Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mayfield Four Monday: Week Three

This week, my Mayfield Four obsession is "Flatley's Crutch" from Second Skin:

Why I love this song: Well, all of it.

The lyrics. Someone is battling something. I relate to this song hard. From the "wide awake at six a.m." part to the "afraid you'll suffocate in the undertow" feeling.

The chorus: "let it go/let it fade...don't run away." Turn away from the past and face your problems, "'Cause you're stronger now/that you've endured the pain."

I dig that guitar riff in the intro. Something about it really gets to me.

Right at 2:00, my favorite part of this song. That bridge is so sweet. This song is not telling you to passively believe in something and everything will work out: "Damn this situation/get off your f*cking ass if you want to save this!"

More than any Mayfield Four jam, this one makes me wish I could have seen them live. I would have belted this mother effer out at a concert.

If it wasn't weird to be a 30-year-old who listens to a song over and over in her room alone like an angsty teenager, I'd totally do that with this one.

Wait, why the crap do I care? I need this album on CD and my old discman, now!

I'm definitely done rambling about this song when you can just push play.

--Mrs. W.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kyng: dirty, West Coast rock

If you're looking for pretty music, walk on home, boy.

But if thrashy, groovy rock with melodic vocals is your thing...then I recommend--no, demand--you check out Kyng.

The Los Angeles trio would be another artist I first heard about from That Metal Show host Eddie Trunk.

Kyng is that metal band I have been looking for. But I didn't even know it. I love my music super heavy. Full of riffs and thrashy...but my ear holes need melody and hooks. Kyng fits my need for brutal, riff-driven, music with the right vocal element. Singer Eddie Veliz has a voice that compliments Kyng's music well.

Kyng's latest album, Burn the Serum, was released in April. It's brutal and beautiful at the same time.

Burn the Serum starts the album with an epic intro. It's so killer...I can't stop thinking about the first 40 seconds of this song! That's not weird, right?:

Lost One is a straight-up rock track, and it's pretty catchy:

Electric Halo is my favorite song on Burn the Serum. In fact, it's one of my favorite songs right now, period:
This song will stick with you after only one listen. I absolutely love and relate to the lyrics as well.
Self Medicated Man brings a chugging guitar, heavy verses, and a slower chorus. There's a lot of variety in this song:

The rest of the album is killer as well. Front to back, you're in for a guitar-driven ride you can sing along to. I recommend giving Burn the Serum a few listens. Like most of my favorite albums, this one grew on me. 
Kyng's debut full length album, Trampled Sun is also excellent. 

Want more from Kyng?

If you're in Southwest Missouri, Kyng is playing Rock 3405 in Joplin on August 7th, with Black Stone Cherry. I'm pumped for this show! 

I haven't listened to much Black Stone Cherry, but I plan on checking them out soon.
Rock on,
Mrs. W.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mayfield Four Monday: Week Two

I introduced this fascinating and earth-shattering series last week. This week's Mayfield Four Monday features two songs that have been stuck in my pretty little head.

"Loose Cannon" from Second Skin:

Catchy tune, serious lyrics. "Loose Cannon" barrels straight at you and doesn't let up--fitting the story of a harsh, angry parent.

I love the variety of vocal melodies in the song. The verse, pre-chorus, and chorus are all very different. That chorus is so catchy and so full of emotion.

I picked this particular video for the vintage Mf4 pics. Ador(k)able.

"Always" from Fallout:

This song would have fit in just fine on early 2000's alt-rock radio. The verse builds tension to a catchy, almost bouncy (but, you know, alternative and serious bouncy) chorus.

I grew up listening to country music and its literal lyrics, so I'm pretty terrible at figuring out rock's vague, more creative metaphors. 

I'm pretty sure "Always" is about addiction. "She" = a drug. Or whatever someone happens to be addicted to. watching Pretty Little Liars...Nutella.

As always, thanks for reading and listening! I think we can all agree the gorgeous voice of Mr. Myles Kennedy makes Monday a bit more bearable!


Mrs. W.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This week's 'net finds OR What I read/watch instead of doing housework

*Jack White is releasing a new solo album, Lazaretto. This is the title track:

It's so cool it hurts.

I have a weird thing with Jack White. I am a huge fan of pretty much every project he's involved in. I love dirty, guitar-driven blues-rock. But for some reason, nothing has ever grabbed me enough to make me want to surround myself with it. I don't know why. Maybe I'm not hipster enough?

Rolling Stone featured an in-depth look at White last month. Some highlights can be found here.
Trigger over at Saving Country Music did a thoughtful and well-written piece on White: On the Deconstruction of Jack White.

*Metal Injection made every '90's MTV kid's dream come true by posting The Top 22 BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD Metal Video Reviews.

Beavis and Butthead seems to be a something only people around my age (30-ish) find funny. I have talked to coworkers who were born in the '90's and they think it's the dumbest thing ever. 

It is, but that doesn't mean it isn't hilarious. 

