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April 2019

Sit and Spin

Kevin Morby’s Oh My God

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Artist: Kevin Morby

Album: Oh My God

Label: Dead Oceans

Reason We’re Cranking It: Spiritual in its focus, “Oh My God” tackles not only the here, but what lies out there – the endings that lead to new beginnings for those who believe. But this is not an album meant for the devoted, but instead, for those of us who do not shy away from asking questions… even when there are no good answers available.

What The Album Tells Us About Him: With his fifth solo album, Morby gets a bit morbid at times, but it’s not without understanding. He tackles subjects we all think about but are often too apprehensive to discuss in our day to day lives, including life, death and what the two add up to in the end. He’s opened up his head, giving us both an autobiographical and fictional look at the mysteries of our complex existence, and we’re reminded that beneath all of the flesh, muscle and bone, we all march to the beat of the same death drum.

Track Stuck On Repeat: The Skyliners feel present on “Congratulations,” particularly in the guitar solo, which combined with Morby’s bending croon, plays like a haunting doo-wop ditty from the great beyond.

And that means…

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Musical Mondaze

Wargirl

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Being able to travel the world doing what she loves is a dream come true for Samantha Parks, lead singer of the genre-bending musical collective Wargirl. The Long Beach-born band’s self-titled debut, out now on Clouds Hill, is a refreshing assortment of its members’ diverse influences, which includes everything from classic rock to afrobeat, and like the frontwoman’s love for touring, it’s a dream come true for music fans.

We recently sat down with Parks to discuss blending backgrounds, snack bribery, and why we would all be best served to pay attention to what is already in front of us.

TrunkSpace: The band just recently dropped its full-length debut on the masses. What kind of emotions do you juggle with as you release new music into the world, particularly something like a debut where for many people, it becomes their first introduction to Wargirl as a whole?
Parks: We feel a mix of nervousness and excitement. We’ve all been playing music for a long time and we’re grateful for the opportunity to share our experiences along with the experience we’re creating as a band with the world. We’re just trying to enjoy each present moment as they come. So far, it’s been one hell of a ride.

TrunkSpace: There’s so much going on with the album in terms of sound and overall feel that it’s really difficult to lock the band into any kind genre or sub-genre. Does the eclectic nature of the music reflect the eclectic mix of the band in terms of what they’re bringing to the table as individuals?
Parks: Absolutely. We all stem from various backgrounds and share a diverse taste in music. Our musical interests range from classic rock and roll to jazz to punk to afrobeat, and the list goes on from there. We’re very open to learning from one another and I think the fact that we come from different backgrounds only lends more exploration and fun to our creative process. It’s nice to feel limitless. We aim away from restricting ourselves too much.

TrunkSpace: One of the things that we pointed out in our review of the album is that it would be impossible to imagine what your full-length follow up would sound like because we get the impression that the band goes through a musical metamorphosis with each new track that’s brought into the fold. Do you envision each Wargirl album to have its own identity as the band and sound continues to grow?
Parks: Sure. Our chemistry and the way the six of us work together is extremely organic. Sometimes, we’re not even certain where we’re going to land and we end up surprising even ourselves. We’re extremely looking forward to evolving even more throughout the process of writing and recording our next album.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Parks: Honestly, all of it. But, I can say something that consistently blows my mind is how talented yet humble every member of Wargirl is. We’ve been able to juggle so many facets of creating our EP and LP by using the skill sets that exist just within the six of us, and outside of that we have incredibly supportive and talented individuals helping to fill the gaps along the way. Everyone on the Wargirl team feels like family and I believe that’s super valuable and unique.

TrunkSpace: Many of the songs that make up the debut have probably been with the band for some time now. Creatively do you feel like you have already moved on to the next chapter of Wargirl, and if so, is it difficult to take a step back and support the music of the past while you’re already thinking about the future?
Parks: Not at all. We’ll always have a consistent under current in every song that makes it distinctly Wargirl, so it’s not ever really about reinventing ourselves as much as it is about evolving who we already are. We’re constantly creating and pushing ourselves to dig deeper. Our first EP and album will never stop holding a special place for us because it was the beginning. I think, if nothing else, we’ll look back on our older stuff in the future as a reminder of some of the best times we may have ever shared together.

TrunkSpace: Wargirl is six members strong. How does the band manage individual ideas and creative expectations to ensure that every voice is being heard?
Parks: We bribe each other with snacks until we come to a happy compromise for everyone. We’re a band who loves snacks, so in the end, it all works out.

