Podcast Recap

If you follow me on Twitter, or know me personally, you might know that I am a podcaster. Currently, I co-host two podcasts. In addition the random stuff I will be writing in this newsletter from time to time, I am going to attempt to recap the episodes of those two podcasts, hence the title Podcast Recap. Hopefully, I can come up with a better title than this but for now, it will have to do.

First is Around the Ring. Around the Ring, or ATR, is the professional wrestling podcast that I co-host with Justin Hensley, who is also the co-host of a punk rock music podcast called Punk Lotto Pod. We mostly discuss stuff going on in the AEW promotion but something branch out into Ring of Honor, Impact, and New Japan Pro Wrestling.

This week, we did a recap of AEW’s Winter is Coming special and did a preview of New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 16 card.

You can check out that episode and previous episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and many other podcast platforms. You can follow Around the Ring on Twitter.

My other podcast is called Rogue One Radio. That is a pop culture podcast that was started two years ago as a Star Wars podcast but over the years, we began to branch out into other fan cultures. I co-host that one with Donald Blake (aka DJ) and Nicole Marhenke.

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This week, we hosted a holiday special where we discussed our favorite Christmas movies.

You can watch this show live on YouTube on Tuesdays at 7pm CST. You can watch the holiday special and previous episodes on YouTube (and please subscribe), or listen to them on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and many other podcast platforms. You can also follow Rogue One Radio on Twitter.

Enjoy!

Top 20 Records of 2021

Well, here we are at the end of another year.  2021 has come to an end.  Its older brother 2020 was a big giant pile of dog poo and we were all hoping to be done with it.  Unfortunately, 2021 was largely reminiscent of what we dealt with last year.  Although many of the pandemic restrictions were either relaxed or outright eliminated, the year still felt like we have not completely weathered the storm yet.  Mostly because we haven’t.  Covid numbers seem to be spiking and even with vaccinations widely available, there seems to be no end in sight.  And naturally, 2021 was no stranger to celebrity deaths.  This year we lost actor Christopher Plummer, rap artist DMX, Meatloaf writer Jim Steinman, actor Ned Beatty, musician Don Everly, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, actor Ed Asner, actor Dean Stockwell, actor/comedian Norm MacDonald, and author Anne Rice, among many others.   

But much like 2020, there was a bright side in the world of music.  A lot of good music was released music.  So much, in fact, that many albums that had been released throughout the year got overlooked and I hadn’t discovered them until the last few weeks of the year.  This year’s list contains a mixture of new material from bands very familiar to me and music from bands that I had never heard of before.

So without further ado, here are my favorite albums released in the 2021.  Enjoy!

20. Working With GodMelvins

Well, what can you say about the Melvins other than, you either like them or you don’t.  The Melvins were formed in 1983 in Montesano, Washington, a little town about an hour and a half southwest of Seattle, Washington.  They are considered one of the pioneers of grunge rock.  To be fair though, they are more sludge metal than grunge these days.  Their albums, to be honest, are really hit or miss.  Sometimes they put out a really good album and sometimes they put out a record that is just bland.  Their 2013 album Tres Cabrones, for instance, made that year’s favorite albums list of mine but that is the only album of theirs since I started doing these lists that have appeared on one.  Their mid-1990s run of albums such as Houidini, Stoner Witch, Stag, Honky, and the trilogy of The Maggot, The Bootlicker, and The Crybaby, are my favorite studio albums of theirs.  My absolute favorite release of theirs was a 1997 compilation of singles that the band had released through Amphetamine Reptile Records simple called Singles 1-12.  This is the first of two albums that the Melvins released this year.  In addition to Working With God, which was released on February 26th via Ipecac Recordings, they also released an all-acoustic album called Five Legged Dog in October, also on Ipecac.  This band, however, is not suited for acoustic music in my opinion.  Working With God, however, is an album that I kept going back to all throughout the year.  The album starts off with a obscenely titled and awkward but fun reworking of the Beach Boys song “I Get Around” and continues its barrage of noise closing with an odd attempt at do-wop with “Goodnight Sweetheart.”  Nobody does noisy, sludgy, rock the way that the Melvins do and they have, for the most part, stuck to formula on this 33rd full length album. Few understand the allure of the Melvins but if you do, with Working With God, you get what you expect, weird songs with powerful, crunchy guitar riffs and a gritty bass-heavy eruption of fuzz-laden noise.  Like I said, you either like them or you don’t but if you do, you will not be disappointed with this album.  Highlights on this album include “The Great Good Place” and “Negative No No.”

