Friday, April 29, 2022

Music Review //
Francisco Martin
"Kissing On A Balcony"

If music isn't making you feel something then I don't think it's doing its job.  Songs can be good without emotion, but Francisco Martin seems to really capture just so much emotion in his songs, as they always feel like such a mood.  With "Kissing On A Balcony", that mood is one of summer.  It is one of sunshine and just what many people imagine California being like with the beach, sunglasses, shorts, rollerblades, ice cream, etc.  

Through the music itself, Francisco Martin creates synths and bass in a very upbeat and pop way.   Not only is this the type of song which should definitely be on the radio, it is the type of song which should definitely be on the radio right now because we are moving into summer.  This has those qualities which make for a huge summer hit, which reminds me of "Cool For The Summer", though the two songs aren't that closely related outside of the overall moods which they present.

Lyrically, this song is daring.  Personally I am not one who would be a fan of what the title suggests because I am afraid of heights.   I think that is what the title is about in a lot of ways though because you have that passion of kissing and it is intensified when there is that element of danger.  A line such as: "You feel like summer when it's raining" also hits directly because I've been swimming in the rain in summer before and it's just not the same as when it's raining during any other season.

As much as I like to think about songs being on the radio, the truth is that the radio isn't really as big as it once was because if you were so inclined to spend the summer listening to this song all you would have to do is add it to your playlist on Spotify, for example, or add this video if you're going to put it up on a screen indoors.  But really this is that type of song where you want to have speakers with your phone and let it blast at the beach.  It's that much fun and that much summer.  

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Music Review //
Stevie Cornell
"Stevie Cornell"
(Sonoma-Sonic Records)

There is a very distinct sound within this self-titled album by Stevie Cornell.   This sound can take you back to a time when song titles were in the chorus and overall this just has that dreamy rock n roll vibe like Buddy Holly and that era of rock music.   Though it is dreamy at times it can also feel like a little bit of country and there is just a certain way which this type of music has those leanings.

"I Couldn't Reach You", for example, has that type of country walking/wandering sound to it.  "Sailboat" comes out more like a folk song in that Simon & Garfunkel way, though it does eventually kick in at times.   "I'm In A Dream" makes me think of certain melodies from the 1960's and even 1970's as it has a familiar feel which I just can't seem to put my finger on.  But, as with a lot of this album, the song also has those country undertones.

Nice guitars and a little bit of Dylan round out "Hope Came By Today" as "Black Hole in My Heart" feels like that serious spy theme.   "Sarah" has those acoustics and as the title suggests it just comes out much like a love ballad.  So many of these songs are straight and to the point with the lyrics, but if you're into dreamy/country/folk rock music then you're probably already aware of what that content might be.

Music can really create a mood and if you're listening to Stevie Cornell then odds are you know what that mood is.  Perhaps you didn't grow up watching commercials where they promised to send you the best hits of some genre for a low price on several CDs and that is how you know all of the Buddy Holly-type songs that you do.  (Why must I be a teen angel in love?) But you will have heard a similar sound at some point in your life and that's why this album will resonate with you.

Music Review //
Amo Jr


A few things jump out right away when listening to the song "Emotions" by Amo Jr.  For one thing, the vocals on this are rather distinct as they can feel at times like they're going up and down.   This is similar in what I think of someone like Elvis Costello doing in his later years, when he might also be playing while sitting in front of a piano.

The sound of Amo Jr is also going to grab you right away.  The song is primarily these vocals mixed with a piano and then at times percussion can be heard in the background.  There is also a flute solo.  If you told me that Amo Jr used a local church to record this song- instruments and all- I would not hesitate to believe you.  It also just happens to have that Hozier feel about it as well.

Lyrically this song is about what the title states.  The chorus of "Show me your emotions please / you are a mystery" is something which I think people can relate to when it comes to our interactions with others no matter how long we've known them.  I have family members whom I've known my entire life and still can't read their emotions because they just don't let them show.  

This music video is mostly shown inside of what appears to be a recording studio with the singing and instruments being played.   Somehow this adds a level of humanity to the song and does make the overall experience better.  As humans, we have emotions which we can express and so as this song seems to also want to do, we should express those feelings, not feel badly about them and just live our lives.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Music Review //
Killed by The Architects
"Tabula Rasa"

There are a few ideas out there which feel like they have come into my life in various forms and have stuck with my since my teenage years and one of them is Tabula Rasa.   The concept of Tabula Rasa is that no one is born with any certain set of knowledge and all that we know comes from experience.   This is a nice title for an album (I do believe at one point there was at least one band named Tabula Rasa as well, the Pittsburgh one) as I feel like a lot of what comes out in these songs isn't direct but rather based on what we know from our past.

Killed by The Architects begins "Tabula Rasa" with a dark and driving sound.  As this begins to feel like it is classic rock, it also pushes those boundaries into the MPLS scene as "I'm in Love" can have a certain Soul Asylum feel.   As the album goes on, the mood seems to change.  Some of that trippy-ness from The Flaming Lips can be heard and as we get into "If I Don't Know What You Want" it can even begin to sound like a bit of shoegaze.

With lines like: "Now there's just one thing I can't explain: why I'm in love" and "Because I don't fit in / No matter what I do" this album definitely feels like it's about finding oneself.  Even the song "Lost at Sea" can feel like a more direct representation of this, with the line "I have no one else but me".  The lyrics can be relatable if you're struggling with your place on this blue and green marble and lines can be pulled out and quoted in many different ways.

Windy distortion clouds fill "Move Mountains" and by the end I'm left thinking about the Pixies as well.  There exists a genre of music which doesn't really get enough credit and doesn't really have a name but it came after grunge was kind of fading out but also during the time of grunge and just featured rock bands who were making a distinct sound but weren't grunge.  This is how I feel about Killed by The Architects and if you're a fan of special rock music then this will be perfect for you.

Music Review //
Ajay Mathur
"Talking Loud"

As Ajay Mathur has released several singles from "Talking Loud" prior to the release of this album this should feel somewhat comfortable when listening on a whole because of the singles with which you should already be familiar.   Ajay Mathur explores various aspects of rock and pop music from the past and the present, though "Talking Loud" primarily feels like an energetic, upbeat album full of fun.

Right away I can hear Billy Joel in the first song and it just has that pop rock quality to it.  With killer guitar solos, the song "Real" comes in like That Thing You Do! while "Don't Want The Phone To Ring" has a distinct Wallflowers way about it.  "Ain't Going Nowhere" can have that classic ZZ Top type of vibe and then the titular track on 5 is just plain funky.  Big pianos come through on "Anytime At All", which has a huge power ballad way about it.

"Common Mistake" seems to channel the music of Bob Dylan while those gospel keys come out.  "Stuck On 75" is full of horns and fun, a real Huey Lewis type of mentality as it could be the theme song from a film in the 1980's or early 1990's.   "Comedian" has those serious almost sad strings in it while the strings on "Reasons To Cry" feel more like the sitar.  

