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Thor’s Hammer & More: the 3 Simple Weapons That Give Their Wielder Great Power

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I understand that there are endless weapons in the comic book/movie universe that could be mentioned here today. I’ve selected just a few of of my favorites. Some are a little old school, but that’s just how I like it. I also wanted to focus on weapons that weren’t too overpowered like the one featured in my title picture, The Infinity Gauntlet. I understand the gauntlet is pretty tough to match and around the top of the food chain when it comes to weapons that grant their wielder powers. But lets just take it down a notch, shall we… To something a little more manageable.

First up, an oldie but goodie. One of my favorites, the weapon that at a very early age turned me on to the world of action heroes:

The Power Sword

I HAVE THE POWER!!!!
I HAVE THE POWER!!!!

The Power Sword, also known as the Sword of Power or the Sword of Grayskull, was given to Prince Adam of Eternia by the sorceress Teela Na who resides in castle Grayskull. The sword is used by Prince Adam to transform into the hero known as He-man and stop the evil Skeletor and his minions from trying to rule Eternia.

When raised to the sky with the magic phrase spoken: “I HAVE THE POWER!!” Prince Adam is endowed with great abilities, which include:

003-16-I-Have-The-Power-Gif.gifMasters of The Universe 1987

Super Strength, Speed and agility. Some feats include being able to take a deep breathe and blow wind powerful enough to knock over enemies, transforming himself into a human tornado, He-man has even rubbed his hands together fast enough to turn sand into glass.

Next up we have my favorite Avenger, Thor.

Mjolnir

Thor wielding Mjolnir (The Avengers 2012)
Thor wielding Mjolnir (The Avengers 2012)

Of all the weapons, I would have to say Mjolnir is my favorite. Mostly due to that fact that it’s very difficult or virtually impossible for others to just grab it and use it against you. For that reason I could leave it anywhere and don’t have to worry about it. At the same time, I could call it to me at anytime.

4247947-tumblr_static_tumblr_mk8ns4oh4i1rgxdhwo1_500.gifMjolnir’s power

Mjolnir is a very powerful and enchanted weapon:

Forged out of the Asgardian metal uru in the heart of a star by Dwarven blacksmiths, no living being can lift Mjolnir unless they be worthy. Mjolnir will return to the same spot from which it is thrown. It will also return to Thor if he summons it to himself. Mjolnir also has the ability to control the elements of storm. Lightning, wind and rain. Mjolnir is a virtually indestructible weapon that also allows its wielder to travel inter-dimensionally.

Last but not least, another one of my old school favorites:

Sword of Omens

Lion O by Gonzalo Kenny
Lion O by Gonzalo Kenny

The sword of omens is wielded by Lion O leader of the ThunderCats. The sword was passed down by his father and Lord of the ThunderCats King Claudus. The Sword of Omens has many abilities:

thor-s-hammer-more-the-3-simple-weapons-that-give-their-wielder-great-power-thundercat-614384.gifThunderCats HOOOOO!!!

When Lion O begins his chant of “Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, ThunderCats Hoooo!” The sword begins to display its abilities. First by extending to three times it’s length. The Eye of Thundera which is embedded in the hilt of the sword comes alive. The sword of omens has the ability to emit blasts of energy, capable of stunning, electrocuting and melting through objects. The eye has shown the ability to heal its wielder after lengthy battles with Mumm-Ra. The sword never dulls and has been know to cut through some of the toughest stone. Omens has the ability to warn its wielder of impending danger and can emit a force field around them to protect from danger.

What are some other basic but powerful weapons you can think of that give their wielder great powers? Give me a shout in the comments. Thanks for reading friends.

