Thursday, July 30, 2020

Interview # 2 2 1 // WHYJOHNNY //

New Video out right now!!

1) The name WHYJOHNNY makes me think of a famous quote by JFK.  What is the idea behind "WHYJOHNNY" and why not "WHYnotJOHNNY"?

There are always more questions than there are answers. I think it's really cool when a solo artist has a name that is not their own, since my name is already an artist’s name I thought it'd be cool to come up with my own. Started asking myself what is the value of a name, why do people stick to something they didn't even pick? Then the question of ‘why’ stuck. So I called my mother to ask her why she named me Johnny. WHYJOHHNY? And there it was. 

2) How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?

There’s the feeling of intense despair in my lyrics mixed with explosive and majestic choruses. Mixing subtle acoustic guitar with the excitement and mystery of a synth while also sprinkling over the rush that comes from the simplistic piano.

3) Do you feel as if the lyrics are as important as the music itself?  How do you convey that with your sound?

Yes the lyrics are as important as the music itself. They’re the bridge between the music and the listener. The interpretation of my words, that's the other half of the song. The lyrics bring the melancholy and disparity to my sound. In all of my songs; whether it be lyrics or melody, I think there's this underlying tension. It’s not forced, it’s just that every time I sit down to write I try to capture the headspace I’m in. Exploring my subconscious through my own music. That’s why my listeners' interpretation is so important, because everytime you listen you can find a new meaning behind what I’m trying to say. 

4) Your debut EP is being released on July 31st.  What was it like creating that?

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The recording process brought out the best in me and the songs. I had never felt more comfortable in a creative space then I did at Strange Weather Studios with Daniel Schlett. All three of these songs were written at different times in my life so I did not write them knowing they would be on the same project.

5) What is it like being from/playing in NYC?

It’s a great privilege to have been born and raised in the greatest city. It makes life and the future feel exciting. My motivation and drive skyrocket when I’m in New York City which is such a good feeling.  All the wonderful venues only add to the excitement. It’s a great place to share your art because of all the different cultures you come across. I think being a New Yorker really can give an artist edge when it comes to work ethic and confidence. 

6) How vital do you think record labels are in 2020?

I think they are still a very important aspect of the music industry; with that said, it’s easier today for emerging artists to achieve some sort of success with the internet, social media and the right marketing team. I do also think it varies from case to case. The labels still have great resources to further an artist’s career and they put together very experts who take care of certain things an artist normally does not know much about. This gives the artist more time to focus on the music as opposed to worrying about his or her marketing campaign. 

7) What are your thoughts on physical media, such as cassettes and records?

I believe that owning a physical copy of a piece of music has a different psychological effect on a person then streaming it. When you own a record of your favorite band it feels like it belongs to you. You put the wear and tear on that specific copy and even though there are a bunch of the same copies, there isn’t one that looks, feels, and smells quite like yours. It’s just a much more personal experience which is what art should be. 

8) Final thoughts, shout outs, etc... ??

I’d like to thank Annie Ohayon, Rock Choi, Marvin Mumford, and Daniel Schlett for contributing to the making of the EP.

Baseball Review // Record-Journal Expos 0, East Hartford Jets 4 [7/29/20 @ McKenna Field, East Hartford, CT]

Additional photos can be found here :::

On the night before this game, leaving South Windsor, we somehow went through East Hartford, which seemed to set the tone for this game.   This wasn't a difficult field to find but there was netting around a lot of it, some volleyball and basketball courts around it as well, but at least there were bleachers which made it feel like a step up from the night before in South Windsor.

When I saw Jonathan Walter batting first for the Expos I knew this game was going to be different.   Not only did the Expos have Elliot Good playing second base for this game, they had Mike Bonaiuto pitching for them as well.   The pitching of Mike Bonaiuto was enough to keep the Jets at bay for four innings, as neither team scored for the first four innings of this game, making it feel like we were going to go into extra innings at 0-0.    Though the Expos kept Mike Bonaiuto in for five of the six innings, the Jets made frequent pitching changes which ended up working to their advantage.

One thing McKenna Field has is a working scoreboard so it was odd to be able to look over at it and not have to keep track of things such as the inning and score on my own.   The biggest factor in this game is what my uncle kept saying: you can't win if you don't score any runs and the Expos remained scoreless throughout this game.   While the Jets put on a good performance with their many pitchers, their offense only really came alive in that single four run inning which could have easily tipped the game the other way at any point.

Basically, this game was about the pitching, yes, but when you consider that most of the pitching by the Expos was one person and the Jets had to use five different pitchers, it makes the performance of the one pitcher a bit more grand.  This wasn't the type of game where the winning team scored ten more runs than the losing team-- it was more of a game where the Jets won, but they just barely were able to win.   The Jets offense was hindered, the Expos offense was just hindered a little bit more on this night.

The Expos move to 5-4 (while the Jets move to 4-5) and if the Rainbow Graphics game isn't made up the best they can hope for now is a 7-4 record, but to do that they have to defeat the Phillies this Friday night at home and People's on Monday at Dunkin Donuts Park.  People's has been on a roll, jumping up to third place behind the Orioles, and perhaps a lot of how these top four teams turn out by Monday will not only be decided on Friday night (as Ulbrich Steel looks to play spoiler to the Orioles) but on Sunday for the People's-Jets doubleheader as well.

Though the Expos now have their fourth loss of the season, it is worth noting that the three teams in front of them all have three losses so it can still be anyone's season to win.   Well, except for Rainbow Graphics.   They have eight losses so I don't see them coming out in first place in any scenario.   Even the Jets could move up if they sweep People's on Sunday, which just makes these next few days that much more exciting and that much more intense.  If you haven't been following along this season, no time like now to start.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Baseball Review // Record-Journal Expos 5, South Windsor Phillies 6 [7/28/20 @ Nevers Park, South Windsor, CT]

Additional photos can be found here :::

Going into this game, the Expos and Phillies were both tied for first place with 5-2 records.  Right behind them were People's and the Orioles who also played each other on this night!  The second half of the season really is heating up.   When we got to Nevers Park, we parked on the wrong side so we went by a different baseball game first.  Not sure who was playing over there, but the one kid I walked by didn't seem like he wanted to play.

Nevers Park is weird.  We walked through the Phillies' dug out just to find our way around the field to figure out where to watch the game because the dug out doesn't really exist in a traditional sense.   There is a lot of fence but no bleachers and if you happen to grab a spot of grass somewhere to put a chair, you're going to be watching the game through the fence.  We set up behind home plate because there was a smaller fence we could watch the game from without it blocking our view but Quentin couldn't duck or hide behind the home plate fence if needed.

Out towards right field was that other baseball game and out in center field there was a skate park, so it was interesting to look out there every so often and see people skateboarding on by.  On the left side was mostly woods, which was fine because at least we weren't near someone's backyard.   But I still questioned, walking through those Phillies players, why someone would ever design a baseball field where it felt like it wasn't intended for fans to show up and watch a game.