Though a lot of the rock music on this album would take place before the 21st Century, I also feel like it would be a great release to hear on cassette back in the day, specifically with one of those big anti-theft devices over it and for $14.99 from K-Mart (which was a lot for a cassette back then) With that distinct vibe "Talking Loud" is an album you can put on and just listen through the entire thing without ever worrying about having to skip a track and that's nice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Music Review //
Chris Ianuzzi

Prior to the release of the album "Maze", Chris Ianuzzi released "March of Madness" as a single and if you listened to that song you would have felt like it was a descent into madness.  In many ways, the entire album "Maze" can feel as if it is taking off into some sort of controlled chaos, a bit of madness and with all of the twists and turns that the sounds and moods shape the title is only fitting.

Right away, the album opens up with this industrial thrash sound that reminds me of The Prodigy.  There are a lot of influences in here that can be pulled out at various times but overall that sense of energy always seems to remain.   There is a drive through electronic distortion and I must name drop artists such as Nine Inch Nails as well as Oingo Boingo, who I've been listening to a lot more lately so that might also play its role.

"Saturday Night Confession" has more synth on it and can lean more towards the darkwave side of things.   Percussion, guitars and glitched out beats make me think of The Illegal Wiretaps on "So Far So Near" as we hear the line: "Down is up and up is down".  At times this does remind me of that tunnel boat ride Willy Wonka went on, but at times it can also make me think of the Mad Hatter and a song he might sing if Alice In Wonderland were to be directed by Guillermo del Toro.

"Shuttles" is instrumental, as becomes somewhat of the norm as the album goes on, and there are moments when I think of Doctor Who and moments when it just feels more fun, like a carnival ride.  It can feel like a video game- but an old school one- and by "Setagaya" there is that "Stranger Things" bass and robotic electronics.   However you should choose to experience this one, it is going to take you on a powerful trip.  Brace yourself.  

Music Review //
"January 22"

When "January 22" first starts it's hard not to imagine it as being like something off of the "Halloween" soundtrack.  It also feels as if we're about to go into a song by Evanescence, which on this first track isn't that far from the truth.  As Whitbeck takes us through this album the songs can change in their style but they overall just have this rock quality which can cross boundaries between punk and metal, yet always remain dark.

Other artists which you could compare Whitbeck with really depend upon the song.  There is an overall feeling of bands such as Blue October and Hinder, and especially Blue October because of the variety in these songs.  "Jan 22", the titular track of sorts, has more of a ballad feel to it while "Just A Little" feels even lighter and is a bit more catchy.  One of the bands I really relate this entire album with as well is Seether.

"Carpe Diem Sunrise" has big keys while "Cinema" feels more melodic, like that "Just What I Needed" song and also in the way that I think it'd be appropriate if Whitbeck covered that song as well.  "Pieces" definitely feels like some dark punk while it can remain catchy.  "Sunbeams" comes out in that true radio rock ballad way and while "What In The World" is more upbeat, the album ends with "In Other Words" which feels like Godsmack.

One of the biggest things which I like about modern rock music- and music in general- is that there are enough styles out there that a band could (and should) create a sound where every song doesn't have to sound the same but yet they can still have qualities which tie them together.  Other artists I've mentioned in this review have been good at this and Whitbeck also exceeds here and should be heard for that and many other reasons.

Music Review //
Chris Kabs

When listening to the song "More" by Chris Kabs, it starts with this great rhythm and beats.  It has singing in it and feels like it's best put into this category of pop/R&B but with a strong dance vibe.  This just really feels like the type of song you would hear in a club because when listening to it, the idea of not moving to it just doesn't feel possible.  

In society, as part of the United States, I think we are trained from an early age to always want more.   It's almost like a sickness in a way because it leaves a lot of people feeling empty no matter how much they have.   You could have $1000 in your bank account right now and wonder what it would be like to be a millionaire, but then if you had a million dollars would you still want more?

We are sold to in bulk at Cost Co, we are fans of the buffets for eating and everything just seems to be more more more.   This just puts a lot of focus on what we *don't* have rather than what we *do* have and I think it's more important to focus on what we do have.  This also can come out in a relationship, as this song suggests with lines like: "She says she wants some more / she didn't have enough".

People should be allowed to have lives outside of their relationships but being told you are not enough is also not something anyone wants to hear.  If you cannot condition yourself to be happy with what you have, you're always going to end up wanting more and you're never going to be happy.   And if you express these concerns and they are taken personally then you might just also lose important pieces of your life along the way as well.  Keep that all in mind when dancing along with this one.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Music Review //
Conor Maynard

With a sound like Justin Bieber or Usher, "P.G.N.L." has all of the sounds of a pop radio hit.  The way the tones just flow smooth with the singing make it feel like something you've heard before while not exactly sounding like any other song out there on the radio.  There is a definite vibe to it and that vibe is one which cannot be touched.  Conor Maynard has certainly created the type of song here which should become an undeniable club hit.

The idea behind the song "P.G.N.L." is based upon what the title stands for: Pretty Girl Name Later.   Over the course of these lyrics, Conor Maynard discusses meeting a woman who he is interested in and trying to get her phone number, but just by giving the bare details which is of course the number and not the name.  Some might interpret this as moving too fast but life moves fast sometimes and you have to just try and keep up with it.

I understand the whole idea of wanting to know someone's name before you take them back to your place, but at the same time if you're at a club looking at other people you may not be on that type of dating path where you buy dinner and drinks first.   This song is about a different style of dating, a more casual one, and to deny that it exists is just to overlook a lot of what happens during our youth and into our 20's.

On top of that, the lyrics just seem to suggest that there is only so much time which we get to spend in our lives so it also in that way feels like it is strongly about living in the moment and not wasting a single second.   For the way this music flows and the fact that it wants you to grab life by the horns and not let go- just really seize the day- this could easily become a hit of not just this summer but for many summers to come.

Music Review //
Casey Baer
"take it personal"

The song "take it personal" is a breath of fresh air not only in the world of pop-based rock music but in the lyrical sense as well.   There are a lot of artists out there on the radio right now creating pop songs with women singing them and, to me, most of them just sound like they're ripping off Paramore.   Casey Baer has that voice and sound though where you could pick out one of her songs from a playlist as it is distinct.

Musically, this song is great because it has this quality of an artist like Iggy Azalea, certain Taylor Swift songs or even the solo work of Gwen Stefani.  But then there is this other quality behind the big vocals where I think about artists like All Time Low and Fall Out Boy.   What makes it so cool musically is that it has that presence such as a pop star should- like Madonna, Britney, Christina, etc- and yet also feels like a rock band is driving it and that can appeal to an even larger audience in many ways.

On top of this unique sound comes a song about something which songs often times seem to be about in opposite form.   There are times when we find ourselves saying things and apologizing for them, "Oh, I didn't mean for you to take it personally".   This song is so much of the opposite of that and I love it.  From lines such as: "You get off on treating me like shit" to "You're dead to me / don't you dare try" this song is the perfect kiss off.  During this music video, Casey Baer sings while the band plays and it might not seem like a lot is going on but it is quite fitting for a pop star who has written such a dominant song.  

I fully believe we have people who come into our lives and aren't meant to stay for long periods of time.  Sometimes, that doesn't end so well and you have to tell that person you no longer want them in your life.  This song could be as vital to someone who just went through a breakup and is going dancing at a club to blow off steam as it could be to someone who needs to escape an abusive relationship.  

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Music Review //
Fritz Michel
"Suddenly You Love Me"

If you've ever stopped to wonder why your relationship perhaps wasn't going the way you had hoped and thus come to the question of whether or not it was a toxic relationship, I suggest simply listening to the lyrics of "Suddenly You Love Me" if you need further reassurance.  This is a song about a toxic relationship- no matter how you frame it- and it is something which I feel we have all dealt with and what makes it tough is that you don't always see it until you step outside of it.

