Thursday, May 26, 2022

Baseball Review //
Wallingford Cardinals, 5
Record-Journal Expos, 7
May 24th, 2022
Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT


Official Box Score here :::

Additional Photos here :::

On Tuesday night the GHTBL had its third game of the season and the first of the season for the Record-Journal Expos as well as the first overall for the Wallingford Cardinals.  Online the schedule said this game would start at 6:30pm but it actually started- I believe- at 6:00pm.  I almost went to Ceppa Field at 6:00pm because that's when the Spotlight Hour starts in Pokemon Go and I figured I'd just catch all the Seels while I'm there but instead I opted to catch some Seels at home first so I got to Ceppa around 6:15.   My uncle also said that the night before there was the heated Meriden rivalry game of Platt vs Maloney and he was there so he found out the lights didn't work, which was likely the reason for pushing the start time back.

Confused as I might be as to when the game started and how much of it I actually missed, I do know that I saw AJ Hendrickson hit back to back doubles during this game, scoring two runs the first time and an additional run on the second one.   I also saw the Cardinals do that old switcheroo steal to score a run where they have runners on first and third and when the runner goes from first to second the other runner goes from third to home.   There were a number of great plays during this game defensively as well, with both teams making that extra effort to save runs.

While this was the first game of the season, I always like to think about what it could spell for the rest of the season.  The Expos seemed to start off a little rough with the pitching, but then they settled in and whether that becomes an all season thing or not doesn't matter because giving up a run or two isn't a big deal as long as you then get into your groove and shut them down offensively as well as score your own runs.   And just from this first game- compared to last season- that's one factor which I feel has improved for the Expos.  They have been swinging and not at bad pitches.

Sometimes you make contact with the ball and the second baseman catches it and throws you out at first.   But sometimes that ball soars past the shortstop and second baseman and you get a hit.   These are both the types of things that the Expos were doing offensively, but they were getting more hits than outs.  That really was the difference here between the Expos and Cardinals- just making contact and getting the ball out there.  Sometimes the center fielder catches it, sometimes it drops behind him and the left fielder.   But you don't have those options if you're not hitting, if you're not making contact with the ball.

As the game went on, Justin Marks settled in as pitcher while eventually AJ Hendrickson also took over and the amount of strikeouts thrown was really a difference maker as well because it limited the scoring of the Cardinals.  The Expos did exactly what needed to be done to win the game: score and keep the other team from scoring.   If they can keep this up all season, it will be a good sign of things to come.

This year, the GHTBL has each team facing each other three times and though the Expos have won their only game this week, after Memorial Day they have two home games scheduled as well as their first away game at Muzzy Field against the Bristol (not really) Greeners.   The two home games are against the Phillies on Tuesday and Championship Jets on Friday, so those will definitely be some tough tests and just all around great baseball games.  

Preview: Pro Wrestling GRIND presents "Come And Get It" (5/27)

While things are heating up for the title picture in Pro Wrestling GRIND, this is their sixth show and so a lot of the roster is really shaping up in their wins and losses.  If wins and losses are any indication of how a title tournament might go, then right now it might be expected that Logan Black and Rip Byson would meet in the finals and what a match that would be.   This also seems to be the show where wrestlers from two shows ago (except for BEEF :() come back and try to avenge their losses.    We have debuts, we have returns, we have the usual suspects, so come and get it!

Shook Crew vs Team All-Japan

The Shook Crew as a tag team- Bobby Orlando and Bryce Donovan- are 0-1 in GRIND, with a loss to The Mane Event.   Dante Drago is making his GRIND debut and though he usually tags with Jack Tomlinson as VBU, that can be to the advantage of the teamwork that this expanded Shook Crew will need to defeat Team All-Japan.   The Saito Brothers are 1-1 in GRIND.  Though they also suffered a loss to The Mane Event, they picked up a win last month over The Work Horsemen.  Jay Freddie, however, is 2-2 with losses to Rip Byson and most recently Perry Von Vicious, which will be a theme among this show.   

While Team All-Japan will likely look to utilize their power and teamwork, Shook Crew are no strangers to each other and can use their teamwork just as well as their speed and high-flying ability.   The fact that Dante Drago might not be on the same page as Bobby and Bryce might be the deciding factor in this match.   But this is the first ever trios match in GRIND history and it looks to be pure chaos.   Hopefully they enlist the power of two referees.

Travis Huckabee (3-1) vs Ryan Mooney (2-1)

At "Antisocial", I said to Ryan Mooney that I'd like to see him face either Travis Huckabee or Cabana Man Dan.   Someone must have overheard me because this match is going to be a classic and could quite possibly steal the entire show- which says a lot about it when you consider the card on a whole.    Travis Huckabee enters this match with only one loss- to Rip Byson- and Ryan Mooney also only has one loss- to Alec Price.   Both of these wrestlers started their journeys in GRIND with a loss and have since picked up wins and been unstoppable.

Travis Huckabee has wins over Myung Jae Lee, Perry Von Vicious (in a true Match of the Year candidate) and most recently Mike Skyros.   Ryan Mooney has picked up recent victories over Gary Jay and Channing Thomas.   I'm not sure either competitor really has an advantage at this point because as technically sound as Travis Huckabee is (and Huckabee ranks amongst the best), Ryan Mooney is just that scrappy and will do what needs to be done to win.  This is going to feel a lot like a match where both of these wrestlers are undefeated and someone will be handed their first loss.   This has that big fight feel for sure.  