The Expos struck first in this game with a big two run homerun by Jack Rich in the first inning.  The Phillies players were complaining it bounced and went over the fence but that ball was long gone.   Funny enough, in the sixth inning one of the Phillies players hit a double which the Phillies all then thought was a homerun but it was called a double because it went under the fence, not out and over.   I liked how the umpires were only wrong when it worked in the Phillies' favor.  However, the umpires did want a runner to come back onto third base for the double, but with runners on second and third they both score, something which had to be explained to the umps.

Ths game was a solid pitching battle for five innings.   The Phillies couldn't seem to figure out A.J. Hendrickson and Trevor Moulton did a good job for the Phillies as well, as many of the problems with the Phillies seemed to be their fielding as they had at least two balls thrown to first that didn't make it to the base.   Not sure if that was a first baseman problem or the fault of whoever threw the ball, but for the most of this game the Phillies did not look like a first place team.

However, up 5-0 in the sixth inning the Phillies had a big inning which put up three runs.   The Expos were unable to score in the seventh and then the Phillies walked it off.   As these final scenes played out, I must tell you what happened behind home plate.  My uncle had these two guys he knew from when he was a kid show up and one of them was yelling at the Expos to move their defense in.   For some reason, the batter- Mike Lisincchia- took offense to this and told him to be quiet.   Then, my uncle's friend, told this guy to focus on the game and not what he was saying and Mike Lisincchia got really upset asking "Do we have a problem?"

The Phillies may have won but the fact that they let something like that get to them, even after they had won the game they were still talking about it, makes me feel like if someone was taunting them from the stands the entire game they'd buckle under the pressure.  I'm not saying the Meriden crowd might do it this Friday night when the Expos come home, but it does seem like something an Orioles crowd might do.  In all of my years, I've never seen a baseball player so sensitive as to what someone was saying before.

With this loss for the Expos, they are now tied for second place with the Orioles, who beat People's.   People's moved down to fourth place as Ulbrich Steel takes third place.  The Jets and Graphics are pretty much out of it, but the Expos do play the Jets tonight before meeting the Phillies again on Friday.   The Orioles and Steel meet on Friday as well so it will be some sort of super battle of all four teams at once.   The only other game between now and Friday is the Orioles vs. Graphics and you can bet Ulbrich Steel is hoping for the Graphics to pull off the upset and play spoiler.

You can feel how you want about every team in this league (I don't like the Phillies because I'm a Mets fan and I don't like the Orioles because they seem pretentious) but the top five teams- Phillies, Expos, Orioles, Steel and People's- all have a chance to do something special this season still.   People's has a doubleheader on Sunday against the Jets and if they win both of those and the Phillies go on a losing streak, People's could jump up to second place.    This is what just makes it so much fun right now.

Music Review //

As soon as this song starts you can feel the soul in it.  There is a darkness behind the keys, kind of almost going into blues, and it reminds me of someone like Alessia Cara or Norah Jones.  It really, even as a single song, just sets the tone for the entire room in which it is being played.  If you were to walk into any place with a stage and this song was being performed live, you'd stop, take notice and then begin to listen and enjoy.

With the music that just pulls you in come lyrics which should be universal but due to the nature of the song I feel like not everyone can relate to this song.   Ultimately, this song is about fitting in and feeling like you don't.   I want to say that in some situation everyone must have at one time or another felt like they didn't fit in.   Even if as an adult you feel comfortable enough to fit in everywhere perhaps as a child or during middle school you felt like you didn't fit in with a certain group that you wanted to join.

The way in which this song is layered in the lyrics is that it is not just about not fitting in but also about feeling like you're not human in the sense of if this is how humans then I don't want to be one.   It is the summer of 2020 and the world is a pretty crazy place so examples might be more obvious, but there always seems to be that time where you read about something in the news and think "That human does not represent all humans" or you think about how they are the reasons why life on other planets don't come to visit us.

Lyrics like "I'm comfortable in my own skin / I can see the truth / Don't need to belong" will have everyone singing along and relating with this song.   Those who are out there creating the things which make the rest of us not want to feel like we're part of the human race any more will not appreciate the song on the same level but perhaps- and maybe this is just the hope inside of me- this song could help them to see the world a little bit differently.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Baseball Review // Great Falls Gators 5, Bristol Knights 2 [7/27/20 @ Muzzy Field, Bristol, CT] //

Additional photos can be found here :::

For the second day in a row I was in Bristol for baseball.   This time, however, it was about ten degrees hotter outside and, yes, you could feel it.  There was a little bit of a breeze, which was nice, but I'm not sure how the players did it when I was sweating too much just sitting in the sun during this game.   Quentin and I started the game a little bit lower in the shade, but as the sun set it made us in the sun so we moved all the way up to the top to be in the shade and get a breeze from the windows at Muzzy Field.

This was my first time seeing the Connecticut Twilight League this season.   When everything opened it, I felt like it opened up so fast and without warning (there was a little warning) and I've just hit the ground running since then.  [Please Note: Not *everything* is opened up, but just the idea of baseball starting in July-ish and seeing who was playing, who wasn't, etc. was quite a bit to take in all within a week or so]   There was a decent crowd here at Muzzy Field as well and they seemed split between the two teams.  They were loud and I liked it.

As far as the game itself goes, this was just your typical comeback game that every kid ever dreams about making happen.  Right away in the first a lead off double helped put a run on the board for the Knights.   They would stay up 1-0 until they scored again in the sixth, going up 2-0.   This was truly a game of pitching, as Marco Ross put on a show for the Bristol Knights.  (The Gators pitcher also did a really great job, especially pitching a complete game, I just don't know his name!) In the top of the second, the Knights' right fielder made a great throw to third base to get an out, which I don't think the Gators expected.

What I saw from the Gators was that they seemed to take chances that they maybe didn't need to take.   They'd have a good hit, then go for three instead of holding up at second.  But as someone said at one of the games I was at recently, they're playing baseball this summer for fun, so they have to take those chances and it might not be about winning as much as it is just having fun.  I can respect that. 

There was a great diving catch in the top of the fifth inning and in the sixth Marco Ross got himself on base but his team couldn't help him score to bring them up over that two runs.  It was really amazing and true testament to baseball that it felt like nothing happened during most of the game (which simply was not true, but if you look at the runs scored you might think so) and then it all came down to the very end of the game, the last inning.

In the top of the 7th the Gators began their comeback.  After runners were on first and second, there was a HBP to load the bases and that was it for Marco Ross.  At one point, the umpire warned the entire Gators dugout (I think they wanted him to call a balk) and this inning was just tense.  Having someone near me cheering the Knights while someone on the right of me is cheering the Gators-- it was a scene.   The Gators had those chances where they could score runs and they did just that.

The first two runs the Gators scored made me think we would go to extra innings.  I thought the Knights would definitely shut them down then.  What was interesting to me was that on this long fly ball for the second out with bases loaded the fielder threw it to home base, which he had no chance of getting, but as everyone was distracted by that- by what was happening at home plate- the other two runners moved over to second and third, which ultimately did help them both score as well.

