Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Where Are The New Albums? September 2015 Update

With the fall months now upon us, here's this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post, as we once again look at the current release statuses and info on announced and (at least partially) recorded albums from local metal, hard rock, and punk bands, in order to let readers know the latest public info on them! This month's entry is largely static from last month, with only two photo restorations, four updated entries (with titles in italics), and no new additions, but with the summer over and fall commencing, we do expect a slowdown in news for the next month or two. So, where are the new albums? Read on below to hopefully find out!
AlgomA's untitled split CD with Chronobot

Rumoured Songs (A): "The Electric Fence", "Phthisis", "Failed Stunt Fatality", "Canis Rabidus"

Rumoured Songs (C): Unknown

Background: In an interview with Vancouver webzine Not Your Scene on July 28th, Chronobot guitarist Dafe Landry revealed that the Saskatchewan space/doom quartet will be releasing a split album later this year with local doom metal trio AlgomA, which would be their second official release. Little was said about the album, but Dafe indicated a cassette release and a possible vinyl pressing might follow, and fans may remember seeing both bands together at past local concerts.

Current Release Status: No idea, especially given that AlgomA's only acknowledgement of the split so far was a re-post of the interview on their Facebook page, so things may be a ways off yet, but stay tuned as more comes in from either side of this planned split!
The Apocalypse Afterparty's debut EP

Rumoured Songs: "The Crowd" (The Fury cover), "Rebel Scum" (The Fury cover), "Sweet F*ck"

Background: Before ever playing a public concert, new local rap/metal band The Apocalypse Afterparty announced on their Facebook page last August 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 recent postings have hinted at recording said EP this year for a release and recording sessions at Tidal Records' own Mission Control Studios, albeit with a new lineup in tow.

Current Release Status: As per the band's Facebook page on July 19th, they're "crushing the arrangements & compositions" for a planned 3 song EP of "entirely fresh material" with planned releases on mp3, USB sticks, and vinyl (no CDs?) This was all preceded by "songwriter" Steve Mozarowski's departure from the band and related lineup changes, but how that will impact things is unclear. 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 itself is still in the works. Hopefully more comes out soon on it!
Crucify The Whore's untitled three-way split

Rumoured Songs: Unknown

Background: Rather than release their next material on single CDs, local goregrind solo project Crucify The Whore have announced continued plans to include songs on split albums, a common occurrence for bands of this subgenre. Following the Blood Shed Productions 11-way split and last month's split with North Bay grindcore band Scrotox, C.T.W. have announced a three-way release alongside Ohio cybernoise band Menstrual Munchies & New York grind duo Soaked In Semən (don't shoot the messenger, I didn't name them!) Additional details are likely forthcoming, and it's not known yet whether the C.T.W. songs will find their way onto future solo releases.

Current Release Status:
With the Scrotox split the recent focus, the three-way split awaits finite details on it's content, title, artwork, and release date, but Tyler has been doing some studio work recently, alongside a handful of private house party appearances. Stay tuned to C.T.W. and Blood Shed pages for more details!
Destroilet & Jack Spades' untitled three-way split album with The Ripcordz

Rumoured Songs (D): "iBomb", "Bamberg Witch Prison", "Heavy Artillery", "It's Over", "Kifer"

Rumoured Songs (J): "Frederick", "Fear Corps", "Motorwolf", "Negative Headspace", "Crossroads", "The Lot"

Rumoured Songs (R): Unknown

Background: In March, local punk/metal bands Destroilet & Jack Spades both revealed online that they'd be joining forces with Montreal hardcore punk legends The Ripcordz on a three-way split CD! Current plans are to fund the album through fundraiser concerts and a Kickstarter campaign, though recording sessions on at least Jack Spades' end have begun, with drum tracking completed last month according to their Facebook page. When complete, this will be Jack Spades' second release and Destroilet's third (though their first with new co-lead singer Brenton Ellis), and Tidal Records will likely have a hand in the recording and release of the project.

Current Release Status: Plans are to release this ambitious split album on October 24th at The Algonquin Pub with a planned CD release concert headlined by The Ripcordz, who have shared the stage with the two local bands and members within at various recent local concert events. Things sound like they're off to a great start, so keep posted as more comes 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!
Gnaeus - Loomings

Rumoured Songs: "An Exercise In Self-Awareness", "Lovers", "Fire", "When You're Gone", "Circles", "The Edge", "The Sound", "Mountains", "Crave", "Calling Out"

Background: Amidst various teases of recording sessions, local post-punk/garage rock quartet Gnaeus have confirmed in recent concerts that they are in fact recording their debut CD "Loomings" at Tidal Records' own Mission Control Studios, possibly stemming from their "Best Song" win at March's VM Radio Battle of the Bands. Though online materials remain quiet otherwise for progress on the album, the planned album cover and online sales location of "Loomings" can be found at this link, and details are sure to follow.

