Friday, January 27, 2023

Cassette Review //
The Dirty Sample
"Beats to Murder Rappers to"
(Hand'Solo Records)


https://handsolorecords.bandcamp.com/album/beats-to-murder-rappers-to


When this cassette starts it says the name and while I realize it might not be entirely accurate, growing up I remember two rappers being killed: Tupac and Biggie.  There were probably more that don't get talked about as much, but these days it seems like a rapper is getting killed just about every week.   I don't know what it means, but it'd be nice if it stopped if for nothing else than the fact of it being another human life.

The beats first start off in a way which would make you feel like you just won a fight.  It's that victory party.   This takes us into a song which feels more like murder music as there are sharp tones cutting through it and it just overall makes me think of Michael Myers stabbing people.   The beats get even bigger now, and again, it feels like we're celebrating and a little bit like someone is about to yell "Snoop Dogg!"  Not coincidentally, it sounds like dogs are barking in the background as well.

Someone speaks of the world that died and it's feeling a little bit post apocalyptic now.   Something about the way this is moving now makes me think about "Kill Bill".   An audio clip comes on about Mandrake and then this song also samples a little piece of Geto Boys "Still".  In many ways, this cassette just feels like the soundtrack to a horror film and to have a horror film with a hip hop soundtrack would actually be quite interesting.   Michael Myers doesn't have to stab a police officer and then "Fuck The Police" plays, but something along those lines.

On the flip side there is an audio clip talking about darkness and easing the pain.  The beats are going hard and it just overall feels like fight music.  At times, I hear these audio clips come in and they feel like they're from a Hitchcock movie because they have that feeling of being more about suspense than a slasher film.   I like that this also adds a layer to these beats, as they don't just feel like you turn a corner and it's "Surprise! It's Leatherface!" but also just the anticipation.  That fear of what goes unseen in the dark.

A broken wind up toy makes its way into the next song and this also feels like it could be creepy in some way.  Have you ever seen that movie "The Baby"??  Someone is called a monster and now this next song has those big tones in it while it sounds like someone is whispering in the background in that way which would make you start running through the fog.   As more words are spoken, we get into a piano heavy song now where it sounds like someone is also screaming in the background.









Cassette Review //
charles lareau
"stasis"
(Public Eyesore Records / Eh? Records)


https://publiceyesore.bandcamp.com/album/stasis


There is a bit of silence at the beginning of this cassette, so when that first note hits it might give you a jump scare.   The distortion comes through in a wall and just obliterates everything around it.    Electronics come in now to give this a smooth driving feel before it sounds like a spaceship landing.   Like an engine driving, this sound just stays steady now.   Sounds somewhat like a lightsaber come through and it just kind of fades out into footsteps.

A slow build of more angelic electronics now as it sounds like a cross between a can being opened and a glass bowl.   A door creaks open now and everything feels like it is increasing in both intensity and pacing.   A bit of back and forth as the alien whirrs come in as well now.   A quieter rolling now and individual notes.  

Everything stops and a certain haunted air comes through now, slowly creeping.   As it slows through this haunted room feeling, there is a sound now which is almost like laughing.   It feels as if there is some heavy breathing into a microphone before everything goes silent with a whirr and that is how the first side comes to its end.

As the whirrs whoosh on the flip side there are also some beeps which make this feel a bit alien- like we are exploring a different planet in search of anything.    Someone is speaking, but it is difficult to hear as loud skipping distortion takes over everything.   Sharp tones cut through the distortion now and this feels like a spaceship out of control, but you know, like one of those car types that drives on the surface of a planet.   

We drop down into some louder static now and this just feels like it's designed to blow out your speakers.   Some whirrs come through and it feels like we're changing channels before this ominous beat of someone walking where it feels like they're dragging something.   It has big vibes of Michael Myers or Leatherface, but then this blissed out tone like the "Masters of the Universe" movie comes through.  

Through these blissed out tones comes some scraping and then it just intensifies to where it feels like we're shipping off into space but in the most happy way possible.   We're creating some nice looping here as it feels like we're drifting further and further into space, with the electronics loud but not as loud as before.    You can really hear the guitar blistering through now.    The electronics flutter back and forth as this one comes to an end in spectacular fashion.











Thursday, January 26, 2023

Cassette Review //
Vlimmer
"Menschenleere"
(Blackjack Illuminist Records)


https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/menschenleere


Vlimmer has been making music for long enough now that it's easy to listen to one of the new cassettes and just hear a sound which reminds me of Vlimmer.   They've really come into their own sound and as I think about the influences being from bands such as Brazil, it feels like influences I've typed before and now this should all just relate back to sounding like Vlimmer.  

With synths, "Menschenleere"  can be something you want to get up and dance to.   The second song has this great trill percussion and it can also just bring about melodies and fun.   A carnival ride of synth is how the third track starts and then it begins to feel more like a pop punk song only with the electronics firmly in place.   There are still some hints of Oingo Boing, but with beats this also becomes a bit trippy.

On the flip side we start with some fast paced beats and heavenly synth tones.  This is the perfect combination of what I think of when I hear Vlimmer- that way you can get up and dance but also just feeling a bit serious, like something that when it comes on you have to give it your full attention.  

Beats switch now to something a bit darker and it feels like there is this banging in a "Take Me To Church" way.   It gets less dark, but swirls around in this sound which comes on in almost a panic.    Everything grows bigger, distorted and there are even X-Files tones back there to end the song.   In contrast, the next song comes out a bit more upbeat as the synth feels like an intro to an anime.

Things begin to feel more cinematic now- the sound grows more intense, a bit slower, but it's louder as well.   It begins to feel almost mechanical, like NIN, but it's driving home a point.   Church organ-like tones start the next song, which quickly forms beats.    This feels upbeat but also just feels like a celebration, which is a fitting way for this cassette to end because it leaves everything on such a positive note.  








Cassette Review //
Outrage Factor
"nothing ever changes"
(Tetryon Tapes)


https://tetryontapes.bandcamp.com/album/nothing-ever-changes


Every time I hear a band like Outrage Factor it takes me right back in time to around the year 2000 or so.   There were so many great record labels releasing great punk rock music and more than anything else, Outrage Factor reminds me a bit of Guttermouth- in that hardcore/punk way- and they have always been one of my favorites.  

These songs are fast paced, but slow down for the important parts and kick back in.  There is a nice guitar riff on "Violent and Jacked", so the musicianship should never be questioned here.  Some of these songs are under a minute long but none of them goes past two minutes in length, in true punk rock fashion.

I particularly enjoy the chorus of "I've Got a Vision" which says: "All I trust is what I see and I see it all".   It's important to be aware of what's going on around you and in a punk rock sense I don't think anything is going to change in this country until the working class rises up, works together and realizes that they need us more than we need them.   Once more people see that, once everyone sees that this society can change.

It took a little while, but I feel like in these last few years I've really started to hear more punk rock in the way that it was meant to be- and in that way I heard some twenty years ago.  A band such as Zipper could be an excellent example of this.   As long as we have bands like Outrage Factor making music like this, the legend will live on and for that I am happy.  










Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Cassette Review //
TLVS
"The Ghost of Beauty"
(Harding Street Assembly Lab)




Right away this cassette is involved with some sort of mystery.   It is marked as release "59A" and is only made known here and shows it as digital and not a cassette.   However, this cassette does appear on Discogs and says it is contains "B-sides, early versions, and remixes that serve as a companion to the LP", which of course is in reference to "Beauty in the Ghost", the latest release from TLVS.