I can't believe that the Gators didn't score all game, went into their last inning down 2-0 and then posted 5 huge runs to not only come back but to shut down the Knights in the bottom of the 7th and win the game.   By the fifth or sixth inning, I was truly expecting this to be one of those games about pitching where it ended 2-0 and the Knights won.  So did a lot of fans in attendance and the Knights possibly as well.    I don't think anyone possibly saw this game ending the way that it did but that's why I love baseball.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Baseball Review // People's United Bank 11, Rainbow Graphics 1 [7/26/20 @ Mount Nebo Park, Manchester, CT] // //

Additional photos can be found here :::

After visiting Mount Nebo Park for the first time last Thursday, I had the idea to come back here on this night to see the Rainbow Graphics welcome People's United Bank.    For me, from what I saw last season and thus this season, the Rainbow Graphics are a bottom level team while the People's United Bank hangs out in the middle of the league but sometimes can go to the upper part of the standings.   What makes that interesting is that sometimes those lower level teams (like the Graphics) can give the higher level teams (like People's) a hard time.   So I did go into this game thinking it might be somewhat competitive.

I am also willing to admit that I went to this game because I wanted to see Justin Morhardt pitch.   My dad and I got to the game a little after 6:30 and there was a 7 start time so we were hanging out, watching them warm up and we were on People's side for the dug out.   I saw Justin Morhardt in the dug out and he kind of looked over at me so I asked him if he was pitching and he said no but that he was playing left field, which he seemed really excited about. 

I'm not sure what happened to People's since the last time we saw them in Wethersfield, but Jack Risley, who I always considered to be one of their star players, was absent from this game, though he did play in that game against the Expos.   In his place during this game seemed to be Willy Yahn, who just had a hell of a night both offensively and defensively.  So while I feel like maybe the People's roster got shaken up a little bit, I also feel like they are somehow better now as well.

People's struck early with two runs in the first and I told my dad that they would win this game 10-0.   But then, for a few innings, no one was able to score.   We went through three innings with People's up 2-0 and not only were Ryan Skaff (Graphics) and Jeff Keenan (People's) pitching a great game against each other, the Graphics were also making solid double plays.   Somehow, the Graphics were not making all of the errors that they tend to be known for on defense and that made for an interesting game.

Well, it made for an interesting game until the fourth inning when People's scored five runs and went up 7-0.    It is worth noting that during this game, Max Quinn of the Rainbow Graphics reached base twice because he was HBP both times.    However, Justin Morhardt also kept getting on base because he was walked and I think one time he was HBP as well.   When Justin Morhardt made it to first base the second time he said something to the ump about how he was happy he was on base but that wasn't how he wanted to get there.

In the sixth inning, the Rainbow Graphics realized why they weren't pitching to Justin Morhardt all night, as he blasted a two run homerun into right field.   This would become a three run inning and People's would go up 10-0, just as I predicted.   Now, the Graphics would be able to score one run in the sixth, so People's had to come back and maintain their ten run lead by putting up a run of their own in the seventh.   Evan Chamberlain tried to help the Graphics get out of trouble by pitching a few innings, but it didn't matter.   People's were on a mission.

Jeff Keenan and Kevin Lukeivic split this game with Garrett Moran coming in to close it out and I do respect that People's has this pitching formula.   It makes sense to have a starting pitcher go three or four innings at most if they feel good, then have two more pitchers divide up the remaining innings- one or two for the closer depending upon how the relief pitcher feels.  So to divide the innings among three pitchers either 3-3-1, 4-2-1 or 3-2-2.    It just makes it feel like once a hitter gets used to a pitcher it's too late and another pitcher has entered the game.

In the bottom of the seventh when Tim Hanlon struck out for the Graphics he became so upset that when he went into their dugout we could hear him across the field.   That struck me as odd because they were down ten runs, which must be frustrating but by that point in the game there was really nothing any of them could do about it.   The chances of a late ten run inning seemed highly unlikely, especially since People's has a closer.

After Justin Morhardt's homerun in the sixth inning, I noticed that no one was going to get the ball.   Someone usually always runs after the foul balls and so I didn't know why neither a player nor a fan who was closer than I was made their way to get the ball.  So I got up, walked over to that part of the parking lot and grabbed the ball because, hey, how often do you get a Justin Morhardt homerun ball?   While I admit I came here to see him pitch, I'm just as happy going home having seen him hit a homerun.

Baseball Review // Silver City Banditos 4/5, Bristol 1/3, [7/26/20 @ Bristol Eastern High School, Bristol, CT]

Additional photos can be found here :::

I like my baseball fields easy to find and this one did not disappoint- sort of.   While the high school sits off of the main road which you can also take to get to Lake Compounce as well as driving past ESPN, when I got to where the entrance was the directions said to turn right but on the left there was a visible baseball field which you could see that players were there playing a game.  There is also a field on the road, on the right, which was empty and I got really confused because baseball wasn't where it was supposed to be on so many levels. 

Still, the field that sat on the road that didn't have baseball at it seemed wrong (I wonder who was playing across the street in uniforms though) and I drove into the high school parking lot, found cars, saw a Banditos player in uniform and knew I was in the right place.   I'm not sure how one becomes an umpire, but I always seem to arrive at games at the same time as them, which made me feel better in this particular high school because it simply became a matter of following them to the field.   Now, adjacent to the field in which the game was to be played on was another field (overgrown) and we had to walk through that to get to the game. 

There is a hill which exists where you could sit in the shade but I felt like I'd be too far away.  I set up camp in the bleachers on the Banditos side- the only bleachers there were, down the third base line, because the first base side was one you couldn't really sit on.   Other fans were set up in the grass in chairs and on blankets and perhaps before next season I will invest in one of those chairs with a roof to protect me from the sun and rain.    Somehow, behind homeplate there were also houses, which meant a lot of foul balls going into someone's backyard.  Personally, I'd love to live next to a school and have foul balls in my yard, but only if I could sit in my backyard and watch the games as well.

One problem I had with this field- to fast forward a minute before we go back to the start of the game- was that there wasn't a clearly defined outfield.   That is to say, you had grass up until a sidewalk and then it was the school.   To me, it felt like at some point back there a fence should have been up to indicate when a homerun had been hit.   In the fourth inning of the first game J.D. Tyler hit a huge bomb out to right-center and he made it to third for a triple but if they had proper dimensions established there is no way that wasn't a homerun.

This was an interesting set of games for the Banditos because it was their first time on the road and it was the first time I felt like they might lose a game.   With Bristol being stifled by the pitching of J.D. Tyler in the first game, it felt like the Banditos also didn't know how to handle the Bristol pitcher, as it was a good old fashioned pitchers duel as the game remained scoreless through five.   The Banditos also started this game with only eight players, at first having no one at second base, but Justin Kolesar came in just in time to bat.   He also came in just in time to make a jumping, Derek Jeter-like throw to first to get an out, in what was clearly the play of the game in the first game.

In the third inning, Bristol had runners on second and third but they blew it.   I felt like Bristol had some solid hitters but they didn't have enough solid hitters to string the hits together to make runs.   In the bottom of the 4th, J.D. Tyler struck out the side while in the fifth they escaped without giving up a run with bases loaded and one out by throwing to home plate and then first.  These are just the types of plays you don't think about and then you see them and it just amazes you like, how did they do that.

