Field Trip: Downtown Plymouth and Brewster Gardens

Another daytrip I took during last week’s vacation was to one of the oldest towns in the United States: Plymouth, Massachusetts. I live maybe an hour from Plymouth, but before last week’s trip I hadn’t been there in about 15 years! So, one of my best friends acted as “tour guide,” and we spent a few hours around the city’s downtown and waterfront district.

One pleasant surprise during this trip was Brewster Gardens, a small park on Water Street that combines urban environmental restoration with tributes to Plymouth’s history. This breath of fresh air and quiet was a lovely reprieve from the city’s busy streets, and I took a few pictures of my favorite spots there. Enjoy!

As for the first photo below… if you’re familiar with early American history, you’ll recognize it right away! 😉

Like with the Heritage Gardens post, feel free to click any of the photos for a larger view.

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Field Trip: Heritage Museum & Gardens (Sandwich, MA)

I took last week off from work to continue revising The Keeper’s Curse and to treat myself with a couple daytrips. One of those trips was a drive down to Cape Cod (the “arm” or “curled bicep” that sticks out from Massachusetts) for sightseeing, a spot of afternoon tea, and a leisurely walk around the Heritage Museum & Gardens in Sandwich. Heritage features art and automobile galleries, a vintage carousel, traveling exhibitions, and a number of outdoor play areas for kids. And the gardens! The grounds are home to thousands of flowers of all kinds: rhododendrons, daylilies, hostas, azaleas, hydrangea, and many more. Not to mention herbs, trees, and shrubs of all different varieties, and some originally from Japan, Korea, and other countries.

Mid-May may be too early for most of the blooms, but there’s still so much to see at Heritage. I spent almost 3 hours there, walking its nature trails, taking pictures, and simply enjoying the peace and quiet and being in the moment. I already know I want to visit again next year in late May or early June, when more of the flowers are out. 🙂

Below are some of my favorite photos from my trip to Heritage Museum & Gardens. Feel free to click each photo to view a larger version. Enjoy!

FYI – I’m a bit behind on normal blog articles because of my vacation and also from finishing a beta-reading project. Hopefully I’ll catch up this week and have some new things for you next week!

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Review of Baliset’s “Exordium” EP Now at Sonic Cathedral

Baliset Exordium cover art

One aspect of being a Sonic Cathedral staff writer that I’ve really enjoyed has been covering bands from my local area. The latest one is Baliset, a progressive rock / metal project from Boston, Massachusetts. Their three-track EP Exordium is their first new release in four years (their debut album, A Time For Rust, was independently released in 2009), and it shows how much Baliset’s sound has evolved since then. With a shift from male vocals to female and a balanced emphasis on melody and variety, Baliset proves that prog rock can be dynamic, compelling, and difficult to categorize without throwing in too much technicality.

Click here to read my review of Baliset’s Exordium EP.

Interested in checking out Baliset’s music? You can stream Exordium in its entirety and purchase a copy at the band’s BandCamp site. Part of the proceeds from EP sales will go to Manes & Motions, a non-profit therapeutic riding center started by the mother of Baliset guitarist / founder Greg Massi.

Coming Soon: Sonic Cathedral’s Best Albums of 2013 article, which includes my list of my top 10 favorite female-fronted rock and metal albums of last year, should be online soon!

New at Sonic Cathedral: Review of the Jessica Prouty Band’s “Set Me Free”

JPB Set Me Free cover

Before I fell in love with metal music, I was a pop-rock girl. Part of me still has a soft spot for that genre of music, although I can’t stand most of the cookie-cutter garbage that’s overplayed on the radio these days. However, if one band has the potential to lure me back to the radio just so I could hear their songs, it would be the Jessica Prouty Band. This young quartet from Boston, Massachusetts (three of whom attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music) has cooked up a delicious and energetic blend of Southern rock, blues, pop, metal, and punk. With electric performances by all band members, including frontwoman Jessica Prouty, JPB’s upcoming third album Set Me Free will be a must-have for fans of female-fronted rock music.

Click here to read my review of the Jessica Prouty Band’s Set Me Free.

Below is a lyric video for the title track to Set Me Free. JPB struck a gold mine by choosing this song as the album’s lead-off single. It’s fun, gritty, and incredibly catchy. Not to mention it comes with one of the best crescendos I’ve heard in a long time! What do you think?

Coming Soon: The posting blitz is done for a little while. So it’s a matter of what I finish first: 5,000 more words in my novel-in-progress so I can post the next edition of “Chronicling The Craft”; or my next CD review, which will cover Hydria’s new studio album Freakshow.

Five Years at Sonic Cathedral – A Retrospective, Part 3: Artists #10 through #6

Finally getting around to the next part of my retrospective! We’re halfway through the countdown of my 20 favorite artists that I’ve covered at Sonic Cathedral over the past 5 years. If you’ve missed the first two installments, now’s a great time to catch up:

Part 1: Artists #20 through #16

Part 2: Artists #15 through #11

Which means that today I’ll reveal the first half of my top 10. 😉 And remember that you can catch the daily version of the countdown at my official Facebook page.