Willow Nightingale (0-1) vs Brooke Valentine (NA)

Willow Nightingale made her debut for GRIND back at "Price Of A Mile" with a loss to Delmi Exo.   Brooke Valentine is making her GRIND debut here and this should be an interesting matchup as Thick and Juicy 2.0 explode!  The one thing that needs to be stated about GRIND is that they bring out this different side of wrestlers than any other promotion does.   What you might be used to seeing from Willow Nightingale in Beyond Wrestling, AEW, MLW, etc is not the same Willow Nightingale we saw take on Delmi Exo.   

During this match, Brooke Valentine will likely have that toughness brought out as well.   Wrestlers, by nature, are tough- I think it just takes getting into that GRIND ring and feeling like you're fighting for survival to really bring it out in a lot of ways.   This match also has those stakes of Willow Nightingale wanting to avenge the loss from her debut and not sink to 0-2, but yet Brooke Valentine also wants to debut with a win so it's going to be very tooth and nail here.  

Logan Black (4-0) vs Manders (0-1)

Logan Black is the only wrestler who is undefeated with four wins and the only wrestler higher in the rankings than him would be Rip Byson, who is 5-0.   The only show Logan Black was not on was "You Better Run", the second show, and you have to wonder if he was whether or not he'd also be 5-0.    Logan Black has really just been having some of the toughest matches of his career here in GRIND, with wins over Merc, Ryan Galeone (I miss him!), O'Shay Edwards and most recently Joseph Alexander.

The thing which all of those opponents that Logan Black has faced have in common is that they are all bring something different to the table.   Logan Black has survived the veteran Merc, who is tactical and brought a hardcore brawl to the first show.   But there is also that power and high-flying of Ryan Galeone, the strength and size of O'Shay Edwards and the youth and technical savvy of Joseph Alexander.    

Manders brings something different to this match than any of Logan Black's previous opponents as well, but Logan Black just seems like he can adapt so well that this could be an uphill battle for Manders.   Manders is 0-1 in GRIND though and will likely be looking to avenge that loss to Jay Freddie and not go 0-2.   This is going to be that pure battle of will power and who is going to be able to stay down for the three count first because that just doesn't seem like something either competitor is capable of doing.

Delmi Exo (2-0) vs Jody Threat (NA)

It's always interesting how many wrestlers debut for GRIND and seem to have their first match as a loss because perhaps they are not fully prepared for what awaits them.  Delmi Exo is now 2-0 with wins over Willow Nightingale and Anthony Greene.    That experience inside of a GRIND ring should help Delmi Exo, though Jody Threat is making her GRIND debut and no one ever wants to lose in their debut.

While Delmi Exo really seems to be perfecting this power-based style of technical wrestling, the fact that Jody Threat can just hit you from any angle at any time and use her own body as a weapon is what makes her so dangerous.   This match very much feels like Delmi Exo is going to come in with a game plan and try to win by going by the book, while Jody Threat just offers up this unpredictability that very well might be the key to victory.

Perry Von Vicious (4-1) vs O'Shay Edwards (0-1)

When you consider two wrestlers who seem equal in size and strength, it's difficult to get a better match up than Perry Von Vicious vs O'Shay Edwards.  The idea behind Perry Von Vicious is that he is a Monster Truck and yet O'Shay Edwards is The Big Bad Kaiju, which is also a form of a monster.    If this makes you wonder whether monster trucks and kaiju have ever crossed over before the answer is yes (and it's quite fun to look into should you feel so inclined)

Perry Von Vicious has torn through the GRIND roster, both defeating names like Brandon Watts and Nolo Kitano while also defeating the mainstay Jay Freddie and perhaps toughest challenge in BEEF.   The only loss Perry Von Vicious right now is at the hands of Travis Huckabee in what was just a brutal Match of the Year contender.   O'Shay Edwards has only appeared in GRIND once and it was a loss to Logan Black, but Black is undefeated so there really is no shame in that.

I've always been a fan of wrestling through the 1980's and 1990's when it felt simpler in many ways.   It felt like someone out there didn't know what to do with Dan Spivey and Sid Vicious, so the two got teamed up as The Skyscrapers and even based on that name you have to assume that a lot of the reason why they were paired together was someone saying "You're both really tall".   Though I feel like a lot more thought went into this match and there is a lot more behind it (and at stake), I still like to just look at this match graphic and think "They're both so tall".

There was also that same time though when you had someone like Sid Vicious taking on The Undertaker you knew it was going to be a lot of chokeslams and powerbombs- power moves- because they were both such big guys.  I think that, as wrestling has evolved, this match is going to be a nice throwback to those days but also a bit more technical as both PVV and Edwards are known to leave their feet. 

Derek Neal (NA) vs Rip Byson (5-0)

There is, undoubtedly, a lot of great wrestlers coming out of the South and with Uncharted Territory taking place down there now it has given them a brighter spotlight to showcase just that.  If you're like me though, you enjoy and appreciate good wrestling regardless of the location and in GRIND Derek Neal will not be booed for being from the South but rather respected for his in ring abilities.   

While different names can come to mind when you think of the South, to me Derek Neal is the face of that scene in many ways.  Even in defeat, Neal has had high profile matches against Dominic Garrini and BEEF, but also has recent victories over Manders and Ashton Starr.   This can be said about a lot of the wrestlers from the South, but Derek Neal just has that look: Derek Neal is just built like a professional wrestler.

