Friday, October 29, 2021

Music Review //
Avi Wisnia
"Come Home To"


The song "Come Home To" hits a very specific sound but also a specific and yet different time for the frame of thought.   In that way it feels like a treat because it has this sound from the past mixed with ideas of the present.   I think about what it would be like if any number of artists were still making music and what those songs might be about in modern times, and though this doesn't sound like a Rage Against the Machine song with 2021 politics, it does feel like it's giving us that glimpse into something which we shouldn't be seeing- the past and present joining forces.

Through the delicate almost banjo-sounding plucks of the acoustic strings, Avi Wisnia has a sound which can remind me of Counting Crows or Barenaked Ladies, a somewhat specific type of lullaby sound.   But then when I think back to the 1990's I begin to think of bands such as Deep Blue Something and Del Amitri, who have that same type of acoustic rock sound.   I truly do believe that Avi Wisnia would've fit in so well with those other artists in late '90's and this song feels like it's ripped right from that time.

And then I think about the song and the meaning behind it.  Isn't it strange how we have to come home to something or someone because of how much time we spend not at home- whether it be at school when we're younger or at work later in life.  Isn't it funny how a pandemic taught us to spend more time at home and many people shifted to work from home jobs because they realized it was a better work place environment.   While this can be taken as a love song at heart, it can also be more deeply read into.

On the theme of the pandemic, there is a line: "Life doesn't give you reasons for the way it never turns out how you planned" and I think that many people were invested in their futures and their lives going a certain way until 2020 hit.   It's nice to see the recognition of life often times not giving an explanation, but to set this all under such a pleasant melody also makes it a bit easier to think about, to discuss and to come to the realization that we can't always control every aspect of our lives but we should appreciate those which we can, such as who or what we come home to at the end of the day.  

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Music Review //
"Each Morning and the Morning Thereafter"


With the opening song "Hey!", Vectralux feels as if they are about to go into a television theme song from the 1990's or perhaps a Neil Diamond influenced number.   This does set the tone for the rest of the album, though, as the songs tend to range from the 1990's to previous years and really I don't hear a lot of sounds from the 21st Century within this album and that's fine.

Horns on some of the songs and keys all around make me feel like this one could be from that era where singers felt like their future was so bright they had to wear shades.   It's just that whole rock n roll thing where they also happened to have a sweet horn section but weren't ska.  They're out there, if you look, along the same lines as Huey Lewis and the News.   There are also those elements of Steely Dan and John Mellencamp.

But by the time we hit "Patagonia Kids" I'm taken to a place of rock that is heavily influenced by Soul Asylum but also has those slight tones of The Wallflowers.   It's either before or after grunge, but is basically some of that fine rock music which isn't grunge but was around that time.   With melodies ranging from the Beach Boys to The Beatles this album is sure to stand out for you, even if it feels a little bit familiar.

Listening to this album makes me miss movies from John Hughes and Rodney Dangerfield.  It was a time when problems would be solved- in film- by shoving someone in a pool. It was a time when- in film- a group of unemployed kids would drive cross country and no one would wonder how they paid for gas or food.  It's the soundtrack of a different time, but it feels like so much fun I like being back there.

Music Review //
Modern Monsters
"Modern Monsters" //

I really miss the days when bands would have these visual effects which would go with the sound of their music.   Bands like KISS and Misfits come to mind in terms of artists you could listen to on record but still see perform live and it was something special.   With a name like Modern Monsters, you know you're getting into something which is to be seen as well as heard.   The first song- "Furrow"- even has that creepy laughing before and after the song to show you how much like a monster it can be.

Though it might only be for the chorus, I feel like Modern Monsters sound a bit like System Of A Down on the song "Furrow".   The verses have more of a metal feel to them with fast paced drumming and just killer guitar riffs.   This just goes to show you how complex the music can be in the sense that the entire song (and EP) doesn't sound like System Of A Down but rather just this one specific part (the chorus) does and the rest of the EP has other distinct sounds.

This also holds true in the song "Lament" which has a spoken breakdown which then gets hectic and reminds me of Rage Against The Machine.  Again, it's this one portion of this one song that happens to sound like them and not the EP as a whole, but isn't it funny how Modern Monsters have created this sound where we are able to pick other sounds out of pieces of it, creating something unique overall.

On "Stay Free" (the last song) there is a lot of aggression and it reminds me of something from the 1990's along the lines of Ugly Kid Joe or that early on Soundgarden.  To say this is metal would be to break it down into its simplest form, but at the same time the complexities within the sound are what make it stand out, for fans of metal and just fans of heavy music in general.  

Music Review //
Anthony Byrne


There exists a definitive pop sound which comes from the song "Chasing" by Anthony Byrne.   As soon as the song begins you can hear the combination of beats and melodies.  The singing comes in and sometimes it gets faster but overall it just has that pure pop feeling with a lot of chill.   While not something which I feel can be easily defined, when you first hear the song your mind should go right away to the notion that this should be on the radio at the very least.  If I was searching through radio stations and heard "Chasing" I wouldn't be surprised by it, as it seems as if it will fit right in.

Someone who listens to the radio more might have caught some band at some time which could provide a little bit more clarity than I can, but I definitely hear something like AWOLNATION in here (which is a broad statement) but for something more current on the radio I would also say this has the same path as AJR.   And I just remember turning on the radio one day and there was "Bang" by AJR.  It was on the rock station, then the pop station and I think that "Chasing" could just appear in a similar way for Anthony Byrne.

This video is described as a visualizer and features a rotating pyramid with different symbols surfacing around it.   If you were listening to this song at a party and this came onto the tv screen it would be fun, but there isn't a lot to the video itself.   But within the lyrics you will find the opening lines: "I reside between the lines / Of the lives much greater lived", which makes me think that there is meaning behind the seeming simplicity of the video.   Sometimes life isn't about the big events, but rather the getting to those events.

In that way, "Chasing" is a reminder that while it's great to post a huge accomplishment such as graduating college on Instagram there is still all of those countless hours of work that went into it.  If you post to social media that you got your degree, many of your followers will like that and comment their congratulations.  But they wouldn't do the same if you posted 400 hours of classroom lectures.   So even though the rewards can be fulfilling, let this song serve as a reminder for you to remember the chase.  

Wrestling Review //
Blitzkrieg! Pro
Fall Children
House of Pierogies, Enfield, CT

// //

Fall Children was a pretty loaded show and I want to jump to the end before I even address anything else that happened, but for the sake of continuity I'm going to try and keep things in order.   This was a show that I was really looking forward to and as I said to Jess afterwards it was also a show full of wrestlers that I knew and liked, even if I booed some of them.   There wasn't anyone there that I hadn't really seen live before (outside of Dango and Breezus) and there wasn't anyone there that made me go "Ugh, they're on this card", so I definitely feel like going into 2022 that should be a new standard we set for all wrestling shows.

Right away when we got into the show and were told we were front row I asked "Our names are on the seats?" and got this look in response like "Of course they are, why wouldn't they be!" and that's one of the things I also love about Blitzkrieg! Pro.  If someone takes the time to buy tickets to your show *before* the show (and they're seats, not standing general admission) then you, as the promotion, should put their name on the chair.   It's something small and extra but, as a fan, it makes me incredibly happy and I keep saying it because there are promotions who keep not doing it.

Blitzkrieg! Pro has such a diverse talent roster and I was thinking a few days after this show how it felt like maybe ten years ago or so every independent wrestling show was the same.   It felt like they had this blueprint they all ran by, which always seemed to include at least one Doink.   But then Blitzkrieg! Pro came along, in a punk rock way, and changed the rules.   There are promotions out there today, running shows, which stand out where they are unique to them, but I feel like Blitzkrieg! Pro was really one of the promotions (if not *the* promotion) that went about standing out before everyone else.

