Monday, September 1, 2014

New Concert Videos, A Band Page Discovery, And More!!

Hey guys, I know many of you are awaiting our review and videos from Soo Band Roulette on Saturday night, and under normal circumstances, they'd be up already, but I'm out of town on a bad internet connection. I had uploaded photos from the show on our Facebook page first due to time constraints, with the videos intended to go up last night, but each attempt is stalling, so things are on hold for a bit. I'm hoping the connection will improve tomorrow (something's going on with Bell internet in this area), so thanks for your patience, and the review & videos will be up this week! Now, here's a new news post to clear out some recent items, including new concert videos, a band link find, and more, so here's what you need to know!

While fans may have missed out on seeing Danger Cats members at Soo Band Roulette (it's all in the luck of the draw), a new video of the full band at The Rockstar Bar for Late & Loud's farewell concert can now be seen at For The Music Inside's YouTube channel! Uploaded on Saturday, this video (of the girls playing their original "Wanted Man") is the latest delayed media from F.T.M.I.'s coverage of the concert, coming almost a month after the show. Better late than never, as it's a nicely recorded video of one of the girls' better originals! The lighting can be a little warm, but fans will have nothing to complain about otherwise, so give F.T.M.I.'s new Danger Cats video a look!

Next up, remember local punk supergroup Brad Example & The Role Models, who recently reunited for the (regrettably abbreviated) Public Animal show in July? Well, we finally have found an online page for them, courtesy of this old MySpace page from 2006! Originally, we had rolled them into our full coverage after our punk expansion last month without a working link (a'la Northwest), but due to the lack of the full band name on the page (a 25 character limit stopped "Models" at "Mode" in the URL, for example), the page slipped us by originally. Given MySpace's massive layout overhauls, there's not much to say on the page itself, but Brad did upload some photos (including this close up photo of his bass, now on The Rockstar Bar's ceiling), and 4 songs from their early run ("365", "Revolution", "Flaming Castle", and "LemonLips") can now be streamed there, so how do these sound?

It is nice to hear some good quality studio tracks of The Role Models, which should appeal to Inner City Surfers fans, and Brad's gritty singing fits whether singing on a bluesier song or a faster hardcore punk-influenced song! It'd be nice to see The Role Models play more than they tend to, but give their old MySpace page a look, and they're now finally in our band links!

Also today, a new video of local/Toronto punk standouts Treble Charger is now online, this time from a recent outdoor festival gig of them playing their classic song "Red"! Uploaded on August 21st, the band sounds good on this clip, but Treble Charger are admittedly the second story of this video, as the title and content focuses on a soccer player's reactions during the performance, and the band aren't zoomed in to or directly filmed. Note as well that the host channel is heavily themed around Polish language videos and soccer clips, but I can't 100% confirm right away whether this was performance was overseas or not. Fans should give it a look for a recent Treble Charger live clip though, so here it is!

Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter news items from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist name:

  • According to their most recent Facebook page posting, local grunge/alternative quartet Haggith's next local concert will be as part of the festivities for this year's Soo Zombie Walk on Saturday, October 25th, but they didn't indicate a host venue, or clarify if it'd be part of the expanded afternoon entertainment like last year, or during the afterparty. Stay tuned for updates!
  • I've regrettably deleted new local metal project Shadowthrone and guitarist Sabrina Strange's solo project (most recently under the Isla Encanto name) from our band links to the recent deletion of their Reverbnation (and only online) pages, with Sabrina's YouTube channel also closing around the same time. No public reason has been made for the deletions, but this is disappointing, especially coming so soon after Shadowthrone's debut at Das Bunkerfest. Hopefully things are alright, as Sabrina and Robert have talent, and fingers crossed we hear more music from them in some form!
  • Local punk/grunge solo project Telephone & Address have revealed that their new CD will be titled "Need Not Apply", and the cover art for it (which looks similar in style and texture to "The Rotten EP") can also be seen at their Facebook page and at this link. Like Chris' last disc, "Need Not Apply" is being sent for registration with SOCAN, and it will cost $15, but will there be copies for sale at the IDNS show on Saturday? Check above for more album info!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for our Soo Band Roulette review as soon as I can after videos finally get online, and for this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post hopefully tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Habitat Shuffle - "Sober Drift" Review!!

