Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 - The Year in Music

The Best Music of the Year!! Well, in my humble opinion... Been wrapping up the year by looking back at the music I loved with a bunch of posts and playlists. Thought I'd bring 'em together in one place for easy sharing! My picks for 2017's Top Ten Albums, Top Twenty Tracks, and a Big mix of the Best Tracks of the Year!

Want to listen? I post playlists on Spotify, or for those who don't use it, they're also posted at (ad supported but they let you listen for a while for free). I have embedded both here.

The blog post links are to articles just a little further down the blog, but this will make it easy for you to jump to them. The blog posts for the Top Ten Albums have 2 YouTube videos from each album embedded, so you can sample there, too.

Mike's Top Ten Albums of 2017

10. Low Cut Connie - "Dirty Pictures" (part 1)
9. Conor Oberst - Salutations
8. Various Artists - Thank You, Friends: Big Star's Third Live... And More
7. Paul Weller - A Kind Revolution
6. BNQT - Volume 1
5. Steven Wilson - To The Bone
4. Dan Wilson - Re-Covered
3. The War On Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
2. Blitzen Trapper - Wild and Reckless
1. elbow - Little Fictions

Why these Ten? I give you my reasons - 10 to 6 and then 5 to 1 - a little further down on the blog.

You can listen to a mix of tunes - two each - from the Top Ten Albums -

On Spotify:

On 8 Tracks:

Mike's Top Twenty Tracks of 2017

Here's WHY I do both Top Albums and Top Tracks: LINK. And a list of the songs - not in a particular order, but arranged for flow:

SYML “Where’s My Love”
Lo Moon “This Is It”
Phoebe Bridgers “Motion Sickness”
Steven Wilson “Pariah”
Elbow “Magnificent (She Says)”
O + S “Remember When… (The Backroads)”
Jason Isbell “Hope the High Road”
Chris Stapleton “Millionaire”
Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors “Fight for Love”
BNQT “Real Love”
Low Cut Connie “Revolution Rock ‘n’ Roll”
Chicano Batman “Friendship (Is a Small Boat in a Storm)”
Blondie “Long Time”
Shout Out Louds “Oh Oh”
Grizfolk “In My Arms (feat. Jamie N Commons)”
The National “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”
The Outdoor Type “On My Mind”
Dan Auerbach “Shine On Me”
Blitzen Trapper “Wild and Reckless”
The War On Drugs “Thinking of a Place”

Listen to the mix of tunes -

On Spotify:

On 8 Tracks:

Best Tracks of 2017 Mix

A mix of 60+ tunes from 2017, celebrating some hits, and the good misses, too - and reminding you of those you may have forgotten as the year rolled on. Dive in and listen!

On 8 Tracks:

On Spotify:

What did you like? Music is so subjective an experience. My lists are my tastes - what's your Best of 2017? Comment below with some favorites - or post your list! Kudos to my friend Rich Pesce - who kindly cites my list as inspiration (Thank You, Rich) - for now posting his list each year. For a different perspective and some very cool choices, check out Rich's Top Albums here:

Thanks for reading and listening!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Paying the Price for Failure!

Alibi Jones' latest mission was a failure. Now he has to head back to Solar Alliance HQ – and face the music! Find out what price Alibi will have to pay in Chapter Fifteen of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur, this week on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Host, writer and narrator Mike Luoma brings you free audio science fiction adventure every week - The Adventures of Alibi Jones!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Mike's Top 20 Tracks of 2017

Told you about my Top Ten Albums for the year (10-6) (5-1) - here are my Top Twenty Tracks for 2017!

In the world created by downloads, segueing into the streaming world, individual tracks are becoming much more popular than albums. As an album fan, it's not a trend I'm fond of, but it is happening all the same. Folks stream or download the track they like, but don't do the deeper dive into a fuller work. Also, artists and labels, hedging their bets, are releasing more EPs - less of an investment - but an EP is really an extended single... An LP is an Album!

But because of this, rating albums only covers half the story of the year in music. You have to look at the tracks that worked for you, too. What follow are 20 favorites of mine. It's so subjective - even personally! At another time, in a different frame of mind, my own picks could be entirely different.

Some of the tracks are from my top albums, there is crossover. Although? Wasn't sure I should include them or not, at first, given that they're part of the other list. But this list is here to single out strong tracks. After brief internal debate, I decided to include any tracks I thought deserved to be on the list. Made sense.

Can't help myself... this impulse to "evaluate" or just plain look back at a year's worth of music at year's end comes natural to me. There's some art to it. At least, I tell myself there is. For example? Year-end lists can favor new releases over things that came out at the start of the year - haven't lived with the newer stuff as long. The earlier releases are slightly more time-tested - and time-worn. So you should keep that in mind when considering your picks.

I tend to violate this "rule" only with pop or dance tracks. They only sound good to me while they're still kind of "fresh" and not overplayed, over-loved, so my picks in pop are usually newer things. If any make it! A few did this year...

You can hear the Spotify playlist here:

Top 20 Tracks - The List - Arranged for Flow - Not in Any Particular Order

SYML “Where’s My Love”
Lo Moon “This Is It”
Phoebe Bridgers “Motion Sickness”
Steven Wilson “Pariah”
Elbow “Magnificent (She Says)”
O + S “Remember When… (The Backroads)”
Jason Isbell “Hope the High Road”
Chris Stapleton “Millionaire”
Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors “Fight for Love”
BNQT “Real Love”
Low Cut Connie “Revolution Rock ‘n’ Roll”
Chicano Batman “Friendship (Is a Small Boat in a Storm)”
Blondie “Long Time”
Shout Out Louds “Oh Oh”
Grizfolk “In My Arms (feat. Jamie N Commons)”
The National “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”
The Outdoor Type “On My Mind”
Dan Auerbach “Shine On Me”
Blitzen Trapper “Wild and Reckless”
The War On Drugs “Thinking of a Place”

Listen to a mix of tracks from my Top Ten Albums of 2017 here:

Monday, December 18, 2017

Alibi Jones Is In Over His Head!

