Friday, September 17, 2021

Music Review //
Eddie Berman
"Broken English"


When listening to "Broken English" for the first time there is this steady pace about it where I feel like eventually it's just going to kick in and become this huge rock song but it never does.   Sometimes though the reality of art is better than what our minds are trained to perceive as patterns and I do believe I enjoy this song a lot more because of the consistent nature of it, rather than it just feeling like it's building up to something and then exploding at the end.

The sound of Eddie Berman is tricky because it's this mellow rock that could kick in at any moment and seemingly draw easier comparisons, but as it stands there isn't a direct sound which relates with it.   Artists on the radio such as Mumford & Sons, Hozier, Pearl Jam and even Kings of Leon come out but mostly in a way which you hear them in portions of their songs and not for an entire song.   The sound is also unique because it has a upbeat pace to it- it is not a slow moving song- but it does feel like it's moving in slow motion, which just makes it calming.

During this music video there are images- mostly in lines- of color on top of a black background.  I really like this because whenever you tend to go to an art store for supplies you'll buy canvas to paint or a sketchbook and they're always white.  I enjoy the fact that sometimes you can buy that format to create art on and not have it be white.  I also like how this reminds me of the laser rock shows from the 1980's, which I mostly attribute to Pink Floyd and, yes, that can make this song feel trippy.

As this is rock it almost borders on something that Johnny Cash might have made.  It reminds me of that one Mumford & Sons song that everyone knows and how it is in the verse, only "Broken English" doesn't kick into the whole "But it was not your fault but mine".   By the end of this song though you will find yourself singing along with the line: "Don't you want us to be anything at all", which feels like such a great mantra for such a great song.  

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Pro Wrestling Magic
JGeorge's Cinematic Masterpiece
@ Knights Of Columbus, Ridgefield Park, NJ

When we were last at Pro Wrestling Magic live it was a special time because they had just began airing on IWTV and they had announced this show would be their live debut on IWTV as well.  Unfortunately, that meant watching the previously taped shows playing out over the months leading up to this and a decent amount of time away from the Magic Kingdom.    But Pro Wrestling Magic was determined to put on a show which would have the wrestling world talking and they did just that.

From what I gather, there were three matches which began at 5:30 and were taped for a later date, so the show started with a match at 6:30 between Jessie Nolan and Little Mean Kathleen.  I'm pretty sure that this match aired in real time on IWTV before going to a video package and then more matches at 7pm.  That's how I figured it based upon what was said before the match started and all.

Little Mean Kathleen is no stranger to Pro Wrestling Magic and Jessie Nolan was making her second appearance.  Jessie Nolan looks like a wrestler, has the music and comes out where she just presents herself as a wrestler and if you're on the other side of the ring from her that might not be where you want to be.   I feel like I've seen Little Mean Kathleen face a lot of opponents similar in size to her, but even though it felt like Jessie Nolan would have the advantage of power here, LMK has that tenacity which quite frankly frightens me.

So I'm going with- in my mind- that the first ever match that was live on IWTV for Pro Wrestling Magic was between Jessie Nolan and Little Mean Kathleen and that's pretty cool.  If this is not true, I will just refuse to hear it and whatever you have to do to see this match: do it.  I'm hoping to see both LMK and Jessie Nolan in title matches against Jordan Blade one day, but putting them against Erica Leigh is also something I believe the world of professional wrestling would enjoy.

Before the 7pm start time there were instructions given by Shane Fair and then music was played.   I've never been to a wrestling show before where it was their first time being live on IWTV (Though I have been to shows which were taped and became the IWTV debut of the promotion) so I'm not sure what other promotions have done before their first live show on IWTV *but* I can tell you that a lot of the people involved with making this show possible were spending the time leading up to it (minutes before) dancing around to Paramore, The Killers and other songs.  

I imagine a lot of people would be stressed out, nervous, anxious- a lot of the things which I would picture myself feeling.  But to see the cast and crew of Pro Wrestling Magic just having a blast and using this time like a party rather than to think "Oh no what if this goes wrong" was pretty neat.   I'm not sure any other promotion does this, but that's just another thing to add to that list of ways in which Pro Wrestling Magic stands out from the rest of the promotions out there.

During the Jessie Nolan-LMK match I was cheering for Jessie Nolan.  The crowd seemed split, but for the rest of the show I had in my mind who I was going to cheer and who I was going to boo.   That's just another little interesting piece of information which made the first match so special, because it was that feeling of the crowd being behind both wrestlers on some level and at the end of it as well.