Let's end August in style with our 62nd monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and our first since formally adding punk bands to our full coverage on the site, so all of our monthly features are officially up to date for what they can and will cover! This month's review is of "Sober Drive", the debut release by new local alternative rock quartet Habitat Shuffle, who suddenly released the album on their Bandcamp page on August 20th. The band itself are basically the successors to Free Beer (M.O.B. or Sarah's Valley if you prefer), with singer Christian Lemay, guitarist Dustin Goodall, and bassist Ryan Gray being joined by Dirty Few drummer Blair St. John. "Sober Drive" was recorded at Tidal Records earlier this year with producer Dustin Jones, and was later mixed in Toronto by guitarist Simon Head (The Fairmounts.) You can buy the EP on a "name your price" model right now at this link, so while you can get it free, consider buying it to support the band's work! Plans for a physical CD release are coming "soon and/or never" as per their Facebook page, so take that for what it's worth.

A short EP with just 4 songs clocking in at under 10 minutes in total length, let's begin with a look at the first song, "Soda Date"! Lyrically about debating spending all of one's money on a date, fans of Free Beer might be surprised right off the bat to hear that Habitat Shuffle do not retain their earlier ska-punk sound, as this song instead takes on more of a laid back alternative rock style that doesn't sound unlike a mid-late 1990s alt-rock band. Christian's vocals here are grittier and bluesier than you may be used to also, creating an interesting grungy quality! Honestly, this song is a bit too laid back in some respects, as it meanders and seems to lose it's structure and pace at times, though Blair's drumming keeps up with the swings, and the last 20 seconds are much faster and more of a punk style if that's your preference. "Soda Date" isn't a bad song, and it has a mellow groove that I appreciate, but the song itself is a bit too loosely written and all over the place.

The longest song on "Sober Drift" is next, and it's "Only On The Weak Ends", which appears to be about a desire to leave home and go to a favourite beach instead. It's louder and more up front than "Soda Date", with more prominent bass work from Ryan, and the structure and overall melody of this song is tighter and easier to follow! At the same time, the song doesn't have the catchy melody of it's predecessor, but I do like Dustin's guitar ability here, and the vocals have more of a musical match for the grit and style. I like "Only On The Weak Ends" better musically, and fans of heavier music will likely take to it more, but it seems too deliberate at the same time. Third on the EP is "Resort", a song that seems to use vacationing and hotel motifs in regards to a relationship. This track has a bouncy early melody, effective singing, and a fun guitar track from Dustin, and it's definitely the best song on "Sober Drift" for marrying the best elements of the first two songs! The low grit to the vocals can be an odd fit for such a happy sounding song, and the end of the song seems too out of place, but hopefully Habitat Shuffle can build on this song in the future!

"Sober Drift" concludes with "Dice", a 30 second punk rocker whose lyrics (primarily shouted between instrumental sections) are basically of Christian enthusiastically playing craps, though I won't spoil how he did (listen to find out!) This is the heaviest and fastest song on the EP, and everyone's firing on all cylinders, though it's far too short, and I was hoping it'd run longer, perhaps with other casino games being played? As for my final thoughts on this EP, I do like what Habitat Shuffle are doing here, and it's an interesting switch-up from most of the guys' earlier Free Beer work, but there's work to do. The 1990s-esque alt-rock style gives a nice grungy quality to many of the songs, and I like Christian's singing style (which is reminiscent of grunge singers on the full songs), but "Soda Date" had a jumbled structure, and "Only On The Weak Ends" lacked it's catchiness. Things ended strongly with the fun "Resort" and the hardcore punk-esque "Dice", so hopefully Habitat Shuffle can build on these songs for future songwriting sessions!

Free Beer fans may be disappointed by the lack of ska and reggae themes, but Habitat Shuffle are off to a good start, there's ready-made chemistry between Christian, Dustin, and Ryan, and I'm interested to see where things go from here, so pick up "Sober Drift" at the above links! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming in September for our next review? Likely a new release, and one possibility is Telephone & Address' new CD "Need Not Apply", which is in post-production and may be available at the IDNS show that they're playing at on September 6th, but that's pending it's release. If nothing new comes out though, we'll review an archive metal, hard rock, or punk CD tied to a live performer at a show next month. Stay tuned for updates either way, and for our Soo Band Roulette review shortly! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A New Local Hard Rock Band, Sykotyk Rampage's New Music, And More!!

