Thursday, May 13, 2021

Music Review //
Electric Treatment Free
"Electric Treatment Free [EP]"

 




When this EP begins there is this sound which makes me feel like someone is singing "na na na na" but it's actually the music singing.   This turns into the sound of a xylophone trill and it goes on this loop which feels magical at times and at other times I'm reminded of the song "Blister In The Sun".    The tones continue though as if being played on a piano but in that clanky sense like when you hit the keys and they just make that ivory hitting wood sound rather than the actual music notes.   This crosses over into a theme like "Knight Rider" as the pace quickens.  Blissed out notes open behind the song now and as much as this can feel like electronics it also feels acoustic and one with nature.

An audio clip comes in saying "This is the greatest moment of my life" to open "andrei's bright day".    There is some soothing waves of air coming through with the audio clip on a loop and then when it stops there is just this loud, primal, human scream.   This turns into pianos which remind me of Charlie Brown and they are being played somewhat like a song, somewhat like a freestyle.  In some ways you feel like he's just randomly striking the keys on a piano, but at the same time if you were to try to do that yourself it wouldn't have the same sound so you know it's all deliberate and part of the song.

A phone rings as if we are calling someone on "the brother of sleep".   A generic answering voice mail thing comes on and then an audio clip starts about feeling well and bathing every day.  There is some static in here which makes it sound like it's raining and then this carousel like tone pattern repeats as well.  This whole audio clip being read as a letter makes me think it's someone from camp but it sounds more like an adult than a child.  We switch over to an audio clip about a third person walking with us, hooded, and I kind of have to feel that is a reference to death.  The way this seems to go from youth (summer camp) to old age (death following us around) is really quite brilliant.

On the fourth song we hear- perhaps for the first time- a guitar which has notes and chords being strummed.  This song is actually called "maths (conlon guitars)" and in some way it does remind me of what is considered to be math rock, but it also can have some folk punk and post rock vibes in it just as well.  It's just a nice, somewhat acoustic, fast paced song showcasing what a guitar can do.   The notes can climb up higher while the chords tend to go down lower into the bass.  

The final song- "fort smith"- begins with some isolated jazz pianos.   The speed at which the notes are played can make this one feel urgent, somewhat suspenseful, but then it is just as quick to drop off into silence.   This song takes a moment to breathe and then comes back as distorted rock, almost closer to metal than anything else.  The way this distorted guitar just cuts through, then an audio clip comes through like cops talking on their walkies.   We turn into this blissed out sort of tone set which makes me feel like we're more connected with the other songs and I think that while the songs on this EP can be different (even just within the song itself) little things like these pleasant tones can bring the whole EP together.  


Music Review //
Barista
"Open Sesame Vol 1: Her Dress"
(Monoplay Records)

https://open.spotify.com/album/6ropH2B4Hr5vwcuZFbMFJ4


There are some things in life which always seem to be true and you just can't explain why.  For me, confusing the word "Barista" with the pro wrestler turned actor "Batista" is always going to be one of those.  I have to sort of retrain my brain to realize that this is not an album by the former professional wrestler.  But it is definitely interesting to me that someone would name their musical project Barista because of what that term means and how that could sort of tie in with the music.  Is this the type of CD you'd find for sale at Starbucks?  That just seems like the easiest possible tie-in to me: buying a Barista CD from a Barista.

When this first starts off I think about the band Dishwalla and how much I loved them when they were first hitting the scene.   Not enough bands take that approach to music that Dishwalla did and I wonder why, but hearing it here, in Barista, just makes me happy.  With a little bit of a country twang this just goes on to have that rock sound to it which is kind of that blue collar/Americana feel but also on that rock which is on the radio side as well.  It's working class rock n roll, if you will, along the lines of such great names as John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen.  It's just that type of rock like "Summer of '69" where you can just put it on and sing along with all of the words.

"Disco Sun" has a bit more of a groove to it, like a little Santana boogie, and then there is just killer guitar work on "In a Dream" which asks the question "Was it all a dream?"  On "Watching the End Being, Part 1 (Coffee Song)" we get into some metal like Fozzy and there is a line "Pour another cup of coffee" which just seems to go along with the theme of the song and even band name.   I feel like if you named your band Barista and we didn't get at least one coffee reference it would be disappointing.   "Walk in My Shoes" begins with dark acoustics and piano.  It becomes dreamy and chill while we make our way to the end with "Be Mine" which has slight country hints and reminds me of The Wallflowers.

The idea behind this "Open Sesame" album though is that it's so vast that it was actually put into five different volumes, this being the first.   While this does stand well on its own- and you could pull songs out as singles on the radio- I'm really curious to hear now how the mood switches it up between each of the other songs on the rest of the volumes.   There is also that idea of one day being able to just sit down and listen to all five volumes in a row and feeling that effect.  But Barista has started something here which is mostly within different aspects of rock music and I'd like to see where it takes us next.  


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Live Pro Wrestling Review //
Blitzkrieg! Pro
Scratch The Surface
5/7/21
@ Old Country Banquet Hall,
Enfield, CT



 

Since the pandemic hit, things haven't been the same to say the least.  As I thought about it on the ride home after this show, this was the first time since pre-pandemic that not only had Quentin been out this late but also that I had been out this late.  It's somewhere between the combination of him being back in school and there just not being a lot open up to do yet, but really Quentin was up (and out) past his bed time and I can't remember the last time that happened.   It's been a while.

Blitzkrieg! Pro is such a fun promotion because I feel like I spend so much of my time with wrestling *not* in Connecticut that it's nice to have a promotion which feels like its home is here.  Connecticut is just kind of this weird little state between MA and NY, where we could go to either of those states and such to do things so sometimes I feel like the mentality in CT is "why bother".  And in fairness, even this show in Enfield was really close to the MA border, just to show how CT is.  But I like having a CT promotion that I enjoy seeing.  I think CT needs wrestling and Blitzkrieg! Pro gives that to the fans.

For perhaps the first time ever, when Quentin and I got to this show about 6:40 with doors at 6:30 the doors were actually open.   This show did stream live on Twitch so I feel like part of that helped it to move along on time, but it was just odd to think that I could show up and walk into a show when I've been so used to waiting in line (even going back to my ECW days)  Once we got in it was "sit anywhere but the front row" so Quentin and I grabbed two seats near the merch area because I saw a few other spots but felt this was the best with two seats together.