TrunkSpace: What do you get being in a band that you can’t achieve in a solo capacity? Does the creativity of the other members fuel your own creative fires?
Parks: Without a doubt they do. It’s invigorating sharing a stage with these five individuals and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We all have a lot to bring to the table, respect one another and travel well together. They also totally get my “dad humor” and love snacking just as much as I do. What more can you really ask for?

TrunkSpace: Are you more at home in the studio or on the stage, and if one feels more comfortable to you, why do you think that is?
Parks: They’re two experiences that I don’t quite view as comparable. They’re equally two of my favorite places to be in the entire world. They both make me feel like I’m where I belong.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Parks: That’s a tough one because we’ve had so many wonderful experiences thus far. Overall, the amount of traveling we’ve done overseas is pretty wild. It’s incredible that we’ve received the opportunity to share our music all over Europe. I definitely don’t hate being able to travel in the name of doing what I love. It’s literally a dream come true.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Parks: Nope. We’re just riding the wave, man. I’ve found that if you’re too occupied with constantly worrying about what might possibly happen then you’re missing out on appreciating what’s right in front of you. Wargirl has a damn good thing going and that’s enough for me.

Wargirl’s self-titled full-length debut is available now on Clouds Hill.

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Deep Focus

Haley Finnegan

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Featured image by: Ryland West

In our ongoing column Deep Focus, TrunkSpace is going behind the camera to talk with the directors, writers and producers who infuse our world with that perennial pop culture goodness that we can’t get enough of.

This time out we’re chatting with Haley Finnegan, writer, director, producer and star of “Westfalia,” a hilariously poignant short that pokes fun at social media and the influencer lifestyle. The film premieres tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival as part of the Funhouse programming block.

TrunkSpace: Your new film “Westfalia” is premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival today. What kind of emotions are you juggling with as you gear up to share the film with the masses?
Finnegan: I am so excited and nervous and scared. I can’t wait to share it at Tribeca but I am also going to be a nervous wreck sitting in that audience. Every time I watch it with other people I have to hold on to my seat while I wait and hope people like it. I am mostly excited to be in my favorite city and to see everyone else’s films in the Funhouse block. Coincidentally, my good friend, Josh Covitt, is showing his short in the Funhouse block too. This will be our first time seeing each other’s films. We aren’t good enough friends to share with each other ahead of time, I guess…

TrunkSpace: As we understand it, “Westfalia” came together during a period of your life when you were unhappy with the progress of your acting career. Did making this film yourself allow you to control your own destiny in a way, and now that it’s finished and screening at Tribeca, do you feel empowered to explore the content creation side of the business even more now?
Finnegan: Auditioning feels like constantly asking for permission to do the work you love. And then one night, I decided I was going to give myself that permission. It felt liberating. And now I just want to do it again. I can’t wait to get started on my next project.

TrunkSpace: You wrote the script the same night that the idea struck you. Things started fast right out of the gates, but did everything come together quickly after that? How long did it take from core inception to completion?
Finnegan: A year later we’re here at Tribeca and it feels fast, for sure! It was written in April, shot in May, the picture was edited June – September, the sound was a work in progress and only recently completed. We had to do it quickly to meet the submission deadlines.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the film?
Finnegan: I’m so proud of the people who made it happen and the hard work they all put in. This was a labor of love for sure.

TrunkSpace: Did writer Haley and director Haley ever butt heads in terms of what one wanted and what the other could achieve given budget and time constraints?
Finnegan: Ha! That’s really funny. It’s reminding me of a quote about Freud not being able to figure Irish people out. It’s all an internal conflict, all the time! While it was my first time directing a short, it wasn’t my first time on a low budget set. I have been a part of a lot of projects that never see the light of day, so I knew I had to keep costs down while writing it. That’s why most of the scenes take place outside.

TrunkSpace: What was the biggest lesson you learned in making “Westfalia” that you’ll apply to your next project and all projects moving forward?
Finnegan: My biggest lesson would be – why did I wait so long to do this? And I hope other artists out there hear this. Just try it. Don’t spend too much money. Get your friends together. Make art.