In our last news post of the month, we have new media and plans from a local punk project, plenty of new material from a popular veteran hard rock band, and first, a new local band, so here's what you need to know! (Updated at 2:07 PM)

We have a new local hard rock band to add to our listings, and they are Long Shot! A newer local quartet that formed as early as January of this year (months prior to their Facebook page's launch), their lineup is mostly comprised of artists that are largely unknown from other recent bands, including singer/guitarist Evan Dawe, guitarist Nathan Muto, bassist Adam Dawe (presumably Evan's brother?), and drummer Jeremy Ganuelas. Long Shot have largely played at unfamiliar venues and corporate events so far in their run, including debuting at a Sault Community Career Center function in January (Evan and Nathan both work there), playing private gigs in Heyden & Echo Bay, and even playing at two functions relating to the Soo's new ultimate frisbee association, most recently at LopLops. For a taste of Long Shot's sound, the band has uploaded six (generally incomplete) cover videos onto Facebook, including bass-less covers of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman", Velvet Revolver's "Fall To Pieces", and The Darkness' "I Believe In A Thing Called Love"  at their debut in January, so click each link to see them!

The videos are rounded out by a cover of The Who's "Baba O'Riley" at The Bellevue Park Bandshell to launch the SUPA ultimate frisbee association, and covers of the Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear The Reaper" and "Baba O'Riley" again at a private birthday party in Echo Bay (both sans Jeremy, but with cowbell for the former clip!) From what I've heard so far, Long Shot have a good sound that doesn't stick to predictable covers, and Nathan's a very solid guitarist, but Evan's vocals could be a bit more forceful on louder songs. I'm curious to see what Long Shot are up to next, so check them out above, and here's their Darkness cover from January!

Next up, local "blue Chinese metal crash punk" quartet Sykotyk Rampage released their newest "albums" to their Reverbnation page between August 11th & 13th! I apologize for the delay on these, as we were both waiting to make sure the songs went up in full, and making sure that every album went up. Originally, Sykotyk Rampage had indicated plans to release seven albums in February, but 4 of the previously announced albums ("Wyrd Radio", "Padre Pwj with Ready for Revival", "Santa's Night Out", and "Double LIVE) have either been cancelled or postponed for unannounced reasons. The three of those albums that actually did come out this month (the band's 44th-46th) are "Kitty Farts & Other Play Full Noises", and two sequels to earlier concept releases, those being "Environ-Mental Suits 2: Anvil of Antioch" & "Captain Awesome Sex & Chastity Boy Episode 3: Who's Driving Spaceship Earth?", though I'll note that a fourth separate release that wasn't announced in February entitled "Bring The Heavy", is still listed for a September release, but has no online songs yet.

The second batch of new Sykotyk Rampage original songs with current bassist Tony Briglio, each album is fairly long as far as SKR releases go, with none having less than 17 songs, and "Who's Driving Spaceship Earth" having 24, so that might make up for the dropped albums! "Kitty Farts..." appears to be a general new release, while the other two albums exploit the conceptual nature with between song "scenes" to explain each album's storyline, and both are humorous and irreverent, just like long time Sykotyk Rampage fans should expect! Of the songs I've heard, fans can expect Sykotyk Rampage's usual improvised crash stylings, and like on prior releases, drummer Paul Becker appears to sing on most tracks. Now, like Sykotyk Rampage's other post-2011 albums, all three of these are available for free streams without a full album purchase option (though certain songs can be bought), though I will note that according to a recent e-mail that Reverbnation users (like myself) recieved, Reverbnation's store is being discontinued on September 30th, so a sale posting there wouldn't have done much good anyway.

The reason for the move is due to Reverbnation's new relationship with MerchOutfitters, who they encourage bands with stores on Reverbnation to switch over to for merchandise sales, but it's unclear as of yet how many local bands will launch presences there. Regardless of the release nature of Sykotyk Rampage's new "albums", fans have a lot to like, so give them all a listen at the above links, and stay tuned for more new Sykotyk Rampage song uploads on Reverbnation!

