Tuesday, March 3, 2015

VM Radio Battle Of The Bands Preview!! (Night #1)

TOMORROW NIGHT marks night #1 of the VM Radio Battle of the Bands, as 11 local bands will gather at The Canadian Nightclub on each Wednesday in March to battle for lots of cash & prizes! A spiritual sequel to 2013's Rockstar Bar Battle (and the first in Sault Ontario since that fall's Viva La Battle, also at The Canadian), this month's battle will see 3 or 4 bands compete tomorrow and on March 11th & 18th, with each night's winner (and the highest scoring runner up as a wild card) returning to compete in the finals on March 25th. Presented by Tidal Records & VM Radio with local sponsors also including Case's Music, Maxx Graphics, and The Sault Metal Scene, this battle is being promoted by J.D. Pearce, marking the fourth straight local battle that he has helped put on. Tonight and every other night will see bands play 35 minute sets, with a panel of judges scoring them on numerous criteria relating to their originality, musicianship, crowd reaction, and stage presence, similarly to the Rockstar Bar Battle.

The band order will be randomly drawn tomorrow night before bands take the stage. Tomorrow's opening night will only see 3 competing bands, as promoters couldn't secure a full 12 band lineup, but there's still a strong lineup of competitors to take in, as well as a special guest band, so here's some info on tomorrow's competing bands (all playing their first announced set of the year) in alphabetical order!

The Bear Hunters: The most experienced band in this month's field, The Bear Hunters will be competing in their fourth battle of the bands tomorrow night, and are defending their Viva La Battle crown in the process. Their battle results have steadily improved over time, but can these death metal veterans continue their success with another finals run? Note that The Bear Hunters will likely be playing as a quartet due to rhythm guitarist Josh Stephney still living out of town.

Honest Job: This sporadically seen indie/garage rock band will be making their battle of the bands (and Canadian?) debut tomorrow night, which will reportedly also be their debut with new bassist Jared Fridy, now making them a quintet. Also playing their first announced show in over a year, will Honest Job's accordion-infused hybrid sound make a big impression on the judges tomorrow night?

Infamous: Arguably one of this month's wild cards, young local hard rock trio Infamous will be playing just their second announced concert set tomorrow, and first at The Canadian, though they were once scheduled for last fall's cancelled Rock For Dimes Battle. Can Lizzie, Damon, and Anthony make a big splash in their battle debut tomorrow, and what else will we learn?

In lieu of the fourth band, who would have been the now defunct Revolution, fans will see local alternative/grunge trio The Pixo Control rock The Canadian tomorrow night in a special non-competitive set (a'la T-Rex Manning at 2012's Battle for the Blood.) Though not competing in the battle due to being signed with sponsors Tidal Records, this will be a big showcase for the guys, so don't miss their sure-to-be entertaining set tomorrow! Also keep in mind that they too were once scheduled for the axed Rock For Dimes Battle.

These three bands will be battling for one guaranteed finals slot, a potential wild card slot, and lots of cash and prizes, which include $1,000 guaranteed for the winning band, and numerous other prizes for bands in the top three, individual performers, and more, so visit the official Facebook event page and/or this SooToday press release for current prize details! It has also been confirmed that this month's judges will be Dustin Jones from Tidal Records & The Rising Tide, Rob Speers from VM Radio and The Elements, and... myself, marking the third battle that I've had the privilege to be a judge for (and I once again guarantee that I will judge each band fairly on their own merits. I wish all 11 bands the best of luck this month!) Remember, next week's lineup will feature The Danger Cats, Haggith, Mannapool, and Stereo North, while March 18th's semifinal will include The Apocalypse Afterparty, Gnaeus, Mike Haggith & The Din, and Project 421. Admission tomorrow will be $5 unless you already have a $15 ticket pass for the whole month, and yes, this is ALL AGES!

Also, remember that The Bear Hunters and all of March 18th's bands (save for The Apocalypse Afterparty) will be competing in this Thursday's Speak Easy Battle of the Bands, which we'll preview on the site tomorrow. This month's VM Radio Battle is shaping up to be a great event, easily the biggest local battle of the 2010s so far, so stay tuned for updates and our recap of tomorrow's action! Will The Bear Hunters continue their battle success? Can Honest Job put in an honest effort tomorrow night? Or will Infamous claim first place in the battle debut? Find out TOMORROW at 8:00 PM, and I'll see you guys there! Thanks everyone!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Local Solo Performance Video Showcase!!

