Thursday, August 31, 2023

Music Review // Maze "show me to your bed"

What I like about this song by Maze is that right away, based on the title, you're going to know what it's about.   If you're not into hearing a song of a sexual nature then you shouldn't press play on this one from the start.    But while it has those implications, it can be thought of in a similar vein to those R&B songs of the 1990's where things are implied but not outright stated.

Musically, this song is just that perfect blend of R&B, pop and electronic music to give it that stand out quality where it isn't in one genre but rather crosses different ones.   It reminds me a bit of someone such as UPSAHL or SHAED, which are both artists I feel are in genres all of their own and Maze could be as well.

This music video has this way about it where it feels like a person is trapped in a closet and there are arms coming through the walls.   Granted, this video says it is the "official audio", but the person in the video has their mouth moving and at times it doesn't line up with the singing, so it feels a bit bizarre in that sense but overall it's nice imaging for the song.

I feel like there are songs which just flat out want to discuss sex, but the songs I like more are the ones that seem to do it in a less obvious way.   Maze, despite this title, doesn't seem as obvious as some songs I've heard before and the music itself is just worth taking this ride and discovering your new favorite artist.  

Music Review // José Lobo "TBTBNM"

This song starts off sounding like it's going to just be the melody of the guitar with vocals, but as it goes on more instruments come in.   There are some I don't quite recognize, but there are also horns and this just has that feeling, musically, of a song which might be from the early 2000's when the college radio rock was taken over by Devendra Banhart and Akron/Family.  

While the music can be pleasant on the ears, the lyrics are in Spanish which means that you can spend time reading the subtitles in the video to find out what is being said if it is a language you do not understand.   I think this is important on many levels because even though you technically cannot understand the words of José Lobo, the language of music is universal.

During this music video there are scenes shot through what looks like old film both in the city and by the sea.  The song itself has this message of leaving, where if time and the weather says so then who can stop him from knowing it is time to go.   This can be taken in several different ways because you can leave an actual place but you can also know when it's time to leave a relationship or even a work place.

Whether you understand this song without subtitles or not, the music itself is enough to win anyone over.   The message is also something everyone should be able to relate with because at some point in our lives we have all been somewhere and felt like leaving.   And this isn't even about leaving, but just having that freedom of being able to leave when you know the time is right.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2023


Right away I am drawn into the sound of CROSSED WIRES because it sounds like something that could've come out in the 1990's, but also has that modern twist to it.   As I listen to this song, I'm thinking about bands like L7 and Veruca Salt more than I am anything modern, but I'm sure if you're younger and listening to this you might have that comparison with Metric or someone in the present tense.

There is just this slow distortion during this song that I enjoy.   It's not quite grunge, but it's close and that not-too-fast but not-too-slow drive of the song plays a lot into that.   Again, this isn't something I'm used to hearing as much but in the 1990's, a little while after grunge, this was all of the slacker rock and stoner rock rage.   I'm reminded of Wheatus and even to some extent Weezer as this has such a distinct sound.

This music video is a live performance at a skate park and I do fully believe that more musicians should be willing to play music while something else is happening.  I don't think it would take anything away from the music itself, especially since society has gone more into this inability to focus way, and it just seems so cool to have that visual of people skateboarding while a fitting song, such as this, plays.

Being that this video is at a skate park also just makes this song feel so much different.  It's one thing to fit into a playlist with artists like Letters to Cleo and Marcy Playground, but now you can also just put this into that skateboarding category with punk and just all of the other genres you can hear in a skateboarding video (metal, rap, etc)  This makes it feel as if CROSSED WIRE could play a show with a different number of genres and that makes them that much more special.  

Music Review // Odds "Staring at a Blank Page"

The sound of Odds falls somewhere between Superdrag and "That Thing You Do!" and a band such as Ok Go, where it just feels like fun rock but also the type of rock which you can get up and dance with.   This song is somewhat fast paced, but it also has this underlying quality of rock n roll from the time of Buddy Holly as the chorus has the backing vocals.

This song is interesting because it's about being prepared for something and then ending up, as the title says, "Staring at a Blank Page".   I'm not sure why, but sometimes we know things, we study them and we know them better than anyone else but then once the time comes when we need to explain those things our minds just draw a blank.   Maybe it's the pressure from being put on the spot, but who knows.

Odds portrays this whole concept not in a comedic way but more in a matter of fact way because this really does feel like something which has happened to everyone at some time or another.   Even the best of us has at one point or another been at a loss for words.  What's funny is that now when I'm struggling to think of an answer that I know, this song is going to come to the front of my mind.

Though there are many different ways to interpret this song just based on the title alone, it is fun and you can probably come up with your own idea this song revolving around starting anew.  But in the end, while it can be what you want to make of it, there is also just this upbeat tone to the music that I enjoy and so this song should be in heavy rotation.  

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Music Review // Shane Ghostkeeper "Sunbeam"


What I really enjoy about Shane Ghostkeeper is that on this song there seems to be a strong influence of rock n roll, which can come from both the past and present, but there aren't really strong influences where you can pinpoint it to other artists.   "Sunbeam" just has that way where it fits into a certain genre with bands like The White Stripes and CCR, but at the same time it just doesn't sound exactly like anyone else.

There exists a distorted guitar riff within this song and I like to think that it guides us through it.  A cool, moderate pace is here as well and as such this just feels like something you want to put on when you're ready to relax.   It isn't chill enough for you to fall asleep, but it's not in a real hurry to go anywhere either.

During this music video there are visuals of shapes and colors.   This helps to bring out the idea that this song is psychedelic, the type of song perhaps you would hear during the time of Woodstock and just in general for hippies.  But at the same time, it does have elements which make it feel too modern for that, which is just part of what makes Shane Ghostkeeper so special overall.

Regardless of what era of rock music you enjoy, this is the perfect song to add to that playlist that can combine the past with the present.  It's not just in both time frames at the same time, but you can put it in between two songs from fifty years apart and it'll fit right in.   But the timing of this song is not quite as important as the fact that it just flat out rocks.  

Music Review // Daniel Isaiah "I've Got a Lot Riding on You"

One of the things I love about words is that with this title by Daniel Isaiah you can take it two different ways and it can still be as meaningful.   To have a lot riding on someone can in some sense make it feel like you're betting on them- you're hoping they go far and do what is expected of them.  It can almost come across as a threat like, "Don't blow this, kid".   This could be a way of looking at this song in a business relationship as well.

But then at the same time, you can dive into the idea of this being about a significant other or some sort of emotional relationship and it can come across like words of encouragement.  As a father, I like to think of this as a message to a child because we're literally relying on the youth to take care of us (and this planet, economy, etc) when we get older.