Current Release Status: No idea, especially given how generally quiet that Gnaeus have been online regarding album progress, but with cover art and various hints in recent months, there is progress to be had. We'll keep you guys posted when more is announced!
The Pixo Control - Probably Not

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", "This Is Momentary, Forever", "Growing Pains", "Potpourri", "Feather", "Vicinity", "Congratulations"

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, including the reveal of the title "Probably Not" at assorted concerts. The band also confirmed in February that they have signed with Tidal Records, who will presumably also release this album. A fundraiser concert was held at The Rankin Arena this summer to raise funds for the album and upcoming tour plans, and the cover artwork was revealed on Facebook last month, but no finite album details have followed, nor is it known if the band's recent drummer switch from Keeghan Rosso to Matthew Thibert will affect the release.
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 studio White Wreckords. We'll keep you posted if we hear more!

Current Release Status: Though we don't know much on the new/revived album plans, Redundant did sound serious about completing their CD. That said, Redundant have only played once in 2015 and haven't made any public statements regarding the album this year. Plus, recent personal postings by James have indicated that he's moving to Toronto for college this fall, which would presumably impact their status. If we hear any updates from their camp, we'll be sure to let you know!
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/Beaumont Avenue 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 last year.

Current Release Status: Mitch's most recent release timeframe for The Sorrow Fields' album was "this winter", though we're past that now. 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 - "Monster" and "The Early Tapes"

Rumoured Songs (M): "Unknown"

Rumoured Songs (E): "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. Since then however, he quietly revealed on Facebook that a separate new album named "Monster" is done, with an advanced copy leaked to him by AlgomA drummer Jamie Vincent, which likely hints that Jamie helped produce it. No other details have been revealed yet, but some songs may be on their Soundcloud page, and when both are released, they're likely to turn up on Telephone & Address' Bandcamp page and on Interpunk, which Chris is also using to distribute physical copies.

Current Release Status: Chris indicated on the project's Facebook page two weeks ago that "Monster" would be pressed this month, but if a release will imminently follow or not isn't clear yet (though for reference, his next show will be on September 14th at The Gore Street Cafe, where the "Rust Orchid" release show was.) As for "The Early Tapes", Chris revealed in March that it "will be delayed for some time", though he didn't elaborate on why specifically. It's also worth noting that Chris briefly announced collaborating with Boxes of Boom's Sam Decter as a drummer with Telephone & Address and under a new project name (Are You Now? or Have You Ever?), but references to Chris & Sam's work have quietly been removed from Facebook, and it's not known if this means anything for the "Monster" release. We'll keep you posted!
I hope you guys liked this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post! The series returns on October 2nd as usual, while our next monthly feature post will be this month's Defunct Local Band Profile one week from tomorrow, so stay tuned for all of that, and for this weekend's concert previews in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Soo Zombie Walk) & Integrated System Of Machines Updates!!

A new month is upon us, and before we know it, a new season will be too, so let's kick off September 2015 in style with a new news post on this Tuesday morning devoted to two topics: A major recent concert set by a returning local band, and a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month, so here's what you should know!

The band lineup has been announced for next month's seventh annual Soo Zombie Walk, so what should you know for this year? Returning to The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre for a third straight year on Saturday, October 24th, the musical entertainment will once again rock out there prior to the walk itself, but things are now both later and condensed, with pre-walk activities taking place from 4:00-6:00 PM rather than 2:00-5:00 PM. The lineup will be familiar from last year though, with listed performers including local "blue Chinese metal crash punk" quartet Sykotyk Rampage headlining in their fifth straight Zombie Walk set, so look for more zombified originals from these crash favourites in their third show of the year! Sudbury unplugged hard rock band Aggressive Acoustic (fronted by ex-Sykotyk Rampage bassist Brian Cattapan) are listed as co-headlining, which is a bit of a surprise given that the band apparently parted ways in December, as per their Facebook page.

