Stick with me here. I’ve got but a few short anecdotes.
I was born in Jacksonville, Florida. Fun fact: by square area, it is the largest city in the contiguous US at 875 square miles. It is so named after Andrew Jackson, 7th President of these United States.
Jacksonville is best known for a terrible professional football team that I love dearly, the annual “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” and the largest urban fire in the history of the southeast US (The Great Fire of 1901). It is also the home to all-time great artists like Lynyrd Skynard, Yellowcard, Limp Bizkit, and “the white Little Richard,” Pat Boone.
In July of the year 2000, and to get closer to my father’s new job in Tampa, my family and I moved to Brooksville, Florida. Its total square area is 5 miles. It is so named after a Democratic US Representative from South Carolina, a slaveowner and racist. Brooks was also responsible for the severe cane beating that nealry ended the life of one Charles Sumner, abolitionist Senator from Massachusetts, in 1856.
And no, I’m not making that up.
Brooksville is perhaps best known for any of the following: an annual Civil War skirmish reenactment, The Brooksville Raid, the childhood home of the voice actor responsible for Space Ghost (George Lowe), or an assortment of relatively successful athletes (MLB’s Bronson Arroyo and Mike Hampton, the NFL’s Jerome Brown, and Olympic athlete John Capel.)
It’s a hick town. Basically, we moved to a beaten swath of Redneck City in Anywhere, Southern USA.
Don’t ever go there.
If you are there right now, get out while you still can, if you still can. The only thing I ever learned while living there was h not to act. Fact*: there are more entries on “People of Walmart” from Brooksville’s Walmart than from any other Walmart in any other town in the country. Stick that in your vaporizer, all of Mississippi/Alabama/Louisiana.
However, while living there until I was able to get out in 2010, I was able to find an appreciation for southern music… on some twisted level, anyway.
…Which brings me to today’s randomly generated entry, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster’s sophomore release, II.
Maylene is fronted by Dallas Taylor, former lead man for Underoath. At one point not too long ago (ironically, around the time I moved to Tampa), there were more former members of Underoath in Maylene than there were in Underoath.
II is a fun traipse through southern metalcore. The metalcore is most evident on “Memories of the Grove.” The southern is most evident on “Tale of the Runaways.” “Tale” is straight out of a neo-Skynyrd album.
It’s a follow up to their self-titled debut release. Maylene has always been a major crowd-pleasing band similar to The Showdown. II has plenty of head-bobbing moments and leaves room for some creative two-step opportunities (“Don’t Ever Cross a Trowell”).
If anything, II will make you smile… if you can appreciate southern music for what it is. Just know that there’s a dude out there right now with more holes in his jeans than would permit him to walk into a gas station without his underdrawers all hangin’ out, and he’s eating a corn dog right now, and has an “Aces Wild”-themed full sleeve with some misspelled words. If I had continued to live in Brooksville any longer, that could have been ME.
Finally, two asides: first, listening to Maylene always reminds me of that Molly Hatchet song “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” a song I only knew because of NASCAR ’98 on the original Playstation.
Second: I saw Maylene open for He is Legend a few years back in St. Petersburg. Show was a lot of camo, ripped jeans and chew tobacco, man. After Maylene finished their set, 85% of the crowd left, so He is Legend played for like 40 people. That was unfortunate for them, I guess.
Standout tracks: “Dry the River” and “Memories of the Grove
Weakest track: “The Day Hell Broke Loose at Sicard Hollow” – not because it isn’t a decent instrumental; rather, it’s Maylene trying to be something they’re not. Just play the hits.
RIYL: Hardcore, metal. Underoath, Haste the Day, He is Legend, The Showdown, Pantera. Banjos.
*not a fact, strictly speaking, but it felt right.