Tag Archives: Wayland

Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

A busy week, with five new songs debuting in my weekly Top 40 on Spotify.  Like always, it’s the best of today’s rock hits with all the non-rockin’, pseudo-rock alternacrap removed, replaced with more deserving songs.

Missing songs this week:
None

New to the Spotify list this week:
Satellite – Starset, Remember The Enemy – Ded, The Resistance – Skillet, Exist – Separations, Angry Heart – Otherwise

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Silence Speak – While She Sleeps, Nocturnal – Vyces, Raining Down – Demon Hunter, Sorry Not Sorry – Gemini Syndrome, Downfall – Kirra

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s nearly a dozen adds including new (and quite different) music from Theory Of A Deadman, another single from Crazy Lixx, the latest from Manafest, and more.    You can find it at this link 

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

Two new arrivals come with this week’s update of my Top 40 on Spotify.  Like always, it’s the best of today’s rock hits with all the non-rockin’, pseudo-rock alternacrap removed, replaced with more deserving songs.

Missing songs this week:
Burn It Down – Aviator Shades

New to the Spotify list this week:
Down To The Bottom –  Dorothy, Replaceable — CKY

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Bullfight- A Day To Remember,  Can You Hear Me — Shallow Side

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s nearly a half dozen adds including new music from Wayland, the return from L.A. Guns, and more.    You can find it at this link 

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

Three songs join/rejoin my Spotify Weekly Top 40 in the penultimate week of 2015 .

Missing songs this week:
Black Rebel – The Lazys, The Boards – The Motorleague

New to the Spotify list this week
Happy Song -Bring Me The Horizon (re-entry), Nothing More– Decyfer Down, Ghost In My Head – Andrew Watt

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Right To Rise- Wilson, Stop- First Decree,  Anything You Say – The Cringe

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s over a half dozen new songs including the latest from Sleepwave, brand new Adelita’s Way, the next single from always reliable Trucker Diablo, and more. You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know.

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

An unexpectedly busy week as five songs enter/re-enter my Spotify Weekly Top 40 .  That’s downright hectic for this time of year but it’s hard to begrudge fresh hard rock.

Missing songs this week:
Black Rebel – The Lazys, The Boards – The Motorleague

New to the Spotify list this week
Bloody Sunrise -Wayland, Sayanora – Disciple, Say It Again– XXI (re-entry), Anything You Say – The Cringe, Venom – Bullet For My Valentine (re-entry)

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Thank You- Sevendust, I Won’t Give In – Asking Alexandria, Everything – Art Of Dying, Everything- Bridge To Grace, Nails – Pillar

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s over a dozen new songs including new Thousand Foot Krutch, more new Megadeth, brand new Veer Union, the latest from Leslie West new Wolfmother, and a lot more. You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know.

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Concert Review 1/18/14 – Saving Abel/BlD/3YH/Wayland/Ethos

Saving Abel / Blacklite District / Three Years Hollow / Wayland / Ethos
Brewhouse Music and Grill – Rome, GA
January 18, 2014

While it’s a bit of a trek from my neck of the woods in Athens, once I found out about this show in late December I knew I had to be there.  After one thing or another prevented me from seeing Wayland on trips through Georgia at least three times in 2013, I knew it was time to check out the reigning “Band I Gotta See”  recipient in this year’s Golden Penny Awards.

First things first though, as the show opened with local band Ethos.  They describe themselves as a “progressive rock band” which left a lot of room to ponder beforehand what they might be like live, given my experience that prog bands tend to range from “very good” to “please make it stop”.  While their strong progressive influences  are obvious, my takeaway was that they are more than that simple description implies.  The entire band shows their technical ability throughout the set but it’s the sudden gut punch of vocalist Austen Earp unleashing a scream seemingly out of nowhere during “Out Of The Darkness” that provided the “Oh DAMN !” moment of the night and makes it clear that there’s more here than meets the eye. The song felt radio/Octane ready right now, as-is.  When (or even whether) the band takes that step remains to be seen but they definitely established themselves with me as “one to watch” in the year to come.