Unfortunately for Derek Neal, he is coming to GRIND to take on the only roster member who is 5-0 in Rip Byson.   People may not know enough about either of these wrestlers, but even if you feel comfortable with your knowledge of Rip Byson and Derek Neal matches, I don't think anything can quite prepare fans for the carnage which will take over the Pulaski Club.  As Rip Byson has wins over Travis Huckabee, Jay Freddie, WARHORSE, Brandon Williams and Kevin Ku, it certainly feels like if anyone is coming to make a statement and end the winning streak of Rip Byson that man would be named Derek Neal.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Music Review //
Aleksandra Takala
"In My Own Time"


The music of Aleksandra Takala is instrumental but it can feel like the soundtrack to a film and overall even without vocals these songs still feel connected and can tell a story.   What begins with acoustic guitar plucks makes me think about "Desperado", though it can also be a bit sensual.   This takes us into a world of magic and a lot of this album will stay there as well.  Even as the second song begins you can hear that flute and get that vibe of being at the RenFair.

Big strings come in with this powerful score.   It's classical, but it's also something else.   On "Helpless to Help" pianos come in to set the tone while "En Tiempo" has more of an X-Files/Stranger Things vibe with hypnotic loops.   A funky drive can be heard in "A Tribute to the People" while "Song of the Redwoods" makes me think even more about this being the soundtrack to a film such as "Lord of the Rings".

"Silva's Ride" has a sleeking way about it while drums bring up more magic in the final song, "Masada Overture", which comes in just over thirteen minutes and feels like the end to the story.  Even within the song titles themselves you can kind of see how this album feels like it's made up of little stories which when played together form one larger story.   While this could be heard in a movie at times I also imagine it being played by an orchestra while actors portray their roles on a stage for a play.

One of the best parts about music is when sound is able to create images for you.   This may or may not be an actual soundtrack but for someone to interpret it as such and create a series of music videos would be neat.  I imagine one video per song and then they would all link together to form a flowing visual.  But even if that part only remains in my mind, the audio on this is quite good and should be heard by anyone interested in taking a similar adventure.  

Music Review //
Ansa GaRangDengZhen (Zen)

This song is really all over the place.   There is this flute and feeling where it could be spiritual, but then it kicks into these beats and feels like it's going to turn into a dance as well.  While this might feel like a good idea on paper, it does so seemingly without thought as to what is happening- one hand doesn't seem to know what the other is doing, as the old saying goes.

The vocals range from one point of being high to another point of being much higher and they just sort of climb.  I'm not sure if this is done with an actual vocal range (I believe it is though) but it makes me think of something being autotuned as well, which is just not how anyone wants to think of anything I suppose.

Near the end this song just becomes something completely different with keys and it feels more like a mashup of several songs than just the one song that it is meant to be.  If Zen were to keep this song inside of one lane- such as a dance number with the beats- it could be rather enjoyable.  But the way in which this is presented makes it feel like snippets of different songs got mixed together on accident.

Even if this song could maintain that low key, spiritual vibe and have it build with keys to create beats, the fact that this vocal range starts off so high and just gets higher is not music to my ears.  I do not have a dog or know anyone who does, but if this was played around dogs I assume they would feel the pain in their ears that I feel when those really high notes are hit.   While this song has components which could make it easier to listen to, the execution just leaves a lot to be desired.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Baseball Review //
Harvard Crimson, 0
Yale Bulldogs, 1
May 14th, 2022
Bush Field, New Haven, CT
(Ivy League)

The official box score for this game can be found here :::

Photos can be found in a Facebook album located here :::

The final series of games for Yale Baseball had special strings attached to them.  Not only was the field finally being dedicated to George HW Bush- though it has been noted as such in Pokemon Go for quite some time now- there was also a special ceremony announced for the retirement of Coach John Stuper.  There are several reasons to experience Yale Baseball every season in person.  One is because admission is free.  Another is because where the games are played is incredibly nice and there isn't a bad seat in the house.  And an even better reason is because the players just have this different attitude and approach to the game of baseball than other colleges have and even the majors.

But one of the big reasons why we'd also been going to Yale Baseball when we can is because of Coach John Stuper, who is one of my all-time favorite players to play in MLB and not be a part of the New York Mets.   My fun fact about Coach Stuper is that not only did he pitch in the World Series (something not every pitcher in MLB can say) but he did so as a rookie, in Game 6 which tied the series 3-3 and then the Cardinals would also win Game 7 and become Champions that year.  This was also all done opposite Keith Hernandez at first base, who I enjoy as a Mets fan as well.

When we arrived at the Yale Baseball Field, a parking lot attendant type waved and instructed me to roll down my window.  He asked if we had reserved parking or not and considering that I had no idea what that meant- parking has always been free and on a first come first serve basis- I was then told to drive down a path and we ended up parking somewhat far away.   I assume this was done because of how many fans were there and the reserved parking was likely for staff/former players/family, but not me.

Once we got into the stadium a few of the sections near the Yale dugout were roped off and you had to go through security to get into them.  It looked like they were serving food (maybe even had a bar?) but that was, of course, for the VIPs again and not me.  I didn't care.  We went and got our seats near homeplate, but in the shade because it was so hot.  As a fast forward to the end of the game: When we left, there were cars parked on the field next to the stadium.  This was easily the most fans I've ever seen at a Yale Baseball game, but honestly, they should be bringing in this many fans for every game.

In between games they did the ceremonies, noting that they expected to have Marvin Bush there (?) but instead had an audio message from Jeb Bush.   The fact that George W Bush couldn't even be bothered to show up- when he had also attended Yale and played on the baseball team- shows how much of a priority this was.   But, we didn't come here to see the field be dedicated to George HW Bush.  We came to see the final game of Coach John Stuper.