 

FILM RATING

Brandon started Coastal House Media, formerly, BCactionMR.com in 2012, with the intent of publishing news he found exciting about upcoming and current events in the world of comic book, action and sci-fi movies. A year later, "BC" became a Verified Creator (Paid Writer) for Movie Pilot, a large fan site, dedicated to all things pop culture. [2013-2018] After Movie Pilot closed its doors, Brandon decided he wanted to give others the opportunity to continue writing and sharing their passion and excitement for entertainment news. We now have evolved into an ever-growing community of bloggers, writers and gamers who love to share our opinions with the world. We cover everything from pop culture, indie, horror, movies, gaming and streaming, to the most recent film trailers to hit the internet. Coastal House Media is dedicated to J.S.W. Thank you for planting the seed all those years ago. RIP Brother

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Prime Video

60TH ANNIVERSARY OF JAMES BOND CELEBRATES WITH MUSIC

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To Celebrate James Bond Day Prime Video announced that 25 James Bond films will be available to stream in the U.S., U.K, and other key territories as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the legendary film franchise. Prime Video also unveiled the official posters and trailers for the 60th-anniversary celebration and for The Sound of 007, a Mat Whitecross-helmed feature documentary about the remarkable history of six decades of James Bond music that will premiere exclusively on Prime Video in 240 countries and territories worldwide. All 25 of the Bond franchise films and The Sound of 007 will be available from today, October 5th. 

THE SOUND OF 007 

You can read my review for The Sound of 007 Documentary HERE

The 25 films coming to Prime Video in the U.S., U.K., Australia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico/Latin America (excluding Brazil), Spain, and Southeast Asia for a limited time are Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre, and No Time To Die. With the exception of No Time To Die, the 24 films will be available for a limited time in territories including Germany, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Brazil. 

THE SOUND OF 007 IN CONCERT

Additionally, following the live October 4 EON Productions and David Arnold-created charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall, Prime Video will globally stream an exclusive recording of the show—The Sound of 007: LIVE from the Royal Albert Hall.

At the event, guest vocalists and a host of stars performed the iconic Bond themes. The event marked 60 years since the world premiere of Dr. No,the first 007 film,on 5 October 1962 and will benefit Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and The BRIT Trust. All funds raised from this spectacular event will go directly towards helping thousands of people across the UK to connect and communicate through the power of music.

Highlights included Dame Shirley Bassey, the only artist to record three James Bond songs, who delighted fans by opening the show with ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and ‘Goldfinger’. Original performing artists Lulu and Garbage then took to the stage to perform their hits ‘The Man with the Golden Gun” and ‘The World Is Not Enough’ respectively. Paying tribute to more recent Bond films, legendary composer Hans Zimmer accompanied the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and David Arnold to perform a “No Time To Die” suite.

The Hall’s celebration of James Bond will continue with Films in Concert screenings of Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015) from 17-20 November.

The Sound of 007 in concert at The Royal Albert Hall on October 04, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for EON Productions & Prime Video)

SIXTY YEARS OF JAMES BOND CHARITY AUCTION

Christie’s and EON Productions charity evening auction, Sixty Years of James Bond, realises a total of £6,103,500 

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of 007 on the silver screen, 100% of the 25 lots presented were sold during the evening. The auction vendors, led by EON Productions, are donating 100% of their auction proceeds to nominated charitable causes, and Christie’s is donating 100% of the profitable proceeds from the buyer’s premium.

The top lot of Part I Live Auction was the No Time To DieAston Martin replica DB5 stunt car, selling for an impressive £2,922,000. Lively bidding saw a Swarovski crystal-mounted prop egg made by Asprey, London in the manner of Fabergé from the film Octopussy (1983) reach £327,600, against a pre-sale high estimate of £10,000 to benefit UNICEF. Other highlights included The World Is Not Enough Q jet boat, realising £126,000, No Time To Die Aston Martin V8, making £630,000, and an OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition, selling for £226,800. The No Time To Die Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE stunt motorcycle closed the spectacular evening achieving £138,600 for Severn Hospice.