To make things slightly less confusing though, I will say that there were three matches on this show in which the winners would qualify for Ladder Hell, which is coming up in December.   King Crab, Devantes and Aaron Rourke all qualified, though the Bedlam Champion will also be in the match as well as a fifth yet-to-be-named person, so that alone leaves a bunch of mystery and should sell you on the December show.  Though now might be a good time to also point out that Danhausen vs Max Caster was also signed for the December show, so that might also be a good reason to buy tickets the second they go on sale.

One aspect I do enjoy of Blitzkrieg! Pro is that I feel like as a promotion and fan we're on the same page.  For example, they see how much I love Riley Shepard (and who doesn't) and now I'm seeing Riley Shepard in a B!P ring.   The tag team match between A Message To You and Hardcore Geeks was also one of the best of the evening, as the crowd never really seemed to want to boo either team and so that just seemed to make it a lot more fun.

Prior to intermission, Dirty Dango came out with Breezus and said that Breezus was not cleared to fight.  MSP came out and I think we all wanted to see that Breezango vs MSP match that, when Breezus is healed up Blitzkrieg! will likely try to put together.   Jeff Cannonball came out and I thought his face paint was for Halloween, though I only saw it briefly when he took his mask off and then The Batiri hit the ring and it turned into a six person tag match.   Say what you will about Dango, but he was on his back in the ring when one of The Batiri went to the top rope and he just rolled out of the way.  He just kept rolling back and forth and the crowd loved it.  How can you not respect what this guy does?

At one point, one of the Batiri members came outside the ring right between Jess and I and told us to move.   Typically, if I see the action coming my way, I don't move.  But when you're told to move in such a manner, you leave your stuff behind and you get out of the way because whatever is likely going to happen you don't want to be a part of!  I wondered at this point as well if Quentin was with us if he would've been so quick to move because he also does not like to move.  I think this might have been the first time when the action came my way that I did in fact move as well.

Two of the matches that I wanted to see the most- and really came to see- took place after intermission.   The Top Dogs vs Masha Slamovich and Trish Adora was just four of the best wrestlers in the world today going at it inside that ring.   I love all four of them and didn't know who I wanted to win, but that's a good problem to have.   The fact that Trish Adora was debuting in Blitzkrieg! made this must see for me, and other fans were behind her as well, so I really do hope to see her back sooner than later.  Trish Adora vs Bobby Orlando would be quite fun.

A match which, to my knowledge, has never happened before but seems like it should have by now was MV Young vs Tony Deppen.   This seems like a clash of styles on some level, but you also know that both of these guys are going to go in there and just beat the hell out of each other.  And that's exactly what they did.   This was a match that people- wrestling fans and wrestlers alike- should be watching for years to come because it was truly two of the best at their best.

The main event is where a lot of the controversy lies, but also it's what sets the stage for the rest of the year and even next year for Blitzkrieg! Pro.   Bobby Orlando defeated Kirby Wackerman to regain the Bedlam Championship with the help of Bryce Donovan.   This seems simple enough when you type it: Shook Crew are back on the same page and perhaps this was all part of some bigger plot we didn't know about.   But it isn't really that easy because, like most good things in wrestling, the story is complex.

Bryce Donovan seemed a little reluctant to help Bobby Orlando and afterwards Bryce Donovan also seemed to show a little bit of regret.   Shook Crew didn't have that big moment where they hugged and laughed at the fans like "We got you!", it felt more like Bryce Donovan questioning why he did what he did.    This will certainly make a lot of things going forward very interesting.   For one thing, Kirby Wackerman deserves a rematch, if only because of the manner in which he lost.

But then in December, the Bedlam Championship will be defended in Ladder Hell.  So does Kirby go into that match?   Does someone else take that fifth spot?  And what role will Bryce Donovan play in all of this?  I really thought Bryce would defeat Devantes and go into Ladder Hell but he could still get in there somehow.   There are certainly more questions than answers right now, but that should just leave fans wanting more, which is what wrestling is all about.   In terms of talent, in ring work and storytelling, Blitzkrieg! Pro just seems to be firing on all cylinders and every show is must see.

Music Review //
Tawni Bias
"SEL Fellow"

Tawni Bias is making the exact type of music that I love because it feels like there is this concept- such as an acoustic pop/rock album- and it is just chopped up and spit back out through a different lens.   While it can feel easy enough to compare Tawni Bias with other artists, those comparisons mostly stem from "SEL Fellow" having a traditional sound.   What Tawni Bias has created here is quite different and I'd go so far as to call it a masterpiece.

The first song, "Admonition", is thirty seconds but has this acoustic strumming with a trumpet and muted vocals feeling which runs right into the next song, "Two Poodles One Cake".   It picks up in the acoustics which can make it sound like twee (or not, I'm not entirely sure as I've been on a big twee kick lately and that might just be why)  There are acoustic spaces, layered vocals and the first thought I have about comparison is that it sounds like a slower version of Architecture In Helsinki.

Further into the album, the more pop references can appear.   Artists such as Blue October come out a little bit.  There is some banjo-type feeling on "Flare Intropin", but it also gives me strong Flora Cash vibes.    There exists a vocal manipulation within some of these songs as well, a way in which the sound changes and it feels like either a record is being scratched or a cassette is warped.   This comes out most on "Cardamom", which is all manipulated vocals until some tones come in and yet I still can think of it as being pop.

The final song on this album, "Bantry", is vocals with sad acoustics.   It's a calming way to take you from this album and back into reality, though most of these songs are chill and don't really have any in-your-face or fast paced ways about them.  I'm not sure how an artist decides to come up with a sound such as this, to take that existing sound and play with it, but I am certainly glad that Tawni Bias is taking music to the next level.  

Music Review //
"Unknown Machine"

When it comes to bands taking the existing sounds you know, within genres, and blending them to form their own sound there might be none better at it than Afterbliss.   Upon first listening to this EP, there are ideas that come out about not only which genre Afterbliss could be put in but also what type of sound they can relate with in terms of other artists.   The more I listen to "Unknown Machine" though, the more those types of ideas fade and I begin to wonder why I had them in the first place as all I can hear is Afterbliss.

In an easy way of explaining this, the sound of Afterbliss can be described as electronic rock.   There is this element of Trans-Siberian Orchestra only there is singing within the Afterbliss songs, but still they have that big, operatic sound to them.   I also like to imagine that one member of Afterbliss plays the keytar live.   This just has that immediate rock sound which will pull you in, but as you dive deeper into the songs you'll find so much more.

"Castaway" feels more like a ballad than "Remnants" and somehow it also reminds me of Billy Joel.   The synth tones can really begin to space out in "Empty Spaces", which gives the sound an overall unique feel as I'm not sure who to compare that with.   While at times it can feel as if you're part of the era of music which brought about Genesis and Flock Of Seagulls, then you hit a song like "Kiss & Tell" in which I'm reminded of My Chemical Romance.   To have that retro aspect but with also something a bit more modern just puts Afterbliss into a genre their own.