Alibi Jones is about to get in over his head... Quite literally! He heads to the water planet Kee'ere for negotiations with the aquatic race called the Kee'Klick. Can Alibi convince them to open talks with the Solar Alliance? Find out in Chapter Fourteen of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur, this week on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! And? Out of the pages of The Adventures of Alibi Jones #1 from Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Comics, on this episode you also get the audio adaptation of the short story Alibi Jones In Over His Head – which is actually set inside of Chapter Fourteen! Made some sense to bring them to you together. Host, writer and narrator Mike Luoma brings you free audio science fiction adventure every week, along with a little story-so-far before to get you up to speed, and a bit of book news, too. 

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Get VATICAN ASSASSIN - The Graphic Novel #3 (of 4) Now!

Out Now from Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Comics...


Get it now at comiXology and DriveThruComics!

The tale of our VATICAN ASSASSIN, BC - Bernard Campion - goes on! He poses as a priest, but he kills for the Pope of the New catholic Church (NcC)! BC is supposed to be a PR man for the Cardinal and the Vatican Mission on Lunar Prime. But he's really a weapon fired at the UIN (Universal Islamic Nation) by the NcC and their allies the UTZ (Universal Trade Zone). As he's gone off, the repercussions are cosmic!

BC survives one brush with death only to find himself off on a new and even more dangerous mission, as Pope Peter and the Office of Papal Operations (OPO) send BC way off the beaten path - assigning him assassination of the charismatic leader of a religious cult holed up on an old orbital space station...

Now in Full Color! Written & Lettered by Mike Luoma, Art by Cristian Navarro, with Color by Juan Carlos Quattordio.

At comiXology
At DriveThruComics

Sunday, December 10, 2017

We All Gotta Work!

After getting the cold and prickly treatment from Rahkar and the Dakhur on the planet Hur – even as he returned their precious relic The Sunrise of Hur to them – Alibi Jones is headed home. And he has to go back to work! The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue – join us for free audio science fiction adventure every week, written and read by host Mike Luoma. He gives a short story-so-far in his intro – even first-time listeners can understand and enjoy the tale. This week, Chapter Thirteen of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur, on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!   

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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Top Ten Albums of 2017 Part Two - Five to One

I can't write "Five to One" without hearing Jim Morrison in my head. Maybe that tells you something about my musical tastes, I'm not sure... We have reached the top five albums I liked best this year on my subjective list of favorites I share with you. These albums are each amazing in their own way!

Now... it's been brought to my attention I was a bit of a downer in the intro to part one. Well. Sorry about coming off cranky. Maybe it comes with turning fifty-two. Watching things going on in the world that are so wrong... ah, sorry again. Still, hope you enjoyed part one! And I certainly didn't mean to infer that the music wasn't up to par. If you listened to some tracks, you know. The music was good, wasn't it?

These five are just a bit better...

5. Steven Wilson - To the Bone - This album and #6, BNQT - Volume 1, are close together in my ranking. Decided Steven Wilson would get the higher spot because the early teaser track "Pariah" with Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb is so damn good! Someone asked, watching the video for the first time, "will there be an explosion of color?" Yes. Yes, there will be.

"Permanating" was another early-release track, along with "The Same Asylum As Before", "Refuge" and "Song of I" featuring Sophie Hunger - tracks two, three, four, five, six and nine - almost half the album, pre-released! Wild. Steven Wilson said To the Bone:
is in many ways inspired by the hugely ambitious progressive pop records that I loved in my youth (think Peter Gabriel’s So, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, Talk Talk’s Colour of Spring and Tears for Fears’ Seeds of Love). Lyrically, the album’s eleven tracks veer from the paranoid chaos of the current era in which truth can apparently be a flexible notion, observations of the everyday lives of refugees, terrorists and religious fundamentalists, and a welcome shot of some of the most joyous wide-eyed escapism I’ve created in my career so far. Something for all the family! 
"Permanating" embodies the joyous side:

4. Dan Wilson - Re-Covered - Feels a little odd to include an album of cover tunes, but Dan Wilson did co-write all the songs on this album (he's also no relation to Brit Steven Wilson...). The erstwhile frontman for Semisonic & former member of Minneapolis alternative darlings Trip Shakespeare has been a songwriter-for-hire of late, brought in to co-write songs with artists looking to find a new groove or a helpful, fresh perspective.

"Big Hits and Lesser-Known Jams, Illustrated, Illuminated, and Re-interpreted" it says on the cover of my book edition. Get the book. I'm serious. If there are any still available, get the book. Dan Wilson did calligraphy and drew cool pictures that you find throughout, including his giant center spread with all the songs. But more than that, he writes about songwriting - a little about writing each song, and some about the process itself. There's all kinds of insight into the mind of one of modern music's more successful contemporary songwriters.

And then, there's Dan Wilson's versions of the songs! His take on "Someone Like You" - the huge hit for Adele - has a sweet, different aura, with him on acoustic guitar accompanied by the Kronos Quartet, instead of Wilson on piano on the original. Speaking of calligraphy, you can watch him at work in the video.

One of the other big hits Wilson "Re-Covers" is his own band Semisonic's "Closing Time", given a whole different feel here - this time, it is Wilson on solo piano, almost giving his old hit the "Adele treatment" - if only because it's him on piano, I suppose. "Home" - a huge Country hit for Dierks Bentley - also gets a new gloss. Some songs here weren't hits - "Never Meant to Love You", written with and for Wisconsin-based singer songwriter Cory Chisel, was unknown to me before hearing it here - makes it sound like a fresh, new Dan Wilson tune!