By the sixth inning, Will Kszywanos came in to bat.  I could hear the Bristol coach ask him what his last name was, but I didn't hear Will's response.   Will hit a huge double which started the rally which would win the game.   The game had been scoreless thus far but after J.D. Tyler walked, Justin Poirer got a huge hit which brought both runners in to score.   Scott Iwaniec would add two more RBIs to the inning, giving them the final total of 4 and giving Bristol only six more outs to try and top that. 

In their final chance, Bristol scored one run which wasn't enough to win the game but it was the first run J.D. Tyler gave up this season.   Having won their first four games by larger leads, it felt like the Banditos were lucky to get out of this one as they didn't have those big, offensive innings that they previously have.   I also need to take this time to note that- because I feel like maybe I don't enough stress on this- these games take place in the hottest part of the day and many players are playing through both of them.   For me, I drink one bottle of water and one bottle of Gatorade just watching these games.  I can't imagine what the players go through.  (If I had to run, I could not)

I found shade to hide in during the break between games and put on more sunscreen.  There was a consistent breeze today though, so it didn't feel as hot.   The bleachers were all overgrown with plants and such, so it wasn't really inviting for sitting in.    But I went back there for the second game, hoping that the Banditos had the Greeners number and this game would be easier.  It was not.   The second game actually felt closer to a loss than the first, but one of the things I've always loved about baseball is stats and statistically speaking it isn't easy to win both games in a doubleheader, much less your first six games in a row.

Justin Kolesar started the second game for the Banditos and though he gave up a run in the first inning, he seemed to maintain steady after that.  In the bottom of the second with the Greeners up 1-0, the tying run was walked in making it a 1-1 game.   This lead to a play which the Bristol pitcher was obviously upset about because on a ground out at first, the Banditos scored their second run to put them ahead.   It felt like the Bristol pitcher would have rather that throw went to home and, yes, that would have been the out and saved a run.

What I liked about this game was that the Greeners scored one run in the odd innings, other than the seventh.  So they were going 1 run, no runs, 1 run, no ones.   The Banditos put up two runs in the second and fourth, which made for this weird pattern of alternating innings of scoring, but also it felt like every time the Greeners put up one the Banditos would put up two until the sixth when the Banditos only had a one run inning.

For Game 2, the play of the game was in the sixth inning when Jason Sullivan made this spectacular diving catch to get the out and end the inning.  At this point, the game was 4-3 in favor of the Banditos, but had that ball made it into the outfield, it would have been at least one run to tie the game but perhaps even two and just overall it would have been a much different game. 

To the credit of the Bristol Greeners, this was probably the toughest test of the Banditos this season.   Bristol came into this game 3-1, which is by no means a bad record, so you could sense this might be a tough game but I also thought that last week-- this time I was just proven right.   These were just such good back and forth games though where neither team was ever really out of it so you really just had your eyes glued to the field up until the last out.   The Banditos are now 6-0 and with next Sunday off they could recharge and become even more unstoppable.

Baseball Review // Record-Journal Expos 6, Rainbow Graphics 1 [7/23/20 @ Mount Nebo Park, Manchester, CT] // //

Additional photos can be found here :::

Going into this game I knew the weather was going to be an issue.  The way it had seemed- prior to this Thursday- was that it would be thunderstorms throughout the day.   Thursday has also been the day this summer when Quentin and I have gone swimming at my mom's house, so there was also this idea that the weather might prevent that from happening.   But we were able to swim in the afternoon with no signs of storms.  As it got later in the day, I had decided to leave the decision up to my dad because if he wanted to chance driving up there and having the game rained out then it was his call to make.  He felt the rain would hold off, so both he, my uncle and Quentin all went up to this game. 

I know Manchester is a fancy type of place, but I really do enjoy Mount Nebo Park.   We found bleachers in the shade and the field itself is just nice.   They have a defined outfield and there aren't a lot of things around which seem like they shouldn't be there- the way a lot of these fields are near houses, which causes the foul balls to go into backyards.    They have porto-pottys as well, which people seemed fine setting up chairs next to, but hey, I'd rather sit behind a fence and watch the game that way on bleachers than sit that close to the bathroom.

The Record-Journal Expos actually opened their season against the Rainbow Graphics (at home) so this was their on the road game.   There were fans here for the Graphics as well, which was nice, as I feel like if the Graphics were a solid team it'd be such a good place to see baseball regularly.    Nick Foell was pitching for the Expos and it seemed like he got off to a rocky start because he gave up one run in the first inning, but that would be the only run he gave up through three innings. 

For the first two innings, the Expos were held scoreless by Graphics pitcher Jack Molloy.   My uncle asked me why the Rainbow Graphics were such a bad team- what made them so bad- when after two innings they were up 1-0 and were looking pretty good.  I told him (and this is no secret) that the Rainbow Graphics would be a solid team if they had the fundamentals down, or as Keith Hernandez likes to say, the fundies.   It's the little plays of not catching a fly ball or stumbling with picking up a ground ball that gives the other team the advantage when the Graphics should have an easy out.

This all showed true in the third inning as the Expos managed to explode and put five runs on the board.    This included a huge homerun by Mike Gulino to left field.    At that point, it all started making sense for my uncle, as the Expos found their groove and the Graphics began falling apart at the hinges.   In the top of the 4th, the Expos had another rally going, scoring one run, before the Graphics decided to make a pitching change.   During the pitching change, some lightning flashed out in right field and the umpires decided to put a hold on the game for thirty minutes, a rain delay I suppose.

As we were walking to the car, one umpire said something to the other to the effect that since the Graphics were changing pitchers maybe that would have sped up that inning and they should have let it try and go the full four so they didn't have to make it up.   As we sat in the car, waiting to see what would happen, the tarp coming out to cover the field, the sky opened up and the rain came down.   A pure downpour with thunder and lightning added in.   We did the math and realized if this game resumed, it wouldn't be until at least 10pm so by the time it was done- we might have been there until midnight.

The umpires must have realized something similar because they ended up calling the game off completely.   I'm not sure when this will be made up as of right now, but it was definitely a fun game until the weather put it on a pause.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Baseball Review //
Vernon Orioles 6, Record-Journal Expos 8
[7/21/20 @ Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT]

Additional photos can be found via Facebook here :::

This was the sixth game for the Record-Journal Expos and their season this year is only twelve games long so we've hit the halfway point.   Not bad to go 5-1 at the half, as their counterparts in this game, the Vernon Orioles, are 3-3 at the half, with two of those losses now to the Expos.   While the games have been better attended this season than what I saw last season, this specific game had a lot of fans in attendance.   While the groups of who knew each other and who didn't were spaced out for social distancing, I would say that it would have been difficult to fit more fans in Ceppa Field as it was just that kind of game.

The fans made for a lively crowd and we even started the game with the "National Anthem"!    We're at the end of our heatwave now and this game felt like it was going to be good because the Expos were at home and had already just crushed the Orioles on Sunday in their own home, but at the same time, what if the Orioles had learned from their mistakes?  What if the Orioles had only scored one run on Sunday because they were saving them all for tonight?  What if the Orioles were figuring out the Expos?