Have they reformed, will this be a solo performance by Brian, or is there an error? We'll let you know if we hear anything, but it'd be nice to see Brian back home again! Two local solo musicians will open things, including Northwest guitarist Greg Callaghan (in his third straight Zombie Walk set) and ex-Phlashback/Kick Start guitarist Terry Becker (brother of Sykotyk Rampage's Paul & Dirk Becker), which is awesome to see, especially given his recent health battles, so don't bypass his set! Other pre-walk activities will include zombie face painting, a photo booth, games & contests, local vendors and merchants, and more, so visit the official Facebook event page for full details on what to expect before the walk! Zombies will take to the streets for the walk at 6:00 PM, with prizes and the closing ceremony at 7:00 PM. Also, the 19+ afterparty will return to Coch's Corner after spending last year at Wacky Wings, but given the post-2012 shift of the main musical entertainment to the pre-show, don't expect much for live bands there beyond possible acoustic acts, though we did get a few there in 2013.

Admission is $3 + a canned food donation for attendees, while kids are FREE with a canned good, and check the above links for more details! It's great to see the Zombie Walk back, and at a slightly later time (and still on the week prior to Halloween) to boot, though local metal and punk fans may find themselves pulling double duty given that night's Ripcordz concert just down the road at The Algonquin Pub. Keep this fun annual family event in mind for your Halloween season plans, especially if you love Sykotyk Rampage and related bands, and stay tuned for updates!

We'll close today with some excellent new footage of the recently reunited Integrated System of Machines from their return show at July's P.O.D. concert at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino! Filmed by Wayne Kozeyah at W.K. Media and uploaded to his YouTube channel on Thursday, this follows earlier rough cut samples from the show that he uploaded, but none were labelled as being of the local epic metal quintet, hence why we didn't know about them at the time. Apparently the first time that Wayne and/or W.K. Media have been on hand to film a full concert set like this, three camera angles captured the show, including a drum-cam (possibly a GoPro) on Bart Rennels, giving a unique first person view to much of it! In order, the performed songs include "Screams", "Patterns", "Stays The Same", "I.S.O.M.", "The Writer", "Last Time", "Prison Farm", and a short song whose title isn't given. Long time fans should know that "Patterns", "The Writer", "Prison Farm", and the closer were not on their prior CD "Apocalyptic Vision", so give those an extra look!

Now, you may notice that frontman Orb Hearthstone indicated during between-song banter that they had a CD (and t-shirts) on sale during this show, and the songs they played during their set were on the album in order, so it looks like the current lineup re-recorded four songs from "Apocalyptic Vision", but as you can tell from this video, there are two major differences. Obviously, there's no keyboardist anymore (Craig Harrison didn't return and wasn't replaced for the reunion), and Orb's growling is far less utilized than in their original incarnation, which fans will notice when comparing the old studio versions of these songs ("I.S.O.M." aside, which didn't have growling originally.) I have no idea yet whether this CD is a fully packaged and pressed release, or just a loose demo like Elipzis and Half a Man distributed at concerts, but I would be very curious to hear these songs in studio form!

In any event, copies would likely be available at future concerts when announced, though no word on if Grooves Music would have stock of it. Of course, if the band had new online pages to plug their shows and recordings, that'd be an obvious plus, but no word on if a new online presence is imminent. The video itself is excellent, albeit without as many camera angle switches as it could have used, and the new I.S.O.M. lineup sounds great! Solid work all around, so give WK Media's full I.S.O.M. concert video a look below, and stay tuned for more from the guys when announced!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide - "Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide" CD Review!!

It's now time for our 74th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and this month, we're taking our far overdue first look at an album from local/Toronto celtic punk favourites Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide! With no new metal or punk albums in my possession this month, we're dipping into the archives, and The Tide are a good fit to tie in with shows this month from The Boot Hill Crooners locally and the band itself in Southern Ontario. We'll logically start with the band's self-titled debut album, which was independently released on October 5th, 2009 and recorded over the previous year, though specific production and studio credits aren't readily available online (I don't own a CD copy yet to have liner notes at hand.) "Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide" features the band's original and current main lineup, with singer/acoustic guitarist Dustin Jones joined by fiddle player Sheldon Jaaskelainen and his brother, stand-up bassist Marshall Jaaskelainen.