One of the downfalls to where we sat was people walking behind us, but at one point a car full of wrestlers lead by Brian Myers (and featuring CPA) came through behind us in somewhat of a hurry and that was cool.   Perhaps my most sought after piece of merchandise for this show was just this fantastic poster that comic book artist Jack Purcell created specifically for the main event match.   As soon as I saw the poster I knew I needed to have it.   I will forever be such a huge fan of doing things like this: creating items that you can keep forever which remind you of specific events.   We bought the poster from Jack Purcell and he signed it but then it was time for the show to start!

The first half of this show was wild.   It's up as I type this right now still on the Go Pro Twitch site and I hope it stays there forever so everyone can witness what we did on this night.  [After the fact addendum: This show is now on IWTV for your viewing pleasure!]   The show opened with Smart Mark Sterling, who in Blitzkrieg! Pro is a good guy, and if I'm being truly observational here I believe everyone got a lot of cheers because fans were just so happy to be back and so happy to see everyone again.   It was the most cheering I've ever heard for each wrestler who appeared as they entered, even though during the match the crowd did turn on them at times because, well, heels are still heels.

So much about the first half was storytelling- picking up right where we left off.  We saw the return of the Top Dogs and they took on Becca and Love, Doug.  I've seen Love, Doug on Camp Leapfrog before but his name still confuses me.   It's like he wants people to love him, but then he should just be "Love Doug".  But the way it's written makes it feel like the end of a card, like "Happy Birthday, Grandma!  Love, Doug"  So I don't quite understand it, but it does stand out and it's fun arguing with him about it on Twitter.  There were also so many flowers destroyed in this match.  

One story that I've really enjoyed during Blitzkrieg! Pro is the desire by Kirby Wackerman to become part of the Shook Crew.  Bryce Donovan reluctantly comes out with him and makes it so that we specifically know Kirby is not a part of the Shook Crew.   It's crazy how when Bryce first came out people cheered, but then when Kirby came out it just felt like the place exploded.   During the Bryce Donovan match against Rip Byson, Kirby felt conflicted as to whether or not he should help Bryce cheat and eventually he sort of unintentionally helped Bryce get the win.  This is long term storytelling, people, and it's really not something you come by as often in wrestling these days but Kirby Wackerman is proof that it works.

I feel like everyone was fired up.  I feel like the House of Pierogis just had this intensity that you couldn't describe because it was full of wrestling fans just glad to be back.  Before intermission, the last match was a fatal fourway doors match for the Bedlam Championship. Jeff Cannonball was originally scheduled to be in this match but he couldn't make it.   So CPA, Jeremy Leary and Bobby Orlando (the champ) all come out, waiting for the mystery person.   When Slade came out, I swear all the fans collectively lost their shit.   Things just really kicked up to this next level- even though it was already crazy enough- where you just felt like Slade was there to kill someone and Slade would become champion.

The match went everywhere- including right next to us- and I saw Jeremy Leary take an empty chair and then kick another fan out of his chair to use them to prop up a table.  As anyone knows though, for the most part when the action comes our way, even though we know better, Quentin and I don't really move.   This match came down to Bobby and Slade and it took Bryce Donovan to help Bobby keep the title but I really hope one day we get to see Slade go for the title (or at least vs Bobby) in a way which others cannot interfere.   Either a cage match or just have the Shook Crew in one of those little shark cages.  

During intermission we went to get the Jack Purcell poster signed by both Max Caster and then Brian Myers.  I got to chat with Brian Myers briefly about the Mets so I felt good about that- because it's always nice to talk a little baseball.  Quentin got to also hold Bobby Jr briefly which was likely one of his highlights of the show.  We then found Becca who has a cassette tattoo so we took a photo and I also bought a scrunchie from her which means Quentin and I are now in the Scrunchie Squad.  (Full disclosure: Quentin had the scrunchie on his wrist still when he went to sleep)

Following intermission there was the mother of all scrambles to determine a new number one contender for the Bedlam Championship.  I felt like I didn't know anyone's music, but it was fun seeing Max Zero, Little Mean Kathleen, King Crab and even Devantes in this match.   To further the storytelling, Kirby Wackerman picked up the win here and then Bobby Orlando came out and told Kirby that if he wanted to join Shook Crew all he had to do for their match was lay down.  This is interesting because Kirby might get another title shot one day, but he might not get another shot at joining Shook Crew so what will he choose?

Travis Huckabee and Alec Price put on this hard hitting classic that made me feel like I was getting hurt because of how intense it was.  It was great seeing the Apostles of Chaos again but The CDC had to cheat to win.  I distinctly remember telling Evil Kip after the show that he cheated so his win doesn't count and I don't know why antagonizing heels is so fun to me sometimes but it really is.  

In the main event we saw three of the best at what they do go at it and, well, this was the poster.   We had Brian Myers (currently in Impact) vs. Max Caster (currently in AEW) vs. VSK (currently in Impact and AEW!)  They fought over near us, destroying a table of toys and Brian Myers got flattened while sitting in a chair right in front of Quentin.  The action came our way, but we did not really move.   This match though was rather technical and it was always on the verge of someone winning but then that third man breaking it up.  In ring, yes, this was about as solid as they come.  What this means in the broader landscape of professional wrestling is just crazy to think about- where these three guys have been and where they're going.

After the show I told Bobby Orlando he had to take home that giant Bobby Orlando sign (I think he did) and then we found VSK with a little help from Jeremy Leary and we got all three signatures on our poster.   If I keep this up, I'm going to have more posters than wall space but that's a good problem to have.  This was just such a fun night but also so special when you think of everything happening around it.   And there really is no other crowd quite like the B!P Faithful.  I love being a part of it.


Music Review //
Nancy Wenstrom
"Alabama Song"
(WCM Records)

https://open.spotify.com/album/6IhXg2Hy00dcHJ7mZAoUEm?highlight=spotify:track:2AFZFWvbKBVUolcynMcbEI#_=_


The first thing I think when I see a first name and last name with the song title "Alabama Song" is that this is going to be country.  And it's not wrong to call this a country song as it has those slow feelings like Willie Nelson or Dolly Parton- just when I think of country music (but country music which I also like) my mind goes to this type of sound.  It's mostly a slow song filled with guitar and vocals and I do feel like it's the type of song you'd hear in "King Of The Hill" which just makes it feel more country somehow.