With Charlie Hesseltine on the mound, that wouldn't be the case.   In the first inning, the Orioles put up three big runs which seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game.   At that time, the Orioles were likely thinking that this was going to be a different game than Sunday- that this was going to be their game.  However, the Expos managed to put up a run of their own in the first and then another in the second, making it 3-2 after only two innings.   The Orioles might have sat on their lead, I don't know, but that was only the first inning and there was a lot of baseball left to be played.

The Orioles were kept scoreless for the second, third and fourth innings while the Expos put up four runs in the bottom of the third to go up 6-3.  Suddenly, it was a different ball game.   The Orioles came back in the fifth, scoring two runs to almost catch up with the Expos, but the Expos put up a run in the fifth and another in the sixth.  The lone run the Orioles scored in the seventh wasn't enough to catch the Expos.  The only inning in which the Expos didn't score was the fourth, just proving that even if you string together one run at a time, that can make the difference in winning the game.

The Orioles still had two HBP in this game and I don't know what it is with them and hitting batters but perhaps they do it to other teams as well.  Perhaps their pitching just isn't that good.  There were also two different times during this game when both of the coaches for each team- Charlie Hesseltine for the Expos and 42 for the Orioles- got into it with the umpire to where they were almost thrown out.   Yes, there were some pretty bad calls in this game. 

While we're on the subject of bad calls and rules, I wonder what happened to the outfield at Ceppa.   Last season there was this fence out there many players just ran into or hopped over and that was where homeruns were hit.   Now, this season, you have to hit a homerun literally out of the park, which is quite a long distance.   There were at least two long shots in this game that would have been homeruns last season.   What happened to that flimsy little fence?

The story of the game tonight was that Charlie Hesseltine brought the pitching and his team brought the offense.   The Orioles seemed to struggle once again with both the pitching and hitting, and maybe their roster has changed a lot since last season, but they are not the same team that I remember, where they felt like they would be so difficult to beat.  The South Windsor Phillies are still on top of the GHTBL (still undefeated too) but they haven't faced the Expos yet.  This second half of the Expos season promises to be more exciting than ever before.

Cassette Review //
Darko the Super & Steel Tipped Dove
"The Devil Defeated"
(Already Dead Tapes)

$6 //
Edition of 100 // //

If you've ever felt like Darko the Super is putting out too much music, all you have to do is actually listen to the releases to understand how they're different.   Not only can you think of "The Devil Defeated" as being the one where Steel Tipped Dove does the beats, but you can also think of it as the one which pays tribute to Daniel Johnston, given the title and the artwork.   Even though their sounds aren't exactly the same isn't it great how similar Darko the Super and Daniel Johnston are as artists?

The lyrics on here, as always, give me a lot to pull quotes from.  The second song says "I was on the bus" in a certain way that gets me every time.  On "The News" I like the line "Told myself I'd lose weight, but I'm drinking soda still" because I feel like that a lot.  I always want to give up certain foods to lose weight but then I think "Life was meant to be lived" and just eat an entire cake.   Also, on "The News" ialive name drops Mick Foley so that made me wonder when we're going to get that Darko (or HHS) collab with Mega Ran.  I hear he likes wrestling too.

On the titular track there is a line I really enjoy where Darko says:"I don't wanna be a grown up / I wanna be a song and dance man" and of course he also pays respects to the main character with: "Daniel Johnston is a beautiful genius".    The first side comes to an end with a song which has Lil B on it as well as Charles Hamilton and in that song I feel like he's dropping hints at Gym Class Heroes when he says "feeling kind of worthless".   Did anyone else catch that?  Am I just reading too far into this?

The flip side starts with a song called "Suzy" in which Darko declares "I shot Suzy in the face last night".   Throughout this song and the second side the story of "The Devil Defeated" really begins to unfold.   There have been chill beats throughout, but I feel like "The Ledge" is one of my favorite songs musically and it just takes off from there.   Though the song "Lo-fi Princess 2" (if I can jump back to the first side) is more singing, there is a definite tone set by the first side versus the second side, almost like it's the two different sides of Darko the Super.

What the listener may not know- what they might not catch during these songs are the small references which are not direct.  I'm not sure even I pick up on all of them.  But lines like: "It is now my duty to leave you completely drained" would be a reference to Nirvana, although that isn't their exact lyric.   This happens a bit and with that the genius of Darko the Super is that he can take and twist a phrase in a way which you don't expect when you hear the first line but when that second like hits you think "Yeah! Why didn't I see that coming!"  I found this with the line about "maybe it's Maybelline".

There is also a song on here called "Grow Fangs", who have released music on Already Dead as well, and it would be interesting if at some point throughout his many releases Darko the Super put a song named after an artist on each one so in five years we could put them together on a compilation somehow.  Just knowing they're there is good enough for me though.  Then I wondered if Darko would ever make a song about me, but I don't think he was raised by cassettes-- I don't know if he's old enough.  But I'd want my line to be: "I was raised by cassettes but I'm not grown up yet" even though I'm just getting ahead of myself now.

Cassette Review //
Human Adult Band
"Beyond the Time Barrier Travelers"
(Already Dead Tapes)

$6 //
Edition of 100 // //

The Human Adult Band begins with some wilding drumming which brings on the sound of sludge.   This has a fast pace but seems to be moving slowly at the same time, which kind of freaks me out.   This whole cassette was recorded live so we hear those sharp notes from the microphones that you typically hear at any live performance.   A steady mesh of drums and cymbals now as we feel like a march turned into a growl.    As it feels like this one is brewing up a storm, I hear some yelling now.

This takes us into a deep dive now where there is this sound like an electric engine glitching.   The drums come back and just feels almost like an alarm on a submarine.    But it creates a powerful overall sound, like metal.    As vocals come in now this one begins to feel quite haunted, a true tale of metal.    Through long guitar riffs and bass lines now you can hear people talking, which takes me back to a time when people were allowed at shows- something which might change drastically in the coming months.  The next song, "Scurvy Seamen", is introduced by name and the rapid singing causes chaos on the ears.

"Loathing Loaf", the final song on the first side, also gets introduced by name and then begins with the thunder striking down and the guitar screeches which make me think of a band like Converge or Daughters.    The drumming on this is rather heavy and it's not often that you hear an artist where the drums feel like they take over the entire sound, but then it also has such a strong presence with the guitar, bass and even vocals.   Usually one of the sounds takes the front while the others blend together behind it but this music very much has everything at the front and in your face.

On the flip side we begin with more wild drumming, crowd noise and then this guitar riff which cuts through like metal.    This twists and turns through like slow metal and if there was ever a sound which existed between a band like the previously mentioned Daughters and Liturgy, this is what it might sound like.   Picking up a bit more of the pace, all of the sounds are coming together and it has more of a classic rock sound to it than metal now.    We drop off into some big chords but this just has more of a rock sound now, like Campground Effect, versus the metal that I was picking up on the previous side.   A little bit of Weep Wave in here as well.