Note that the band did not have a drummer when the album was recorded (Danno O'Shea didn't join until shortly after the album's release), and though 4 of the first 5 songs were re-recorded with Mikey Hawdon behind the kit for 2011's "Whiskey Will Be Our Sun", we won't touch on those versions until we review that album on the SMS. Copies of this CD can be bought for $10 on iTunes, their official website, and presumably both locally at The Rad Zone and at their concerts, while you can stream the whole thing on Spotify as well. Featuring 10 songs at 28 minutes in length, let's kick off this review!

The first song is "Molly Malloy", which also received a music video prior to the album's release. Opening with Sheldon's talented fiddle work, this song nicely shows The Rising Tide's sound, which was a change of pace from members' prior work in The Inner City Surfers and The Wild Turkeys. Taking on a clear drinking song vibe (as clearly indicated in the lyrics), you still get the punk sensibility from Dustin's raspy voice, and the carefree nature is fun, but the lack of drums may leave fans preferring the 2011 version. Solid opening that sets the tone well for The Tide's musical path! Next is "Hideout (Holy Church of Ol' T.O.)", a shorter number that has a slower, more country-influenced pace, with Dustin affectionately singing about the title location, a bar and concert venue in Toronto that the band often plays at on their Southern Ontario tour runs. Rousing number that has a nice sing-along cadence, and I imagine this is a crowd favourite when the band plays in ol' T.O., but it seems to end when it's just getting going.

That's followed by "Time Well Spent", an effective ode to good times with friends, and this continues the positive friendly vibes while still maintaining that punk kick, and the backing vocal harmonies are a nice touch! Good melody on this one, and it continues the laid back vibe that definitely feels like Dustin and the Jaaskelainens had fun recording and playing these songs! Fourth is the band's own self-titled track "Rising Tide", which is the only song of the album's first half to not have a re-recording in 2011, but honestly, the studio version doesn't need drums. Opening with harmonized vocals from all three guys about how "the rising tide is rollin'" (also the chorus contents), this is a more deliberately paced number that mostly strays from Dustin's punk background, so punk fans may prefer other tracks on the album, but it is effectively done and has easy to follow lyrics if you want to sing along!

The first half of the CD concludes with "Tick Tick Tock", also the album's shortest song, barely surpassing 2 minutes in length. Arguably the most punk-leaning song so far (complete with shouting of the title during the chorus), this song is aggressive while still maintaining the acoustic Celtic rock flavour, and it's arguably the song that would most fit a Surfers album so far! I just wish it was longer with more instrumental sections. Song #6 is "Summer Honey", a song about the title woman and affection for her, and I like the melody on the instrumental bridge, including some more prominent bass work from Marshall, but again, it's a little short. Still, another upbeat number with a nice Celtic flair that's been maintained from bell to bell!

Seventh is "Don't Know", which is the softest song so far on this disc, and arguably the most lyrically introspective so far, so fans of the upbeat drinking songs from before might need to adjust a bit here. It's well composed and a good change of pace, with Sheldon getting a nice extended solo section midway through. Personally, I do prefer the faster and more rousing songs to this one, but it shows The Rising Tide's depth and range well, and it's effective on that level! Then we have "Old Lady Luck", which is one of the album's longest and most country-centric songs, with the structure and lyrical content definitely giving off a classic 1950s-era country vibe. It's a good showcase for the Jaaskelainens' instrumentation, and Dustin handles the tone shift admirably, but strictly for my own personal preferences, I don't dig this the song at the level of earlier tracks. If you love country or bluegrass though, you'll be right at home!

The penultimate song on "Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide" is "Guy Like Me", which takes on a folksier vibe as Dustin sings about his personal traits and habits. It's seemingly a simple song, but there's a grand sort of ambiance to the backing music, and it's got a catchy quality. It's not as country-based as "Old Lady Luck", but it continues the slowed down pacing of the album's latter half, and it's strong for it's style! Also, I have a feeling this song in particular would probably work well solo compared to the rest of the album. Things wrap up with the album's longest song, "Don't Stop", which concludes the album on the more reserved, less punk-flavoured trajectory of prior songs, with a soft, introspective, and fiddle-heavy melody that would be the closest thing to a ballad on the CD. Personally, I would have ended the CD with an upbeat closer rather than the relative downer ending, but it's a nicely composed song with a nice message, and everyone holds up their end of the bargain, so give this one a listen if you like their folk/country side!