I definitely wouldn't have wanted to be the one to decide a match order but opening with Smiley vs Sebastian Cage was a good starting point.  Both have been staples in PWM and it gives off that vibe of "If you watch this match and stick around, you'll be hooked on Magic".   Sebastian Cage had this great move he did running into the ring but at the end of the match, Smiley got the victory.   Smiley is just someone you always have to watch over your back to look out for and at some point I would imagine Smiley goes for the title again as well.

TJ Crawford was really over with the Magic Kingdom and why wouldn't he be.   The guy has been having instant classic matches all year long and when he doesn't do so as a singles wrestler he does so with Love, Doug as a tag team.  Azrieal is someone that the crowd booed and I stand by my belief that "Smooth" by Rob Thomas and Santana is a played out song.   Though TJ Crawford won this match, he was attacked by both Azrieal and Trey Felipe post match, which really makes me think that we could be close to Love, Doug coming to the Magic Kingdom.

In the # 1 Contender Match, we first had a fiveway that Daniel Garcia was pulled from (probably because of commitments to AEW, which is what it is) but then we were told before the match that MV Young was injured and wouldn't be there so it would be a threeway.   Erica Leigh came out and said she was a fighting Champion so she wanted to pick someone to put into the match and this lead to the PWM debut of Becca, who is everywhere these days and rightfully so.

This match was pretty crazy because there were four competitors in it and JGeorge felt like he was in it the least even though he won.  I've seen Ace Romero wrestle a lot but I don't think I'll ever get over how agile he is for his size.   I'll also never tire of seeing how far he yeets people when he hits that Pounce.   I really like the story this match told because it felt for quite some time like Becca would win it and the crowd was fully behind her.

Ace Romero was eventually distracted by Alec Price long enough for JGeorge to sneak in and get the win.  As Tony Deppen was leaving he asked "Did I win?"  I told him "Yes, come back in November and face Erica Leigh for the title", to which Tony Deppen said "She don't want the smoke".   Perhaps I am unintentionally starting a feud there, but what a match that would be.  

Also, let's think about this match and how you could say that Tony Deppen is representing ROH, while Ace Romero has been in Impact and then Becca holds titles all over MA.   JGeorge, of course, could be thought of as representing PWM, but just the way that you can take these successful wrestlers in other promotions and bring them all together in a # 1 Contender's Match just shows how great the state of professional wrestling is right now.

Last time Jess and I saw Lady Frost live was at Beyond and she legitimately hurt her ankle.  So when Jordan Blade was in her corner pre-match and Jess told her "She has a weak ankle!" Jordan Blade responded "Yeah she does".   When at the show live I can't hear commentary (but I will eventually watch it back to listen to them) but the idea that Lady Frost did injure her ankle recently and Jordan Blade is the taker of ankles made this match that much more compelling.

On a show with four huge title match, three of them were in a row and two of those titles changed hands.  This also meant that we were having back-to-back title changes, which was interesting in its own right.   I'm only making note of this because of how it played out with the live crowd.   I truly believe that the reaction of cheers and overall happiness that Everett Cross got when he became the new Dark Arts Champion was only met at the same level as Donovan becoming the new Junior Heavyweight Champion but Donovan got the boos.

To say the Magic Kingdom doesn't like Darius Carter is an understatement because they more than just don't like him and it's not just Pro Wrestling Magic-- it's everywhere that he goes! The title win of Everett Cross felt so huge because people not only love Everett Cross that much but because they despise Darius Carter equally.   This was how it felt with Saieve Al Sabah and Donovan because as much as people want to boo Donovan, we all also love Saieve Al Sabah that much.   Just a complete flip of emotions between those two title changes.

To see MSP vs American Murder Society was quite the match as they are both veteran teams in their own right and the style clash between the two just made for excellent in ring action.  What was more interesting than the match perhaps though was the aftermath.  Adam Payne (who had been on commentary) came in the ring to presumably attack MSP but then he was attacked himself by the duo.    Could MSP be in line for a Tag Team Title shot now?  And what does Wrecking Ball Legursky (the other half of the Tag Team Champions / Balls of Pain) think about all of this?

Erica Leigh and Killian McMurphy had a great match which was a truly fitting way to end their feud.   When Big Dust was ejected from ringside, I fully expected him to put on a hat and fake moustache and try to come back out.  But this was a match which I feel like Erica Leigh needed to shift into the next phase of her career, one in which she doesn't have to constantly feel like she's looking over her shoulder for Goons.   Killian McMurphy put on a great show but at the end of the night, Erica Leigh was just better.