So, they are "covers", but they're also the song's co-writer offering new interpretations of songs he helped write. Beautiful tunes I might have missed, like his co-write with Chris Stapleton "When the Stars Come Out", and songs heard a bunch, like "Not Ready to Make Nice", given a new spin. It is an amazing collection. And, again, if you can? Buy the CD with the book!

3. The War On Drugs - A Deeper Understanding - like To The Bone, A Deeper Understanding also introduced itself with stellar teaser tracks before appearing in full. The 11+ minute long "Thinking of A Place" debuted first, as both sides of a 12" single on Record Store Day. It's a beautiful excursion in song, with exquisite moments of tension and release.

"Holding On" was the first official "single" from the album, also released in advance, as was the album track "Strangest Thing" and single "Pain". "Strangest Thing" has an amazing guitar solo ripping through its almost ethereal serenity, so striking!

2. Blitzen Trapper - Wild and Reckless - You want an album with a cool backstory? This one is pretty awesome. Back in the spring, word got out about a wild project singer and writer Eric Earley and the band were involved in, writing songs and music for a musical they were part of in their hometown of Portland, Oregon (follow the link to see video from the musical!). It was set in Portland and featured both old and new songs from the band, who also performed roles in the stageplay.

According to the band: "The half musical, half rock-opera dealt with heroin abuse, desperation, true love and western power structures. The story evoked a bygone era of Portland with this sci-fi love story."

The Oregonian wrote a review back in March:
Set in a drug-plagued, dystopian Portland in a vague future, "Wild & Reckless," a new concert-musical hybrid, nonetheless dives into famed Portland rock haunts from the 1990s. Here's Chopsticks restaurant, known for its karaoke nights, not its food. There's popular punk hangout Satyricon nightclub. Holman's Bar & Grill, where you can "spin the wheel for a free meal," gets a shout-out.
The band released an album only available (initially) at the stage shows, with early versions of seven new songs from the show and the older tunes used, as well. I'm a fan, so I picked one up when they finally offered it on their web site. Nice to have new Blitzen Trapper music! And then? They finally released an album of the same name, a regular ol' LP, at the beginning of November, preceded by the title cut and "Rebel". Oddly, there's also a video from the spring of the tune "Stolen Hearts" - but it's obviously an earlier version, almost a demo, and it doesn't show up on the show CD.

And "Stolen Hearts" is so good on the album! Hear it for yourself:

The title track has that certain something... the old classic rock power the great ones tapped into. As John Pareles wrote in the New York Times:
Missing Tom Petty? He lives on in Blitzen Trapper’sWild and Reckless,” an accomplished slice of classic rock that unabashedly sounds like Mr. Petty singing a Springsteen song with the Heartbreakers’ California guitars and a harmonica intro from Neil Young... ...It’s the title song of an album due Nov. 3 based on a stage musical by the band, completed long before Mr. Petty’s death. But now it sounds like a ghost returning.
To me? It just sounds like great Blitzen Trapper!

1. elbow - Little Fictions - When it arrived early in the year, I thought this album was the harbinger of an amazing year of music to come. Instead, it turned out to be my musical highlight for the entire year. In hindsight, it's perhaps not fair to compare albums that followed to Little Fictions - it set the bar far too high! I've enjoyed elbow's music in the past. Nothing has ever connected with me the way this album did. It stood up to repeated listening in my car on the commute to and from work. Which meant that for a little while, I didn't even listen to other releases. It helps that the first single "Magnificent (She Said)" paved the way for this album so joyously!

I pretty much love every song on this album. The title track is epic! "Firebrand & Angel" has its own power (though unwittingly incorporates a bit of a My Morning Jacket song, used by kind permission of...). "K2" is also strong. But for a second song here I share "Head for Supplies" - so good! You should hear it for yourself:

That wraps up my Top Ten Albums for 2017. Again, this is subjective - only my opinion. If you have a passion for music, post YOUR Top Ten for 2017 somewhere. Spread the word about what you love - spread the word about music!

Monday, December 04, 2017

Top Ten Albums of 2017 Part One - Ten to Six

Ah, 2017...  kind of crap year, really. Wasn't it? Maybe yours was okay? Mine was pretty good for a while. A bout of head-to-toe poison ivy this summer showed me the way might be getting rough. And my year certainly ended like crap. But? At least there was music! Lots and lots of music released this year  - we certainly weren't lacking in quantity. Quality is always a different matter...

Narrow things still further down to personal picks for "best" albums of the year and that becomes a very subjective filter for quality we're talking about! And when it's me? I'm picky! I like what I like. For my own reasons, usually. And? I didn't like as much as I'd hoped to this year. Plus, I'm judging whole albums. This was a good year for singles, yet the albums behind some of them - those that had albums - didn't always have the depth one might hope for.

Could be my crappy-end-of-the-year perspective, I suppose. My #1 album did come out early on... but I thought it was a sign of a great year ahead. I was hopeful! And then? Well, it remains at #1, so certainly nothing better came along. Ahem. Still, here are ten very good albums! Best of the year, I say! And that #1 album is an AMAZING album, it is a bit unfair to the others to judge them by it.

These ten albums managed to cut through my jaded, less-than-welcoming exterior and entertained me. Made me feel something. Rocked my world a little. Best I came across. But it's just what I say - this list is purely subjective, with no pretense towards qualitative or objective assessment. These are simply the ones I liked. Hope you like 'em, too.