So, what are my thoughts on Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide's first album? It's a solid first effort that set the band's musical direction nicely, especially on the first half! Though a departure from Dustin's prolific prior band work (including for the all-acoustic instrumentation), he kept the punk attitude and sensibility with The Rising Tide, carrying his punk snarl and strong musical talent to this acoustic Celtic rock venue, and he's complimented well by Sheldon & Marshall Jaaskelainen, forming a skilled union of differing styles, with both handling their fiddle and bass roles with ease! However, Marshall's bass was often low in the mix on the songs, and I will concede that I do far prefer the punk-influenced first half of the album to the slower and more country/folk-based second half, which helped end the album on more of a melancholy note from the fun and carefree opening songs. It all depends on your personal preferences though, but that's just how I saw it.

The lack of a drummer was noticeable too, but the band has since answered that live and in studio. The Rising Tide fit somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between punk and Celtic folk, but they've found their groove and a loyal following in the last decade, and their first album definitely helped the cause, so give it a listen above, and don't miss their next local concert dates when announced! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what album will get reviewed next in September? It's up in the air again, but you can get an idea of upcoming metal, hard rock, and punk albums in our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Wednesday, so stay tuned for that then! For reference, our next review will not be of a Rising Tide, Haggith, Mike Haggith, or SweetKenny album, as we're not past our 6 month buffer period for them to avoid potentially showing a bias, but a review of a 2015 Haggith CD could happen as early as November if things fall into place the right way.

Also, if you were wondering why we didn't review a Billy Bastards CD this month to tie in with their return to the stage in Ophir this weekend, it's because I don't own any of their albums yet (surprisingly enough), and full copies of them are not readily available online, save for scattered MySpace tracks. I hope to rectify that soon though! Of course, a new CD release gets precedence for a review next month, but if none come out or are acquired, another archive review (likely tied in with a show or shows in September) will follow, so stay tuned for our next review next month, and for more news this week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, August 28, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Banned & Telephone And Address), Plus More Recent News!!

We haven't had what could be termed as a full "news" post on here since Sunday, so let's rectify that with a surprise second post on this Friday afternoon, but be sure to check out our Northern Vibe Festival & Biker Pirate Party concert previews in the post below this one! Now, we have new video postings, assorted updates, and LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS to take note of today, so here's what you should know!

Local punk/grunge solo project Telephone & Address will return to the stage on Monday, September 14th when they open for Victoria, British Columbia psych-pop band The Backhomes at The Gore Street Cafe! This will be Telephone & Address' first show since the IRN concert in July (that is, if they played, given that Chris' side project The Red & Black's debut may have replaced them entirely), and it might come in time for the release of their new album "Monster", which Chris noted earlier this week will be pressed next month. Keep that in mind, especially as "Rust Orchid" got a CD release show at The Gore Street Cafe earlier this year! As for The Backhomes, their spacey-sounding alt-pop is a good fit for the venue, and they have talent to display, so give them a listen to see what you think! This ALL AGES Monday nighter will operate under a "pay what you can" model, and it has a listed start time of 7:00 PM. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and stay tuned for updates on the show and "Monster"!

Next up, Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned have announced their first concerts of the fall and winter, as per their Facebook page on Tuesday, so when can you see them next? After a road trip to Gould City tomorrow and a private wedding next weekend, the guys have no currently confirmed bookings until late October, but they're busy after that, with returns to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino planned for October 23rd & 24th, November 27th & 28th, and December 25th & 26th (so if you want live rocking on Christmas, here you go!) They'll also be back in Hessel at The Runway Bar on November 20th & 21st. Curiously, there's no dates listed for the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin, but they will take a road trip out to Manistique to play the Halloween weekend at their Kewadin branch. If more dates are announced, we will be sure to let you guys know, but all of these have 9:00 PM start times, 21+ age limits, and no announced cover charges.

Check the above links for more details on these shows, and also, a new live concert video of Banned was posted on their YouTube channel on Sunday! Filmed at The Sugar Island Music Festival earlier this month (making this the first video we've seen of them at this annual event in four years), this video is of Alex, Wayne, and Don covering AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long", with Don Traynor handling lead vocals, though Alex Traynor joins in for most of the choruses. Not a bad cover, the guys make it work, but it does sound a little empty with only one guitar. Well filmed too, so give it a look below!