19. CatspawMatthew Sweet

I can’t say with 100% certainty that I am a hardcore Matthew Sweet fan.  I enjoyed his early 1990s material, especially the 1991 album Girlfriend.  But after 100% Fun, I couldn’t get into the stuff he was releasing so I stopped listening for the most part.  Earlier this year, I heard the song “Best of Me” from some random playlist on Spotify that I was listening to and it intrigued me so I started listening to the rest of the album.  Catspaw was released very early in the year, on January 15th via Omnivore, so I had a lot of time to decide whether or not it would make the list.  Originally, I wasn’t sure if this album was going to make the list but I kept going back and listening to it so when it came time to pick the albums for this favorite albums list, this one jumped on there.  The thing about Matthew Sweet’s music that I gravitate toward is his guitars.  I enjoy not only the overall tone of his guitar sound but the way he plays.  He isn’t fancy, per se, but what he does really complements his vocals.  I personally feel like he lost some of that with his post 100% Fun material but it seems like he has gotten back to it with this album.  Highlights of this album include the aforementioned “Best of Me,” “Blown Away,” “Come Home,” and “Coming Soon.”

18. Our Hell is Right HereDrones

Here’s another band that I never heard of prior to 2021.  Drones are a London, UK-based punk band with influences that include Rise Against, The Distillers, Against Me, and Anti-Flag, among others.  The band’s 2018 debut, titled Exiled, was a concept album about European refugees.  Admittedly, I have not heard that album.  Our Hell Is Right Here was released on February 12th via Thousand Island Records in the United States and Lockjaw Records internationally.  While perhaps not necessarily a concept album in the truest sense of the word, the album does carry an overall theme of how the state of affairs in the world can be taxing on one’s mental state.  Before I continue, this band should not be confused with the Australian Drones that disbanded in 2016, nor should it be confused with the Manchester, England-based punk band, both which have the band name THE Drones, as opposed to just Drones. The songs lyrics were written by vocalist Lois McDougall during a very trying time in her life.  She had just gone through a divorce and lost a family member so it was written from a very gloomy point of view.  On top of that, the album was recorded largely without any of its member being in the same room at the same time.  Due to pandemic restrictions, the album had to be recorded in parts over several months and pieced together by its producer Tim Kramer.  Our Hell Is Right Here kicks off with the powerful environmental anthem “Please Vacation the Planet” that admonishes humanity about their impact on our planet while the single “Josephine” drives home the downfalls of toxic relationships.  While the album contains some powerful, resonating lyrical content, let’s not forget the music.  It is equally as powerful, with hard-hitting melodies, and more emphasis on the rock than the punk.  A few of things that stood out to me about this album, besides McDougall’s amazing vocals, were the commanding rhythms provided by the highly effective, pounding drum work.  Highlights include the aforementioned opening track “Please Vacation the Planet” and the also aforementioned “Josephine,” as well as the title track, “Learn” and “Lost in Translation.”

17. Every SecondTaken Days

Every Second is another album from a previously unknown band which I discovered through Wiretap Records.  Those familiar with these lists of mine are probably familiar with the Wiretap Records label.  This album is the first, but not the last, album to show up on this year’s favorite albums list.  Wiretap is my favorite record label and puts out some really amazing bands. Taken Days are no exception to that rule. This debut full length by the Orange County-based band was released on March 19th.  The band takes recognizable inspiration from classic 90s pop punk and punk rock.  At times they remind me of MxPX but at other times there are slight hints of Blink-182, among other 1990s pop punk pillars.  Highlights from Every Second include “It’s About Time,” “How’d It Come To This,” “Giving Up,” “Smile,” “I Decide,” and “Gone Nowhere Slowly.”

