Quarantine Interview, Part 1: Talk Show Host

Chris from Talk Show Host of Toronto has taken a break from throwing a tennis ball against the wall to chat about quarantine and chocolate. He understands the important things in life, mainly chocolate and Weird Al songs. Talk Show Host will be releasing an album on Wiretap Records in 2021, which is pretty awesome.

Where have you been staying in 2020?

My apartment in downtown Toronto with occasional short trips to the corner store to get emergency chocolate.

What have you been doing during times of quarantine?

Panicking, reading, listening to music, trying to plan the release of our first album, staring at my cats, eating lots and lots of chocolate.

Have you found or re-found any hobbies?

During the summer, I started throwing a tennis ball against the brick wall of the school behind my apartment, every day for about an hour. Does that count as a hobby? We even made a music video about it!

What have you been listening to lately?

This week alone, I’ve been super excited about the new Miley Cyrus record (her best yet), the new Network album (although it doesn’t need to be a double album; maybe we only needed ONE song from Trรฉ about jerking off), and the self-titled album by a new band called American Fail, which I’ve been describing as an updated version of NOFX’s “Decline” but with a severe case of ADHD and zero filler.

Has your songwriting process changed this year?

It has changed in the sense that I have not written a single song. I’ve barely picked up my guitar except to figure out covers of Lawrence Arms and Weird Al songs.

Is there any message that you would like to convey to fans or soon-to-be fans?

2020 sucks, and 2021 will probably also suck, but at least we’ll have finally released our debut, 10-song LP, which is so good & catchy that maybe for 32 minutes you will forget the world is cracking in half.

What is something positive that has happened to you during 2020?

Joke answer: I didn’t get COVID. Serious answer: our band signed to Wiretap Records, we finally released new music, and I learned how to make my own corn tortillas!

https://www.instagram.com/talkshowhostrocks/

Wiretap Records

Meet and Greet: Best Move

Photo by: Raoul Ortega

Who: Sacramento-based band Best Move.ย Kris Anaya, Joseph Davancens, andย Fernando Olivia

What: Their music is indie/alternative. They write their own music.

Why: Best Move is cooler than cool. They have released a single, “Forgotten Bloom.” It is like a gem hiding among some not-so-good music. You know the feeling when you find forgotten money from last winter in a coat pocket?! Or when you hear Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen for the first time. That is how I feel about this band. I look forward to hearing all of their new music.

Where: You can find Best Move in all of the usual places. The following links should get you started.

BEST MOVE LINKS: Bandcamp / Instagram / Facebook

The Gaps: #bookreview

The Gaps. Amazon affiliate link

The important thing about the setting of The Gaps by Leanne Hall is that it could be set in almost any urban area in almost any predominantly English-speaking country. The main characters could be our neighbors or even our own daughters. Most of the book takes place in and around Balmoral Ladies College.

The story is told from the point of view of Natalia and Chloe. Natalia is the leader of the mean girls at the school. Chloe is a transfer student who is struggling to find friends.

Their classmate, Yin Mitchell, has disappeared. It is very possible that she has been abducted. Natalia and Yin used to be friends. They went their separate ways after beginning high school. Natalia wanted to be popular and Yin wanted to be in the orchestra.

Chloe and Natalia begin to form a friendship when Natalia offers to help Chloe with her art project. The project is loosely based on the disappearance. When the project is going to be censored, Natalia takes it upon herself to protest.

She’s going through a bit of an emotional upheaval. The disappearance of Yin has made her think about their friendship. The things that Natalia thought were important – popularity, image, etc. – don’t matter as much as she thought. So where is her place in the world now?

Chloe doesn’t fit in with most cliques. She’s Asian but not an international student. She was born and raised in the same country as the Caucasian students but doesn’t fit in with them either. One of the students tells her, “You’re not a real Asian, you know what I mean? You’re from here.” Where is Chloe’s place in the world?

If you like YA fiction that confidently tackles some pretty big social issues, then The Gaps could be next on your TBR list.

Unless they are ready to change their viewpoint, then racists won’t like this book. Sorry racists that you are missing out on a great book, but you cannot hold onto this book and your racism.

  • I received this ebook from NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Obviously.
  • Amazon Affiliate link included in this post.