Though it feels as if artists have been playing the keyboard since it really made this mainstream presence during new wave, the fact is that it isn't always that prominent.   From bands such as Waking Ashland and Showbread to The Killers and The Bravery, Afterbliss just seems to be creating their own sound in the present, borrowing from the past but also focusing on the future.  Their name is also fitting as this music is truly blissed out.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Pro Wrestling GRIND
Who Made Who
@ Pulaski Club, Easthampton, MA

At some point when finding out about this show I knew that we had to go because of the matches and it was also the debut show.  What I didn't realize until the week of is that Easthampton is only about an hour away (I was thinking it'd be about a two hour drive) and it is a neighbor to Holyoke, so Jess, Quentin and I went across the border early on to visit the mall in Holyoke for dinner before this show.  Did you know that Holyoke is the birthplace of volleyball?  I've known that for maybe five years and it still needs to be shared whenever I have the opportunity.

I had another one of those "Hey! I've been here before!" moments when we arrived at the Pulaski Club, though I didn't realize it until we got into the parking lot.  The last time (and only other time) I was at the Pulaski Club was for a Pioneer Valley Pro show (in the before times) and that also had Davienne and Logan Black on the card.  Not to side track, but that was a really fun show and I hope Pioneer Valley Pro comes back soon.

I'm not really a behind-the-scenes guy so I'm never clued in as to what's going on, but the way that Pro Wrestling GRIND was pushing ticket sales on Twitter I thought that the attendance was going to be lower than it was.   When we got our seats and saw other people coming in, the place was packed and I was pleasantly surprised because it was a debut show on a Friday night and I'm fairly certain other wrestling was out there in the area.  I also came to learn later on that the show was in fact sold out and that made me happy.

My impression of Pro Wrestling GRIND was that it was going to be a strong style promotion, one with more fighting- mat based wrestling but also knockouts and submissions.   At two different times during the night I heard a fan in front of the bar yell "This isn't UFC!" and even though technically it is not the UFC, the style in which they were wrestling was similar and I think the kickpads in the corner really gave away the idea that, hey, if this kind of looks like UFC (or MMA) then there is a reason for that.

The show opened with Kevin Ku vs Matt Makowski and while any match on this card could make their case to be a main event, I thought that this one had a pretty strong case to be just that.   Kevin Ku and Matt Makowski had their first match at the IWTV100 show so if they do a third we'll have to be there live as well.   It's always great to see Kevin Ku and as soon as "Zombie" opened the show, I just knew that he was coming out and it set the tone for the entire evening.  Matt Makowski is someone that I respect and enjoy watching the in ring work of- as his style can be very innovative- but I'm just not part of the "omg he's the best" because he hasn't had that match for me yet.

While the opening match was a lot of back and forth and went on long, it set the mood for the show.  There weren't a lot of cheap victories where one person got an easy three count or the matches didn't have that "I'm a big guy and you're little so let me hit you with a power move and pin you in under a minute".   I appreciated that about the show, and about GRIND.  It truly feels like a competition and as we try to classify and identify GRIND perhaps a large part of it is just seeing professional wrestling as a sport.

The second match was special to me (and the crowd I think) because it was the first match to have a set good guy vs bad guy idea.   When Brandon Watts first came out with Randy Summers, he got mostly cheered.  I've only ever seen Milk Chocolate in action live once (at Invictus) and every time I told Brandon Watts not to tag in because Jordan Blade would kill him he told me to shut up- basically playing the heel.  It didn't take long for the crowd to turn on Milk Chocolate though and though this was billed as a singles match I still think that Perry Von Vicious defeated both members of Milk Chocolate on this night.

As someone who has seen quite a bit of Perry Von Vicious over the years (and mostly in tag team matches) I have to say that this was my favorite Perry Von Vicious match to date.  There were more than one occasions in this match where it felt like PVV just wouldn't be able to overcome the two on one advantage that Milk Chocolate had.   In some ways, too, had PVV taken the loss I don't think he would've looked bad because he was at that disadvantage as Milk Chocolate kept cheating and doing the double team thing with the not-actually-hurt Randy Summers.   This is most definitely a match that you should go out of your way to watch.

The third match of the evening saw Davienne vs Becca, two friends who sometimes fight.   This was such a great match up because Davienne is a staple in this scene and Becca just has all this momentum behind her right now.  I realize that for me, personally, it was that idea of "But they're friends!" and I didn't know who to boo, but these are two of the best wrestlers in this area right now and so this match just felt so perfect.   Post match, after her loss, Becca sort of shook Davienne's hand but not really so perhaps that heel turn is now happening everywhere and not just in Beyond Wrestling.

Another possible main event saw Rip Byson take on Travis Huckabee.   Rip Byson just has this style where you want to see him brawl and just rip people in half.   He doesn't seem like someone you want to take a chop from.   But at the same time, Travis Huckabee is one of the best grapplers out there today (if not the best, he is certainly one of the most overlooked) so this really had that type of feel where you had someone trying to contain this unpredictable strength but if anyone could do it you'd want Travis Huckabee to try.   Another great match that I think fully embodied what the idea of GRIND is all about.

Intermission was a lot of fun and we came right back into the action with Alec Price taking on Cabana Man Dan.  Before the match started, Alec Price was talking a lot of shit (to the fans and CMD alike) and I just noticed how CMD was standing near his corner, quiet and just giving Alec Price that death stare.   This is that type of match that should have sold you on going to this show live (if you were in the area) and if not, it's the type of match that if you see it listed on the card on IWTV or DVD (or VHS?) then you would definitely have to watch it.  And it delivered in every aspect that you could possibly want.

Prior to the main event, Logan Black and Merc went to war and I damn near thought that the match wouldn't end until one of them was dead.   They set up a chair in front of us and bent the hell out of it.  This wasn't your typical Walmart folding chair either- it was a solid chair that wasn't meant to bend the way in which they bent it beyond repair.  I could watch Logan Black and Merc fight forever.  If they were to form a tag team, they'd be damn near unstoppable.  But the "Please Come Back" chants for Merc made me a happy fan because I also want to see Merc more in this New England area.

In the main event we had The Mane Event vs MSP.   One thing that has always bothered me about tag team wrestling is that many promotions have always just kind of thrown two wrestlers together and called them a tag team.   There aren't a lot of tag teams out there- or there weren't for a while- where you really felt like they were a team.  Not only are The Mane Event and MSP two of the best tag teams out there right now, they are also two of the best just based on the fact that they act as tag teams, having moves which they do together.  I'm not saying any four of these competitors couldn't make a solid run at a singles championship, but I do feel like they are better when they are together.   For my money, MSP is also the best tag team out there right now, in all of professional wrestling.

Professional wrestling is such a weird and cool thing and I really came to appreciate that more during this debut show from GRIND.   While I enjoy going to see wrestling and finding new wrestlers I've never seen or heard of before, I knew who everyone was on this card and had seen most of them wrestle live before.   The only wrestler on this card I had actually never seen wrestle live before was Cabana Man Dan but I've watched his matches all over IWTV so I feel like I still am familiar with him.

Pro Wrestling GRIND has already announced their second show on November 20th and it will feature Culture Inc., MSP, Myung Jae Lee and Jordan Blade.   I'd really like to see Jordan Blade vs Bonesaw Brooks, someone I think would do really well in GRIND, but also if they are available there are names such as Janai Kai and Yoya, who fans know, that could come into GRIND.   When I saw the set up with the ring and kickpads in the corner though it felt like it was custom built for Mike Skyros, who I would love to see in GRIND.   And I honestly hope that as much as GRIND works with established wrestlers, they do help the future as they are with Myung Jae Lee.   With Pro Wrestling GRIND in the picture now, the future looks bright.  

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Music Review //
The Burning Balloons
(Philatelia Records / Sir Gregory Records) //

When listening to the music of The Burning Balloons, I come to realize that this is a sound which not only can be traced back as far as I can remember in rock music but one which just does not seem to fade away even in the present.   With distorted guitar riffs and that slow burn, I'm immediately taken to this place of classic rock, along the lines of CCR, and it's the type of rebellion you would hear in some film about the Vietnam War.   It has that place in history as being music from that era but also about those events.