The first song is by Good Joe and comes on with dreamy percussion and a feeling somewhat like new wave but also like shoegaze.  It moves in that perfect way between Flock of Seagulls and My Bloody Valentine and the crashing of the cymbals mixed in makes me also think of the band Thursday.  

Up next we have a song by Stilyagi and it crawls with these groove beats and slowly gets louder.   The way it begins with this percussion feels almost like R&B from the 1980's/1990's that you would've heard on cassette, but it grows with these distorted notes and just begins to fill in the entire room the way that a NIN song might, or something along those lines but feeling a bit more spatial.  

This blends almost seamlessly into a long drone of want and desire by asentimentalsong.  This doesn't feel so much like we are lost, but more so like we are drifting purposely without any direction.   It can intensify at parts, but that ambient drone just remains and makes this overall feel quite powerful and poetic.   Drums kick in now and everything just picks up in the echoes.  

Electronics become present now as VKG brings out these tones with an animalistic sound which drive into louder beats.  This becomes dreamy but in that FNL way, where it feels like we're watching old home movies in black and white.   Big piano sounds come in and swirls are in the background which make it feel like we're underwater at the same time.  

Good Joe returns to kick things off on Side B and there is this magical sort of tone sound coming through in drone.   It can feel angelic and possibly because of the church organ feel to it as well.   There are also those "ahhh"s and just feelings like that of being lifted up.   The way singular tones come through now make it feel like pop from the 1980's or early 1990's that you would've found on cassette.   But it is slow moving and somewhat drone, which just makes it feel more impactful.

Stilyagi is also once again at the second spot here.   This song has a sound which reminds me of the grinding of a crank.  There are beats and uplifting sounds along with this, but I just keep hearing that cranking sound and I'm not sure what to make of it.  There is a nice, overall, rhythm to this, as it all comes to an end and feels more somber.  Distorted notes cut through everything.  The crank returns and it's almost something you'd want to dance to.

An audio clip of astronauts comes on next and we are into a honeybrandy song now.   The audio is mixed in with music which makes it feel like we're watching sad old footage and perhaps we long for the days of past or we are watching a loved one who is no longer with us.   They are counting down now.   I very much feel like we're on this flight now in space, but it might also just be something connecting us with nature.

The final song is by TLVS and has a lot of notes doing different things but creating an overall ambient sound.   This song reminds me a little bit of FNL or drone but it feels more like somewhere in between, like they're not in either genre but are somehow in both at the same time.   It builds and builds until the notes just reflect off of each other and take the whole cassette home.

I am not certain how to get this release as a cassette.   I think it could be something included digitally if you order the TLVS album it relates to.   The best way to find out is to contact HSAL perhaps, but otherwise just look for it out on the secondary market and be sure to grab it if you can because it's definitely a soothing and important piece of music all around. 











Music Review //
Charlotte Sands
"Alright"


https://open.spotify.com/album/2xawjrCCEKSTSxOg6VkPe9


The song "Alright" deals with many things that we feel when we are young, but they are also things we think throughout our entire lives.  I don't mean to play spoiler to anyone else who might be listening to this song and relating with it while in their 20's, but it does seem like we're going to feel this way forever.   

With that sound like Olivia Rodrigo or Alessia Cara, Charlotte Sands has keys and soul to really have you open yourself up and look inside.  This feels like one of those pop songs from the radio on the surface, but the lyrics really make you think more than most of what is on the radio does (not that people would pay attention anyway)  It's an inside look and existential in many ways as well.

The chorus sings: "I'll never be alright, but maybe I'll get close" and in some ways that's all we can hope for.  I used to think my parents had it all together, but then we wonder if we don't (and maybe never will) because of how different things are now.  You can't have that one job and live in a house with two cars and three kids.   Or maybe our parents just didn't have it together as much as we thought they did.

There is a line about about sending out prayers that says "wherever they go" and this song just feels so philosophical throughout.  It's not just about wondering things one night when you're trying to figure out your life, but it's the idea that these thoughts will come into your head and likely stay there for much longer than you'd think.   But that truly is just part of the wonder of life.  

Friday, January 20, 2023

Music Review //
Lamedd
"Permit"


https://lamedd.bandcamp.com/album/permit


Through some static rain, this one starts with angelic tones that make it feel like we're dancing around on clouds.   Tones cut through which can almost sound like words, but also somewhat alien.   This becomes a song which feels like it's getting its motor running while at the same time smashing that video game percussion.

The slip of the cymbal into the crash makes me think we're battling some other force in space, as this could be heard as like the soundtrack to a video game- Asteroids for example.   The tones switch now to where they feel like little steps, walking around in the forest.   Slowly, the electronics creep as the air whooshes behind them.

There is a knocking now, a shuffling of electronics as the static begins to skip pace.   Everything just cuts through like a knife as the electronics begin to also feel mechanical.   Beats come more rapidly now.  Everything picks up and drops off like a bird or helicopter, just cutting through the air as it slips around in the background as well.  Strong Atari vibes as well.

Guitars have that magic strum now on the final song.   It feels almost as if it is going to go into some old western, but it also has this space vibe about it.    Tones echo through, hollow, and you can feel them being shot into space.   As it slows, you can just feel like everything is just drifting off into space, into the darkness.  


Music Review //
Kate Fenner
"Dead Reckoning"


https://katefenner.bandcamp.com/album/dead-reckoning


"Dead Reckoning" opens up with a piano number- full of the voice of Kate Fenner with those piano keys behind the vocals.   This album is full of percussion and could be thought of as smooth jazz as well as easy listening.   Throughout these songs though, the voice of Kate Fenner always seems to be at the forefront of the music itself.

Something about these songs feels almost Bohemian, like the type of sound you would hear at a coffee shop.   But yet as we get into the song "That Fire", which is about halfway through the album, the tone changes to one of almost metal.  It becomes a much bigger feel in a different way, but overall the music remains so powerful.  

As this music goes from seemingly one extreme to another without really leaving the comfort of its own sound, you can feel like Kate Fenner has many influences and they all come out on "Dead Reckoning" in different ways and in different songs.  "Cautionary Tale" has a more radio friendly type of pop sound, for instance.

The way the percussion kicks into "The Hawk" feels mechanical, almost industrial, but then that smooth bass finds its way back on "Son of a Gun".  The final song- "Firefly"- is a fitting ballad to give the album a proper send off.   Though these songs remain within the same sound throughout, they are not afraid to explore and that makes the sound of Kate Fenner feel so full.  


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Live Music Review //
Technical Reserve / Christie Echols / Caleb Duval & Michael Larocca
January 14th, 2023
@ Willimantic Records, Willimantic CT

 


Additional photos from this show can be found in a Facebook album here :::


This was my first time back at Willimantic Records for music in 2023 and it was the first time that Quentin had come with me since Willimantic Records changed locations.   While this was a show I wanted to take Quentin to regardless, it was special because two of the three artists used upright bass while Technical Reserve had T.J. Borden on cello and in his school band Quentin plays the cello.   I wanted him to kind of see what could be done with not only the cello but music outside of that fifth grade public school setting.

People outside of New England may not feel it and maybe it will be more meaningful in twenty years, but as I sit here typing this in mid-January we've only really seen one snowstorm this winter and it wasn't even that bad.  We also haven't really had terribly cold weather.  So it was somewhat nice while driving off of the highway and onto the backroads through Bolton and Andover to see some flurries coming down.   I might otherwise complain about snow, but the feeling it gave me of confirmation that it is, in fact, winter seemed to make up for the worry of driving home in it (even though it didn't stick)

One of the biggest things I really liked about this show was that all three artists felt connected by that bass/cello driving the other components.   Up first was the duo of Caleb Duval and Michael Larocca.   Caleb Duval has a way of playing the bass that can just become the entire room.   When you're a kid, growing up, and you see bands play it will often make you want to play guitar.   But this was just that type of sound that made me realize you don't need a guitar if you can do it this way.