Finally for today, here's the latest media from the revived local pop punk solo project For July! Frontman Dave Hunter uploaded a work in progress clip of a new original song onto their Facebook page on Tuesday which has a definite emo/power punk sound going for it, and a bit more aggression to it than some of For July's earlier songs! Also, Dave's YouTube channel has been recently updated regarding For July, which included a video looking for donations to crowdfund their debut album, but it's since been privatized for unknown reasons (though I'll note that Dave was very hard to hear in the video.) I liked the idea of a Kickstarter-esque funding model, hopefully Dave still pursues that for an album! Instead, embedded below is their new YouTube posting of their original "The Emo Song", which is basically what is says on the tin, but fans of mid-2000s pop punk should be right at home with it, and it's well recorded! Give it a look below, and stay tuned for more on For July!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review TOMORROW, and I'll see you guys TONIGHT at The Rockstar Bar for Soo Band Roulette, the most unpredictable battle of the bands that Sault Ontario has ever seen! Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Banned Concert & Swearnet Movie Previews, Plus More New Videos!!

Before we kick off this post, I have a note on a concert cancellation (maybe a mistake?), as Traverse City metal trio Scarkazm are apparently NOT playing at The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino this weekend. While Kewadin pages still list the local dates, Scarkazm's own pages list this weekend's gigs as taking place in Cadillac instead, with their next St. Ignace shows coming in October. Not sure whether these were tentatively local once or erroneously announced, but best of luck to the guys this weekend, and fans can see Scarkazm back in the U.P. in the fall!

As a result of the Scarkazm switch, we'll instead look at The Chippewa County Fair, as the annual Kinross family festival is putting smiles on faces once again this year, and while the Rock Till You Drop battle of the bands is not advertised to return in 2014, Kinross hard rock trio Banned are still playing their own solo set TOMORROW! As announced on their Facebook page on August 19th, they'll be playing at the pavilion near the Lion's Club building at 4:00 PM tomorrow, so battle or no battle, Banned will be rocking their hometown tomorrow around supper time! Note that the fair's own website lists the 4:00 Pavilion timeslot as "to be announced", which is likely due to it not being updated since Banned's confirmation. Fans of ALL AGES can check out Alex & Don Traynor with new bassist Wayne Lawrence at the fair tomorrow among other events like stock car racing, animal shows, a tractor pull, and more, so click here for all details relating to tickets & admission fees!

As of right now, this is Banned's last scheduled gig of the summer, so keep it in mind if you're at the fair or in the Kinross area for some hard rocking entertainment! For a preview, here's Banned's recent video slideshow of their current lineup covering Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride & Joy"!

Next up, here's a preview of a different sort, as a movie filmed here with a metal connection opens TODAY, that being Swearnet, the new film from the stars of the Showcase (now Netflix) mockumentary comedy series Trailer Park Boys! As you may remember, Swearnet (which is about T.P.B. stars Robb Wells, Jean-Paul Tremblay, and Mike Smith forming their own uncensored online TV network) was filmed locally in Sault Ste. Marie in late 2012, and scenery from the Soo is readily seen in trailers! This fits on the SMS however due to ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach's cameo role in Swearnet (following his own Trailer Park Boys guest part), which some of you guys may remember from some Sebastian sightings during filming, including a karaoke night appearance at The Canadian! A little birdie also told me that some familiar band paraphernalia will also be seen from time to time. Yes, Swearnet is showing at Galaxy Cinema at The Station Mall, and it will open there TODAY at 2:10, 4:45, 7:25, and 10:10 PM, with similar screenings times in the following days, though like with any other movie, it's longevity at the theatre will depend on it's overall box office performance.

It's not often where a major movie makes it way to Galaxy Cinema with a ties to both the Soo and metal, and knowing how much many readers like the Trailer Park Boys, I'm sure many of you won't want to miss Swearnet on that basis either! Early reviews are good, and I do hope to check out Swearnet soon myself! I will advise though that Swearnet (which is 112 minutes long) is rated 18A for it's content, so fans under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. For a preview of Swearnet, here's the official green band trailer!