10. Low Cut Connie - Dirty Pictures (part 1) - Sometimes you need a little down n' dirty, straight ahead, piano driven, guitar thumpin' rock n' roll! In a tradition echoing back through the J. Geils Band to Jerry Lee Lewis, Low Cut Connie delivers a fresh new take on a "killer" sound, with charismatic frontman Adam Weiner pounding the keys and wailing about heartbreak. Or Revolution. Or "Controversy" - yeah, they take on the Prince tune...

It may be a cliche, but? You gotta see them live! I was already a fan and grooving on "Revolution Rock and Roll" a bunch when Low Cut Connie came to town as part of Grace Potter's Grand Point North Festival. Had to go see them. Live, Adam Weiner is a dynamo, radiating pure energy as the band rips through the tunes. He's on his piano! He's over his piano! He's diving into the crowd! He's hugging me! Yeah, he was hugging folks in the crowd as he made a circle through us, and I got hugged! You remember something like that.

9. Conor Oberst - Salutations - had to check to be sure this album came out this year - seems like such a long time ago. Suppose some of that has to do with the fact we got solo demo-ish versions of some of these on Ruminations last year. And maybe because, in some ways, this year has felt so damn long. For a long time now, Oberst has been touring with The Felice Brothers as his backing band (a killer live show, see it!), and they appear on Salutations, too. With one amazing exception...

I've never gotten into The Felice Brothers alone because they sound kind of loose and sloppy to me. And maybe not just me, because the amazing exception, the addition to the "band" for this album, is the most amazing timekeeper in rock, the best studio drummer of the last 50 or so years, the great Jim Keltner - who also serves with Oberst as the album's co-producer! This creates a fierce, barely checked alchemy, an urgent spontaneity under the light reigns of a master handler, all led by the vision of Conor Oberst.

I loved "A Little Uncanny" solo, and the band version rocks, "Tachycardia" comes off well, too. Some songs, I still prefer the early versions, like "You All Loved Him Once". But "Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)" is the rare gem that sounds beautiful on Ruminations, and then, with the addition of sweet background vocals from Gillian Welch, even more amazing on Salutations - some of the best both albums have to offer!

8. Various - Thank You, Friends - Big Star's Third Live ...And More - I love it when an awesome project appears in front of you out of left field! Had no idea this release was even in the works and then the CD landed on my desk in the mail from the fine folks at Concord. They followed up with the CD/DVD combo pack so I could watch the show, too. This is a live recording of a special night in a traveling tribute to Big Star with a focus on their third album, a night when many special guests sat in with a tribute paying band line-up that was already stellar.

There was something special about the late Alex Chilton and his band Big Star, something quirky, melodic, pop-driven but fractured, charming but menacing, too. And though they never had huge pop success, the band's influence on the next couple of generations of musicians who followed in their wake was so widespread and impactful it was almost astonishing - as evidenced most overtly on songs like "Alex Chilton" by The Replacements, for example.

Jody Stephens, only surviving member of the band, sits in here on the drums. I've met Jody, and he's really nice, a humble, very gracious man - even when your complimenting him on being in such an influential band! He gives the project a grounding in the band and the work itself. Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies played with Stephens and Chilton in the most recent, reconstituted version of Big Star. Their presence also ties the project into Big Star itself.

Mike Mills of R.E.M., Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Robyn Hitchcock, Chris Stamey of the dBs - there are a lot of cool musicians taking their turns at singing Chilton's tunes. Loved when his old band Trip Shakespeare covered it on their final release, the Volt EP, so it's great hearing Dan Wilson of Semisonic cover "The Ballad of El Goodo" here.  A great tribute, nicely presented.

7. Paul Weller - A Kind Revolution - I'm a big Paul Weller fan. Well, a big fan of some of what he does. Do believe he's brilliant. He's the kind of original artist who feels the need to sometimes push boundaries and get really experimental, angular or noisey, and I can't always follow him there. I love Weller's early, loud work with The Jam, don't get me wrong, it's more recent stuff like Wake Up the Nation (2010) or Saturn's Pattern (2015) that leave me cold. I like Weller's R&B side, certainly at its most indulgent in The Style Council, but it's Weller's pastoral British folk-rock side I like the most, as displayed most prominently on the classic, Traffic-influenced Wild Wood (1993).

A Kind Revolution touches on a little of each aspect of Weller. Lead track "Long Long Road" has the R&B flavor of Stanley Road (1995) - made me curious what sort of album was on the way this time! Second single "Woo Se Mama" kicks up the energy level to an almost ideal level:

There are tunes on the album I can do without, which is why this album isn't higher up the list, I suppose. Never been a Boy George fan, so I skip his guest spot on the Style Council-ish "One Tear". But rather than dwell on the negative, let's accentuate the clever musings on realist painter Edward in "Hopper", or the way "She Moves With the Fayre" brings many of Weller's worlds together. The jazzy R& B-flavored jam is rooted in the pastoral British sounds of Canterbury with help from vocals and trumpet work from Canterbury scene stalwart Robert Wyatt.

Overall a satisfying album from Weller - even if it does occasionally feel like a crowd-pleaser, as if sometimes he tries a little too hard, or nods and winks when you wish he wouldn't. But it's mostly good stuff for Weller fans - if you like his sort of thing, you're going to like it. More than likely.

6. BNQT - Volume 1 - Take four members of Texas band Midlake (Eric Pulido, Jesse Chandler, Joey McClellan, McKenzie Smith), add the lead singers from Travis (Fran Healy), Band of Horses (Ben Bridwell), Grandaddy (Jason Lytle) and Franz Ferdinand (Alex Kapranos), and you've got yourself what Pulido calls a "poor man's Travelling Wilburys"- BNQT!