Michael Larocca fills in the sound with percussion which can range from banging on the drums to any number of other sorts of percussion-based instruments.  There is one instrument which just looks like a bowl that can be pivoted around and something which sounds like a marble rolling inside of it can be heard.   I also know that at some point in time I've heard this type of instrument on cassette and more than once.   The music also got to the point where it was loud, but not overly.  

Up second was the bassist known as Christie Echols.    Echols would play the upright bass with a bow, fingers and in ways which almost felt like it was a process of destruction.   This was the idea of taking one instrument and creating a sound which could still feel full and at times that even meant keeping the beat on the body of the bass itself.   In many ways, this entire show was a way of finding out that the bass- which often sort of blends into the guitar- can stand on its own and really create a sound and style itself.

The way this sound can encompass an entire room is not only a testament of the instrument but of the musician as well.   It can feel eerie, as if the score for a movie which can be full of suspense and at other times it can just feel like all of the walls are falling down around you, a real sense of destruction at its finest.   The perfect soundtrack to the apocalypse, this is a sound you should certainly hear if able.

The third act was Technical Reserve, which is comprised of T.J. Borden on bass, Hunter Brown on electronics and Dominic Coles on electronics.  This whole show felt like what could be done with a bass and Technical Reserve just added in these electronic components to help us hear that.    The sounds were between alien and spatial with the three musicians working together at their finest.

As the set started and T.J. Borden began playing the cello I asked Quentin if he could do that.  Quentin said no and when I asked him why he said "Because I'm not that good".    It was at least nice to hear that in the way that it gave some sort of affirmation that Quentin realized if he stuck with it, then one day he might be able to create something such as this.  

Overall this was a really good show because of how every act felt connected by the bass but also brought something all their own to their sound.  Whether or not the theme was intentional, it would be well worth going out of your way to see any of these artists whether they are playing together or on shows with other musicians.  



This show was to celebrate the release of the Michael Larocca & Caleb Duvall album "drum and bass", which can be found along with many other wonderful releases by Michael Larocca here ::: 



More music by Caleb Duval can be found on the firstname lastname Bandcamp here :::



More information on Christie Echols can be found at their official website :::



The music of T.J. Borden can be found on his Bandcamp here :::



Hunter Brown and Dominic Coles have a label called Party Perfect! which has its own website and a Bandcamp here :::


Willimantic Records can be found here :::


Wrestling Review //
Garden State Pro Wrestling
"Duality"
January 15th, 2023
Ridgefield Park, NJ


Additional photos from this show can be found in a Facebook album here :::

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1165875604142659&type=3


Follow GSPW on Twitter here :::

https://twitter.com/GardenStatePW


This was the fourth Garden State Pro Wrestling show overall but seeing as how it was at the Knights of Columbus in Ridgefield Park, NJ it was also our first GSPW show.   We had not been to this particular KOC- the Mecca if you will- since September of 2021.  We spent a lot of time going north into MA and in the past year realized that if you want to see certain wrestlers you have to go to NJ because they don't come up to MA as often.

There were two other things which made me really want to go to this show and I should get them out there right from the start.  First off, up and down this card, from when we bought tickets to when it was finalized, there was not a single wrestler on this show that I didn't want to see.   Sometimes I'll go to a show wanting to see certain wrestlers but then others are added that I don't really care about and are just kind of there.  This show did not have that problem.

The second and perhaps biggest part of going to this that I like is that the talent was very diverse in terms of where they came from.   Typically, a wrestling promotion in the northeast would book someone like Bryan Keith as their main outside attraction and then just add on mostly local talent from the area.   Which isn't always bad because I do love seeing the locals as well, but you have to think of the names on here from NJ and then someone like Alec Price from MA, Jordan Blade from the DMV, Titus Alexander as a west coast guy, Hunter Drake is from Alabama, Bryan Keith and Culture Inc are from Texas and Best Bros came from Japan!

We were told this show would be streaming live on YouTube for free so I didn't really think about it but every time I saw it was at 2pm I had just planned on getting there at 2pm- forgetting doors opened earlier.   Something in the last fifteen months has happened in Ridgefield Park, as parking on the streets near this KOC isn't as easy as it used to be.   When we got there, we drove by the KOC and all the fans were outside waiting to get in.  But by the time we finally parked and got there everyone was inside so we had no lines and no waiting.  It worked out pretty well that way.

The show opened with a dark match between Jay Mesias and Pat Fitzpatrick, who are both from Create A Pro (I believe) but I'll always think of them as Victory Pro Wrestling now.  They had a good match but the way this show moved so quickly with starting and all, we were at the bar getting water when it started also.

Officially the show had ten matches so I had planned on five-intermission-five and that's how it went.   The first match was a little confusing because Culture Inc came out first, then introduced Kiah Dream.   This brought out Ace Of Space, which made it feel like this was going to somehow turn into a three v three match with GKM and Kiah Dream in it.  This was a two on two tag team match which was really good and highlighted the skills of Culture Inc, which let's face it, more promotions should.

Culture Inc are like master painters.   You just give them the canvas and they're going to paint you something nice.   I was excited to see them so this was a good way to kick off the show.  They also shot off this confetti type gun (like Waves N Curls uses) which had little $100 bills come out of it.   Quentin gathered up at least ten of them and was playing with them throughout the night.  

This went right into the Ruthless Lala vs Kiah Dream match and Lala just seems unstoppable right now.   This all ended up breaking down as well into Prolific vs Culture Inc and one day, somehow, this all will hopefully get settled in that ring and possibly at the KOC too so I can be there to witness it.

Perhaps one of the most emotional matches on the show was up next as Kevin Blackwood took on Bobby Orlando.  I'm not sure it had ever crossed my mind that these two wrestlers should be across the ring from each other, but this match just worked and if you're not willing to watch Bobby Orlando fight his heart out for the love of Bobby Jr then perhaps you need to get your own emotions in check.

GSPW is having a Tag Team Title Tournament and the next match saw Young Dumb N Broke take on AKIRA and Masha Slamovich.   I used to see Masha Slamovich wrestle at least twice a month and it's been a while so this was good.  It was needed.  The Young Dumb N Broke guys are funny because I told Charlie Tiger he wasn't a real tiger and he got mad at me.  He said "Do you know how I got this scar?" and I said "From a real tiger?" and he got even more mad.  Sometimes I wish I was a tiger.

One of my favorite parts of this match and just the entire show was that the crowd was hot throughout and there was at least one chant during this match for "violence".   That's it.  The people simply wanted violence from AKIRA and Masha Slamovich.  This made me happy as well and it really can just feel like the simple things sometimes.

Alec Price challenged Alan Angels for the GSPW Openweight Title next.   I'm never sure when I see Alec Price if he's going to be cheered or booed when he comes out because he can play to the crowd in both ways just so well, but here, for this show, he was hugely over and cheered.   There were chants of "Northeast Beast" and Quentin was happy because he got to say "One more time... 'cause he's trash".   Alan Angels is really a perfect heel wrestler too because something about him just makes me want to boo him.