Next up, those “Always On Tour” guys from Michigan, the mighty Wayland.  To be honest it’s actually a little hard for me to review their set objectively, after all, this was what got me off my ass and out the door to the show.  I really don’t turn into a fanboy all that often, they’ve become an exception to that rule.  I’ve seen every video clip (official and “unofficial”), I’ve OCD listened to every single, I’ve added my tiny contribution to their social media with a steady stream of hashtags, and most of all I felt like I knew what to expect.   When they unleashed a high-energy performance on a capacity crowd I felt … well “justified” is probably a good word.  I already knew that a lot of unsuspecting people were about to get their asses kicked and from the blistering open of Bob Seger’s “Fire Down Below” to the final notes of a time-limited set, they delivered a performance that had the feel of a much bigger setting.   Despite my familiarity, I did get a surprise though, something I hadn’t really appreciated until seeing them in person.   I’d probably always thought about Wayland as “a band”, considering them as a unit rather than individually.   What really stood out to me on Saturday night was the parts that make up the whole.  Mitch, Dean and Tyler all have their moments but I’ll go on record as saying Phil especially stood out as Saturday, has to be one of the more underrated guitarists out there.   Skill, an obvious work ethic, stage presence … I really don’t know what more you could want out of a rock band than Wayland.  (Okay, okay, I’ll stop already)

There wasn’t really a lot of time to recover before Three Years Hollow hit the stage.  Again here, I had a pretty good notion of what was about to happen:  a band well deserving of being several rungs higher on the rock ladder was going to blow the roof off a venue.  I do enjoy being right 🙂
Where Wayland had deftly weaved a couple of covers into their set to help draw in the crowd, 3YH came out and hammered an audience that was now primed & ready with a string of driving songs that grab the throat and refuse to let go.  Somewhere amidst the onslaught of past singles like “Lost”, “Remember”, “Chemical Ride” and “Run Away” I had my second big realization of the night.  I apparently previously thought of the band out of Quad-Cities IA/IL on the basis of individual songs from the past several years without ever consciously considering just how strong their overall body of work has been during that time.   Somewhere during the set it dawned on me how familiar each song was, not all necessarily “hits” in the chart/numerical sense but a rock-solid catalog with no filler where every song stands up well against the ones before and after.  Closing strong with two new tracks from their album — produced by Clint Lowery of Sevendust — that’s due to release next month, the band delivered a relentless set that managed to leave people wanting even more.

Then from Orlando, Florida (by way of both Los Angeles and their native South Dakota) came Blacklite District, a band currently riding the wave of their hot single “With Me Now”.  BlD brought a lot of good things into their performance, I’d have a hard time finding any particular complaint with it to be honest.  “Take Me To The Grave” is a very strong opener, they’re energetic and put forth a lot of effort on stage, front man Roman James has an inviting “have a good time with us” vibe about him, guitarist Kyle Pfeiffer provides a second personality for the crowd to connect with, the rhythm section is solid, there’s really not a bad song in the set, and yet …  their “electro based hard rock” style was a change of pace from everything that preceded it and I think that might have played some role in their reception but not to a large extent.   The crowd didn’t hate on them or anything, indeed those who were attentive were happy & having fun but there was an impossible-to-miss drop off in the engagement level which made things feel just a little bit off to me, a kind of plateau that occurred that not even stronger songs like “Worldwide Controversy” (which feels like a future successful single to me) entirely overcame.   Pfeiffer made a notable remark just before the end of the set, which I’ll paraphrase as best I can here (with apologies for any inaccuracy), describing the anthemic “With Me Now” as being “the song that’s reason you know us and the reason you’re GOING to know us”.  There’s truth in that observation right now, another year & a couple more hits down the line I believe the response to the band will be stronger than it was on this night.