In our last post before we begin previewing this week's two battles of the bands, here's a special local metal video showcase that features recent solo performance YouTube videos from four local musicians, all notable from out of town work as well! This is a combination of overdue features and new finds, but there's solid talent throughout, and on both sides of the border, so check everything out below, and see this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post below this one! We'll start in alphabetical order with former Sativa Rose/Valentine's Day Massacre bassist Adam Veale, who's featured in two new solo cover videos from his dad John's YouTube channel! Uploaded last week, they're the first videos featuring Adam playing live to be posted there in over a year, and are of acoustic guitar/vocal covers of Bob Seger's "Turn The Page" and Nazareth's "Love Hurts" (both complete with dedications to a loved one.)

Both are well performed and softer covers, and they showcase Adam's diverse talent that we don't see a whole lot of, but his singing voice can be a little off compared to the original songs. Hopefully we hear more from him sooner or later, but check out his "Love Hurts" cover below and more above!



Next up, here's a new solo drumming video from London Gentlemen/former Nixxon Dixxon drummer Jake Lalonde, who uploaded his first solo video in 2 years to his YouTube channel yesterday! A short 61 second video demonstrating linear grooves & fills, it's a nice showcase of Jake's talent, with solid rapid fire drumming on display, so fans of his Sault Michigan-area band work should be right at home! Also, it's nice to get a non-overhead angle for a change. Give Jake's new video a look below!



Heading back to Canada, here's a bunch of videos from Lethbridge, Alberta metal guitarist Paul Melanson, a Sault Ontario native who you may remember from past local bands like Frapperteterhead, Malediction, Gutwrench, and Under The Gun! Most recently seen in the Lethbridge cover band Bottoms Up and the Metallica tribute Damage Inc., Paul posted a steady amount of solo videos outside of his Alberta band work to his YouTube channel last year, so what can be seen there? Among the highlights, there's a bass cover of Metallica's "The Shortest Straw", guitar covers of the likes of Pantera & Ozzy Osbourne, and numerous solo guitar compositions, which partially are planned for a teased solo EP. Paul's a great guitarist, and it's nice to see him staying heavy with his recent solo work, which does showcase skill in both songwriting and cover knowledge! It'll be interesting to see what he has in store next, but see the above links for more, and here's his cover of the solos in Metallica's "Fade To Black"!



Finally, here's the newest solo acoustic vocal/guitar cover from former Elipzis/RedStone Riot bassist Ryan Harrison, as per his new YouTube channel (not his old "freakwoog" channel) last week! Despite the new channel, this cover of Counting Crows' "Goodnight Elisabeth" is similar to his past solo videos from his current Muskegon homebase, albeit in a sepia tone and sporting his impressive recent beard. I'm not a Counting Crows fan, but Ryan handles this cover well and with nice melodic vocals that fans of his old Riot! By Night work should appreciate, so give his newest solo cover a look below!



That's all for today, but stay tuned for our preview of Wednesday's night #1 of the VM Radio Battle of the Bands TOMORROW! Thanks everyone!

Where Are The New Albums? March 2015 Update

With a new month now upon us (and certain to be a busy one), let's kick things off with this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post, as we continue with out monthly feature look at upcoming local metal, hard rock, and punk albums that have at least been partially recorded, in order for fans to hear more about them and their current whereabouts! This month, we've removed two albums from this feature, one (Telephone & Address' "Rust Orchid") due to it's successful release last month, and one due to the band's breakup, as noted at the end of the post. As usual, entries on albums with updated info (4 this month) have the title in italics. So, where are the new albums? Read on below to hopefully find out!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Apocalypse Afterparty's debut EP

Rumoured Songs: "The Crowd" (The Fury cover), "Glory & Gore" (Lorde cover), "Rebel Scum" (The Fury cover)

Background: Before ever playing a public concert, new local rap/metal duo The Apocalypse Afterparty (featuring 2/3rds of Smeltzer as "songwriters") announced on their Facebook page on August 21st that they had begun working on their 3 song debut EP with producer Jamie Vincent (AlgomA), though they also alluded to recording the remaining songs with different producers. The song that they recorded with Jamie is "The Crowd", which you can hear in full at this link, though other details have yet to follow.