As I continue to listen though, I think more about artists coming after that and up until the modern day such as Velvet Underground, White Stripes, Soul Asylum and The Damn Personals.  A song such as "On the run" can showcase the sense of how powerful this rock music can be overall.  Whether slowly drawn out or faster paced, like "Drained" (which reminds me of a band such as The Hives) this sound always remains fuzzy and trippy.   "Heart of Gold" makes me think of the space-trippy David Bowie while "Kill them with kindness" has a certain level of Stone Temple Pilots trippy about it.

This compact disc comes with a comic book which both tells a story about rock n roll but also serves as the lyrics booklet for the album.   The serious, straight forward style of the artwork can remind me of Harvey Pekar as much as it could the old style of superheroes.  As a pre-teen, I remember sneaking into my uncle's bedroom and finding his collection of comic books.  my first real exposure to them, and he had the genre of the military, such as Sgt. Rock, which I am reminded of here both in the music and comic book presentation.

Depending upon your age you might take a different influence in this album (If you're younger, you might not hear the older artists)  For some reason this album also makes me think of Hunter S. Thompson, which is never a bad thing.   For as long as there has been rock music there has been this trippy, psychedelic genre which The Burning Balloons just seem to perfectly capture here.   Whether this is your first time or you've been listening to music like this since the dawn of vinyl, this is an album not to be missed.  

Music Review //
Blake Red
"The Cradle"

Blake Red has found a genre of rock music which can touch upon the deepest realms of goth and metal, but also it remains as melodic as anything else I've ever heard.   Only once in a while does an artist such as Blake Red come along and there aren't many others to point at for comparison here because this style is not only so unique but it has been so perfectly crafted.  Others might attempt it, but they will not be able to conquer these same levels of musical achievements.

During the very first song, which happens to be the titular track, there is a break down towards the end.   This gets layered vocals, starts and stops, and then the drumming just seems to take over as well.  Though the music isn't really something you'd put on and immediately compare it with, this ending on the first song does make me think of System Of A Down.   This is just one of the examples on this EP as to how this can be thought of as metal without really being metal- or at least without being the type of metal you are perhaps used to hearing.

Big guitar chords with the vocals just belted out, this is a bit of Dead Sara and some of The Courtesans as well.    When you consider how many artists have created music since the dawn of rock, and the fact that these are the two main ones who I can compare this with- and that there are only two- it should just go to show you how special this is.   Though there are these heavier elements within the songs, I feel like any fan of rock music should be on board with this one.  

Quite possibly the biggest factor to consider within this EP though is not just how masterfully these songs are played but also the vibes which they give off.    Especially when we get to the end and hear the song "Follow Me", you can really feel the darkness and how the metal aspect of the music can make this feel borderline goth.   If there exists a genre for not quite metal and not quite goth music which just flat out rocks and also happens to be heavy on the melodies I am not aware of it, but Blake Red might have just created it.  

Music Review //
"A Series of Moments"

Throughout the songs on "A Series of Moments" there are several different eras of electronic music being explored.   On one hand, these songs can take on a pop feel, going back to the 1980's and 1990's.   At the same time they can jump right up to the 2000's and into the present.  It is all a matter of the song, but that chillwave / synthwave vibe found within each of them connects all of the songs together.  

From the very first song- "Something In The Way"- you can hear this influence of Ladytron, but also it feels a little bit like Debbie Gibson and something from that time period.   With big, expanding synth the eras can change and on "Mechanical" I can hear the Polly Scattergood, a more modern influence perhaps.   "Undone" really has a strong Madonna vibe to it and that 1980's / early 1990's Madonna sound is one which musicians don't seem to draw influence from enough.

"I Die" is an instrumental number, which has elements of Knight Rider in it complete with laser blasts.   This is important because it demonstrates how this album can remain essential even without the vocals, putting that emphasis on the musical aspects of this.   By the same token, the song "Mr Ciao!" reminds me of the Lady Gaga song "Alejandro", which brings it into a present and future sense of pop and electronic music.

Whatever your preferred style of music might be, if you enjoy something with a beat and something which you can dance to then Sines is creating music for your ears.    More impressive than the sounds which it seems to draw from are the eras of music because there isn't one specific account of electronic music but rather the entire genre broken down into individual songs.  

Monday, October 18, 2021

Music Review //
Francisco Martin

There exists a line between music which is pop and on the radio but then there is also this other version of pop where it's right along with the radio stuff but has some depth to it.   Francisco Martin has that line covered between pop enough for the radio but yet not overly pop.   "IF U NEED ME" has all of the elements which make up a pop song for the radio and yet it has all of the meaning and complex musical natures which can often times have a song not make it to radio airplay because radio listeners don't always like to think.

Even towards the end of this song you hear a shift in the way it sounds.  Most of this song can feel like it is acoustic but there is just a pop way about it that is somehow both uplifting and sad at the same time.  Is bittersweet pop a genre yet?  The music itself has that positive way about it, like you'd hear some singer on the radio being happy about, but with the lyrics it also feels like it's bringing me down a little bit because I read too much into them.  And then toward the end it just gets into a much darker type of sound, which most pop songs do not because this bridge of sorts breaks up what the radio would prefer to be more repetition.

During this music video there are a few different scenes but they all seem to take place within the same location, a place such as California.   What starts out in the city with walking around and even a shot of skateboarding turns into a beach scene.  As the lyrics suggest, that "If you need me, I'll come right away", I like to imagine that the protagonist of the video is at home and ends up going to this other person throughout the course of the video, finally finding them at the end.

Though this feels like the type of song you might hear during an animated Disney movie, I always think about the complexity of elements such as the lyrics.  Yes, it is about being there for someone, as the singer basically states that, but it does also make me feel a bit sad listening to it because this singer has directed these words at someone.  So what of the people who don't have someone who will be there for them?  Or what if someone cannot get to you in time when you need them?  This does feel sad in a being left out way, but I think that should just inspire everyone to look out for someone else so that no one is ever left out.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Music Review //
Chris Mardini
"Chris Mardini"
(Polar Bear Recordings)

// //

If you presented me with this self-titled album and told me that it was the future of music I would tell you that the future is looking good.   Throughout these songs by Chris Mardini, a few different styles of music are covered but they all bring us back to the same common factor which is a sound Chris Mardini has crafted and given new life to.    Through uncompromising melodies, these are songs which can be played at any time without offending and yet there is another layer to them as well.

On one part of this album there exists a sense of rock mixed with pop.   It reminds me of Plain White T's, but also on "Sleepless (Dry Eye)" there is that big pop radio sound which could be compared with someone such as Imagine Dragons or X Ambassadors.   It's that type of song which could be on either the alternative rock radio station or the pop one who plays artists like AJR and Mumford & Sons.   There is also just some great guitar work on this album, which in some ways makes it feel too complex for the radio and the masses but overall I think this should be mainstream.  

Another side of this album has what I like to call the Twenty One Pilots effect, as some of the words are spoken like a rap and there are beats in the songs, closing in on hip-hop.   This becomes apparent in "Herd", though it is also on "Grin" and really if you've listened to all of the Twenty One Pilots songs that you can you'll hear their influence throughout the entire album.   But as much as I feel like it has that influence of a radio artist I think between the two levels of this- the radio pop rock and Twenty One Pilots sound- it just showcases how well Chris Mardini has grabbed different styles of music and molded them into a sound all their own.  This especially becomes clear as "Herd" just drops off into a sea of distorted guitar chords.