Sleep Deprived Music Review: Manny Walters

Roots on Amazon. Affiliate link

Manny Walters of South Africa released his Roots EP in 2020. I noticed Walters in 2018 or 2019. There was even a rough, practically unbegun draft of a music review for his Dark Halo EP. Obviously, I got distracted. However, I did not forget about Manny Walters. Thank goodness he is still out there making new music.

Walters describes his music as “electric rhythm & blues/ alternative soul,” which is pretty accurate. He lists Richie Havens as one of his musical influences. I think you can hear a bit of the influence of Havens in Walter’s music. His voice sounds a little bit like Lenny Kravitz. Is it just me that thinks so?

There is also an excellent cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.” Doing a cover of a legendary artist can be tricky but apparently Walters is a musical magician.

If I could listen to this music anywhere, it would be in my craft room, a coffee house or at a painting class. Wherever a person can be creative is an alright place to listen to Manny Walters.


Connect with Manny Walters

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Flawless Friday Video: Transviolet

Transviolet on Amazon. affiliate link

You guys probably need to see a funny, light-hearted video this morning. The song and video make me feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Things are going to be fun again. Maybe nothing will be the same but is that a bad thing?

Check out the video for “Sunshine” from Transviolet. If you have time, they also have more videos for you to enjoy. So far, I love them all.

Their latest song, “Drugs in California,” has just been made available for streaming. Visit all of their links and let me know what you think of Transviolet.

www.transviolet.com

www.facebook.com/Transviolet

www.instagram.com/transviolet

  • Amazon affiliate link included in this post.

Quarantine Interview: Tarah Who?

Alternative rock band Tarah Who? have not forgotten how to rock during the pandemic. In fact, they wrote and recorded a new album, which will be out in the spring of 2021. There is also a COVID edition t-shirt design in their merch section, which I think is awesome.

Let’s find out what Tarah Who? has been up to lately. Please welcome Tarah Who? to the blog. For the sake of this interview:

TGC = Tarah G. Carpenter

CH = Coralie Herve

Where have you been staying in 2020?


TGC: Home for the most part. We were very limited…


What have you been doing during times of quarantine?


CH : I’ve been practicing drums a lot and we worked on new songs that will be out soon !! 

TGC: Writing, recording. Reconnected with some old friends and sent each other tracks and new project ideas. Wrote a new album for Tarah Who? recorded it, and now promoting it. ๐Ÿ™‚ 


Have you found or re-found any hobbies?


CH : Not really, I’ve been listening to music, play video games and watch TV shows.

TGC: Growing plants is a new thing, and also doing a lot of renovations in my house. Outside of that, I am using this time to promote Tarah Who? online more. Hoping to reach out to new people who maybe will find our videos during this time.


What have you been listening to lately?

CH : I discovered this band called Ad Infinitum and I love it !! Their songs are amazing !!!

TGC: Little bit of everything, in general, but when I work on the release of an album, I usually have to listen to that album a lot, to either approve a mix, master of video edit.. So my head is “in it” right now. 

Has your songwriting process changed this year?


CH : For sure !! Because of covid we couldn’t rehearse the songs together like we normally do, we sent each others audios and videos. We played the songs for the first time together in the studio when we were recording.

TGC: Yeah it was really different for me from the beginning. I usually write a song, guitar and vocals together to make sure that it all fits and I know that it works. This time, I wrote a bunch of guitar riffs, added bass and drums, THEN i added the vocals. It was a nice experience. Then, as Coralie said, I sent the tracks over and we actually never rehearsed them. We met at the studio with Jason and we just started recording. We made a few changes on the spot, but that was it! 


Is there any message that you would like to convey to fans or soon-to-be fans?

TGC: Thanks for your support! We have been really lucky that during the pandemic, we had some fans order t-shirts on our website. This really means a lot to us so THANK YOU! www.tarahwho.com

What is something positive that has happened to you during 2020?

 CH : Being able to work a lot on music and practicing drums was awesome !!

TGC: Yeah, I was able to focus on writing and creating a plan of action to release the new songs! 

Connect with Tarah Who?

iTunes

Tarah Who? website

Deezer

Sorrowland: #bookreview

Sorrowland on Amazon. Affiliate link

If you are ready for an LGBT Gothic Science Fiction novel, then Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon will be ready for you on May 4, 2021. It is like no other book that I have read before, which is saying something. I have read a lot of books.