Current Release Status: No idea, especially given "songwriter" Steve Mozarowski's return to the Toronto area in the fall and the band's expansion of their lineup their lineup with female members, but things seemed to be progressing well despite the band's short existence. It should be noted that The Apocalypse Afterparty 's version of "The Crowd" is featured on Blood Shed Productions' recent 11-way split album, but at last word, the EP is still in the works. Hopefully more comes out soon on it!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Beaumont Avenue - King of the World

Rumoured Songs: "Into the Fray", "Red Rover", "King of the World", "Way Out Of Hell", "Take Me Away", "Beaten Down", "Two More Jag", "Jesus Concubines"

Background: Already off to a quick launch with numerous concerts since their fall 2012 debut, local hard rock quartet The Suicide Kings (who changed their name to Beaumont Avenue last summer) surprisingly announced that they were officially working on their first EP on their Facebook page in February 2013. Three weeks later, the band revealed in another Facebook posting that they were busy working on their own material, and they had plans to complete an EP by the end of the spring featuring 5-7 songs, which was recorded over the past month at The Smoke & Oak Room Studio with producer Dave Pihlaja. Though info on the sessions and release was sporadic for much of 2013, the band unveiled studio versions of their originals "Into the Fray" & "Jesus Concubines" last year on Facebook, presumably as a preview for the full release, though nothing has followed since, and the band is currently taking a break due to drummer Ben Boudreau's out of town college commitments.

Current Release Status:
As of their Facebook page in September, Beaumont Avenue are planning to record 2 EPs of 4 original songs each (grouped by how they feel) before writing a debut album from scratch when Ben returns home, which may or may not mean that they're scrapping their Smoke & Oak Room session tracks for their pending debut CD. The band was working on studio work and songwriting over the holidays while Ben was back home, but it's unclear how much was done. We'll let you know when we hear more!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Brutally Fatal - The D.P.E.P. 

Rumoured Songs: "Stomp Your Feet" 

Background: The reunited original version of Brutally Fatal (now with 2 Ls in "Brutally") announced on their Facebook page on January 7th that their second demo EP through Blood Shed Productions, entitled "The D.P.E.P." (meaning unclear), will likely come out by March, and it's album cover was revealed that same day. Only one song has been revealed so far, entitled "Stomp Your Feet", which harbours a two man metal sound with shouted vocals that's reminiscent of drummer Tyler Gibson's other duo band Rotopsy's song "Cops 'N Moms". Studio recording began on January 16th, while the band also hinted at song titles for a planned full length release in the future last month. 

Current Release Status: The current aim is for Austin & Tyler to release "The D.P.E.P." at some point this month, but given the recording methods and Tyler's busy schedule with his other projects, that may change when all is said and done. Fans should stay tuned as more rolls in!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gates of Winter - Perihelion

Rumoured Songs: "The Stars Call My True Name", "Edin Na Zu", "Dimensions", "Time Warp", "Wormhole Mechanics", "Prometheus"

Background: Despite a hiatus from live concerts lasting over 5 years, Gates of Winter never broke up, and are slowly working on their follow-up to 2008's "Lux Aeterna". The first glimpse of the new album was unveiled in February 2010, when frontman/producer Lee Maines uploaded a snippet of their new song "The Stars Call My True Name" onto his YouTube channel, and he followed that up with more demo & rehearsal clips sporadically over the last couple of years, though all were later taken down. The band launched a new Facebook page in August 2010 to keep fans updated on the sessions, including the unveiling of a new song title, "Time Warp", and while Sault native Jon Morrison was announced as the album's drummer that fall, the album will feature programmed drums. In November 2011, bassist Steve Furgiuele confirmed in a YouTube video that the album, now titled "Perihelion", was planned for release in December 2012, with some older re-recordings likely for the summer, but Lee confirmed last month that the album would be delayed further, be retracted to EP length, and possibly be renamed. Other new songs, tentatively called "Wormhole Mechanics" & "Prometheus", was previewed in this video & this video that were uploaded in 2013 & last April respectively. Whether ex-keyboardist Brian Holmes will be included on the EP is currently unknown.

Current Release Status: Personal commitments and the like have slowed things down incredibly, but in the band's most recent preview video (featuring audio samples), Gates of Winter hinted that work was winding down on "Perihelion", including noting that "the silence ends soon", with this year now targeted for a release. Good art takes time, and knowing Gates of Winter's talent and attention to detail, they won't wanna release this until everything's perfect. I'll admit that I know a bit more on "Perihelion" than what I've posted here, but I'll wait until more public word comes out before elaborating, so keep an eye out for updates!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Haggith - "XIV", "Apocalypse II", and "Time Machine: Live"

Rumoured Songs (X): "Public Enemy", "These Four Walls", "Wasted", "Red", "By The Hand", "Runnin' From Love", "Metal Cage", "Road Rash", "Punch", "Anthem"

Rumoured Songs (A): "Apocalypse", "Spreading The Disease", "Hands of Death", "Tribute to Mike Haggith", "We Are The Damned"

Rumoured Songs (T): Unknown

Background: After being broken up throughout early 2014, local grunge/alternative rock quartet Haggith came back at the fourth annual Sewer Swampstravaganza at The Oddfellows Hall on May 10th, where the band announced that they would be recording a new studio album, but their Facebook page later indicated that Haggith are now releasing two new CDs! These include a new original album named "XIV" (featuring unreleased songs, new tracks, and previous Punch originals) and a resumption of their "Apocalypse II" concept sequel CD, which has been sampled via song postings on their YouTube channel. Recording sessions are ongoing at Paperclip Productions, though it's yet unclear whether new bassist Jordan Leach will factor into the recordings, or if old bassist tracks will be used, given their recent instability for that position. On November 24th, the band also revealed plans for a live album named "Time Machine: Live", though little else is known on it or if it will get a paid release.

