Why Catfish & The Bottlemen Might Be The Best Band In A Long, Long Time

Go back two years with me to 2014. A strangely named band emerges from seemingly out of nowhere with a humorous album artwork. Their name: Catfish And The Bottlemen. With such a title, what would they sound like?

Their debut album The Balcony released a long 7 years after the band originally formed and caused waves among music listeners. This isn’t an article about a band who didn’t make it but deserved it, it’s an article on a band that made it and stayed there – all deservedly so.

The Balcony had so many singles I thought they had used the entire album up. Each song told a story of love in light-hearted and sometimes funny ways. Every 3-4 minutes the listener is treated upon a mini-movie that lyricist and singer Ryan “Van” McCann has created. The songs are relatable.

Their new album The Ride came out on May 27 and I had my doubts. When a band puts out an incendiary debut effort, the term “sophomore slump” was born for examples like this. At the very least, bands can almost never top it, so it’s disappointing on some level. Well, despite reservations and worries, Catfish have put out something that stands with their debut in a triumphant fashion.

The differences with this album is noticeable mostly with the lyrical content. While there are the same fun songs like “Soundcheck,” “7,” and “Oxygen,” the album features a more angsty mood that triggers a different reaction. The top and prime example of this is “Red.”

As clever as ever with his words, Van sings lines like “Does he take you the Liquid Rooms after work/Just to unwind you but then goes and makes it worse/Can he do what I do for you?/I’ve not stopped thinking this shit since I come away.” The song has an infectious chorus of anger but don’t let it discourage you from listening to it. It still has that “!!” factor that makes Catfish what they are.

The last song is one to remember as well as it’s probably the heaviest we’ve seen from them. In addition, the album closes in the same way their former did – mid beat and cuts out. I’m not sure why they do it, it can be a little frustrating because I feel like we’re missing the latter part of each closing song, but either way – The Outside proves Catfish & The Bottlemen are here to stay and will to continue to produce music that should be the soundtrack of every experience in life.

Check them out,

Zac Zinn

Name of the Wind – Review


The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I sincerely wish I would have found this book right about now instead of 4 or 5 years ago.
Any Rothfuss fan knows the pain of waiting for book 3.
However, onto the review:
Without trying to sound like a total and complete fanboy, this is the best book I have ever laid eyes on. I have never read a book with richer characters as well as solid and definable character development.
Many readers main complain of the book is that the lead man Kvothe is the stereotypical flawless character that’s ridden over all of the fantasy genre. This is a very misplaced complaint given the fact that Kvothe is one of the most flawed characters in literature. Through the 2 current books out now, he continuously makes mistakes that put him compromising positions. He’s smart, cunning and has a temper as red as his hair.
The side characters Wil and Sim provide a decent support to Kvothe while I do wish there was a little more detail, history and involvement from them. However these stories are ultimately about Kvothe. The love interest… Is a frustrating one, but what book that has a love interest isn’t frustrating?
Part of me wants to love Denna as much as Kvothe loves her but the other half wants to dislike her quite strongly. Over the span of this novel (and the next) so little is known about her as well as Kvothe’s progress as far as becoming a lover. It’s harder to become attached to a character that you continuously know so little about. However I can sympathize with Kvothe’s undying love for a lovely and mysterious girl.
Rothfuss is an artist and a magician in the words he weaves to create such a beautiful story with a character you want so badly to win – but anyone who’s made it further than 50 pages will know this trilogy is that of a tragedy.
If you are a fan of fantasy or even if you aren’t because I am certainly not a fan of fantasy, check this book out.
Find out who Kvothe, Kote, Reshi, the Bloodless is.

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

The Fault In Our Literature (Stars)