The music created by Fritz Michel on "Suddenly You Love Me" is upbeat.  It has an acoustic rock vibe to it with borderline punk, as it is fast paced and the "Zai Zai Zai" coming out like "Hey! Hey! Hey!" just enhances that.  In terms of the music, this is a fun little sing-along type of song, such as when Twenty One Pilots did "We Don't Believe What's On TV".   But the content of these lyrics is what makes the song stand out because it feels like this should be a happy go lucky love song but the lyrics present quite the opposite, more somber realization.

Though I feel it is important to pay close attention to these lyrics, the music video itself is also a pleasant distraction from doing that.   At times, Fritz Michel can simply be seen running through the woods and at other times the visuals have a very artistic way about them.  For some moments, he is simply wearing a fake beard.  But much like how life itself can distract us from the real problems at hand, so can this music video.

If you find yourself relating to any of the lyrics in this song- especially lines like "And you only start to worry when I say I'm leaving you"- then it might be best to take a long look at your relationship and examine whether or not it is best for you, for both of you.  While it can seem hidden behind the posi-acoustic punk music or the captivating visuals, the message is still there and when you are ready you should really hear it on every level.

Music Review //
Faron Sage
"Head Or Tail"


Faron Sage asks a lot of the tough questions in the song "Head Or Tail" and it feels like the type of context that students write papers about in college.   Glossing over a jaded world view, the lyrics of this song are perhaps what need to be focused on the most as it feels like a social commentary and one which we need to examine ourselves as a society.   There are certainly things which everyone would like to change that they cannot control and I feel like this song addresses that.

As the song begins with this nice bass line it kicks into something heavier in the chorus.  There are certainly elements of Future of the Left, Talking Heads and P.I.L. within here.   The vocals can feel more like they are spoken than any singing going on.   It just feels like punk in ways but then on some other level it can also begin to feel like it's crossing over into hip hop.   This definitely creates a unique sound which everyone should be hearing and I'd certainly like to hear more of it.  

One thing about this song being "Head Or Tail" is that so often in life we are presented with choices that just seem binary.  A prime example of this is the politics in the United States: we are typically either Republican or Democrat.  I feel in such a large way that this song touches upon that in the sense that if you believe the Republicans are liars why do you believe that the Democrats are not?   It's just one of those ideas that they're all politicians so they can all lie and life should be looked at as a whole and not in contrast.

With keys coming in that can sound like sirens, it is important to pay attention to this song not just because it is seemingly creating its own musical genre but also because of the words.   Having a lyric video is important here as we can examine lines such as "Is there anything we can do?", as our current situation may not be so bad but it also might just not be bad in comparison to the past and that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to change.   It's a lot to think about and hopefully everyone listens to this song and has similar discussions.

Music Review //


Right away the sound of Nemesis comes on under the strong guise of hip hop.   Not only is this the sound of hip hop, but it is the sound of old school hip hop.  While I realize that there are a lot of women creating hip hop and sounds like it in the music scene right now, Nemesis has more of that throwback sound to when I was first listening to hip hop on cassettes.  

I feel partly like I could forget a name by naming them but artists such as MC Lyte, Da Brat and Missy Elliott all come to mind when listening to "INNOV8!".   It has a faster paced quality to it and so you can really move with it.   In some ways, it also makes me think of when I was listening to Salt N Pepa growing up.

Lyrically there is a music video for "INNOV8!" which also happens to have the lyrics on the screen in a fun manner.  The main idea of the song is that "thoughts + beats" are the way to grow.  What I take from this song lyrically is that a lot of times we're told to just conform and do things the way that we're told- the way that everyone else does them.  But if you think about things the way you choose and see life through your own eyes that's how you innovate.

You have to think that at some point everyone was walking places or riding horses and they just thought that was the way it was and it wouldn't get any better.  Then someone invented the automobile.  So, to go from that way things are just accepted as being to leveling up in a sense is the innovation which will hopefully be inspired within you by listening to this song by Nemesis.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Baseball Review //
Brown Bears, 2
Yale Bulldogs, 3
April 16th, 2022
@ Bush Field, New Haven CT
(Ivy League)

Photos on Facebook :::

Official Box Score :::

Though we technically attended our first live baseball game of 2022 a few days before at Wesleyan University, it only felt right to begin the reviewing of baseball this year with the Yale Bulldogs as their season had been underway and we were finally able to make the trip out for a game.  With the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty in what would happen when we went to what was now dubbed Bush Field because Yale University has their own set of rules for staying safe and it had been a few years since the Ivy League played baseball.  

The Bulldogs have generally been a good baseball team and this didn't seem to be something that was changing this season.   It was overcast at times, but for the most part the weather held off of raining and it even got sunny at times as we sat behind home plate and watched all of the action.   One of the first things I noticed when entering Bush Field though is the baseballs with alumni names on them which once lined the walls no longer do.  I wonder if they had just painted and will return eventually.  There was also concessions up behind the press box, which was an odd place but at least it was there and allowed me to have my first baseball pretzel of the year.

When it comes to close games, they don't get much closer than this one was.  Between the Bears pitcher Bobby Olsen and Bulldogs pitcher Mike Walsh, this game had minimal scoring and it even seemed difficult for a lot of the game even just to get onto base.  If someone got into a jam with runners in scoring position, it was likely gotten out of and that made this anyone's game throughout the entirety of it.   It was exciting in that way.

Yale scored the first run in the bottom of the first inning to hold the lead through three innings.  In the top of the fourth inning, the Bears would score a single run via HR and then they would do the same in the fifth with another solo homer.  This briefly put the Bears up 2-1, but the Bulldogs would score again in the bottom of the fifth, leaving the game tied 2-2 up until the very end.  This second run for Yale also came off of a Jimmy Chatfield homerun.

This really just felt like that type of game where it could break open at any minute and either team could go up by four or more runs, making it seem difficult for the other team to catch up, but both teams played defense to the extent that didn't happen.   In the bottom of the tenth inning, Yale scored to walk it off and it really did feel like if Brown had scored first in the top of the inning they would've won and kept Yale from scoring again.

Even though Yale is in the middle of the standings and Brown was near the bottom, this wasn't the type of blowout match it could have been thought to be- there was no easy win here.   But as far as baseball games go, the ones I seem to enjoy the most are the ones which are the most nerve-wracking and leave it up until the very end to see who will win.   A huge lead win would've been nice, but somehow this was more satisfying.

Music Review //
Ajay Mathur

What does it mean to be real?  In this music video for the song "Real" by Ajay Mathur there are images of seagulls flying over the ocean and many conspiracy theorists have begun to claim that birds are not real.   But the idea of whether or not a person is real is truly interesting as I believe no one really shows their true self to any other person.  We all act differently when we are alone than we do with others and we all have thoughts that we simply will never share with anyone else as well.  That's just life.

As this video begins I think of the 1990's, particularly a movie such as "Singles", and perhaps that has influenced me on the sound as well.   Elements of pop make me think of the movie "That Thing You Do!" but I also think of bands from that era of grunge that weren't really grunge such as Gin Blossoms and The Lemonheads.   This song is just so pleasant to listen to that it could easily have been on the radio thirty years ago or thirty minutes ago.