Also today, here's a pair of new studio track uploads from Din frontman and prolific solo artist Mike Haggith! While we wait for his and The Din's next concerts, Mike uploaded two "single versions" of his recent solo original songs "We Met As Surrogates" and, as embedded below, "Of Cars & Criminals" onto his YouTube channel on Monday. Compared to the original "Warinside" versions, these are shorter by at least a minute each (including the removal of each song's non-musical intro), with Mike hyping them as condensed and more focused than the originals. Personally, I didn't find the original songs to be overly long, and I prefer the production and fuller sound on them, but hey, it never hurts to experiment, and the songs are effectively pared down! Note as well that Mike's original Facebook page post for the singles hyped that he and The Din were continuing their "studio progress", but no word what the end goal of that is. Give Mike's new single versions a listen above and below!

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

  • The Canadian Nightclub is apparently planning to bring back regular live bands on weekends! In conjunction with Maxx Entertainment, the Pim Street venue will kick things off with country cover quartet Bone Yard in two weeks, but more local & out of town bands are planned, and there will apparently be NO COVER CHARGES. In lieu of the karaoke and "mix & mingle" nights on weekends, bands will play an hour early from 9:00 PM-1:00 AM, with DJs playing between sets and closing the night. Great to see The Canadian booking regular bands on weekends again, so stay tuned for updates, and see the above links for more info!
  • Local independent label/studio Six Two Oh has launched a new performance video series called "Live @ Six Two Oh" that will feature performances by local and out of town bands from their headquarters. The first episode (recorded in June) features Edmonton garage rock favourites The Archaics from when they were in town for their headlining LopLops concert, though given Six Two Oh's usual genre focus, metal & punk bands are sure to follow if this continues. Check out the first episode above!
  • Local pop punk quartet Stereo North are looking for suggestions for new covers to tackle in future concerts, even saying "the more outlandish, the better", as you may remember that they have no qualms playing non-punk songs in a punk style, like Katy Perry's "Dark Horse". If there's something off the beaten path that you'd like Stereo North to cover, mention it on their Facebook page!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and this month's CD review in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Northern Vibe Festival & Pirate Biker Party Concert Previews!!

Barring extremely late notice concert previews, let's close out this weekend's hard rock and punk concert previews with some events taking place just outside of Sault Ste. Marie, so if you're living on the outskirts of town or are up for a road trip, here's what you should know for this weekend!

The first annual Northern Vibe Festival begins TODAY at the old Hempfest location on Poplardale Road in nearby Ophir, Ontario, and will welcome punk/country favourites The Billy Bastards back to the local stage TOMORROW NIGHT! Two years after Hempfest's local swan song, the guys over at Planetary Pride (who put on the first 11 Hempfests) are throwing their hat back into the concert festival game for this freshman event, which will focus on the music for this summer-ending bash featuring musical performers on two stages, so who all can you expect in Ophir this weekend? One stage is the "Beach Stage", as it's backdrop is the waterfront in that area, and will be devoted to DJs and turntablists, so click here to find out who's playing and on what day! Yes, the Northern Vibe Festival's website lists performance orders finally, but oddly, not set times (no word on why, but it may be in case of lineup changes or set length uncertainty.) Bands and solo musicians will be playing on the "Forest Stage", so who can you expect on the lineup there?

TONIGHT's abbreviated band lineup features Burlington reggae rock favourites The Killin' Time Band as headliners, with local support via alt-folk favourites The Boot Hill Crooners and local/Toronto folk musician Cody McMillan and his band The Soft Shoe Shufflers. TOMORROW'S main band lineup will be headlined by Kitchener folk quartet Drew Leith & The Foundation, with the aforementioned Billy Bastards (with relocated guitarist Paul Michael Stos in tow) co-headlining in their first concert since December 2013. It's been way too long for The Billys' punk/country attack on the local stage, and might we see their long teased new material during their set? In listed order, other Saturday bands will include veteran local soul/funk outfit The Hustle Brothers, blues rock notables Al Wood & The Woodsmen, cover rock quartet Changing Lanes, roots rock collective Frank Deresti & The Lake Effect, and in a late replacement, solo folk musician Kylie Precepa, who is filling in for Britta Wolfert on Saturday due to personal family matters overseas.

And finally, local/Wawa keyboardist and busker Damjan "Spider Fingerz" Binda will open Saturday's lineup, if there are no late notice changes. As well, Sunday's action on the Forest Stage will be devoted to group jamming, drum circles, and open mic performers, so keep that in mind, as you never know who'll be playing! Also, keep an eye out for fire spinners, hula hoopers, yoga, and art installations during the festival's duration. Tickets are $125 for the full weekend with no single day rates advertised, while there are group rates if you have a party of 10 people. Tickets can be bought locally at Planetary Pride on Queen Street East or online at this link, and while The Northern Vibe Festival is a 19+ event, kids and pets can come (if absolutely necessary) with an adult attendee if you follow the instructions at this link (which includes has full info on festival guidelines.) For full posted details on The Northern Vibe Festival, visit the above links!

