Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thank You! Plus, CD Release Party

Today I would like to give thanks to all of you who have supported Autism Empowerment and The Spectraland Saga. Whether you're a newcomer to the cause or have been with us since day one, believe me when I say that your efforts, contributions, purchases, and fandom have been and will continue to be greatly and sincerely appreciated.
Anyway, regardless of what you're doing today (eating turkey? watching football? both?) and tomorrow (waking up early to buy socks?), come on down to Shanahan's in beautiful and suddenly trendy downtown Vancouver, WA this Saturday night and help celebrate the release of Second Player Score's second album, Nobody's Hero.

We'll be playing the album in its entirely and in order from beginning to end, and I'll be talking about the concept behind the songs, so it'll be kind of like VH1's Storytellers. The festivities begin at 9pm, and two other awesome bands - 100 Proof and The Welkin Dim - will also be performing. It'll be tons of fun (and you can work off some calories by jumping around), so hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Post That Is Sort Of About Football, Mid-Season Edition

Two months ago, I wrote a blog post called A Post That Is Sort Of About Football in which I gave my one-line thoughts about each NFL team following the first game of the season. Now that the season has reached the halfway mark (or gone a little past it, actually, but who's counting), I thought it'd be fun to revisit this subject and see just how much jinxing power I actually possess.
Arizona Cardinals: two months ago, I said that they've become "annoyingly good." Since then, they've gone 4-4-1 and traded missed winning field goals with the Seahawks. Jinxed?

Atlanta Falcons: I said nothing jinx-worthy, and now they are 6-4 and in first place in their division.

Baltimore Ravens: please beat the Cowboys this weekend (check back in January to see what kind of effect this statement had.)

Buffalo Bills: as promised, for one week I hated them with a burning passion. Their quarterback is a lot better than I thought.

Carolina Panthers: they play the Seahawks next month, so I think I will keep my mouth shut.

Chicago Bears: like I said last time, they were fun in the '80s.

Cincinnati Bengals: I said nothing jinx-worthy, and now they are 3-5-1 and in third place in their division. Hmm.

Cleveland Browns: hey, at least your baseball team reached the World Series, something the Mariners have yet to do.

Dallas Cowboys: last time I said "Now they're like an ex, where you just peripherally take notice of stuff they're up to but you try not to get too involved and when you see they're having problems you just kind of think 'man, am I glad I don't have to deal with that drama anymore." Well, now the ex has gotten a new makeover and/or a fancy car and suddenly looks way hotter than you remember them.

Denver Broncos: I took a little swipe at them last time, thanking them for Super Bowl XLVIII. Good thing they don't play the Seahawks in the regular season.

Detroit Lions: it's almost Thanksgiving and these guys are tied for first place in their division. What?

Green Bay Packers: two months ago, I said "Stop being so cool. And so good." And then they listened to me. Jinxed?

Houston Texans: I said nothing jinx-worthy, and now they are 6-3 and in first place in their division.

Indianapolis Colts: at 4-5, I'm not sure I'll get a chance to abhor them with the fury of a thousand suns.

Jacksonville Jaguars: maybe they'll fire Gus Bradley and then he can come back to the Seahawks?

Kansas City Chiefs: I guess loud stadiums pay off.

Los Angeles Rams: two months ago, I said "Unlike the Cardinals, they are not annoyingly good, but they are annoyingly good at beating the Seahawks for some reason." Since then, they've amassed a losing record while beating the Seahawks along the way. I'm not sure if that's a jinx or not.

Miami Dolphins: have made a nice recovery since week one. Good job, fish.

Minnesota Vikings: started off hot, cooled down a lot recently. Maybe they're following the Minnesota weather?

New England Patriots: No comment.

New Orleans Saints: I zinged them last time, teasing them about losing at home to the Raiders. Then they went out and beat the Seahawks. That's a total jinx. On me, not them.

New York Giants: I said nothing jinx-worthy, and now they are 6-3, in second place in their division, and just a half-game behind the Seahawks' record.

New York Jets: I said nothing jinx-worthy, and now...never mind.

Oakland Raiders: I zinged them indirectly by teasing the Saints about losing at home to them. Now they are 7-2 and tied for first place in their division.

Philadelphia Eagles: they play the Seahawks this coming Sunday, so I think I will keep my mouth shut.

Pittsburgh Steelers: you just couldn't beat the ex, I mean, the Cowboys, could you. Dangit.