Perhaps my favorite part of this song as well, which comes out in the music video, is the fact that most of the scenes are shot in real life but then the version of Ajay Mathur which is singing the song, saying he is real and asking if you are also real is in fact animated.  It's such a brilliant contrast because so many people will claim to be real but not really know what it means and in reality they are a cartoon amongst everything else being real.

From the song itself to the music video, "Real" is just something that everyone should be and Ajay Mathur has done a wonderful job demonstrating that here.   It is important to feel like other people are being real with you but it is also just as important to have that confidence within yourself, to know that you are real.  If you cannot be true to yourself then you cannot expect that of anyone else and let this song serve as your reminder of that.

Music Review //
Emery Pulse
"Gift Box"

Perhaps what is more interesting to me than the musical side of Emery Pulse are the lyrics which make this song "Gift Box" feel like such a topic of discussion for me.  I'm not sure if anyone else out there feels this same way, but as an adult I absolutely cannot stand getting gifts.  I feel as if there is something which I want I can get it and, not to be rude, but I can probably find it for a better price than you as well.   Presents are only good for kids because they don't have jobs so they can't buy things themselves.

Maybe I'm just old and jaded or I just received too many bad presents over the years but I don't get it.   I also don't quite understand the concept of wrapping presents.  You spend money on the gift itself then spend more money on wrapping paper that fits the occasion, ribbons, bows, etc. and for what?  If you just hand a gift to a kid it's actually better than watching them struggle to open it because you have a strange need to keep the creators of Scotch tape in business.  All the wrapping seems unnecessary to me.

And so, how does this relate to this song by Emery Pulse?  Well, I feel like the song is more of a metaphor for someone giving you a piece of yourself than an actual gift that you can physically hold or get a gift receipt for.   If you're giving a gift and it's something that person really wants, it doesn't matter (it shouldn't matter) whether it's dressed up in fancy wrapping paper and all of that.   This is also true for people because you should look at what's on the inside, how you connect on that level, rather than the outside.

With the sound of mall pop that reminds me of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson, Emery Pulse certainly hits the right notes on fun in this song.   But when we live in a society that values appearance over substance I definitely think this could be the type of song to get stuck in your head forcing you to have a conversation about appearances wearing thin.   Sure, someone may look physically appealing to you, but that attraction won't last if you're not connecting in other ways.  It will last as long as that wrapping paper you are hopefully recycling.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Music Review //
Chris Ianuzzi
"March of Madness"

"March of Madness" begins with these smooth electronics and then yet there are also these distorted beats which kick in.  The vocals come out and remind me of a song somewhere between Nine Inch Nails and Dana Fowler And The.   It has that industrial feeling about it, but it might not fully be as dark as all of that.  I really enjoy the energy behind it though and as we are in April now I think it should become the type of song we listen to at least once a year during what sports refers to as "March Madness", as a sort of unofficial theme song.

The video for this song is simply stunning.   There are images which look to all be computer generated or at least altered any way and they vary in levels of complexities.   It's really something to experience visually though as you can see aliens in a design that feels less complex and then an entire village scene which has way more details.  This is definitely the type of video you'll want to go back and watch more than once to not miss anything.

As the images- which can move- appear in this video they also disappear in a way which isn't always sane.   They sort of melt but in a wavy way which makes it look almost as if you have an old television set and the picture is going out.   This concept just adds to the overall allure of the song in both a lyrical and musical sense.   It certainly seems to have that way about it where if nothing else it is a decent into madness.

From start to finish, "March of Madness" is a song where just listening to it feels like a relief.  It has the type of energy which you should want to hear in order to cleanse your soul.  At the same time, this music video is a visual masterpiece and should be viewed by everyone at least once in their lifetime just to realize that the possibilities within this art form seem endless.  

Music Review //
Stevie Cornell
"Turn It All Around"


There is a soft, understated quality in the music of Stevie Cornell.  With muted drum rolls this song can feel as if it is taking off in a fast paced way, but it remains mellow throughout and just feels like a cross between Simon & Garfunkel and Buddy Holly.  Rich with that folk but not acoustic as well as those sweet 1950's/1960's rock n roll melodies.   Stevie Cornell really is creating this rock n roll sound which has a retro feel but can also be made all his own.

Throughout these lyrics there are a lot of contrasts in life being put on display.  Examples such as sometimes you walk into a room and feel confident while other times you don't want to be noticed.   Also there is a verse about waking up feeling ready for the day and yet other times there just isn't enough coffee to get you going.  I think in life we often face these challenges and we do so in a very "one or the other" type of way, in that sometimes we have good days and sometimes we have bad days.

One of my favorite lines throughout this song is: "It's so hard to find motivation for the little things we do".   This just makes me think about the pandemic and how during it life changed for a lot of people- in various ways.   It's that whole idea of "Well, I haven't done that for two years so why go back to it now" and then also if you were laid off and at home you're likely just going to see things like going to the grocery store instead of having food delivered as being so mundane.  

As someone who writes, this song really appeals to me because I keep journals.  There is always that idea of writing about events that happen and having a lot to write about, but then in life we also have that downtime where sometimes there just isn't anything to write about.  There are also things we do in life which aren't really always worth writing about and that's always been something I've struggled with.  But this song can help you through those times when it might seem like what you're doing doesn't matter.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Music Review //
"Slime Time, Pt. 3

If you've ever spent any time learning too much about numbers while growing up you will likely agree that three is the magic number.  This is important because SNAILS is delivering their third EP under the "Slime Time" name and it also just so happens to feature three songs.  Coincidence or magic?  We will let you, the listener, decide for yourself but I believe it is an unintentional bit of magic.

One quality which all three of these songs share is that they are non-stop energy.   While there might be spots here and there where they slow down they only do it just to build back up again.  They only ever quiet just to become loud, a true sense of giving the listener a brief moment to breathe if they happen to be listening to these songs while dancing or just anything which might require the catching of your breath.

With big beats this reminds me of Skrillex and little else that I actually listen to but it's good to listen to when you need motivation- whether it be exercising or just going out to blow off steam.  I really do enjoy the energy of these songs and that seems to be their theme on this EP.  With triumphant synths and that expanding way about them, they do share similar sounds at times but overall one song remains distinct from the next.

Each song also has words but they repeat more like an audio clip than the way you would think of singing being in a song.  The words also tend to involve the title of the song, as "Tekno" states: "I got that tekno on my mind and I can't stop".   As the final song is titled "Feel It", it simply asks "Can you feel it?" as the hook and if you can manage to listen to this EP without feeling it you might want to check your pulse.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

My Wrestling Highlights of April 2022, Blog Style



For the end of March, I've basically been trying to catch up with the weekly shows I watch before getting into the insanity of Wrestlemania Weekend.   This included the first part of a Lucha Libre AAA Gira Aniversario XXX show from Ciudad Madero (which is up on their YouTube Channel and oddly I can access the video but cannot access their channel from the US)  There were three matches featuring the likes of Lady Maravilla, Drago Kid, Pimpinela Escarlata, Crazy Boy, Xtreme Tiger, Taurus and Puma King.   