Also, here's a bit of a surprise, as local funk/hard rock quartet The Elements recently made the 8 hour trip north to Moonbeam for this year's 16th annual Hempfest! As you may remember, the annual marijuana culture/concert festival made the full time move to owner Robert Neron's hometown this year due to rising costs and shrinking attendance in Ophir, contributing to the local summer concert festival dropoff this year. Though advertised as "The Hip-Hop Year", The Elements (who haven't played a public local gig since the Jack Spades EP release show in May) played sets yesterday and will again on Saturday, making them the first heavier local band to play Hempfest since 2011. Nice to see a local connection this year, and a slight variance from the rap theme, so hopefully their sets went over well! It's not much of a glimpse of their set, but Hempfest's official Facebook page features this 28 second cell phone video of The Elements' set from yesterday of the guys covering The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Soul To Squeeze", so what can we see within?

Not a lot due to the length, but there's solid event lighting (the venue in Moonbeam is indoors) and I like the inflatable aliens! The lack of a crowd is concerning, but it may be due to when they played, as they opened the Thursday music lineup at 4:00 PM. In terms of critiquing The Elements' performance, there's not much as I can say due to the length and slow pace, but everything sounds fine compared to the original song. Check out The Elements live at Hempfest (albeit 8 hours away) below, and see more 2014 Hempfest videos at the above links!

Finally for today, here's a short new video from new local rap/metal duo The Apocalypse Afterparty, as uploaded to their Facebook page on Monday! It's of members X & Z "partying before their set on Saturday" (referencing their between-band involvement at Soo Band Roulette at The Rockstar Bar), though it mainly features X answering a question about if they're ready, and Z dancing to a live rapper's track. Interesting watch, but of course, you'll see the real Apocalypse Afterparty experience on Saturday night, so don't miss Soo Band Roulette, and give their new video a look below!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news this weekend, plus this month's CD review shortly as well! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Beaumont Avenue & The Apocalypse Afterparty) And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Hey guys, sorry I couldn't make it to the Endast show, more personal commitments for me got in the way. This has been a lost month in many respects given some of the bigger concerts that I've missed (i.e. Late & Loud's farewell, Das Bunkerfest, anything at The Rednecks Saloon), but things will quiet down for me on a personal level in the fall, and I WILL be at Soo Band Roulette on Saturday, no questions asked! Due to the length of this weekend concert preview post, we'll focus on Sault Michigan-area dates in our next post, so  for now, here's the heavier shows going down this weekend in Sault Ontario, starting with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Local hard rock quartet Beaumont Avenue (formerly The Suicide Kings) will return to the local stage TOMORROW for a one night only concert at The Rockstar Bar, though there may be a level of finality to this show. Apologies for the short notice, drummer Ben Boudreau only announced the gig on their Facebook page on Tuesday, where he revealed that this will be his last concert with the band "for a very long time", as he's moving to Hamilton for school commitments. This lines up with the band's drummer search to replace him for their Urawk live band karaoke series at The Rednecks Saloon, but what does this mean for Beaumont Avenue as an active band? According to the band's Facebook event page, this will be "the last guaranteed show" for Beaumont Avenue until next summer, though they will attempt to book gigs if Ben comes back home over weekends or holidays, which indicates that they are not replacing Ben in the band, or enlisting the next Urawk drummer for that purpose. Note as well that the Rockstar Bar's own Facebook event page is titled "Beaumont Avenue's Final Show", but don't worry, it likely won't be!

The show itself will be the guys' first since their Spanish road trip for the Rock 'N Roar festival, and it's a one-nighter due to Soo Band Roulette, which we're addressing next. Admission will likely be $5 for this 19+ show, and a 10:00 PM start time is in effect, so check the above links for more details! Definitely consider attending to send Ben off in style, and no matter how long he's away, his drum talents will be missed around here! Given that the band's not replacing Ben, it might be a while to see the guys live (unless you take in some Urawk karaoke), but we'll let you know when their next shows take place! For a preview, here's the former Suicide Kings at The Canadian!