We went to intermission and this was the first time I've ever seen AKIRA set up merch so we went to him, got a picture with him, got a flag and then I had to eat a pretzel because it was nearing 4pm and I hadn't eaten anything yet.  I do love that the KOC here always has food at the bar as well.   

After intermission we went into the battle of the cowboys as Manders took on Bryan Keith.   This was my first time seeing Bryan Keith wrestle live but I've seen him all over IWTV and such, so I was really excited about it.   And just this match being between two real cowboys made me feel like it was going to be something special and it was.   This was one of the matches on the show that I'd say I would've gone out of my way for this show just for this match, but every match delivered in the end.

Speaking of matches I went to this show to see, I really saw GSPW from afar because I'd see match graphics and what not last year about shows but then look them up and feel like it was too far in NJ to go.  The first match graphic I actually saw for this show was Edith Surreal vs Jordan Blade and that made me want to go to this show.  When I realized where it was, I knew it was time to go back because who in CT or MA is going to book this match for me?  And it's fine because CT and MA book matches that NJ won't so it all evens out.

I think people look at Edith Surreal in an arsty way and forget where she comes from and the type of matches she's had, so this one just very much became a technical classic and I really did enjoy that about it.   This was that real wrestling part of wrestling and it also kind of gave a different style than any other match on the show so I enjoyed that.   Jordan Blade should be everywhere and so should Edith Surreal.

We went into the fourway match next which really felt like this showcase of who's who in the area and beyond.  We have Hunter Blake from Alabama, Allie Katch from Texas, Jordan Oliver is from NY and I learned Marcus Mathers is from Philly because I just assumed NJ because of H2O (but to be fair H2O is really close to PA)  I was really interested in seeing Hunter Drake during this match as well because I've seen him in New South and think he's got a bright future.

In the end, everyone kind of hit a big move on the person before them and then Marcus Mathers hit the last one so that gave him the win.  It is smart but it feels like anyone else could've just waited at the end of the line and won and that's what makes it kind of weird at the same time.  But this is also why fourways are hard unless they're elimination.   I'm also not used to Jordan Oliver with his hair down.

The first half of our main event saw Best Bros take on YoKai as part of the Tag Team Title Tournament.   YoKai came out first and were super over- like I felt the place was going to explode.  But then when Best Bros came out, they somehow got even louder and more intense.  Certain people on this show are definitive heels, but for the most part the crowd seemed to respect everyone who showed them respect and I liked that about it too.  The crowd had trouble picking sides and so did I.

This match was really fun and my first time seeing Best Bros live.  I will say that if you have the chance to see Best Bros in person you really should as there is just this energy unlike anything else I have ever felt.  And the match was just so good.  Both of these teams worked so well together and played off of each other with counters and moves the likes of which I've not seen before.   I definitely came to this show to see Best Bros (one of my big reasons) and they definitely delivered.

In the main event, Robert Martyr took on Titus Alexander.  At first, Titus Alexander was being booed because he was from the west coast.  But then he did do some heel-ish stuff so I felt like he was leaning into it.   I was actually excited to see Titus Alexander because he's a big west coast stand out and this match was really up there among the best matches I've ever seen and both of these wrestlers just left everything out there.

Robert Martyr is such a rare talent and if he doesn't have all the gold by the end of 2023 I'm going to be upset.   From a technical standpoint, Robert Martyr has that Bret Hart way about him where he can hit you with a submission or reverse your move.  But at the same time he has this kind of wreckless style where it reminds me of Mick Foley because he's not opposed to using his own body as a weapon if it gets the job done.  Robert Martyr really feels like a once-in-a-generation type of wrestler and the way he connects with that crowd just proves it as well.

After the show the merch line was already long for Best Bros so I figured we'd see who else was out and then go back and it'd be shorter.   We found Bryan Keith so Quentin took a picture with him and we bought all six of his trading cards.    We then went back to the Best Bros line and it was even longer than before!

In all of my years as a wrestling fan, in all of the shows I've gone to, I don't think I've seen a larger merch line than Best Bros had on this night.   And the thing was, the line got pretty far back when Quentin and I got into it, but then other fans kept getting into it behind us.  I don't know how many people were in the KOC on this day but I'd say at least 80% of them (or more) were in line afterwards for Best Bros.


Music Review //
Doc City
"Welcome to Doc City"


DocCityMusic.com


To have the artist named Doc City and then title the album "Welcome to Doc City" makes you feel as if Doc City is a place or a state of mind.   When listening to these songs, you will come to find out that is partly true.  Much like a movie or other art can really bring you into its own world and make you feel like a part of it, so does Doc City with their jazz influenced soul and R&B.  On some levels, this even reminds me of Jodeci Unplugged.

Within piano and the sax you can hear the words just pour out.  "When You Are Near" reminds me of the theme to "Titanic" for some reason.   But then we get these walking pianos like you might've heard in a "Peanuts" special that take us into "Did You Choose", which is a powerful song about standing up for what's right even if it doesn't directly affect you.  The song has spoken words in it which close out with a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The pace picks up a bit for "Sweetest Taboo" and there is some rapping within this Sade cover.  The song appears again later on the album as a Dance Mix and the song "I'll Still Be There For You" also comes back with a reprise later on.  Through slower pianos on "No Goodbyes" (which is at the 5 spot but comes back for a Reprise at the end), "Your Ego Too" really feels like gospel with the keys and all.

"What I'll Do" is a duet and by the tenth spot on this album you start hearing the songs from earlier coming back.   That makes this album feel even more like a movie in the sense that you start off a certain way, really build up and then come back down from it by the end.  It just feels like it's telling a complete story and after you listen the whole way through you'll understand and enjoy it as well.  


Music Review //
Ruby Topaz
"Rabbit Hole"


https://rubytopaz.bandcamp.com/album/rabbit-hole


As "Rabbit Hole" begins it has that "Alice In Wonderland" way about it where you can just feel like this is going to be a trippy and psych experience from Ruby Topaz.    Partly reminding me of The Who, there is a strong classic rock vibe throughout this album as well.   "Dream Running" has this ticking, methodical like a clock and it just further reminds me of the white rabbit and how to this whole album is titled.

"You're Still Running" comes in big with that sound like Rush or Coheed but also somehow feels a little bit like Zeppelin.   In many ways I think about bands who came back further in time and then influenced more recent bands as this sounds like Blind Melon as well, which is a nice way to make it somewhat closer to modern but also a nice place to pick up where they left off- turning the past into the future.

We have more of acoustic melodies, more upbeat sounds on "Be My Love" and then "Brand New Love" gets a little bit funky.   "Come Back To Me" has some hints of CCR and then when we get all the way to "How Will I Know" it becomes dreamy in that Buddy Holly type of way.   "To The Top" has a nice drive and even makes me think of Tenacious D and that also brings this classic sound closer to the present.  

One of the most telling things about this album is that Ruby Topaz doesn't just take this one style of classic rock music and use it throughout the entire album.   This feels more like bits and samples of different influences and in the way that doing so can pay tribute to not just one artist from the past but many makes this that much more important to keep that overall sound alive.  


Music Review //
The Cold Stares
"Throw That Stone"




As "Throw That Stone" begins in this slow, methodical way, it continues throughout with this feeling like we're going to be hanging from the gallows.   It's got that dark country vibe to it like certain Johnny Cash songs and when you listen to the lyrics you can also hear how well the mood is set between the two.

The Cold Stares sing about not wanting to be the one to "Throw That Stone" and in a lot of ways this song should be representative of everyone out there.  The idea is similar to that of "Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone" and it's something I think about a lot from a legal standpoint.   That's even discussed within the song, as I wonder what makes a judge or jury so moral and without crimes we don't know about.