I'm really enjoying what AAA is doing right now I just wish it was easier to watch.  I mostly just get to see matches here and there- like El Hijo del Vikingo vs John Superstar (aka John Morrison) and Taya taking on Flammer, Keyra, Lady Shani and Maravilla.  The matches are there, on YouTube for free, but I wish there was more organization amongst the shows and it just felt like they were putting out something weekly or however often and it all was connected rather than just feeling so random.

I've also been catching up with MLW and episode #135 of Fusion featured a nice surprise as a mystery entrant into the main event was Bandido.  I absolutely love Bandido and if ROH doesn't bring him back I hope he ends up having a more prominent role in MLW.  How Bandido is not one of the wrestlers out there right now on television weekly with just what feels like way too much merchandise is just a mystery to me.   Someone needs to get on this!

I actually went out of my way for the first time in a long time to watch an AEW match (though it was the only match that I watched) as Thunder Rosa captured their Women's Champonship inside of a steel cage.  That match was a lot of fun but I still struggle to watch AEW or anything really on a weekly basis outside of MLW, which, again, I don't watch every week but try to do less often and sometimes binge three or four episodes at a time.

Wendy Choo continues to be a highlight in NXT 2.0 but the rest of that show just feels so lost to me.  I've finally been able to catch up with their weekly episodes which lead up to Wrestlemania weekend but I can't tell you a whole lot of what happened on them.  I remember when the NXT shows were five matches and each match felt so important and now "Stand and Deliver" is a show I will likely not go back and watch.

For Wrestlemania itself, Jess and I watched the first night replay and the matches which really stood out to me were Cody Rhodes vs Seth Rollins because it felt so physical and Becky Lynch vs Bianca Belair for similar reasons but also because Bianca getting the title back felt important based on the videos leading up to the match.   We also watched but fast forwarded through much of Night 2, with the highlights being Sami Zayn vs Johnny Knoxville and... that's it.  We watched Roman vs Brock but that match just wasn't for me.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Music Review //
Luke Reyvn
"Another Day"


The theme of the song "Another Day" by Luke Reyvn is one which it feels like everyone should be able to relate with: being on edge, at that breaking point where something has to change because you just can't take it anymore.   This is a way which people can feel for many different reasons, whether it be your living situation, relationship with other people, your job, school or maybe some combination of all of them.

While the images within this video show Luke Reyvn singing and doing things which you would expect someone younger to be doing, it creates the idea that "Another Day" is an anthem for the youth who just tired and don't want to take it anymore.   The fact remains though that a lot of people still feel this way when they get older and so this isn't just a problem for the kids but rather something everyone faces in their lives.

Lyrics like: "Voices in my head feel way too loud / lately I've been running out of ways to drown them out" make this seem like a hardcore song but the sound of it is more pop, like that pop punk Machine Gun Kelly album or All-American Rejects.   I do enjoy though that this is a radio friendly song which has that rebellious attitude towards it because lyrically you would think of this as sounding like The Clash or Bring Me The Horizon so having it more mainstream is also a plus.

As the song and video closes, you can hear the line "And if I don't leave now then I might fade away"  This really stuck with me because sometimes you have to make that choice in your life to leave a situation that isn't good for you because if you stay then it will change who you are and who you are supposed to be.   We need to normalize walking away from situations that are harmful to our mental health and this song is doing its part to pave the way.

Music Review //
Susie Suh
"Invisible Love"


There are few artists who can compare with Susie Suh, though influences can certainly be heard and seen.   From the sound of the song "Invisible Love" to the stunning visuals presented as part of the music video, Susie Suh comes across as someone who genuinely understands how to create a music video fit for the year 2022, in that sense that if MTV had never stopped playing new music videos this is the type you would certainly see on it.

With moments of peace, there is only singing and beats.  The structure of "Invisible Love" can feel a lot like a Polly Scattergood song but the delivery belongs solely to Susie Suh.  During the chorus, the vocals become faster paced- more words at once- and then eventually even become overlapping to the point where it feels as if many voices are singing at the same time.  In this way, the song reminds me a bit of Madonna but not as much directly, more of in the way that it's a song Madonna might create.

Lyrically, as we get into the chorus it can seemingly become a mantra.  Listening to lines such as: "We will always be more than just human" are affirming and singing along, whether we realize it or not, can just be inspirational.   I definitely enjoy that this song is one which you could find yourself really getting into and not understanding the meaning of the lyrics at first but then one day it all just clicks and you feel so powerful.

Between being inside of a cave or on a beach this video takes us places.   In one scene, the artist is standing as a circle of reflections of her dance around her.  It just feels like the type of music video that someone with a firm understanding of the visual arts would create to accompany this wonderful song.   It doesn't feel like something from back when MTV showed music videos but rather something brand new and that is even better.

Music Review //
"When I'm With You"


Though the general vibe of MELVV on "When I'm With You" seems to be one of electronic music, there are layers within which make this song stand out in a pop way and just overall feel quite unlike anything else out there.   With beats and keys, they can go from the background to the forefront and as they change so does the tempo and intensity.    But overall this song stays at a fairly hyped setting so it can project that energy back onto you.

"When I'm With You" is instrumental except for a spoken word piece at the end about how sometimes you think the things that don't mean a lot to you end up meaning the most and then there is also this glitched out vocal clip that comes through during the song.  I feel like it's saying "please understand" but in a messed up way, however I'm also fairly certain that isn't what is being said at all.   

MELVV has created a song here which just feels somewhere between the movie "Trainspotting" and that soundtrack, in that happy life with the sun shining sort of idea but it can also just feel like a video game.   There are these waves of bliss which come through at one point as well, which supports both ideas and just is one of those somewhat hidden aspects of this song that makes it so great.

A lot of the time when music is instrumental and upbeat like this it feels easy enough to just put it on and doing an activity such as working out, cleaning, etc.  With that one loop coming through and just the overall trance vibe that MELVV has created here though this song feels less like something which you can turn your brain off to while listening and more of a song which should offer you a great amount of reflection.  

Music Review //
"Becoming Someone"

"Becoming Someone" releases everywhere on April 29th, 2022.  Please visit for more info!

When Swansgate first begins "Becoming Someone" there are these swirling synths which create keys that sing.   Through the melodies, these songs have a nice drive and with their percussion can create a nice rhythm as well.   The thing which strikes me most about these songs is how they can create one sound which you might feel familiar with but then combine it with another sound so that the overall sound of Swansgate becomes rather layered.

One thing I can't seem to shake when listening to "Becoming Someone" is how even though there are these elements such as you would hear from a jam band or just the fact that at one point they even bring out a flute, there is this underlying feeling throughout this album which makes me think of emo.   It reminds me of Panic At The Disco and Waking Ashland, just those specific early 2000 sounds of emo as well.

"Why Need Someone?" has that smooth jazz sax and when you reach "Lines to Us" you'll hear perhaps the most unique sound on this entire album.  What starts off like an old Phil Collins song with the synths and beats can quickly change to where it breaks down like hip hop.  This is a crossover I didn't ever imagine I would hear but Swansgate also just somehow makes it work, further proving they are the masters of combining sounds.

One of my favorite lines on this album is: "Life is a game/ we're all born to die".  It's a good reminder that no matter what you do in life we all end up at the same place (death) and so you should be a good person and all but at the same time does calling out of work when you're not really sick to have some time with friends or just to relax by yourself make you a bad person?  This album really should help you to hear music in a different way and focus on the bigger picture in life as well.  