The way that this game went was like a chess match.  In the second inning, Ben Metzner got on with a double.   Carson Swank grounded out, but moved Metzner to third.   Colton Shaw then hit a long shot to right field, which was caught for two outs, but it was enough to bring Metzner home.  That was the only run of the game and it felt a lot like playing small ball, rather than going for those big innings of homeruns and just power hitting.   It was smart, not being greedy and just the way that baseball should be played.  

But the defense also held their own- on both sides.  A 1-0 game can be broken open at almost any time because it'd only take two runs to get that lead.   The pitching match of Mike Walsh for Yale and Chris Clark for Harvard should be a bigger story here, as it was largely the reason why this game was held at 1-0.  

This game was a lot of fun- and suspense- and even though they played another after it and then a third in the series on Sunday, this felt like a good note to go out on so it was the final game of the Yale season for us.   It's crazy to think that Coach Stuper had been doing this for 30 years when it feels like most people out there today haven't even been alive that long.  (For reference: When John Stuper debuted in MLB I was only two years old, but a lot of people out there reading this probably weren't even born yet)

Quentin got this giant sign that is a photo of Coach Stuper, which they were handing out and then holding up during his speech.  We also found a table that was selling merchandise (the first time I'd ever seen such a thing there!) and they had two jersey type t-shirts: one for George HW Bush and one for John Stuper.  I asked how much they were and after the salesman told me, he also said he only had XXL left and I said that was fine.  It was funny though when he asked which one I wanted and I responded slightly offended that anyone would think I wanted a Bush jersey.

The final thing we did before we left was get a signature from John Stuper on the program.  While driving there, I had thought in hindsight how cool it would've been to print the image from this game onto an 11x17 sized poster and have it signed but I also didn't know where I'd put it as my wall space is so limited now.   The fact that it was the cover of the program felt like fate and with the help and patience of Mike Walsh, Quentin was able to get the autograph he was seeking and create a lifelong memory with a souvenir he can hold onto forever.

Music Review //
Ava Della Pietra
"my boyfriend"

The pop-driven song "my boyfriend" by Ava Della Pietra has an easy way of listening to the  music while at the same time telling a story about relationships.  While it could be taken from the title that the song is about a present relationship, such as with lyrics about the qualities of a current boyfriend, the way the overall song vibes is with lyrics about wanting someone to be your boyfriend and just having those thoughts of relationships.

Opening with the line "For the first time in my life I want a boyfriend" really sets the tone as this is a song which can be thought about not only by someone who is young and starting out in that world of dating but also for someone who is older and is either getting back into dating for whatever reason or just perhaps is nostalgic for those days and can see this in that way of being compared with when we were younger and inexperienced with love.

When listening to this song, I think about how when I was younger I'd really just get into a relationship and date someone simply if they liked me.  It was that easy.  But now that I'm older, I have that mentality of "You like me? Why? Something must be wrong with you".   I think we need more of that harsh judgment in our youth but also more of the carefree style in our older years, so finding that balance is what it's really all about with dating.  Maybe this song can inspire that in some people who are out there looking for love.

Through powerful vocals which at times can be layered, "my boyfriend" ends with the line: "Truth or truth do you like me / Dare or dare would you kiss me now".  This seems only fitting for not only the direct intent of the song but the way that I can view it as being older because when you're in those younger years playing Truth or Dare is very common, but it also happens to be a game which can stick with you as you're older but you play it a little bit differently.  Ava Della Pietra might not have planned on bridging the gap between dating in your youth and later in life, but it has happened here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Cassette Review //
Icarus Phoenix
"No tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell"
(Telos Tapes)

$10 // Edition of 50 //

When this second cassette by Icarus Phoenix begins, there is a sense of psych-acoustic rock before it fully kicks in and just begins rocking.   Throughout these songs several influences can be heard such as Ted Leo, Daniel Johnston, Nathan Leigh & The Crisis Actors and The Get Up Kids, but Icarus Phoenix has also just done a wonderful job at finding their own voice- through sound and lyrics- and showcasing that here.

If you can get into the style of rock music which I've compared this with then you should be good to listen and enjoy this cassette from start to finish.  It has that way about it where it isn't overly strong in any genre- where it's not like gangsta rap or metal- so it should have a sense of appeal to most music listeners.   However, this cassette also has strong lyrics which after an initial listen should be examined and perhaps certain lines can be taken to heart by you personally.

I really enjoy the song "Rivers" for all of its lyrics and specifically the line: "Who we are and what we have is enough".   We seem to exist in a world where we always want more and never seem satisfied so it's nice to have this sort of mantra which can help us to not feel that way so much.  This also really applies directly, within the context of the song, to the idea that sometimes you don't have to win over the entire world with your art but if you help one person- even if that person is you- then it's worth it.

As another example, "All the Same" has this great overall sense of lyrics but I pull out the one line of "We won't always be this young" and really think about it.  There are things that I want to do and I think back to when I was younger and staying out all night wouldn't bother me but now I'm more hesitant to do it.   At the same time, I know that ten or twenty years from now I'm going to likely have even less energy to go out and do things so I need to do them now while I'm still somewhat young.  And I enjoy that Icarus Phoenix has that overall idea of embracing life.

Cassette Review //
Nevamind & Royal-T
"The Yesmen"
(Hand'Solo Records)


One of the things which I can appreciate right away about this cassette is the simple fact that it embraces a time in hip hop when I was really into the genre while also trying to help further it into the future.  There are far too many rappers out there (I could've stopped there) that think that the key to success is just copying the style of someone else.  At least that's what I believe because so many rappers on the radio have so many songs that all sound the same.