One specific line I enjoy is: "I'm no different from that prisoner, sitting in that jail" because no matter how good you think you are and how much you follow the rules, there is always something within us which can tie us to our fellow man because after all, we are all human and we all make mistakes.   I know crimes are not the same as mistakes, but if you think you're really fit to decide who should be in jail and not than I wouldn't want to see your closet.

With music that is as serious as the lyrics of the song, this one can feel somewhat like it is haunted as well.  As much as I think about the morality of man, I also think about this song as being perhaps someone who was on a jury and sent a man to be hanged then had to stay up at night living with the consequences of such actions.   Will your conscience let you sleep?  The Cold Stares definitely give you a lot to think about with this one.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Music Review //
Fritz Hager
"Caroline"


What I like about this song is that it starts in a distinct rock way but then the chorus mixes it up to give it this unique sound.   It also happens to tell a story about a woman named Caroline and at the beginning of the song it seems as if he has forgotten her name or just couldn't remember if she told him what it was.  

If you've ever met any named Caroline, it has been my experience that they get upset when you reference that Neil Diamond song.  I feel like as a musician there should be that association there- where if someone tells you their name is Caroline then in your head you think "Like the Neil Diamond song" because saying it out loud may not be the best idea.  But maybe the idea of the story is to distance yourself from thinking of the name that way.

Between Ben Kweller, The Pale Pacific, The Rocket Summer and even The Killers, Fritz Hager has managed to find this radio friendly rock sound that would fit in well with a label such as Fueled By Ramen.   "Caroline" also starts though with this guitar sound where you think you know where it's going, but the chorus drops off into something else and I really enjoy that part of it the most.

Most people might relate the name Caroline with Neil Diamond but for me it always first brings up a lyric from a song by I Kill Giants.  I think that perhaps the more songs there are out there to get stuck in your head about the name Caroline, then the name may no longer just be known for that one song.    Those named Caroline would likely enjoy having this song as their new anthem.  

2022 Wrestler Of The Year: Anthony Henry



When it comes to the Wrestler Of The Year honor I have two factors by which to judge it: The quality of your matches and the quality of your opponents.   It's very easy to think about someone having their best year if they're on that Goldberg run, but it's also something to be in there with the best but also having the best matches of your career.   

Based on these qualities, I can without a doubt in my mind say that the 2022 Wrestler Of The Year is Anthony Henry.   Few wrestlers have done what Anthony Henry has accomplished this year, but even fewer wrestlers (and by that I mean none) have done so at that same level that Anthony Henry is competing.   Some names came close, sure, but if you've been truly paying attention then you know no one has had the same year as Anthony Henry.

Now, it's important to note that Anthony Henry started off this year better than perhaps anyone else could have even ever thought of doing.   New Year's Eve 2021, as part of The Wrestival and the ACTION/SUP showcase, Anthony Henry picked up a win over Masha Slamovich.  And then, to top that off, Anthony Henry set the tone for the year, taking the eventual Limitless Wrestling Champion Ace Romero to his limit on New Year's Day in Worcester, MA.

If you have someone in your mind as a "Wrestler Of The Year" in 2022 that isn't Anthony Henry, odds are that Henry has been in the ring with them in some form.  From Adam Priest to Tom Lawlor, Lee Moriarty on Dark and Tre Lamar, as part of The Work Horsemen with JD Drake Henry was also in the ring opposite The Briscoe Brothers and Bryan Danielson/Jon Moxley.  

This all takes us to April 2022, in which The Work Horsemen defeated the team of Davey Richards and Speedball Mike Bailey at BLP's "Norm" event.  Mike Bailey is a close contender for "Wrestler Of The Year" as well and whoever brings me that one v one between Henry and Bailey will forever have my love because that match is going to just absolutely rule.

Just looking at the CageMatch page your mind will be blown if you haven't been paying attention.   Names like ACH, Hammerstone, Hook, Bear Country and even Alec Price as part of Wrestling Open.  And then on 4/29/22, The Work Horsemen came to GRIND to take on The Saito Brothers in one of the best tag team matches of the year.   

At ACTION Jaw Breakers, Anthony Henry had an instant classic against Alex Shelley and then rounded out the first half of his year with matches against Colby Corino, Keith Lee/Swerve Strickland, Jake Crist, Brandon Williams and Kevin Ku.  Going into the summer is when Anthony Henry really began to peak and secure this spot for me, and just look at all he's done leading up to it!

Matches at Uncharted Territory against Daniel Makabe and Channing Thomas brought Henry back to GRIND to face off against Travis Huckabee in just one of the single best wrestling matches I have ever seen.   If this isn't my Match Of The Year, it's damn sure close and that just means so much to why Anthony Henry is my Wrestler Of The Year.   From there, Henry would go on to face Alan Angels, Colt Cabana, KUSHIDA/Ren Narita for NJPW STRONG, Tank and in August he was on Dark opposite Orange Cassidy.

At this point, The Work Horsemen also seem to go on a bit of a winning streak on AEW Dark and are out there having some more serious matches where it feels like AEW might be investing in them as a tag team.  But Anthony Henry is also fighting the likes of Jordan Oliver at GCW and on December 2nd it all goes down as Anthony Henry defeats Adam Priest to become the ACTION Champion.  

It should also be noted that prior to this title win, Anthony Henry once again tore it up in GRIND, this time against Alec Price, and that had some deep Match Of The Year contention points as well.   The way I see it is, one of the best matches of this year was Alec Price vs Speedball Mike Bailey from Blitzkrieg! Pro.   Then you put Price in there against Anthony Henry, well, now we just need Henry vs Bailey to complete the prophecy!

        To close out the year, Anthony Henry was what many referred to as the MVP of The Wrestival, having three matches in one day on New Year's Eve and a singles match the night before against Robert Martyr.   Many had multiple matches at The Wrestival, but none the same caliber as Anthony Henry.   And just look at his opponents!  Henry started New Year's Eve at Pro Wrestling GRIND "All We Are" against Ryan Mooney in one of the best matches of the year as Mooney just would not stay down for Henry.   

        Anthony Henry would go on to face not only Kevin Blackwood- who is perhaps most like his style- at Limitless but Ichiban at the Beyond show as well.  When you consider the names of Robert Martyr, Ryan Mooney, Kevin Blackwood and Ichiban there isn't really a more diverse group of tough opponents out there and the fact that Anthony Henry had these stand out matches with them all in that time frame just caps off the best year of any wrestler for me.

        Part of being the Wrestler Of The Year though also leaves some things to be desired.  Aside from my biggest match want right now- Anthony Henry vs Speedball Mike Bailey- Anthony Henry has quite the possibilities for the year 2023.  Anthony Henry vs Anthony Greene, Andy Brown, Perry Von Vicious, O'Shay Edwards, Austin Luke, Trish Adora and just the world of other possibilities keep me on my toes for 2023.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

2022 Tag Team Of The Year ::: MSP


While Independent Wrestling Television held their voting for Tag Team Of The Year, it was curious how there were a number of tag teams they seemed to overlook.  One glaring omission from their voting was MSP, who for my money were the best tag team to grace any ring in the year of 2022.

MSP would start the year at Limitless in Worcester with a win over BRG & Channing Thomas, both of whom would go onto greater heights throughout the year.   But as Blitzkrieg! Pro was in need of new Tag Team Champions, in February MSP defeated A Message To You, Miracle Generation and the CDC to become the new Blitzkrieg! Pro Tag Team Champions!  