The book begins as Vern has just escaped from Cainland, a religious and political commune. People may call it a Black Nationalist commune with a focus on religion. I don’t know if the Black Panther Party would approve of this commune or the leaders. Many of the children at the commune are named after leaders of the Black Panthers. If I remember correctly, Vern was named after Vernon Johns, a civil rights leader.

At the beginning of the book, Vern has just given birth to twins, Howling and Feral. She is also on the run from someone that has been sent to bring Vern back to Cainland. Vern isn’t sure who the person is so she calls him or her “The Fiend.” Vern would rather live in the woods with two newborns than return to Cainland. She manages to fend off the fiend and the wolves for a long time. Finally, she decides it is time to find her friend, Lucy, who also escaped from Cainland. Vern travels with her children and finds Lucy’s family, Aunt Bridget and cousin, Gogo. Bridget and Gogo take in Vern and the children.

Vern has noticed that her body is changing in unusual ways. She’s becoming stronger and faster. Is she turning into a supernatural being? Although the children are young, they notice the changes in their mother.

Vern suspects that the leaders at Cainland are behind the changes. It’s possible isn’t it?!

Howling and Feral are interesting characters. I’m not sure if they are boys or girls. They are amazing humans. They are both so smart and resourceful. They are growing so fast. I’m not sure if they are growing faster than usual or if it’s just the way the timeline works.

If you like science fiction or gothic fiction with nonbinary characters, then you might love this book as much as I did.

If you are not a fan of African-American history, social issues, or just a hater of people of color and the LBGT community, then you are not ready for this book yet.

Side note: The following excerpt is from Wikipedia. I highly recommend learning about the Black Panther Party.

The Black Panther Party first publicized its original “What We Want Now!” Ten-Point program on May 15, 1967, following the Sacramento action, in the second issue of The Black Panther newspaper.[55]

  1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.
  2. We want full employment for our people.
  3. We want an end to the robbery by the Capitalists of our Black Community.
  4. We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
  5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.
  6. We want all Black men to be exempt from military service.
  7. We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of Black people.
  8. We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
  9. We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
  10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.
  • I received this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Obviously.
  • Amazon affiliate link included in this post.

10 Books on the #AlreadyRead List. Part 18

  1. The Murderer’s Wife. Written from the point of view of the murderer’s wife, who knows about the murdering.
  2. To Be Perfectly Clear. An interesting ghost story.
  3. 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace.
  4. East of Eden. I don’t remember the details but I remember that I enjoyed reading this book. FYI: I read this book over 20 years ago.
  5. A Farewell to Arms. Should probably read this one again.
  6. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It’s not that I dislike this book. You know when the radio plays certain songs so much that you almost hate those songs? That is how I feel about Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain wrote other books. Let’s talk about those.
  7. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It’s ok probably. I don’t remember if I read Ulysses or not. I did read the Odyssey by Homer. Does that count for something?
  8. Twilight. Don’t judge me. People need junk food books too.
  9. Wuthering Heights. Honestly, I only enjoy the movie with Tom Hardy because it is Tom Hardy. I spend most of my time reading this like “WTF is wrong with people?!” It almost landed on the DNF list.
  10. The DaVinci Code. I like this book and the movie. It’s the mystery and the history.

Meet and Greet: Project Renegade

Who: Project Renegade, Athens, Greece. The group includes Marianna (vocals), Ody (drums), Nick K. (guitars) and Jay (bass). 

What: Metal.

Why: You might need something to drown out the sound of your loved one’s snoring. However, you want music that you can play air drums to or whatever you do when everyone else is asleep. I have really enjoyed listening to Project Renegade’s album, Order of the Minus.

It’s possible that my neighbors are also enjoying this album. My house is noisy at the moment with all of the heavy metal. I cannot even hear the snoring right now. Thank you Project Renegade for the noisiest peace and quiet that I’ve had in awhile! The last time I think I was at the circus watching the tightrope walkers.

Where:

Check out the links! Buy the merch!

Connect with Project Renegade:

iTunes: http://bit.ly/PRenegade_Cerebra

Google Play: http://bit.ly/Cerebra_Googleplay

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/prenband  

Bandcamp Page: https://projectrenegade.bandcamp.com

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX5zHAKWh35oPsbHANEbI3w

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/projectrenegadeofficial/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Proj_Renegade

Spotify:http://bit.ly/Spotify_PRenegade

ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/projectrenegade 

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