Music Review //
Doug Henthorn


"Three" releases worldwide on May 6th, 2022.  For more information please visit:

At first, the album "Three" is melodic yet dark and almost acoustic sounding.  While it starts off mellow it can remind me of an artist such as Temple of the Dog.   This also at the same time makes me think about the "Life is a Highway" song and it feels almost like a cover song on "Drive", the second track, as the question is asked: "Who's going to drive you home tonight?"  This takes us into "Fate of None" which is somehow the most country sounding song on "Three" and yet also the most trippy ala Pink Floyd.

And that seems to be the story of Doug Henthorn.  At times his songs can feel one way but then even within the song itself it can change into another.  So it's not just enough to say that there are elements of artists such as Tom Petty, Train and Bruce Springsteen in here but the fact that these sounds can appear in songs either on their own or grouped together just makes this blend which just truly helps Doug Henthorn forge his own sound.

As "The Tourist" blasts through my speakers there is a definite southern rock guitar sound to it.   Yet we are then treated to "Across the Universe", a song that isn't too much unlike The Beatles and has me wondering if it is a cover or not.   But that's just the way of Doug Henthorn as well- after a listen or two these songs will just feel so familiar because they contain sounds that you've heard so many times before but they're delivered in a way which you haven't heard quite yet.  

"Nothing's gonna change my world" is the hook as "Devil's Come Home" comes hard rocking into the finale.   Regardless of when you grew up, if you grew up listening to rock music odds are that some artist you either heard on the radio or saw on MTV is going to come out within these songs for you.   It is that sort of feeling in which you will hopefully find comfort and can begin to appreciate these songs for the works of art that they so obviously are.  

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Music Review //
Frank Cogliano


Immediately after pressing play on "PET GHOST" a color scheme comes on that tells me that Frank Cogliano knows what he is doing as a visual artist.  I can tell from that first moment that this is going to be the type of music video that makes me proud to be a fan of music videos even though MTV hasn't really shown them for way too long.

With soft synths this feels minimal, spatial and digital.   The beats kick in and one thing which everyone should take note of being vital to this video and music connection here is that the music itself and the images you'll see moving through the video line up together ever so nicely.  It's not always possible, I know, but when the two aspects- visual and audio- can come together like this it just reminds me why music videos should be appreciated more.

At the beginning of this video, a person who looks as if they were generated through CGI but might just be part of a filter is shown up high on rocks.   This person then jumps into water and begins to sink.  By the end of the video, another person is shown swimming towards the original jumper, perhaps in that effort to save them.   Though there are no words in this video, these actions just speak volumes.

Not only is this fun and easy to listen to as a song on its own, but the way it syncs with the video makes it even better.  The fact that the video tells a story without words just goes to show that Frank Cogliano is a master at this.   This music video feels how I imagine Philip K. Dick saw the world and I absolutely love that about it.  

Music Review //
Gavin Fox
"Tell Me So"

"Tell Me So" begins with acoustic guitar notes and throughout the entire song it doesn't really drift too far away from that.  By the end, it does open up with these deep beats but it still just carries this overall feeling of being a powerful ballad on the side of folk, a little bit like Sam Smith.   At tims there are the words in the verses almost like they are spoken but then the singing opens up at other times in a much bigger way.

Right away this video connects with me even though it is just two people sitting and playing acoustic guitars.   The way that the camera can show either their faces or the guitars really makes me think of the music video for the song "More Than Words" by Extreme, even though that was shot in black and white.  The more that I truly think about it, the more connections I can see between these two songs and videos as well, where Gavin Fox could have a modern version of that Extreme song here.

The lyrics on this song are fairly direct and to the point.   Lines like: "Don't wait a lifetime to let me know / I'm going places I should never go / If you care why don't you tell me so"  I believe in living a life to its fullest.  This song makes me want to tell everyone I love that I love them because you might not get that chance tomorrow.  But at the same time, if someone is important to you, be sure that they know.  

Embracing the idea of expressing your feelings combined with a sweet melody that can become catchy, Gavin Fox has found a formula for a song which everyone should hear.  This song and video are fun enough that you could put them on a party and people would just enjoy them for their overall sound.  But, paying attention to the lyrics and really thinking about them is also important, which makes this pop with a purpose.  

Music Review //
Various Artists
"The Big Cover-Up"
(Big Curve Music)

One of the first things which I notice about this album of cover songs is that the way each song is chosen by the artist is interesting because it doesn't feel like their biggest hit, with the exception being Starship.   But, for example, "Down In A Hole" is not the most popular Alice In Chains song- perhaps "Man In The Box" would be, or "No Excuses".  Even "Eyes Without A Face", as the album begins, isn't the most popular Billy Idol song.   But it is still a song that music listeners should know if they are a fan of Billy Idol.

Many of the artists on this compilation take the song by the original artist and sort of make it their own through their cover version of it.   This is the theme as 51 Peg does this dreamy, heavy rock version of "Eyes Without A Face" that also just has these dark acoustics.  The Landis Harry Larry version of "We Built This City" is such a unique take on a classic while Steep Steps brings a Garbage-like approach to Alice In Chains.   Nova Koloso does an excellent job of creating a modern Black Sabbath sound.

The Neuro Farm just nails Joy Division in that slow, brooding way while Idiot Code just sort of punks up CCR in that Atari Teenage Riot way.   Dingleberry Dynasty has a distinct voice but the musical side of covering AC/DC remains true.  Project:Leviathen keeps somewhat true to the concept of Echo & The Bunnymen, who are just iconic.  Year Of The Fist seems like they've appropriately covered Butthole Surfers, though it was a song I am not familiar with ("Who Was In My Room?") but this definitely made me want to hear more of Year Of The Fist.

As this compilation of covers comes to a close, Hollowboy brings out this energetic cover of "The Walk" by The Cure, which is what I would imagine The Cure would sound like if they created an alternate band in a similar way that Joy Division became New Order.   This album gives you a lot of great music and perhaps you'll find yourself going down a long search of an artist you realized you didn't know enough about (for me Butthole Surfers) as well as one of the artists on here you might be hearing for the first but not last time.

Music Review //
Heavenly Trip To Hell
"Pumpkin Man"


As someone who is into not only horror movies but mythical lore, I was very interested by the concept of "Pumpkin Man" and this song by Heavenly Trip To Hell is the first which I am hearing about him.   This music video is shot in black and white though there are scenes of fire which come through in orange hues.   Various shots of the band members can be seen throughout the video but as I wait patiently until the end I am somewhat disappointed not to see an actual "Pumpkin Man", leaving more to the imagination than not.

From the lyrics of this song, which is really heavy metal, Pumpkin Man is both born of fire and born of hate.  I'm not sure why, but I imagine Pumpkin Man as being on fire or at least his head is on fire.  It'd be like Ghost Rider but instead of a skull his head is a flaming pumpkin.  But just because he is born of fire doesn't mean that he is on fire.  So he might just end up being this monster who looks all burnt and crispy.

With what I know about horror films and such things, I know Michael Myers has been set on fire (and still came back) but this makes me think of the professional wrestler known as Kane, who has an origin story where he was thought to be killed by his brother (The Undertaker) but survived a fire.  So he would be born of fire directly by being in a burning house but also he'd be born of hate because his brother left him to die.  So perhaps if WWE's Kane more of a pumpkin theme he could be Pumpkin Man.