Speaking of The Rockstar Bar, remember the Soo Band Roulette event taking place THIS SATURDAY where local musicians will be randomly paired up to play half hour sets, and then will be voted on by attendees to determine a winner? Well, we can officially add it to our concert listings now, as new local rap/metal duo The Apocalypse Afterparty will make their public concert debut during the event! They're among the entertainment playing between roulette bands, and while they have played some private gigs this month, this will be your first chance to see X & Z (plus their Smokin' Heroines supporters) in public confines! Among between-band performers, they'll be joined by DJ Seith, ex-As It Stands drummer John Mignacca's techno solo project Dillinger, and at least one open mic block hosted by Northwest guitarist Greg Callaghan, so keep their short sets in mind! Of course, this is "Soo Band Roulette", which is the main focus, so here's a rundown of what to expect!

Promoted by The Apocalypse Afterparty's Steve Mozarowski, signed up musicians (singers, guitarists, bassists, and drummers) are drawn at random each hour to make up an impromptu band that will then be sent to a secret location to decide on a band name and jam three cover tunes from a provided list (though original jams aren't outlawed.) Then, the band will be introduced and will play in front of fans, with a vote being held at night's end (likely closer to 2:00 AM) to determine the winning band, who will get a cash prize! Artists who sign up early on Saturday will have more chances to play, so keep that in mind as well. This 19+ event begins at 8:00 PM on Saturday night, so given the configuration of the event, I'd expect up to 6 random bands to be playing during the band roulette. Admission is $5 unless you're a drummer for the roulette, then you get in free, and click here for more details!

This is the closest we've seen to a battle of the bands in Sault Ontario so far in 2014, but the nature of it leaves a lot of unpredictability, and you should definitely check out Soo Band Roulette, as you never know what could occur! I've seen a lot of verbal confirmations and pondering from local artists, but I won't give names here as I want to preserve the random nature of the roulette. This should be an awesome and unique show, and hopefully it replicates the success similar events have had in other cities! I will definitely see you guys there on Saturday night, and for a preview of the between-band acts, here's The Apocalypse Afterparty live at Das Bunkerfest!


We'll close with a more central gig, as Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison kicks off his 39th straight week of his ongoing arrangement with The Harp Bar & Grill with his usual hosted jam night TOMORROW! The last of his August dates at the former Madison's Pub, we do expect him to be back at The Harp in September too, but like usual, we take Tym's Harp shows a month at a time due to the immense length of listed bookings on his website. While his acoustic hard rock covers will be surely enjoyed as usual tomorrow in between potential jam performers, Tym was not listed for a Saturday gig this weekend for unannounced reasons, but remember that he has had some gigs in recent months called off for external bookings. Note as well that the calendar on his website does not list Saturdays at all for future weekends, or most past weekends, but it's unclear whether this is a giant mistake or if it's a reduction of his Harp series to it's old Friday-only format. We'll let you know if we hear anyhing!

Tym's show tonight will start at around 10:00 PM, you must be 19 to attend, and there's no announced cover charge. For more details, check the above links! I'll also note that Tym didn't create a Facebook event page for his shows at The Harp last weekend, but hopefully all's well with the series, as his acoustic covers have seemed to have done well over the past 9 months! Keep tomorrow's gig in mind, and here's Tym live at Mill Square!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for Sault Michigan weekend concert previews either tonight or early tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Meet The (Inactive) Local Punk Bands!! Part 7

Today, we likely conclude our roll-in process of defunct and inactive punk bands from the Sault Ste. Marie area into our band links on the SMS, as it's getting far harder to find distinct surviving pages for local punk bands now, so I can't promise we'll have enough to populate their own post in the near future. That said, our seventh and presumably last of these defunct punk band "introductions" do feature some strong notable names from the scene's past, so let's take a look at our remaining additions to our links, in alphabetical order!

We'll start with defunct skate punk quintet Bankshot, who were among the most prominent local punk bands in the Sault area at the turn of the millennium! Though only active from 1998-2000, the guys accomplished quite a lot during their run, which saw them share the stage with the likes of Strung Out, Treble Charger, and (in their very first show) Our Lady Peace, releasing their only CD "Angst For The Memories" in 1999, while also being semifinalists at the YTV Achievement Awards (or YAA!) and playing live on the old CBC talk show Jonovision during their height. Bankshot's lineup included Ten Brick Limit alums Ron Pelletier & Christian Pasiak on vocals & guitar alongside rhythm guitarist Lucas Schmiedendorf (a.k.a. Dr. Sal Velinus), bassist Neil Vallee, and drummer Clint Wilson (currently of Northwest & Late Shift.) I own a hard copy of Bankshot's CD, and I enjoy their fast paced modern punk sound, which had a solid spark and clear talent from the guys, and it's a little surprising that such an accomplished band didn't last for more than 3 years!