Given the mix of talents and sensibilities involved, the album is a bit uneven. The Midlake guys together and each lead singer contribute two songs apiece to the project, for ten somewhat curious tunes. My favorites are those written by Pulido and company - "Real Love" features all of the "Supergroup's" members together on vocals, a la Wilburys. Jeff Lynne would recognize the beat, and George Harrison would, I'm sure, be humbled by the flattery inherent in the slide on the guitar. Add in a Beatle-esque brass section with a lilting piccolo and you get one of my favorite songs of the year:

Maybe it's because I'm into Midlake but not a huge fan of any of the other singer's bands, but it's the other Midlake-penned song that stands out for me as well, "Restart". Okay, I do kind of like Travis. But - funny story - I went to see an acoustic Midlake open for Band of Horses. Didn't stay through much of Band of Horses' set after Midlake opened. Sorry, Ben. Ben has a bit of a potty mouth, too. Wow - the lyrics on his second tune, Tara - lots of F bombs!

There's a "shit storm" in Fran Healy's L.A. On My Mind, too - so no worries on the lyric content. Kapranos' "Hey Banana" is fun, yet also slightly menacing. There's a sense these guys would not have done these songs with their usual bands. Obviously, this was a fun, relaxed project where the creators felt free to let go and create. Which makes it kind of awesome!

That's my 2017 Ten to Six... we'll do the Top Five in my next installment!

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Returning the Artifact

Alibi Jones recovered The Sunrise of Hur and turned it over to his Aunt Anita to take care of – a former Prime Rep, she still has a lot of behind-the-scene pull with the Solar Alliance government. But Alibi – and you – may be surprised at whom they choose to deliver the artifact to the Dakhur! Find out who that is – and go with them to the planet Hur – in Chapter Twelve of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur! As ever, there's a little story-so-far beforehand so you're ready for the tale ahead. The Adventures of Alibi Jones on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio – free audio science fiction adventure every week, written and read by your host Mike Luoma!

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Best Tracks of 2017 Mix:   

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Friday, December 01, 2017

Best Tracks of 2017

Hey, look at that calendar - it's December! That time of year when some of us get the urge to look back at the year that was - for me, the urge comes in music. It's the way I'm wired. So, here you go - this mix is HUGE - over 60 songs! Starts softer, finishes harder... Posted over at - my Best Tracks of 2017!

Now, technically, I'm kind of an "authority" on music, being the Music Director for The Point - Vermont's Adult Alternative Radio Network ( - I help pick out the new stuff you hear on the radio. But how one enjoys music is an incredibly subjective experience - and my end of year lists and collections are all admittedly my own, subjective opinion, through and through. This is not qualitative  nor authoritative - when I say "Best", I'm saying "This is what I liked". Simple as that.

If I didn't include something you think was awesome, that doesn't mean I'm saying you're wrong! Heck, let me know about it, if there's something that stirs your musical passion - email me using the link here on the blog, or find me on facebook or twitter. My lists reflect the music I seek out and what gets sent to me for work - so they do lean "Adult Alternative" in format.

Here's what I wrote over at 8Tracks: "As it winds down, time to listen back to some of my picks for the best new music releases from this year...Spoon, elbow, Low Cut Connie, many more! Huge mix - over 60 songs! A range of styles, mostly within the realm of Adult Alternative - starts softer, finishes harder, roams around in between (at least, the first time through). All from 2017 - Enjoy!!"

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Finder's Keepers

Alibi Jones has decided to turn over the alien relic he's recovered - the Travel Chair of Enokata - to Finder, in return for the one he's been seeking – The Sunrise of Hur. The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio – free audio science fiction adventure written and read by your host Mike Luoma! Get into Chapter Eleven of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur – with a bit of a story-so-far to prep you for the chapter. Always free – every episode! And Glow-in-the-Dark Radio is now on Stitcher!   

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Comic Book Day - Vatican Assassin #2

New Comic Book Day!! Issue #2 of my VATICAN ASSASSIN - The Graphic Novel (now in full color!) is out TODAY!

Get it at ComiXology:

And at DriveThruComics

With Cristian Navarro on art and Juan Carlos Quattordio on colors. I wrote and lettered the book.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Travel By Thought...

Alibi Jones climbs aboard the alien relic he's found, the Travel Chair of Enokata, to see if the ancient device still works. Can he travel by thought? What could go wrong? He's only on a world people call the "mad" planet Metcalf! Find out what happens in Chapter Ten of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur read by Mike Luoma – your host, writer and reader. Always a little story-so-far to catch you up. Always free, too. The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio – free audio science fiction adventure every episode!   

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New Promos For Glow-in-the-Dark Radio

Mike here - Put together a friendly new promo for my podcast - a quick 30 second "hello" and "please listen". Please download either the wav or the Mp3 file - whichever is easiest for you - and run the promo on your podcast, won't you? Let me know if and when you do - email me at - and point me to your podcast's promo, so I can run it on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!

These soundcloud embed players let you download directly from here - just click on the little downward facing arrow in the square, near the top, under the icon of a cloud next to "soundcloud".

Here's the Mp3 File:

And here's the wav File:

Please let me know if you use it - let's swap promos!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

New "Psychedelic" Mix

Should have been working at one of my many WIPs tonight, instead I decided to make a new mix over at (no longer entirely free, but still free to listen to for a little while). Not sure what got me thinking of psychedelic rock... but here it is! A nice long mix, and it covers a lot of time with tunes from 1966 to Now. Enjoy!

Groovy, Man... Groovy from MikeLuoma on 8tracks Radio.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Now On TuneIn!

