Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2016 Speak Easy Battle Of The Bands Information, Plus More Assorted News & Notes!!

Today's post at the SMS is mostly devoted to some shorter news and notes, but let's kick things off with some big updates concerning another local battle of the bands for next month, so let's get this one started!

The long teased second Speak Easy Battle of the Bands finally has an announced date, and it'll take place at Algoma University's campus bar/concert venue on Thursday, March 10th! Ostensibly an annual event now, this was originally scheduled for November 19th before being postponed due to unspecified "sponsorship issues". As per the new Facebook event page, the ground rules for this battle will be very similar to last year's, with 15 minute sets for each band and 5 minutes for set-up time, a crowd vote to determine winners, and prizes of $400, $200, and $100 for the top 3 bands. Twin City Sound will return to provide sound and base gear for the competitors, and it's now emphasized this year that the winning band will also get an encore set (I can't confirm if that was the case last year.) Promoters aim to have eight bands next month (up from seven last year), and while not currently confirmed, advertising for the battle's original date indicated that The Din, Eclipse, Jesse Merineau, and the returning Pillory were scheduled at the time.

Nothing there indicates that they still have reserved slots like they had in November, but might we still see some or all of them next month? If you're interested in competing, message co-promoter Meghan Rix A.S.A.P. at meghan.rix@algomau.ca for details! For reference, last year's battle was won by Gnaeus, with Long Shot and The Bear Hunters taking second & third, while the other competing acts were Infinity Grinder, Jesse Merineau, (Mike Haggith &) The Din, and Project 421. Also, note that Pillory bassist Jordan Leach is not involved with promoting this year's battle, so if Pillory do compete, there's no conflict of interest! For potential attendees, there's a $5 cover next month, there's a 10:00 PM start time in effect, and while there is a 19+ age limit for most attendees, minors with valid Algoma University student ID can get into the event. And yes, this battle will again be taking place one day after a night of next month's second annual VM Radio Battle of the Bands (in this case, after the March 9th semifinal; last year's was after the first night.)

While it's a little odd that they'd continue the scheduling in such proximity to the bigger VM Radio Battle, at least it's a consistent annual schedule if this maintains, and they don't run on the same day! Last year saw four bands play both battles, but will more pull double duty again next month?  It's great to see the Speak Easy Battle back for a second go, even if the fan vote method isn't optimal, so be sure to message Meghan A.S.A.P. at the above links, click here for more info, and stay tuned for more on both of next month's battles!

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

  • Garden of Bedlam frontman Erik "Buzz" Boissineau revealed in a recent personal Facebook posting that he "can't wait until Garden of Bedlam and Changing Lanes perform for you guys again", which indicates that his local bands aren't done yet despite his impending work-related move to Guelph. Changing Lanes played Buzz's farewell concert this past weekend, and while the door remains open for a return when the time is right, we've only seen Garden of Bedlam (outside of a stag & doe) once since 2013, and they haven't updated their Facebook page since the summer. Stay tuned for more (hopefully) on their status and future plans!
  • In their first public update since July, local alternative hard rock band Id Iota posted a photo on their Facebook page showing guitarist Dustin Goodall (also now of The Pixo Control) "making some sounds", with the picture showing him playing in front of a laptop with a music mixing program open. Are Id Iota recording new originals? When will we see them live next? Have they found a new bassist? Hopefully we hear more from Id Iota soon!
  • In a clarification for Friday night's Pixo Control/Aldous concert, we can now confirm that the show is NOT the Valentine's Day-themed event that Daniel Horton was promoting, as The Rockstar Bar's Facebook group confirmed that the show in question has now been postponed to THIS SATURDAY NIGHT for unannounced reasons. The date did change, as opener Shit Creek Survivor & planned performers Eclipse have both said it was on February 12th in earlier postings. With that said, the involved bands haven't plugged the show on Facebook as still being on the 13th, but we'll let you know more in this weekend's concert previews!
  • On their Facebook page last night, local "blue Chinese metal crash punk" quartet Sykotyk Rampage revealed the titles and irreverent cover artwork of this year's planned new "albums", and they are titled "Messa-Chords", "Alarm Alarm", "Strange", "Krazy", "Kock Block Rock", and "S.C.O.T.T." Odds are, these will again be free postings on their Reverbnation page, but fans of the crash will want to pay attention for when these go online, so stay tuned for more!
  • If you saw a Facebook page in recent weeks for a new local hardcore punk band named The Transjenners (obviously referencing Caitlyn Jenner), you're not alone, but that page was quietly deleted for unannounced reasons. I do not know who was in the band or anything on them beyond the name, but there was a comment on their page from a Facebook user who had saw them jam once. If they re-emerge, or if we hear more about them, we'll let you know!
  • Registration packages for next month's second annual VM Radio Battle of the Bands will be available to pick-up at The Rad Zone and Case's Music THIS FRIDAY, as per co-promoter J.D. Pearce on the Facebook event page yesterday! There are limited spots available for next month's four night event at The Canadian Nightclub, so if you haven't gotten your packages yet, get them starting on Friday! Remember, there is a $100 admission fee, but you'll get that money back (and more) if you sell even seven of the 10 ticket bundles that you'll get, so don't let that stop you! See the above links for full current details!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's Defunct Local Band Profile tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Curtis McKenzie Updates, New Videos, And Battle Of The Bands Profle Updates!!