We get a little bit darker now, as it feels like we're going into something closer to metal than the previous song.   This reminds me a bit, overall, of Mudhoney as well.   This particular song also happens to end with these bass drops like bubbles and it just makes for such an intense feeling.   Somehow now this has gotten lighter again and I'm thinking more of a band like The Casket Lottery, which perhaps just goes to show the range of Human Adult Band.    As this song also has a steady rock sound it also breaks down into chaos at the end.

This takes us into a more straight up rock song, a little like Nirvana, but now it's getting all swirly distorted inside the middle of what almost feels like a folk/country punk.   The vocals have a lot of grit to them as well, and it reminds me of that time Me First and the Gimme Gimmes put out a country album.  The guitar work gets so wild and every sound seems to be blended together so well right now; all of the pieces working together in perfect harmony to create ROCK.

We're now prodding through a song with that sleepwalking bass line and drums, then the guitars cut through like electricity.   It is definitely a psychedelic rip as well.    As the final song comes to an end I think not only about what a trip it has all been but how these are two live sets captured in time.  Each one has the dates, the other acts who played, etc. and it's nice to me in a way just to think of this as being a part of history but also sometimes you just have to put this one on, crank it up and rock out.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Baseball Review //
Record-Journal Expos 11, Vernon Orioles 1 [7/19/20 @ Frank J. McCoy Field, Vernon, CT] // //

Additional photos can be found here :::

This was my third baseball game on this humid Sunday in July and some people might think I'm crazy but it's better to be outside in some ways than it is to be inside.  After we followed the Expos to Wethersfield High School, I was bracing myself for the worst here but also thinking in the back of my head that no matter how bad this field is it can't be worse than Wethersfield High School.   To my slight surprise this was actually a really great place to watch baseball.  There was a fence around the field near the bleachers on the first base side, but we moved up to the top so we could see over it and we felt cool the whole game because we were in the shade.  It was a much better decision to be outside at this time than staying indoors.  Plus we saw a heck of a game.

The first thing I need to address in this game, to get it out of the way, is the HBP situation.   Is there a limit of how many times a pitcher can hit players on the opposing team before that pitcher is ejected?  Because maybe there should be.   The Orioles pitchers tonight combined for five HBP and their starting pitcher- Matt Purnell- had as many strikeouts as he did HBP.   Does that seem right to you?  At one point in the game, the Expos were up 4-0 and the Orioles had 5 HBP, which I thought was funny because if the Orioles had as many runs as they did HBP they would have been winning.

Look, at the very least, Sebby Grigano got hit twice.   The second time, he should have been able to take second base.  [Side Note: After he got hit the second time, he walked to first and said "Right in the same fucking spot"]   I'm not saying that the HBP by the Orioles felt intentional but they were an unnecessary part of the game and whether it's because your pitcher doesn't have control or whatever the reasoning-- there should only be so much of it that is allowed before there are more consequences than just taking first base.

With A.J. Hendrickson pitching, the Orioles seemed stumped.   They got a few hits in but couldn't really put anything together to do any damage with runs.   Here's a fun example of how not to be in baseball: Sitting on the first base side meant we were near the Oriole's dugout.  I got to listen to one of the players (who will remain nameless) explain how they were losing because of the wind.   Yes, the wind.   His claim was that whenever the Orioles would hit a far shot to the outfield, the wind would push it into the glove of the Expos.   But then he said when the Expos hit the fly balls out there, the wind would push the ball to drop down so it couldn't be caught.   I've loved baseball since I was a kid- probably longer than that particular player has even be alive- and I've never heard such nonsense before.   I was going to ask him how much he thought the Expos paid the wind but I thought it better not to engage.

The story of this game was simple.   The Expos had pitching.   The Orioles did not.    After the third inning, the Expos opened up some offense.   The Orioles never did.   But come on, seriously, don't blame it on the wind.   With all of the hits, all of the walks, all of the HBP, I'm kind of surprised that this game didn't end with a higher score than it did.  And yes, I realize that the Expos won by ten runs, but if you consider how the Orioles were playing it could have been much, much worse.

With the Expos up 2-0 it looked like that might be the final score until they put up two more runs in the fifth, four in the sixth and three in the seventh just to really stick it to 'em.  What I liked about the seventh inning rally was that there were back to back doubles by Jonathan Walter and A.J. Hendrickson and then Mike Gulino hit a bomb shot as well, everyone thinking "There's another double" but he had to one up them and get the triple. 

There was a funny moment when a shot down the first base side did one bounce and a fan caught it one handed because his other hand was holding a beer.   I'm told the Orioles are currently in talks to sign him up as a pitcher.   Also, if you happen to read my Banditos review from the two games I was at earlier in the day, I saw the same baffling call here tonight when A.J. Henrickson hit the ball and it bounced off his foot- foul tip- but the umpire called it fair and in play which lead to an out.  Who would have thought the first time I saw that happen was mere hours before and now I see it again in the same day.  (I don't think they were the same umpires though)

When this season started, after the first three games, the undefeated teams were the Expos, Orioles and Phillies.   The Phillies and Orioles ended up playing each other right quick, which forced it so one of them would no longer be undefeated and that was an Orioles' loss.  The Expos took a tough loss on Thursday night to People's, so while the Phillies are undefeated as of this writing, the Expos and Orioles were both at 3-1 going into this game.  I really thought the Orioles would have fought harder to not give up their second loss of the season but they played like they were on their fourth game of the day.

Somehow, the next game for both of these teams is against each other- again!- only this time the Orioles are coming to Meriden.   Riding this momentum, it's going to be interesting to see if the Expos can sweep the big shot Orioles or if the Orioles will have them figured out and present more of a challenge this Tuesday night.   Either way, it's about to be a hell of a game and this is what the summer is all about.

Baseball Review //
CT Black Sox 0 / 4, Silver City Banditos 8 / 8
[7/19/20 @ Maloney High School, Meriden, CT]

Additional photos can be found here :::

This Sunday was the second game for the Banditos, though since their games are all double headers it was technically the second set of games as they already had a 2-0 record.   Interestingly enough, the CT Black Sox were coming into this game after sweeping their Opening Day opponents as well.   That certainly made these games more interesting, as both teams seemed evenly matched at 2-0.   It was hotter out than last Sunday but there was still a breeze so along with my water, Gatorade (not an official sponsor) and sunscreen I knew the weather wasn't going to get to me.

The first game saw J.D. Tyler pitch what couldn't have been a better game defensively.   The lead off batter for the Black Sox hit a shot up the left side for a base hit to start the game but the next three batters would all be struck out.   In contrast, the first four pitches by the Black Sox starter were all balls.   In the top of the 2nd a key play was made as with two outs the Black Sox decided to send a runner from second to home.   This was an easy out for the Banditos and even with two outs already, had they kept that runner on third, perhaps he could have scored for the Black Sox.   Such a strange call.

In the bottom of the second the Banditos put up their first run.   Justin Poirer got a double when the throw to first went by the Black Sox first baseman.   Willie Rios grounded out to first, but that allowed the runner to move to third and then a hit by Drew Abrahante brought him home.   These are the types of plays I like to see in baseball, where you move the runner and without bunting.   It was one run, but if you do it enough times, you can win the game and sometimes all you need is one run to win the game.

