I could make another excuse why I haven’t updated this thing. I could chalk it up to being busy, lazy, writer’s block, etc. Would that be accurate? Maybe so. However, I also did relocate to about 2 hours from my hometown to put down some fresh roots. To snap from the tree I was grown from and fly high into the air to plant myself firmly in the fertile soil of Buffalo. A city that I believe has been unfairly looked down upon.

The decision to move was not one I took lightly, nor was it a difficult decision either. To leave everything that you know and to go to somewhere where you don’t really know anyone with a population of well over a million people is terrifying. I truly believe all the good and bad events in my life prepared me for the move. Amie and I have never had it easy. Some of it was self inflicted gun shots from our inexperienced youth, but a lot of it was the lifted veil of how terrible a lot of people in this world are. Once you know this and begin making conscious decisions of how you want to live your life is when you truly begin living.

We looked at a lot of different possibilities of where to move. Buffalo, Baltimore, Portland (ME), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh. We love the East Coast. At least I do. We’ve traveled a lot in the past 10 years and once you see enough places you’ll notice there’s not a huge difference in places. People are people. Buffalo was the closest major city. We’ve visited there many times growing up, seen countless concerts, but never really knew how living there day to day would be like. There’s no way of knowing how that would be anywhere when you’ve lived in the same small city all your life.

Amie and I had been at the same job for four years. We lost 3 out 4 of our parents within that time frame. With our original roots gone, it was the best time to move on and find somewhere new. October 2015 we realistically started at looking how we could coordinate a move. What can we afford vs. where do we want to be. We didn’t want to move for the sake of just doing it. We settled on Buffalo. It was the easiest to do and checked off most things off our want list. Job opportunities, sports teams, a variety of bars/music venues, green space, easy access to work/other places we might want to visit.

We spent a lot of time researching on areas in/near Buffalo. We pretty much found where to avoid, and then we were good to go. It was trial and error of finding an apartment. Dear God, there are a lot of them. A lot are awful and even more are amazing but priced accordingly. We made a list and hit the road in January to find our new home. Not really what we planned, but we had to see these places in person before we made a decision. Let’s just say we signed a lease that day for a place that wasn’t even on our list. The deal we got was so amazing that we couldn’t turn it down. It had to happen fast. We didn’t plan on moving until the spring/summer, but our move in date was now three weeks away. Life has a way of keeping you on your toes. However, as I sit here now writing this in said apartment in North Buffalo in May of 2016, I can safely say that this move was the best thing I’ve ever done.

Everything about the move went so smoothly. Except for well the blizzard on the entire day we loaded up the truck and drove to, but hey, that’s life. We also moved up here without jobs in hand. A good resume and a prayer to a God I don’t believe in is all we went on. It wasn’t long before we both were offered jobs in our fields of expertise with pay that made me upset about the lack of care my past jobs had for their employees. We’ve made friends with our co-workers, and I can’t speak for Amie, but I feel like I’m at home.

We’ve gone back to Jamestown a few times. I don’t miss it at all. Scout’s honor. There’s really nothing about the place that makes me yearn to come back. I’ve been trying not to bash the city, but I feel like I’m finally living where and how I want to. It feels amazing to take that control over your life after a downward spiral. Amie and I’s relationship has always been strong. It’s the one constant in my life. We finally separated ourselves from the negativity and realized that was the problem the whole time.

I strongly advise anyone looking to change their lives, just do it. Be the best person you can be, and surround yourself with like-minded people. In the end, it’s your life. So make it good for yourself and for the people around you. Create a web of positivity and let the negative struggle to survive. Things get better if you are trying to make them better. Don’t become stagnant. I did, and almost got stuck in that godforsaken town.

Now I got that Buffalove in my veins.




To be considered a musical genius one typically has to push the boundaries of their instrument and create something new and exciting that people haven’t experienced before. The Dwarves, I believe, are true musical geniuses.