If you've watched Beavis and Butthead on Netflix or Hulu, you know the music videos are not included in the episodes. The videos--featuring the guys' idiotic commentary--are considered the best part of the show by many. That is why you should click the link above and spend an hour laughing your ass off, buttmunch.

*The CMT Awards were last week. I love to hate-watch and hate-tweet these things, but I was at work and don't have cable. The only thing I really cared about was this:

Lzzy Hale of Halestorm joined Eric Church for the song "That's Damn Rock & Roll," from his latest album The Outsiders

Every time I hear Lzzy sing, I get goosebumps or come close to crying. She has such a beautiful, raw passion in her voice.

I'm "meh" on the song itself. The chorus sounds like something that has already been done by people pushing the country-rock envelope. And I think we need to leave the talk-singing to Johnny Cash. However, the performance was fun to watch, and I like the lyrics.

Halestorm will be touring with Church on a few dates this fall...and so will...Dwight Yoakam? It will be interesting to see how that goes for all involved. 

*Rock am Ring, a four-day music festival in Germany was held over the weekend. In a #YayTechnology moment, Mike and I spent a very productive Sunday watching Avenged Sevenfold's and Metallica's sets from our comfy couch in Missouri. 

A--likely unattainable-- dream of ours is to go to Europe and festival all summer. From everything I've heard and read, people don't "outgrow" music fandom over there like they do in the U.S....and rock and metal is still king. Sigh. 

Here is Alter Bridge's set at Rock am Ring. Awesome and rockin':

You can get yourself some Metallica here.

*Finally, the SLASHticipation grows. The title track from Slash, Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators will be released in full soon, but we got a 30 second clip over the weekend:


I really don't want to judge a song after 30 seconds, but I like what I hear and can't wait for more! All indications point to this follow up to Apocalyptic Love being more upbeat, heavy, dirty, and fun. 


Monday, June 9, 2014

Mayfield Four Monday: Week One

Because no one wants to read a nine thousand word post about how much I am digging The Mayfield Four, the band Myles Kennedy was in before Alter Bridge, (except maybe a few people on The Alter Bridge Nation) I'm introducing a new series, so I can geek out about a song or two per week.

It's happening on Monday because I like alliteration.

It's my party and I will obsess over 15-year-old albums from a band that no longer exists if I want to.

The Mayfield Four released two albums, Fallout in 1998 and Second Skin in 2001.

This is "Lyla," from Second Skin:

Why I dig this song: It's not the first song to tell a "girl down on her luck longs to get out of her hellish life" tale, but I appreciate the storytelling. The music compliments the lyrics brilliantly:

The intro is pretty mellow, setting the sad scene. Kennedy's voice is pure and pretty. The second part of the verse kicks in with the rough guitars at about :40. The story gets rougher as well, and the vocals match the change in intensity: "scared and alone, turning tricks and getting stoned to survive..."

A great sing-along, chorus follows: "I'll find my wings/I'll fly away/over the mountains/and over the pain/and I won't look back..." Like any good story, taking the song from specific, to an anthem most of us could belt out and relate to.

At about 2:25. Kennedy's voice elevates this song from good to great.

I have been wondering why The Mayfield Four never hit big. My husband pointed out that while they sound awesome now, Mf4 didn't sound that different from many other bands on the radio in the late '90's/early '00's. Think Matchbox Twenty, Eve 6, or The Wallflowers...that whole alternative scene that was huge then.

I'm biased, but I think The Mayfield Four is better. The music on some of their songs is a bit heavier than the bands I just mentioned. You can't argue that Myles Kennedy is an amazing vocalist. On these albums, he freaking goes for it. There's more passion and variety in his delivery than you'll find on an Alter Bridge record.

The observation that The Mayfield Four's music sounds so much like the era it was released in might explain why I am so attached to it right now. I feel like I'm 17 again when I listen.

Why I want to be my dorky 17-year-old self again, I don't if I act like an adult now. But, you know...anything was possible, and I didn't have to pay bills.

Thanks for reading! Whether you want it or not, there's more of The Mayfield Four to come!

--Mrs. W.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Rockfest 2014/Liberty Memorial Park/Kansas City

Alternate title to this post: Yes, I attend concerts that don't involve Myles Kennedy.

There were a lot of good things about Rockfest. The sound systems on both stages were really great. The main stage setup was very concert-goer-friendly. There were some amazing monitors on either side of the stage. A good distance away from the stage, there was another one of these monitors, and more speakers. The action on the second stage was broadcast on these main stage monitors between bands, so there was NO downtime in the main stage area. This was great because the band times overlapped each other, and it was nearly impossible to catch two bands playing back to back.

We were not able to see every band at Rockfest, but these are my reviews of the ones we were able to catch:

Heaven's Basement: Mike and I were introduced to Heaven's basement this past fall when they opened up for Halestorm here in Springfield. I wasn't expecting much then--another radio-rock band. We were totally blown away, and immediately bought their album, Filthy Empire. I fell in love with Heaven's Basement all over again at Rockfest.

