Comic Book Review: Punk Rock Jesus

I recently found out about this book from an article I read about graphic novels that should be made into Netflix TV series.  Of the graphic novels mentioned in the article, this one stood out to me because of the authorship of Sean Murphy.  Murphy is also the writer of the 2 Batman White Knight miniseries that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Punk Rock Jesus is graphic novel that was originally published in 2012 as a 6 issues series by Vertigo.  It was a New York Times Bestseller and won a few awards, most notably, the 2012 IGN Award for Best Comic Mini-Series.

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Album Review: ‘Paradise’ by Red City Radio

PARADISE by Red City Radio

Paradise is Red City Radio’s 4th full length album.  This punk rock band got their start back in 2007 and debuted strong with the 2007 EP To the Sons and Daughters of Woody Guthrie.  Red City Radio is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Darrett Gale, lead guitarist Ryan Donovan, bassist Derik Envy, and drummer Dallas Tidwell.  This latest album was released in December 4 via Pasadena, California record label Pure Noise, whose roster also includes the likes of The Bouncing Souls, Less Than Jake, Masked Intruder, and Spanish Love Songs.

I have to admit that the first few times that I listened to this album, I was not impressed. I was not feeling it.  I didn’t feel like it was near as good as previous works such as the 2018 EP Skytigers, the 2015 self-titled album, and 2013s Titles.  However, I decided to give the album another chance based on a song that popped up on a random playlist that I was listening to.  It is a good thing that I did.

The album does start off a little slow with “Where Does the Time Go?”  I felt that it was a little awkward to start off a new album with something that drags. It picks up after that with the love song “Baby of the Year” and continues that trajectory through the rest of the release, getting better as it gets along.

My impression of the it now is that the band’s songwriting has not seemed to let up.

For instance, there are some great lyrical moments on the album. For instance, there is a memorable line in the song “Did You Know” where Garrett asks “Did you know how wonderful this life can be when you don’t give a shit about anything,” and the song “100,000 Candles” is a wonderfully poignant song for our time that asks “Why is the world on fire” and gets a tiny bit morose when referring to fantasizing about the end of the world.  It could just be me but I got a hint of doo-wop in the song “Apocalypse Please!”  Not so much that it is in your face but just enough.  Another random thought is that the song “Doin’ It For Love” has a guitar riff that sounds like it could be the theme song for an 80s sitcom.

Red City Radio does a good job crafting melodies and including pleasant harmonies with the background vocals (which I personally enjoy a lot in the music that I’m listening to).  The song “Fremont Casino,” to twist things up, even includes some Beatle-esque handclaps.  Also, the overall guitar work appears to have gotten better, showing that the Garrett and Ryan have worked to improve their chops, especially in the aforementioned song “Apocalypse Please,” the title track and the album’s closing track “Gutterland.”

So after several time listening through the album again, my initial impression has changed quite dramatically. Although Paradise might not be as good as Skytigers, I have come to the conclusion that I like this album better than their previous full-length (for those not paying attention that would be the 2015 self-titled album). The songwriting is better, the guitar work is superior, the melodies are more memorable, and the choruses are bigger. I have to admit that I wish I would have given this one more of a chance when it first came out because I had, I am certain that it would have made my best albums of the year list.

If you are a fan of Hot Water Music or The Lawrence Arms, this is definitely a band that you should check out.

You can buy and stream the album on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music. If you enjoy their music, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.