And then it was time for the headliner of the evening.  Throughout the night multiple shout-outs from stage made it clear that this was a pretty heavily stacked Saving Abel crowd.   A debut album that went gold, over a half-dozen top 20 singles, a run of over five years as a reliable national act lends itself to that kind of reaction 😉  The appearance was not without some challenges, given the very recent departure of the singer that was a founding member and key component of that success (as well as the lower profile departure of drummer at the same time).   While bits of live video I’d seen from the first performances since the lineup change had relieved most of my concerns, the final proof would be in the proverbial pudding.  It didn’t take long at all for even those lingering doubts to disappear.   While it’s probably fair of me to note that I never saw SA live with now-former singer Jared Weeks — who, just for the record, I mean absolutely not one bit of disrespect to in the slightest when I say this —  there was never really a point in the evening where I found myself thinking “gosh, I’d love to have heard this song with the old lineup”.  Newly arrived vocalist Scotty Austin is plenty capable and while referencing the recent change more than once during the hit-filled set, his stage presence is more than strong enough to push aside too many thoughts about other possibilities.  Those who know the band primarily from hit singles like “Addicted”, “The Sex Is Good”, “Stupid Girl (Only In Hollywood)” may actually be surprised to see how strongly the band — from Mississippi — remains connected to their Southern roots.  If anything, those ties may be even stronger now with the addition of the “swamp rock” leanings of both Austin and drummer Steven Pulley (who came over together from the band Trash The Brand).   What also becomes clear as the show progressed is that Saving Abel’s heart & soul did not depart with singer Weeks but instead remains firmly intact with founding member (and primary songwriter) Jason Null on one guitar, the steady & sizable (literally & figuratively) Eric Taylor on bass, and the even larger (again literally & figuratively) presence of Scott Bartlett manning the other guitar slot.  Change is never easy … but it isn’t always a bad thing.   Saving Abel remains what they’ve been for a while now: a solid band that clearly enjoys being on stage and is dedicated to making their music, happily bringing fans along for the ride.

As I’ve done in the past, let’s wrap up this review with a look at a bit of GBU aka The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good — there’s a LOT that belongs in this section, starting with the happy sight of a literally turnaway crowd at a rock show.   That’s a far too uncommon thing lately, major tip of the cap to promoter Brian Hill for making it happen … also a nod to the folks in/around Rome for turning out to support high quality live original music … kudos for The Brewhouse for being such a solid venue.  Not every unfamiliar place comes across as inviting but all my interactions with their staff were positive, just a very smooth experience all evening.  I could easily see them becoming a significant and regular destination for similar shows, if they choose to be … even the peripheral things were a plus.  Easy to find, easy to get to, plenty of convenient parking in the deck around the corner, security had just the right tone & balance …

The Bad — not a lot falls into this section really, nothing really “bad” per se comes to mind.  I think a slightly earlier start time (830p perhaps) might ultimately prove to be a sweeter spot for the market, seemed like a fair number of patrons ran out of steam a little earlier than I’d have expected … I didn’t get to hear my (arguably) favorite Wayland song (“Nobody’s Perfect”) which was a downer for me personally but isn’t too stressful since it just means I’ll have something else to look forward to next time I see ’em.

The Ugly — this unfortunate category really only has one resident, Population: Me …   I swear by all I hold dear that I am NOT usually such a stammering star struck fanboy.  Wayland suffered through that at least twice Saturday night but I promised:  I’ll do better next time 🙂

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2013 Golden Penny Awards

While I may not have several hours of network TV time to work with, I’ve reached the conclusion that there’s room for at least one more annual awards show.  With that belief, it’s time for the inaugural “Golden Penny Awards” where I recognize excellence and significant musical accomplishments over the past 12 months.   While the hardware is only virtual, the honors should at least manage slightly more credibility than the Grammy’s and way more than the Rock & Roll Hall of Shame.

Of course no awards show would be complete without a special musical guest, so to kick things off we’ll begin with my unofficial “Band I Really Gotta See” award winner:   it’s those Always-On-Tour guys … please welcome Wayland

 Golden Penny Award    2013 Song Of The Year

“Trenches” — Pop Evil

Hard to imagine a song that I felt more perfectly defined a genre/niche than what this Michigan band managed to do with their first single from “Onyx”.  If you want to know what “Active Rock” sounds like, here’s your answer.

Golden Penny Award    2013 Artist Of The Year

Stone Sour

Three top 5 singles, a strong second half of what was basically a two-album set that was partially revealed in late 2012, appearances around the world, multiple Golden Gods nominations and wins, a comic book (err … graphic novel) series.  It was a pretty epic run for Stone Sour, one that we can only the focus back toward Slipknot manages to even halfway touch.  At this point, Stone Sour is not only the better band, but the FAR better band as far as I’m concerned.