Let’s talk about a book. Let’s talk about a book that is unfortunately very popular. In fact, it is so popular, it’s been made into a movie.
No, it’s not Twilight.
It’s The Fault In Our Stars – by John Green.
This book is the fault in our literature.
I picked this book up hearing pretty good things about it. After reading the inside cover and thinking it was pretty ideal for me since I am a sucker for generally sadder books, I bought it.
Let me tell you that I tore through this book in a very short period of time. When I was finished, to be quite honest I was confused. Throughout the entire book I didn’t understand what I was reading. It should have been called How to write the most depressing piece of “literature.”
But it’s not. It’s been read by millions and hailed by readers and critics that this is an amazing piece of writing. I’m here to tell you that it’s not.
Spoilers are abounding…
The characters are not likable at all.
Hazel Grace, the most likable trait about her is the fact that she has cancer. The sympathy card only lasts for so long. She meets a boy named Augustus Waters at a support meeting for cancer patients. It’s love at first sight. Augustus who is in remission, has lost a leg to cancer. He keeps a cigarette with him at all times in an act of defiance of cancer/death. It’s garbage like this that makes the book so hard to like. Who keeps a cigarette between their ear and head in a cheesy, pointless attempt to defy death? The pure character of Augustus is one of a self-righteous douchebag. I’m sorry but there’s no other way to put it. He’s arrogant, but at the same time literally perfect – just as Hazel is. Everyone is just faultless (pun). They’re just so perfect for each other.
Isaac is a side character who unfortunately, is also not likeable simply due to the fact that he is the most depressing part of the book. He has one eye. Let me restate this. He has one eye. He has cancer in his eyes.
So the theme in this book is – everything bad that can happen will, in the saddest way possible. That’s why this book is an embarrassment to literature. It’s not a book. It’s a lovely dovey snuff film made into a fictional words.
Hazel has the opportunity to go across the world with Augustus to meet her favorite writer. This writer had been the center of her dreams to meet. When they meet him, he is an absurd drunk who is as offensive to them as possible. He makes fun of them for having cancer and pretty much ruins their trip. Then there is the part with Augustus and Hazel making out on the steps of Anne Frank’s house – because that’s totally cool and not offensive at all. The most outrageous part about it was that bystanders clapped and applauded them. This is why the characters are so awful. They do whatever they want because they have cancer and think it’s justified. So I guess in that light – they are perfect for each other.
So during this horrible and depressive trip, it’s announced that Augustus’ cancer came back. But it more than just came back. It’s literally everywhere. So what happens? Hazel who had cancer the entire time lives, Augustus dies in a terribly slow way. Isaac had his other eye removed and his girlfriend broke up with him.
The end.

People think that because this book made them sad makes it a good book. Literature is not defined by how sad it makes you. That’s all this book does. It created the worse set of characters in the most depressing scenario and John Green yelled at every reader – “ARE YOU SAD YET?”

The worst part about all of this is I wrote a book about a teenager with cancer years ago. When I explain the story to any interested reader, I have to hear the question “Oh so it’s like Fault In Our Stars.”
No. It’s not.
I don’t write this from a high place thinking I’m such a great writer because I’m not. But when I see garbage being called gold, I get upset.
Rant – over.
Thanks for reading and do yourself a favor and don’t read this book.

Review – The Promise of Stardust


The first review, here we go!

This book here caught me a bit off guard. Author Priscille Sibley wrote something that can have each reader needing to get to the next page but not for the usual reasons of just a compelling storyline.

After reading the back cover and getting the jist of the story, the beginning hit me quicker and harder than I expected it to. Instead of having pages and chapters to set the scenery of the story, Doctor Matt Beaulieu learns quickly that his wife, Ellie has fallen off of a ladder and hit her head. Being much more than just a bump to the head, she fell head first into a rock on the ground. She’s in a vegetative state and will likely stay for the remainder of her life. The hook to this story is that she is pregnant. But there is a part of the hook that will get you right in the lip and pull you to the surface of the sea; Matt’s mother wants to put her out of her lifeless condition while Matt insists on seeing the pregnancy through despite the grim outlook.

Instantly, I began thinking of myself in this situation. Surely most people’s thoughts would turn to the whole Terri Schiavo case back in 2005. It becomes an ethical argument that you find yourself in.

However as much as I found myself drawn to the story, there was a small piece that grew page by page that kept me from fully diving into Sibley’ world. That is, Ellie dies just pages into the story. It’s really hard to care about a character who you know nothing about.

I had thoughts of possibly putting the book down because if I was supposed to feel the pain that Matt was going through, no matter how graciously written it may be, it just wasn’t going to happen if I know nothing of Ellie. My fears were put to rest when the first flashback occurred. Then another, and another. Soon, you see how Matt and Ellie’s relationship began, and the life changing events that shaped them while they were young.

I fell in love with Matt and Ellie’s story and decided that Matt’s mother was the moral enemy in the book and hated her for it. The story drove me to reading it faster than I probably should have. It is one of the few books that is in my “re-read” pile.

So without offering any spoilers besides the basic premise of the book, I encourage anyone to pick this book up.