It should be noted that their online biographies (which look written by a band member) teased a potential 10 year reunion, but I don't recall a Bankshot return in 2010, so fans are still waiting. Check out some rare photos and four songs on their MySpace page, and here's Bankshot's full "Angst For The Memories" album to stream for free!

Next to add (finally) is Bin Hawdon & The Taliband, the notorious local punk supergroup that have made occasional well recieved concert appearances since from (at least) 2003-2008! Often timing their shows with the Christmas holidays, you may best remember the guys from headlining shows at The Oddfellows Hall and at the former Foggy Notions. Despite the Middle Eastern links with the name, The Taliband didn't play that up live that I've seen, though they did generally wear irreverent costumes at their shows, which were all 100% cover-centric. Fronted by band namesake Mikey Hawdon on vocals & guitar (just like his current role with Toronto bands like The Fairmounts), their lineups tended to also feature his Lion Ride bandmate Mark Rand on bass, and while I believe there was some fluidity to their lineups, the only full online lineup that I've read also featured the aforementioned Lucas Schmiedendorf on guitar and Aaron Mooney on drums, I think. The Taliband have a ton of videos on YouTube via three different channels (here, here, and here), and therein, you can see a fun, carefree, and intense take on punk classics!

While not as refined as Mikey's other bands generally are, Bin Hawdon & The Taliband were there for fun and just a straight up punk show, and it shows nicely in their videos (despite many being very dark.) Check out more at the above links (their MySpace page has some audio recordings too), and here are the guys covering The Misfits in August 2006!

Also today is Busted, a short lived local punk band from the mid-2000s that didn't accomplish much, but they have a fairly extensive biography on their Tripod page! It just needed a lot of proofreading. Formed by then Bawating Collegiate classmates (all of whom I remember from going there at the same time), their lineup featured singer/guitarist Ben Crackel, lead guitarist Ryan Poluck, and current Asylum Country drummer T.J. Case (pictured), with a bassist not acquired at last update. According to their page, Busted played live at a Bawating talent show where they covered Blink-182, and got a positive reception despite not being very loud. I was on friendly terms with all 3 guys (I was once a classmate of Ben's at River View too), but I admit not remembering Busted at the time, which might be due to a short runtime as a band or just a lack of expansion beyond school events, which paled in prominence compared to the Dunnplugged gigs at Sir James Dunn. Note that I can't date Busted's run either, but it was at some point between 2003 & 2007. It'd be interesting to find media of Busted, and we'll let you know if anything ever turns up!

Lastly for our defunct punk band additions (that I know of) are The Hangdowns, a Sault Ontario punk quartet that fans may remember from their own local run from 2003-2006! Essentially the predecessors to local indie punk band Bondar, their lineup featured future Nebraska Arms singer/bassist Guy Thiffault alongside Gutwrench alums Jordan Cumming and Marc Muto on guitar & drums, while the band briefly enlisted Bondar's Mark Rand (later Marc's Lion Ride bandmate) after a return from hiatus. Recording a debut album in 2004 (that I'm unsure on if it ever came out), The Hangdowns had a faster and more aggressive skate punk sound than the guys' later bands tended to have, which fans got a good glimpse of at shows everywhere from The Oddfellows Hall to the old Foggy Notions, along with being one of the last bands to play at the Club Princess in January 2005.Compared to Nebraska Arms, The Hangdowns will be a more intense sounding band, with solid levels of humour and aggression throughout, and fans of the members' other bands will definitely want to give them a look for their strongly written original material!

The Hangdowns have some solid original songs on their MySpace page (I really like "Separation Anxiety"), and there's a handful of YouTube videos making the rounds as well, including this Oddfellows concert clip of their original trio lineup, courtesy of The 705 Video Magazine! Check out more from The Hangdowns above!