But the more I listen to the song I wonder what it is that makes it country.  Is it because it is about Alabama?  I feel like the way the guitar is played could be somewhat like the blues or even a rock n roll ballad.   If this was about a different state- not Alabama- then perhaps it could be experienced along the same lines as B.B. King, for example.  It's just that old slide guitar and the way the vocals hit which make me feel the country in this, but at the same time it is rather close to just taking that turn into rock or blues with one simple push in the other direction.

Lyrically this song isn't about Alabama in the sense of it being like an anthem but more in a personal way to the artist- their experience with the state.  I don't think I've ever been to Alabama and I wonder what it might sound like if someone was to create a "Connecticut Song" (and then I make myself sad)  I've spent my life living in two different states within the U.S. though so I think I kind of take for granted that other people who have lived more places can relate memories to certain states.  Most of my memories just go back to CT because it's where I've lived the longest.  

With lines like: "I'll always keep these sweet memories safely stored in the heart of my song" you can't help but relate with this one.   It's just that pure, raw emotion that we all feel.   We've all been through things, we've all had life events and so I think to that extent you can see something which happened to you the same way that Nancy Wenstrom sees Alabama.   This is really a song of the people in that I feel like everyone can share an aspect of it lyrically but also we should all be able to come together on this specific sound musically.  


Monday, May 10, 2021

Music Review //
Aman Jagwani
"Now (feat Anubha Kaul)"


https://open.spotify.com/album/3oDPTd9IzJ3PnNCeoGclRE?highlight=spotify:track:0mHYvqarZ589XgD64xAJ9t


While this song is composed by Aman Jagwani, it can sound more like a group effort- like that of a band perhaps- than it does of just a solo artist.   Aman Jagwani is responsible for the creation of the song in the sense of composing, arranging and even the lyrics, but then also the drums and synth bass as far as what you're actually hearing.  Anubha Kaul is responsible for the vocals- with help from Ron Cha- and then Jonathan Huber has the synth/keys while Pritesh Walia comes in on guitar.  In many ways, this looks like a group of established musicians getting together to kind of freestyle and that isn't that far from the truth either as this does have that all-star sound about it.

As this song starts you can hear synth.  I feel like that means we're going to go into this genre of electronic dance, which for some time we kind of do.   As the song goes on though, it takes us across nearly seven minutes of music and so to think that this is just a direct electronic song the whole time would be incorrect.   At times, this one just breaks down and feels like it's going into jazz in the way that you sometimes hear free jazz.  I know that this one was all composed in advance but it could be the result as well of talented musicians just getting together and doing their thing.

If you follow the world of music through an improvisational sense you'll see often times a lot of the same names but they tend to come up as just a group of names creating a sound rather than the collective having one name.   This song really reminds me of something like that and in that way it can bring to mind almost right away an artist such as Amirtha Kidambi, who is just so great and part of just such great things.  But there is also this pop concept on the surface of this music which reminds me a bit more of someone like Nelly Furtado.  So if you can find the space between them then that is perhaps where this song is.

Being nearly seven minutes in length makes this song feel more like a mini-album than what you might hear on the radio.   I like the idea that- in my mind- Aman Jagwani had this idea and knew which parts to create and which parts to ask others to create to form this whole experience.   Throughout, you won't find yourself bored though because this is a musical journey through style and sound.  When you think you've figured it out, they switch it up and show off a different layer.  Perhaps for only the true music enthusiasts and not the masses, this song is among my most played now because of the variations.  


Music Review //
Getters
"Paint Thinner"


The sound of Getters always makes me feel like I'm going to hear one of their songs on the radio any day now.   Between artists like Neon Trees and AJR, I just feel like it's this rock sound with elements of pop that can have crossover into the mainstream.   It doesn't sound exactly like any artist currently on the radio but is close enough that this sound belongs among them.  So, I'm more surprised with each passing day that I don't hear Getters on the radio than I think I would be by actually hearing a song such as "Paint Thinner" come on.

Throughout the video for "Paint Thinner", Getters are riding around on bikes and there are some moments where the images are distorted but otherwise it feels pretty straight forward.  Getters also happens to be riding around Houston- where I lived once upon a time- and so it's nice to see that and be reminded of it.   What I love about Houston is that most people think of Texas as being cowboys and that sort of vibe, but then you can think of somewhere like Austin as being not as much of that.  Houston, though, has that cowboy vibe (like San Antonio or Dallas) but also that non-cowboy vibe (like Austin) and sometimes they even just happen to be on the same block.

As a visual I really enjoy this and feel like it makes me think a lot more about Houston and the music scene there.  People might think of Texas as being country music, but Houston has a strong hip hop scene as well.  But then, at the same time, Getters is neither really country nor hip hop and so it just goes to show you that great music from all genres will come out of Houston.  Also, it's really humid so I'm not sure I could ever ride a bike around Houston without sweating a lot more than Getters did in this video.

With the chorus of: "If you really wanna make it come on and make it with me / If you really wanna take it come on and take it from me" this song can be left to your own interpretation.  To me, I just think of it as being chill.   As a kid (pre-driving age) I spent a lot of time riding my bike around Connecticut, and so in that way I'm just reminded of those simpler times when I was younger, more relaxed.  This also makes "Paint Thinner" feel like a song for the summer- for warm weather and bright sun- but I feel like that can be true of a lot of the sound of Getters.  I feel like Getters need to be celebrated with an entire party.  


Saturday, May 8, 2021

Music Review //
Gerald Ahern
"Wrong"

 



As soon as I hear the song "Wrong" my mind begins to think of various rock influenced by pop artists I have heard throughout my life.  Is there an easy choice to pick of which one Gerald Ahern sounds like?  No.  At times, I can hear a bit of the older sound within here such as PM Dawn, who I still feel like needs to be talked about more.   In a more modern sense, there was that Blue October song "Into The Ocean" and you can hear how this might be along those same lines.  But, overall, this song just seems to be creating its own ground through some which have already been made.

The lyrics with the song "Wrong" hit on two different levels.  As the title suggests, Gerald Ahern is admitting that he is wrong and that's something I think a lot of people don't always do and sometimes need to do.  For no real reason I think of that old man in the movie "Home Alone" who spent all that time not talking to his son.  At the same time, there is an aspect to this song which perhaps only I see where you stay in a relationship even though you know that you shouldn't-- you know that it's wrong.   I've been through that seemingly far too much in my life and so I do like that this song makes me feel like we can admit a situation is wrong and move on from it.