They charged on stage with "Welcome Home." You could tell they were pumped to be there, and grateful for those of us who made an effort to see them. They rock out HARD and give new life to their already rocking songs on stage. They play like they need to prove themselves. Frontman Aaron Buchanan is full of energy, and has a great stage presence.

Did I mention they're adorable and British?

They also rocked through their first single, "Fire, Fire," and their current hit, "Nothing Left to Lose." They also gave us "Can't Let Go," "I am Electric," and closed with "Executioner's Day." My only complaint about the set--I wish it was longer. 

Buchanan decided to crowd surf...and do a handstand in the audience:

How rock 'n roll is that?!

Mudfest 2014: It started raining hard just as we entered the gates. If you've never just let yourself get rained on, I recommend it. It's a freeing experience. 

Festival advice: if you even think it's going to rain, put your phone or anything else that can't get wet in a plastic bag. I did, and anything that wasn't in a bag was soaked. My purse is still drying out! Oh, and we were left with this. Everywhere:

Black Label Society: Though I have read Zakk Wylde's book and know he's a guitar god with a huge personality, I have never listened to much Black Label Society. I'm just not the biggest fan of Wylde's vocals. 

Yes, real metal heads, I'm that person who cares about the vocals. 

BUT, for some reason, their set (which we watched on the main stage monitor in the middle of the crowd) really drew me in. The dark and groovy guitars, peppered with Wylde's signature guitar squeal and impressive solos won me over. I was totally into it! Plus, the whole biker-gang BLS thing is so very badass. I tried to get a good shot of the monitor when there was a closeup of that bullseye axe, but it didn't happen:

The Pretty Reckless: This would be an example of why I thought Rockfest, well, rocked. After BLS, We got to see The Pretty Reckless play. How's that for a transition? They were on the second stage, and the set had already started. But those of us hanging at the main stage got to feel like we were there. We were even rocking out and cheering for something happening half-a-mile away!

I was not expecting much from singer Taylor Momsen live. I listened to the band's latest album, Going to Hell, and liked it. Crunchy guitars, decent lyrics. Nothing mind-blowing, but good. I was skeptical Momsen could pull it off live. I had seen a clip of them from some award show and wasn't impressed. 

But--she sounded great. Not the most powerful voice in the world, but she definitely held her own through "Follow Me Down," Sweet Things," and the hit "Heaven Knows." If you listen to rock radio at all, you've heard that one. I like the song so much better now that I've heard it live, without the sing-along effect in the chorus.

Steel Panther: Their set made my face hurt. Not because it was melted by rock...but because I was laughing so hard. I know some people who read this blog don't share Mike and I's sick and terrible sense of humor, so I won't name the songs they sang, or the nature the comedy bits they did. If you're not easily offended, and an '80's parody band with lyrics that seem like they were written by 14-year-old boys sounds interesting, you can click on the link.

Offensive lyrics notwithstanding, Steel Panther's songs would probably have been hits in 1985. Lead singer Michael Starr can actually sing. He belted out some Rob Halford-caliber, operatic screams throughout the set.

I have a theory that these guys get off stage, take off the makeup and glittery spandex, and drive minivans singing "Let it Go" while they take their kids to school. 

To show that I'm not a diva, here's Mike and I. No makeup...after being completely soaked with rain and drying out in the sun. Sexy.

Killswitch Engage: This was the band Mike was really excited to see. Killswitch Engage just isn't my thing. I think they are cool guys and I really dig their lyrics. But I just can't get into that much screaming and the guitar work that's more on the hardcore side.

That being said, I enjoyed their set. They guys rock HARD. Jesse Leach has a powerful voice, whether he's screaming or singing. Killswitch burned through "My Curse," "My Last Serenade," "Always," and "In Due Time." They closed with their cover of Ronnie James Dio's "Holy Diver." I love me some RJD. In spite of my aforementioned distaste for screaming, I actually really like what Killswitch did with "Holy Diver."

We did not see every band at Rockfest. I ended up opting to rest my sad runner's feet while Staind and Five Finger Death Punch played so we could enjoy the bands we really came to see.

View from the second stage, looking at the whole park. The main stage was over to the left.

We only watched a couple minutes of KoRn's (who was headlining) set. Mike saw them when they were in Springfield a few months ago, and I never really got into the Nu Metal thing. Call me old and lame, but I had to work Sunday and I wanted to get out of our downtown parking garage before the masses left.

However, I feel that we got our money's worth. I had an amazing time! It was surreal to be watching this killer music with Kansas City skyline in the background.

My criticisms of Rockfest:
  • Trash cans. I only saw a few near the second stage. There was trash everywhere. I know that there are jerks who will throw their trash on the ground no matter what, but there was no opportunity for those of us who don't do that to throw anything away. 
  • It would have been great to have one of those monitors at the second stage, so people over there could have watched the main stage action in between bands. We probably would have stayed and watched KoRn from the second stage monitor if that was an option.
  • I don't know if there is anywhere else Rockfest could be held, but I think the park is too small for the event. It was almost impossible to get around. I know festivals are crowded, and I think organizers did the best with what they had, but a little more room for the 50,000+ people would have made the day better.
Until next time,