DECCA RECORDS PRESENTS BOND 25

Decca Records presents Bond 25, an orchestrated album featuring all 25 of the iconic Bond themes expertly reimagined and newly recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The album, recorded at Abbey Road Studios, includes brand new arrangements of the iconic title themes including From Russia With Love, Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die, GoldenEye andDie Another Day, tracks listed chronologically from 1962’s Dr. No to 2020’s UK No.1 single No Time To Die.

The 60th Anniversary Celebrations have well and truly started as we celebrate an iconic and monumental occasion. This year is all about the music and showcasing the remarkable history of the iconic Bond themes and scores that have been written/sung for more than 6 decades.

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Interviews

Eddie Island Discusses His New Album Folkstar and American Idol | Interview

The former American Idol contestant discusses his journey, fame and his new album, ‘Folkstar.’

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As a break from the NYFF coverage, I’m excited to finally share an interview I did with former American Idol contestant, Eddie Island, that I did last month. Island — whose new album Folkstar is available to stream now — was so generous with his time and it turns out that we related on a number of things.

In this interview, Island discusses the American Idol experience, pivoting into the spotlight, some of the inspirations of his songs and more.

Thank you to Planetary Group for organizing this great interview and to Island for all of his time.


Coastal House Media: It’s a pleasure to meet you and I’m very excited to talk to you. I have to ask one question about American Idol; can you give me one tidbit about something that we wouldn’t know unless we were on the show?

Eddie Island: I would say just the time that the show is [filmed] over; it was like a year-and-a-half, two years of a process from initially auditioning to flying out and filming the segments. The pre-tape was my favorite part. I loved the live show, glad I had the experience, [but] it was a lot more stressful, but I think there’s a lot that goes into it. I think the second piece of that is [that] you’re not really paid [as] I’ve never been paid by [American] Idol. I had stipends for food and stuff, but everything was like me going to thrift stores and wearing my clothes and figuring it out.

CHM: Wow, I would not have known that.

Island: You have to pivot, man. People think I have a tour bus and a million dollars and it’s like, “No.” It’s definitely a challenge and I think I’ve conquered it, but it’s a rare thing to kind of pivot from American Idol into an actual career, I think.

CHM: Basic question, but do you have any inspirations that inspired you to do music?

Island: Yeah, I really love Nathaniel Rateliff — he’s a folk artist. I saw him playing in his RV years ago. My friend gave me a vinyl of his song “Shroud” and hearing him sing and kind of just whaling on the guitar really inspired me. Ben Gibbard, Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You into the Dark.” When I first saw that video, it kind of inspired me to go into the “acoustic” kind of singer-songwriter [path] like I wanted to be the folk man that could just walk up there with a guitar and play. Those are big inspirations.

I mean like a lot of artists, man. André 3000, Childish Gambino — I like a lot of rap music. It’s similar to folk in a way where it’s just like honest storytelling and [are] like the “voice of the people,” maybe they’re different people but that’s something that I love.

CHM: I was talking to one of Paul McCartney’s guitarist recently who recently put a single out and something he mentioned was how music promotion has changed. In the old days, there were 45” singles, now everything is about pre-saving songs and albums. For you, a younger artist, what’s music promotion like for a younger audience? What’s the social media factor?

Island: I mean, definitely man, I wish it was the seventies in a way, like, it’s kind of horrible, but it’s not bad. I think you can connect with people more, but people don’t understand what really goes into doing social media as an artist.

I actually work in social media as well, I’ve had like a 10+ year career [and] I work for like big brands, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s [and] Lyft. I still consult and work in that field because it’s allowed me to work remotely like be able to say “no” to opportunities in music and kind of just keep that protected.

But social [media]l is just very interesting. You don’t just post one TikTok video and go viral overnight; you have to tell your fans what you’re up to and deal with the algorithm and kind of a necessary evil that you either get with, or just kind of get destroyed by. And I’m learning that now with Folkstar and just working with the team and [how they’re] kind of encouraging me. The cool thing is, my fans and the people out there like my story and it’s okay for me to be me and I’m learning how to tailor that into who I really am as a person.