Last week, when googling and posting some of the sites my Glow-in-the-Dark Radio podcast shows up on, John Spillane (The Bacon Man on Twtter: @BigBaconBrkfst) asked about TuneIn - why wasn't my podcast on TuneIn?

Good question! Turns out? It was because I hadn't asked. So? I asked! And now I'm on there! It's funny, they put my request for them to carry the podcast up as the description. Didn't know that they were going to do that. I've asked for an update, but it reads a little funny for now.

Anyhoo... another fine app where you can TuneIn yer Glow-in-the-Dark Radio...

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Landing on the Mad Planet!

Using old star maps, Alibi Jones finds the lost "mad" planet Metcalf! A powerful, ancient, alien device Alibi seeks should be there. But? Something on the planet drives people completely insane... Host, writer and reader Mike Luoma reads Chapter Nine of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur – with a little story-so-far so you can enjoy the featured chapter no matter how long you've been listening. Mike brings you free audio science fiction adventure every episode – The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!   

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween Music Mixes!

Posted a couple new Halloween-y music mixes over at - I used to love their site because it was free to stream the mixes. They've changed their policies recently, so now it costs after a while. You CAN listen for free for one hour, so you can enjoy all of these mixes at least once, just about. Hate to be a downer about the costs and limits, but I like to be up front about these things.

Scary Stuff, Huh Kids? This one is all vampires - a spooktacular Vampire mix for the scary season! New tunes from Jason Isbell and Mason Williams along with older scary favorites from Concrete Blonde and more. These songs don't suck! Well, in a way, they actually do... in a good way! 8 tracks about our favorite nocturnal desanguinators. 

The Other Monsters... (or Beasties!) Called this one "Beasties!" at first, but because the Jethro Tull song "Beastie" was first on the list, I had to change the name. So it became "The Other Monsters"! After our first Halloween Playlist this year featured only Vampires, a few folks asked "What about the other monsters?" - this one is for them... and You! The Other Monsters, in a mix with some tunes written just for the season and others that somehow fit our menagerie of monsters... our bouquet of Beasties? The Other Monsters, with music from John Fogerty, Blue Oyster Cult, Jethro Tull and more...

Halloweenie Roast - This classic mix has many favorites, including "Monster Mash" and other ghoulish delights... over twenty tracks for your haunted festivities - A Halloween Party soundtrack!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"A Little Extra Dose of Lovecraft..."

Happy Halloween! Get your science fiction with a little extra dose of Lovecraft on this episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Host, writer and reader Mike Luoma reads H.P. Lovecraft's Nyarlathotep in addition to Chapter Eight of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur! Get a glimpse pf the crawling chaos - feel the chill between the stars - before travelling with Alibi Jones to the colony world Depot on the hunt for old star maps! Mike brings you free audio science fiction adventure every episode, complete with a little story-so-far so you can enjoy the chapter no matter how long you've been listening. The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!    

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

In A Cat's Eye, Darkly

Alibi Jones meeting Finder means searching for The Sunrise of Hur now involves Alibi tracking down a relic of the Ancient Enemy. Can Alibi figure out where to begin looking? Find out in Chapter Seven of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Host, writer and reader Mike Luoma brings you free audio science fiction adventure nearly every week – along with a story-so-far setup, so even if you haven't been listening you can enjoy the story. The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!   

This week, there's a special guest! For the first time ever, Mike has another author on to read from their work, as Andrew P. Weston joins us. He reads a little something with his character Daemon Grim as he celebrates the release of his new novel Hell Hounds on October 25th!

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Good Bye, and Thank You, Gord Downie

On the cruises. Memorial Auditorium. At Higher Ground. The Flynn Theatre. Another Roadside Attraction(s). So many other outdoor shows. Montreal's Molson Centre (or whatever they were calling it that year)... whether they were in front of a couple hundred, or tens of thousands, the Tragically Hip were ferocious and real, a hydra-headed yet singular, rocking beast fronted by The Performer, The Man, The Singer, the friend we lost this week, Gord Downie.
Johnny, Rob, Paul, Gord Sinclair and Gord were the essence of a rock band, most of them high school friends, who made music together, who followed their musical dreams, who became the most beloved band in their country! The Hip were a band that jammed and improvised, yet wasn't really a "jam band". The Hip's music was a little too focused and muscular to be "jammy". And Gord Downie's lyrics soared way above the average rocker's ruminations - esoteric and inter-referential, he wrote small short stories in verse, set to driving rock. The music moved your body but it also made you think.
Over the years, I've been lucky enough to have interviewed each member of the band. Got a sense they were a very democratic band, all for one, everybody pitching in and doing their part, a functional team behind the scenes as well as onstage. And they're nice people. I'm proud to have championed their music from the first time I heard them, saw them, live on that Ferry on Lake Champlain.
There weren't many comparable frontmen to Gord Downie. A mesmerizing performer, he inhabited the songs, lived them, or maybe they inhabited him, took him over. He sometimes seemed a man possessed by the music, by the muse. After that first show, as we came ashore, we struggled to find anyone to compare Gord to... closest we came was Jim Morrison. THAT kind of charisma. That sort of surrender to the performance. Gord wasn't like Jim, they just both sort of had "it".
Now he's gone. The world is lessened by his loss. But the music still lives on. We can listen to the recordings, the albums. We can watch videos of his live performances. We can remember just how talented he was. And we can miss him, and all he gave to us. Thank you, Gord.
Gord Downie leaves a serious legacy, especially in Canadian Music. The Hip never had the success they deserved in The States, but in Canada, they ruled. Thousands of young Canadian musicians were inspired by the example of Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip. Gord and The Hip gave so many artists the encouragement to go for it and do their thing. We'll hear a little bit of Gord in future tunes for years to come.
I write something like this to celebrate Gord & his life and his work, but also to try to process the loss. It's still pretty fresh, so I'm not quite sure how to wrap this up. I guess it would just be to say Thank you, again, Gord, for all your gifts, the beautiful moments of music, sublime, rockin', cosmic, and carnal, the spectrum of human life in song. Thank you for painting the word pictures and singing the songs. You made a difference.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

This Is Episode 450!