Golden Penny Award    2013 Event Of The Year

“Lift Me Up” — Five Finger Death Punch f. Rob Halford

Hard to go wrong when you combine one of the very best bands of today with a figure so iconic that he’s often known simply as “The Metal God”.   Still, for as good as the concept sounds on paper, it had to deliver the goods.  And from the moment the song premiered in May “Lift Me Up” did just that.   A surprisingly positive track given the often angry/pained lyrics associated with the band, 5FDP and Halford combined to give us all one for the ages.

Golden Penny Award    2013 Producer Of The Year

David Draiman

When Disturbed went on “hiatus” (or whatever it is), no one was sure exactly where the members would turn up nor what their work might sound like.   In the case of frontman DD, the answer was not only performing & producing the rock solid debut album from Device but also a turn behind the knobs for simply the best album Trivium has managed in their decade-plus career.    That gives the recent first-time father two albums in the top ten of my year-end list, actually one of two producers to manage that feat this year.  Worth noting that this was actually the closest category this year, with a narrow win for Draiman over Johnny K (aka John Karkazis), who worked on the albums of Pop Evil and Megadeth this year, both of which also landed in my personal top ten.  The link between the pair becomes even stronger when I note that Johnny K produced the first three Disturbed albums and that Draiman appeared as a guest vocalist on a track on the Megadeth album.

Golden Penny Award    2013 International Artist Of The Year

Volbeat – (Denmark)

Another award that was closer than most but perhaps for a less than obvious reason.  There isn’t much doubt that Volbeat had a tremendous year regardless of location, a strong album that produced multiple hit singles is hard to beat.  The decision I lingered over was whether they have reached the point of transcending their Danish origins and become so familiar to U.S. audiences that they don’t really feel like a band that’s from outside the U.S. anymore.  At the 11th hour I decided that there’s still enough of an international flavor to them that they’re a fitting recipient of the honor this year.   Decidedly honorable mentions should be duly noted for Airbourne (Australia) and Bleeker Ridge (Canada), standouts that are still clearly bigger elsewhere than they are in the U.S. at this point.

Golden Penny Award    2013 “Ready To Rock” Award

The Pretty Reckless

This award requires a bit of explanation.  It goes to the artist/band that I believe is poised to break through to the next level in the coming year.  Every year might not have such a clear standout honoree but the latter months of 2013 definitely showed momentum for one band in particular.  While The Pretty Reckless isn’t new — “Make Me Wanna Die” was a hit in 2010 — the band never really seemed to get as much respect or notice for their music as they did for having actress/model/musician (notice which label is last amongst those?) Taylor Momsen as their front person.  I believe the forthcoming (early 2014) album Going To Hell will change that.  The three tracks that have been revealed thus far show a considerably harder edge than what we’ve heard in the past, it’s music that stands up to the considerable attitude that Momsen has always possessed.    A warm response to the first official single “Heaven Knows” will let them ring in the new year with momentum, the second single could be the one that pushes them clearly into a whole new strata.

Golden Penny Award    2013 Album Of The Year

Alter Bridge – Fortress

The only award that was announced prior to showtime is for an album that truly left me both speechless AND raving like a madman after my first listen.  I’ve become much more song & singles oriented over the decades, this was simply a magical experience from start to finish.  It’s the rarest of finds these days: an album without a clear weak point, a complete work that simply doesn’t let you down and leaves you wanting even more.  Having the best rock vocalist in the world today certainly helps matters but it’s the complete picture here that makes this album stand out beyond just Myles Kennedy’s always stellar efforts.   Mssrs. Tremonti, Phillips and Marshall combined with Kennedy managed to create something that seems likely to stand strong for many years to come.

With that we conclude the inaugural Golden Penny Awards.  I want to thank not only the winners but all the nominees and all the contenders.  It’s you that made 2013 such a rockin’ year and you’re the reason I’m already looking forward to next year’s show.

Thank you all … and good night … We love you Cleveland !

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