American Idol kind of had like a sliver [of that] and it was kind of scary when all happened because it was like, “Oh my gosh, I have to be this person all the time,” and it’s like, “No, there’s more to me,” and I think people like that other part as well.

CHM: Really quick, what’s the story with American Idol?

Island: [On American] Idol, just like the Mayor [Instagram handle], all that stuff was real. Like my friends [and I], we had a crazy night out. I played in a bunch of indie rock bands and they changed my Instagram to @nashvillemayor. I kept it [and] people started calling me Mr. Island. I moved to Nashville for a Paramore concert after college and never left. [I] moved like 10, 15 times my first year, like it was kind of nutty. I didn’t know anybody, I just did it and I was living in a living room with another person in the living room as well. And I built a little house out of PVC pipes and moving tarps and I sent my friend a picture and she was like, “You’re kind of like Eddie island there — it’s like your little world,” and I was like, “That’s the name?” And so I mentioned it to a few people and then it kind of grew and that was just what I kind of became. So I think the thing with [American] Idol is really awesome, but for me, there’s a very big difference between music fans and reality TV show fans, and there was a lot of crossover into the reality TV aspect, which I was happy that I had the promotion and that it happened, but I definitely didn’t enjoy meeting those people — not in a negative way — but they’re just like, “Oh, are you dating anyone? What’s your name again? I don’t care, are you famous? Here’s a picture” and it’s like, “Do you even know what I do? Do you like music?” And where I’m at now is that people come up and they’re like, “Oh, I play guitar” or “I like your song,” it’s so life-giving and I love it. I had to kind of throw the brakes on and pivot because I don’t want to be Snooki.

CHM: Well, I play guitar and I like your music [laughs]. But I do want to ask you about interactions with fans because you have a big following. Have you had any crazy fan interactions through social media?

Island: I mean, it was hard for me to kind of grasp. I don’t think anyone really understands what it’s like to do something like this unless you’ve done it. I was going to free artist counseling in Nashville and the guy was like, “The most traumatic way to get into music industry is [to] do something like American idol — it’s just overnight exposure.” Everyone I’ve ever met in my life [has] tried to DM me or reach out which is cool, but it’s very overwhelming. I was at a really cool Chinese restaurant — I think it [was] Lucky Bamboo — [and there was a bunch of indie rock shows there. It was so cool space prom but we rented out the back and we had [American Idol] on the screen and I went to the bathroom and came back and went from 2,000 to 30,000 followers and my phone was like shaking and exploded, basically, and there were like hundreds of thousands of DMs that I didn’t even receive that. Sometimes I still get [them] years later, like my phone will just randomly send them to me. I think the one thing people don’t understand is I cannot physically see all the messages they’re sending me. I don’t know if I followed you back or didn’t follow you or whatever and like me following you doesn’t mean I don’t care, it’s just [that] it becomes a whole different thing than what people are used to with social media, it’s more of a business.

I have to protect myself and all relationships — now I have to see if there are motives. It was a hard transition just because everyone was talking to me and being nice, but then a lot of them always had another motive and I had to kind of go through a few relationships, not even romantically, but just with people and kind of learn like, “Okay, I have to look for X, Y and Z and trust people’s actions, not their words,” and kind of reframe the way that I live as a person to be able to handle it. And I think I’ve stayed the same, which is awesome, but it’s definitely an extremely traumatic, overwhelming experience. It doesn’t have to be like bad trauma, but it’s pretty nuts.

In terms of fan interactions, I had a girl wreck her car once and she took a picture of me and didn’t care [that] the car was totaled — it was crazy. I’ve had people follow me home and take pictures of me at restaurants and, like, it’s okay, it’s part of it, but it’s like full-blown “Biebermania.” I went to the airport to fly out for the live show and like every 10 seconds, someone started screaming and recognized me and started to take a picture of me, which was fine but it was unsafe — I had to like run away. And then I remember going into the bathroom and this guy at the urinal looks over and he is like, “Whoa, it’s you,” and I’m just like, “I can’t get away from this.”