16. We’re All Doomed – Avenues 

I have been anticipating the release of this album ever since the Milwaukee-based punk band released the single “Devious” last October.  The album had been announced but I didn’t see a solid release date until later this year.  Finally, it was released on November 19th via Wiretap Records.    The band has been around for over a decade, having formed in 2006 and provided us with some great Midwestern punk sounds.  They began releasing music in 2012, starting with the EP NoHo.  Interestingly enough, We’re All Doomed is their first full length release.  Prior to this, they have only released singles and EPs, in addition to their many compilation appearances.  The band started recording this album four years ago in Chicago, Illinois but production halted due to not only, big surprise here, pandemic issues, but also a band member’s non-covid related health issues.  The songs are reminiscent of 90s style skate punk typified by energetic, passion-fueled melodies, along with catchy choruses and sturdy rhythms.  If are looking for a soundtrack to the impending apocalypse, or you are simply a fan of bands like No Use for a Name, 88 Fingers Louie, Masked Intruder, or The Lillingtons, it would do you well to check out this album.  Highlights on this album include the aforementioned “Devious” as well as its opening track “Blood On the Moon,” as well as “Supersonic,” and “Transistor Radio.” 

15. Old ThingsAmerican Thrills

Here’s another entry from a band I was not previously aware of.  This Milford, Connecticut-based punk band is a new addition to the Wiretap Records family, releasing their first single for the label, “Alive and Well,” in early December.  Their new association with Wiretap is how I found out about them.  Because I am a fan of Wiretap bands, I started checking out their back catalog and found that they had released this EP, Old Things, via New School Records on April 16th.  The four track release is a pleasant listening experience.  Its gritty vocals, combined with its catchy melodies and memorable hooks, are right up my alley.  Although they are from the east coast, their sound reminds me of a midwestern punk sound than a style indicative of most New England area punk.  American Thrills has a sound that would translate very well in a live setting so I hope to see them in concert someday and I’m looking forward to see what their association with Wiretap brings us in the future.  Fans of midwestern punk or bands like The Menzingers should like this one.  Of the four tracks on this EP, my favorites are “Discount Casket” and “Stranger.”

14. AxiomHarker 

Harker is another band to make a repeat appearance on this list.  They first appeared on my 2018 favorites list with their full-length debut, No Discordance.  This Brighton, UK-based band’s Axiom, released on April 23rd is another Wiretap Records addition to this year’s list.  I had been eagerly awaiting the release of this album since the release of their first single from the album, “The Beast Must Die,” which was released in February.  Their sophomore effort is a slight departure, musically, from No Discordance but no so much in a way that you can’t tell that this is a Harker record.  Axiom takes a slightly darker than its predecessor while still maintaining their melodic qualities.  The use of electronics on this album complements their driving guitars and vocal harmonies very well and serves more as a supplement to accentuate their great songwriting skills.  Highlights on this record include the opening track (and previously mentioned single) “The Beast Must Die,” “Adulthood,” “Flex Yr Head,” and the closing track “Antenna.”

13. Disappear. ReappearRough Dreams 

I first met Jake Jones when a band I was singing for at the time opened for Wolves&Wolves&Wolves&Wolves, a band for which he was playing bass.  He and I kept in touch and I have been following this Knoxville, Tennesse-based band of his every since its 2018 inception.  Their 2019 self-titled debut EP made an appearance on that year’s favorite albums list.  They released a covers EP earlier this year, in February, titled From the Graves of Better Days that included tunes from bands that inspired them such as Thrice, Lucero, and Saves the Day.  It is this debut full length, Disappear Reappear, released on September 29th via 59 X Records, that really showcases their talent for songwriting.  The album is a perfect mash up of modern punk rock and emo, with a dash of shoegazer thrown into the mix.  It is raw, emotional, subtle at times, heavy at times, full of energy and melody.  An incredible, solid collection of impressive catchy tunes that you can feel down to your core.  If you are a fan of bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, Taking Back Sunday, or The Menzingers, you should check out this record.  Stand out tracks on Disappear Reappear include “Cursed at the Sun,” “Desert Ghosts,” “Challenger.86.Scavengers,” “First Life Crisis,” “Reappear,” and “Past Lives.”