Regardless of how you feel about JGeorge and whether or not you feel like he won that match and deserves a title shot against Erica Leigh, him coming out and laying her out after her match just throws all of that out the window because now the only thing that matters is seeing Erica Leigh kick JGeorge's ass.   I can't say what other matches will happen in November (There are no spoilers there) but MSP in a Tag Team Title match and possibly Jordan Blade vs LMK and a rematch between Donovan and Saieve Al Sabah all sound good to me.  Oh, and how about a fourway match to determine a number one contender to the Women's Championship?  That could be fun.

There was also an incident during this show which was struck from the replay (I feel like it'd be worse not to address it here, but I don't want anyone to feel like they have to relive it) and I said what I needed to say in regards to it on Twitter from a serious stand point, but in a serious and yet also storyline way that all could have perhaps been avoided with the simple help of The Meadowlands Monster.    So maybe one day we'll also see him back, fighting for the title that he never actually lost.

Music Review //
Mother Ghost
(Geodesic Records)

When listening to Mother Ghost there are two different sounds which come through, thus merging together to form a brand new rock sound.  There is this distinct sound of post punk, which makes me think of such mainstream artists as Neon Trees and The Killers but with something else mixed in.   There is also that experimental indie rock vibe as I can hear artists such as Modest Mouse and Brazil come out.

On "La Petite Morte" there is a strong bass line and it almost becomes funk.   That is followed up by "White God" which has a certain Twenty One Pilots way about it.   But then when we get into "Brundlefly" there is a definite old school synthwave sound as the synths just seem to take over.   This, in turn, leads us to "Waves", which has a Franz Ferdinand dance way about it.  "Avarice" gets dark near the end and while "Criminal" can get screamy, "Raices (dirt)" is a big more of electronic dance.

The lyrics are really something to pay attention to, as fast paced as these songs might be.   On the first song there are the lines: "We're not wanted / But we don't care. / We're not leaving / We still call this home."   Based on the title "Hiding in a Dumpster Waiting for ICE Agents" this just makes me think about the idea of how no person should be illegal.   This idea is also revisited during the last song.   Though this feels like a politically charged album in that way (and you should take note of it) not all of the songs are that way.

I had to pause the titular track because even though it is this nice indie pop number you can hear something else going on behind it (on my laptop I thought I had another tab open and playing)  This song also offers up the highly relatable lyrics: "All my friends / I push them away / I don't need them / I'm all alone / It's all my fault".   Whether you want to take a political stance or just a look at your own life choices, Mother Ghost has crafted the essential album to do just that.  

Music Review //
Serious Sam Barrett
"The Seeds Of Love"

The music of Serious Sam Barrett is what I think of when I think of what folk music sounds like.  There are three distinct sounds on "The Seeds Of Love", though they can all be traced back to what can be considered folk and if singer/song-writer is still a genre to you then they could be part of that as well.   Most importantly though they just feel like songs of the people because they have the qualities in which you could literally set up anywhere and begin playing them.

On the first song- "Valentine's Day"- there are vocals and a banjo.   This happens again on songs such as "Bushes And Briars" and "Bonny May".   As a banjo can be this element of folk music, it always makes me think of Steve Martin or Kermit the Frog and less about someone who has used it for a serious sound.   However, there are musicians out there (even on the radio) who create music using banjos and other instruments and so in that way this does remind me of them a little bit.

"The Wagonner" explores the second sound of Serious Sam Barrett and that is the guitar strum with the vocals singing.   This also happens on "The Recruited Collier", which feels a little bit like Bob Dylan to me.   There is also an aspect to this music which you will hear in all three sounds (but perhaps most with the acoustic guitar) which makes me think of Flogging Molly.   It's not the same kind of fast paced punk, but it has a similar spirit.

Somehow the last sound is my favorite even though it is the most stripped down.   Songs such as "Every Night Has An Ending", "Drowsy Sleeper" and "Was On An April Morning" are only vocals.   I really enjoy how this sound can still create a melody all on its own and it feels like it puts more of a focus on that as well as the lyrics.   The addition of the banjo or acoustic guitar just feels like a bonus after hearing that so if you're into folk music then this album is perfect for you.  