But I think it’s in a good place now. The music’s speaking louder than television, but the television is there and I’m thankful that I did it and I learned a lot and kind of grew — it’s kind of like “artist boot camp” overnight. I’m ready for anything now

CHM: I’m glad to hear that you are able to navigate relationships with people’s motives and whatnot. That’s important in other avenues of life, too, like school.

Island: Exactly. That’s how I made it was going to a private school growing up and then going to a college and doing music there and no one cares and then I played a talent show and everyone’s my friend overnight. And that type of like “campus celebrity” is like the only way that kind of prepped me for like worldwide [stardom].

CHM: What’s the most unique thing that you’ve autographed?

Island: I [sign] a lot of shirts. Really, the most unique things I sign [are] contracts. I’d say it’s scary, like, there’s just like tons of pages. Luckily, I’m off all the [American] Idol contracts, which is kind of nuts. But nothing too crazy yet. I’ve signed people before. [But] I have merch, so I’ll like give them the merch and maybe that’s kind of [how] we’ve avoided weird signings.

CHM: You know, everybody does music for different reasons. Some people are just good at it and just play it. Other people are using it to express themselves or to tell a story. I think you had used the word “storyteller” earlier, but why do you write music?

Folkstar‘s cover art by Brian McCray.

Island: I write songs because nobody listened in my life. I kind of had to process all these things going on and I was just kind of like this early bloomer, at least emotionally, emotionally less [in] other areas. But I think we’ve leveled out as an adult man. I think music was different for me. My family isn’t really musical, they’re not like unmusical, but like I really would just listen to the oldies in the backseat of the car and sing along with them.

Music kind of like found me throughout my life. My first exposure to it besides like listening to like Elvis’ Christmas [Album] or something with my family was [when] my friend gave me a mix CD. I think it had Weezer, The Killers, Red Hot Chili Peppers and stuff like that. My first album was Hot Fuss and once I bought that, I was like, “What is this whole world of music?” and I got my little LimeWire rolling with my MP3 player and I kind of discovered this whole world of other people like me that felt a lot and then were like creative. And I didn’t even know what HSP, or, highly sensitive people was. Even the concept of being an artist was foreign to me growing up in the suburbs of D.C.; that wasn’t a career option. All we had was Guitar Center.

And then I was late to a meeting with a potential manager in Nashville and he said, “Oh, it’s okay. Artists are always late,” and I was like, “Oh, I guess I’m an artist.” I didn’t even know what that was.

CHM: I do want to get into a couple of specific songs. The first one I’m just curious about is the story behind “Worship Leader” as someone with plenty of experiences — good and bad — in the church.

Island: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, man — it needed to be said, and like, I’m not aiming to do anything. I’m just talking about my life and people really get it and it’s kind of going crazy.

So I went to Cedarville [University], which is a super Baptist school — I almost got kicked out for having a beer sampler the size of a little baby cup, it’s okay — but it was definitely a unique experience. Going there really formulated a lot of my writing during this album; during that time and not have anything else to do except for going to Walmart. [When] it’s snowing all the time, we [would] just sit and listen to the records in the dorm room and write sad songs.


But I wrote “Worship Leader” years later, I think it’s one of the more recent ones, maybe 2020 or 2021, but the concept kind of came from [when] I was in Nashville. I was in Franklin at this really cool coffee shop called Honest Coffee. I used to go there all the time and I knew the owner and basically, this guy ran up to me and he was like, “Oh my gosh, man, how have you been?” And I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is like the big worship leader from my college who was actively working at this megachurch in Texas,” it was so crazy. It was like we had this thing called HeartSong and it was the worship team and you basically got your whole tuition paid for, and you got like a salary to tour and do music at my school. And we had chapel every day and it was crazy and they would play huge worship concerts every day at my school.