Lines like "Run your mouth like it's a race" are ones you should be quoting.  The back and forth on "Herd" between "closest friends" and "my enemies" is truly powerful as well.   This self-titled album definitely has the type of way about it where you should listen to it first and just try and take in all of the sounds- the musical aspect of it.  After listening for a few more times, then you can begin to start focusing more directly on the lyrics and song meanings.  Putting these two things together though will undoubtedly leave you with an album which you will never forget.  

Music Review //
Louise Aubrie
(Carrot Bone Records)

Seeing the name of this album as "Antonio", of course, makes me think about who it could be about (it's not) and the first Antonio who comes to my mind.   It might be something where we can tell how old we are or what our influences are based upon what famous celebrity (or otherwise) comes to our mind first upon hearing the name Antonio.  Of course, for me, the first Antonio that comes to my mind is Antonio Banderas, which is likely that Robert Rodriguez influence over my life.

At first, "Antonio" sounds a little bit scary, in that haunted way which is good for this to be an album released in October.   At times this sound reminds me of Blondie, but there is also this fast paced punk rock way about it that I can't put my finger on.   The guitars really shine on "Bang" and while it has that sound like The Donnas it is also mixed with elements of Delta Dart.   It's rock n roll, somewhat Dance Hall Crashers and then even though it has synths the vibe of "Lost" makes me think of The Cranberries.

There is a horn section on "Hard" while there are some nice electronics on "Dark".   Every song has a one word title, though the lyrics are definitely worth paying attention to.   There are songs which name drop Antonio, but it doesn't appear in any specific way which makes you think it's about the Antonio that you know.  I also really enjoy the energy behind the last song, "Lies", which is a great example of both going out with a bang and always leaving them wanting more.

When I first put this album on I was looking for that comparison from another artist in the sense of a band.  I thought it might be like The Runaways, but the more I listen to it I feel like Louise Aubrie is like Joan Jett.  There is that presence of stardom which can come from other artists such as P!nk, Cher and Dolly Parton which make me feel like Louise Aubrie is much bigger than the music itself.    These are really exceptional songs but it also just feels like part of the bigger picture and that is one you should also see.

Music Review //
Davey Long


I've often thought about the idea presented in this song- that we are all flesh and blood.  Simple things we do seem mundane to me.   Brushing your teeth or sleeping, for example.   However you choose to believe that human beings came about, I feel like we are rather flawed to a point where why wouldn't you make it so we didn't have to shower?  Why couldn't our bodies be self-cleaning?  And why is it so easy for something sharp to puncture our veins and kill us?  Our skin should be indestructable.  At least, if I was creating the entire human race that might be some place I'd start.

Through acoustic melodies, pianos come through like Coldplay and this song has an overall enjoyable sound to it.   It can feel a little bit trippy in the background, like Pink Floyd, but there still just exists that mainstream radio vibe that makes me feel like this should be played everywhere in an effort to bring all people together.   There exists not only that message in the lyrics, but within the music itself as I feel like this song has a little bit of something for everyone in the recipe without sounding exactly like one specific genre.

The music video for "FLESH & BLOOD" has switching scenes from the woods to the city.  There is also someone drumming in the middle of a field with a path cut out to get to that one spot and I find that kind of neat.   People, by nature, have many differences but I've always felt like one of the biggest ones was that some people live in the city while others live in the country.  People in the city can view the country people a certain way- such as being backwards- while the country folk can think of the city life as being too fast paced and those who live it are also a particular way, almost like opposites.

Combining these visuals with the lyrics might not be the big "We Are The World" hit that it should be because I'm inclined to believe that there will likely always be someone who doesn't like someone else for no reason at all- people will always have their differences because it just seems to be their way.   But, if this song and Davey Long can somehow bring any amount of people together- no matter how big or how small- then it is a success.  

Music Review //
Arktik Lake
"Shimmer EP" (feat. Marty Willson-Piper)
(ToneZone Records)

The sound of Arktik Lake is not an easy one to pin down, however it does embody that rock and roll sound which is so desperately needed in the world today.  Somewhere between being a western and finding its way into Americana, the "Shimmer EP" has a little bit of something for everyone who enjoys guitar-based songs.

At first I hear what comes out of the realm of classic rock.  There is some Toad the Wet Sprocket and even The Wallflowers.   "Hombre" is a purely instrumental song which makes me think of a film such as "Rango" but also it makes me think just as much of a band such as The Doors.   The way that Arktik Lake can be within both of those genres at the same time is not something I think an artist has ever done before.

"Promises We Made" is easily the single of this album, combining the sounds of someone such as Jim Carroll with that of Fastball.  And I think that's where this album really defines itself as well.  Back in those mid to late 1990's after grunge was going away, the modern rock radio stations were playing songs which didn't sound too much like each other and bands like Cake, The Wallflowers, Better Than Ezra, Fastball and Harvey Danger would emerge.

Though this can have those classic elements to it, the overall sound here is one of the future.  It's about a radio station having artists which all sound too similar.  It's about finding something different to listen to, starting a new trend.  Arktik Lake is not a band who sounds like other bands as much as I feel like they will end up becoming that band that a lot of other bands sound like.  

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Chaotic Wrestling
A Haunting In Tewksbury
@ Tewksbury Elks Lodge, Tewksbury, MA

// //

When people have been saying that traffic is getting worse, they aren't lying.  The first rest stop we usually go to on the Mass Pike was closed because someone had an accident and this caused traffic around that area to back up for quite a bit.  On top of that, when we switched over to the 495 we were in heavy traffic to the point where the map said "You have 21 miles to go and it's going to take you 54 minutes".   Just crazy stuff out here in the world of highways, but Quentin was off from school for a teacher day so we were able to leave early enough to still make it before doors opened.

Once inside we found our seats and I was surprised that we were dead center in the front row on the hard cam side because those seem like premium seats to me.   Quentin and I hit the bathroom while Jess guarded our stuff and when we came back The Higher Society was in the ring for some reason.   This may not be something that airs, but The Highers had a few different wrestlers out and they were doing different things to try and become a member of The Higher Society.  I wasn't really pulling for any of them and I was just sort of confused but the Sparta wrestler "won" and then was to accompany Armani Kayos for a match later on that night.

The show officially opened with Ricky Smokes coming out and demanding a match.   This lead to the entrance music hitting and the crowd going wild as Brian Milonas made his way to the ring.  For quite a bit of this match, Brian Milonas just beat the hell out of Ricky Smokes and it was fun to see.  Somehow, Ricky Smokes got the win and everyone there was surprised.   Still, a good match by fan favorite Brian Milonas and I'd definitely like to see him back in Chaotic sooner rather than later.

Our first title match of the evening saw Becca successfully defend the Pan Optic Championship against JT Dunn.  As much as this crowd was on the side of Becca, they were against JT Dunn.   It's great to have matches where you want to cheer both competitors (more on that later) but it's also nice to sometimes just have that clear direction of: Cheer Becca, Boo JT Dunn.  This was a really good, hard-hitting match and Becca has been putting in the work since this became the Pan Optic Championship.   But, to be fair, Becca has just been putting in the work since she debuted for Chaotic Wrestling.

After the match it looked like there would be a show of respect until JT Dunn laid out Becca with an elbow.  This took us right into MSP vs The Unit for the Tag Team Titles, as all four of these wrestlers came out along with Chase Del Monte.   Chase Del Monte told JT Dunn that if he got involved in the match then the titles would be stripped from The Unit.  Ace Romero and Mike Verna were defending the titles, which were won by Ace Romero, Trigga The O.G. and Danny Miles.  Where were Danny Miles and Trigga The O.G.?  Who knows.  But it's funny how both JT Dunn and Mike Verna can claim that they are Tag Team Champions when they weren't even in that match back at Summer Chaos.