12. IrruptionShip Thieves

This is another album that was recommended to me by a friend.  Before I started listening to it, I thought it was a band I had not heard of.  When I started listening, I felt that it was a very familiar sound so when I looked into them I realized that this was Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves, a previously solo project for the Gainesville, Florida-based Hot Water Music singer/guitarist.  The band eventually evolved into a full fledged band.  Irruption, as it turns out, is the band’s fourth full length effort.  It was released on March 12th via Chunksaah Records and is the follow up to their split with Atlanta-based Reconciler, which was released in January.  The band also features Samiam bass player Chad Darby.  Walls of guitar, along with whiskey-soaked vocals provide an overall rough but melodic sound to the album.  Essentially, this sounds like Caution-era Hot Water Music without Chuck Ragan.  And, to be honest, there is nothing wrong with that.  This is a great album nonetheless.  Highlights of Irruption include it’s opening track “Embers of Enlightenment,” “Ghost Town,” “Tangled Net,” “Hercules Stomp,” <p>

11. Pop DreamzThe Stayawakes 

The next entry from a band that I’d never heard of previously comes from the Portsmouth, UK-based power-pop five piece The Stayawakes.  This album was recommended to me by my friend Dave Brown because he thought it would be something I would enjoy.  He was not wrong.  He knows me too well I think.  Pop Dreamz, released on January 29th via Engineer Records, is the follow up to their 2018 debut full length Dogs and Cats/Living Together.  The album has a nostalgic feel to it.  It is not only a pop-punk record, with a heavy emphasis on the pop side of the equation, but it also includes elements of power-pop, indie-rock, and 90s rock.  The bands makes a strong and successful effort to make sure that the entire album is not boring, making it a really fun record to listen to.  My favorites from the album are “Lovestruck,” “You Rock My Socks Off,” “Back in 95,” “Oh Telephone,” and “Pink Wave.”

10. A Good Year to ForgetJoey Cape

Here is another repeat offender.  Joey has made several appearances on these lists.  Twice on the 2015 list with One Weekend at #9 and Stitch Puppy at #2.  He also appeared twice on the 2019 list.  Once with his band Lagwagon at #6 with their album Railer and again with his solo album Let Me Know When You Give Up at #2.  A Good Year to Forget, released August 13th via Fat Wreck Chords, is the follow up to his 2019 LP.  An absolute product of this pandemic generation, this record was recorded in a bedroom of his parent’s house.  It is a personal chronicle of the tumultuous year that the previous year was for him. Tackling themes of his 2020 experience such as his divorce, his battle with COVID-19, and the loss of his father, this was a very personal record for him.  Lyrically, Joey is holding nothing back on this album.  And musically, this is classic solo Joey Cape in all of it stripped down splendor.  Stand out tracks include the opening title track, “The Poetry In Our Mistakes,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “Under the Doormat,” and “Come Home.”

9. Mid-Century ModernTalk Show Host 

I can’t remember where or when I first heard of the band Talk Show Host or this album but considering it is another entry on the list from the Wiretap Records family, I have to imagine that their association with Wiretap is the reason that I know about them.  This trio from Toronto, Ontario released the single “Crisis Actors” earlier this year.  It was so good that I kept the band on my radar for future releases, which came on June 4th with Mid-Century Modern, their first full length release.  With this album, the Canadian-natives have all of the makings of a great pop-punk record.  Its catchy melodies, incredible guitar riffs, and occasional explorations into indie rock territory give you an enjoyable album with a good variety of material.  Check out the tracks “You Asshole,” the previously mentioned “Crisis Actors,” “Blood in the Sand,” “Warmest Condolences,” “Sorry My Mistake,” “Syntax Error OK,” and “Lame Duck.”