Music Review //
"Take Over"

The sound of Har'Monique exists within that of the hip hop guidelines but it also branches out within them to other related genres.  There are beats which make me want to get up and dance to this one.   There are some sounds which make me feel like this has soul and also that R&B way about it.   But within the singing on the chorus it can feel as if this song almost branches off into reggae. 

There is a fast pace to this song which makes it feel like it could be played in clubs and on the radio.   Though it might not be 100% the same, "Take Over" can still exist within that same pop radio stream as artists such as Dua Lipa, Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj.  This is an easily identifiable sound- not to make a comparison with, but to decide within the first few seconds of hearing it whether or not you like it.

Something also needs to be said for how this song takes me back to sounding like something I would buy as a cassingle.   Artists like Mya, Brandy, Aaliyah and even Gloria Estefan can be heard within.   Whether intentional or not, I enjoy how this song and the musical style of Har'Monique can take me back to the past because many times music just feels like it can translate with listeners better when it has that nostalgia factor.

If you're looking to find a fast paced dance number that can touch upon the past while creating a new sound for the future then "Take Over" is right for you.    The way this song sounds, Har'Monique could create an album with a ballad on it or an even faster club number and I wouldn't be surprised.   The way that this leaves the overall sound to expand and still remain grounded is perhaps my favorite part.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Music Review //
"Falling in Love with Being Alive"

With the name Hippy I would expect this to sound more like a jam 

band, something like Phish, than it does and the fact that it doesn't sound like that isn't a bad thing at all.   When the album first starts the sound I hear reminds me of the song "Come Together" and that has a bit of that free love vibe I expected but that's really about where that comparison ends.

Overall this sound feels very specific to the 1980's when there was this acoustic version of pop rock on the radio.   Hippy would fit in so perfectly with artists such as Genesis, John Mellencamp and Tom Petty, as this music is a blend of those styles but also with an added touch all their own.  I also feel like, especially on "Vicious Circle", that this one brings out some Toad the Wet Sprocket, but in some ways I'm sure you could trace those '90's vibes back to the '80's.

On some level you can listen to these songs and not pay much attention to the lyrics but still get a lot out of it- they're such solid songs.   But at the same time, if you choose to listen to and really dissect the lyrics you're also going to have a good time because as the hook says in the titular track: "I wanna fall in love with being alive".   That's something I feel like a lot of people struggle with because with most people (sometimes myself included) it just feels like we're trying to get by.

The song "Deep River Man" has a full out police chase on it in audio form and so if you're listening to this album while driving it is possible you think you are getting pulled over.  This remains one of those things that musicians do that I don't like (because I fall for it) but also if I was a musician I would totally do it.    Still, this acoustic brand of rock should leave you wanting more as they just don't make bands like this anymore.  

Music Review //
Scotty Karate
"Always Honey"
(Ravine Records) //

When I first press play on "Always Honey" a song comes on called "Lot Lot" in which a voice and acoustic guitar bring the chorus about how to make a lot lot of people feel good good.   This makes me think, right away, of this as being a folk type of song but also something you might get up and sing in front of children.   I'm not sure if there is anyone out there to compare this with along those lines other than Raffi, but yes, that is what I hear in the first song every time I hear it.

The titular track comes on next and has a distorted guitar.  This takes us into a group of songs which can range anywhere from rock n roll to country-ish to blues-ish.   Artists like Sonny & the Sunsets, The Honorary Title, Johnny Cash and Two Gallants can be heard within these sounds by me.   While "SSMM" can have this feeling of just the electric guitar and vocals, "Ruby Red" can have the same feeling of guitar and vocals though with the guitar being acoustic instead.   There are other sounds in here (bass, drums) but it's just that the guitar and vocals stand out the most.

I can hear some of the Reverend Horton Heat as "He's the DD" becomes an almost blues number.   For what it's worth, my favorite song on this album is "Gone It" because it is slow, dreamy and acoustic.    "Icy Road" is a bit of that old fashioned rambling sound while there is also a very well done cover of "Unchained Melody", which I feel like even if you don't know is by The Righteous Brothers originally you can still recognize the song because of the overall impact it has had on music.

What I love about this album is that Scotty Karate takes this sound- such as, say, that of Johnny Cash- and just delivers it in a way where you can hear that source material still but at the end of the last song you're just left thinking about this as being a Scotty Karate sound.  I have a soft spot for Johnny Cash but I also really enjoy music that is along that line of not quite exactly Buddy Holly and not quite exactly country but somewhere in between.   Scotty Karate pulls it off masterfully.