Before we get into this post, I wanted to acknowledge (albeit late, my apologies) that last Wednesday's planned third installment of punk rock bingo at The New American Pub was cancelled due to inclement weather (ironic given the "die, winter, die" theme.) The punk rock bingos have been cursed a bit, given that three installments have now been called off, but hopefully things work out for next time, as it's a fun event! Had they played, Sam Decter's planned band would have been called "Sammy D & The Morlocks", and had teased a post-punk element in their set. Now, we have some new videos, recent updates, and first, the latest from a talented local frontman, so here's what you should know!

Project 421/Eclipse frontman Curtis McKenzie has been busy of late in terms of his solo material, so what's he been up to? As per his solo Facebook page last week, he has announced that he plans to finally release a debut solo album in August 2016, with more details to follow. It's not clear what form this release will take, but note that he has hinted at working with local bassist Jason Morbin in the past, and he once advertised musician searches for a planned band that wouldn't play metal or hard rock, though it's unclear if these are linked. Given the latter, we don't even know if this will be a release that fits our coverage, or when recording will begin, but stay tuned for more! Remember, some originals from his old band Haggith began with earlier bands of his, so you never know if some will re-appear as new solo tracks. On a larger scale, Curtis has thrown his hat into the ring for The Stone Temple Pilots' contest to find a new lead singer, so what should you know on that?

While this is arguably a long shot, Curtis registered on the Indaba Music-hosted contest where the platinum selling hard rock band hopes to find their new lead singer through. To that end, Curt posted an audio track of him singing "Plush" along with the backing track, and he sounds good, as fans of his bands should know! Voting hasn't opened yet, but hear Curtis' version of "Plush" at this link, and stay tuned for when voting opens, as imagine how cool it would be to see him do well in this contest to find The Stone Temple Pilots' new frontman!

Next up, here's some new videos that were uploaded to YouTube in the last few days, including this clip of 415E guitarist Chris Hubbard covering Van Halen's "Light Up The Sky", with him handling guitar, bass, and drums! Uploaded to his YouTube channel yesterday, this showcases the Sault Michigan standout's multi-instrumental skill nicely, with an accurate tone and strong performances (especially on the guitar, as you'd expect), so give his newest solo video a look below!

Also, here's a new video of Sault Ontario solo musician and Audiofumes podcast host Mike Cliffe covering Black Sabbath's "Into the Void"! Uploaded to his YouTube channel on Saturday, this has the now clean-shaven Mike covering this Sabbath classic nicely, if a little rough around the edges, complete with an extended intro where he talks about the song and how he's playing it. Not badly done at all, so check it out below, and check out Audiofumes for some strong local and out-of-town original material!