8.  Bless My PsycheSincere Engineer

This band appeared on my 2017 list with their LP from that year titled Rombithian.  Sincere Engineer is a Chicago-based project that is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Deanna Belos.  Bless My Psyche was released on September 10th via Hopeless Records.  Much like its predecessor, this album is full of songs that are stripped down and honest.  There is nothing elegant or lavish about what Deanna and the band does here.  They have a message and they just put it out there.  That is what I like most about this band.  That, and Deanna’s voice.  It is simply just pleasant to listen to.  I would go so far as to say that she is one of the greatest vocalist of all time or that she is, from a technical standpoint, a remarkable singer.  I just like the sound of her voice and how she presents her material with said voice.  Also, the messages that she is conveying.  A lot of times you just can’t help but say, yup, been there.  Instrumentally speaking, it’s aforementioned simplicity is what makes it great. It complements the messages and Deanna’s vocals so well. The pairing of the music and the vocals is made for each other. My favorite songs from the album are “Trust Me,” “Tourniquet,” “Recluse in the Making,” “Hurricane of Misery,” “Come Out for a Spell,” “Dry Socket,” “Coming in Last,” and the acoustic only title track.

7. Refuse to LoseSam Russo 

This EP was released on April 23rd via Red Scare Industries.  It is three songs that were originally released on the Haverville, UK-based singer/songwriter’s 2020 album Back to the Party.  That album appeared on last years best albums list.  In an era where most punk rock artists are going the acoustic route, Sam Russo has done a complete 180 and released punk versions of his previously released acoustic tunes.  While the originals carry a punk energy to them, these versions take that energy up a few notches.  The bass guitars on this EP were provided by Alkaline Trio’s Dan Adriano.  Highlights on this album are all three of them: “The Window,” “The Basement,” and “Young Heroes.”

6. Escape VelocityDan Vapid and the Cheats

Chicago-based Dan Vapid and the Cheats is a repeat offender on these favorite albums lists.  Their sophomore album, Two, was #4 on the 2013 list and its follow up, Three, was #4 on the 2019 list.  Ditching the numbered album titles, Escape Velocity is the follow up to the 2019 release.  It was released on November 5th and is the band’s second full length to be released via Eccentric Pop Records.  For the benefit of those of you that aren’t familiar with Dan Vapid and the Cheats, here is some background information.  Dan Vapid was a part of the unquestionably best lineup of Chicago’s Screeching Weasel.  He was also a member of The Riverdales, Noise By Numbers, and The Methadones.  If you aren’t familiar with any of those bands, I’m not sure what else to tell you about Dan Vapid except he is a Chicago pop-punk icon.  But, if you have listened to previous efforts by any of Vapid’s projects, you will know what to expect.  Escape Velocity follows the tried and true formula of highly effective use of vocal harmonies, energetic melodies, solid rhythms, and catchy choruses.  Lyrically, the album explores everything from social media and modern technology to navigating relationships.  A straight up banger as the kids would say.  My favorite tunes on this album are “Burning Questions,” “Middle America,” “Cyber World,” “Tears Are Falling, “ “Maybe Tomorrow,” and “Runaway Jane.” 