Daniel Isaiah has this soft-singing with a piano sound and I think that the delivery also showcases how this song could be taken.   It can be this sort of heart-felt idea, where it could be a loving message from parent to child or husband to wife, but at the same time you can just imagine it as being stern and a serious note to not blow it for the future, to an athlete or perhaps even a politician, depending upon what type of games you like to play.

This video has lyrics up as subtitles and Daniel Isaiah is just shown playing the piano but I think that helps put that emphasis on what this song is about.  The song states that we cannot change what is gone and "We'll never fix what can't be fixed".  I think a lot of people try to fix things that simply cannot be fixed so it's important to move on and find a new way.  The song continues "We are not broken, just licking our wounds" and that really should inspire you to get back out there and persist.  

Museum Review // Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut

Additional photos can be found here :::

During the summer the state of Connecticut offers a number of different places for free visits under a "CT Summer at the Museum" program and this summer Quentin and I decided we were going to check out a number of places on the list we had never been before.  Our vist stop came on Thursday, August 10 2023, as we made our way up to Windsor, CT to see the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut.  

I will state right away that there are likely two different types of people who would visit this museum and they are like either Quentin or myself.  The fact that this museum has something for both of us is what makes it so special and a place you really must visit.   It's educational, but it's also fun, so you can learn new things without really even knowing you're learning.

For Quentin, I feel like a lot of this technology was before his time so he hadn't seen or even realized it existed before.  At the same time, for someone such as myself, I knew a lot of this technology existed but I'd never seen it up close and personal like this before.  So whether you're aware of it or not, this museum does offer an experience of seeing it in person that just makes it all that much more wonderful.

From television to radio to telephones to computers to record players (and forms of playing music) it's all there and it's all documented.  Quentin got to use a machine for Morse Code and that was neat.  If you don't know what Morse Code is, after a visit to the museum you'll certainly be able to remember after you do it for yourself.  

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that about a month or so ago I went to a tag sale and picked up two different sets of cassettes for the DC characters (Batman, Superman and more) and one for The Lone Ranger of old time radio shows.  I'm really fascinated by how those all worked and have cassettes for The Shadow and other shows as well.

At The VR&CM they have an entire set up of an old radio station where part of it is where the actors would go to speak and do the sounds while another part is the booth with the record players and all of that.   What people don't know is that sound only exists because our brain tells us what we're hearing.  So if you use some coconuts to simulate the sound of horses walking, then our brains can register it as such, partly because we're being told so-- because of that suggestion.

It's funny in a weird way for me to think that all Quentin knows of telephones is the modern cell phones (such as iPhones) but yet I used a rotary phone when I was a kid so having him see the various stages of evolution in the world of telephones is really something I feel everyone should do for the sake of history.

The only thing I would've liked to see at the museum that I felt was missing was perhaps the way we used memory storage and such for computers.   The way that the floppy disk evolved would've been neat to show Quentin because I don't think kids today really understand that there was a time when if you wanted to install a program (or game) on your PC you had to do so through a series of disks.  

But overall this was a great experience.  We spent about an hour and a half there as it was bigger than what I thought it was going to be based on looking at the website.  Quentin got some plugs and a pen while I was sure to pick up a t-shirt before we left because this is definitely the type of place that I want more people to know about.   This is also somewhere I'd really like to go back to in a few months and take my dad so he can everything here as well.   It just feels like such a positive experience for all ages.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

GHTBL Playoffs: From Friday (8/11) Until The End

Each game is linked underneath it to the official box score and photos can be found in numerous albums throughout Facebook.

August 11, 2023

Rainbow Graphics and South Windsor Phillies

M&T Bank and East Hartford Jets

Friday night at Palmer Field in Middletown started off with the Rainbow Graphics and South Windsor Phillies.   The Phillies put up three runs right away in the first inning, but the Graphics answered right back with three runs of their own.   This was such an interesting night because both the Rainbow Graphics and Vernon Orioles were facing elimination and they were the teams who finished the regular season tied for first place.  This game also gave me the pleasure of one of the older gentlemen yelling at the umpires and calling them "jerkoffs".   It's the little things sometimes that pop me.

In the sixth inning, Stanley Cipkas hit a huge three-run homerun over the left field wall to put the Graphics up 6-3.   After four scoreless innings it felt like this could've sealed the fate for the South Windsor Phillies but they were not going down without a fight.   In the seventh inning, the Phillies put up five runs of their own and went up 8-6 over the Graphics.  It looked at one point like this game might stayed tied forever, then I thought the Graphics were out of reach and then it felt like the Phillies won it.

The Graphics tied it up in the seventh inning, 8-8 and I thought they were going to walk it off in that inning but we went onto the eighth inning.   The Phillies offense seemed to be shut down by the pitching of Travis Salois who would hit a two run homerun of his own in the bottom of the eighth inning, a deep shot over the right field side, and that would walk it off for the Rainbow Graphics.    The Phillies might've been eliminated in this game, but they put up a helluva fight and I think that needs to be recognized.

Following this game M&T Bank took on the East Hartford Jets.   I'm not sure why but this game, to me, felt like it was going on nearly forever.   The Jets put together a string of hits to score two runs in the first inning and that was all they really needed, though they'd score one more before the game was over.  

I'm going to say this now because I feel like it needs to be said, but when you watch the playoffs and you see all of these different teams, you realize that the only thing the umpires are consistent at is being bad.   There are times when you see a pitch just outside and it's a strike.  Then, that same pitch is thrown again and it's a ball.  It makes no sense to me but I suppose that is the error that comes with being human.

During this second game, M&T's Gunnar Johnson was hit by pitch and not only could you hear it but you could also see it.   The umpires said it didn't happen and after the inning Gunnar Johnson asked the umpire if he wanted to see the bruise on his arm.   This will become a theme among the playoffs and I just think it's a shame that not just for Gunnar Johnson and M&T Bank but for all of the teams and all of the players these terrible calls get made and then afterwards the umpire is just like "Ooopsie"  (I recall the Kyle Hartenstein grandslam at Ceppa Field, but I haven't seen that umpire since)

This game also ended with Brandon Fry yelling at the umpire and getting thrown out of the game.  Some of the Jets fans nearby were wondering why he was so upset about the calls of strikes and balls when he swung at that final strike, but it wasn't about that *one* pitch, it's just been an ongoing issue.   The only thing I can say is that it has affected both teams during games and it doesn't seem like the umpires are playing favorites but still, no one wants to strike out watching a ball roll by them in the dirt.