MSP would meet Channing Thomas again, challenging Thomas and Vern Vicallo for the NCW Tag Team Titles at the beginning of March.   MSP would then go on to defeat such tag teams as Miracle Generation, The Haven, Brick City Boyz, Shook Crew, ARTE (with the help of B3CCA), The Outfielders, Miracle Generation (again) and Death Threat Army.  Which takes us up to the most important moment not only in the year for MSP but in wrestling as a whole.

November 19th, 2022: MSP defeat BUSSY at Blitzkrieg! Pro's "Mercy Me" to successfully defend the Tag Team Titles.   MSP traveled the world this year, even appearing for AEW against Private Party.   But if you don't see the significance of a match such as MSP vs BUSSY then you just need to pay closer attention.  

I will say this until I'm blue in the face but who else would've booked this match other than Blitzkrieg! Pro?  Beyond barely touches MSP these days, even though they did some BUSSY matches this year.   GCW won't have MSP in their ring for some reason.  So it just felt like the only possible way this was getting booked was by Blitzkrieg! Pro and for that I am very thankful.  This match wasn't just one of my all-time favorite tag team matches, but it is a piece of history.

        Though MSP closed out their year at Blitzkrieg! Pro in losing the Tag Team Titles in Ladder Hell, the fact remains that Dustin Waller suffered an injury during that match.   So even though Miracle Generation won the Blitzkrieg! Pro Tag Team Titles, they might have lost the IWTV Tag Team Titles because of that match.   So it was brutal all around and trying to survive three other teams when ladders are in play is just not easy.

In 2023, MSP already has a standing competition with Miracle Generation and a rematch for the titles- two on two- might be in order.  What else the future holds for MSP is uncertain as they could have more great matches with any team, however it has already been announced that in February at "Braumatica", MSP will be going two on two for the first time with Kings Of The District and that is already promising such a great year for both teams.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

My Favorite Wrestling Matches of 2022


 

As a wrestling fan, I can tell you that I watch a lot of different styles of wrestling and so I don't feel like I can really do a "Top 10 Matches of 2022" list or even pick one match throughout this entire list that was my favorite match.   These are all matches I experienced live- which does make a difference- and I just can't pick even one match per month for this year.  It was that damn good of a year for wrestling.

Without getting ahead of myself, I will tell you that going into November I had picked matches with Mickie Knuckles vs Kasey Kirk and MSP vs BUSSY as my favorites.   These matches were quite different, but that's why it's so difficult for me to pick between them.   I also was at some point going to try and get an actual number on this- like My Top 25- and that got away from me as well.  

    To me, when you get inside of that ring, sure it's competition but I don't feel like it's easy to say that one match is better than another when they can bring two different things to the table.   I know this feels weird to type because I will name a Favorite Wrestler (and tag team) so it's kind of like "Why can I narrow it down to one definitive wrestler for the year and not just one match" and I don't know, but this is just how it goes.


January :::

Right away, I will tell you that going anywhere in the winter months is not always possible.  The only wrestling show we went to in January of 2022 was Pro Wrestling GRIND "Overkill", which seemed to work out fine because it was my first entry into my "Match of the Year" document as Perry Von Vicious and Travis Huckabee had an absolute war.    This wasn't just the type of match that had opened up a lot of eyes, but I truly feel as if this match set the tone for these two wrestlers for the rest of the year.  


February :::

We went to three different wrestling shows in February, and yet somehow two of them were our last trips for a while.  On February 11th, we went to Chaotic Wrestling for the last time (haven't been back since) and on February 13th we went to Worcester, MA for WWR+ "Galentine's Day Massacre".   We would not return to Worcester, MA until almost the very end of 2022 for The Wrestival.

At WWR+ we saw a match which looked promising on paper and delivered inside of that ring as Allie Katch wrestled Ashley D'Amboise.  While there are a lot of women's wrestling promotions out there, none of them feel as close as WWR+ did and though they had some joint shows with Beyond, I really miss these stand alone shows and wish they'd come back.  If not, I just want to see more of Ashley D'Amboise because this seemed to be where she was really growing and beginning to shine even brighter as a star.

February was also the first Blitzkrieg! Pro show of the year, "PMA", and though this was one of my favorite Blitzkrieg! Pro shows of the year it had one of my favorite matches as well, as Evil Uno faced off against Lince Dorado.   This was overall one of those shows you must see, but just the fact that you had a current AEW wrestler vs a former WWE wrestler and the match was just so good made it all worthwhile for me.    This match was truly something special.  


March :::

In March we attended our last NCW show and the only other shows we went to were Blitzkrieg! Pro and GRIND.   This became a theme for 2022, as those were the two promotions we went to the most.    We also went to TOS "Lone Survivor" in March- our last solo TOS show- but we won't talk about that.

At Pro Wrestling GRIND "Price Of A Mile" on 3/18, "Rabid" Ryan Mooney had a career-making match against Gary Jay.   It has been long enough as I type this that I feel like everyone should know about this match already and have seen that photo of how red Mooney's chest was after the fact as well.  Look, I saw two Ryan Mooney matches before this match and one was a scramble.   So, this wasn't just such a great match because of how it made me view Mooney as a star, but also because of the fight between these two.

And then, a week later, on 3/25, we had Blitzkrieg! Pro "Energy", which featured my favorite match of the year.  After seeing Alec Price vs Speedball Mike Bailey live, I knew in my mind it was all about any other match having to try and top that not only for the rest of the year but perhaps for the rest of time.  It was literally one of the best pro wrestling matches I have ever seen live and I am so glad that we were there to see it.  


April :::

April felt like a busy month for reasons outside of wrestling.  We only went to one show and it was GRIND's "Antisocial".   There was a tag team match between The Saito Brothers and Work Horsemen which was just not only my favorite match but one of my all-time favorite tag team matches.   I've had an on again/off again relationship with tag team wrestling, but this match really made me happy and just showed how important tag team wrestling can be when given that spotlight.  


May :::

May was similar to April in the way that we only went to one show and it was GRIND's "Come And Get It".   This was our first time seeing Derek Neal live and I really enjoyed his match vs Rip Byson, even if it didn't have a winner.  Also, from that same show, Travis Huckabee and Ryan Mooney had one of those matches everyone should go out of their way to see, as both were having a year to be remembered in 2022.  


June :::

During the summer, at this point in time, I will admit that we were going to more baseball games than we were wrestling shows.   But when Invictus Pro made their way to CT to have a show with TOS, I knew it was something we needed to be at because "United We Fight" just felt like one of those truly special shows of this year.   

My favorite match of this show and the entire month of June was seeing Milk Chocolate (at the time the Invictus Pro Tag Team Champions) taking on Miracle Generation (at the time the TOS Tag Team Champions)   This match just went all over the place and was unlike any other match I've seen involving these two teams.  

Miracle Generation are known for being fast and high flyers, but during this match they took to the air and used their speed outside of the ring more than inside of it.   It's also funny that how much Miracle Generation was cheered- how much they are loved- that is how much Milk Chocolate was booed and just overall hated.  

We also went to our first Tough & Talented show in June, which saw the main even of Slyck Wagner Brown vs Bull Dredd- two legends in CT that had never faced each other before this show.   That was a nice piece of CT wrestling history to witness and whether or not it means the same to people who live outside of this area doesn't matter because it should mean a lot to those who do live here.  