Finally for today, here's some more updates to our past Battle of the Bands Rewind profiles! I have restored photos to our profiles of 2008's Skid Row and Case's Music Battles, and 2009's YMCA & Kiss Battles, as the links for those photos went dead after SooToday's design & layout changes from last month, so we've restored them with their new links. In our profile of 2009's Algoma University Battle of the Bands, we added a reference in the trivia to how current local rap/metal band The Apocalypse Afterparty have taken on originals from "songwriter" Paul Stanghetta's older band The Fury, who finished second in that battle. And for our profile of 2012's Sault Humane Society Battle, I added a link to the official poster to give it a "Sources/More Info" section, as it didn't have one at all before, though it's event pages and sites have all been taken down since. That'll cover things for now, but stay tuned for updates of later battles in due course!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates as the week rolls along! Thanks everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Bon Jovi Forever), Assorted Recent News, And More!!

We're back with a new news post on this Friday night, so what's on tap? Mostly recent shorter updates to clear out, but we also have some updates to one of our battle of the bands profile features, and leading off, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for the spring, so here's what you should know!

If you've missed 1980s metal and hard rock tribute bands in the Soo, pay attention to The Rockstar Bar come Friday, May 6th, as Oshawa-based Bon Jovi tribute band Bon Jovi Forever will be rocking out that night! Announced by Martin Fiser on the venue's Facebook group last month, this will be the first local concert appearance on record for Bon Jovi Forever, but fans may recall seeing a different Southern Ontario-based Bon Jovi tribute (Keep the Faith) here twice at The Canadian in 2010. It's been a while, but if you're a Bon Jovi fan, you'd be hard pressed to miss their faithful interpretation of their classic hits, hair metal and modern era alike, on May 6th! No word yet on a cover charge or ticket fee for this show, but it'll be a 19+ event, and a 10:00 PM start time is likely. For more details, visit the above links, and stay tuned for more updates on this night full of Bon Jovi hits from Bon Jovi Forever!

Next up, here's six assorted shorter news items from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist, event, or venue name:

  • Sault Michigan nightclub & occasional concert venue The Back Door has re-opened under it's new ownership under a new name: Three One Three on Ashumn, obviously referencing it's address. After a year of renovations, the new bar returned on Wednesday in time for this year's I-500 pub crawl, and live bands are back for the new incarnation, with The London Gentlemen first up on Saturday. Great to hear, hopefully we hear more from Three One Three on Ashmun in short order, and click here for details on the "new" bar!
  • Ex-RedD Monkey frontman Steve Mozarowski is holding a second band roulette concert event on April 8th! The catch: it's in Toronto (where he's back living again) at The Black Swan Tavern, but the same theme of musicians being randomly drawn into impromptu bands for a battle of sorts is back for this sequel to August 2014's band roulette. Steve did note in a comment reply that he'll host another band roulette in the Sault down the road, but if you're in Toronto, keep this in mind for April!
  • In their most recent Facebook page update last month, local post-punk quartet Gnaeus confirmed that they've "been taking a little hiatus" while prepping for the release of their debut album "Loomings",  but they confirmed that "the songs are sounding amazing". Good to hear there's progress, but does this mean that they won't be defending their VM Radio Battle crown next month? Could you call their hiatus a "Gnaetus"? Stay tuned for more!
  • Just as a reference note, the fourth annual Marquee outdoor concert at Bon Soo did take place today at Mill Market for it's second straight year as a one-night event, but online advertising for today's events only listed two acts: a Taylor Swift tribute, and local DJ Michael Babcock. Whether more acts are scheduled isn't clear, but in any event, we haven't seen any plugs of involvement via local hard rock or punk bands. Hopefully tonight's festivities are a blast though!
  • Local alternative rock band Aldous will open for The Pixo Control at The Rockstar Bar next Saturday, as per the new official Facebook event page, which will mark the Nick Luck-fronted project's first show of 2016. Solid addition, and if you're not familiar with Aldous, prepare for a creative blend of sounds next weekend! For what it's worth, this show may be an evolution or replacement for the planned Valentine's Day-themed event from Project 421 members, possibly due to the family issue that has put their activities on hold. As well, the event page does not list Shit Creek Survivor as performing still, but we'll let you know if they're still playing!
  • The first confirmed band for next month's second annual VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian Nightclub will be local pop punk quartet Stereo North, as per the official Facebook event page yesterday! They competed in the second semifinal of last year's battle (in just their second concert), and while they didn't advance to the finals, they were part of an incredibly close semifinal that saw 8.5 points separate the first & fourth place bands. Can Stereo North improve on last year's showing? Stay tuned for more details on this huge battle as it rolls in!