August 13, 2023 

Rainbow Graphics and Vernon Orioles

Saturday was a scheduled night off and then on Sunday the Rainbow Graphics took on the Vernon Orioles in a battle of the two teams who finished the regular season tied for first place.   Few teams complain or have fans that complain like the Vernon Orioles do so this was a strange game because the different fans were mixed across the spot behind home plate and at one point the Orioles fans behind me threatened to move because I yelled at the Orioles' coach.

In a game that had more than one hit by pitch, the Orioles hit Graphics' batter Stanley Cipkas.  As Cipkas was taking first base the Orioles dugout was ripe with "That didn't hit him!", and I even think their coach was the leader of saying that.  Cipkas paused and told the dugout he would show them exactly where it hit him if they'd like and they got a little quieter.

Now, here is an example as to why I don't like the Vernon Orioles fans (sorry not sorry)   Everyone wearing orange supporting the Orioles were all up in arms, convinced that Cipkas was not HBP.   The umpires had a meeting about it and ruled that he was, in fact, HBP.  As soon as the umpires said that, what do the Orioles fans behind me say?  "Oh, well he leaned into it.  I saw him lean into it".

Less than five minutes ago you swore the ball didn't hit him and now you're saying you not only saw the ball hit him but you saw him lean into it!  I'm at these playoffs to see good games and this was a good game so it's not about me taking sides or liking one team over the other.  I just think that some of these fans need to realize how ridiculous they sound when they change their stories so quickly.  

After the Orioles fans were so excited that they got one run in the first inning, the Graphics put up four runs which was in part due to a three run triple by Tyler Repoli.   Another thing I don't understand but don't care enough to understand is why once the Orioles went down 4-1 the fans were telling them every inning to "hold them"?  Hold them at what-- the lead?  That doesn't seem smart to me, but I guess you can yell out whatever you want.

And, I know I know, I don't go to a lot of sporting events and not even really anything outside of baseball much, but there are much more toxic fanbases in other sports and at other levels.   I won't name names because it's only what I've heard, but the Orioles fans are far from the most toxic fan base out there.    Even if I question their logic at times, I do enjoy their passion for their team.

August 14, 2023

Rainbow Graphics and M&T Bank

This game started with M&T Bank going up 4-1 after the first inning and it felt like it might stay that way.   M&T Bank started slowly chipping back though, with big hits by Willy Yahn, Cooper Johnson, Gunnar Johnson and Justin Miller.   When the M&T offense is on, it just feels like it can't be stopped, but the Graphics also had that way of hitting the balls to spots where the defense just wasn't.

For M&T Bank, Camden Murphy started off giving up those four runs in the first inning but then settled down and held the Graphics to just one run after that, pitching a complete game.  Murphy was even dishing strike outs by the end of the game, showing that not only can he go but he can go the distance.

I would've been happy to see either team win this game.  I like them both and they've both come so far this year as teams.   One of those tell-tale signs for me also is that I know the names of everyone on each team, which is weird to think of happening outside of the Expos.  But someone needs to get the announcer a nap because he at one point called M&T Bank first baseman Brandon Fry "Jordan Fry" and I just hope he's doing well since his Orioles were eliminated.  

August 15, 2023

M&T Bank and East Hartford Jets

This was a rematch from Friday night in the playoffs where the East Hartford Jets won and earned their spot in the finals.   The weather on Monday night felt perfect for baseball while Tuesday was rainy and it looked like the game might be rained out.   The weatherman said: "It's muggy, but it's not hot" and that was the best way to describe the weather on this day.  

The East Hartford Jets had Darrion Williams on the mound and he went the distance, giving up the five runs that gave M&T Bank the win but this was not like what we have seen from M&T Bank in this tournament up until now.  M&T Bank had been stringing hits together to score runs but four of these five runs came from two homeruns.  This was great to see during the game, but it's deep thinking about how two homeruns changed the entire fate of this game.

Shaun Callahan blasted a three run shot over the right field wall while later on in the game Gunnar Johnson hit a solo shot over the left field side.  I do believe Gunnar Johnson is the only player in the playoffs to have hit two homeruns.  

The pitching of Eric Malinowski and Zachary Zajac combined to shut out the East Hartford Jets, who were not playing like they were in the post season during this game.   The Jets relied on minimal offense during the playoffs though, scoring only nine runs over three wins, with four being the most runs they scored in one game.   To defeat M&T Bank and become champions, they will likely have to put up more than four runs.

This was also the second game in a row where towards the end of the game the announcer turned Brandon Fry into "Jordan Fry".   I think it's on purpose now.

For various reasons, I've never made it this far into the playoffs before.  I've never even been to the finals game, as I went to last night.  This is going to be my first time being in that winner takes all type of game situation and it's quite exciting.   As I sit here, typing this hours before game time, there are many factors to take into play here.

On one hand, this could seen as the true rubber match, with the Jets winning last Friday and M&T Bank getting the win last night.   The teams are 1-1 in the playoffs against each other and this is the tie-breaker, which is kind of the point of this "if necessary" game.

At the same time, we have the fact that M&T Bank have won two games in a row- both Monday and now Tuesday- while the Jets were off since last Friday.   The Jets were undefeated in the playoffs up until last night, so it's going to be interesting to see if M&T Bank can shift the tide to not only keep the momentum in their favor but to keep it against the Jets.  

August 16, 2023

M&T Bank and East Hartford Jets

This was it.  This was the final game.   This was the "if necessary" one.   The Jets finished strong under the pitching of Jim Schult and he just basically did what he does and shut down the M&T Bank offense.    I didn't really have a dog in this fight, as they say, but I'm also not jumping up and down happy that the Jets won again.    But it was a good game, it was well played and the Jets just seemed to use a smarter strategy because they were able to have Schult pitch on the days they really needed him the most.

Now here is something I feel like needs to be said, and maybe it's just me and you should ignore it, but this made me rather uncomfortable.   In the seventh inning- the last inning of the game- with the Jets up 5-1 and M&T just looking like they weren't going to come back, Julian Gonzalez hit a three run homerun to give them their final 8 runs.   Adam Dadinos was on base and came in via the homerun, but he did so in a way which he was dancing and celebrating.

This in and of itself was weird to me because it felt like the game was tied and the Jets had just walked it off.  They could've shown a little bit more restraint, but it is what it is and I know certain leagues will penalize you for "showboating", but apparently the GHTBL does not.  Look, I get it.  You're caught up in the emotions of the game and all, so you decide to moonwalk into home off of a homerun you didn't even hit.  Fine.

What really confused me and made me uncomfortable was the fact that the first base umpire was over near the dugout celebrating and high-fiving the players.  I wish I was making this up, but it's what happened.   M&T Bank's coach made mention of it to the homeplate umpire who said something like "I'm not celebrating" and he said "Yeah but look at the other umpire, look at your colleague".  