It never hurts to have a new summer concert festival in the area, with shades of Hempfest (in organization and location) and the LopLops-ran Second Stage (in band content), so keep those angles in mind, and if you love punk with a splash of outlaw country, don't miss The Billy Bastards' first public set in over a year and a half TOMORROW NIGHT! I have heard some grumbling over the ticket cost and lack of single day pricing, but hey, you've got to start somewhere, and if all goes well, we'll see The Northern Vibe Festival back in 2016! Stay tuned in case there's fallout from the event, and for a preview, here's The Billys live a few years back!

Finally, we'll take a look at local party hard rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom's next concert, as they're hitting the road for a rare St. Joseph Island concert TOMORROW for the Biker Pirate Party at The Island Bar & Grill in Hilton Beach! That's an hour southeast of the Soo. Fresh off of last week's one-nighter at The Rockstar Bar, Greg, Mike, and Jon will rock out at this motorcycle show & shine event, which will raise funds to help repair Hilton Beach's baseball diamond fence, so keep the cause in mind, and remember to dress in your best pirate costume for the costume contest if you go! Stiffler's Mom's set itself will take place at 1:00 PM, the Biker Pirate Party itself is presumably all ages, and there's no admission fee unless you're entering the motorcycle show. As for the address, everything will the place at The Island Bar at 3117 Marks Street. For more details, visit the above links! Nice to see Stiffler's Mom spreading their wings and helping out for a cause, so consider checking them out tomorrow afternoon in Hilton Beach! For a preview, here's Stiffler's Mom live at another charitable event a few years ago!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and this month's CD review soon! Thanks everyone

Thursday, August 27, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood) And Most Of The Weekend's Concert Previews!!

Let's dive into weekend concert previews on this Thursday afternoon, and yes, we will touch on the first annual Northern Vibe Festival (and potential late notice gigs) TOMORROW, so stay tuned for that! Now, here's what you should know for regular concerts in the area this weekend, including SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Local classic/hard rockers Mourning Wood will return to The Rednecks Saloon TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT, albeit with a new lineup in tow! Apologies for the short notice, they only announced the shows via their Facebook event page on Monday. The band have officially expanded to a quartet lineup with the addition of ex-Rainhorses bassist Paul Belair to the fold (Steven Flint is moving to rhythm guitar full time), while Flat Stanley/Peace Vibe drummer Glen Thomas also joined Mourning Wood's lineup, replacing T.J. Case. A reason for T.J.'s exit wasn't announced, but you may remember that he had been posting about searching for a new band on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group recently, so that may be related. This is fairly sudden, especially given that he had just played with the band at last week's Superior Festival, but he's a very talented drummer that would be an asset wherever he lands next, and best of luck to him for sure! Paul and Glen are established local veterans who should bring a lot to the table, so welcome them to the fold this weekend!

If I would have gambled on a new Mourning Wood lineup so soon, I'd have (incorrectly) predicted an extension of their country guest performers from Rotaryfest, but this works well, and given Glen's recent propensity to film his live concert appearances, might there be some new videos to come of the new lineup? Like usual for Mourning Wood's concerts, TOMORROW & SATURDAY's shows are 19+ affairs with no announced cover charges and 10:00 PM start times. For more details, visit the above links, and good luck to the new lineup this weekend at Rednecks! For a preview, here's Mourning Wood live this summer!

Moving to previously announced concerts, local hard rock solo musican Tym Morrison will once again have 5 concerts to play this weekend, including his regular Gliss Steak & Seafood matinees TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY, and his regular Harp Pub & Grill run will continue on SATURDAY NIGHT, but his usual Friday nighter at The Harp will not occur this weekend for unannounced reasons, with the show now moved to his old regular stomping ground, The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on Trunk Road, so go there TOMORROW, not The Harp! Our source is this Facebook event page. As best as I can tell, this is just a one nighter, and his official website still lists tomorrow's show as being at The Harp, but east enders and Roadhouse regulars should like Tym' return there for the first time this year! You can take in Tym's acoustic hard rock covers at Gliss downtown at 6:00 PM on all three nights, and the Harp & Roadhouse gigs are 10:00 PM affairs.