So this guy was on the brochures, everyone wanted to be him. And I was like, “Whoa,” [because] he was like fan-ing out over me. We ended up hanging out and like kicking it at my apartment and like one wine glass in or something he was just like, “I wish I was you,” and I was like, “What?” It was just like so nuts and I was talking to him and he was like, “No, dude, like everyone treated you bad and you have stuff to write about and you have all this substance, but everything’s been so good for me — I have nothing to pull from,” and like, “Your writing’s so unbelievable and you’re so gifted.”

And I was like, “Wow, this is really crazy that someone in that world [is] saying that I’m good,” because I felt like I was trash. And I was kind of taught that I was worthless growing up in that whole Christian world. I had something to offer and I was like, “Man, maybe I’m the real worship leader,” and that’s kind of what the song was about.

We ended up cutting a line at the end, but I wrote, “He said ‘I wish I was you,’ I always wished I was him.”

CHM: I went to a Baptist school down in Virginia for my freshman year before transferring and I understand because everybody wanted to be on the worship team. They’re playing in an arena full of 10,000 kids every day. And you mentioned like the Walmart thing, and that made me laugh because that was the big thing at my school; we’d walk over to the big Walmart across the street.

Island: I get it! Everyone always says, “You get it,” [but] it’s like, no, I get it and I have this ability to say these things [not] because I’m trying to say anything, I’m just talking to God really, or like myself to like let this out when I write music.

CHM: Where do you buy your sunglasses? They’re so cool.

Island: Thank you, man — these are prescription. I actually used to work at Warby Parker in the office, doing social media. I love boring; like put me in the boring world because I can make it lit. So I was working there and I bought kind of crazy glasses, I can almost cheer myself up or like do something different — and also blue light blocker — and so I was like, “Man, it’s only like $5 more to make them yellow,” it was some promo I’m like, “I’m gonna just get yellow glasses.” And so I started wearing those around then I would wear them out of the office on lunch breaks and people would react to them — they would either love it or hate it — and I’d kind of know if they were cool or not and it was like this like Truman Show-style, like rebelling against the world feeling that I had, I’m gonna just wear these glasses around because I’m tired of living my life caring what people think.

Really before all of that, when I played my high school talent show, I was so nervous and I wore sunglasses because I couldn’t sing without my eyes being closed. And I started wearing glasses because of Buddy Holly [but people also mentioned] Elton John; I never thought about Elton John once until everyone said I looked like him or whatever, I don’t know.

CHM: Funny you brought up Elton John because you did a cover of “Bennie and the Jets” and nailed that on American Idol.

Island: I think I was a little off because they put me on this lift that Joe Jonas used and I ran the rehearsal and they had no TV screens on the floor — they didn’t have some weird B-roll cut up, [it looked like] I was crying because I was cleaning my glasses, it was just insane. So when the live show happened, it was like, Okay, Ryan Seacrest is here; there’s TVs on the floor; there’s a lift now I’m going down. And when I did the rehearsal, Franklin was Beyonce’s vocal coach, he was my vocal coach, [and] he cried. And he was like, “You’re gonna win the show,” because it was just [a] blowout performance. I’m happy it happened the way it did. I still did good, but it wasn’t like “in the pocket, full sauce,” which I usually do when I play for real.

Thank you though, man. I mean, we ran with it, Elton tweeted to everybody else — he didn’t really support me, I don’t know why, but we blessed it. I still love it. I sang “Bennie and the Jets” at the show on Saturday in Ohio.

CHM: You infuse folk music into your music and I also noticed a brass section in a couple of your songs. I love both of these but I’m curious why you wanted to infuse them into your music.