Nevamind & Royal-T begin "The Yesmen" with this pinball type of computer skramz sound behind their words before finding a vibe that brings to mind such influences as Busta Rhymes, Black Sheep, Onyx and A Tribe Called Quest.  Again, I really enjoy that the artists I hear in these songs tend to rely heavily on the days of when rap was released on cassette because the compact disc had not come along yet.

This cassette will also reference anything from TMNT and Tony Stark to Tom Petty and George Constanza in the lyrics.   The rhymes go hard but so do the words as this just seems to feel like a lyrical pummeling delivered by the best and most well-trained.  While "Judonno" can have this carnival-like feel to it, I also enjoy that the final song, "Nose Up", is one which you can really bob your head to and sing along with. 

Perhaps one of my favorite lines comes on "Mercy on My Soul" and it says: "You make me laugh harder than a white guy with dreads".  I'm not sure who is still doing that but it needs to stop.  There is also a song called "Dropped My Mixtape" in which the "dropped" doesn't refer to releasing it but rather losing it and now the world will never be able to hear some of the best music ever recorded.  I'm not sure if this is based on a true story or not, but this "The Yes Men" cassette is some of the best music I've ever heard.  

Cassette Review //
Distance Dealer
"Mind Dawns"
(Blackjack Illuminist Records)


When "Mind Dawns" first begins there are these sort of gothic beats which make me think of The Prodigy.   As it kicks in, sounds in that synthwave / darkwave genre can come out, ranging from Joy Division and The Cure to Depeche Mode and Oingo Boingo.  While this can feel like it has a dance and trance way about it, the music can at the same time feel quite haunted and hollow.  Though it has that certain sound about it, as noted with other artist comparisons, Distance Dealer just adds this other element to this music which really makes it move.

Sometimes there are just these dark twists and turns, but then it can also become electronic where it feels like more "Bladerunner" than "The Crow", though both can be heard on the cassette.  "Waved Aside" is a good example of how this can feel more like a dance than doom and gloom, but yet it can also just stick to those core sounds.    Drum machines can make this feel rather dreamy and it can just feel like it's on a wave length all its own.  

The vocals can also get somewhat fast paced, such as when asking "Will we be all right" in a dystopian manner on "Body/Frame".  This also takes us into a much darker synth-based song with big percussion called "Mourned & Dead".    With an "or" instead of an "&", "Bloom Or Doom" comes off with these xylophone type notes and just an overall feel of a huge ballad.    As we get into "A Lack Of What?" we switch up the sound of destruction to one of moving synth tones, somewhat like "Stranger Things".

Regardless of whatever mood this cassette might set for you- and it tends to stay in a darker realm overall- the fact remains that it can be fast paced and that makes me want to move.  Whether it be driving fast at night or just going for a run, this is that type of cassette which you can press play and then whatever you're doing goes by a lot faster because before you know it the music stops and it's time to start it up all over again.  

Friday, May 13, 2022

Music Review //
Roses & Revolutions
"Brightside of Me"

The music of Roses & Revolutions is quite perfect because though it mostly consists of a voice and acoustic guitar strums it has this pacing where it could be on the radio and keep you moving, where as a lot of what falls into a similar category can sound like a lullaby and would be awkward just coming in through a playlist.  When listening to the radio it can kind of catch you off guard when a ballad comes on- like Green Day's "Time Of Your Life"- and throw off your rhythm, but that wouldn't be a problem with "Brightside of Me".

In a world where it feels like the news is constantly bad because that's what gets clicks, it's refreshing to hear a song about the brightside of anything.   This music video serves as a lyric video but it is nice to be able to watch these words fill the screen as they are coming into the song.  It puts this extra emphasis on them, which certainly could help the listener to not only take in the harmonies of the music but the power of the words themselves.

One line which particularly stands out for me is: "It's a brand new day".  For most of my life, whenever I was physically sick I always had the mentality of just sleeping it off.  It's that idea of "I feel this way now, but if I go to sleep then when I wake up I won't feel this way anymore".  It's funny how it took me so long in life to apply that with emotional situations as well.  Today might not have gone as planned, but you go to sleep, hit that reset button and try to make tomorrow a better day.  And even if tomorrow isn't better, an eventual tomorrow will be.

During the chorus of "Brightside of Me", Roses & Revolutions has this sound which is like a bang but I think of it as a door closing.  This has a significance to the song because a lot of that going forward in a positive manner that this song feels like it has strong vibes of can be seen by closing that door on your past, closing that door on the negative things in your life.  It's comforting to not only hear a song celebrating oneself but also for it to be somewhat of a guide to help us do so.  

Music Review //
Fritz Michel
"On the Rocks"


As soon as this song start, Fritz Michel sings that: "Our ship wrecked / cause I never checked the weather".   It's funny because when I see the phrase "On the Rocks" I think about how drinks are served with ice.  This is mainly because of the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", in which the character of Eddie Valiant asks for a drink on the rocks and is brought alcohol with literal rocks in it.   This is not the case for this Fritz Michel song, however, as this one is more about being on the rocks after a boat crash.

Musically, Fritz Michel is doing a great job of combining noticeable genres while blending them to create a sound all their own.  At times this reminds me of a band such as Fastball because it has those sharp guitars.  There is also a strong element of this being rock n roll in the way that you would hear from the film "That Thing You Do!".    A cool vibe, sort of like something you'd hear from Buddy Holly and that era of rock n roll, also comes through.  Within all that is also a sense of electric folk.