So The Unit won their first of two title defenses and no one was happy about it.   MSP is really one of the biggest fan favorites in Chaotic right now and they didn't even get an actual entrance here.   I know they'll be back though.  This isn't the end of things between MSP and The Unit, as it seems like no one ever really has finished business with The Unit.  Until The Unit is somehow forced to disband, this story is going to keep going on and on.

Armani Kayos came out next with Paris Van Dale and that Sparta wrestler for an open challenge.  This match was accepted by Bobby Orlando and though they stopped playing his theme song through the speakers we kept singing it.   I fully expected that with this being basically a three on one match up, Bobby Orlando was going to lose but the attempted interference by Sparta backfired and Bobby Orlando got the win.   Now, not only do I want to see Shook Crew vs The Highers but I also think that Armani and Paris have to go back to the proverbial drawing board in their search for a new Higher.   (My Personal Pick: Jessie Nolan, but then I'd have to cheer them)

The next match could have easily been the main event of the evening and it could easily main event any other number of promotions.   Brad Cashew defended the New England Championship against Ace Austin and it was one of those Match Of The Year contenders just for the pure athletic value of it.   Whether you watch Chaotic, whether you watch Impact, whether you like a certain style of wrestling or not this is just a match which everyone who calls themselves a fan of professional wrestling should go out of their way to see.


This match also took us into intermission.  I never really know what it's going to be like in terms of buying merch from wrestlers at shows because sometimes they come take photos and sell merch and other times they don't.   I didn't know whether or not Ace Austin would sell merch but he went straight from the ring to the merch table and had an immediate line.   Let me tell you: from the time intermission started until it ended, Ace Austin was there taking photos, signing autographs and selling merch the entire time.   I'm not going to speculate how much money he made just on merch alone that night (Though I know how much I gave him and you can see my merch purchases over on Instagram) but I just think it's cool he stayed for every last fan.

The last few fans were still there as the show came back from intermission and after the show Ace Austin came back out to the merch table again and was still selling merch.  This was unlike anyone else selling merch I'd ever seen before, but there is a reason for it.  Aside from being an amazing professional wrestler, Ace Austin seems to have his merch game down to a science.  Along with t-shirts and 8x10's, Ace Austin was selling posters, trading cards, playing cards, a Micro Brawler and a few other items as well.   And it wasn't just merch for the sake of merch- everything was so badass and it all made me go "I want that!"

Following intermission, the second of the Tag Team Championship matches happened, however Chase Del Monte teamed with Love In The City because JT Dunn wanted to get involved so badly.   This match was a lot of fun and I was really hoping for LITC to pick up the win because it would not only mean that The Unit would be without any gold it would also create an interesting dynamic between MSP and LITC.   But The Unit did what they do and that's win by any means necessary.  I'm not sure how, but this whole thing has to conclude with The Unit vs Chaotic in some form of War Games, right??

Next we had Shannon LeVangie (who recently earned a spot on the Chaotic roster) come out and issue a challenge to Ava Everett, who had been doing social media at ringside all night.  Ava Everett basically said no and had Aaron Rourke come out to face Shannon LeVangie instead.  Aaron Rourke actually lost the match and this should all result one day in Shannon vs Ava one on one, but before that I think Shannon LeVangie needs to find herself.  I look at Shannon LeVangie as being a lot like Becca was when she debuted.  She was Basic Becca for a little bit.  But look at how far Becca has come now!  Shannon LeVangie just needs to find her scrunchie.

This sent us into the main event which saw Davienne defend the Chaotic Heavyweight Championship against Anthony Greene.   JT Dunn came out to watch this match because it needed a bad guy and they played a little bit into AG possibly joining The Unit but we all know Anthony Greene is out for the gold not for putting his hands together and saying "Take the pledge".    This was a really good match and me not knowing who to cheer for because I love them both so much is a good problem to have.

I'm not really sure that any promotion out there is creating better shows right now than Chaotic Wrestling.  I say this simply because their matches always deliver, but that also is because of the talent which is in the company and the talent which they bring in from the outside.  As an example to this, the next Chaotic show is called "The Balance Of Power" and will feature Eddie Edwards.   I said to Jess that I would really like to see Eddie Edwards vs JT Dunn.  I think that would just be a spectacular match.   But then, as I thought about it, I realized while that match was my first thought, it doesn't matter who Eddie Edwards faces at "The Balance Of Power" because he'll have a great match with anyone on the Chaotic roster.

You also have to think about how Chaotic Wrestling has stars who have made their way up the ladder and been with the company forever, such as Davienne, JT Dunn, Mike Verna and Chase Del Monte, while Chaotic is also creating new stars at the same time.   Far too many wrestling promotions (you know who you are) are not capable of creating new stars but rather just poach talent when they become popular somewhere else first.    I might be biased because of where we live, and I realize every wrestling company has something different to offer (or at least they should) but I'd say right now Chaotic Wrestling is the best wrestling promotion in the world hands down.

Music Review //


While artists have come through with music videos, SOMEFINN describes this particular video for "Contact" as "a short film" and I believe it is worthy enough to be discussed at great length.  The video opens with someone who is blindfolded flipping through channels on a television.  As someone who has very bad eye sight, I've always wondered why there weren't more modern remedies for it.   There should be some form of robot eyes by now that we can use to see and have in place of our own eyes, right?  With how many people in the world wear glasses, it just seems like it should be a higher priority.

The scene in the music video switches over to a woman pole dancing on a beach.  This later becomes the same woman pole dancing in a club while the blindfolded person from earlier is present.  Ultimately, the pole dancing woman ends up back on the beach with no one else around.  If nothing else, the contrast between the beach and the club should show you that this woman was wearing the same outfit in each shot and so there feels like there is some connection there between being at a club and being on the beach. (People can condemn women for being half naked at a strip club but at the beach it's totally acceptable)

In the sense that this song is called "Contact" though, I think about how people who cannot see have to use touch in order to guide themselves.   This is that Daredevil idea of one of your five senses not working so the others become heightened.   If I had to choose which of my five senses I could no longer have, I'd have to pick the sense of smell.  The amount of bad smells in this world greatly outweighs the number of good smells so I don't feel like I'd really be missing much and if anything it might work to my advantage.

Through melodic rock which reminds me a bit of The Killers, SOMEFINN have created a song which you should have in your playlists and be listening to just because it can stand so well on its own merits.  But much like "November Rain" or "Black Hole Sun", "Contact" is also a song that you will not be able to erase the memory of the video from your mind once you see it-- the sound and the video will forever be connected.   It may not be what SOMEFINN had in mind with this song, but the way the two things go together does feel like a form of contact.  

Music Review //
"Catharsis" //

"Catharsis" is an instrumental album full of sounds which can range from being chill to being rather intense.   I am particularly a fan of playing this entire album through from start to finish, as if you are able to experience it in one sitting there is a difference than if you take out individual songs as singles.   

Opening up with the song "Acceptance", the vibe is chill and rather percussion heavy.  "Virtues of Isolation" is just under a minute in length and feels more like an interlude as there are warped vocals with the sounds of water.  "Seeds of Faith" (Isolation Mix) has these strings about it like a snakecharmer in a trance loop and I feel like I've heard something similar once before in a Blue October song but I can't quite place the instrument.