San Diego Chargers: I still like your powder blue uniforms.

San Francisco 49ers: eeeyeah.

Seattle Seahawks: No comment.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: see "Carolina Panthers" above.

Tennessee Titans: even though Marcus Mariota, a Hawaii native, is their quarterback, this is the one team that always seems to elude my mind for some reason whenever I'm doing a Joel Suzuki and thinking up a list of AFC teams in my head.

Washington Redskins: I said nothing jinx-worthy, and now they are 5-3-1 but in third place in their division. I think the conclusion here is that my jinxing powers are probably more confirmation bias than anything else. Still, though, I will stick by my "no comment" statements above, just in case. Go Hawks!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Joel and Felicity: A Portrait

If you follow The Spectraland Saga's Facebook page (and if you don't, you totally should, it's fun) then you've probably seen this already. But that's okay, because it's so epically awesome that I just had to talk about it again here.
This is a portrait of Joel and Felicity that my daughter drew for me. It''s so perfect. I don't even really have the words to describe just how incredible it is. So you know what? I'm not gonna even try. I'm just gonna stop talking here and let you bask in its glory. You're welcome.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Album Two Is Here!

Yes, the second album by Second Player Score was officially released on November second, um, I mean, first! It's called Nobody's Hero.
It contains eleven brand new tracks and is available on CDBaby, Amazon, iTunes, or direct from our website if you want an autographed physical copy!

As I may have mentioned before, it's a quasi-concept album that tells the story of...ah, well, why don't I just let our esteemed biographer (who goes by the name of "Suzi" and doubles as my blog editor) tell you all about it! Take it away, Suze...

Thanks Brian! Well, prior to a show that Second Player Score played at a bar in downtown Vancouver, Washington, the bar’s manager — possibly influenced by “Chosen One,” a song off of SPS’s debut album, Fortress Storm Attack — was asked by a patron to characterize the band’s sound. His reply? “Like if Bad Religion wrote songs about video games.” Would that be an accurate description?

“It could be,” Brian Tashima, guitarist/vocalist, says with a chuckle. “But I think it goes a little deeper than that. We don’t actually have songs — besides “Chosen One,” of course — that contain specific references to video games per se, but pop culture as a whole is where a lot of our inspiration comes from, so I guess that description kind of captures the spirit of who we are as people in general.”

Indeed, most of the material on Fortress Storm Attack and the band’s newly-released sophomore album, Nobody’s Hero, does not so much reflect a direct relationship to the topics adored by Comic-Con attendees (of which the band members proudly count themselves as being among) as they do a certain vibe and sensibility that can only come from people who have been steeped in that particular scene since childhood.

For example, while it never explicitly says so, the cover art of Fortress Storm Attack is a direct tribute to the “All your base are belong to us” Internet meme that grew out the 1989 video game Zero Wing. And now, with Nobody’s Hero, the band returns with a quasi-concept album that tells the Dungeons & Dragons-esque story of a man, granted magical powers by an evil spirit, who ends up destroying the world.

“Basically, this guy gets seduced by a female demon who gives him these special abilities, and initially, he tries to help people with them, but then he eventually succumbs to the temptation of using them for selfish and corrupt purposes,” Tashima explains. “Having done that, he becomes worthy of being her consort and siring her child — a daughter who will grow up to continue the cycle. The demon then betrays and abandons him, leaving him for dead. He survives, though, and uses what’s left of his powers to stop her in the only way possible, which is to cause an apocalypse that wipes everyone out, including them. It’s like a Greek tragedy.”

Sounds fun. How did the band come up with such a story?

“It actually sort of wrote itself,” drummer/vocalist Kyle Gilbert says. “We didn’t set out to make a concept album, but as we were developing the songs, the story just appeared. That’s how we tend to do things, for the most part — we don’t plan it, we just go with the flow and take things as they come to us, whatever happens naturally, whatever feels right.”

“We try to plan, but that usually never works out,” bassist/vocalist Daniel Downs adds with a laugh.

The eleven songs on Nobody’s Hero reflect a darker, heavier sound that still manages to retain the anthemic hooks and vocal harmonies that have become the band’s signature. From the crunching riffs and beer bottle-slide solos of the opening track, “Bonestorm,” to the ska-like verses that give way to an epic instrumental finish in the closer, “Comets,” this album showcases the growth of a band that counts not only artists like Bad Religion and Green Day among its influences, but all of geek culture itself.