Finally for today, here's some more updated to one of our past profiles in our Battle of the Bands Rewind Profile series to keep it updated and current, namely our profile of 2012's Sault Humane Society Battle of the Bands! There, we restored all photos, and updated references to the statuses of competing bands, mainly concerning Late & Loud's 2014 reunion gigs, The Bear Hunters' current status, and the inactive status of As It Stands, Wishbone, and T-Rex Manning. In the section on performers' later bands, we replaced the inactive Caveman Morrison, D3athcharg3r, Frightlight, Hydra's Teeth, Punch, and Saints & Serpents with six more current acts, namely Jon & His Friends (Late & Loud frontman Jon Tiberi's current Hamilton band), Mourning Wood, local classic rock band The Peace Vibe, Rattlesnake Hotel (Valentine's Day Massacre guitarist Andrew Angelic's current London band), Skeyes of Seven, and Stereo North. Finally, we added references on last March's two battles of the bands, namely The Bear Hunters' performances in each, and Stereo North's run in the VM Radio Battle.

Hopefully things are updated for that profile now, and we'll touch on later battles in an upcoming post, so stay tuned then, and for more news and notes in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Stiffler's Mom, Banned, Mourning Wood, And Tym Morrison), And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Before we get into our first weekend concert preview post of the month, we have a cancellation to mention, as local classic metal quintet Project 421 are not playing at The Rockstar Bar tomorrow night due to "a very serious family issue" that has came up for an unidentified band member. As a result, Paul Dellavedova's new blues band will replace them tomorrow night, and Project 421 are dropping out of "all commitments" for the time being, though tomorrow's planned show was the only upcoming gig that they had announced. Our thoughts are with the band at this time, and hopefully they're back in full force when the time is right!

Now, let's dive into our weekend concert previews, and all are SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, all courtesy of announcements in the last few days, but let's start in Sault Michigan, where Kinross classic/hard rock trio Banned have a busy weekend ahead, including a set TONIGHT during the winter pub crawl in the leadup to this year's International 500 snowmobile race (or I-500), which they'll follow with returns to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice on all of these, Banned only announced them on their Facebook page on Monday and this past Friday respectively. Though not announced by name, Banned are the "live music" at the tent at I-500 headquarters (984 West 4th Avenue) during the event's annual pub crawl, which will see pre-race festivities and drink specials at numerous local bars, so click here for full details on that side of things TONIGHT! Remember, Power Slug were in Banned's shoes for this event last year, so this isn't new territory.

As for TOMORROW & SATURDAY at the Soo Kewadin, the shows replace a planned road trip to the Christmas Kewadin this weekend for unannounced reasons, meaning Alex, Wayne, and Don will rock The Rapids Lounge for the second weekend in three weeks. Despite the late notice, Banned should be on their games for their varied & often heavy song selection this weekend! Each show has 9:00 PM start times (though the I-500 gig may be earlier), none have an announced cover (but be cognizant of potential I-500 button fees), and the Kewadin shows are 21+. Check above for more details, and here's Banned live last year!

Next up, Sault Ontario hard rock solo musician Tym Morrison announced his latest Gliss Steak & Seafood shows for TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY on Tuesday (apologies again for the short notice), so now that those are confirmed outside of his website, we'll add his other February concerts to our concert listings as usual! With that said, look for the former Caveman Morrison frontman at the Quality Inn's restaurant once again for Thursday through Saturday evening matinees on February 11th-13th, 18th-20th, and 25th-27th, so if you're up for some unplugged hard rock hits in a more intimate setting, keep these in mind as well! As usual for Tym's lengthy run at Gliss, these shows have 6:00 PM start times, no announced age limits, and no announced cover charges, but remember, this is a formal sit-down restaurant. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's Tym live a few years back!