Island: People don’t understand [that] I have had to put blood, sweat and tears and pay out of pocket for things and like put that extra 10% on my entire career every single time — and the horns are evidence of that. When we were tracking, I was like, “I really want horns on my album,” [but] there was no budget or whatever. So I ended up hiring a kid on Fiverr from Ukraine who didn’t speak English — I translated everything — and I actually wrote the entire album [out] and I also wrote the horns and I recorded myself going like [imitates horn noises] on my phone, I sent that to him and then they played that. And then my friend Ian tuned it and we put that on the record for a demo and they liked it so much that they ended up having the horns recorded on Abbey Road.

CHM: So of all the songs you have on the album, what’s the one that you’re most excited for people to hear?

Island: Man, it’s a tough one because I’ve learned with this album [that] what I like isn’t always what people like. And I do like the whole album a lot, but I’ve learned my taste. Getting out of the way of myself and serving the audience has been a really big lesson, but not changing what I like.

I think for me, “Subway” was the most licensed, which was a shocker, but I’m excited to just see which song is the one. And I know each song is so deep and unique and catchy and amazing. Honestly, I think each one of them is like a time bomb [ready] to explode, I just don’t know which one it’s going to be.

I really like “1974,” that song is one of the weirdest songs I’ve ever written. It’s a kind of a stream of consciousness about a time I lived with a professional BMX writer in Nashville — Corey Martinez

CHM: When playing live, do you prefer the solo act kind of thing, like an Ed Sheeran performance with just a guitar, or do you prefer to have a band there?

Island: You know, man, I like playing with a band, especially when it’s tight [but] I do some songs by myself. Where we’re at now with my music here [on Folkstar] — I’m also in a crazy rock and roll band called Kid Cherry and the Graduates, which is about to be insane. It’s like “modern Nirvana,” [and] people say that, but it actually is. But I think like for me, we have Ezra, who’s like my band leader [and] guitar player, like awesome “ride or die,” he toured with me and John, our sound guy in Ohio at the recent show. I think that was one of the [most] fun formats because I’m able to put the guitar down, sing songs, not have to learn everything and do everything and just focus on the crowd and the performance and then pick up the guitar, have some solo songs and have some songs I’m playing when we’re both playing. I think Travis, my keys player, is going to come along with us for some of the future dates.

That’s my favorite format because it’s easier to tour. There are less people, [so]I can get booked more because they don’t have to have as big of a budget. I honestly really excel in that kind of intimate environment.

CHM: When you do play on a smaller scale — even if it’s just in the section with the songs you play by yourself — are you just playing an acoustic version of the song? Because you have songs seem to have a layered arrangement there, right? So are you stripping those songs down or just playing songs that are meant to be played acoustic?

Island: Yeah, we did every kind of [arrangement], we had like an hour over an hour set list [and] I did “Mantra Chameleon,” which is another song I love, but we either make it into acoustic, or, to be honest, [and] a lot of the songs on Folkstar I would just play by myself.

I’m not changing the record really at all, it’s the same kind of experience, but we do kind of flesh it out and like [on] “Bennie and the Jets,” Ezra role play some of the other parts and the lead lines and things like that. But I think I kind of reimagine the songs in the way that I would just play them anyway and so it all kind of becomes cohesive.

CHM: Do you have any tour dates set? Perhaps on the east coast?

Island: I mean, it’s interesting. It’s one of those Catch-22s where it’s like, I could go on tour with a huge artist right now and kill it. But I’m in this in-between world with American Idol. The big thing I’m excited about is we are going to play this showcase for like the College Bookers Association [National Association for Campus Activities] for schools, so I think that will unlock a bunch of dates. And then I think from there, all the other opportunities that I have that are kind of like, “Yeah, let me know,” will start [to] kind of [become] solidified. But [we’ll] definitely [play] in the Pittsburgh area, Pennsylvania region for sure.


Folkstar is available to stream on digital platforms now.

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‘Return To Monkey Island’ – the beloved franchise is back!

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Devolver Digital / Lucasfilm Games

It’s been 13 years since the last Monkey Island instalment was released in 2009. Going back even further, it’s 32 years since the original game ‘The Secret Of Monkey Island’ was released on the Amiga in 1990. Created by game designers Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, it helped launch the point and click genre of adventure games onto a global scale, and introduced young and old gamers to a fun, family-friendly interactive adventure to capture the imagination.