TrunkSpace: The film pokes fun at the influencer lifestyle, but in a way, a project like “Westfalia” will find a large portion of its audience through social media. Does that kind of bring it all full circle?
Finnegan: Oh my gosh! I say this all the time. I started using social media so much more after making this. But I want to point out that while I think living your life for “likes” is a rough way to live, I think that Instagram is an incredible place for artists. If you have art or something to say, social media is such a gift. There are things we should absolutely love about Instagram but I’m not sure it’s seeing someone’s personal wardrobe conveniently linked to Amazon.

TrunkSpace: Do you think bringing “Westfalia” to life has altered your path? Has making this film changed how you look at your career as a whole?
Finnegan: Yeah. Well, I didn’t quit acting! I am really hoping to direct and write more. I love writing. I was scared to share my work. Now I can’t wait to do it again. It’s still scary, though!

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Finnegan: The highlight of my career is honestly the people I get to work with. I love my agents, my improv team, and all the amazingly talented people you meet on set and in the audition rooms.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Finnegan: I don’t know if I would step inside the time machine! I like the crazy path of being an artist. It would ruin that rush for me. But it’s funny you ask that. I was telling my mom the other day about what a crazy journey it has been already. The serendipities in my past have been life altering. I made a speech spontaneously at a wedding that I wasn’t even supposed to be in and it landed me my first agent. This kind of surprise would be spoiled given a time machine.

Featured image by Ryland West.

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Wingman Wednesday

Jacob Bertrand

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With the release of the highly anticipated Season 2 of “Cobra Kai” now upon us, we’re taking an extended look at the fan-favorite series by sitting down with the phenomenal cast of young actors. This time out we’re chatting with Jacob Bertrand, who plays Hawk, to discuss the John Kreese influence, the mohawk affect on the masses, and which episode will have us on the edge of our collective seats.

TrunkSpace: “Cobra Kai” was so well received by fans and critics alike and in a way it seemed to catch everyone by surprise. Was there a different feeling on set heading into Season 2 given that there was more anticipation surrounding it?
Bertrand: Yeah. I mean, there is a ton of pressure. I know the writers definitely feel it. The whole cast feels it. Getting 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, you physically can’t do better than that, you know? We definitely poured a lot into this next season. It’s definitely bigger. We poured 110 percent into it. We did a ton of double-up days and long hours to make it work and I’m so stoked for the fans to see it.

TrunkSpace: What was your first impression of the direction Season 2 was headed in when you started receiving the scripts?
Bertrand: I loved it. At the end of Season 1 they talked to me about getting a different mohawk color, and I was so excited for it. And this season, with the mohawk color change, his demeanor changes a little bit. Kreese (played by Martin Kove) is in the dojo, so he has a big influence right there because he’s there all the time. Kreese is constantly with the Cobra Kai now.

TrunkSpace: Kreese hasn’t exactly been a great influence on people in the past.
Bertrand: (Laughter) Well, no yeah he definitely hasn’t, which we get to see a little bit of how he is with Hawk, so I’m excited to be able to do that.

TrunkSpace: What’s interesting about Hawk’s story arc is that he’s sort of a bit like a soda bottle that has been shaken up. Eventually when that cap comes off, it’s going to get messy. Is that fun to play because he’s the type of character who you can literally see the arc taking shape?
Bertrand: Oh it’s a rush. I am so grateful that this role was even written, and that I was able to audition for it. I had so much fun playing this character. It’s cool to be a little bit of a badass, villainous-type of guy. But Season 2 was definitely fun. Season 2 had a lot of fight scenes. There was a lot of cool Hawk material that was created for Season 2 and I can’t wait for everybody to see it and it’s just a total blast to get to play that character.

TrunkSpace: We know that you’ve done some extended work with characters before in television, but we’re curious what the journey is like for you, as an actor, getting to come back for another season and seeing how someone like Hawk develops out over time?
Bertrand: It was definitely weird going from my regular hair to that hawk cut, but once I got it, it was like, “Oh wow!” All these emotions and feelings started coming back like, “I’m this dude now!” It’s super fun. I honestly really love it. I couldn’t ask for a more fulfilling role. It’s just so much fun to play, and it’s really, really cool to be able to do that – to turn from Eli to Hawk – and I’m so grateful for everything that the writers give me. It’s awesome.

TrunkSpace: Have you had any fan interactions with people who let you know that they got a mohawk after being inspired by your character?
Bertrand: You know what’s funny is that I get tagged in pictures from a lot of kids that give themselves blue mohawks. For Halloween especially, I got a bunch of people sending me pictures of their kids with mohawks and stuff. I think that’s so awesome. I love that. I think that’s great. More power to them, because a mohawk, that’s a commitment. I mean, hey, it looks super badass so you might as well do it.