I always felt like umpires were supposed to be impartial.  And I don't think there is a way that an umpire could've fixed a game for the Jets to win.   We don't need to stretch this that far.  But while the actions of the Jets were questionable, the actions of that first base umpire were just unprofessional.    I think I would've stood up and clapped and said good game to the Jets, which it was regardless, but this just sucked the wind right out of the sails and sort of tainted the ending of this game for me.   But, there's always next year.  

Music Review // Alex Whorms "Faded"

Alex Whorms has created a wonderful song using nothing but a piano and the notes which come from it.  While it flows steady there is a moment where it stops and then comes back in.  That pause and those bits of silence in between the notes are really the most telling.  This song really says a lot for being instrumental.

It's difficult to think about music when there is just one sound and compare it with other music because that singular sound takes on so much of what is happening.    That also makes these notes in an individual way just feel so powerful and strong.   It just comes out so deliberately and it feels like it cannot be ignored.

I'm someone who likes to have music on no matter what I'm doing.  The only time I think I'm not listening to music is if I'm writing.   But this is the perfect type of song for driving, listening to while taking a bath or just for swimming laps in a pool.  I wouldn't put this on at a party or around a crowd of people, but if you did it could spark some interesting conversation for sure.

There is something special in an artist and a song where they feel as if the message can be told in the most simple and direct way possible.   No miscommunications, no need for explanations.   If you can listen to this song and it makes you feel something then Alex Whorms has accomplished what many musicians set out to do but don't quite get done.   For an instrumental song, this really speaks volumes.  

Music Review // Madam Sad "Accepted"

It is not easy to find someone to compare Madam Sad with.   This song is definitely lo-fi, bedroom pop even as it sounds like it was recorded in a minimalist way.   There is that strong idea of this being an acoustic guitar and voice, but there are also other sounds which can come in that sound like horns and just sounds I cannot describe.

"Accepted" also doesn't really seem to have a chorus and verses, rather it just goes from the beginning to the end and takes you, the listener, for a ride along the way.  I like this style of song writing because sometimes ideas don't need to be revisited (in the sense of the chorus) and songs should be able to be like letters written, with a start and an end.

What's confusing about this song to me is that there is a lot of beauty in this, it sounds very pleasant, but at the same time it can also have that downbeat where it seems sad.   Artists like Elliott Smith taught us that there can be beauty within the sadness, but this also reminds me of Kimya Dawson at times and that just feels less sad.

Whether you relate with this song in a level of sadness or not, it is a work of beauty.  From start to finish, it takes you on a journey with lines such as "Swat away the flies", which will have more meaning once you hear it.   Though it feels like it could be part of a bigger collection of songs, it also seems to have no problem holding its own.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Music Review // Stephen Marley "Old Soul"

When someone would say someone else has an "Old Soul", I always felt they meant it towards a child who would act more like an adult.    It's not something you can really put your finger on as to why someone has an old soul, but Stephen Marley definitely does and this song proves exactly why.   With his delicate voice and acoustic guitar this song is really much more powerful than it feels in the sense that it could be played anywhere and at any time.

I've always felt like there were people out there who have died but their legacy lives on so in some ways they're still alive.   Stephen Marley really shows this with this song and I feel a lot of that to be true because this song is a beautiful tribute to those who came before him and those who are around him still.    As the song says, it is a "Tribute to the ones who made it all possible" and that is past and present.

While this song isn't sad it's definitely emotional to hear the different years go by and how Stephen Marley went from a child with his dad to not having his dad and then just that feeling of the spirit of his dad being inside of him.   It's touching and I think anyone who grew up listening to not only Bob Marley but musicians like Peter Tosh that are noted in this song can feel some sort of connection to what is essentially music history unfolding before your ears.

This video has the words to the song going on the screen and I think reading them and seeing the images from the time makes it even more impactful.   As a father, I think we want our sons to do something to carry on our legacy and honor us.   This song ends up being a tribute in the end to Stephen Marley's son but I think from the point of view of Stephen Marley carrying on the legacy of Bob Marley, it's nothing but respect all around.  

Cassette Review // Joe Moffett "More of it and Closer" (Tubapede Records)

Soft trumpet notes begin this cassette.  It feels like a beckoning, like the way someone in Lord of the Rings would stand atop a mountain and blow a horn to rally up the troops.   But this is also soft and spacious.   This is minimal and sound and though I can feel like it's a trumpet the whole time, there are some sounds of heavy breathing and what feels like a shovel being dragged across the concrete.  

The sound of an electric drill now comes through, as if we are in shop class.  This sort of rattling/screeching sound can also be heard and it's in a shaking way.   It feels as if static is coming through, but it also just feels like how you would blow through a trumpet with no sound coming out, which is kind of the wrong way to blow through such an instrument but someone untrained (such as myself) might do just that.   Little bits of what feels like percussion is coming through now as that door creaks open also.

On the flip side, the trumpet slowly comes through again.   That is, until the trumpets come through blaring and this one is just loud.  You can kind of hear what sounds like horses galloping, but it's just this sharp sound in front of it as well.   As it blares through louder and longer, it feels as if there are times when you can hear Moffett coming up for air.   That sound comes through again that's like a hissing or shaking, but it's also got those horror movie vibes like someone is lurking right behind you.

Short notes now and some sounds like droplets.   It's sharp, screechy and stretching.  Then the long notes of the trumpet return.   These notes create a pattern which can come through feeling like waves now.   The sound can also blare through in what sounds like a very primal way, like some sort of animal.   To some extent this also comes through sounding like a warning, an alarm.   This kind of scratches and scrapes its way off into space as it comes to an end.  

Cassette Review // Spike Penetrator "Rarities Vol 1" (Feral Kid Records)

While this was technically released on Capitol Idea Cassettes, it is being sold through Feral Kid Records via Store Envy and as far as I can tell that is the best way to go about getting it in a direct sense.   This one starts with that sort of punk skramz sound like Assorted Jellybeans.  There are horns like River City Rebels, but it also has this fun Buddy Holly/Elvis Presley era of sound as well.

Somewhere between rock n roll and classic rock, elements of "Walk on the Wild Side" come in as well.  There is a distorted buzz in here.  Side B begins with feelings of surf rock while there is also some twang.  But that Buddy Holly era of rock n roll persists and it might be the biggest influence throughout.

There have definitely been times when throughout the course of history music such as this has existed, but I don't think it's ever existed in this way before.  When Buddy Holly was coming out as rock n roll, it was really something more than what people were used to hearing at that time.  Now, some odd decades later, with all we've heard in music this feels like it's along similar lines but in a modern way.