Current Release Status: As of November 24th, Haggith were aiming for releases of "Apocalypse II", "Time Machine: Live", and "XIV" in January, February, and March respectively, though those have mostly came and went. "XIV" in particular has been delayed due to the band's split with bassist James White and his White Wreckords studio, which once had a hand in the recording sessions. Stay tuned for updates on all three as we hear them!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mike Haggith - "The Warinside"

Rumoured Songs: "We Met As Surrogates", "The Snake", "Candy Is A Hooker's Name", "Someday", "Lay My Body To Rest", "Of Cars & Criminals", "September", "Out Of My League", "A Drive Through The Peninsula", "30"

Background:This fall, prolific local solo musician (and Haggith drummer) Mike Haggith revealed on his Facebook page that he was working on his 49th studio album entitled "The Warinside" (lack of a space intentional), which also has a tentative tracklist and will reflect his recent personal life. Four songs from the album (including an alternate version of "The Snake") can now be streamed on his YouTube channel, but little else has came out on the CD, which is likely being recorded at Galactic Records again.

Current Release Status: We're a ways off from a release yet, but instrumental tracking is complete, and given how fast and honest he tends to be, any updates should be good as to it's progress. Stay tuned as more comes in!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Pixo Control's debut CD

Rumoured Songs: "Land of the Moles", "Reasons", "Sixty Extra Chances Called Minutes", "The Great Salute To Radio Edits", "Tall Ships", "No", "Quick Little Quarter", "Call Me A Liar", "Scratch", "Alphabetical Order"

Background: After earlier teases of recording sessions, young local grunge/alternative trio The Pixo Control revealed on their online pages (including on Instagram in November) that they were indeed working on their first album, with veteran local musician Keith Conway having a hand in the album's production. An Instagram video was also posted that featured bassist Steve Edwards working on a studio track, and updates have steadily followed to tease fans on the album's progress. The band also confirmed last month that they have signed with Tidal Records, who will presumably also release this album.

Current Release Status: No idea, but the guys sound like they've gotten a fair amount done already, and they've been turning a lot of heads so far, so don't bypass them, and stay tuned for more on their first album this year!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Redundant's debut CD

Rumoured Songs: "Miles Apart", "That December", "What You'll Do"

Background: Over two and a half years after their last documented studio sessions in the spring of 2012, local punk trio Redundant revealed on their Facebook page on November 16th that they're finally working on finishing their debut CD, and will look to hold a CD release party for it upon it's completion. Details are otherwise minimal, including on if the guys will just package their older studio work for the release, or include new recordings, perhaps at bassist James White's new studio White Wreckords. We'll keep you posted when we hear more!

Current Release Status: Though we don't know much on the new/revived album plans, Redundant do sound serious about completing their CD, and an early 2015 timeframe is likely being targeted. We'll be sure to let you know when updates roll in though!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rotopsy - Sexual Assault Rifle

Rumoured Songs: "Mold Induced Hypersensitivity", "Cops 'N Moms", "Swamp Donkey"

Background: Planned to be the polarizing but lively goregrind duo's first full length release (after an EP-length demo last year), Rotopsy originally announced this disc late last year, and also revealed that three new studio recordings (that will presumably also be on this album) would be put out on their label Blood Shed Productions' 11-way split release, and can be heard at this link. The album cover and title were revealed on their Facebook page on New Year's Day, though further updates are sure to come.

Current Release Status: When the album cover was revealed, Rotopsy confirmed a planned release date of April 20th, so we'll have to see if that holds true. At least a few songs are already recorded and complete, so keep an eye out for more on Rotopsy's next disc!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Sorrow Fields - Let Go

Rumoured Songs: "Godlessness"

Background: Previously known as Animas, April Eyes, and By The Gods, The Sorrow Fields is the long gestating black/death metal solo metal project from Bear Hunters/Suicide Kings guitarist Mitch Sirie. He resurrected the project under it's new name in 2012, complete with an atmospheric & dark sound, and he has sporadically updated fans as to his newest planned debut album via their YouTube channel and deleted Facebook page. As of June 2013, he'd titled the album "Godlessness" (though it was changed to "Let Go" last spring), and a preview of the title track and another unnamed song were uploaded there to check out before being privatized for unannounced reasons. Mitch is still working on the album though, and has aims to finish it after 6 years of off & on work, as per a personal Facebook posting earlier this year.