Drums return on "Shadow Work", but this time in a more traditional drumming way, as there are also lasers, beeps and bloops.   A sweet guitar riff also makes it way into the song "Shadow Work" and it seems to draw an influence from Incubus.   There is a sound of bees on the fifth track, "Dreamtime", which then expands into the darkest of realms before becoming a little bit of a funky dance number, proving nothing is out of the ordinary for Marc E.

"Ethereal Glade" has birds at the end of it which carry over into the following song, "Surrenduring to Now".  Acoustic guitar strums and claps take us into a more calm place, but by the time this album reaches it end it feels as if we have been through a storm.  This only seems fitting because I feel like as we reach the end the rain would wash away whatever you wanted to be rid of by the end of this album, as this experience would definitely have you coming out from it different than how you went in.  

Music Review //
Tino Ojeda
"Almighty God/Poderoso Dios"

Right away, I see the title "Almighty God" and I know what this one is about.   I have a thing about music where it feels like it's about something which excludes a group of people.  This doesn't just apply to religion, but things like songs about being straight edge or vegan could also limit the number of people you will be able to hear your song.  A lot of people out there will look at this song by Tino Ojeda and right away see that it has "God" in the title and not listen to it because either they don't believe in God or just don't like what can be referred to as "church music".

I actually do enjoy the calming, non-threatening pianos and guitar sound on this one.  But let's face it, there have been too many songs out there about God that just all sound the same.  And if you are someone who so deeply believes in God that you listen to the songs which are about God, then odds are good that you're going to listen to this one and enjoy it just because those type of music listeners tend to listen to all of the music about God regardless of how good or bad it is (But hey! It's about God!)

In some ways, I guess I feel like music about God is the same as holiday music.  Though mass retail and Mariah Carey may say otherwise I think there is this very short period of time between December 1st and December 24th when it is acceptable to listen to "Christmas music".  But you put a "Christmas song" on in the middle of July and I'm turning it right off.  Though neither a holiday nor a season, I think this type of "Christian music" also has a time and a place.   Inside of a church is one of those places, but for me, in my life and day to day I just don't have the fit.

Regardless of how good this song might be- and I do enjoy the composition of it- the fact is that it is for a very specific group of music listeners (Though who believe in God so much that they like to listen to songs about God) and in that way it also feels very direct.  Without even hearing this song and just knowing what it is about based upon the name, you've probably already determined whether or not you will listen to it.   And that is to be expected as there really is no middle ground here.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Music Review //
Pistol Wit Da Bangaz
"Audio Pablo"


As someone who grew up listening to hip hop on cassettes, I really appreciate the fact that I can hear the song "Audio Pablo" and not immediately think it sounds like someone such as Dr Dre or 2Pac.   In fact, I can recognize this song as hip hop because of the beats and the lyrical content but I'm not really sure otherwise who to place it with for an influence.  The beats have that bounce in the trunk feeling to them, like "Forgot About Dre", but even the voice on the rapping is different from anything I've ever heard.

The lyrics really seem to reflect that this is original musically, but there are also those lines about wanting to get rich and the things which, let's face it, the majority of people think about.  There also feels like this idea which needs to be discussed about what is wanted and what is owed.  While many people have that concept in their mind of making a lot of money, not everyone does make a lot of money for various reasons.   "Audio Pablo" has more a mindset about it, as a song, where they want money because they have the talent and deserve the money and I respect that.

While this video has a song that should be played loudly throughout your speakers, there is also a music video which needs to be watched.   Fully animated, there is a character at first running from the cops and then later on is on stage getting paid.   This video reminds me a lot of what Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" might have been like if it was a hip hop song instead.    In some ways the video also reminds me of a video game such as GTA and not just because of the style in which it is animated.

Far too often I feel like I'm petitioning to bring music videos back to MTV or for someone to make something similar because "Audio Pablo" would end up on there and be enjoyed by everyone who sees it in such a huge way.  On top of that, Pistol Wit Da Bangaz has created a song here which defies hip hop genres, paves its own way from the past to the future and overall should just be blasting out of your trunk.  

Music Review //
My Autumn Amor
"Quiet Girl" //

While the music of My Autumn Amor can begin with dark acoustics, as it spreads out during the course of this EP you can hear several different sounds taking us into various levels of pop.   One thing I do enjoy about My Autumn Amor is that the word "Autumn" is in their name, as it feels like most artists want to either focus on the bright sunshine of summer or the cold snow of winter.  Autumn is an underrated season in music and though "Quiet Girl" was released back in July, it is a good time now (as it is Autumn) to be listening to this EP.

Though the titular track, which opens the EP, can have that Pink Floyd trippy way about it, the second song- "RSVP"- becomes more of a pop song but like Owl City or Ben Folds.   "Tempest Eye" takes us into the keys and it's a place we somewhat stay.   My Autumn Amor has this way of creating rock based music but with the sound of keys and so it takes on something I haven't heard before.  I've heard quite a few bands come along with the keys in that sort of ska way- a punk band such as Digger for example- and even with the pop on the radio, My Autumn Amor just seems to be forging their own path.

As lasers are fired during the last song you can hear the line repeated: "And you will rise again in time".   This is particularly interesting to me, to go out on that line in a sense, because Winter comes along and kills everything but then the Spring brings it back.  So how much more of an Autumn hint do you need within these songs than that single line?  And how clever is it that if it had left out the "in time" part then this could have been thought of as being in the Spring time rather than the Autumn.

Autumn has always been my favorite season because the summer can be too hot, the winter can be too cold and I'd rather go from warm to cold than cold to warm as the Spring does.  Summer and Winter each have their own moods in music and Spring also does when you think about things as being in bloom.   I've never really thought about the sound of Autumn though, as I typically just jump right from Summer to Winter, and so in that way, My Autumn Amor has not only created a genre for rock music but also for an entire season.  

Music Review //
Devin Reardon
"Take Me To The Coast" //

One thing that I've always thought to be true, as someone who has spent the majority of their life living on the east coast, is that there has always been this feeling amongst those on the east coast to one day want to move to the west coast, specifically California.  I'm not sure what people who live in the middle of the United States want to do, but there has been this long standing idea of people not wanting to be on the east coast and rather the west coast.  In some ways, you could think about this Devin Reardon song in that way, but it is also just specifically about going to the beach.

As far as "Take Me To The Coast" goes, I feel like I am on a similar wave length as Devin Reardon because as a child when my parents would take me to the beach, or even in my teenage years if someone wanted to go, it wasn't always the most fun experience for me.   This might sound weird, but I think I specifically felt that way because no matter what you did you always seemed to come home with sand and you'd find it still on yourself for days.  In my later years, more recently, I've come to love the beach and the fact that there is sand in my car has become somewhat of a badge of pride for me.

With elements that can range from Jimmy Buffet to Beach Boys, Devin Reardon brings about a guitar driven song which is at a moderate tempo.   At one point into the song, it just really kicks in and begins going faster.   It is in ths way I can think of it as being almost like ska, almost like the second or third album by Catch 22 (The Victory Records one)   Part way between beach party song and punk rock anthem, Devin Reardon really is creating a unique style of music here which is exceptionally great for the sunshine.

During this song, there is a story being told about the singer going from not liking the beach to liking it and then that feeling becomes bittersweet.   This is a good reflection of life because throughout our time on this planet we're going to come across things which we may not have known about before but were exposed to because of someone in our life who then went on to leave our life.   As much as "Take Me To The Coast" can be about the straight forward idea of going to the beach, I also like to imagine it as having some underlying meaning about learning things from people you may no longer care about.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Wrestling Review //
Test of Strength
Halloween Throwdown 2
Waterbury, CT

During the last full week of September- prior to the week of this show- Quentin and I were in Florida (at Disney) so we missed a few wrestling shows along the way.   This also made it so that the last wrestling show we went to was Pro Wrestling Magic and before that was the previous Test of Strength show.  Usually, it feels like we go to ten other wrestling shows before we get back to TOS again but this time it felt more like we were picking up where we left off since the two shows felt closer together somehow.