Music Review // Jesse Roper "Throw This Rope"


At first, this song sounds a little bit like Beck's "Where It's At" but then it quickly comes in with these drum machine beats and the deep voice of Jesse Roper to turn into something else.  There is that pace of feeling like we're driving, one of those highway type of songs, whether it be "Radar Love" or Steppenwolf.  

As we get into the chorus of this song the guitars come closer to this twang where it can almost become a country song as well.  It feels like what it might sound like if an artist such as Butthole Surfers were to make a country album in modern times.   It just has that part where it's alternative rock plus country or maybe the other way around.

This music video has visuals of who I assume is Jesse Roper playing the guitar and going from inside of a Polaroid to inside the television.   The face of Jesse Roper takes shape in other forms as at one point it it placed upon The Statue of Liberty.   At the same time, this video takes a bizarre twist as the face can be seen on a body which feels like a scene out of "Baywatch".

Regardless of the music video (which I felt would've fit in perfectly during peak MTV time) this song just has a sound all of its own and what you're influenced by is going to come out for you to hear.   From country to classic rock to what I hear most which is the alternative side of rock, Jesse Roper just has this way of playing tricks on your ears while all around just finding a great sound.  

Music Review // Victoria Staff "Here We Go Again"


When I think of songs with the line "Here We Go Again" in them they always seem faster paced than this song by Victoria Staff.  This is a moderately paced song with soft melodies and it just overall sounds pleasant even though the nature of the lyrics might not be the same.  There are some sounds like strings and pianos in here, maybe some Anna Nalick, but it's just overall easy on the ears.

The idea of this song lyrically is about how relationships can be cyclical.  It's funny because even though you can see it in romantic relationships where you fight and break up just to get back together and repeat the process again, a lot of life is cyclical.   You have that idea of waking up, going to work, going to sleep and repeating it.   Sometimes that is called stability and it's nice but other times it can become mundane.

A line in this song I really like is: "I'm not shy / I'm motivated" and I feel like Victoria Staff has the intentions of making whatever is coming around again work out.  It's commendable to work something out, as far too often we leave things behind so quickly, but I also just cannot get over on how much I feel like this song shines a spotlight on how much life can feel like it repeats itself.  

Whether you find yourself in a relationship romantic or otherwise, or you're just in the cycle of day-to-day life, I hope that listening to "Here We Go Again" can break you of that cycle and help you feel like you're living the life that you're supposed to be.   Sometimes we get stuck in this routine to where we forget it's even happening, so songs like this one by Victoria Staff are a nice way to remind us to do something different.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Music Review // LVCRFT "Scream For Halloween"

While I've always felt like music based on seasons was too limiting (the way you only play Christmas music at Christmas time) I feel like having music about Halloween can be played any time because the general theme of being scary is always there.   You can watch horror movies any month out of the year, so you should always be on guard for potentially being scared.   LVCRFT also seems to agree with the idea that it can be Halloween-time all the time.

At its core, "Scream For Halloween" is a song that is somewhere between rock n roll and rockabilly with a slight touch of Devo.   This is a very fun song I could imagine putting on at a party and dancing with, but it doesn't have to be just in the season of Halloween.  I am somehow reminded of the beach and when artists like Elvis Presley had music/movies themed as such.  This song would also fit in well with that movie "Psycho Beach Party".

From The Munsters to the Addams Family, from "The Monster Mash" to... Well, there really is no compare for that anthem is there?  LVCRFT feels almost like they have created a theme song to a television show as well, which is different from a film because a half hour would be more directly related to the song than just hearing it within a movie somewhere.  But this could have an entire story behind it with an extended music video.

Within the last few weeks, the Halloween décor has made its way into stores such as Michaels.  LVCRFT bringing this song out now is not too soon for Halloween and it actually is time we start thinking about it.   But good music is good music and I enjoy that this song has that rock n roll vibe to it mixed with just something weird.   Music doesn't need to be constrained by time for the same reasons why I have "Nightmare Before Christmas" stuff up all year long.  But, it is time to start getting ready to scream.  

Monday, August 14, 2023

Cassette Review // Fred Cracklin "Looming Spook"

To listen to this cassette would be to hopefully be able to review it, however I've listened to it several times, going in with that idea of being able to get a better understanding of it, and the way which Fred Cracklin creates music just cannot be described with words.  Is it punk?  Yes.  Is it rock n roll?  Yes.  Is it metal?  Yes.  At times, you can take nearly any genre of music which includes a guitar and percussion and find a way to put Fred Cracklin into it.

As the guitar just sings throughout these songs they remain generally fast paced.  There are some moments when it slows down, moments of reflection I think, but I'm also reminded of that early era of Nirvana when grunge was really raw.  Primus and Mudhoney are also names which come to mind here.  It's really also just about the musicianship because it can feel so simple and yet remain so complex at the same time,

On the flip side, a fun electronic video game type of feel starts things off.  This is definitely the more experimental side as there is also this sound like a trumpet but I'm not sure if that's what it really is or not.   Some talking is in the background now, I can barely hear it, and then it just gets all blissed out like a solo Hendrix might have played.  And that's how this defies genres really, because it goes from that classic rock to modern punk like the flip of a switch.   Being all of these things at once is just remarkable.

But what is even more amazing to me is how these two musicians manage to play in unison.   As part of a band or duo you should be on the same page as your fellow bandmates, but the way that these sounds can start and stop so quickly while not skipping a beat by either person playing it's just unreal.  To have one person somehow create these sounds together would be understandable but for two people to be on this same page is just something I've never heard before and it really drives this whole sound that much more.  

CD Review // Nick Grunerud/Underwear "300 Percent Will Power!"

One of my favorite things about this album title is that when "The Simpsons" had their classic baseball episode the players were to be hypnotized to give it 110% and they all said in unison that it was impossible to give more than 100%.   So now we have a CD about baseball by Underwear (Nick Grunderud) that also is about having "300 Percent Will Power!"

A lot of these blues/soul/jazz/electro rock songs are about what the title says.  "Wrong Side of the Farm" is instrumental though, as is "From Lowell to Akron, We got you Covered".  On the later of the two there are these string plucks and warble lasers that just bring out such a unique sound as well.  Truly a way to showcase that musical genius of Underwear.

One of the main songs on this CD seems to be "A Breakdown of Anxiety on the Dancefloor" as it has a speaking part in it which feels like a rant.  There is also a repeated line of: "So if God was real, he probably wouldn't go to a night club" and I think we all know River Phoenix proved this very statement to be true.  

But overall this CD seems to be about the song "Baseball Card to end All Arguments", which is a nice display of stats and baseball knowledge set to the style of music you should come to know Underwear for creating by now.   An interesting thought process within this song is whether or not baseball players know the value of their baseball cards, to the extent that when they're at bat do they think "If my batting average goes down, so does the value of my rookie card"?   It's something I've always wondered so I'm glad we can talk about it.  