As far as music videos go, this one for "Wrong" accomplishes exactly what a music video for a song should.  It paints a clear picture of the song with scenes which reflect what is going on in the song, such as that telephone call, and then at the same time there are parts where Gerald Ahern is just singing in a live-like setting which is just what music is about.  I like music videos best, perhaps, when they go back and forth from singing the song to telling a story and that's exactly what I feel like Gerald Ahern is doing with "Wrong".

Listening to the radio right now, I feel like Gerald Ahern could fit right in with both the rock and pop stations because there are songs out there which sound like him- and artists as well- but they don't exactly like him.  I always go back to a song like "Bang" by AJR and feel like "Wrong" could have that same sort of hear it on any station vibe because it's such a unique sound.  It's not quite full on rock and it's not quite full on pop, but when you hear it, you'll know it and it can go just about anywhere it wants to go.  

Music Review //
T Cole
"Sipping Not Tripping"


The first thing I feel I need to get out of the way about the song "Sipping Not Tripping" by T Cole is that when you search for it on Google a lot of results come up for J Cole and a song called "Powertrip".  I firmly believe that in music- in the year 2021- your online presence is important and no matter how good your song is, if people can't find it then all else doesn't matter.   So I managed to find a video by searching through YouTube, which is how I suggest you listen to this song, but T Cole also has a Spotify account and Facebook page, though the Facebook page wants you to "add friend" so to have an actual page that someone can "like" is also important, I feel, as an artist in this digital age.

While the overall style of "Sipping Not Tripping" can be heard as R&B- a Destiny's Child type of feeling, if you will- there are some faster lyrics in the chorus.  There is a sound to this song which just doesn't get played enough and I feel like it needs to be out there more.  It's not quite the same as when you think of hearing R&B on the radio and the singer just belting it out, but it's also not the same as a straight up rap song either.   The way it is in between like Mýa or Aaliyah, even a bit of TLC, it just makes me happy because I'm thinking of a lot of artists from the past when there isn't so much of this style in the present.

Lyrically, I do enjoy this song because the mentality of it is one we should all share.  There is that old saying about how depression if focusing on the past while anxiety comes from worrying about the future.  Rather than thinking about what was or what could be- in the sense of this song, tripping- you should just live in the now and focus on what it is that you can do- in the case of this song, sipping.  It doesn't even have to be about actually sipping in the sense of drinking but just whatever it is that makes you happy and that you can control.  Maybe a baseball game gets rained out- you can't control the weather so go watch a movie you like inside.  Something as simple as that.

While I am just delighted to listen to this song and put it on whenever I feel like life might be getting me down, I must admit once again that the downfall of it is simply the availability.   If I'm specifically searching Google for you and your song, the first at least five results should point to you and not someone else.   It's hard enough being an artist in a world with just an overwhelming amount of music when people can find you.   Not having it be ridiculously easy for people to find your music just hinders you even more.  And I only say all this- I don't want to come as being harsh- because I think that people do need to hear this song and will enjoy it when they do.  The only thing holding this song back is being able to find it.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Music Review //
She's Excited!
"Shock Therapy"

https://open.spotify.com/album/6BUAmpKPFmu3k751sqpqoC?si=r9k4fTp5TFGkuXiq7Rqizw&nd=1


What I love about music is how I can feel this connection with it, sometimes to the point where I feel like there is a glitch in the simulation.   Recently, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about sleeping.   I feel like I'm tired all the time, but at the same time, I feel like I'm living my best life because I'm tired all the time.  Basically, if I was well rested and didn't feel tired I feel like I wouldn't be doing the things which I am doing and enjoying life.    This comes into light with the first song on this EP- "Add Clarity"- in which She's Excited! sings: "If I refuse to sleep / Who's gonna live my dreams?"

To add to this idea of life over sleep, these songs have a certain pace to them that feels like an all-nighter.   The sound of She's Excited! is like drinking Red Bull until you can just no longer go any more and then sleeping the whole next day, but hey, that time awake was well worth it.   There are beats, there are rhythms and it just strikes a chord when the vocals are belted out.  Somewhere between Lady Gaga and Madonna, Ladytron and Does It Offend You, Yeah?, She's Excited! is holding down the dance scene in a way which I truly feel like no one else is right now, which even in a pandemic should be celebrated.

This EP feels like what I would consider to be a maxi-single in the 1990's when you'd get a CD with a particular song or two on it and then some different versions of that song.  This would be past the days of cassettes though because I don't know how to split this evenly over two sides- as you'd think of the first two songs as the first side and the last three as Side B, which doesn't seem to make sense for a compact disc but if you were alive during the time you'd understand.   Along with "Add Clarity" there is a song called "Whole", which is also great and these two songs themselves should just be blasting out of your speakers at all hours of the night.

The first remix is from Cameron Gary and it is for "Whole".  I've listened to it maybe five times now and there aren't really lyrics in it and I just don't really feel how it's connected to the song "Whole".   It's a fun instrumental number that has a lot of beats but it doesn't feel like a remix as much as an entirely different interpretation.   On the other hand, the Trovarsi Live Modular Remix of "Add Clarity" is more like a traditional remix, giving this already energetic sound some more energy like something out of "Resident Evil".   The EP comes to a close with a Primitive Heart remix of "Add Clarity" which is kind of like the original but kind of not like the song- so somewhere in between tracks 3 and 4.

With a rock-like drive this can remind me of PJ Harvey at times or someone along those lines who created music in that time that was overlooked.   Your mission within these songs is to just put them on and keep going into the wheels fall off.   With an infectious energy, these songs could and should be all over the radio right now, filling the ears of the masses and causing a worldwide dance party.  If you're not on board and want to sit this one out that's fine but you're really better off just getting up and moving.  


Cassette Review //
Oh-OK
"The Complete Reissue"
(Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records)



$7 //

https://www.hhbtm.com/product/oh-ok-the-complete-reissue/


Oh-OK is a band that I wish I knew about a lot earlier in life.   They were formed a year after I was born so I've literally had almost my whole life to hear of them and then be this like twenty something year long fan of theirs.   And I feel like I've always been seeking out bands who sound like Oh-OK because when listening to modern music I don't have as many comparisons to link them back with and being able to type "I hear the Oh-OK influence" would have been super helpful.

