inevitably, a little something was lost in translation. As Lez Zeppelin took the stage at Musica here in Akron, Ohio, this past Saturday, I was curious to see how they would attempt to recreate the sound and fury of Led Zeppelin, especially since their gimmick is that–as their name implies–they’re an all-girl band.

Turns out, their gimmick isn’t so much a gimmick. From the moment they launched into a ferocious “Immigrant Song,” all of my questions seemed suddenly irrelevant. Lez Zeppelin rocks so hard that you don’t want to think about why they would perform the music of a decades-gone band; you just want to revel in the how. And how, indeed. Musica is a pretty small place, one that would seem more suited to opening act Thom Chacon, a Dylanesque singer-songwriter. Yet those close quarters played to the band’s strengths. I’m sure they can kick up quite a ruckus in a larger venue, but at Musica, the audience simply found itself dwarfed by sheer, glorious noise.

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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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