Lyrically this song is seemingly innocent enough but of course you can dive deeper into it.  The concept of this being about a boat crashing because things were not well planned out can be seen as something as simple as the plot to "Gilligan's Island".  Yet at the same time, that lack of planning can come into play and remind us that sometimes life doesn't go as planned.  Sometimes you feel like you have it so bad off or that life just isn't going your way for whatever reason, so it takes something like a boat crashing to make you realize that you don't have it so bad after all.

This song just also has a strong vibe for how I would imagine someone singing it would be dressed.  I partly imagine someone in a white button up shirt and black tie, to have that Fastball effect, but then I also just imagine someone dressed like The Fonz for that Buddy Holly/cool deal.  Either way, this song is less about your boat crashing and more about what you do after that, when you see that other person and realize you're okay, they're okay and life doesn't seem quite as bad as it did before.  

Thursday, May 12, 2022

[Interview # 227] O.K. Company

 1) Is your name more of a place which creates O.K. or people who come over for tea that are O.K.? 

Love this question! The feeling behind the name was definitely the latter, like hey, we're a solid group of folks to spend a little bit of your time with. Not just as people, but the feeling we hope you get from taking in our music too. A bit more "foot in the door" than "door in the face" if you know what I mean.

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

There's definitely a lot of feeling and meaning behind it all, if you're the type to listen for that. As far as the sound goes, we pull inspiration from all over! You may get a soulful bluesy tune one minute and something with a little more twang the next. All told, it's a little soulful, a little sultry, and a lot of fun.

3) What was it like for you to create music during the pandemic? 

It was a lifeline to be able to continue to create new music together, especially with few expectations or deadlines in the air. We were just making music, and we made tons. By the time gigs started popping up again, we had all new music and a somewhat new lineup. So we had the chance to keep creating and really solidify that lineup. 

4) What do you think are the key differences between your music in a live experience versus recording?

The drums aren't compressed live 🙃 And live just feels so good that nobody really cares about your clams here and there. Try as we might to capture that live vibe by recording things all together and punching in as little as possible, our recordings are always going to be missing that feeling of just going for it. On the other hand though, there are some things we can't do live at this stage, like all the harmonies and horns! But hopefully one day…

5) How does it feel now that things are opening up again and live music is coming back?

It almost feels like it did before, but I think we might actually be gigging a little bit more these days than pre-pandemic. It's great to see folks we haven't seen out in a long time. And man is it good to play and watch people dance and hear them sing along. And to find out what other artists have been cooking up these past couple of years too. It's exciting!

6) Do you feel like physical media such as cassettes and records still have a place in music? 

Most definitely. They’ve been on a comeback for sometime now. We dream of printing some of our music on vinyl someday. 

7) With Spotify being so convenient but underpaying artists, what do you feel like are the best ways to support musicians?

Buy tickets to shows even if you can't go! Especially for smaller/local gigs that don't really sell out – just grab a ticket. And of course, listen to their stuff elsewhere if you can, especially if they've got a Bandcamp, SoundCloud, or Patreon situation set up. 

8) What is it like being a musician from Connecticut?

Define from Connecticut, lol. Almost all of us are actually technically transplants, but we've also been here for a good amount of time. It's definitely great being a part of the music community up here though, we have met and gotten to play with so many incredibly talented and cool people. The other local musicians might be the biggest perk of being a part of the music scene here. Lots of love, support, and even collaboration sometimes! 

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

Just thanks for taking an interest in who we are and what we're up to! Shout out to all our moms who think we're really great. And shout out to Josh for getting us a website up and running just last week! Find us over at

Cassette Review //
"Ready To Drown"
(Blackjack Illuminist Records)


€7 // Edition of 15

The music of Verneblung is that of a band which sounds like a combination of rock and electronic music.   Though "Ready To Drown" can begin with big beats and electronics, as it goes on it can create different sounds across various genres while all sticking to the sound of the opening track.   While I can compare the sound of Verneblung with some modern artists- such as Metric- the fact that this also feels like something from the 1990's really has it standing out to me, putting it into a genre all its own in the present tense.

From artists such as Bjork and PJ Harvey to Garbage and the Sneaker Pimps there is a definitive 1990's sound on this cassette.   While I tend to think of songs as sometimes being related to sounds based on movie soundtracks, that becomes an interesting place to put Verneblung.  At times this feels like it could be off that "Romeo and Juliet" soundtrack, but there are also strong vibes of a lot of my go-to soundtrack comparisons in here, such as "Go", "Run Lola Run" and "The Crow".  

At times atmospheric, these songs can also be melodic.  The titular track, however, takes us into a distinct sense of darkwave which perhaps was there all along and this song just happened to make it more apparent.  With big, expansive synth, Verneblung begins to forge their own path with the sound that they make.  What is perhaps most important to remember here is that Verneblung can sound like these other artists at times but not on the whole.  That is to say it wouldn't surprise me to see Verneblung opening shows for Garbage but they don't sound exactly the same.

Growing up in the '90's there weren't really a lot of bands fronted by women.  The term "frontman" was as such for a reason.  I'm glad that someone such as Nadin Klein and Adnan Abbas can work together to create something that not only puts that vibe of music not being a male dominated scene into the world while at the same time helping me misremember my youth as I put these songs on inbetween The Cranberries and Hole.  

Cassette Review //
Larry Wish
"Stardust & Hurt"

On "Stardust & Hurt", Larry Wish explores the sounds of country music through a voice that only Larry Wish can provide.  There are elements of synth, drum machines and other non-traditional country sounds coming out in these songs, but if this somehow helps music fans become more familiar with country songs they might not know then this cassette is doing its job, and that is something which I feel.