Current Release Status: Mitch's most recent release timeframe for The Sorrow Fields' album was this winter, though he added on Facebook that he didn't plan to speak about it further until completion, so our next word or previews on it might not be for a while. Knowing how delayed his past solo album "Hollow Hope" was prior to it's cancellation, this could be a long road, especially as he's a workhorse with his two bands. It should also be noted that Mitch hinted on personal Facebook posts in the fall that a studio version of his fan favourite "Squirrel Buddy" is in the works, but whether it's a single or a renamed full album isn't clear. In case new "Let Go" or Sorrow Fields news rolls in, we'll have it here!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Telephone & Address - The Early Tapes

Rumoured Songs: "The Plumbers"

Background: Telephone & Address mainman Chris Shoust announced on their Facebook page in January that he's working on releasing "The Early Tapes", a compilation of songs from the first 4 Telephone & Address albums (2011's self titled album, and 2012's "Live", "No. 3", and "Broken Head"), all of which being released before their recent full integration into the local scene. When released, it's likely to turn up on Telephone & Address' Bandcamp page and on Interpunk, which Chris is also using to distribute physical copies of his recent albums, though aside from revealing that "The Plumbers" (on their Soundcloud page) will be included, little has been said since.

Current Release Status: No idea yet, but given the lo-fi nature of his recordings, things could roll along very quickly. Stay tuned for updates!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
With all of that said, we have one album to remove this month due to it's now unlikely release status, so here's what you should know on it!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Revolution - Roll Call

Rumoured Songs: "Prisoner of Hate", "Monsters", "Cold Temptress", "Into The Fog", "Get High With Me"

Background: Then-new local doom/punk trio The Revolution (originally the second version of Brutaly Fatal) surprisingly announced on their Facebook page that they were heading into the studio to begin recording their debut EP last July. The sessions were being done at their new label PaperClip Productions, who signed the band in May. To be titled "Roll Call" (as per their Facebook page in January), a 5 song track listing was announced at the same time, which omitted prior live originals like "Murder For Sport", "We Are The Gladiators", and "Mercury". One of the songs (title unclear) was previewed in this Facebook video on Christmas, and while the band began drum tracking last month, they surprisingly disbanded last week.

Reason For Removal: It's simple, a release for "Roll Call" is unlikely now due to The Revolution's breakup. We have seen posthumous CD releases in the past (i.e. Bring The Fallen's EP), but that's not the common trend, so I can't foresee an immediate plan to complete or release this album in 2015. Be sure to follow members in their current bands (Brutally Fatal, Haggith, and Mike Haggith & The Din), and hopefully we see The Revolution again!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I hope you guys liked this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post! Our next monthly feature post (barring an imminent CD review) will come one week from tomorrow via this month's Defunct Local Band Profile, and we'll have a new news post for you guys to check out later today! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A New Local Metal Band, Northwest News Coverage, And Much More!!


For this last post of the month, we're tackling some assorted news items, plus lots of recent news attention for a talented local punk band, and adding a new metal band to our links, so here's what you should know!

We have a new local metal band to add to our active band links, and they are Troubled Mind! Essentially the successors to the defunct Skull After Betrayl, their lineup features S.A.B. bassist Adam Brett on vocals & guitar alongside frontman Mike Vincent (also formerly of D.O.T.H. & The Bear Hunters) on vocals & drums. You may also recognize Adam & Mike from working together in past bands like Death Rise and Despised Eyes, though with Troubled Mind, they'll be playing more operatic and alternative metal. No word on potential bassist additions yet, but they have teased adding keyboards to original material, which apparently "do not make sense." Launched earlier this week via their Facebook page, Mike has revealed plans to post a video of Troubled Mind jamming so we can hear how they sound, and hopefully they can build on the steady promise that Skull After Betrayl had during their brief run! Stay tuned for more on Troubled Mind as it rolls in!