The third inning was a big one for the Banditos as they put up six runs, going up 7-0, making it where it seemed like the Black Sox wouldn't be able to recover.   Franciso Asencio hit a big double which brought in two runs and then he was brought in by Ricky Marrero.   Franciso Asencio was having a game, hitting deep shots to left field where they couldn't be caught.   The heat and the sun also played a role in the fielding, I assume, but this game ended in some ways after the third inning.

What I liked about this game though (which I feel like we've seen before) was that the Banditos went up early, 7-0 after 3, and if the Black Sox could have gotten solid hits-- let's just say they had four more innings to put up the seven runs to tie it or even more to win it.  It's not unheard of to do.   So I don't think of it as a blowout like "This game is over" when we're in the fourth, it's more of a "You've got a comfortable lead, now don't blow it".   The Banditos did put up one more run in the bottom of the sixth, just to make the score a nice even 8. 

J.D. Tyler now has fourteen scoreless innings and well over twenty strikeouts.   It seems like now we have reached a point where we aren't looking to find a team who can win the first game against the Banditos, but rather just a team who can simply score a run with J.D. Tyler pitching.

In between games, I decided to run home.   My first camera battery was dead and I drank all of my first water bottle so I figured I'd fill that bottle back up and throw it in the refrigerator and get one of my two camera batteries charging.   This would pay off well later on in the night for me.   My car said it was 103 and I don't like to think about that.  I got back to Maloney in time to see the umpires coming out of their cars so I knew the second game hadn't started yet.

The second game was a good old fashioned pitching duel with the Bnaditos scoring one run early on in the 1st, though later on one of the Black Sox would say the score was 0-0 and that confused me.   One of my personal favorite things to see in baseball- one of those little joys- is when a batter has three balls then thinks the next pitch is a ball so they throw their bat, ready to trot to first, as the umpire yells for a strike.    In this game, I saw what might have topped that little joy as the Black Sox starting pitcher got a strikeout and then tried to leave the mound before everyone informing him that was only the second out.

Justin Kolesar was the starting pitcher for the Banditos and he went all the way until the 6th without allowing a run.    At this point, the Banditos had scored one run in the fifth and two in the sixth, so it seemed like the game over at 4-0 but the Black Sox put up four runs in the bottom of the 6th, tying the game, before J.D. Tyler came in with bases loaded to close out the inning.   There was a strong chance there that we thought the Black Sox would get that go ahead run, as my dad and uncle were both here for this part of the game.

I don't usually like to call out plays (or perhaps that's all I do) but in the 3rd inning there was a ball which Franciso Asencio hit off of his foot and the umpire called it a fair ball.   I don't know how many times I've seen someone get a piece of it like that then have it go off their foot but this was the first time I've ever seen it be put into play and that was definitely odd.   But it seems like if we learned anything from last week though it's that scoring against the Banditos just makes them score more, as they put up their own four runs in the top of the 7th.   Imagine if this wasn't an away game and they could have just walked it off.   But J.D. Tyler came in to finish the seventh with two fly outs and a K to end the game 8-4. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Baseball Review //
Record-Journal Expos 1, People's United Bank 3 [7/16/20 @ Wethersfield High School, Wethersfield, CT ] //

Additional photos can be found here :::

As someone who had never been to Wethersfield High School before this, I have to say that their baseball field is one of the worst places I've ever seen baseball played- and I've seen baseball played in many places.    For starters, the whole first base side is cut off by the giant, fancy dugout which the home team gets (Why make room for fans when you can have luxury) and that is also on a small hill which goes down into a football/soccer field where many foul balls were hit.  Imagine being on that field- there is no amount of heads up which could properly prepare you.   Even though we arrived somewhat close to game time (five or ten minutes before) we had our choice of seats and just felt like none of them were good.

Sitting on the third base side really restricts your view of third base.   We ended up a little bit behind homeplate, as directly behind homeplate and on the hill was obstructed by some trees.   We couldn't really see third base or left field, but we could see most everything else.  It makes me wonder what the Wethersfield baseball team is like and why they don't want people watching their games.  I said (at least once) if I was playing baseball at Wethersfield High School, I'd move.   Coming into the field we also saw the tennis courts which are at least twice as big as those at Maloney High School, and yet the Maloney High School baseball field is infinitely better.

Last season was when I first really got into the GHTBL.   Things were different then because, well, the way the world is now is different as well, but my dad was still working and now he's retired so he's more open to going places with me.  Last season I saw the Expos mostly only at home, at Ceppa Field.  This season I'm trying to see all of the Expos games that I can, whether they be at home or on the road.   Hopefully, this is the worst field we end up watching baseball at this summer.   I didn't even know if my dad would go with me- I thought it might just be Quentin and I- but not only did he go but my uncle came along as well.

It was nice out- a cool night where the breeze came when the sun went down and people put on sweaters.   There were quite a few people at this game as well.  The hill along third baseline where most people set up their own chairs was quite crowded.   It was a strong mix of fans for the Expos and fans for the home team.   And the game itself was really quite good, despite the Expos losing.    3-1 is not a terrible score because it's not a complete blowout.   The Expos had chances to come back and tie and even win the game, which made it exciting up until the last out.   People's just somehow had a better team and put together more hits, as I feel the pitching was evenly matched.

To his credit, this was my first time seeing Jason Sullivan pitching and holding People's to only three runs is quite impressive.   He had some solid strikeouts and looked like he was in regular rotation last season.   If I had never seen the Expos before, I would have just assumed he was one of their normal starting pitchers.    He pitched through the whole game and I think this experience for him, even though it was a loss, will just make him more dangerous as a pitcher going forward.  The two runs- which was the difference maker in the game- came up in the second inning.   In the third was when People's added on one more run.   That's still four scoreless innings he pitched, getting more confident as the game went on.

The Expos just couldn't seem to find the offense.   They had bases loaded with no outs and it looked like trouble, but People's got out of it.   A double by Mike Gulino in the third brought home the only Expos run.   Was it an off night?  Was it really the pitching of People's?  Was it that the home plate umpire kept calling balls as strikes?   We may never know.  My favorite part of the game, perhaps, was that a group of People's fans were seated behind homeplate, not far from us.  At one point there was this pitch which they felt was a strike and the umpire called it a ball.  One of them said "Okay, we'll give you that one for free" or something, as if the umpire hadn't called numerous shit pitches as strikes.

People's United Bank were without a win going into this game and the Record-Journal Expos were without a loss.  I've had this theory, when watching the MLB, that sometimes the hardest teams to defeat are those which are the opposite in rankings.   When the Mets had a winning record and would even be in first place in their division, they would easily beat the teams that were also on top with winning records and then lose to the teams at the bottom of the division, with the record which is not above .500.   It's such a strange theory, but it works if you've ever really thought about it and watched enough baseball I suppose.

So like last season, the Expos take their first loss to People's on the road.   This was the point when the Expos went on a twenty game winning streak last season, but we'll have to see how this week plays out for them as they're playing the Vernon Orioles twice and their records are currently the same, so those should be great games.    Let us all also take a moment to reflect on the fact that the South WIndsor Phillies are now in first place, still undefeated at 2-0, as this might be the only time we can say that this season.