5. Rebel SongsNathan Gray

Nathan’s Rebel Songs takes the honor of being the album on this list that was released the latest in the year.  It was released on December 17th via End Hits Records.  His last release, Working Title, which was released in 2020 was the #1 album on that year’s best albums list.  For those unfamiliar with his work, Nathan was the frontman for Newark, Delaware-hardcore band Boysetsfire, a band with strong political overtones.  This third solo outing of his is probably his most political.  However, don’t come into this album expecting his band’s hardcore sound.  Well, lyrically perhaps, but certainly not with the instrumentation and music arrangement.  By no means is that statement meant to be a negative because there is nothing negative about the style that Gray presents on his solo outings.  The music isn’t something that can be tied down to one genre.  While there are some songs that have a good rock feel, such as when he joins forces with Rise Against vocalist Tim McIlrath on the title track, Gray dips his hand into other styles.  He plays around with some reggae and ska on some of the tunes and even tries his hand at a rap song.  If I’m being honest here though, as pleasurable as the music is to listen to, the album’s message really takes center stage.  Rebel Songs is a clear affirmation of the issues what he stands for as a person: human rights for all.  This is, in some ways, very much a protest album.  Protesting against police brutality, systematic racism, and overall oppression is the theme of this record.  A wonderful blend of modern-sounding music with politically charged lyrics, if you care about what is going on in the state of the world and are looking for some motivation, this is the album for you.  My favorite songs on this album are the title track, “Radio Silence, “Million,” “Lost,” and “Don’t Wait Up.”

4. Van WeezerWeezer

This Los Angeles-based power-pop/geek rock quartet released two albums this year.  OK Human was released in January and this one, Van Weezer, was released in May, both via Atlantic RecordsOK Human was not impressive.  To be honest, Weezer’s mid-2000s discography has been largely hit or miss.  The last good album that they released, as far as my opinion goes, was 2014s Everything Will Be Alright in the End, which was #4 on that year’s favorite albums list.  Although it was released in 2021, it was actually recorded between 2018 and 2020.  It was originally scheduled to be released in May 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic because its release was meant to coincide with a large arena tour.  Its delay due to wanting to support it in such a large fashion makes sense given that it draws inspiration from big rock bands such as KISS, Van Halen (as obvious from the album title), Black Sabbath, and other heavier bands.  The album has been described as a love letter to 80s metal fans and a tribute to hair metal.  On Van Weezer, you will find metal-esque guitar riffs, licks, and solos.  Enough to give it an overall hair metal aura.  Despite that, the band still maintains a favorable, catchy pop-punk feel throughout the record.  Highlights from this one include “Hero,” “All The Good Ones,” “I Need Some of That,” “Blue Dream,” and “ Sheila Can Do It.”

3. Alone in a DomeThe Copyrights

The Copyrights have been a favorite band of mine ever since I first experienced this Carbondale, Illinois-based band several years ago at a club show where they opened for…actually, I don’t remember.  I think it was Masked IntruderAlone in a Dome, released on October 22nd via Fat Wreck Chords is their first full length release since 2014s Report, which was the #1 album on that year’s favorite albums list of mine.  Alone in a Dome picks up where Report left off, setting the album’s tone off perfectly with the opening track “Part of the Landscape.”  As I mentioned in 2014, The Copyrights play pop punk the way it was meant to be: fun, catchy, and quick.  Once you listen to this album, you won’t be able to keep from singing along and pumping your fist.  It’s solid rhythms, prominent vocal harmonies, and catchy choruses are flawlessly wonderful.  This is a perfect, fun, pop punk record for 2021.  If you have never listened to them but you like the Descendents, The Methadones, The Bouncing Souls, or Teenage Bottlerocket, this could very well end up being one of your new favorite bands.  Highlights from this album include “Part of the Landscape,” “Halo,” “Stuck in the Winter,” “Pretender,” 

2. When God Was GreatThe Mighty Mighty Bosstones

I have to be honest here.  I have not enjoyed an album from this Boston-based ska-punk band since their 1997 album, Let’s Face It.  But this new one is just really great.  I probably would not have even bothered listening to it had it not been for hearing a song from it on an episode of Dave Brown’s One Band, 5 Songs podcastWhen God Was Great was released on May 7th via Hellcat Records.  Up until the last week, this one had secured the top spot on this list since I had first listened to it.  It was not until the release of another album very late in the year that I had not even known about until just before Christmas.  The way this album closes, with “The Final Parade” is just amazing.  The song is on the long side, clocking in at just under 8 minutes but they fill that song with so many awesome musical cameos such as Aimee Interrupter (The Interrupters), Tim Armstrong (Rancid), Karina Denike (Dance Hall Crashers), and a crap ton more.  When God is Great is 15 tracks that, at least to me, inspired hope in these crazy times.  The song that represents this feeling the most, to me, is “Bruised,” which states “We might be bruised but we’re not broken.  We might be down but we’re not out.”  Highlights on this album include the aforementioned tunes “The Final Parade” and “Bruised” but also “I Don’t Believe in Anything,” “Certain Things,” and “Lonely Boy.” 