Country as a genre might be one of the aspects of music which I know the least about.  I know Willie Nelson, so it's nice to see "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" on here.  Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers are familiar but whenever I hear "Islands in the Stream" I always think of "Ghetto Superstar" and not country music.  Vince Gill is pretty much the exact type of country musician that I do not know a lot about and have perhaps only really heard of in name.

"Love Hurts" closes out the first side of this cassette and it is based on the country version, which is by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.  Parsons and Harris are also both musicians I only know by name, but there is a movie out there about Gram Parsons that stars Johnny Knoxville (I recently tried to watch it but couldn't get through it)  I also think of this song under its cover version by Nazareth, though that is largely due to the "Dazed and Confused" soundtrack as I've seen that movie way too many times.

I am familiar with George Jones, as he is somewhat of that outlaw country genre I listen to most, but I am somewhat surprised that there isn't a Johnny Cash song on here though a) Most country fans don't consider Johnny Cash to be true country and b) I'd love to hear an entire album of Johnny Cash songs covered by Larry Wish.   "Stardust & Hurt" is the type of cassette that would make country fans proud but also perhaps bring in new fans- those who don't like country- will still enjoy this and perhaps use it to look further into one of these artists.  

Cassette Review //
"Stairs EP"
(Solid Melts)


($7 // Edition of 20)

The concept of Advection as a word is really something to wrap your mind around.  The definition reads as: "the transfer of heat or matter by the flow of a fluid, especially horizontally in the atmosphere or the sea"  Of course, right away, when I think of something being transferred in the ocean by fluid and being warm my first thought goes to "Fish pee in the ocean!" but it seems like so much more than that, which is kind of scary to think about.  It's odd to think in general about how we function on land but then to think about how life survives underwater is a whole other story.

"Stairs" begins with electronics, which are mostly beats and beeps.  There are synth skips and then we get into the blissed out casiotone sound as well.  Through some static, we eventually find these louder, isolated beeps which come through like an SOS.  The idea of sound and how it travels- and how it can be heard- underwater all comes into play now as I think about it and wonder what it must be like to try and communicate underwater as living beings.  Also, sound underwater is so muted on the surface which is crazy otherwise this world would be so much noisier (I type as my neighbors talk loudly outside my apartment)

Static and a background noise makes me think we're in an alley now, but there is also this general feeling of rain.  The electronics scramble and I feel like I'm also hearing a flute.  A sharper ringing brings about the sounds of tapping.   Somehow this all leads us to church organs, but in a more distorted way.   A little bit of crashing down brings us to the end of the first side and I'm left thinking about why humans are the only species that attend church.

On the flip side we begin with sounds like broken piano keys, which makes me think of Daniel Johnston (a strange comparison on this electronic EP).  Whirrs come through in a trippy way and then beats come on with synths like Beverly Hills Cop.   Big, explosive beats drop over scratches now.  Big echoing beats fill that void and it's somewhat scary like a horror movie but also could be the sound of insects.   Fast paced beats combine with slower, more dramatic tones.  Lasers and chaos ensue now.  

Melodic synth drones in.   Tones cut into it, like a flight.  It is odd to think about how something like a bird or an airplane can soar through the air so fast and yet there are also creatures who move just as quickly only underwater.  A record scratching type of manipulation sound comes through with electronics and beeps.  All of this becomes hypnotic and reminds me a bit of "Stranger Things" to close out the cassette.  Thinking about all of the sounds which vibrate underwater, they might very well be hypnotic if we were to hear them properly.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Music Review //
(Counter Records)

The music of Kidswaste is mostly within a genre that might end in -wave, which is why it only feels fitting that this EP is titled "Waves".   With lo-fi beats the sound can start off rather chillwave but as the EP goes on and really begins to gain steam it could be classified as synthwave.  There are a lot of -wave subgenres out there, but ultimately with this energy and borderline pop influence it could be best fit for Kidswaste to be called popwave.

These songs are just completely blissed out.  The first one- which is the titular track- comes with ah's as vocals at first, but then there is actual singing of words put into it.   This entire EP can feel rather uplifting, like we're experiencing it whilst floating around on clouds without a care in the world below us.

Guitars start off "Time is Mine", which features Olivia Reid on vocals.  This song really comes off like a dance party with those elements of pop and it just has such a summer feel to it as well.   "Fall In" has guest vocals by Lizzy Land and this song just feels like a lot of fun, with a lot of synths, and it could just be like a ride in virtual reality.

One of the ways in which this EP works with the title being "Waves" is also the fact that waves can be found in the ocean and this just has the perfect sound to be featured on the beach.  There are these dance elements which make me think about it being at an indoors party, but there is also just something which makes these songs feel so sunny and thus they are best experienced while having fun outside.  

Friday, May 6, 2022

Wrestling Review //
Pro Wrestling GRIND
Easthampton, MA

We have almost reached that point where we're only going to one wrestling show per month and that show is GRIND, but perhaps by the time Quentin is out of school that will change.  One of the fun things about going to the Pulaski Club in Easthampton, MA is that before the show starts we stop off at the Holyoke Mall for food.  Much to our surprise, the McDonald's in the food court was gone.   Not sure how that happened but we ended up having pizza. 

At the last GRIND show we got a flyer for "Antisocial" which just looked so cool (it's the main image up top of this review) that I wanted to bring it back with us and get it signed by at least the wrestlers who appear on it.   Shortly before this show though, it was announced on Twitter that fans who pre-ordered front row seats would get a roster page and when I showed Quentin he agreed he would try and get everyone to sign it.

When we got into the Pulaski Club with Tim we were able to find Kevin Ku and he was the first to sign the roster page.  Before the show started Quentin had about seven signatures out of the eighteen wrestlers who were on there.    Looking at who had merch out though, it felt like we might be able to get them all.

