For These Things Matter's first birthday, its hosts discuss their ten favorite episodes

Ryan Brackin
Kevin O'Brien and Taylor Gonda of These Things Matter, at Wax Trax Records.
Not everyone can relate to the idea of defining yourself through popular culture, but anyone who gets it, really gets it. And for the last year Denver has been blessed with a sonic sanctuary for these poor souls: the These Things Matter podcast. This week TTM hosts Taylor Gonda and comedian Kevin O'Brien celebrate the one-year anniversary of their audio ode to trivial trivia, debuting a new website as well as their fiftieth episode, where the two pop geeks forgo their usual guest spot in order to dig deep into the book/film High Fidelity. And why not? Their podcast namesake was taken from this John Cusack line: "What really matters is what you like -- not what you are like. Records, books, films, these things matter. Call me shallow, it's the fucking truth."

In honor of their achievement, we caught up with Gonda and O'Brien to discuss their favorite TTM episodes over the last year. In the tradition of High Fidelity's strict rules about top five lists, they insist that this is chronological list, not a hierarchy.

See also:
- Kevin O'Brien on These Things Matter and Mile High Sci Fi
- Cartoons and Comedy brings hilarious nostalgia to Deer Pile
- Arguments and Grievances second anniversary edition at Vine Street Pub

Ryan Brackin
Episode 8 - Weezer with Adam Cayton-Holland

Taylor Gonda: This was the episode where we figured it out. Kev and I had an idea of what we wanted to do with the show, but I don't think either of us was able to articulate it until this episode. Maybe it was because Adam and I had been having the Weezer conversation for months before this -- so we'd been in practice? I couldn't tell you, but I think it worked.

Kevin O'Brien: Taylor's right. Adam was the first guest that clicked on all levels. Like Taylor and Adam, I had been talking about Weezer for years. Mostly to myself or at my dog. This was the first episode where the music editing really came together as well.

Episode 11 - The Road with Sam Tallent

Taylor: Sam is incredibly funny, a reluctant leader of men, and a hell of a storyteller. Kevin assured me that all we had to do was get him in front of the mic and we'd have a show. He was right. He likes to think he's always right. It's my job to point out when he's wrong. Which is more often than he would ever admit. Right, Kevy? Eh?

Kevin: Only Taylor can pay a compliment by being wrong and then turning it into an insult. It's moments like this that remind me that I created a monster in asking Taylor to do this podcast. I love this episode for all the reasons that I love Sam, and I think listeners probably feel like they know him after listening to the show. He WTFed the shit out of this episode, and that is a compliment, Gonda.

Episode 15 - Concerts with Kevin Johnston

Taylor: K.J. and I went to my first concert together, and it was a momentous occasion in my life, as I documented on The Narrators podcast. He was truly a great guest and this was a great, heart-filled episode.

Kevin: Nice plug, Gonda. How much are Andrew and Robert paying you for that endorsement? I was on board with Kevin Johnston right away. We were both members of Taylor's "Army of Kevins," so we had a natural chemistry. K.J. and Taylor had some great sexual tension in this episode. Plus, I tell a killer joke about Prince because I rule!

Episode 20 - Super Mario with Jordan Doll

Taylor: I love the way Jordan's mind works. I could listen to him talk about anything, but it's especially great to hear him talk about something that has existed as a magical world in his mind since he was a kid. I had no idea video games could generate such flights of fancy.

Kevin: Jordan is one of the funniest people I know. I was in the throes of a Super Mario addiction at the time, so nothing made me happier than to be swept up in Jordan's imagination. Taylor brought it pretty hard this episode too -- for a girl.

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