For 30 years, the band has been making the most vulgar, aggressive, vile, and catchiest music I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to. Their brand of twisted pop/rock/punk music should not have lasted this long. Except, they are really good at what they do.. People just don’t seem to be in on the joke.

The way you can’t help sing along to the tunes they play is how they’ve gained a fan base. Sure, in their early days, things got out of hand pretty fast at their shows, but that’s what punk rock is supposed to be. A place to let recklessness reign, followed by normal daily routine.

Here’s a couple videos to break up your routine. It’s okay to sing along. They make it hard not, regardless of whether you want to sing about drugs, sex, and violence or not. It’s their ability to engage the listener regardless of the lyrical content that makes them truly great at their craft.

Self Portrait

As the year comes to a close, it’s a time for a reflection. Deaths, loss, hardship were abundant. It seems as I get older this happens often. That’s life. Everyone struggles in their own way to get through this existence. We all find ways to enjoy ourselves. Some healthy, some unhealthy, but I do my best to make myself and the people around me happy. You can’t change people, but you can be a positive experience when they are around you. I’m going to attempt to write some blips and blurbs about stuff I enjoyed this year. They made my life a little better, and maybe they can do the same for you.


Anxious and Angry – Ryan Young from Off With Their Heads plays good tunes and talks to other musicians about life and how to make sense of it. It often gets heavy and philosophical, but Ryan is someone everyone can relate to so nothing is over your head.

Campaign – A Star Wars Roleplaying Adventure. One of the most entertaining podcasts I listen to. You don’t need to know anything about Table Top games or Star Wars to enjoy. If you like comedy and a good story this is for you.

Last Podcast on the Left – Every been curious about serial killers and the paranormal, but felt weird doing your own research? This podcast is for you. The humorous angle that the guys come at the topics with is what keeps me coming back to this one and not others that cover similar topics.

Modern Vinyl Podcast – If you like music and are in yours 20s, this one’s for you. You don’t really have to appreciate vinyl to like this podcast, but I’m a collector myself so hearing about pressings of records makes me all giddy.

Monday Morning Podcast – Bill Burr is a funny guy with years under his belt in the comedy world. He’s unapologetic about his views on what’s happening in the world, and as I get older his cynicism makes sense.

Overnight Drive – Two guys shooting the shit. It’s pretty simple, but their long friendship creates a dynamic that you can’t fake. They don’t update as frequently as they used to (neither do I with this blog), but life happens. I’m always excited when a new episode does pop up on my feed.

Roundtable of Gentleman – A group of improv comedians talk about weird stories of the week. I never stop laughing when listening to an episode.

Start the Beat with Sikes – I recently wrote a blog gushing about Sikes, so I’ll keep this short. He’s a genuine guy that has conversations with people from all walks of life. His down to earth nature brings the best out of his guests.


Allison Weiss “New Love” – The best 80s pop album of 2015.
Blacklisted “When People Grow, People Go” Heavy hardcore with just enough melody
California X “Nights in the Dark” Fuzzy, classic rock for a new generation
Ceremony – “The L-Shaped Man” A Joy Division influenced album that doesn’t suck
Chrome Over Brass “Chrome Over Brass” An instrumental post-punk masterpiece
Cradle of Filth “Hammer of Witches” Shock value has worn off, good songs remain
Defeater “Abandoned” Melodic hardcore I can’t help but love
Desparecidos “Payola” Reunion albums never live up to hype, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great
Ghost Bath “Moonlover” Intense black metal music
Leftover Crack “Constructs of the State” A solid punk album that I expected not to like
Leon Bridges “Coming Home” The second coming of Sam Cooke
Loma Prieta “Self Portrait” A hardcore album for people who like variety in their life
Murder By Death “Big Dark Love” This band cannot put out a bad album if they tried
Nathan Gray “NTHN GRY” This album hit me really hard emotionally…like really hard
Night Birds “Mutiny at Muscle Beach” I’m so happy bands still make punk music like this
Pruirient “Frozen Niagara Falls” The most jarring album I’ve ever heard. The layers of noise here is something incredible. I’ve never heard anything like it.
Roger Harvey “Twelve Houses” I waited a long time to hear this album. It was worth the wait. Probably my favorite album of the year.
Royal Psalms “I Could Have Been Anything” A formulaic rock EP, but it’s done so well
Self Defense Family “Heaven Is Earth” I still can’t stand Pat’s voice, but they make good music so I keep listening. I definitely don’t understand the fanboy-ism that comes with this band though
Sikes and the New Violence “I’ve Seen Better” Rap, rock, punk, electronic music mashed together to make something that sounds new and unique. It’s refreshing.
Timeshares “Already Dead” The best Fest-band  that no one talks about
Tony Molina “Dissed and Dismissed” 12 minutes of the best songs Weezer forgot to write
Turnover “Peripheral Vision” Dreamy rock songs to vibe out to
Waxahatchee “Ivy Tripp” Possibly my most listened to album this year. Pop music without all that extra sugar.
White Reaper “Does It Again” Garage rock done right. Listen to this band.