Also this weekend, local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will return to The Esquire Club for shows TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Again, apologies for the short notice, the band only confirmed the dates via their Facebook event page yesterday, though there had been personal Facebook teases of a return to the venue (sans finite dates) beforehand. Just a week removed from Stiffler's Mom's Esquire Club debuts, these will be this talented veteran quartet's first shows at the Second Line West venue since July of last year, and consequently, their first there with their current four-piece lineup. The Esquire Club still isn't a common venue for our coverage, but it's definitely came up a fair amount in 2016 so far, and hopefully Terry, Steven, Paul, and Glen knock it out of the park with their prolific cover base TOMORROW and SATURDAY! There's no announced cover charges for these shows, which are 19+ and at 9:30 PM each. See above for more details, and here's Mourning Wood live at Toystock last fall!

Finally for today's concert preview post, local party/hard rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom will return to The Rockstar Bar for one night only THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Once again, apologies for the short notice, we only first heard about the show via the venue's Facebook group on Tuesday. A one nighter due to Friday's Project 421-turned-Paul Dellavedova concert, this will be Greg, Mike, and Jon's first show at The Algonquin Pub's upstairs venue since November, and come fresh off of their Esquire Club debuts last week. Their fun and upbeat blend of hard and classic rock covers should be welcomed back at The Rockstar Bar on Saturday, so don't bypass this popular trio's return this weekend! There's a 19+ age limit in effect for this concert, which has no announced cover charge (but have cash on hand just in case), and 10:00 PM start times are likely. For more details, visit the above links, and here's Stiffler's Mom live!

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Telephone & Address), Bear Hunters Updates, And New Videos!!

Before we get into today's post, here's a disappointing update for Pixo Control fans, as the local alternative hard rock trio are no longer playing at The Sheepdogs' concert at The Machine Shop on Tuesday. As announced on their Facebook page yesterday, they cited "a contractual mix up between the venue and the band's management" for the removal, which may bring back memories of Half A Man's exit from the Queensryche concert in Sault Michigan a few years back. Disappointing, but at least there's no bad blood, and look for them as fans at next week's show!

Now, today's news post features a pair of new video finds, and some updates on an upcoming local album, but first, here's another LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for the upcoming Fishbowl Festival of Community, Arts, and Culture at The Gore Street Cafe, as local acoustic punk solo project Telephone & Address will return to the downtown venue for a concert on Friday, February 26th! This will be the first show of the year from the Chris Shoust solo act, and it's good to see Chris back on stage, but might we see some teases of Telephone & Address' next announced albums then? The announced headliners are Sammy D & The Therapy, a new local band from Gore Street Cafe co-owner & Boxes of Boom mainman Sam Decter, who will be joined by Patrick Evans and Mikey S. (full last name unclear), who you may recognize as past hosts of the venue's open mic nights.  I don't know how The Therapy will sound, but they have a talented lineup, and might Patrick and Mikey be the "friends" joining Sam at TONIGHT'S punk rock bingo at The New A?

Like with the other two hard rock/punk-leaning concerts taking place so far at The Fishbowl Festival, admission will be $5 for the show in three weeks time (but you can get in free with the purchase of a $25 pass for all festival activities), there is an early start time of 7:00 PM, and thre's no announced age limit. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! It's great to see this ambitious arts festival's lineup expanding further, and hopefully this show adds to what should be a fun experience over the month of the Pisces, so check out full current details on this and other Fishbowl Festival events at the above links!

Next up, here's the latest from local death metal favourites The Bear Hunters, so what have they been up to so far in the new year? On their Facebook page last month, the guys revealed that recording sessions were ongoing at Mission Control Studios for their upcoming second album "The Dead Testament", with drums finished as of January 3rd, and rhythm guitar recording in progress as of January 19th. The Bear Hunters also gave some extra hints as to two new originals that will be heard first on the CD and have yet to be played live, noting that "For Glory" is a "thrashy war anthem" and the title track is "by far the most ambitious song we've done yet." Intriguing, we'll have to see how the final product sounds, especially with the expected higher quality recordings! In terms of when we might see the album, the band is not ruling out a late summer release date, but based on the language they've used, that sounds more like a best case scenario.