Episode 450! Celebrate a milestone with Glow-in-the-Dark Radio and host, writer and reader Mike Luoma! Enjoy bonus material, special guest greetings, and a ton of free audio science fiction adventure, all in honor of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio reaching its four hundred and fiftieth episode – bringing you free audio science fiction nearly every week for over eleven years!

For this special episode, and because the full-color graphic novel adaptation's first installment debuts this coming Wednesday, October 18that comiXology, we offer a chapter of Vatican Assassin! Meet BC. He kills people for the Pope of the New catholic Church. He just did his job.

Also hear our regular installment, Chapter Six of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur – along with a story-so-far setup, so even if you haven't been listening each week you can catch up and enjoy the tale. Alibi Jones has been sent to see a man named Finder as his search for The Sunrise of Hur goes on. Find out if Finder is as good as his name, as The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue!

Listen in for kind Episode 450 Congrats from Flash Pulp (, Zone 4 (, Professor Alan (, and Paul Cooley (!

Get a sense of what we do each week and some special stuff, too, on this celebratory Episode 450 of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Vatican Assassin At ComiXology!!

Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Comics is proud to announce the release of the first installment in the brand-new, full-color edition of Vatican Assassin- The Graphic Novel. The first issue, Vatican Assassin - The Graphic Novel - Issue One (of Four) will be available at comiXology this Wednesday, October 18th, 2017!

"I can't wait for readers to see the new edition - the colors make the art pop!" Creator Mike Luoma said. Luoma's enthusiasm is understandable, and infectious - the new, colored book looks great! "Juan Carlos' magic touch has raised the project to another level," Luoma said, excited by the prospect of turning new readers on to his science fiction adventures.

In Vatican Assassin, Father Bernard Campion - 'BC' - an assassin for the Vatican - visits Lunar Prime, neutral city on the Moon, on an undercover mission for the Pope of the NcC - the New catholic Church:  assassinate Lunar Prime's independent governor.

It's 2109, and BC is trying to take care of his "business" during an out of control interplanetary war between The UTZ - Universal Trade Zone - the commercial power that rules Earth - and the UIN - the Universal Islamic Nation - based on Mars. The UTZ and NcC believe Lunar Prime's governor is working with the UIN. They want her gone!

The original novel Vatican Assassin was published in 2005, the first novel by author Mike Luoma. Luoma then later edited and adapted the novel, creating a graphic novel, or comic book, script from his original book manuscript. Artist Cristian Navarro came on board, working with Luoma's script and concept sketches. Luoma provided the lettering and production work, and their black-and white graphic novel was published in four issues, and then released as a collected graphic novel.

Now, artist and frequent collaborator Juan Carlos Quattordio has joined the mix, adding color, vibrance, and dimension to Cristian's art. Behold - Vatican Assassin - The Graphic Novel is resurrected in this new, full-color edition!

Vatican Assassin - The Graphic Novel will be released by Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Comics in four issues, digital first, through comiXology and other online retailers, which will then be followed by the release of a full-color print and digital edition of the collected graphic novel. It all begins this coming Wednesday with issue one!


Friday, October 13, 2017

Kickstarter Success Story

For my friends into comics, or Kickstarter/crowdfunding, or just cool success stories, check out Dirk Manning, whose latest Kickstarter went live at Noon today - and screamed past its 13K goal in just over 3 hours!
He's offering the latest hardcover in his "Tales of Mr. Rhee" supernatural horror comic book series, along with enticing "stretch goals" should higher monetary points be passed - and they will be, they're already being exceeded. Check out the kickstarter here if you like:…/tales-of-mr-rhee-volume-4-eve…
Think people are going to notice this - maybe he'll get some media coverage, which would be cool! I wish Dirk all the success in the world. He's been at this for a looong time, and given back and paid forward in huge and generous ways all the while. Thought I'd point him out as a cool example of a creator making his work... work. Before the general media frenzy begins. Ya know.
Got to know Dirk when he was writing his "Write or Wrong" column for Newsarama - a column based on his experiences on how to get into comics (and by the way? You "get in" by making comics). He shared his hard-earned knowledge extensively. It's now in book form, highly recommended if you want to put out comic books of your own. I benefited, learned A LOT! I continue supporting his Kickstarters as my way of sort of paying him back for what I learned from his columns and advice years ago.
As someone trying to put comics books together, I found what he was offering invaluable! It was nuts and bolts stuff for comic book writers - how to write scripts, how to find artists, what to pay them, fair practices, how to go to cons, etc. - what you need to know to actually DO it. I ate it up and took it to heart, and it's helped me put out comic books for the last ten years. Helped make me proud to share my own characters, my visions - instead of focusing on trying to write for Marvel or DC.
But it's not just the sharing of knowledge that has me cheering him on. I've watched this guy work HARD for the success he's getting. There's something like justice happening when someone who's been paying their dues, working hard, and pulling others up as well, sees the fruits of their labor pay off. It's nice to know there's still some justice in today's world!
Dirk's not writing a lot of columns these days, but watching him work is instructive thanks to his transparency of process. The amount of detail he's willing to share as he goes about writing and promoting his comic books and graphic novels is impressive. So is the amount of time we can see him put in - comic conventions, signings, other appearances, online presence... and, oh yeah... making comic books!
We know how much he works because Dirk is a masterful self-promoter! He promotes by sharing what he's doing, his kind of "behind-the-scenes" process, which personally connects him with his audience, promotes his work, and teaches by showing. To do this, he's been an adapter of tech's tools every step of the way, from posting webcomics way back when, to his facebook Live sessions now. Found out about facebook Live because Dirk was doing one... I keep learning things!
If you like horror, supernatural thrillers - read his work. You'll want to learn more about the author after you do. If horror's not your thing, just check out HOW he does his thing. Head over to the Kickstarter page and look at the way he sets up his stretch goals and pledge points - the presentation is impressive whether the subject matter works for you or not. Click over to his Dirk Manning facebook page or the The F(r)iends of Dirk Manning Support Group to see his hands-on interaction with his fans, how he encourages and nurtures support. He's there, interacting with his people.
This is only the latest Kickstarter success for Dirk - his last few books have blown past their goals and stretch goals. Not quite this fast, mind you, but it has been rewarding to back the projects with all the stretch goal booty added to the pledge packs! That success, along with this new victory, make me think media might take notice, even beyond the geeks/comics world. We shall see.
If you're a creative, a maker, an artist, a writer, whatever - you should watch Dirk at work, learn from his approach. He's stuck to his creative "guns" and followed his vision. He gets his work out in front of people, promoting with persistence, not annoyance - a talent all its own. He's now seeing amazing results on his major projects - his fans are responding to his efforts in big ways. You might learn something. At the very least, it's inspiring to see that art, vision, persistence, and hard work sometimes do pay off!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What's Your Scene?

