‘Tis the damn season. Last summer, we convened the Three Heathens–Paul, Arlo, and A/V writer-director Joseph Lewis–to discuss Taylor Swift’s first surprise album of 2020, Folklore. It was surprising not only for the nature of its release but for the folk pop/singer-songwriter shift it marked, becoming the finest achievement of Swift’s career. On her second surprise album of 2020, Evermore, she may have equaled that achievement. The Heathens are back to discuss the progression of Swift’s Joni Mitchell phase, as her lyrics become more reflective and complex. They’re strengthened by producer/co-writer Aaron Dessner’s sonic palette, introducing new sounds to Swift’s oeuvre. It’s true, the boys go a little off the rails into Lynch references, but one thing is undeniable: the more we say, the less you know. Plus, a discussion of the Disney+ making-of/concert film Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions.
NEXT: it’s Hawk the Slayer vs. The Adventures of Robin Hood in a Geek Challenge.
00:00:37 – Intro / Guest
00:03:40 – Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions
Taylor Swift in the music video for ‘cardigan’ (2020), directed by herself
Gobbledygeek episode 412, “folklore (feat. Joseph Lewis),” is available for listening or download right here and on Apple Podcasts here.
Paul and Arlo are doin’ good, they’re on some new shit: actually talking at length about music! A/V director and founding Gobbler Joseph Lewis joins the boys to rave about Taylor Swift’s newest (and best) album, Folklore. The gang discusses how Folklore offers a more mature and introspective look at Swift’s pop star persona, how the collaboration with The National’s Aaron Dessner enhances her sonic palette, the drama of the Teenage Love Trilogy, the beautiful video for “cardigan,” and more.
Next: slippin’ and slidin’ with Class Action Park.
BONUS MUSIC RECOMMENDATIONS
Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers
Gaslighter by The Chicks
Tourist Season by Miel
The New Abnormal by The Strokes
Run-On Death Sentence by Alex Jonestown Massacre
Every Bad by Porridge Radio
Rough and Rowdy Ways by Bob Dylan
Song for Our Daughter by Laura Marling
Once I Was an Eagle by Laura Marling
Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple
Louie 99 by Pet Rocks and Fake Flowers
Imploding the Mirage by The Killers
Twelfth by Old 97’s
Total Run Time: 02:46:30
00:01:00 – Intro / Banter
00:07:14 – Our histories with Taylor Swift
00:28:38 – Track-by-track review of folklore
02:31:28 – Other new music recommendations
02:42:50 – Outro / Next
“the 1” by Taylor Swift, folklore (2020)
“cardigan” by Taylor Swift, folklore (2020)
“exile” by Taylor Swift, folklore (2020)
“seven” by Taylor Swift, folklore (2020)
“august” by Taylor Swift, folklore (2020)
“illicit affairs” by Taylor Swift, folklore (2020)
Top: ‘Puppet Master’ (1989), directed by David Schmoeller Bottom: Jennifer Tilly in ‘Seed of Chucky’ (2004), directed by Don Mancini
Gobbledygeek episode 410, “Geek Challenge: Puppet Master vs. Seed of Chucky,” is available for listening or download right here and on Apple Podcasts here.
They’ll tear you a new puppet hole, bitch! The worlds of Charles Band and Don Mancini collide in a pre-Gobbledyween Geek Challenge. Paul sends Arlo a psychic alert letting him know to watch 1989’s Puppet Master, the first of producer Band’s direct-to-VHS Full Moon Features and the source of approximately one trillion sequels. In turn, Arlo goes meta and has a doll voiced by him call Paul while the real Arlo is tied to a bed behind him, commanding Paul to watch 2004’s Seed of Chucky. Paul recounts the joy of watching Full Moon Features in his 20s, Arlo launches a full-throated defense of Mancini’s vision, and they are both just completely miserable. Plus, the boys have nothing but nice things to say about Taylor Swift’s Folklore.
Next: we’re off, then we’re not.
Total Run Time: 01:49:34
00:00:25 – Intro / Banter
00:16:56 – Puppet Master
01:03:15 – Seed of Chucky
01:45:00 – Outro / Next
“Master of Puppets” by Metallica, Master of Puppets (1986)
Gobbledygeek episode 380, “Portion Sizes,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Paul cannot get his fridge under control because these damn restaurants keep serving him so much damn food. He and Arlo discuss the uniquely American problem of ever-expanding portion sizes, stopping at the Cheesecake Factory before taking a detour into canine conundrums, parental pondering, and nostalgic nightmares. You’ll never look at a Heffalump the same way. Featuring a cameo from Fatty Liver & The Teething Puppies!
Next: the Gobbledygeeks in the place to be, gettin’ busy with Hip Hop Family Tree.
Art from ‘Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters’ by Mike Grell.