Friday, August 11, 2023

Music Review // Carry The Branches "Zombie Telegram"

Carry The Branches is a rather unique music project because of the different genres crossed during this five song EP.  At first, there is a definite sound of synthwave, which reminds me of "Pretty In Pink".  It just has that anthem feel to it, but also makes me think of Toto and their song "Africa".  

"Small Everyone" is a song with a lot of melody and it swirls around like a carousel.  This is the point in the EP when the sound begins to shift from being one of the past into one more of modern times.  However, "Azure" is an interesting song in and of itself as it has this way where the vocals can sound like Bob Dylan.   

The sound begins to become heavily distorted and it sounds like if Weezer were covering Bob Dylan, but in a Bob Dylan style, though it also just sounds a bit like Wheatus overall.   The lyric: "Carry the branches back to the trees" appears on this fourth song as well and is quite poetic as I feel we should all be more in touch with nature.

By the end, "Oleander" brings out this big sing along part which will really show you how far this EP has come since the first song.  The vocals become a little bit screamy and the overall sound becomes a little bit emo, as it feels like we've gone from nostalgia to something much more recent but also just as powerful.  

Music Review // Chandra "Lighters To The Sky"

Listen on Bandcamp here.

On "Lighters To The Sky", Chandra creates a powerful rock anthem.  This is bordering on pop but I also feel like that's just because you can sing along with it.   The music is there in an uplifting way, as are the lyrics, so overall it just feels like this song to get you out of bed and really get you going throughout your day.

In the chorus, before the title of the song, the lyrics say: "Let your dreams fly" and that's a lot of what this song is about.  In the second verse there is the line "Before we reach the top / The final push is a lot" and so I do also enjoy that this song is realistic.  It's not just telling you to go out there and everything will be okay and you'll succeed- it's letting you know that your hard work will pay off in the end.

I'm also really enjoying the lines "Blaze your trail, don't be led" because I feel more people need to take the initiative.  There are more ways than ever before to get your message out there.  But do you want to be TikTok famous because you followed a trend or because you started the trend?  We need more leaders, more innovators, more free-thinkers and hopefully this song inspires that in people as well.

Among all else, "Lighters To The Sky" is a rock song and when performed live you can just imagine the visual of everyone putting their lighters in the air (Though with the new technology like vaping I'm not sure people have lighters like they used to)  It's uplifting, inspiring and just sends such a positive message that people should have it playing on repeat for words of encouragement and that help to keep moving forward.  

Comic Book Mixtape #1, July 2023 (ft: Pop Scars, Spy Superb, Darkwing Duck, Know Your Station, Mr Easta & The Rocketeer)

As I sit here in May, after Free Comic Book Day, I really want to do something with comic books and reviews but I'm not sure what.  I don't have the time/energy to post a review of every single issue I read, but instead I'm going to collect a number of small reviews- blurbs if you will- into this big review which will be posted when I feel like it's ready.   By the time this goes up, I also hope to have a cool name for it.

    Edit 2: I didn't get everything complete until July and I'm not sure if the name is even cool but here we go.  

Pop Scars #1 (Pat O'Malley / Santi Guillen) (Sumerian Comics)

The first thing you need to know about Pop Scars is that the main character is out to kill their father.   This all centers around Hollywood and a movie franchise that was once great and is being rebooted.  On one hand, I think of something like "Sharknado" because of how many there have been, but then I also think of "Jaws" as well.  But this all centers around a shark movie which was really good but then had less good sequels.

One of the characters in here is the rightful creator of the shark movie and was sort of forced out of control of the project, so along with the character in the pink ski mask on the cover, others are seeking revenge and just don't want this movie being made.   I'm all for a good revenge story, but even more so I love a plot about people trying to come together to stop a terrible reboot.  


Spy Superb #1 (Matt Kindt / Sharlene Kindt) (Dark Horse Comics)

The story of Spy Superb is a mystery (as you could likely guess from the title) and what fascinates me about it is that right away it mentions that there is a Hitchcock theme to this all.  Spy Superb, as a plan, was created much like the Phantom in the sense that it can be continued as an idea so the person will never actually die.   So to keep the idea alive, someone has to pick up a phone and essentially become the new Spy Superb, the only problem is that phone has the list of all the best candidates on it.

When they refer to the new Spy Superb as a "useful idiot" it isn't fitting just because he's working on a novel only he seems to understand but because in Mr. Bean-like fashion he has already managed to thwart some bad guys out to get him.   This comic book spoke to me because the cover looks like a paper bag from Trader Joe's and the issues continue with this theme but the art in it is also unique.   The story also seems to have enough to keep me engaged for the next issue so this is going to be one of those spy-thrillers for someone who was never really into James Bond!


Darkwing Duck #1 (Amanda Deibert / Carlo Lauro) (Dynamite)

Growing up in a time when I watched Darkwing Duck on Disney afternoons, I'm particular to anything involving him, Ducktales, etc.   So when I saw this as a comic book I quickly had to pick it up because I knew it would be something that not only I could read but also Quentin can read it as well.   

This is the story of Megavolt using the cell phones of everyone to control them and have them go after our titular hero.  There is something to be said about the underlying meanings in this.  Between the addiction we have to screens to the idea that some form of social media can be used the way that Megavolt used electricity, there just seems to be a strong idea here of thinking for yourself.  


Know Your Station #1 (Sarah Gailey / Liana Kangas) (Boom! Studios)

Sometimes I'll pick up comic books not really knowing what they're about, but just thinking they look cool and then going into them hoping for the best.  Know Your Station is about a futuristic time when people live in space on a space station.  Trying to wrap my head around that (and the drug use) is one thing, but then a plot unfolds.  This becomes not only a murder mystery but it focuses on the main character being a suspect and not even knowing it (because of the drugs).

It feels like a lot of the comic books I read are along the same lines of someone trying to solve a murder or prevent it.   They all have that detective/spy way about them, but I've always liked those old gritty, pulp noir type of stories anyway.   Know Your Station is full of beautiful imagery and though it is somewhat of that detective story, it takes place in space so these added elements make it worth reading.  


Mr. Easta #1 (Kit Wallis) (Scout Comics)

I'm on some kind of theme, as many of the comics I've been reading lately center around the world of things such as being a hired killer.  Mr. Easta is a bunny-like creature who can travel through time and kill bad guys.  It seems to be a kill or be killed situation, where if he doesn't go and do these jobs then whoever his employer is will kill him.