TrunkSpace: And what’s cool about that is that it shows that the series isn’t just being enjoyed, but that it’s having an impact on a pop culture level as well.
Bertrand: Yeah, I love that. That’s so cool. I’ve been in some Nickelodeon and Disney stuff, but I think it’s cool to see “The Karate Kid” die hard fans. I guess I didn’t really realize… I mean, I had seen the movies as a kid; I saw the first two when I was 8 with my little brother, but I hadn’t realized how religious the following was. I think it’s so cool to now be a part of that Karate Kid universe.

TrunkSpace: We’re all in our early 40s here, so we were kids when the first movie came out and it had a strong impact on us all. When we heard “Cobra Kai” was first being made, we didn’t really get too excited because remakes and continuations have let us down in the past, but this not only appealed to us, but younger generations as well, which is extremely rare.
Bertrand: Yeah, I definitely agree with you. I think that this series is for kids of my generation and kids below who are younger than me. It’s very easy to get into, just because it’s so realistic and natural of the times right now. I think it’s great having a very accurate glimpse of kids in high school. It’s all in how they act and then they just threw the ‘80’s-style Cobra Kai on them. I think that’s so great how natural and rounded everything plays out.

TrunkSpace: As someone who has been on the inside of seeing it all come together, why do you think the series has worked for both original fans and for new audiences?
Bertrand: That’s a great question. That’s one the writers should probably rattle off for you right away. You know, I think that it just has something for everybody. I think that’s what the main thing is. Ralph (Macchio) and Billy (Zabka) create some amazing leads, and then it also has the kids that come in. And it’s also just a badass, funny, dramatic show that hooks you in.

TrunkSpace: For the viewers the most memorable aspect of a film or series is the end product, but for you we’d imagine it goes much further than that. What’s been the most memorable aspect of your “Cobra Kai” journey thus far?
Bertrand: Honestly, something that I was really impressed with was how well everyone did. When we started stunt-wise and fighting-wise – because we do a lot of our own stunts – where we all started in our ability to do stunts and where we ended, there’s a huge difference. I’m honestly really proud of everybody who put in all the work and all the time and effort to make Season 2. So I think it’s the whole thing. There’s not a moment that I love. It was honestly every day that something awesome happened.

TrunkSpace: Finally, without dropping any spoilers on us, what are you most excited for people to see this season?
Bertrand: Just wait for episode 10! That is my favorite episode. Episode 10 is amazing! Just wait, it’s all worth it.

TrunkSpace: So there’s going to be a lot of binging going on?
Bertrand: Yes. When you get to episode 10, call me. (Laughter)

Season 2 of Cobra Kai” is available now on YouTube Premium. Episode 1 is available to free for everyone here.

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Musical Mondaze

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: The Great Palumbo’s World Is Wide

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TrunkSpace Exclusive Premiere
The Great Palumbo’s “World Is Wide”

From Hanoi, Vietnam to Nashville, Tennessee, The Great Palumbo has traveled a long and winding road in its journey to bring music to the masses. The band’s latest single – the catchy “World Is Wide” – is dropping tomorrow, but why wait when you can celebrate Friday with us today! Hit the play button and get your groove on!

 

To learn more about The Great Palumbo, click here.

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Sit and Spin

Claude Fontaine’s Self-Titled Debut

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Artist: Claude Fontaine

Album: Self-Titled Debut

Label: Innovative Leisure

Reason We’re Cranking It: With an incredible list of session players backing her up, Fontaine has delivered an album unlike any other released in recent years. Reggae that regales, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter brings a stylish charm to the genre that is both a throwback and a contemporary breakthrough.

What The Album Tells Us About Her: Establishing an atmosphere from the very first drum-induced groove, Fontaine sends the listener off on a sun-soaked vacation of the mind. The songs that make up the album aren’t just surface layer entertainment, but instead, world builders that play like a soundtrack to your favorite summer memories. The really great artists know how to transport an audience through their work, and with Fontaine, she does so with focused precision.

Track Stuck On Repeat: Snuggled comfortably between classic reggae and late ‘90s ska, “Hot Tears” is a bewitching offbeat lullaby highlighting Fontaine’s creamy, candy-coated vocals. Every bite is pure deliciousness.