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Five Years at Sonic Cathedral – A Retrospective, Part 2: Artists #15 through #11

As you may already know, I’m celebrating 5 years of writing for Sonic Cathedral by counting down my 20 favorite artists covered at the SC WebZine. I revealed Artists #20 through #16 last week. Today, it’s time to reveal #15 through #11. So let’s continue!

By the way, a big apology that the artist photos in the previous SC Retrospective article. I’m not sure what happened in the uploading process, since they were all of decent size to begin with.

NOTE: If you’d prefer to catch the daily version of the countdown, please visit and “like” my official Facebook page.

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Mark Your Calendars: Open Mic Nights in July

I’ve been neglectful in the past of updating my website with events or open mic nights I plan on attending. This will change going forward. I’ve also been looking for a calendar widget to add to my sidebar, but it doesn’t look like WordPress has such a thing yet…?

Anyway, here are two upcoming open mic nights where you can catch me reading some of my poems:

Open Mic / Potluck Extravaganza*
Friday, July 12th
Grub Street Headquarters
Boston, MA
* Attendance for this event is limited to participants who RSVP in advance.

Open Mic Night at the Catbird Café
Saturday, July 20th
New England Wildlife Center
Weymouth, MA

Catbird Café’s Open Mic Night on July 20th is also Bellydance Night. So, in addition to musicians and poets, local bellydancers will perform that night. I’ve attended one Bellydance Night previously, and it adds a unique spark to an already creative evening.

I hope to see some of you at either event!

Field Trip: 2013 Massachusetts Poetry Festival

2013 Mass Poetry Festival

Attending local literary events has become one of my favorite ways of pursuing and nurturing my writing passion. I’ve gone to the Boston Book Festival every year since its inception in 2009, and also to the AWP Conference in Boston this past March. These have all been immensely enjoyable learning experiences that convince me to return the following year. So, for this reason, I finally made plans to go to the 2013 Massachusetts Poetry Festival. This year’s edition was held in Salem, Massachusetts from Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5. I was only able to go on Saturday, but what a nourishing – and gorgeous! – day it turned out to be. Continue reading

New At Sonic Cathedral: Review of Anarchangel’s Debut EP

Anarchangel Without Armor EP cover

I’m always up for reviewing local female-fronted metal bands for Sonic Cathedral. So far, I’ve covered three Boston-area bands for the Zine: Avariel, Era For A Moment, and Evince Ethos (who changed their name this summer to Anaria). Now it’s time for Anarchangel,  one of the most unique metal acts I’ve ever listened to.

On their self-released debut EP Without Armor, Anarchangel blend a wide range of subgenres and influences together and use the talents of four singers (both male and female) to create a homogenous style that’s grungy, gritty, and colorful. The songs range from heavy and psychedelic (“Monster”), to anthemic fist-pumping (“Good vs. Evil”), to slick and groovy (“Trojan Horse”), to semi-acoustic heartache (“Skinless”). I’ll admit that Without Armor isn’t the best-sounding record I’ve heard this year.  (The poor sound quality muddies the experience and exacerbates any execution flaws.) However, I do hear a lot of potential in Anarchangel’s music. So I’m interested in hearing what else this band has to offer down the road.

Click here to read my review of Anarchangel’s Without Armor.

New at Sonic Cathedral: Evince Ethos EP Review and Triosphere Interview

Better late than never again, I suppose? Anyway, here are my two most recent articles at Sonic Cathedral!

First is my review of Evince Ethos’ self-titled EP. Like Avariel and Era For A Moment (which I’ve discussed here in the past), Evince Ethos is from my local area. They began as a darkwave project in 2005 and gradually evolved into something grander and heavier. The EP I reviewed was recorded in 2009 but never fully finished, as three of Evince Ethos’ six members left due to creative differences. That didn’t stop the remaining members from releasing the EP, a “sea of stormy, majestic symphonic power metal” that’s equally impressive and refreshing.

Click here to read my review of Evince Ethos’ self-titled EP.

Also new at Sonic Cathedral is my interview with Ida Haukland, the vocalist and bassist of the Norwegian progressive heavy metal band Triosphere. What’s exciting about this article are its exclusive details about Triosphere’s new music video, “Marionette,” as well as the band’s plans for their upcoming third album. So it was neat to be the first to learn the news and then pass it on to the world! Ida also talked about what led her to play the bass, people’s reactions towards Triosphere’s music, and the band’s desire to play in North America. It’s a thoughtful glimpse into one of female-fronted metal’s most powerful and promising bands.

Click here to read my interview with Ida Haukland of Triosphere.

Now, for your listening and viewing pleasure – and since I still think it’s gorgeously done – here’s the video for “Marionette”!