July :::

Being that July is that middle of summer type of vibe, I can tell you that we only went to one show and it was Pro Wrestling GRIND's "Doctor, Doctor".   The fact that we only went to one show was likely due to baseball, but that is just to be expected now.   The match on "Doctor, Doctor" which was really the first match the entire year that made me question my pick of Alec Price vs Mike Bailey as MOTY contender was Anthony Henry vs Travis Huckabee.  In a world where I can be more decisive, I would be able to pick one or even say that these two matches tie for MOTY, but all of these matches really mean a lot to me and that includes this one maybe a little bit more.  


August :::

By August, the summer was coming to an end and I didn't really want to do anything any more.    The baseball season was coming to a close and so I felt somewhat lost.   Jess had been working different hours and so when Blitzkrieg! Pro had another show at the Brewery on a Sunday, Jess was able to go and so we went.  

This show somehow featured a main event of VSK vs Tony Deppen and if you're looking for a real technical type of match where two opponents seem fairly similar in styles then this is one you should see.   But I'm not sure it is out there anywhere on the playback, so perhaps it just needs to be booked again!


September :::

Somehow we did not make it to as many wrestling shows in September as we did in other months, but we did get to a Paradise Alley Pro show- our first one- at the Cadillac Ranch in Southington, CT.   The main event of this show saw a 16 Woman Battle Royal to crown a new Women's Champion and I'm not sure when all this talent will be in the same room again.

Isana, Jessie Nolan, Nakoma Tala, Elle Valentine, Big Juicy, Sazzy Boatright and others made this a real who's who in the wrestling scene around here.   I think it's funny certain wrestling promotions (especially in CT) only seem to like to book the same two or three women and this match was just proof that these women can come to CT and thus they should be here more as well.  


October :::

In October we went to four different shows.   I really enjoyed the RISE show in Rhode Island and it was our first time visiting that state for professional wrestling.   Blitzkrieg! Pro had their second show vs Limitless Wrestling and it was definitely interesting throughout all of the time that it was.   

The first night, we saw Anthony Greene vs Andy Brown and Channing Thomas vs Travis Huckabee.   Both matches delivered on so many different levels and it's likely because these are simply four of the best out there.  It really doesn't feel like any of these wrestlers had bad matches in 2022 and when you put them together, special things happen.

On Night 2, we also got to see Dr. Redacted vs Mike Anthony which is still living fresh in my mind.  I feel like the fans weren't ready for that match- which is weird because Dr. Redacted has been in B!P before and Limitless has violent matches.   So I didn't fully understand why it felt like so many people were caught off guard by the blood, but it was definitely one of those matches to seek out and watch.

Pro Wrestling GRIND also had "Celebration Day" in October, which brought us two Match of the Year contenders.   Trish Adora and Delmi Exo had one of my favorite matches of the year that really brought out the best in each other.   Seeing as how they are obviously in my top three of wrestlers for this year, Anthony Henry and Alec Price also had a great match which could also be argued as the MOTY.  



November :::

In November, I feel like we shifted a little bit because we went to my first ICWNHB show in quite some time and Jess' first ICWNHB show ever.   This would bring about the historic, main event match of Mickie Knuckles vs Kasey Kirk.    This whole show was just so solid and this was one of my favorite matches of the entire year.

Oddly enough, an equally historic match would also take place at Blitzkrieg! Pro "Mercy Me" as MSP defended the Blitzkrieg! Pro Tag Team Championships against BUSSY.   This was another easy Match-Of-The-Year contender and not just for what it represents, but the match itself was just that damn good.

At the same show for Blitzkrieg! Pro- "Mercy Me"- we also saw Andy Brown vs Travis Huckabee for the number one contendership and that was just a fantastic match as well.  Andy Brown has been on a real tear in 2022, but at the same time, a lot of my favorite matches have also involved Travis Huckabee on one side of them as well.   


December ::: 

December was The Wrestival and that pretty much took everything else we had known about the best matches of the year and thrown it out the window.   Pizza Party Pro "Pop! Pop!" featured Austin Luke vs Karen Bam Bam as well as LuFisto vs Kennedi Copeland.   The next day, we saw Blitzkrieg! Pro "Always The Hard Way" where Andy Brown won the Bedlam Championship from VSK and also BUSSY vs Ava Everett/Anthony Greene was a standout match as well.

Going into Saturday for Pro Wrestling GRIND's "All We Are", I knew it was going to be special.    Not only did Anthony Henry and Ryan Mooney have one of the best matches of the year, I should say the same about Emi Sakura and Delmi Exo.   It was definitely a great way to close out our year of wrestling in 2022 because it just felt like the best year ever.  


Music Review //
Globus
"Cinematica"
(Imperativa Records)

https://imperativarecords.bandcamp.com/album/cinematica


There has possibly not been a more fitting album title for a collection of songs than to call this "Cinematica".   Far too often when listening to these songs, I just think about how cinematic they feel and in that sense, it truly feels like this album tells a story in the same way that a movie does.   The thing is, if you're looking for that nice 90 minute comedy type of movie-- this isn't that album.   This is that epic adventure that you need to watch in parts and I do enjoy that about it as well- an album which feels like it has some weight to it.  

Globus begins this album with an intro and then on the second track it turns to this steady, heavy rock with synths.   By the time we get to "O California" though I hear these elements of Metallica.  It's solemn.  There isn't really metal in it, per se, but it has that underlying way about it.  In contrast, "False Redeemers" feels like something out of a video game but in a LOTR way and I'm certainly into that.

"War" still has those Metallica vibes and it breaks down into a screamy moment.   This definitely feels like something I would've heard on Wind-Up Records back in the early '00s.  There is a fantastic cover of "I'm Afraid Of Americans" on here, which feels closer to the NIN way, and then it drifts off into a spoken word number.   "Mighty Ship" has big, triumphant horns while "Seraphim" can feel like the song in a movie trailer.  "Brothers in Arms" has that big MCR feel to it as well.

There are big ballad feels on "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "You And I" reminds me a bit of Flora Cash.  Perhaps one of the most impressive qualities of this album is that as big as it is (in the sense of it being long in terms of time) these songs just all find a way to come together to where you never feel like you've stepped into a different movie, but yet they don't run together either as they all stand on their own merits.  This is something difficult to do in a forty minute album but the way Globus has done this over an hour is truly remarkable. 

Music Review //
Paul Lewis & Romeo Rage
"Sky's Rust"
(Realize Records)


https://open.spotify.com/album/3jdUvdSwTK5BgVElELSPK3?si=enH1hhKoT-Wz9p7CEw08hg&nd=1


"Sky's Rust" is fueled by both big guitars and big voices.   It falls somewhere between the present and the past in terms of its sound, which also just makes it feel more relatable because it could take you back to your bedroom in the 1990's just as easily as something that happened today.   Elements of The Hold Steady can be heard and with triumphant horns I am thinking about Blue October on "Send Letters".

"Black" is distorted and a little bit trippy as we go into "Ghost Town" in a more serious voice, which reminds me of Finger Eleven.   Big beats and distortion come out in "Slip Away" as this becomes more electronic and intense.  "Little Bit of Rain" feels more blues driven and "The Shift" slows down as the ballad.   This album ends with a cover of "In The Pines", which really goes back such a long way but most people might know it from Nirvana.

There has always existed this certain genre of music which isn't really what the mainstream sounds like at the time but is a sort of cleaner version of it.  When music started getting really heavy, distorted and screamy during grunge there were still bands out there trying to make music along those lines but a little bit more like the song "Anything, Anything", which seems to be how I always tend to relate with music such as this.