I hope you guys liked our "introductory" posts to defunct local punk bands, and while I'm fully aware that I'm missing plenty from back in the day, these posts were strictly to add punk bands with surviving online pages, as I wouldn't want to clutter our site links with dead, non-informative, or fake links. We'll be sure to touch on many punk bands not featured in our inactive punk roll-in posts when we start featuring archived punk videos on the site next month as we continue to get caught up, so watch for those in the coming weeks, and stay tuned for concert previews tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: The Fairmounts

It's now time for this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile, and in this ongoing monthly profile series on out of town bands with past or present Saultites in their lineup(s), we've finally added punk bands into our full selections in this series, via our addition of punk genres to our full coverage on the SMS last month! To kick off the new era of sorts, we're looking at a recently prominent Southern Ontario punk band featuring a very familiar face up front, so read on below for what you need to know!
The Fairmounts (Toronto, Ontario)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED)

Mikey Hawdon (vocals/guitar)
Simon Head (guitar)
Phil Page (bass)
Andrew McMullen (drums)

Official website:
Official Facebook page:
Official Bandcamp page:
Official Twitter page:
Official YouTube channel:
Official Soundcloud page:

Local Info: Fairmounts frontman Mikey Hawdon is extremely well known in local punk circles for his extensive and skilled band work here and in Toronto! Best known locally as a drummer with The Inner City Surfers and as a singer with local metal standouts Lion Ride, Mikey has also lent his talents to Bin Hawdon & the Taliband, Detroit, The Bombed Squad, and various other older local projects. Since moving to Toronto, Mikey has established himself in various bands there, including local/Toronto celtic punk rockers Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide, Green Day tribute The Dookies, and Ramones/Joan Jett tribute The Merves, who share all but one member of the current active original band that he fronts, The Fairmounts! 

Band Bio: Launched by Mikey Hawdon and Simon Head in 2010, the pair recorded and released the first Fairmounts EP "Unfinished Business" that year, before adding Mikey's Merves bandmates Phil Page and Andrew McMullen for a full live lineup that began playing concerts in early 2011. The Fairmounts kept up a solid presence in concerts from Southern Ontario to Illinois since then via both headlining concerts and sets opening for the likes of SNFU, C.J. Ramone, and Face to Face. Mikey brought The Fairmounts home to the Soo in October 2012 as part of J.D. Pearce's annual Halloween party at The Algonquin Pub, while the band shot their music video for "I Don't Wanna Go To The Hospital" locally during that trip as well. The Fairmounts released their first full length CD "Kiddo" in February 2013, and followed that up with a split single and an appearance on a Methadones compilation album that same year. Recently jamming towards new originals, look for more from The Fairmounts in the coming months!

The Fairmounts will appeal to any ardent pop punk fans with their high energy originals and fun live shows, and if you like Mikey's other local bands, The Fairmounts won't deviate from what you're already a fan of! Mikey proves to be a solid frontman with nice gritty vocals that Lion Ride fans will appreciate, and I honestly find that his singing fits originals better than on his tribute band work, while he has great chemistry and songwriting with the rest of the Fairmounts! Phil Page's bass work standing out especially, and Simon and Mikey are a nice compliment on guitar. Recent songs like "AA Oh No!" and "Behind My Back" have a fun catchiness that improves on their original EP, and it's easy to see why The Fairmounts have attained a solid following since their debut! For reference, if you've ever wanted to hear The Merves play original songs, this would be the band you'd want to check out. Keep following The Fairmounts for more solid originals, and hopefully Mikey brings the band to the Soo in the near future!

There's plenty of media online from The Fairmounts via their website's store, where you can buy physical copies of all of their CDs (not counting The Methadones tribute compilation), while you can also buy "Kiddo" and their split single with Plan 37 on iTunes. Soundcloud offers "Kiddo" as a free stream, while numerous videos and songs can be seen and heard on assorted YouTube channels, including Mikey and Andrew's own personal channels, among others. Here's The Fairmounts' video for their song "I Don't Wann Go To The Hospital", as filmed here and directed by Tidal Records' Dan Nystedt!

I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! Next month in this series, we're staying punk with a band who will make their long awaited homecoming in a few weeks, that being Toronto punk quartet Random Killing, featuring the Soo's own Andrew "Drool" Kiteley on lead vocals! Watch out for that on or around September 26th, and stay tuned for more news soon (and don't miss Random Killing's local return on the 13th!) Thanks everyone!