Those are the albums I listened to the most this year. Of course, there were more I liked that I didn’t list, but I figured 25 is enough. Hopefully, you find something new that you might like. I’ve already found a few new things browsing other people’s list.

Enjoy whatever holidays you choose to celebrate. If none of them suit you, go ahead and celebrate yourself. Life’s all about making the best out of your life and those around around you who you care about. You don’t need a religion to tell you that.



If you can appreciate extreme music for what it is then I have an album for you. It’s sometimes, loud, noisy, and filled with violent screaming. At other times it’s quiet and atmospheric with melodic guitars. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two. It’s all over the place, and it’s great that it doesn’t follow any rules of what heavy music should sound like.

I’m not a huge fan of metal. The classics are tolerable if someone else is playing them, but I never really find myself reaching to listen to Metallica, Slayer, Judas Priest, and the like. Sure, Slayer can riff like nobody’s businesses, but I get bored. That’s why I got into punk in the first place because I didn’t have the attention span for guitar solos. I’ve grown to appreciate more music as I’ve gotten older but traditional metal still doesn’t really do anything for me.

I’ve gravitated towards black metal over the years. There’s so many different styles and nuisances that you can appreciate once you peel back the stereotype that is black metal as a whole. I don’t know if “Moonlover” by Ghost Bath counts as a black metal album, but labels suck anyway. It’s more of a general specification than a restriction tag in my book.

I’ll tell you right now, if there are lyrics on this album then I have no idea what they are. I don’t think that matters so much as the music is so intense, your emotions will fill in the void. Maybe they’re not decipherable for a reason? It feels weird saying that, yet wanting to recommend this album so much. It doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever heard. It sounds like the best aspects of all the different styles black metal. There’s beautiful piano interludes, soaring guitars, brutal blast beats, and hauntingly screamed vocals. There’s no pentagrams, no corpse paint, no bullshit. Just extreme music that makes it’s own atmosphere and experience for the listener.

The diversity of the album is what gives it the replay ability that other albums don’t have. There’s always something that I didn’t hear the previous time making it almost a new experience each time I put it on. I’ll leave you with the link to go listen to it. It’s not for everyone, but to those who are into the types of stuff I’ve talked about give it a try.



New Love

I’m currently leaving for vacation in the Siesta Keys, and the soundtrack to the freeing myself of responsibility this week is Allison Weiss’ new record, “New Love”. The record speaks of the pain we go through in life and how it makes us who we are. It sounds depressing, but this is possibly the most uplifting record I’ve listened to all year. Which is why I’ve been playing incessantly since it was released at the beginning of October.

With all of it’s 80s pop and dance sensibilities I think it would be a perfect summer album. Alas it came out now for us to enjoy. I’m going to the beach so it’s basically extended summer for me anyway so maybe that’s why it sounds so good. The album opens up with the intro song of “The Sound”.