I'm not sure how this will all play out.  I'm definitely going to keep an eye on Heavenly Trip To Hell.  I'm curious as to whether or not they have some kind of reveal out there about what Pumpkin Man might look like.  But I also just really dig this style of music and feel like it would be fun to experience live.    If you enjoy the sound of brutality and know the difference between Freddy and Jason I'd definitely recommend this video and killer band.

Music Review //
Arnab Sengupta
"Leap of Faith" 

The musical stylings of Arnab Sengupta flow from jazz to that of a more soulful R&B.   Within these songs you will hear both Arnab Sengupta and Anshu Jha take over the lead vocals so this also makes the album feel somewhat more like a collective than just that traditional sound you think of when you imagine a band with a single singer.  This also enhances the overall music experience as this album can change from song to song but stay within the same groove that feels like home.

With a lot of soul, these songs can range anywhere from Edie Brickell to Nelly Furtado.  There are a lot of influences in between which I cannot quite place as well, but it does dip into that bohemian type of jazz sound as well.   There are complex keys and a saxophone and on "Alone but not Lonely" you can hear these dreamy guitar strums which make me feel like this is just created with magic, like something out of Disney.

"Perfect Line" feels like it's telling a story- both in the music and lyrics- and "Impermanence" has some nice piano parts.  Freestyle singing- where there are vocal sounds but not words- are a common theme on this album as well.   "Set in Stone" closes out the album with some guitar tones and just an overall smooth sound.  This is the type of album I imagine someone listening to while cleaning their house and then they forget that they're cleaning.

Once you feel as if you've embraced a good portion of this album musically, you can begin to think about the lyrics.  Songs like "Alone but not Lonely" give away what they are about and it is refreshing to see such subject matter touched upon.  Just because someone is on their own it doesn't mean they want to be with other people, but we also should learn to be comfortable with ourselves before joining others.   There is much to learn here, under this talented musicianship which will also leave you stunned. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Music Review //
Martial Simon
(GET SET Records)

From the first note, the song "Lost" just feels happy.  The fact that it is titled "Lost" makes it seem as if it might not be, but it also just feels so much like a positive reflection versus an actual statement of being lost.   With keys and beats, this one reminds me of the song about finding love in a hopeless place but also more to that end it could be the theme song to a Dreamworks movie about two characters who complete each other, much like the film "Home".

There is a faster pace to "Lost", which means you can get up and dance to it as well.  It just seems to fly by, it goes so fast.  The chorus has this interesting breakdown of beats and blips which just shows less of the soulful side and more the electronic side but it still somehow maintains that passion.   At times this song can remind me of Alessia Cara and Ke$ha as well, but Martial Simon just seems to draw from various influences and create a sound all its own from them.

Many things can be taken from the word lost.  You can lose your keys or you can be lost yourself in the sense of simply not knowing where you are.   This song specifically though deals with the relationships between each other (and while it can be human, you can also sing this song to your cat or dog) and the hook line is: "I'm lost without your love"  So while typically being lost or losing something is bad, this song is inverse of that idea.

This song is certainly radio friendly but it also feels so much bigger than that.  Martial Simon has created the type of song that should be played at weddings and other such joyous events.  Certainly this would be an excellent choice of a song to go into a movie as the soundtrack for a wedding but just in real life as well this song should be blasting out of speakers at high volume to show appreciation for each other and just life on the whole. 

Music Review //
Mental Fracture

Mental Fracture has a sound which can overall be thought of as metal, but throughout the course of "Disaccord" there are also other genres to explore.  The first song- "Echo of a Heartbeat"- feels more like an intro than anything else.  We get into the second song, "Summer Dies", and hear the intricate guitar work, pianos and synth tones which just make me think of the band Brazil.    These songs are fairly long, so they feel cinematic in their scope and often times can feel as if they're being played by a full on orchestra.

"Goodbye Forever" reminds me of Queen while "Hello" is a little lighter, a little bit more fun.  "Concrete Wall" starts off with acoustics but throughout the album the songs tend to have those starts and stops while also in the back of my mind making me think about The Beatles.   It's definitely heavy though and on the titular track it is instrumental with big crunchy guitar chords like Godsmack but also synths like telephone tones.   The keys just hit the sweet spot on the titular track as well.

"Clockwork" feels like the later work of Filter, or someone in that era of radio rock, but then it also gets heavy like metal.  The final song- "Hearts of Stone"- closes out the album with swirling guitars and overall this is just such a complex piece of music that it is something which has a lot to enjoy within it.    Many times music can be so straight forward and just easy to define but the more I listen to Mental Fracture the more little pieces I pick out of it that give more meaning to their range of sound.

One of the things which I like most about this album is that it's one which you have to spend time with to fully appreciate.   In the world today, we spend far too much time getting that instant gratification- getting what we want and getting it right now.  Just listening to this album from start to finish takes dedication but then you should hear it more than once to become fully aware of everything involved within creating this sound.  That focus, that longevity makes me truly enjoy this one.

Music Review //
Ad Vanderveen
"Air Guitar"

The video for "Air Guitar" exists mostly in black with white outlines of shapes.  It has a distinct look to it as the song comes out in that slow, Neil Young type of Southern rock feel.  It's definitely the type of song that fans of rock music which enjoy and sing along with, but also fans of rock music will also be able to relate with this= especially the older crowd.

Back before the internet was what it is now, children dreamed of becoming famous musicians and that meant getting signed to a major record label deal and them releasing your album and putting you in worldwide tours, etc.  Now, it's easy enough to create music on your iPhone with an app and post it for all to hear.  Just think: what once had to be heard after an album was released and you'd go to a record store and buy it can now be experienced by downloading an app.

The lyrics are on screen for this one as well and as the air guitar is being played the line "the greatest feel and sound by far" really sticks with me.  This just reminds me so much of being a kid, and when you're a kid you have these hopes and dreams.  When you're a kid you have this idea of what life is going to be like when you're older and I'm betting about 90% of the time kids are dreaming of growing up and paying off student loans.

Eventually, within the video there is a tennis racket and an actual guitar being played as well.   And one of the biggest components of this song and video, to me, is that imagination.  Kids today could go into VR or play something like "Guitar Hero" as a video game and have an experience which replaces us becoming Hendrix as a kid with an air guitar or Freddie Mercury in the shower with a shampoo bottle.  I'm not saying either is better than the other, I just wish kids could do both.  

Monday, April 4, 2022

Music Review //
Tom Guerra
"Sentimental Junk"

Tom Guerra has created a sound which blends both classic rock n roll with modern rock.  Whether or not someone could put this into a genre seems difficult because of the way the songs can change the sound, but if I had to pick something I'd just say it's some kind of new rock.  When it begins, there is this sound like The Briefs meets Tom Petty but also somewhat like "That Thing You Do!".   With keys within the rock n roll, the second song also has a sweet guitar solo and sings about what the title of the album is.

On "All Love Is Pain" I can hear undertones of Daniel Johnston and Neil Young, though it also reminds me a bit of the rock sound of the 1990's.   "California's Got to MY Girl" is a bit smoother, a bit more funky in some ways.   "Clean Cut Kid" brings about some thoughts of Huey Lewis and the News or just that idea of the future being so bring you have to wear shades.  It just feels like a classic John Cusack movie where the title of the movie is also the chorus to the main song.  