As for when we'll see them live next, guitarist Mitch Sirie had teased the band's involvement in the second annual VM Radio Battle of the Bands next month on the battle's Facebook event page, but that post was quietly deleted for unannounced reasons. If they are confirmed to be competing, we'll be sure to let you guys know, but the guys have been staying very busy since the fall, and I know fans are eagerly awaiting the finished album! Stay tuned for more from The Bear Hunters & "The Dead Testament" as it rolls in!

We'll close today with new videos, including the first of an intended monthly series from local alternative hard rock trio The Din! An official YouTube channel for the band was recently launched, presumably to continue distinguishing themselves from frontman Mike Haggith's solo work (hence why "Mike Haggith and..." was dropped from their name), and their first video on their new channel is a cover of The Foo Fighters' "Times Like These", the intended first installment of a "Cover of the Month" series there. Recorded in jam session style on a stationary camera, it's a solid rendition of a frequent live track, and fans should enjoy it, so check out The Din's Foos cover below, and stay tuned for more from their camp!

Finally, here's a video of local hard rock quartet Skeyes of Seven that I only just found the other day, courtesy of their most recent concert at The Algonquin Pub on June 5th of last year! Apologies for being so late with this, I'd have shared it then had I known! Filmed by Id Iota frontman Christian Lemay (who also played that gig) and shared on the band's Facebook page a few days later, it captures just 17 seconds of a song from that night, but it's well filmed and has good audio! Too bad Christian didn't post more, especially as this was their second and final show with John Mignacca on drums, but at least this much is online! Give it a look below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews next on the SMS! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (The Din), VM Radio Battle Of The Bands Details, And The Return Of Punk Rock Bingo!!

With some big recent news hitting our desk, I thought a second post was in order for today! Lying ahead, we have a SHORT NOTICE preview of a fan favourite event TOMORROW, the first public details on a big returning event for next month, and first, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month, so here's what you should know!

Local alternative/hard rock trio The Din (formerly Mike Haggith & The Din) and local pop punk quartet Stereo North will join forces for their first ever acoustic concert on Friday, March 4th at The Gore Street Cafe during the upcoming Fishbowl Festival of Community, Arts, and Culture! As previously hinted, this is the second announced hard rock-leaning show during this month-long arts festival at The Gore Street Cafe (joining this month's Like A Pisces show), and while the laundromat/venue isn't an exclusively acoustic location, this will mark a rare chance to see both The Din and Stereo North going unplugged, and it should be very interesting to hear how both do in this setting! An early 7:30 PM start time is in effect for this show, which has no announced age limit, and while there is a $5 cover charge, admission is free if you buy a $25 pass at the cafe for the whole festival, and click here for full details on the Fishbowl Festival's other announced events!

This should be an intriguing concert, especially for fans unfamiliar with The Din & Stereo North's softer sides, and it's a nice addition to the Fishbowl Festival schedule next month! Of course, if you want to hear The Din go unplugged, they performed their newer original "Hex" on the 7L podcast last month in an acoustic style, so give that a listen! Stay tuned for more on this show and the Fishbowl Festival, and click here for more on this concert!

Next up, the second annual VM Radio Battle of the Bands has officially been announced, so what should you know? Overall, it's structure is very similar to last year's, with The Canadian Nightclub hosting four nights of action scheduled for the first four Wednesdays in March, with semifinals planned for March 2nd, 9th, and 16th, and the finals taking place on March 23rd. Presented by VM Radio and Tidal Records once again (with additional sponsors including Case's Music, The Rad Zone, Labatt Breweries, Maxx Graphix, and The Canadian itself),  there will be at least 10 slots for bands this year, perhaps up to 12, but five are already reserved, and while no one has been officially announced yet, last year's runners-up The Bear Hunters have strongly indicated that they'll be competing again, which would mark their first live concert since October. Like last year, the registration fee is $100, but your packages will again include ten $15 ticket passes to sell, so you'll make your money back (plus) if you sell them all!