All 5 shows at all 3 venues have no announced cover, and while Gliss doesn't have a 19+ age limit like the other venues, remember that it is a restaurant. For more details, click here, here, and the above links, and we'll update the site with his likely September gigs when the first set is confirmed on Facebook! For a preview, here's Tym live at Mill Square!

In a brief detour to the Eastern U.P., Sault Michigan classic/hard rock quartet Highway 63 will return to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! The first announced St. Ignace gigs from this rising veteran outfit in 3 months, the guys are fresh off of their most recent Satisfied Frog gigs 2 weeks ago, and you know their sets will be full of hard hitting classics, so definitely consider a trip out to St. Ignace for all of the action! With a lineup full of Monkey's Uncle, Power Slug, and RamWagon alumni, how could it not be a bad time? Like usual for Highway 63's Kewadin gigs, there's no announced cover charges, you must be 21 to attend, and 9:00 PM start times are likely. For more details, visit the above links, and for a preview, here's Highway 63 live last month!

Finally for this preview post, pageless local funk/hard rock quartet Late Shift will return to the stage THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar when they open for Ottawa alternative/power pop trio The Red Rails in their third local appearance! This will be Late Shift's first announced  concert since Algoma Ride For Autism, and will see members John Barber & Matt Sibilo share the bill with former Driving Dave Home bandmate Steve Brogno, who drums for The Red Rails, so might we see a mini-band reunion on Saturday? Be there to find out! The Red Rails, though not all that heavy, carry a fun and energetic rock sound that should find a solid audience again on Saturday, so if you've missed them and/or Steve in the past year, consider a trip to The Rockstar Bar for this one! A special $7 cover charge is in effect for this 19+ concert, and everything starts at 10:00 PM on Saturday night. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's Late Shift live at The Rockstar Bar earlier this year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Northern Vibe Festival preview and more tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: Parallel Truth

It's now time for this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile, our monthly look at a band that, though not based in the twin Saults, features a past or present Saultite in their lineup, and deserves a spotlight for current local readers! Today's choice is a unique band in their international makeup, but they have a lot of talent to go around, so here's what you should know!
Parallel Truth (Melbourne, Australia/Vancouver, British Columbia/Los Angeles California/China)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED, ex-members in italics. Note that the band's vocalists, alongside saxophonist Rick Morrison, are listed as "guest performers" on Facebook, but are credited as band members on their Bandcamp page.)

Reggie Hache (vocals)
James Lawrence (vocals)
Jeffrey Kesler (guitar)
Kyle Roche (bass)
Jon Morrison (drums/guitar) 
Junshou "Jason" Hou (keyboard)

Official Facebook page:
Official Bandcamp page:
Official MySpace page:
Official Reverbnation page:
Official Soundcloud page:

Local Info: Drummer Jon Morrison is a familiar face for local metalheads from both past local band work (including a brief stint as a Gates of Winter session drummer) and extensive work in multiple Vancouver-area bands in recent years, such as Alpha Trion, Avatara, and Nylithia. Given that he's a Berklee graduate, don't bypass Jon's high quality band work since his move from the Soo, including the multinational Parallel Truth!

Band Bio: Launched in 2010, Parallel Truth are a progressive metal collaboration featuring performers from four different countries, and as such, are a studio-only project. Calling their music  "the soundtrack of a parallel universe", the band posted their debut singles online in December 2011, and soon began work on their debut album "City of God", which was finally released after a lengthy writing process in August 2014. Updates have been slow since, apart from re-postings and shares of album material, but stay tuned for more on Parallel Truth when it comes in! Inspired by the likes of Dream Theater, Opeth, and Pain of Salvation, their studio material is every entertaining for fans of progressive metal, with songs ranging from technical and heavy instrumentation to songs influenced by 1970s progressive rock, with Jason Hou's keyboard talents and Jon's excellent drumming a constant! 

Some of the vocal performances aren't 100% fits for the material, but Parallel Truth's complex and well-crafted originals should be up the alley of progressive metal and Gates of Winter fans, so be sure to check them out via the above links, and it would be very interesting to see them play live if at all possible! Check out "City Of God" at the above links, and here's a YouTube copy of their song "Life I've Lost"!

I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! Next month in this series, we plan to look at Sideblinder, the Toronto punk project fronted by Rising Tide/Inner City Surfers frontman Dustin Jones, so watch for that on or around September 26th! That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews tomorrow! Thanks everyone!