And that means…

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Musical Mondaze

Sofa City Sweetheart

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Having produced one of our favorite albums of 2019 – in a year when great music seems to be hitting at an astonishing clip – Juan Antonio Lopez, aka Sofa City Sweetheart, flew in under the radar with the release of “Super(b) Exitos” when it dropped last week. A masterful songwriter who also recorded and engineered the album himself, the trumpet player-turned-multihypenate delivered in ways that we could have never anticipated, ensuring that we will not only be standing in line for his future follow-ups, but that Lopez will no longer be flying under the radar when that happens.

We recently sat down with Lopez to discuss internal creative conflicts, never giving up on your dreams, and why he and music are in it for the long haul.

TrunkSpace: You wore pretty much every hat imaginable in bringing “Super(b) Exitos” to life. Did Songwriter Juan and Engineer Juan ever butt heads in terms of what one wanted creatively and what the other could achieve in the studio? How did you compartmentalize?
Lopez: Oh yeah, all the time. There were lots of times when producer Juan would tell all the other Juans, “That’s not good enough.” (That guy’s a jerk) There were several times I hit a wall on something, and I’d have to step away for a little while. There was one guitar solo (on “The Instrumental”) that took forever because I felt like I didn’t have the skills needed to be able to pull of what I wanted. I almost hired someone else to do it, but I took a few days off just to work on scales/exercises and eventually pulled it off (and I’m glad I did). This actually happened often when mixing the bigger songs, too. I couldn’t get the intro to “Stanley Waited” to work, then took some time off to study the soundtrack to “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” noticed how they mixed things, and got inspired to try an old school approach and that worked perfectly on that song.

TrunkSpace: What goals did you set for yourself when you first decided to make this album a reality and do you feel like you accomplished them once you called wrap on everything?
Lopez: I wanted to make the best album I could make, that flowed well from start to finish, showed all of my best talents, gave it everything I had, and put it on vinyl. I didn’t stop working until I did exactly that.

TrunkSpace: In going through the process of writing and recording “Super(b) Exitos,” what did it teach you about yourself, both as an artist and as a person?
Lopez: Hmm, this is a good question. First off, that everything takes way longer than I imagine. But more importantly, that it’s okay to stick to your vision and fight for what you believe in. There are a million hurdles that will come up at every turn when doing a large project (especially a subjective work of art), but you have to face each one, handle it, and keep working toward your dream. Never let any one thing or person stop you from achieving your dreams. I’ve done that before, and never again I say!

TrunkSpace: There’s a great feel to the album that gives it that classic front-to-back cohesiveness. How important was it to you that it felt like an album as opposed to a collection of songs?
Lopez: Thanks for noticing! This was one of my main goals from the beginning, and was thinking of that at every stage, even when I was choosing which songs to record. All of my favorite artists put out great cohesive records, and I wanted to throw my hat into that ring. Plus, I feel like there are fewer records like this being made these days, and I want to help keep this art form alive for as long as possible.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Lopez: Not one singular thing comes to mind, but simply the fact that it exists is kind of amazing to me since it was just a dream for so long. It is the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

TrunkSpace: You perform under the name Sofa City Sweetheart. Why take up that moniker instead of writing and recording as Juan Antonio Lopez?
Lopez: It’s kind of funny, but I’m naturally a very shy person, so I didn’t want to do the whole “Dave Matthews Band, starring Dave Matthews” kind of thing. I think it’s kind of tacky, and I would never want it to seem like I’m braggy or self-centered. (I’ve actually had low self-esteem for most of my life) Plus, I make records that sound like a full band, so I thought having a band name would work better anyway. Even though I’m a “singer-songwriter,” I feel like that label has a different “sound” and expectation from the type of music I actually make.

But maybe the best reason is that choosing a band name is always fun and more creative than using your given name!

Photo By: Karma McCartney

TrunkSpace: We read that there were moments in your life where walking away from music would have been an easy choice given the circumstances surrounding you. Why stick with it and continue to tap into that creative outlet? What keeps you coming back to music?
Lopez: Music heals all! I would have never been able to get through the toughest times in my life without either absorbing or creating art, especially music. It’s an incredibly tough field to try to make a living in, but I’ve been a musician all my life and at this point, it’s “‘til death do us part.” Plus, the NBA won’t return my calls.