“I’m a sucker for an aching heart
Gotta suffer for the sake of art
And I want you cause you make it hard
I want you cause you make it hard
It’s a pattern I’ve always found
I get messed up, I write it down
I like the hurt cause I like the sound
I like the sound

I am taken with the bitter end
And the breaking, the way we mend
And I want you, I just can’t pretend
I want you, we could just pretend
This spiral I’m headed around won’t mess me up, won’t get me down
And I like the hurt cause I like the sound
I like the sound”
– “The Sound”

Sounds a lot more poetic than Three Days Grace, “I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all”, right?

Allision’s voice is a little bit lower than most female vocalists. She’s got that rock singer type voice as opposed to someone softer like Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee. Both unique singers but suited for different types of music. This is not a rock album though. This is an 80s pop album written in 2015.

The album kicks into full gear at track four, “Golden Coast”. The first three tracks just teasing you at what’s to come. “Golden Coast” opens with an in your face synthesizer lead before pulling back for the verses. Waiting til the chorus to bring back the synthesizer to the chorus makes it that much more powerful. There’s a warmth to the song and excitement that makes you want to hop in your car and take off and find what you’re looking for out of life. The songs speaks of heading home. I believe home is wherever you feel most comfortable. Your little spot in the world that’s yours filled with what makes you happy. Whether it’s stuff or people. This can be anywhere, but everyone needs a figurative home.

“Back To Me” is the best Blondie song Debbie Harry never wrote. By now, you’re halfway through the album and there’s no way you’re not finishing the album. You’ve got a smile on your face and goosebumps on your arms. Maybe that’s just me, but whenever there’s something special about an album I randomly will get goosebumps on my arms. It’s happened with albums of all genres, but it’s a physical indication that I’m connecting with the album in some way. I believe music is so much more than something to fill dead air. It means as much or as little as you want it to, but what great movie didn’t have great music that helped you connect to the film?

I think my two favorite songs are the combination of track nine and ten. “Motorbike” is a straight forward almost Ramones-esque song that is more akin to her earlier work, but strangely still fits on this album. Allison really shines on songs like this when she just can belt out the lines. It’s a simple song, but it’s a showcase of how great a singer she is. “Motorbike” previously was about getting away from someone who’s been bumming you out and clearing your head. “New Love” finds Allison hearing her ex talk about finding their new love.

“I heard you fell in love again for the first time
And I heard you can’t remember when it felt so right

And you say you can’t believe you found it finally
And you whisper soft and sweet
The same old way you whispered it to me

I heard the stars shine brighter now than they used to
And I heard the pieces fit so well like they’re supposed to

And you say you can’t deny the planets all aligned
And you’re holding all you need
The same old way you held on tight to me

There’s no love like new love
You’re moving on and all I want is you, love”
– “New Love”

This could have easily ended the album. It sounds like a finale, but old Allision decides to throw one more song at us. It’s an acoustic song that finds Allison coming to some realizations that kind of sum up the album as a whole.

“Is anybody never really over anyone?
Is anybody lying when they say they’re having fun?
Does anybody feel like checking out and going home?
I can’t be alone

Does anybody feel like kissing strangers when they’re sad?
Does anybody wonder how it ever got this bad?
Does anybody wish that they could change the way they are?
It can’t be that hard

I’m not lonely like I used to be
I get older and I notice things
We all got feelings that we can’t explain
We’re all a little bit the same

Is anybody sleeping? Is it just me wide awake?
Is anybody dreaming of the changes they would make?
Has anybody felt like they can’t take it on their own
I can’t be alone”
– “The Same”

I think even though this album has only been out about three weeks, this is one of the best albums of the year. You can show your friends who like Taylor Swift and they’ll be into it. You can show your dad who plays “air keyboard” more than air guitar (maybe that’s just mine) and they’ll get something out of it. Those hardcore kids will secretly listen to it when their girlfriend isn’t around.