To think of Oh-OK as being a band from either the 1980's or 1990's- depending upon how old you are- would just make me feel like they sounded a certain way, which they don't.  They have a connection with R.E.M. but also Matthew Sweet played guitar for them at one point as well.  I think, in this way, they kind of fit in with that era of rock music that wasn't quite grunge but came after the big hair metal.   At the same time though, I don't think Oh-OK sounds like a band such as R.E.M. or even grunge.   

With strong bass lines, Oh-OK can remind me of Puffy AmiYumi at times.  There are some strong punk qualities here, just jumping around and having fun while playing your heart out.   The songs can be dreamy but they can also be loud.   If you told me this was a cassette made in 2021 or so and influenced by The Slits and Sleater-Kinney I'd easily agree with you because that's what it sounds like.   And maybe that's why I didn't hear of Oh-OK during their time- because in many ways they feel like a band not from their own time.

This cassette is exactly what the title suggests: it is all of the songs of Oh-OK collected for you in one place.   It's interesting to me that Oh-OK is probably going to be one of the bands going forward who I hear most in modern music but also those who I will say sound like them might have never even heard of Oh-OK.   Perhaps Oh-OK is from the future.  I'm not sure.  But all of these songs are on one cassette so you owe it to yourself and to music to really become familiar with this one.  




















Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Mission Pro Wrestling
Locked N Loaded
(Title Match Network)


https://titlematchnetwork.com/

https://www.missionprowrestling.net/


This was not only my first time seeing Mission Pro Wrestling but it was also my first time watching anything on Title Match Network.   I will say, first off, that someone at Title Match Network needs to work on their "run time" of events.  Prior to streaming this one it says it is approximately two hours but it comes up at two hours and forty four minutes- so really closer to three hours.   I just only really have IWTV as my other wrestling streaming site and they don't tell me how long an event is before I click play and so I don't know if it's worse to have no info or the wrong info.

I actually meant to check out the Mission Pro Wrestling show prior to this one- "Empty Promises"- but then I got a little bit busy and ended up jumping on board here instead.  I will, however, go back and watch "Empty Promises" still because that's one of the benefits of Title Match Network: not only can you watch the new shows, you can go back and watch the past shows as well.   So I'm really excited about how much content is on Title Match Network and how much of it focuses on women's wrestling.  I wouldn't say that I'll be using Title Match Network just for Mission Pro Wrestling, but paying that $9.99/month for MPW is definitely worth it.  

What I like about "Locked N Loaded" is that it features women that I know, women I've only heard about and women that I've never heard of before.   This show also had that build where, if you can believe it or not, each match got better as the show went on.   Things started off with The WOAD defeating Alejandra The Lion.  I've heard of Alejandra The Lion before but I've never seen either of these women actually wrestle.  This was a fun match that made me a fan of both these ladies and I look forward to seeing more of both of them in the future.

The second match saw Dulce Tormenta defeat Jazmin Allure.  I've heard of Jazmin Allure before but I'm not sure I've seen her wrestle.  This was also my first time hearing about Dulce Tormenta but if you ask me to watch a woman wrestle in a mask like they (mostly) do in AAA then I'm all for it.   I will always have a soft spot for lucha libre and for luchadors, but especially for luchadoras.   Rache Chanel took on Leila Grey in the third match and I'm just now getting into the AEW YouTube shows but I think Rache Chanel has been on those.

To me, the first three matches were the opening type of matches that make you get hyped for the show but it's that slow uphill build, like a rollercoaster ride.  Now we're just at that top point and we're going to go down fast, hands up and screaming with excitement.   This was when the show really took off for me.   This was when I started recognizing the women and really got into the matches.  This started with a triple threat between Masha Slamovich (who I adore), Viva Van (who I don't know) and Vipress (who I've seen around, such as on CWFH, and enjoy)  Let's be fair.  Masha Slamovich won this match.  Masha had Viva Van defeated and Vipress just slithered in to steal the victory.  

The match I really was watching this show for- the reason why I'm going to pay Title Match Network $9.99/month now- is Holidead vs. Jennacide.   They compared this one to a zombie vs a cyborg and it wasn't far from the truth.   This was a Falls Count Anywhere match and these two women left it all out there, all the energy spent and left inside that ring.  At the end of the match I feel like Jennacide kind of won with a... I don't want to say quick count, but I just don't feel like Holidead was defeated.  And commentary said that they thought Holidead was surprised or something but she just seemed like she wasn't done yet.  

Jennacide and Holidead have fought each other before (I can track down that match and watch that show now) but this could be them leading to a third match.   I think since Holidead didn't quite seem defeated- she still seemed like she had some gas in the tank there- we should go for a Last Woman Standing Match, yeah?  That's something I think everyone would like to see.  

I've heard about Madi Wrenkowski and Tesha Price both from the AEW YouTube shows but this was my first time seeing them wrestle.  I actually liked Tesha Price and I hope to see more of her in wrestling in general.   Raychell Rose (who holds gold somewhere I believe) defeated Rok-C.  I know Rok-C because she comes from the school of Booker T, so I've seen her matches before but this was my first time seeing Raychell Rose wrestle and I was impressed.  This was a great match between these two and it was hard to follow Jennacide-Holidead, but they're doing it.

Part one of the main event saw Alex Gracia defeat Marti Belle.  I've only read about Alex Gracia, but to me, Marti Belle is a star.  As commentary pointed out (and commentary was just great throughout this whole show, I tip my cowboy hat to them) Marti Belle was in the first ever Mae Young Classic.  She's been in Impact Wrestling.  She's really got this name value that not many other wrestlers have.   But Marti Belle is a star because I was watching Hulu some time ago and I saw this commercial and Marti Belle was in it.   And I know that makes Marti Belle a star because when I saw it my first thought was "That's Marti Belle!" and not "Wow, that looks a lot like Marti Belle, I wonder if it is"

Being able to have that presence where I can see you outside of a wrestling setting and still recognize you like that is just one of the reasons why someone can be a star.  I like to call it "The Elvis Factor" because Elvis Presley was just so unreal in the way that he always looked Photoshopped into photos.   A lot of wrestlers within WWE and what not have that star power and Marti Belle has it as well.  Not sure why Marti Belle isn't tearing it up in WWE right now, but hey, their loss is Mission Pro's gain, right?