The way that this album can go to something so electronic as well really makes it take that trip from Sebadoh to Folk Implosion, but also it just feels like Paul Lewis and Romeo Rage are forging through rock music and creating their own style.  This album definitely has a bit of variety and variety is the spice of life so listen to this and let's get spicy.


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Wrestling Review //
Pro Wrestling GRIND
"All We Are"
December 31st, 2022
The Wrestival / Worcester MA



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"All We Are" was our third and final show as part of The Wrestival.  We did all of the shows which were the first of three throughout the day and then went back home.  Which was nice in a way because if we had gone to the middle shows we would've been home much later.  I somehow only slept for like four hours before this show though and it's catching up with me now.  I realize if fans were up late for Prestige the night before, they'd be less likely to make the noon start time here.

There was a good crowd for such an early show on the last day of 2022 and I think GRIND really delivered one of their best shows.  I'm always concerned when I see new fans at GRIND or when something like this happens- going outside of Pulaski- because the GRIND fan base has always been about respect and then you have a team like Mane Event coming in who are overall just booed in Worcester for the things they've done.  Yes, I was concerned that the Mane Event would get booed but they didn't.

I will say this in this review, as it is my third and final review for The Wrestival, and just hope that everyone else reads it.  I feel like the three shows Quentin and I went to (and Jess was with us at GRIND) made the most sense in terms of variety.  Pizza Party Pro had a bit of comedy mixed with wrestlers from NJ and aside from the Beyond show you wouldn't see LuFisto anywhere else on The Wrestival.   A lot of the wrestlers at Pizza Party Pro though were only at Pizza Party Pro.

Blitzkrieg! Pro had that mix of comedy, straight up wrestling, blood and high flying.  Perhaps the best all around mix and, again, filled with wrestlers who might not be on other shows or just under the same circumstances.  Pizza Party and Blitzkrieg! were such different shows and in such a great way though.   And then you add GRIND into the equation and GRIND was that one show of the weekend where everyone came out hitting hard and no other promotion is like GRIND.  I've said this after The Wrestival but the only show we could've gone to which might have felt like variety would've been ICWNHB.

But there were just so many wrestlers on "All We Are" that you could only see on that show and then other wrestlers like JD Drake weren't going to have the same matches at Heavy Lies The Crown as in GRIND.   So when I think about what makes GRIND special and why I go to Pulaski nearly every month to see them, this show I felt was a good representation of that.  This wasn't a "Hey, come out to Pulaski because this is what we're like" as a showcase type of event.   This show was canon.

"All We Are" opened up with Gary Jay and Rip Byson.   Seeing Rip Byson in GRIND is closer to how he is in Limitless than at Wrestling Open, but it's still not quite the same.   Rip Byson has this side of him- this violent side- that seems to only come out in GRIND.  And when you bring in someone like Gary Jay to face him you know it's going to be this crazy battle to see who can nearly kill the other one.   Be fair, this was a death match without all of the weapons.   And I absolutely love Gary Jay and just wish he was on more shows in this area, but GRIND has been doing fantastic in bringing him in.

After this, we went into Perry Von Vicious vs WARHORSE.   Now, the thing about this match is fairly similar to the one before it in the sense that Perry Von Vicious is not the same wrestler outside of GRIND and while WARHORSE was appearing on the IWTV show you're still not seeing the same WARHORSE on the other shows that you are at GRIND.   WARHORSE at GRIND is a different animal.   One of my favorite parts of this match was how neither wrestler would stay down but it was for good reason.

In professional wrestling (especially the larger tv stuff) there is this idea of having to hit someone with your finisher ten times before you finally beat them and I've never liked that.  But the story told in this match with WARHORSE thinking he was in control but becoming visibly frustrated that he couldn't get the three count, Perry Von Vicious hanging on and trying for the Perry-Go-Round but unable to hit it the first few times-- it just showed how a back and forth battle should be in wrestling.

Fun Fact: On New Year's Eve in 2019, prior to there being The Wrestival, I was also at the White Eagle to see WARHORSE, who oddly enough fought Manders, and throughout all of the WARHORSE matches I've seen (and it's been a few) I think this was not only my favorite WARHORSE match but also my favorite Perry Von Vicious match.  WARHORSE went into that gauntlet for the Independent Wrestling World Championship and I think this match proves that Perry Von Vicious should be at that same level.

My favorite match of the entire Wrestival was Emi Sakura vs Delmi Exo, which is saying a lot because there were so many great matches at The Wrestival.   This was the only match across nine shows where you could see Emi Sakura and the fact that more people didn't seem hyped about that made me feel like I was living in an alternate reality.   I realize that Emi Sakura wrestles in the US because of AEW and even DEADLOCK Pro, but that's in North Carolina, so even for someone like me who will drive six hours to a wrestling show, this is the closest Emi Sakura has been.  

Everything about watching Emi Sakura wrestle just seems so surreal.  It's this experience where you know you're watching something great happen and something memorable which will be talked about for years to come.   And this match was the best Delmi Exo match I've ever seen.  This really brought the best out in Delmi Exo, but was just so much fun and such a competitive match with Emi Sakura as well.   As soon as I saw GRIND announce Emi Sakura I said "That's it, they've won The Wrestival" and this match proved exactly why that was true.  

This shifted us into a tag team match in which Mane Event took on Violence Is Forever.  Kevin Ku is probably sick of me asking him every time I see him in GRIND "Where's Dom?" but now the tag team has made it to GRIND and it feels like the whole tag team scene has been put on notice.   I'm not sure when the Saito Bros are coming back from Japan, but putting them against VIF just seems like pure destruction and I'm here for it.

In a match that was supposed to happen a little while back, Anthony Henry faced Rabid Ryan Mooney in what could also be a match to steal the entire Wrestival.   The thing about this match was that Anthony Henry felt very much in control. but there were times when he'd go for a pin or a submission and Mooney would get out of it.   It took a lot to keep Mooney down and this match just went to show the toughness of both wrestlers.   

I'm not happy that Mike Skyros stole a win over JD Drake and it feels like a lot of times when we saw JD Drake in 2022 he was getting the short end of the stick by being robbed of one thing or another.  Maybe Skyros needs to go into a Street Fight with JD Drake now or even Skyros/Huckabee vs Work Horsemen.  At least then putting your feet on the ropes for leverage to get the pin would be allowed.

GRIND also had their first ever Street Fight between Logan Black and Manders.   This match really upped the ante for violence.  I knew some weapons would be involved because of who was in the match, but even I didn't think it would go this far.  The chairs, the thumbtacks- I figured on that happening.  But I didn't think Manders would find a barbed wire chair.   I also didn't expect Logan Black to get duct taped to the ring ropes, but it truly was something that went above and beyond and yet also somehow still feels like it is not resolved between these two.  Perhaps Manders needs to join up with Huckabee and Skyros for some sort of War Games.

The main event saw Jay Freddie defeat O'Shay Edwards in a match where it felt like at times O'Shay Edwards could have won.   These, again, are two wrestlers who if you want to see them on The Wrestival, this show was your only way and it was just such a hard-hitting match where you thought one of the two was going to get hurt but they both survived.  

I truly believe that, pound for pound, Jay Freddie is the best Champion out there today and anyone else who thinks otherwise should put their Champion up against him.    And while I've enjoyed every GRIND show this year a little bit more, I think this show might be my favorite because of the way the stories built up in matches and the wrestlers who came from outside of GRIND to be a part of this show as well.   Everyone is having their best matches and 2023 just feels like it's onto bigger and better things also!