This is comedic and somewhat like Deadpool but with more aliens and oddities.  As this already exists in a world of endless possibilities, I think with the time travel aspect it could open up even more doors and that just makes this that much more appealing.  While I enjoy the comedy and references to Elvis, I especially enjoy that Mr. Easta seems to be the shoot first ask questions later type as well.  


The Rocketeer "The Great Race" #1 (Stephen Mooney) (IDW Publishing)

One thing I have always been a fan of is The Rocketeer from back when all I knew him as was a movie which is now under the Disney umbrella.  Through comic books, action figures and even a cassette with 3D story that I picked up recently, I'm very much on board with all things related to this character.

The story of The Great Race deals with the main character giving up the backpack to live a safer and more stable life, but then he finds himself in a position to work for someone who wants him to enter the titular race.   This promises the potential of big bucks but also could mean more danger (even more so than the jetpack) and as such it makes the story that much more compelling.  I also feel like I really just like stories from this time period.  

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Music Review // Wes McClintock "Open Dream"

"Open Dream" begins with an upbeat sounding instrumental song which has this organ feel to it as well.  This really sets this mood for the album because even though it is not completely instrumental, it is still the best example of how this wonderful album by Wes McClintock will play out.  

There is some highway rocking when the vocals come in on "Imaginary Songs", but there is also this classic-electro feel with modern synth rock vibes.   Those big piano parts come in and on "Falling" it can feel like a Finger Eleven dance number.   Delicate acoustics come out for "Waiting In Line" and there is just something magical about this sound overall.

"Breaking Into Nothing" is fun musically, somewhat like a video game even, and also instrumental.   Those big pianos are really showcased on "See It" while "Home" feels tropical somehow.   With sweet guitar solos, Wes McClintock combines the music of the past- Billy Joel, Huey Lewis and the News and even Oingo Boingo- with that of the present to create something in the future tense.

As much as I can hear those bands which would've taken stage in a movie during the 1980's, there are also elements of Capital Cities, fun and Glass Animals.   Wes McClintock has this sound which could just as easily be heard on the modern rock radio station or classic rock station as it could that pop mix station.  I think being able to appeal to all of those genres just shows how this much should have something for everyone.  

Baseball Review //
Rainbow Graphics, 0
East Hartford Jets, 2
Vernon Orioles, 2
M&T Bank, 7
August 9th, 2023
at Palmer Field, Middletown CT
Playoffs Round 2

First game official box score :::

Second game official box score :::

Additional photos can be found on Facebook here :::

One of the wildest things coming out of these two games is that the Rainbow Graphics and Vernon Orioles both tied for first place in the regular season standings and both teams suffered losses in these two games.   This playoffs tournament is not easy to predict because any of the four teams in the winners bracket could win the whole thing.   The Rainbow Graphics, Vernon Orioles, East Hartford Jets and M&T Bank have all played exceptionally well this season.   But now, the Orioles and Graphics have to go down to the losers bracket and work their way back up to win.

The first game really felt like a pitching duel and it did something I had not seen yet this season: the offense of the Rainbow Graphics was completely shut down.   In the first inning, Jeff Criscuolo scored from second on a single and that put the East Hartford Jets up 1-0 right away.   The pitching of Darrion Williams of the Jets was just fantastic as he pitched a complete game and gave up few hits.

In the sixth inning, Adam Dadinos hit a deep shot to right field which bounced off of something and came back into the field.   The Graphics' right fielder was playing it as if it was a homerun and Dadinos started off slowly jogging as if he knew he hit a homerun but then he stayed put at second base.  After some discussion amongst the umpires it was ruled a homerun.  I'm not saying it wasn't a homerun but I just think it's weird when homeruns don't leave the ballpark.   Still, this would put the Jets up 2-0 and the Graphics just couldn't find an answer to that pitching.

While the first game felt tense because the Jets were up but within reach- there was that feeling of one big burst of offense could change everything- the second game was a lot more fun as the offense of M&T Bank just exploded.   Hindsight is everything, but this Vernon Orioles team did struggle to beat the last place Bristol Greeners the night before.   I'm not sure what's going on in Vernon, but the Orioles don't seem to have their playoffs faces on.

Matt Curtis started the game for the Orioles and when I last saw him it was in a game where he nearly no-hit the Record-Journal Expos.   This didn't even look like the same pitcher.  The Orioles struck first in the first inning with a double by Ian Halpin and then Jack Halpin doubled him in.   M&T Bank would answer in the bottom of the fifth with four runs of their own, putting them in a comfortable lead.

This game felt like it was about hitting and just consistently moving around the bases for M&T Bank.   Willy Yahn singled on and Cooper Johnson hit a deep shot to center field (which I thought was going to be gone) and it turned into a double which brought in the first run of the game.   Shaun Callahan singled in Cooper Johnson and in a fielders choice for Jordan Jeroszko, Gunnar Johnson was able to score the third run of the inning.   Justin Miller singled in Brandon Fry for the fourth and final run of the inning.

The second inning played out similarly to this.  Willy Yahn singled on, as everyone in the M&T lineup got an at bat in the first inning.   A walk and then a HBP loaded up the bases.  Shaun Callahan singled in both Willy Yahn and Cooper Johnson  to make it 6-1.   Jordan Jeroszko sac flied in another run, giving M&T Bank a three run inning and putting them up 7-1.   Peter Kelley would hit a deep shot to right field in the fifth inning to score the second and final run for the Orioles.   But another runner was trying to also come home and was thrown out!   The Orioles took a gamble and it did not pay off.

Even though that offense was in the first two innings and it gave M&T Bank a comfortable lead, the rest of the game went by rather quickly and without event.   The umpires seemed to know it was getting late and the game was taking too long so they started calling all strikes and outs to move the pace of play along.  I'm not saying they actually did that, but it felt like it.   

Eric Malinowski just threw a beautiful game for M&T Bank here.  The pitching was right on while the offense was there to deliver.  When you look at the teams that made it to these two games today, these four teams, they all have that part of the order where they just have hitters you need to watch out for and when they're all hitting in order and getting hits then that's going to add up to a lot of runs.   None of the other three teams who played on this night had that same offense, had that same hitting power as M&T Bank did.  

Now both M&T Bank and East Hartford Jets get a night off.  The South Windsor Phillies (who eliminated the Middletown Mets) will face the Rainbow Graphics at Palmer Field at 7pm tonight while the Vernon Orioles will go on to face the Record-Journal Expos (who eliminated the Bristol Greeners last night) at McKenna Field.   The Orioles-Expos game being an elimination game is pretty wild, though after tonight there will only be four teams left.