Prior to the main event match there was an in ring segment where David LeGreca came out and Thunder Rosa beat him up.  Look, I don't know the history here but I know that as a fan and as someone who is living with technology in the year 2021: there are too many damn podcasts.  I actually have the word "podcast" muted on Twitter.  So seeing a podcast guy get beat up by Thunder Rosa is something I will always cheer for.   Thunder Rosa is also out there having some of the best matches of her career in AEW, if you were wondering about her and how I watched NWA to see her- and Marti Belle- but without them I haven't really watched NWA as much.

The main event of this show saw La Rosa Negra defeat Red Velvet in an open challenge for the MPW Title.   Admittedly, I feel like I have to have seen a LA Rosa Negra match before now but I don't recall one.   I know Red Velvet has been tearing it up in AEW.   Seeing these two is some kind of dream match for someone and if you want to know why La Rosa Negra is the MPW Champion, well, this match would definitely show you why.

One thing I can understand about wrestling- as a fan- is that it can be overwhelming sometimes.   There is a lot of wrestling out there and a lot of wrestlers as well.  It can be difficult to get into something new.  I feel like a lot of wrestling is just this moving train and you're waiting for the right moment to jump on.   Is "Locked N Loaded" the best show to start your MPW experience?  For me it was.  I know it makes me want to go back and watch previous MPW shows but you're never going to be able to go back and start with one of those anyway, so why not dive in right now at the present.   

Aside from this show- and again I stand firm in my belief that paying $9.99/month for one MPW show is well worth it- there is a new show from Hurricane Pro Wrestling on here which I want to watch, Ladies Night Out is on here (and I've been meaning to check out that Wrestlemania weekend show they did) and then there's also this VIP Wrestling show with Lio Rush, ACH, JTG vs. Homicide, Chris Dickinson and so many others so I want to watch that as well.   So, really, for me if you can watch five shows a month you'll pay about two dollars per show and that justifies having Title Match Network.  But as I keep typing Title Match Network feels to me like it's Mission Pro Wrestling and so much more.  


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Baseball Review //
Silver City Banditos 0/6, Marlborough A's 9/0 [ 5/2/21 @ Marlborough Park, Marlborough, CT ]


 

http://www.cnmsbl.org/


https://www.facebook.com/SilverCityBanditos


Additional photos can be found here ::: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=raisedbycassettes&set=a.5519161158125413


Last weekend- April 25th- all of the baseball around CT was rained out so it's been two weeks since last seeing the Banditos and this is their third Sunday of the season.  In a lot of ways, I'll always say that one of the fun parts about baseball within CT is that you tend to find new places to watch it-- places I haven't been before.  I like the places that I frequent, but it's always fun to see what other fields are out there and just the idea of how many baseball fields are in CT overall just seems so massive compared to what one might think.   I feel like I've been to so many but have so many more left to go.

The Banditos went into this series with the A's even at 2-2 while the Marlborough A's came in undefeated at 4-0.    When the Banditos joined the CNMSBL I looked at the rosters for the other teams to see if I recognized anyone and the A's have the most players that I knew.  Keith Echevarria plays for the Indians in the Connecticut Twilight League (league champions).   Taylor Kosakowski plays for the East Hartford Jets in the GHTBL (league champions)  Dan Livingston has played for the Ulbrich Steel and even the Banditos last season.  Peter Barrows was on Ulbrich Steel as well and Chris Anselmo is a name you should know, though I'm not sure everyone on the roster was playing this Sunday.

I knew that the A's were kind of the team to see because they felt like the team to beat and that also was confirmed going into this game with their record.   Interestingly enough, the Banditos would have Willie Rios start the first game as opposed to him starting the second the past two series.  The A's put up a run early in the first inning on a sac fly but they didn't really do the most of their damage until the second inning, which pretty much set the tone for the first game.   A runner for the A's was on first, went to steal second, was clearly out and instead was called safe by the umpires.

This mistake was what started a three run double by the A's and would go on to give the A's a six run inning overall.   Had that call gone the correct way then the momentum might have been killed and that might not have been a six run inning.  Sure, the A's might have still scored.  And maybe they would have won 3-0 or 4-0.   But when you have a play so obvious that someone is out but they are somehow called safe it's frustrating.  This was a hot day- a dry day- and so there was a lot of dirt flying around.  Perhaps from home plate the view was obscured by dirt.  But there was a second umpire right there.  How he couldn't see what happened right under his nose when I could see it from way behind home plate is just ridiculous.

Look, I'm not saying "The Banditos would have won that game if..."  For the sake of both teams and for the entire league, really, I'm saying that calls like that shouldn't be made and if they are they have to be questioned by the other umpire.  I get it.  If they overturn one call, then the whole system falls apart.  So when you're in that moment, and the guy is sliding and is tagged without ever even touching the base, please umpires- I don't care who it is or what team it is just call them out.  I feel like this umpire day one lessons here.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the number 24 player for the A's hit a two run homerun to right field.  This was not Keith Echevarria though, who is listed as 24 on the roster page but actually plays under the number 42.    I'm not sure who this was or who controls the numbers on the roster page.  But that ball landed deep, then in between games I went to go see where it was and it made it down the hill and across the road.   It took quite the trip.

During the first game- for three or four innings- I was inside the press box.  No one else was up there, no one was there to stop me, so I went there to take pictures and I think it went fairly well.  But I couldn't get good shots of the batters so halfway through the first game I moved out and down the first base side.   In that short time I spent out in the sun I got slightly burned and it's strange to me that it's barely May and I need sunscreen already.   

The second game saw Dan Livingston continue to pitch for the A's.  I know he came out for an inning or two in the first game, but if he's started all four of their wins up to this point I tip my hat to him.   The way the first game went for the A's was kind of how the second game went for the Banditos except with less bad umpire calls.  (Though moving the umpires back behind home plate did not help them distinguish between balls and strikes, so that's still going to be an issue this year)

J.D. Tyler was on the mound for the Banditos in Game 2 and the A's just couldn't really seem to hit off of him.   For the first two series- first four games- we have seen Ricky Marrero play the first game, hit a lot and then leave for the second game.  This time he stayed and played the second game.  This allowed him to hit a three run homerun to right field in the fourth inning to put the Banditos on the board 3-0.    See, when Ricky stays and when Ricky plays the Banditos win.  It's a theory I'm working on.  (I just wish my uncle wanted to make this trip with me to see the homerun)

There were a lot of strikeouts during the second game and it seemed to go by pretty fast.  It felt like it was less than two hours by my count.   In the seventh inning, Ray Thayer hit a sac fly to bring in a run.  J.D. Tyler did the same to score another run, but a second runner was coming home and was out to end the inning.   Still, the Banditos beat the undefeated team 6-0 and it's going to make for an interesting meeting between the two teams when they play each other again, June 27th, at Maloney High School.