1. Blood HarmonyDave Hause

Although this album was released on October 22nd, I did not find out that it had even been released until practically the end of the year, when I was well into writing this end of year list.  Dave’s last three albums have shown up on my previous end of year lists.  2013s Devour was #2 on that year’s list, 2017s Bury Me in Philly was #5 on that year’s list, and his 2019 release Kick was #1 on that year’s list.  So, if you can’t tell, Dave is one of my favorite artists.  So, listening to Blood Harmony, which was a no brainer, caused me to completely rearrange my previously arranged list.  If you are not familiar with Mr. Hause, he is a singer-songwriter that previously was the guitarist/vocalist of the punk band The Loved Ones.  After releasing a couple of full-lengths and a handful of EPs he switched to his current folk punk/Americana style and after performing at some shows with Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan on his Ragan Revival Tour, he began recording and releasing solo material, starting with the 2010 EP Melanin.  With influences including such great songwriters such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles, among others, Dave has cemented himself as one of the great Americana artists of present day.  Blood Harmony is yet another example of this fact.  Dave’s voice fits perfectly among the folk and country influences that run rampant throughout this album.  This fifth full length of Dave’s is next notch in what I hope to be a long musical career for him.  Highlights on this album include “Sandy Sheets,” “Carry the Lantern,” “Surfboard,” “Gary,” “Northstar,” and “Hanalei.”

Rogue One Radio Episode 36: A New Hope Retrospectiv‪e‬

https://embed.podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/r1r-episode-36-a-new-hope-retrospective/id1488272608?i=1000510412767

This week, Charlie and Steve are joined by Megan in their trip through the Skywalker Saga to discuss A New Hope. They also discuss news from the worlds of Star Wars, Marvel, and DC and play tunes from Gentlemen Rogues, Taken Days, and Foxgrave!

Rogue One Radio Episode 35: Revenge of the Sith Retrospective

https://embed.podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/r1r-episode-35-revenge-of-the-sith-retrospective/id1488272608?i=1000508475635

This week, Charlies & Steve are joined by Adam to continue their Skywalker Saga retrospective series with Revenge of the Sith. They also discuss news, episode 5 of WandaVision, and we play some tunes by Sniper 66, The Black List, and Smash the Jukebox.

Review – Future State Catwoman #1

Future State: Catwoman #1 by Ram V.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I had not originally planned on reading this one but I wanted to dig deeper into what is going on in Future State in Gotham. This was an interesting read that further explains the dystopian environment of the city in this gloomy future and delves a little more into the fascist character of the Magistrate.

I like how the story portrays Catwoman as a hero while keeping true to her true nature. I like the idea that she has a crew helping her in her endeavors and trying to keep her in check.

What is essentially a train heist to rescue children turns into something much more with that reveal at the end. Is that really him?

I’m glad that I decided to read this and with an ending like this, I definitely want to check out the next one.




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Review – Future State: Wonder Woman #1

Future State: Wonder Woman #1 by Joëlle Jones

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


First off, overall, I liked it. I liked the writing and I liked the story that it was telling about the main character’s trip to hell to rescue a friend.

That being said, there was a lot missing to the story. At least to me. A lot of that could be because I’m largely unfamiliar with the Wonder Woman story line as I haven’t read a lot of Wonder Woman comics. Or perhaps it is because I haven’t finished reading Dark Nights Death Metal.

If this is DC’s attempt to bring new readers into the WW franchise, this book didn’t do the greatest job. I don’t know who the characters are so it was hard to get invested.

Again, it was good but certainly not my favorite of the Future State line.



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