Halloween Throwdown 2 opened up with the Brick City Boyz taking on The Firm for the Tag Team Championship.   What's funny is that you might wonder why the Brick City Boyz just seemingly get to come into TOS and are given a title shot, but if you look at the name of the promotion it is about testing your strength so why not.   I've also seen the BCB twice before- in BST and PWM- and both times they were heels.  This is one of those things that TOS does that I love and it's they can turn a heel team into faces just by putting them up against bigger heels.

As there were chants of "Brick City Sucks" someone in the crowd yelled "Not today" and that immediately got the crowd on the side of the challengers.   This was such a fun match because Sammy Diaz and Elijah 6 play the perfect heels.   Eli came outside of the ring at one point and asked us "How are y'all doing?" and after we replied he said "I don't care!"-- a true heel move.  The crowd was firmly on the side of Brick City, something I had never seen before, but they just couldn't overcome the numbers game.

This took us into what was one of my most anticipated matches of the show: Karen Bam Bam vs Evie De La Rosa.  This was the first time that we were seeing Karen Bam Bam without the TOS Title and that was because of Evie De La Rosa.  It's one thing to get on that bad side of Karen Bam Bam by costing her a match but it's even worse to cost her the title.   This one broke down into shenanigans as Dan DeMan and Brother Greatness came out to attack Karen Bam Bam.  Dan DeMan was dressed like The Joker, which was a cool Halloween costume four or more years ago.

To show how truly twisted the mind of Dan DeMan is though, you have to wonder why someone who doesn't believe women should be in the same ring as him is going against Karen Bam Bam when she is clearly better.   It's not a fight that any wrestler in their right mind would really pick.  But on top of that, Dan DeMan (and Brother Greatness) then began working with Evie De La Rosa to attack Karen Bam Bam.   What makes Evie De La Rosa exempt from the whole "women in wrestling" rule?  You can't say women don't belong in your ring and then bring a woman into your little faction.  But I'm sure Dan "Not Cruella" DaMan will have a video posted somewhere that addresses this.

I've seen Ben Ruten before, as he has appeared for such promotions as Camp Leapfrog.  I was excited to see him live for the first time but the crowd was against him because they just love Ryan Fraust so much.  I must note though that after this match, Ben Ruten and Ryan Fraust shook hands out of respect and it was a classy move.   I really want to start seeing Ben Ruten everywhere and in the future I'm pretty sure that I will.

One of the funnier sides of TOS lately has been TJ Howell III playing caddy to Ryan Fraust.  To be fair, Cold Cash broke up when TJ Howell III thought he could turn on Ryan Fraust without consequences, so, it only seems fitting.  At one point during the match, TJ Howell III said "My name is TJ!" but I pretended like he said "CJ" and asked him if the "C" stood for "caddy".  When the wrestlers stand in front of us then get so annoyed they move away I know I've done my job as a fan.

This match also went into an impromptu match between TJ Howell III (who was dressed like he worked at Staples, but really his shirt said Statefarm-- for the record my insurance is Progressive) and a man simply known as Vlad who just flat out destroyed the former caddy of Ryan Fraust.   I'm not sure the business between Howell and Fraust is over- I'm not sure it ever will be- but this was a happy ending to the story for now.

A six way Number One Contender match was up next and the amount of talent in this thing was crazy.  Jordyn Rowe came out first and was another one of the wrestlers who moved away from us because we kept taunting him.   He also headed towards the exit when Bonez came out because he was scared and rightfully so.  I always feel like I live in my own little bubble when it comes to wrestling in the sense that I like who I like without paying so much attention to the crowd reactions the wrestlers get on the whole.  Bonez is just one of those wrestlers that might largely be a heel elsewhere but you couldn't convince me of it because I absolutely love everything about him.

Interestingly enough, during this match we got a Bonez chant going and he seemed into it.   This match also featured Bobby Ocean, SWB, Jora Johl and Danny Miles.   I had the pleasure of Danny Miles being knocked out of the ring right in front of me so I got to tell him that he was the worst member of The Unit.  I still feel like there's unfinished business between Jordyn Rowe and SWB that calls for a one on one match, but really anyone in this match versus anyone else in this match one on one is money waiting to be deposited.   

From a six way into a tag team four way, we got to see one of my new favorite tag teams in Hippy Dicky Moon & Love, Doug or as they will now be known: Peace & Love.   I know Love, Doug is part of Love In The City with TJ Crawford but someone can be a member of two tag teams at the same time, right?  There's enough love to go around.   I really want to see them together more!   This match also featured the returning duo of The Notorious Mimi & Encore Moore, JC Storm was with one half of The Haven and Dan DeMan was in this match with Brother Greatness.  I will say that the interactions between Dan DeMan and Brother Greatness are a great reason to keep them together as a tag team.

During this match, Brother Greatness kept looking for Mike Skyros and at some point early on we (as the crowd) found out that if we yelled "He's behind you!" or "He's over there!", Brother Greatness would look and be tricked.  At one point, Love, Doug put Brother Greatness' jacket under the ring and I then told Brother Greatness that Skyros was under the ring.   It's the little things such as that which make everything about professional wrestling such a delight for me.

We pushed right through without an intermission (I assume because of the NEW show later that night) and we went into a tag team match featuring The Shook Crew vs Miracle Generation.   As much as Dustin Waller and Kylon King pull out the show-stealing matches in singles competition, when they are together it just works so well.  The Shook Crew also came out dressed as each other, which was a little bit confusing and for a brief moment in time Bryce was my mom.   I really love seeing Shook Crew everywhere that I can and Miracle Generation is just consistently putting on the best matches so you know this went down just ever so perfectly.

In the semi-main event, VSK took on Magnificent Marcos for the TOS Championship, which still feels odd to say.  I thought that the GM of TOS would be impartial but Alex Rojas got into the ring before the match to do the introduction for Magnificent Marcos.   I'm probably just reading too much into it, but I still feel like a swerve is coming and Alex Rojas has been pulling the strings to get Marcos where he is and to keep him there.  VSK had this match won on more than one occasion but Honest Abe had to get involved when he should've been thrown out.  But, if we're being fair, Marcos should've been thrown out for stealing Brutus Beefcake's tights.  

The main event saw two of the best in TOS go at it in a hard-hitting, fast paced style.  Mike Skyros was bested by Ichiban on this day to crown a new Champion but in a sign of pure class even Mike Skyros himself admitted that Ichiban was just the better man that day.    As a fan of Ichiban, I am happy for him (and the place just exploded when he won) but I also felt confused and it was bittersweet that Mike Skyros lost.    Without thinking about Ichiban at all and just taking the title loss as a negative, I feel like the positive which could come from it would be for Mike Skyros to get a shot at that TOS Championship and end the reign of Marcos.  

As we head into the end of the year, it's interesting to think about the recent changes to TOS and how it will make their 2022 look.   Ichiban will have a target on his back now.  Jay Freddie will hopefully return one day to go one on one with TJ Crawford and reclaim the tag team titles he never lost with SWB.   But a tag team title shot for Peace & Love would also be cool.   And when will Dan DeMan finally learn that women are equal?  I don't know, but I'm here for the ride and it's a lot of fun.