This Sunday everyone is taking a break for Mother's Day.  After that, the Banditos go through a somewhat local stretch where they play at Ceppa Field (technically "on the road"), home at Maloney and Southington Rec up until July 18th- that's their next real travel type of game.   So I just firmly hope that my uncle goes to all of these games (I'm pretty sure he went to Southington this past Sunday to scout the other Meriden team) because I want him to see Ricky Marrero hit another homerun.  

Monday, May 3, 2021

Cassette Review //
Tiger Village
"In Stereo III"
(Suite 309)



$7 //

Edition of 100 // 

https://suite309.bandcamp.com/album/in-stereo-iii //


As this cassette begins with the sounds of a pinball machine trill, it can quickly shift into something louder, a bit more harsh.   It's the virtual beating of something and makes me feel like we're inside of a video game because I don't think video games do it as much now (they're too realistic) but back in those SNES days when you hit a button to punch it made a certain sound along with it.   That's what I feel like I'm hearing here and it just keeps going until it gets more chaotic.  Is Punch Out a pinball machine somewhere because Tiger Village might have just made the soundtrack to it.

Beeps expand and contrast now, in this start and stop electronic melee.   We've broken down into some electronic skramz now and it's rather fun, like a rollercoaster ride which could go off the rails at any moment.   We go into a more bass-fueled dive now to where it feels as if we're inside of an old "JAWS" video game.   I wonder if such a game ever did exist for the Atari or NES because I don't remember it but it does seem like it should be there.   Some clanking and banging through this song now as lasers blast off.   This is what happens when the Transformers meet droids and I'm also a little surprised that crossover hasn't happened yet.

It feels as if we're plucking strings and then it is all reduced to these beeps and then ohm tones.   This takes us into this slow drone, like an accordion almost, and it just feels as if we are sending transmissions while lost in space.   The sounds now can be acoustic plucks but they also could be the banging of an acoustic drum.   Synth tones shoot through and it feels like we're watching space now more than being stuck within it.   We end up in this rhythm now which sounds like working robots.    It's really just evolving into a symphony of electronics now, which is something I feel like we've come to know from Tiger Village.

As the distorted synths really begin to expand I feel like we're underwater or just floating through the sky, but no longer in space.    This now turns into a rhythm of tones combined with beats which just makes it feel like we're playing a video game which gets more difficult with each level we conquer and we are making our way to the end because those Tetris pieces are just falling down so fast.   The bass is slapping in now as well.    We go into the next song which has much louder smacks and it can also feel like a pinball game but a rather violent one.   Triumphant synth comes through now, as if we're on a quest.

The way this all kind of faded down and cut off I thought it was the end of the side- as cassettes can tend to have that effect- but now the music has returned with bouncing ball type bass and rather pleasant sounding tones- almost like a music box- which just takes us into the vast void of nothingness.  The tones become more isolated, one pinball move at a time, before the distorted beats take over.   It gets a little sharp in here too- the frequencies can just shift to be higher pitched and that makes me a little uncomfortable because of my ears but the beats kick in and drown it out.   And then just some fun tones almost sound like a polka and bring us to the end of Side A.

On the flip side we open with some tones which have this sound like they're about to go into a hip hop song- I feel like they could become Ashnikko.  But then they turn more into a video game ringing and they're just so spaced out.   The tones dance around and go back to what they sounded like before, as I think they're going to go into that hip hop.   There is also an element of a video game in here such as Legend of Zelda though, so that cannot be ignored.   Beats come in a bit more frantic now and this just feels like it's taking off to where you might want to get up and dance.  

The synth slides through now and everything seems to be happening in single file rather than all at once.   Beats come in and this once again feels like a dance number and it just skyrockets from there.   Quiet beeps now like sonar.  Everything has become minimal.    We're bouncing around again, this time with a little bit of slide and the frequency is set to trippy.   Fast paced beats now like a paddle ball toy set to machine gun quickness.   It feels like we're going back to the skramz and the laser blasts shoot right through, destroying all of the enemy spaceships within Asteroids.

A more chill sound opens the next track up as some distortion slips through.   This song has a groove which has me nodding my head along with it, though sometimes those frequencies go up too high for my ears.   There are more than one layer to this track now and they're all somewhat fighting each other, trying to appear at the top before we go dancing along with the next set of happier synth, somewhat like a "Miami Vice" sound.    Full on beats kick in and this one has just turned into one of my favorite songs.   There is a little bit of Double Dragon in here as well, which I do enjoy.  

Back to the quieter, the minimal, we have some sounds slowly creeping in.  This goes from feeling so minimal and small to just taking off in a big way as the beats kick in.   If I was walking around in an arcade and heard this song coming out of DDR I wouldn't be surprised in the least.   I also just like to picture squares on the floor lighting up while listening.    Quieter, we have this slight sound of a ball bouncing before we reach the eventual end here.   It goes quiet for a moment but then comes right back with the loud and fast beats, lasers shooting in and everything.   There is rattling now, which can be heard at intervals.

Blissed out tones come through like a music box now but then this other level of tones cuts through where it makes it feel like it's evil.  I might just be watching too many versions of "Child's Play" lately but I'm thinking of some kind of music box which plays a song and when you hear it something bad happens to you- has that been a movie yet?  A long drone brings in some clicking and this one has just gone bonkers once again.   Magical tones come through now with beats and this somewhat makes me feel like the robots are taking over.   Faxes and modems become the dance.

This reminds me of some of those sounds you would hear in the Atari Star Wars games.  Words come through but I don't know what they mean.   This has stops and starts- skips- and then it just kind of glides along as well.  There is a steady rhythm of beats, like a heart pulsating, and then it just kind of all comes to an end.   If you consider this to be like one long video game I'm not sure if we've won or not but at least we had some fun along the way.  