"Antisocial" opened with Logan Black taking on his student Joseph Alexander.   I'd not seen Joseph Alexander wrestle live before but knew about him so this match was exciting for me, with it feeling like Joseph Alexander was being thrown right into the fire against Logan Black.  The power and violence of Joseph Alexander comes from the fact that he can just hit you from any angle with a suplex that will just rock you.  Alexander held his own in this match with Logan Black, sometimes taking it to his teacher, and that really says a lot.  I'd like to see Joseph Alexander back against Brandon Williams, Matt Makowski and Jay Freddie.

Up next was the redemption story of Myung Jae Lee taking on Cabana Man Dan, both of whom were at 0-1 in GRIND.   These two really felt evenly matched with quickness and strikes.  It was the type of match that could have gone either way and it just lived up to that idea that all it takes is three seconds.  I immediately wanted to see this match again because it feels impossible to grow tired of watching these two fight so why not against each other.

Perry Von Vicious vs Jay Freddie is that type of match where people out there still might not know either of these names but to me they are two of the best out there right now and this was just like a car crash but with trucks colliding instead of smaller cars.   Jay Freddie is always ready to go and he can take an unbelievable amount of punishment, and yet the same can be said for Perry Von Vicious.   If I'm watching this one back as a promoter, these are both wrestlers I would want on my show.

Speaking of being booked everywhere, Delmi Exo vs Anthony Greene was up next and the these two should be wrestling all over the world, even if not against each other.  One thing I feel like needs to be said is that Anthony Greene comes out looking like he's having a good time and just maybe it's the way he dresses or he seems more like he's entertaining than other wrestlers, but he is still tough as hell.  You could put AG in MMA gear and what happens inside of that ring doesn't change.

This was the first intergender wrestling match in GRIND history, which is good because I feel like wrestlers should be able to wrestle other wrestlers regardless of gender.  Delmi Exo is one of the toughest wrestlers out there right now and I think this really showcased that as she took everything that AG dished out and fought back twice as hard.   There is going to come a day soon when GRIND crowns their first Champion and I'm inclined to believe that Delmi Exo is an excellent candidate for winning that honor.

During intermission a lot more wrestlers came out and I was talking to some of them while Quentin was going around getting autographs.  At one point, The Work Horsemen came up behind me and I thought JD Drake was about to end my life because that man scares me.  After intermission, we had only five wrestlers left to sign the roster page and I really felt like we were going to do it, even though the signatures we needed were of wrestlers not yet seen.

We came back from intermission and went into one of the most intriguing matches on paper for this show: Channing Thomas vs Ryan Mooney.  There really is no way to compare this with other wrestlers from the past.  Channing Thomas has that Ric Flair/Rick Martel thing going on, but during this match he was just overpowering Ryan Mooney, picking him up and slamming him down.   This match really helped show why Channing Thomas is such a valuable part of the GRIND roster.  

On top of that you have Ryan Mooney who is like no other wrestler out there, just in a league all his own.    After an absolute war with Gary Jay last month, Ryan Mooney came into this match with something to prove and prove it he did.  This wasn't the same kind of war that Mooney had with Gary Jay, but it certainly left both of these wrestlers looking tougher coming out of it and something I didn't think about while watching the match but realized only now: this is the future of professional wrestling right here and it looks so good.

The Work Horsemen vs The Saito Bros was up next but it was a candidate to be the main event.  I had said to Tim before the show started that I thought Delmi vs AG would main event, but when it didn't I thought of this tag team match.  So you have two of the toughest wrestlers out there right now individually in JD Drake and Anthony Henry and they just work so well together as a tag team.  But then they're facing two big twins who have speed on their side as well and this was just one of the single best tag team matches I have ever seen.

I'm going to be sad when the Saito Bros go back to Japan because even if they face all of the opponents I want to see them face here I'm going to want to see them go back and do the matches again.   JD Drake was talking before the match and the ref was trying to get control.  JD Drake said something like "I can talk if I want to" so I told the ref to let JD Drake do what he wants.  JD Drake pointed at me and said "I like that guy".   Anthony Henry is also the most criminally underrated wrestler out there right now.  How are companies not just lining up to build a promotion around him?

This brought us to Travis Huckabee vs Mike Skyros.  The first time I saw the GRIND ring I immediately thought how perfect it would be for Mike Skyros and I was right.  After this match, I think a lot more people are going to be taking notice of Mike Skyros and what he can do inside of that ring.   Like him or not, Travis Huckabee is simply one of the best technical wrestlers out there today, so for anyone to go toe-to-toe with him the way that Mike Skyros did is just proof that Skyros belongs inside of that GRIND ring.   

In the main event, Rip Byson and Kevin Ku just beat the absolute shit out of each other.  I've seen more Kevin Ku matches than I can remember, and that includes singles matches because I've primarily known him as a tag team wrestler, but this is by far my favorite Kevin Ku match to date.  These two just... every time you thought "That's gotta be it, he's gotta be done" the match would just keep going by sheer will power.   Rip Byson is really just having such a great year thus far and I'm glad other promotions are also beginning to take notice of it as well.

After the show, Quentin managed to get the remaining autographs that he needed for the roster poster.   Doing this throughout the show just felt like it gave Quentin something to do when there wasn't wrestling to watch but also it provides a great sense of accomplishment by completing it.  This is also something that Quentin will now remember forever because he can think back to how not only did he see these wrestlers in action but he asked each of them to sign this poster for him.   It truly is something special, but so is everything that GRIND is doing right now.