Next up, here's the recent Village Media-related news coverage of local indie/punk quintet Northwest, who as you may know, opened for The Poor Young Things at LopLops last night! SooToday's Donna Hopper was on hand for their Rockstar Bar show last week to talk to Northwest for both this SooToday article and the newest episode of Local2's Tuned webseries, so what should we know within both? In the SooToday article (posted on Thursday), it's revealed that Northwest's name was indeed inspired by the name of Kanye West & Kim Kardashian's daughter (very much in the news when they were formed in mid-2013), while it was confirmed as well that Northwest's self-titled debut EP was created to gain exposure while they work on their proper full length debut album! Frontman Wayne Watkins confirmed in the article that they're focusing on writing right now and not rushing into recording, but this is promising to hear!

The article also includes positive remarks on their recording process and personal relationships, and it's a good read! Donna also included 9 photos from their set (albeit all black & white), and they're excellent in quality, as usual! Note however that neither the SooToday article or Tuned episode feature coverage of The Cover Up and The Pixo Control, who also played last week. As for the Tuned episode (also uploaded on Thursday), Northwest are the lead story, where Donna talks to the guys outside of The Rockstar Bar about their inception, EP, album plans, and why they don't play live all that often, among other topics. It's a good watch, though Wayne and guitarist Greg Callaghan definitely do most of the answering in the interview. There's also performance footage from their set interspersed during their segment, while the closing performance footage continues Tuned's 12 Musicians of Christmas spotlight from LopLops, this time via Case's Music owner/Lake Effect member Jay Case's set.

Also, the "News & Notes" segment on upcoming concerts is once again not in the actual episode, instead in text below it, which now appears to be a permanent change. Myself, I'd prefer to see it included in the episode itself, but this time, they did plug more shows than usual (four, in this case), including Northwest's LopLops show yesterday. Strong episode as usual, so give the new Tuned episode (which we can't embed here) a look above!

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


That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes as we begin a new month, plus our previews of both of this week's battles of the bands! Thanks everyone!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: The Tight Ship

After a day's delay, we finally have this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile on the site today, marking our last special feature post of February 2015! As usual, this is our monthly feature on a metal, hard rock, or punk band that is from outside of the Sault area, but featured at least one past or present area resident in any of their lineups, in order for local fans to check them and their material out! This month's selected band may not be as well known as some other recently featured bands, but their drummer has local ties and an impressive personal resume, so read on below for this month's out of town band profile!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tight Ship (Toronto, Ontario)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED)

Paul Shepherd (vocals/guitar)
Owen Marchildon (bass)
Valerie Calam (drums)

Official Facebook page: http://facebook.com/pages/the-tight-ship/143998995421
Official MySpace page: http://myspace.com/thetightship

Local Info: Best known as a professional dancer & choreographer outside of her band work, Tight Ship drummer Valerie Calam was born and raised in Sault Ontario, where she attended the Sherry Walsh Academy of Dance Arts before moving to Toronto in the 1990s to attend The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. As outlined as this article/interview, Valerie has enjoyed extensive work in dancing and choreography in recent years, and fans of those subjects should give her solid work there a look! However, outside of The Tight Ship, I haven't found much regarding Valerie as a musician.

Band Bio: Active from circa 2009-2012, The Tight Ship played a number of concerts during their run, mostly at The Crown & Tiger Bar, during which they released their EP "I Feel Good" that November, and previewed a second release that I'm unsure ever came out at a 2010 concert. Surviving details are minimal on The Tight Ship otherwise, but they last posted on their Facebook page in the fall of 2011, and likely fell inactive the following year, though Owen has since turned up in newer bands like 1977 and Purple Hill. The Tight Ship's sound merged punk, garage rock, and new wave into an interesting sound with folk influences that likely found a strong audience at the turn of the 2010s! Paul's vocals and guitar melodies meshed well throughout, and Valerie's drumming was dependable and fitting throughout, though fans of straight punk music may not take as much to The Tight Ship's more varied sounds and styles in their originals.

You can check out The Tight Ship's new wave-influenced post-punk at the above links (Their MySpace has 4 songs from "I Feel Good"), which might be of extra note for fans of local bands like Gnaeus! Embedded below is their 2011 music video for their song "Let's Get High", but hear more from The Tight Ship above!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! Next month in this series, we will take a look at My Dear Malice, the Cambridge, Ontario deathcore band featuring former For All That Is Lost drummer Kameron Nicholson, so watch for that on or around March 26th! That's all for today, but stay tuned for one last news post TOMORROW to round out the month! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Northwest, Tym Morrison, And Highway 63), And Weekend Concert Previews!!

In this second post of the day, we're mainly taking a look at this weekend's hard rock concert previews (including SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS), so give everything a look below, and check out plenty of VM Radio Battle updates in the post below this one!