What's your scene?

What's your favorite scene with BC in the Vatican Assassin Trilogy? What's your favorite scene with ALIBI JONES? Want to play some "Best of" segments on the upcoming episode 450 - what scene would you play for someone to introduce them to our universe, our settings and characters?

 Comment below or email me at

Episode 450!!

My next episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio will be my four hundred and fiftieth! 450!! It all began with Chapter One of Vatican Assassin back in September of 2006, just over 11 years ago. Now, if you do the math, you'll realize I've missed some weeks here and there, but still... almost weekly for over 11 years and through 450 episode feels like a pretty great accomplishment, so I've decided to toot my own horn and make a big deal out of the next episode!!

Here's where you come in - if you're a fan, I'd like you on the show! If you're a fan of the show, I'd love to have your recorded plug/congrats to run on the next episode, the Big #450! What you record is up to you, and I love creativity, but a simple mp3 of just your voice saying something like the following is fine:

"Hi, this is ME from MY THING at WEB ADDRESS and I want to congratulate Mike Luoma* on 450 episodes of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!"


Send your mp3 to me at

Not much time to do this... the sooner the better, with Friday the cutoff. I'm also open to ideas for what else show 450 should contain... Thank You!!!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

In the Presence of Power

Alibi Jones' search for The Sunrise of Hur continues – he's about to meet the wealthiest and most powerful man in the known universe! Can Richard Wentworth help Alibi track down the Dakhur relic? Will he actually want to help? Find out in Chapter Five of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur, written and read by host Mike Luoma. Get caught up on the story-so-far, then listen as The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue - free audio science fiction each week on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio

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Sunday, October 01, 2017

On to Rigel Four...

Paradissimo was a dead end, so Alibi Jones' search for The Sunrise of Hur continues with a trip to Rigel 4 to enlist the wisdom of old family friend Dr. KrishnavurtiKrish! Listen as host Mike Luoma, our writer and reader, gives a little "story-so-far" and then Chapter Four of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur! Free audio science fiction – The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!   

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Back to Paradissimo...

Alibi Jones is on the hunt for The Sunrise of Hur – the ancient Dakhur artifact went missing when crime lord Rene Laveillur's men grabbed Alibi Jones' ex-girlfriend Katie at a ceremony a month ago. Laveillur insists he doesn't have it. Besides, his people have told Alibi Jones to stop bothering their boss, under penalty of death... Get a quick update on the story so far and then enjoy Chapter Three of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur with Mike Luoma, your writer and reader, on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio. The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue – free audio science fiction audio adventure on every episode!  

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Sunday, September 03, 2017

Working and Other Tasks...

Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur continues on this episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Alibi Jones lost his ex-girlfriend to crime lord Rene Laveillur. Laveillur's right hand man Peterson just showed up in Alibi's living room, warning Alibi away from Laveillur and his planet, Kismet. Join host Mike Luoma – your writer and reader – for Chapter Two of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur as The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Free audio science fiction audio adventure every episode!  

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Hear It From the Start... Here Comes the Sunrise!

The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue as we begin his second novel-length adventure, Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur, on this episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Alibi Jones loses his girlfriend to a crime lord and his friend Kit to a grudge after a horrific event. Alibi can't stop reliving what happened, so we'll join him as he does so again in Chapter One of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur! The Adventures of Alibi Jones, written and read by host Mike Luoma – hear free science fiction audio adventure on every episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!     

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Summer Vacation!

Hear the self-contained short science fiction story Alibi Jones: Vacation on this episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Listen in as Alibi Jones takes a little time off on a world that doesn't live up to its name. Paradise? Not exactly. Written and read by host Mike Luoma, it's the Adventures of Alibi Jones – Free audio science fiction adventure every episode on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!    

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Sunday, July 09, 2017

Listen to Sci-Fi Audio Short "Alibi Jones: Blind Eye"

Hear the self-contained short science fiction story Alibi Jones: Blind Eye on this episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Listen in as Alibi Jones uncovers a prospect that sounds a bit too good to be true... Written and read by host Mike Luoma, it's the Adventures of Alibi Jones – Free audio science fiction adventure every week on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!      

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