I believe it’s the perfect mix of modern pop, 80s influenced rock music, and current indie music. Listen to it for yourself:

Hate Mail

I still remember the first time I received an angry comment on an article I wrote years ago. I don’t remember the specific of which article it was though. I’m sure I could look back and find it, but it’s not important.

The comment said something along the lines of, “Stop writing this stupid shit. Nobody gives a fuck about what kind of music you like.”

Harsh words. Maybe a troll attempt, but in this town, they were most likely speaking the truth as I can’t seem to find people with any kind of common interest when it comes to music. With the exception of the guy who ran my now defunct local record shop who was into some decent post-punk and garage stuff. I was surprised to see a few hours later some other people coming to my defense saying how, “Maybe some people like alternative music that’s different than you other. So shut up”. There was some banter back and forth about whether or not I wrote about anything worthwhile. Maybe they’re right.

I grew up at a weird age when the internet was just becoming a thing. It was there but you couldn’t do most of the things you do today. Streaming anything was out of the question, purchasing something was scary, and there were only a ways to connect to other people. The thing I found fascinating about the internet was all of the information readily available. I got all my information from magazines and newspapers, and now there was more knowledge and opinions scattered all over this vast utopia called the internet.

I read a lot about music and books. Those were the things I was most interested in at the time, and to this day probably still rings true. I read reviews. I read interviews with musicians and authors. I read music website printing information. It was all fascinating to see people having conversations that I found interesting. I found people whose opinion I could rely on and followed their recommendations. Most of the time I was pleased to find something new, sometimes it just wasn’t for me.

This was how I found out about music. Not through concerts coming to town, not through local shops, not through word of mouth. I already know what the people around me think and we’re friends, but sometimes I want someone else’s opinion on something. We don’t always agree, but the exchanging of information is what makes people better. People who know and experience more things are people I want to associate with. It helps give perspective to the world. We still might not agree, but we can see each other’s point of view.

I don’t really write reviews. At least I don’t think I do. I write about how the music made me feel or think. I relate music to most experiences in my life. I can tell you when I heard every album I’ve listened to and/or how it made me think about something. I think this is more helpful than whether or not the syncopation of the drums on this track really detracted from the guitar melody. Or that the production used on the microphones could have been better. Music is art. Let it be what it is. It will never be perfect, but art is subjective. I can tell you whether or not I enjoyed an album and why, but that doesn’t mean you will or won’t like it.

That’s why I write. To let that guy or girl in some small town find something new and interesting. It’s my way of giving back to those who wrote for years that I never spoke to. Whatever reason they wrote, it made a difference, so keep doing what you love.


Soul Man

I was raised on 50s/60s rock and roll. The Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, Sam Cooke, Chubby Checker, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, etc. They are considered classics for a reason. It’s because they are great musicians, not simply because they are old. It’s that nostalgia thing. When those songs come on I can’t help but be in a good mood. I listened to so much Sam Cooke this past winter. The snow here in Western New York gets pretty nasty sometimes, but old Sam Cooke is just feel good relaxing music that eases the nerves the weather can cause.

This takes me to a new artist who released his first record in June of 2015. Leon Bridges is the second coming of Sam Cooke. That’s not flattery. He’s got that soul in his voice you can’t teach. While he’s not on the same level, he’s clearly on the same path, and those are footsteps worth following. Leon’s album “Coming Home” is an homage to all that is 50s/60s music. He performs in vintage clothing as well to truly immerse the audience in his performance of a sound that is all but lost in today’s musicians.

If it’s a shtick, then it’s a damn good one. A lot of his songs seem to blend together. There’s not a lot of stand outs, but when you write a bunch of good songs that’s a problem you’re going to have. Upbeat tracks like “Better Man”, “Smooth Sailin'”, and “Flowers” mingle nicely with slower songs like “Coming Home”, “Brown Skin Girl”, and “River”. It’s a solid album that takes you back in time, and don’t we all wish we could hit rewind sometimes?