Local indie/punk quintet Northwest will reportedly rock LopLops Lounge TOMORROW NIGHT as openers for an out of town band in the Soo for a special event! Apologies for the short notice, we only just got word on this show via a SooToday article on Northwest earlier today, and we'll have more on their recent news coverage in an upcoming post. This show (the first with hard rock or punk bands at LopLops of the year that we've heard) will be headlined by Thunder Bay pop rock quintet The Poor Young Things, who have previously played at LopLops on at least two prior occasions. They'll also be among the musical entertainment at the Rogers Hometown Hockey festival on Saturday and Sunday at The Roberta Bondar Pavilion (which doesn't feature any advertised local bands, and none are heavier), but this is bound to be a great event for hockey fans, so definitely check it out this weekend! The Poor Young Things have a good pop rock sound, and Northwest's punk edge should kick things off right tomorrow!

If you're a LopLops regular or planned Hometown Hockey attendee, you can also see Toronto indie rockers Jane's Party there on Saturday night after that night's festival events, they too having played here before. Tomorrow's Northwest-opening show has no announced cover charge (but have money on hand just in case), a 19+ age limit, and a 10:00 PM start time. For more details, check the above links and the Facebook event page, and here's Northwest live last year!



Next up, veteran local hard rock solo artist Tym Morrison will return to The Harp Bar & Grill TOMORROW NIGHT for his usual hosted jam night, but with UFC 184 being broadcast there on SATURDAY NIGHT, he's making his debut at another central venue to fill up his weekend plans! In lieu of his usual Saturday nighter at the former Madison's Pub, he'll make his debut appearance at the new Chicago Cookshop (formerly Aurora's, Amici's, and Casa Mia) at 384 McNabb Street, which is seconds from The Harp as it is, so if you'd rather see Tym on Saturday, this won't be a huge imposition! Apologies for the short notice, Tym previously announced Saturday's show on his website's calendar, but it slipped us by. I'm unfamiliar with the Chicago Cookshop as a venue, but it's a Chicago-themed steak restaurant that has achieved noticeable success since opening last fall, and hopefully Tym's acoustic covers go over as well there on Saturday as they do at The Harp each week

Both shows have 10:00 PM start times, no announced cover charges, and I'd assume both are 19+ given the time of day, but remember that the Chicago Cookshop is a restaurant. For more details, visit the Facebook event pages linked here & here! It'll be interesting to see how Saturday's show does, as this could be a future frequent venue for Tym (especially on off nights from The Harp), but no matter which location, give his shows this weekend a look! For a preview, here he is at the former Smack Daddy's!



Next up, we'll head to the Eastern Upper Peninsula for some Sault Michigan-area concerts, starting with a correction of sorts. Remember when we added local classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63's Kewadin Casino concert slate through September to our concert listings, but didn't add this weekend's shows because new local hard rockers Ten Kings had announced that they were playing them? Well, it turns out they were wrong (citing a scheduling conflict), and Highway 63 were right, as they will indeed be rocking The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! This will actually be the Switzers & company's first announced concert weekend of the year, and their skilled covers (including some new setlist additions) should be right at home once again this weekend, especially if you liked members' past work with bands like Monkey's Uncle and Sir Charge!

Like usual for Kewadin Casino gigs, Highway 63 should be on at 9:00 PM tomorrow & Saturday, there's no announced cover charges, and you must be 21 to attend. For more details, check the above links, don't miss Highway 63's 2015 debuts THIS WEEKEND, and here's the guys live last year!



Lastly for known concerts this weekend with advance notice, we'll head south to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino, where Traverse City metal trio Scarkazm will return for headlining gigs TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Just a month after their last St. Ignace concert weekend, the hard hitting trio featuring Peril's Adam Crawford & Jeff Hudson have quickly became a favourite sight at the regional Kewadin branches, and they should be up to their usual tricks with plenty of aggressive covers this weekend! If you'd rather see them in the Soo, they'll be back at The Rapids Lounge in just two weeks, so you won't have to wait long! Like with this weekend's Highway 63 gigs, Scarkazm will be on at 9:00 PM tomorrow & Saturday, you must be at least 21 to attend either night, and there's no announced cover charges. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and here's Scarkazm covering Alice In Chains live!



That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile TOMORROW! Thanks everyone!

VM Radio Battle Of The Bands Lineup Changes, A Band Breakup, And Much More!!

We're in the midst of a busy stretch at The Sault Metal Scene, and it's only going to get busier come March, so before this month's weekend concert previews & Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile go up, we have a post mostly dedicated to next month's VM Radio Battle of the Bands, including a band exit & breakup, their replacement and new lineup, a slight shuffle in the schedule, and another band's long teased lineup additions, so here's what you should know!