TrunkSpace: What do you get writing and performing music that you can’t achieve as a listener alone? Is the experience different when you’re expressing through music than listening to another artist express through theirs?
Lopez: A few things I suppose. A very unique form of catharsis, and just the incredible feeling of creating something that did not exist before. I might not be able to give birth, but I always felt like writing songs is the closest I’ll ever get.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Lopez: Another tough question. I’ve been lucky ’nuff to do a few cool things in my career as a musician. Recording with Feist was amazing, and last year a porn star wrote to me and asked me if she could use one of my songs in her next movie. (I declined.) Getting press in some of my favorite music magazines was very exciting, too. But maybe doing my album crowdfunding campaign might be up there since it allowed me to see how many people believed and supported me – and I can’t thank them enough because it finally helped me fully believe in myself.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Lopez: Any time a crazy, wild-eyed scientist in a DeLorean pulls up… YOU GET IN.

The album, including vinyl, is available now by clicking here.

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Sit and Spin

BAILEN’s Thrilled To Be Here

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Artist: BAILEN

Album: Thrilled To Be Here

Label: Fantasy Records

Reason We’re Cranking It: As memorable of a debut as when they both came into the world at the same time, fraternal twins Daniel and David Bailen, along with their younger sister Julia, have made an enduring entrance into the music industry with “Thrilled To Be Here,” a harmony-filled assortment of beautifully-crafted songs that sit somewhere between Fleetwood Mac and Little Big Town.

What The Album Tells Us About Them: Any sibling rivalry that the family experiences is not carried over into their music, at least not in a way that negatively impacts the outcome. If anything, the competitiveness fuels their creative fires to burn even brighter and the end result falls somewhere within striking distance of perfection.

Track Stuck On Repeat: Soulful with a bayou bass that claps at your chest, “I Was Wrong” is all right, especially when Julia’s vocals separate from her brothers, isolating her in a way that brings a rousing mystical quality to the song.

And that means…

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Wingman Wednesday

Tanner Buchanan

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With the release of the highly anticipated Season 2 of “Cobra Kai” now upon us, we’re taking an extended look at the fan-favorite series by sitting down with the phenomenal cast of young actors. First up we’re chatting with Tanner Buchanan, who plays Robby Keene, to discuss exploring his character’s story arc, why “Cobra Kai” has wowed fans of all generations, and what he’s most excited for people to see heading into the second season.

TrunkSpace: Your character Robby seems to be heading down a different path than we saw in Season 1. Are you excited for people to see where the journey takes him?
Buchanan: Yeah, I’m really excited for people to see Season 2. I keep telling people that it’s a lot more intense than the first season. There’s a lot more fighting going on. And where we left off with Robby in the first season… he’s kind of moved to the path of making a better person of himself. I like to keep saying to other people, Josh (Heald), Jon (Hurwitz) and Hayden (Schlossberg) do a really good job of making every character a human being, so with every character there’s going to be some things that you may not necessarily like that they do, and there’s going to be things that you like that they do.

TrunkSpace: And it’s always fun for a viewer to watch a redemption arc, but we would imagine for an actor it must be a blast, too, because you’re really getting to play both sides of a character?
Buchanan: Absolutely. It’s fun when your character actually has an arc and you’re not, you know, just the “rebellious teen.” (Laughter) You’re not just a rebellious teen for however many seasons and there’s an arc to the character. They live life – they go through hardships and they go through stuff that’s going to be great in their life. There’s an actual arc and it’s very satisfying to go in and actually start somewhere and end somewhere else.

TrunkSpace: The first season was really well received by both fans and critics alike. Was there a different feeling on set for you guys while filming Season 2 given the anticipation surrounding the continuation of the story?
Buchanan: No one expected the first season to be as big as it was. None of us did. We just weren’t expecting the reaction that we got, but extremely grateful with the reaction that we got. I think coming into Season 2, we knew we had to come in and do it bigger and better and that’s the main goal that we came in with. We wanted to make sure that the story was right. We wanted to make sure that the fighting was going to be even better than the first season. So, I would say, knowing that it needed to be bigger and better, there was a little bit of pressure, but we didn’t really come in with that pressure. We came in saying, “Hey, it was well received, let’s go in and do the same thing we did but let’s just make it a little bit bigger and make all the fans happy.”