Gobbledygeek episode 359, “Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Ollie, draw back your bow and let your arrow go straight to that killer’s heart. For the penultimate Four-Color Flashback of the year, and the final DC installment of our Age of Heroes project, Paul and Arlo head to the asphalt jungle of Seattle as Oliver Queen stalks his street punk prey in Mike Grell’s 1987 miniseries Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. As was common practice in the ‘80s, Grell reimagined the character of Green Arrow as grimmer, grittier, and existing in a real world full of boobs and blood. The boys discuss why Grell, by and large, does not really pull this off; the two really interesting moments of subversion he does manage; his stellar, sketchy, detailed artwork; and Dinah Lance’s near-fridging. Plus, the boys honor Stan Lee; Arlo cooks up some groovy spaghetti with the new White Album set; Paul needs a Bodyguard; and things get horrifying with The Immortal Hulk and Outer Darkness.
Next: happy Thanksgiving! Paul and Arlo return next month to close out the Age of Heroes with Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s The Vision, joined by their pal Jed Waters Keith.
Gobbledygeek episode 290, “If You Must Blink, Do It Now,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Laika, the studio behind Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, has gifted us with a new film: Kubo and the Two Strings, wherein a young one-eyed Japanese boy plays his magical shamisen and pals around with a Monkey and a Beetle while evading the evil grandfather looking to steal his other eye. As one does. Paul and Arlo get in tune with Kubo, digging into the film’s symbolism, its unusual (for a mainstream animated film) themes of grief and impermanence, and how it perfects the nearly dead artform that is stop-motion animation. Is it suitable for kids? What does its underwhelming box office performance say about what audiences expect from animated films? And what does that polarizing ending mean? All this and more, plus Arlo saw an actual Beatle.
Next: for another great story that deserves a wider audience, Paul and Arlo continue their year-long Four-Color Flashback exploration of Matt Wagner’s Grendel with “God and the Devil, Part 1,” collected in Grendel Omnibus: Vol. 3, pp. 115-270.
Gobbledygeek episode 275 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Sometimes, that means mourning one of our fallen heroes. This week, Paul and Arlo celebrate the work of one Prince Rogers Nelson, who hybridized funk, rock, R&B, and soul into his own distinct brand of ass-wigglin’, housequakin’ music before passing away last month at the age of 57. The boys discuss their favorite songs and albums, from the iconic (“Purple Rain,” “Kiss”) to the more obscure (“Starfish and Coffee,” “7”). Then they set their sights on four of the Purple One’s films: 1984’s melodramatic, kinetic Purple Rain; 1986’s black-and-white curiosity Under the Cherry Moon; 1990’s baffling Graffiti Bridge; and 1987’s incredibly hard to find concert film Sign ‘o’ the Times. Let’s go crazy. Plus, Paul went to a Beyoncé concert and there are brief, spoiler-free discussions of High-Rise and Keanu.
Next: it’s patriotism vs. capitalism, independence vs. regulation, retro ’40s ideals vs. cutting-edge smarm. Guffey und Koontz stop by to chat Captain America: Civil War.
Gobbledygeek episode 248, “Rage Reversal,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
This week on Gobbledygeek, there’s been a rage reversal: Paul, the Enormous Green Rage Monster of the podcast, is unusually calm and placid; meanwhile, AJ is filled with anger, much of it directed toward the fast food chain Wendy’s. What are a couple geeks to do? Find something, anything to distract them from this cosmic imbalance, such as Paul’s recent trip to Disney World and brief return to the zoo that made him famous; Ryan Adams’ melancholy cover version of Taylor Swift’s 1989; and AJ’s adventures at his local arthouse (featuring Phoenix, The End of the Tour, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and Eraserhead), for which he is roundly mocked.
Next: our year-long Four-Color Flashback series on Jeff Smith’s Bone continues with Vol. VII: Ghost Circles. As always, we are joined by Greg Sahadachny of The Debatable Podcast.
Gobbledygeek episode 233, “Sex Class,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Welcome to sex class. Today, Paul and AJ will be teaching you about the repr–wait, no, sorry, that’s later this season. This week, we’re indulging in a four-color Geek Challenge: AJ must read the run so far of Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s Deadly Class, about a wayward teen boy recruited by a school for assassins in the late ’80s; and Paul must read all ten current issues of Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals, in which two lovers stop time when they come. (That one’ll actually teach you a thing or two.) The boys discuss the two Image series, their raw honesty, their radically different yet equally beautiful art styles, and their ridiculously filthy jokes. Plus, there’s talk of films about damaged musicians (Love and Mercy and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) and sentient robots (Ex Machina).
Next: on top of Jurassic World, lookin’ down on creation.
There’s a running joke that Paul and I don’t know how to talk about music. And though we’ve been assured by reputable sources that we don’t too bad a job of it, well…I tried writing little blurbs for the albums on my list and felt like a jackass. So we’ll again be presenting our lists (my top 10 and Paul’s top 5) without comments, as Paul’s already done with this year’s movies and comics lists.
In lieu of our dumb words, enjoy some songs from our favorite albums of 2014.