We'll start today with a lineup change for next month's VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian Nightclub, as local doom/punk trio The Revolution have reportedly disbanded, and therefore won't be competing on Wednesday's opening night. Promoter J.D. Pearce confirmed the news on the Facebook event page yesterday, and the band elaborated on their Facebook page that their breakup and exit from the battle is "due to some personal issues." They explained that this is not due to any internal conflict, but members had expressed interest "to not continue on at this time." Originally the second incarnation of Brutaly Fatal (both bands being led by Austin McCrae), The Revolution had been active since early last year, and quickly made a name for themselves by playing at last year's Swampstravaganza and opening for bands like Endast & Anciients, along with signing with PaperClip Productions, but they hadn't played live since the summer following a lengthy bassist search.

This news will presumably end their sessions for their planned debut EP "Roll Call", but we have seen posthumous local metal albums before. This is definitely disappointing, as I know how hard the guys have been working in the past year to get The Revolution off the ground, but hopefully things remain amicable and that they can reunite down the road! Best of luck to Austin, Jordan, Brandan, and other former members in the future!

With that said, how does their exit impact the VM Radio Battle? For individual competitors, only Austin is fully out of the battle now, as bassist Jordan Leach is still competing with Haggith, while drummer Brandan Glew is the newest member of The Revolution's replacements, Mike Haggith & The Din! Yes, the acid rock/jam band will now be one of four bands playing both of next month's battles (they were previously booked for next Thursday's Speak Easy Battle), and to go along with the news, their Facebook page revealed that their new primary lineup will feature frontman Mike Haggith, guitarist/bassist Curtis McKenzie, and Brandan taking over primary drum duties from Daniel Horton (he, James Watterworth, and Tyler Gibson are all now considered occasional session members.) Brandan has joined The Din at a prior private gig, and they're hinting at a more "clean cut direction", but how will The Din sound next month at these two battles?

Though Mike & The Din are replacing The Revolution, they are not playing next week (Mike has work conflicts on Wednesday night), so night #1 will now only have 3 competing bands (The Bear Hunters, Honest Job, and Infamous), while The Din will join The Apocalypse Afterparty, Gnaeus, and Project 421 on the last semifinal on March 18th, which will be a mini-rematch of the Speak Easy battle, as all but The Apocalypse Afterparty will have already faced off at that event. At least Project 421 bassist Daniel Horton doesn't have to pull double duty at the battles now that he's not playing with The Din. Will next week's one-night fan voted battle prove to be a bellwether for the March 18th results, or will the judges see what that night's crowd didn't? As for the teased "special guest performance" that was planned for the 18th, J.D. confirmed on the Facebook event page last night that local alternative/grunge trio The Pixo Control will be playing an out-of-competition set on Wednesday night!

Presumably not competing in the battle due to their signing with Tidal Records (a presenting sponsor), it will be nice to see them back on stage on Wednesday, and hopefully they deliver a solid set even if not involved in the actual battle! As for the battle itself, can The Bear Hunters continue their battle success, or will Honest Job and/or Infamous play spoiler on Wednesday? Find out then, and get your tickets A.S.A.P.! $15 packages for the whole month are available through band members, and they're otherwise $5 at the door each night (barring the $10 finals on March 25th.) 8:00 PM nightly, ALL AGES, so don't miss all of next month's action, and stay tuned for more on this battle as it rolls in!

We'll close today with some overdue updates from the aforementioned Apocalypse Afterparty, who have been hard at work on their new lineup in recent weeks, so what do we know now? After prior teases, the rap/metal project have confirmed the addition of at least two new female band members on their Facebook page, and while their usual secrecy hasn't wavered regarding identities, new pictures indicate that they've enlisted former Time of Ruin guitarist Sara Biedermann on bass! Great to see her in a local band again, it's been way too long! No word yet on what her alias or stage getup will be, but a letter moniker and a mask would seem likely. The other new member hasn't been leaked in new photos yet, but if we hear anything definitive, we'll let you know! Along with some new photos and tease-filled postings, this video was shared via "songwriter" Paul Stanghetta's personal Facebook page featuring their current lineup, so what can we see and hear?

It's of the band playing an unidentified original (I think), and while most of the band isn't in frame throughout, you can see an unmasked X (who looks suspiciously like RedD Monkey's Steve Mozarowski) drumming for the duration. The band shows a fuller sound here, but obviously, we won't see a fully realized version of The Apocalypse Afterparty until their VM Radio Battle set on March 18th. Give their newest Facebook video a look below, stay tuned for more on them and their new lineup as it rolls in, and don't miss them at next month's battle!



That's all for now, but stay tuned for this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile and weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!