You take control of a young wannabe pirate, Guybrush Threepwood, who arrives on a small island in the Caribbean with aspirations of becoming a – well – a real pirate! A whole host of colourful characters await him on his journey, including the Ghost Pirate LeChuck and Governor Elaine Marley. When the Governor is kidnapped by LeChuck who terrorises the entire Caribbean with his un-dead crew, it falls to you to help Guybrush assemble a crew, get a ship, set sail for the fabled Monkey Island, save Elaine and defeat LeChuck!

‘The Secret Of Monkey Island’ (1990)

This was followed by a hugely successful sequel in 1991; ‘The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’ that expanded and improved on everything we had seen before. Years later in 1997 and under new management after Gilbert and his team parted ways, the third entry – ‘The Curse Of Monkey Island’ – helped introduce new blood to the franchise. New styles of graphics, interactive heads-up display and a full voice cast brought the series to life like never before.

In 2000, the fourth entry – ‘Escape From Monkey Island’ – was released that divided fans and critics. The heart was there, but the inclusion of 3D graphics and removal of the familiar mouse controls for PC was a big shift that didn’t win everyone over. It would be in 2009 when Telltale Games developed an episodic entry called ‘Tales Of Monkey Island’, returning some familiar point and click elements, the full voice cast and a very imaginative fantastical story.

2009 also signalled the revival of both original games with new special editions being released for PC and console. This breathed new life into the classics, bringing the established voice cast to record dialogue, new composition of the score and improved graphics and HUD. It also allowed players to switch between classic and special editions whilst playing for a truly immersive experience of old and new.

‘The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’ Special Edition (2009)

 And then…all was quiet.

Fans cried out for more Monkey Island, but when Disney acquired LucasFilm Games in 2012 and the entire back catalogue of George Lucas, it seemed the adventures were well and truly over. However, in 2021 when Disney brought Lucasfilm Games back, a glimmer of hope was sparked. And then on April 1st 2022, Ron Gilbert announced the development of a brand new Monkey Island game. Being this was April Fool’s Day and Gilbert was known for his tongue-in-cheek jokes, there was a huge pinch of salt taken with the announcement. But just three days later, Devolver Development released the teaser trailer for ‘Return To Monkey Island’

 After two years of secret conversations with Disney and the old team including Gilbert, Grossman, original composer Clint Bajakian and voice actor Dominic Armato, a new story had been written for the 5th entry into the series. Described as both a direct continuation from LeChuck’s Revenge but with new elements that honour the previous games not under Gilbert’s design, it seems this is the game fans have been waiting years for.

A striking difference noted by many was the art style. While hardcore fans longed for a return to the classic pixel design of the original games, something of a nostalgic comfort blanket, artist Rex Crowle (of ‘Tearaway’ fame) brought the look into 2022 and then some. Taking a 2D style but with a cartoonish, almost paperfolded style, this entry looks nothing but unique and unlike anything that has come before. In order to keep the game fresh and appealing to new gamers and old, Gilbert couldn’t simply harken back to a game design that kept the series in the 90s. He had to take new, bold risks to be innovative and fresh. This looks just that.

‘Return To Monkey Island’ (2022)

With Gilbert and the team releasing mini teasers each Monday in a self-proclaimed Monkey Island Monday, critics and fans worldwide have lapped up everything the game has offered. It holds nods and winks the franchise as a whole (especially the originals) whilst giving us glimpses of new characters, islands and puzzles. The HUD retains the point and click charm but in a modern way. And with a full voice cast back to bring new and old characters to life, it seems this is the perfect time to hoist the main sails and set sail once more as we return to Monkey Island…

‘Return To Monkey Island’ will be available on PC via Steam, macOS and Nintendo Switch from Monday 19th September 2022.

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