Music Review //
"Hair BIrth"
(American Dreams) //

In a dark place, a static is born.  It comes through cut up into pieces.   There is a computer glitch way about these sounds, but it has more of a song feel to it than when I've heard sounds such as this before and they appear as fragments.   Through beeps as you might hear in space, this has a definite minimal sound to it while at the same time bringing about enough distorted static to make it feel complex.   How does something- let alone sound- feel so complex and minimal at the same time, I am not sure.    We ring like sonar now, through both speakers.  It is important to listen to this one both through speakers and then again through headphones for optimal experience.   You need to listen to this one closely.

As the first song bleeds into the second, for the first time I'm thinking this has an industrial sound.   It's just dropped off now into loud crashes, bangs and clanks.   That ultrasonic laser just blasting right through as we then dive deeper into bass synth which makes it feel like we're going for a drive in "Pole Position".    This grows to where it feels like if you're listening to it at night, in the dark, it might become scary for you, as it has shifted to that of a horror movie score now.  Laser blasts are fired and I'm wondering what it would be like if your typical horror movie villain (a Freddy, Jason or Mike Myers) was somehow on a spaceship killing the crew.  Why have they never sent Leatherface into space? (Though "Alien" and "The Thing" are both great)

The distortion comes through now in an alarming way and it feels like we have gone out one of those doors which says it is an emergency exit only.    The sound floats and hums.    As urgent as this sounds, if I go back to my earlier idea of putting a horror villain into space this would be the part of the film where the entire crew of the ship is being torn to pieces and it's not pretty for them (it's fun for me though- I feel a lot of people only watch horror movies to see the creative ways in which people get hurt)

"Classical Mechanics" begins with this drone that's ringing and in the background of it you can hear this motion like "JAWS" coming through the water.   It then fades down into a minimal drone and it just sets the tone for a bit of suspense.   This is one of those songs where if I'm listening to it and someone taps me on the shoulder or if I'm driving and a rock hits my car I freak out and think it's all over for me.

As we get into the "Funhouse Mirror Stage" there are some lighter sides, which make me  feel like we're on a surface somewhere, and then they switch up to where it feels like we're being pulled underground.   Whirrs come in and swirl us all around.   Through this cloud of distortion tiny pings come through which sound like they're singing "ow" over and over again.   This one just grows bigger and bigger to where it feels like it's going to boil over.   Quiet now, but for a little rattling.  A few large steps and that sound like dragging chains to end out the song.

"Bolete" is a song with some high octane synth coming through on different frequencies.   Back and forth, up and down, this one just whirrs all over the place but seems to keep steady like a march.   It feels as if we're just floating into space, but in that way like we would be lost at sea, so I suppose lost in space but that makes me think of the show.   You know how whenever you see people in movies go outside of the spaceship they always tie themselves to the ship somehow?  I imagine someone being tied to the ship, then breaking away from it and just floating away forever like a balloon into nothingness.

An electronic rattle has us boiling over as we get into some heavily distorted glitch on "Lissajous".   Little tings and electronic insects come through in blips and then waves.  It begins to sound like an alarm again and there is also this feeling of a modem trying to connect.    As we become an electronic symphony, I try and imagine what kind of rock music this might sound like with guitars and drums in places of distortion and screeches.   It's already somewhat on the cusp of industrial, but at times it can be as slow and brooding as it is violent and in your face at others.   The sound drops down to almost nothing once again, as those little computer tones bounce across the screen.

This builds into a barrage and it feels like a hail storm.    Quieter now, the synths slice through and rip apart distortion.   This track ends the way one would imagine a most violent game of ping pong ending in a virtual space.    "Fever Pitch" is the final song and it begins with a slow enging start and then shoots off into outerspace.    This blasts through space and there are some electronics in here to make the sound of the engine feel a little less lonely.   It twists through, squeaking and turning, the laser behind always there, ready to take out anyone who might get in its way.

Quietly, the engine drives; steady.   Sharper, the frequencies change and come through a bit quicker.   Distorted synth comes through louder than it all now, a feeling of some old video game being manipulated and slowed down.   Something feels as if it is certainly being fried.   We fall off into louder, more abrasive synths now, which pave the way for more sounds to come in even sharper.  This is the contrast between dark and light, loud and quiet, though always maintaining some sense of sound it also always maintains some aspect of light.

Cassette Review //
Hito De Piedra / extant.
(Crass Lips Records)

$6 // //

Frequencies begin this cassette, as if we're searching for aliens, but then it just really opens up with these long synth waves.   The way this just collapses and expands makes me feel like we're on a journey which can explode at any time.  This track does end with a huge distorted explosion, which no matter how many times I listen to it I never quite hear it coming because what leads up to it always puts my mind at such ease.

This takes us into some pretty smooth guitar riffs.   It's a bit on the side of blues.   A louder sound now, like an engine and it carries on in a way which makes it feel like we are moving but not very fast.   Laser whirrs come into the song now.  It rings a little bit like a horror film but stays steady within that notion of taking us on a journey, a slow speed chase.   What sounds like a car horn is followed by some wild guitar riffs added into this all. 

Wavy now, it feels like we're lost at sea.   Like blasts from a laser gun which come out in ever-growing circles, there is a stomping now, a grinding within these electronics and it is rather easy to feel yourself getting hypnotized.    Shots hit like a distorted game of ping pong.   Slower, softer guitar notes come in now as that electrified back and forth continues over it.    Somehow, this turns into a folk song of sorts as the electric shocks seem to appear less.   A voice appears now, in an audio clip I suppose (perhaps a voicemail) but it is in a language I do not speak. (I'm guessing Spanish)

It sounds like footsteps but somehow turns into that sound of plugging a guitar into an amp, as a guitar note just flows through everything.  The voice returns.   There is some cutting in and out and then the distortion feels like it's glitching as the guitar notes behind it spell certain doom.   This just somehow grew and shifted into this Old West sound where it feels like it's getting close to sundown, which means it time's for that showdown and you know this is only going to end in one way.

On the flip side we open up with a bit of percussion.   Cymbals are shaken while bells are rattled.   There's a trill and then bells are dinged while snares are hit-- it's a lot of sounds to be made as I just imagine someone sitting at a drumkit making them.   The cymbals grow to be dreamy while the hits come in slower.   A steady rhythm now and this one just jams.   The sounds of ping pong balls bouncing off of tables now takes me back to my youth in my grandparents' basement.  I find it odd my grandparents had a finished basement complete with bar and always let us kids play down there by ourselves.

The drumming falls like rain and then slows to a minimal pace now where it barely scrapes by.  The feeling of a cash register now.   A stampede, as the pace picks up like horses galloping.   Drum rolls make this feel like a march.   A wild and steady rhythm now, as if we are in the jungle.   The drums roll now and then stop.  Something scatters.    There is some shuffling now and this one takes on a sound of glass and it just flows with it.   It puts me in a trance really, as it feels like we've left the world of percussion and just formed some new sound in space.