The bottom bracket seems to have a lot of work cut out for whoever makes it to the finals and eventually comes back up to the top bracket.  It's going to be a long process for any team, whether it's the Graphics, Expos, Orioles or even if the Jets or M&T end up down there (which after Friday one of them will) and this just really feels like one of the most competitive post seasons I've seen in a while.  It really does feel like any team left could win it, as the Top 5 Teams remain and all have their fair chance at being number one.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Music Review // King Analog "King Analog"

Listen on Bandcamp here.

The sound of King Analog can be described as instrumental dark metal.  It's difficult to find a comparison with this because many artists play metal faster or have vocals which make it more distinct by how they scream/growl/etc.   I hear parts of Liturgy in here though and just that idea of metal but also being on an experimental level.

With distortion, this feels like Hendrix at times and on "Escape Velocity" it even gets a little bit dreamy with a sweet guitar riff.   There is melody in here as well, which I feel like puts King Analog in a league closer to someone like Coheed and Cambria.   By "Rain" it begins to feel like Metallica but at the same time Hum.

We dive into that 90210 guitar haze sound an as it gets a little trippy as "Rain" ends, it wakes right back up on "Lowrider UFO".   There is also a part in here which makes it sound like a robotic voice is in the background, which breaks up the pure instrumental aspect, but overall this album really lets the guitars do the talking.  

One thing I really take away from this album as well is that as much as I think of it as being metal and in that sense for fans of metal music, it also has this undeniable quality about it which makes it feel like it's got this hint of classic rock to it.   I'm not sure any band has ever mixed it up quite like this before but it is definitely something which rocks and if you like music which is either metal or just unique then King Analog is for you.

Baseball Review //
Bristol Greeners, 2
Vernon Orioles, 3
M&T Bank, 4
Record-Journal Expos, 1
August 8th, 2023
at Palmer Field, Middletown CT
Playoffs Round 1

Game 1 Box Score :::

Game 2 Box Score :::

Additional photos can be found here :::

The Playoffs were put on hold after the rain on Monday and it only seems fitting as the theme in the 2023 Season (and for all of summer baseball really) seems to be that dreaded rain out.   With the Playoffs just getting started, it didn't look like any game was going to be better than any other but it was exciting to think about a lower seed upsetting a higher seed.   All of the four games played seemed to be close and intense and as such it was really some of the best baseball out there on a Tuesday night in August.

The first of two games at Palmer Field saw the first place (tied) Vernon Orioles taking on the last place (only won one game) Bristol Greeners.   Right away, in the first inning, Josh Nohilly hit a two run homerun to right field and the Greeners were up.   I was seated at the time between the fans of both the Greeners and the Orioles so it was funny to hear the Greeners fans cheering while the Orioles fans tried to reconcile with the fact that they hadn't had the chance for offense yet.

This first game went by fairly quick and there were a lot of three-up-three-down innings.   In the bottom of the fourth inning, Peter Kelley singled in Dan Trubia for the first Orioles run of the game.   This cut the lead in half and made it seem like the Greeners might not be upsetting the first place team after all.  

In the bottom of the sixth, thinking this might go into the bottom of the seventh or that it could even tie somehow, with two outs, Dan Trubia brought in Ian Halpin to tie the game.   This felt like the end for the Greeners, who hadn't scored since that first inning.   This brought Peter Kelley back up to the plate and Kelley would drive in Dan Trubia for the go ahead and eventual winning run.  

Two things to take away here from the Vernon Orioles win and that is the incredible pitching of Jason Ray, who held the Greeners to just two runs after that initial homerun in the first inning.   Giving up that homerun, giving up two runs, that's something a pitcher should prepare for and just hope that the offense can back them up.   Jason Ray really pitched a gem of a game here and should be recognized for that.

The other Orioles point to make here is that the offense in terms of runs scored was by Peter Kelley and Dan Trubia.  I do truly believe that if the Vernon Orioles win the whole thing this year that Peter Kelley should be in consideration for MVP.    He lead the league in homeruns during the regular season and his offense here was just so critical for this game- it was really make or break for the Orioles.

The one thing I can say of the Bristol Greeners is that for six innings they were winning over the first place team in the league and almost upset them.   Trevor Nohilly pitched a good game and this was a lot closer of a game than I thought it would be.   When you consider that this was the first place vs the last place team and it was decided by only one run, that really speaks a lot about the Greeners and how well they played this game.

Close games were what was on the schedule and the Record-Journal Expos felt that against M&T Bank.   Most games were a team at the top versus a team at the bottom, but this perhaps the most evenly matched game because both teams were very close in their records and were both floating around first place throughout the entire season.  This was really one of the toughest games in the first round because any other team winning (Greeners, Mets, Phillies) could've been considered an upset.

JD Tyler took the Expos through three scoreless innings and then gave up a two run bomb to Gunnar Johnson in the fourth inning.    This is, as I said in the first game, something a pitcher must prepare for, but that's also relying on the offense.   The Expos recently swept M&T in a doubleheader but I knew that the one pitcher the Expos have always struggled against is Camden Murphy.   

I'm not sure what it is about Camden Murphy and I'm not saying this in any official capacity, but it seems like every time the Expos play against M&T Bank and Camden Murphy is the pitcher, the Expos lose.   He just has their number and shuts them down offensively.   He is, of course, a great pitcher overall and can dish it out against other teams as well, but it's just something about him and the Expos that they just can't seem to overcome.

In the sixth inning, Jordan Jeroszko doubled in a run with no outs.  A fly out to center field would bring in the fourth and final run on a sacrifice, putting M&T up 4-0.   The Expos would try and rally, fighting until the end, as Mike Gulino hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the seventh but the offense just wasn't enough to overcome the pitching of Camden Murphy.

I will say that from a completely unobjectively point being at Palmer Field allowed us to sit behind home plate- something I usually don't do- and it was strange to see a pitch thrown where it looked like it just missed the plate and it was called a strike but then another pitch was thrown in the same spot and it was called a ball.   This was in a row too.  So I don't understand if the one before it was a strike how the one after it was a ball.    The umpires seemed a little bit confused as to where the strike zone was and from my vantage I could see that clearly.

So now the Expos move down to the losers bracket to play the Bristol Greeners at 8pm tonight at McKenna Field in East Hartford.  The South Windsor Phillies also play the Middletown Mets at 6pm at McKenna.  Those are both elimination games, so of those four teams only two will be left standing tomorrow.

At Palmer Field, the winners bracket will see the Rainbow Graphics take on the East Hartford Jets at 6pm with the Vernon Orioles taking on M&T Bank at 8pm.   Some exciting match ups with the top teams at Palmer Field and the suspense of elimination at McKenna is making this one of the best playoff tournaments in a while.  Of the three teams typically in the playoffs last (Orioles, Jets, M&T) at least one of them is going to the losers bracket tonight and I wouldn't count out the Rainbow Graphics this year either.