"Sat-o-Lite" has mastered this combination of The Mr T Experience as well as Beach Boys and it's quite lovely.   It ends with a guitar solo and then eventually we get to "Eyes of the World" which is also guitar heavy in that "Purple Haze" sort of way.   "Think for Yourself" brings back those thoughts of Huey Lewis, much like the fifth track did, and there are spoken words during the chorus on "Where's the New Rock and Roll".   The album ends with an instrumental song that has a nice walking guitar line and soulful keys.

Throughout the course of time there have been different variations on what was called rock n roll.  Certainly The Beatles were not thought of in the same way as Jimi Hendrix, but both are often associated with the term.  "Sentimental Junk" really just feels like the album that explores rock n roll from its earliest days up until the present while also creating a sound which can bring rock music into the future.   A definite must listen for any fan of rock n roll and incredibly well done.  

Music Review //
(Spirit Voyage Records)

When listening to the EP "Here" by Sukhmani I can't but think about how this whole sound just has such a unique voice and in that way it just feels so special.  A lot of what you take from these songs in terms of their sound will be more of a reflection of what music has influenced you than the music of Sukhmani directly because of how this has that sound which feels like something modern and on the radio right now- a Taylor Swift or Lana Del Rey type of feel if you're me- but at the same time it isn't exactly like anyone else and is open to that interpretation.  

With brooding melodies, Sukhmani captures what it's like simply to exist with problems we call life but don't often talk about.   On the first song- "Everybody's Best Friend"- the line "I guess I'm everybody's best friend except my own" hits hard because it feels like a lot of people (myself included) have that mindset of not wanting to feel selfish and so they put others before themselves and end up taking care of friends, family, whatever but not taking care of themselves.  I always like to think of it in airplane safety where mothers are instructed to put breathing devices on themselves before on the babies but thinking and doing can be quite different.

Beats are present throughout most of these songs, giving it that looming electronic feel, but it also just stays at a certain tempo to make it feel rather chill throughout as well.   "Divination" is a great song to listen to as a mantra of sorts, with the lines "And when I see it / I will know" helping you to trust your instincts.  "Not Your Exotic" has some distinct electronics and percussion while the titular track can grow to be quite intense.  I also really enjoy the lyrics "You made it / you're meant to be here" because it's validation simply for being alive, and in a sense of way of saying you've made it this far so keep going as well.

Perhaps on the final song, "Changes", we hear the best of the beats and harmonies in vocals which just give Sukhmani a voice unlike any other.   I have this trio of artists that I listen to more than any others in a mainstream way and they are Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Lana Del Rey.  Sukhmani has all of the qualities to be among those three artists as a peer, on the radio, and yet also to remain in that class where if you hear a Sukhmani song right away you know who the artist responsible for it is.  

Friday, April 1, 2022

Music Review //
Doug Henthorn
"Forewarned and Failing"

Right away, I can hear two distinct sounds in the song "Forewarned and Failing" by Doug Henthorn.   There is this underlying driving sound which makes me think about artists in the genre of classic rock n roll, specifically along the lines of ZZ Top and Steppenwolf.  It's rock n roll with keys but it just has that way about it where you'd put it on a playlist when you're going on a roadtrip.  

At the same time Doug Henthorn channels this rather specific genre of rock music from the 1980's / early 1990's in which bands had horns but weren't ska and sang about things such as working the 9 to 5.  Perhaps one of my best examples of this would be none other than Huey Lewis and the News, though I also just imagine any of the bands who reached popularity in the height of MTV.

This music video has a certain way about it where it flashes from still images of photos or concert posters but then the moving images can just be shapes transforming, all set in a cassiopeia color scheme.  What I find most interesting though is at the start you can see this images of a tape player with the cassette in it and as it begins to focus more on the cassette there is even an image which very briefly comes in of sixteen different cassettes.  Yes, Doug Henthorn knows his audience.

"Forewarned and Failing" is the lead single off of an album due out of May 6th, 2022 and if it doesn't get you hyped up for the blend of rock n roll that Doug Henthorn is serving up then you might want to keep listening until it does.  The way this album could go in several directions yet stay grounded with its roots is just something every fan of music should be looking forward to and this is just such a great single to prepare you for that.  

Music Review //
"Live at GAT3 Studios"

Prior to the release of their album "Becoming Someone" on April 29th, Swansgate has composed a video that is live from within a studio and features four songs to appear on the upcoming album.  What's interesting about this video is that it could be thought of as a sampler of the album in a sense but at the same time these songs are live so it's not quite the same as how they will appear on the final album form.  This brings a new level to this video because if you happen to find the full album first going back to this video still remains important.

Between melody and funky, the sound of Swansgate can vary from song to song but remain within the same realm of rock.   "Drunken Limbo" starts things off and it can sound like Radiohead while also just hitting that deep groove.  In some ways, this video overall reminds me of the sound of What Made Milwaukee Famous.   With the guitars, I whistle along during the first song and it does feel a bit catchy in that way.

Guitars pierce through with unique percussion on "Island of Lies" and then "Elliot" feels like a dreamy Jimmy Buffet song which eventually picks up some video game sounding keys within the mix as well.   "Only a Moment" closes out with this slower, more spatial sound like the desert and it just feels like a nice way to come down from the energy of this video from the previous songs, though it does have a driving force throughout.  

While the majority of this video is the band crammed inside of a studio, the camera angles going from person to person while they play their part- close ups on the fingers and such- are very well done.  There are even some candles lit within here to set the mood.  This video makes me want to hear a live set (as a video or just audio) from Swansgate with more than just four songs-- a full set.  But, that's me getting ahead of myself because first the album which this precedes shall drop and whoever is watching this video with me will also be ready.

Music Review //
Anne Marie Almedal
" Breathing In Breathing Out"


As soon as the music hits you can feel the bass.  The electronic sound of Anne Marie Almedal comes through with this smooth, chill flow.  It gets intense to the point where at times it can feel hypnotic, which is as much due to the music as it is due to the vocal range, but it also just feels like it hits a groove and just keeps on sailing.  Somewhere between darkwave and Madonna, Anne Marie Almedal is certainly forming a new genre here.

Similar artists are not easy to come by with this one.  It's a more minimal version of Polly Scattergood or Ladytron perhaps, but just that constant flow where you feel like you're moving throughout the entire song presents it in such a unique style.   It really can just put you into a trance as it's not quite fast enough to dance to or really feel like you're moving (such as running) but it also isn't that slow either.  The tempo remains moderate as does the disposition and that just calms me.

I always like to imagine music with visuals and I think of "Breathing In Breathing Out" as being set in the world of the film "Tron".  I remember that movie as the riders being on bikes and zipping around, making sharp turns at corners.   This song would just be a straight line, an autopilot, a matter of putting on the cruise control if you will, as we simply drift.   Perhaps that just speaks more than anything else to the vibe of the song in a sit back and enjoy the ride kind of way.

If this song was to come on randomly during a playlist I would want to know who it was for sure.   There is also that way about it where it makes me think about like SHAED and how I might hear it for the first time on the radio and seek it out to hear more songs by Anne Marie Almedal.   Regardless of how this song was first discovered by anyone though, hearing more songs by Anne Marie Almedal now feels like a must.