Cassette Review //
Vlimmer
"XIIIIIII (17)"
(Blackjack Illuminist Records)


€5 //

Edition of 15 //

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/xiiiiiii-17 //


While I tend to feel like Vlimmer has this certain Breakfast Club/dance quality to their music, when this seventeenth cassette opens it's slower, darker and more brooding.  I'm not really sure there is a sound which captures this but I just imagine a movie such as "The Craft" or "The Crow" as having taken place in the 1980's instead of the 1990's so that the soundtrack could have a little bit more synth, a little bit more like Depeche Mode or The Cure.   But, at the same time, this could just as easily be a song- "Schattenerde"- that is found on "The Crow" soundtrack even in the 1990's.  This first song also just grows much louder, harsher as it nears the end.  

The second song comes in just as slow and hollow as the first.  It's atmospheric- floating through the void of space with synths coming in only a little bit at a time.   It eventually just fades out but these first two songs are such a trip and I feel like we haven't witnessed this slower, darker side to Vlimmer before.   The third song comes in now with a drum beat and it feels a little more upbeat than the first two but I think it's just because it's moving- it's at a faster pace.  The lasting effects of the first two songs make this third one feel darker than it might actually be, but I do enjoy how music when paired together can create that illusion.

On the flip side we open up with a bang.   There are these synth swirls with vocals and beats.  This song just comes out like such a punch to the face in that there is so much energy and then you think it can't get any more intense, but it finds a way to do just that.   Sometimes it feels like we're being slowly hypnotized during this song, at other times it feels like the knowledge is just being directly drilled into our skulls.   It reminds me a little bit of an earlier dance number by Panic! At The Disco as well.  

The fifth and final song on the cassette begins with a steady rhythm but it feels a little bit like a banging or a pulse.  It really reminds me of a song off of Nine Inch Nails' "The Fragile" album, which really doesn't get enough love.    It has that haunted way about it and I'm not sure what the haunted version of synthwave is (surely it must be something more than simply "darkwave") but Vlimmer is uncovering it here.   Slowly, plodding, this music makes me feel like we're on our way to a funeral yet it doesn't feel quite that dark on the surface.   There is something holy about this, near the end of the song as well, which just makes me feel like we're being taken to our doom.

On one hand, these songs have the same vibes as something like Hozier's "Take Me To Church", but in a much darker way.   At the same time, I feel like they can come off in the same way that a band like Talking Heads can create a song such as "Psycho Killer", which is obviously a dark song but the music itself doesn't quite come across as dark as the lyrics would suggest.  Really, Vlimmer just toys with the idea of how the vibe of something should reflect the tone of it and as someone who has always felt like death metal would be great with happy lyrics or pop music with angry lyrics, I find this most pleasing.  










Saturday, May 1, 2021

Music Review //
Jody Bigfoot and Tandaro
"Duszt"
(Trinity Lo-Fi)

https://trinitylofi.bandcamp.com/album/duszt //





This album starts off with a slow saxophone sound.    This plays through the opening credits of the movie.    We begin to take a train ride through the city as that sax continues to blare.  People are boarding and leaving the subway and some of them wearing masks makes me confused as to whether or not this is during the global pandemic.   Singing slowly begins as people are shown crowded on the subway.   Beats come in with people walking and then Jody Bigfoot (I'm assuming) is shown walking and begins rapping.   He just said he wasn't surprised the weather was coming to murder us and I felt that.

With lo-fi beats this is fun hip hop that you can sing along with but ultimately I just want to play it loudly out of my car.   It reminds me a little bit of Uncommon Nasa, which is not a comparison I always make so that's cool.   The sax returns and I'll always have a love for that hip hop which has parts of R&B within it.  There is a guest rapper now and this guy can spit.   Skateboarding now and this is really fitting visuals with the music.   "Ring Ring" really should be a radio hit.  

When people put music on at a party, they often will use a streaming service such as Spotify.  If I was going to throw a party I'd just put this video on the television and it'd be one of the best parties ever.  This is just such a soundtrack to life, but the way you can watch while listening just adds to the experience.   "Do you love? / Do you lust?" "Everything burns and everything rusts / Everything dies and everything's dust"  Such strong lyrics during "Duszt on a Rock" and a little bit of a modern take on the Neil Young idea of "Rust never sleeps".

Each song flows together- as do the visuals- but you can still tell from song to song based upon how the video looks and the sound of the song itself where one song ends and the next begins.   This makes this album feel like one long song or the video like one long movie, yet it can still be broken down individually.  Shout out to Jody Bigfoot for making a song called "Where is the Style?" and wearing a Spongebob hoodie during the video.  That's style.   I do feel like it is important as an artist to have a sense of style.  To be able to say "This person would wear this" or "This person would never" is important.

On the next song the rapper has the mask around his chin so I'm going to say this was made during the pandemic and now Jody Bigfoot comes in with a mask on as well.   I love that this is an album you can just put on and vibe with but then when you watch the videos with the song it just feels like a party that you're a part of and not just music to play yourself.   There is a marionette puppet now and I am a little bit afraid of it.   "Hands" also has hit written all over it.  This video is a trip.

There's some really great singing now as buildings and the sky are shown.   This singing is the most of "It's All Good" and it's rather sunny and just an upbeat, uplifting type of song.   We're in the woods now and I just feel like we're relaxing, connecting with nature.  Rivers and mountains set the mood for reflection.   "When did we stop building the temples?" is a good question.  Paint brushes are shown now and this is for a giant painting which is a pretty neat visual.   This transitions us smoothly into the start and stop beats of "Ineffable".

The painting is actually of characters and though this could be considered hip hop, it is rather chill and it makes me feel like it's more of a self-reflection of music than what you might normally associate hip hop with.   I enjoy seeing the trees and the bubble is floating now.   People are shown in yoga poses and this really just feels like such a spiritual journey.   The beats make me feel a sense of renewed energy yet the running water images make me feel calm.    We get to a minimal sense of percussion and singing as we see the leaves and then the water.  Such lovely colors in here as well.

Musically, this can remind me of B. Dolan but it's really in its own genre of being hip hop which can inspire.   I know artists have created movies for their albums before (WHY? doing "AOKOHIO" comes to mind) but it isn't done often enough-- artists don't even create music videos enough.   But to be able to not only create an album which sounds like this but an entire movie for all of the songs just shows that Jody Bigfoot is on another level.  Other artists are going to have to start stepping up their game to be on this level.