TrunkSpace: We’re in our early 40s, so the first film in the franchise came out at a time that was very significant to our pop culture upbringing. When it was first announced that “Cobra Kai” was happening, we admittedly didn’t have very high expectations because we had been burnt on remakes or continuations of our favorite projects before. However, “Cobra Kai” somehow managed to not only appeal to our generation, but younger generations as well, which is pretty amazing.
Buchanan: Absolutely. And that, I give credit to Josh, Jon and Hayden because like all the fans, they’re super fans of “The Karate Kid” movies. So I think having writers come in and be super fans and knowing what other fans would want – just like them if someone else was doing it – they knew what other fans would want and what they would want themselves and they came in with a good mindset of how they were going to accomplish it.

TrunkSpace: Not only did we enjoy watching Ralph (Macchio), William (Zabka) and Martin (Kove) reunite, but yourself and your younger castmates have incredible on-screen chemistry that drew us in. When you all assembled for the first time, did you feel like you had something special with the cast as a whole?
Buchanan: I keep saying it but this is probably the best set I’ve ever been on. Everyone gets along. Everyone is extremely nice. There’s no drama on set. Everyone comes in, does their job and it’s such a pleasure to go to work because everyone does get along so well. So, there’s no beef between anybody. There’s no drama between anybody. So, yeah, I think for sure it correlates to on screen because everyone gets along so well. I mean, everyone will go out. We have game nights. We’ll go see movies. We’ll go out to dinner. Even though we’ve spent hours on set with each other. (Laughter) We get along so well that I think it just shows up on the screen and it’s incredible that we have that connection between everybody.

TrunkSpace: Well, hopefully that doesn’t ruin you for future sets. (Laughter)
Buchanan: (Laughter) No, it won’t. You know, sometimes on sets there can be stuff that’s not so good, but that’s okay. You just work through it and you figure it out.

TrunkSpace: While you said the success of Season 1 came as a bit of a surprise, at any point during filming did you think to yourself that the series and the role of Robby could be a career game changer?
Buchanan: No, I think we just came in as if it was like any other job. You go in and do your work and if you’re happy with what you do, then I think you’ve accomplished something amazing. Whether people like it or not or if it’s seen all over the place, as long as you’re happy, honestly, that’s all that matters to me. So, I think that’s all we’re really focused on is making sure that we go in, do our best work and at the end of the day that we’re happy with it.

TrunkSpace: You’re two seasons in. What’s been the highlight for you thus far that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your life and career?
Buchanan: Like I said before, I think the fact that everyone gets along so well and that there’s such amazing chemistry between everybody on set and there’s no drama. I think that entire experience of actually wanting to go to work and be excited – and even on our off time hanging out with each other – that’s what is going to stick in my mind. It’s just how amazing the people are on set.

TrunkSpace: Finally Tanner, without giving too much away, what are you most excited about for people to see as they sit down to binge Season 2?
Buchanan: We saw last year where everyone kind of left off. It’s 34 years after that karate tournament, and this year, there’s just more insight into what the world actually is. The world is expanding and this is stuff that people have never, ever seen before. So I think people are going to be really excited to see that world expand and what they’ve been waiting 35 years for.

Season 2 of Cobra Kai” is available now on YouTube Premium. Episode 1 is available to free for everyone here.

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Sit and Spin

Craig Finn’s I Need A New War

CraifFinnAlbumReview

Artist: Craig Finn

Album: I Need A New War

Label: Partisan Records

Reason We’re Cranking It: The third album in Finn’s solo trilogy (which also includes 2015’s “Faith in the Future” and 2017’s “We All Want the Same Things”), “I Need a New War” is the singer/songwriter at his best – spinning tune-based tales filled with fleshed out characters that rival even the most compelling novellas.

What The Album Tells Us About Him: The Hold Steady frontman is a master of using unique and imaginative lyrics to build a big screen adaptation of his songs in the minds of his listeners. He may place familiar themes on the canvas, but he does so using paints that no other artist uses.

Track Stuck On Repeat: Like an undeniable urge to root for our home-based sports teams, we can’t help but feel drawn to “Holyoke” due to its highlighting of our base of operations, Massachusetts. Pointing out that he feels comforted in the state that his parents were born in, Finn wrote the song about a weekend away from New York City and filled it with haunting imagery like, “Massachusetts, man, you’ve got a lot more graveyards than we’re used to, I swear to God they’re every other mile.” Truth be told, we never noticed all of the cemeteries before, but now we can’t seem to look away.

And that means…

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