The event page notes that there will be multiple returning acts from last year, and while we await confirmation of competitors, note that Gnaeus (pictured) edged The Bear Hunters by two points to win last year's VM Radio Battle, Mannapool & The Apocalypse Afterparty were the other finalists, the other semifinal competitors were The Din, Honest Job, Infamous, Project 421, Stereo North, and the now-defunct Danger Cats & Haggith, and The Pixo Control played the first semifinal as a guest band out of competition. Other battle details, including individual prizes, time slots, judges, and more are to be revealed, but we'll definitely keep you posted when things are announced! It's great to see the VM Radio Battle back for a second year (third if you count 2013's very similar Rockstar Bar Battle), and it'll be very interesting to see the full lineup and details come in, but remember to sign up A.S.A.P. if you're in a band and are interested in competing, so message promoter J.D. Pearce (Johnny Pints) A.S.A.P. at this link or above for full details on how you can compete!

Remember, you WILL get the $100 entry fee back once you sell even 7 of the 10 ticket packages that you'll receive, so don't let the entry fee scare you! For prospective attendees, the admission fee hasn't been announced yet either for individual nights, but if last year's rates maintain, they'll be $5 a night for the three semifinals and $10 for the finals on March 23rd, so a $15 package for the full battle will save you $10 from buying for individual nights! 8:00 PM nightly start times are likely from last year as well, and this battle is 19+ once again. Visit this link for full details, and stay tuned for much more on this year's VM Radio Battle of the Bands as it rolls in!

Finally for today, here's a SHORT NOTICE alert for you punk and/or bingo fans, as Six, Two, Oh's third local installment of punk rock bingo goes down TOMORROW NIGHT at The New American Pub! Apologies for the short notice, promoters only announced it on the Facebook event page yesterday. Over a month removed from the last installment, this fan favourite union of punk rock and oddball prizes with bingo will return with a "Die, Winter, Die" theme, so attendees are encouraged to wear summer-themed and Hawaiian clothing for the occasion, which is fun! Like in December, there will be live music for a second time, this time courtesy of Boxes of Boom's Sam Decter and unannounced "friends", so while this won't be "punk", be prepared for some creative fusion originals, and perhaps a preview of his Like a Pisces involvement at the Fishbowl Festival? Admission is FREE at 9:00 PM TOMORROW NIGHT, and while bingo cards will cost, look for prizes ranging from CDs and movies to art and skateboard decks!

Though not a full punk concert like in December, this should be a fun event, despite the very late notice, so if you love bingo, punk, or a combination therein, be at The New A TOMORROW, and don't bypass Sam's music, he's very talented! Check the above links for more details, and stay tuned for weekend concert previews and more news shortly! Thanks everyone!

Where Are The New Albums? (February 2016 Update)

It's time for this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post, our monthly look at local metal, hard rock, or punk albums at are at least partially recorded, so fans can know their most recent whereabouts and when we might see them on sale! This month's installment features two new additions and three updated entries, so if you're looking for updates, look for albums with the title in italics as usual. Now, where are the new albums? Read on below to hopefully find out!
AlgomA's untitled split CDs with Chronobot and Hooded Menace

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

Rumoured Songs (C): Unknown

Rumoured Songs (H): Unknown

Background: In an interview with Vancouver webzine Not Your Scene on July 17th, 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 (who they've shared the stage with in the past), with confirmation coming last month that it'll be a 12'' vinyl exclusive to be released through AlgomA's label Dead Beat Media. Also last month, AlgomA announced on their Facebook page on Monday that they were planning to release a separate split with Finnish death/doom metal quartet Hooded Menace later this year, to be released by Doomentia Records with art by Paolo Girardi, though updates haven't followed on that disc.

Current Release Status: No idea for either, but seeing a local band actively working on two split CDs at once with out of town bands is encouraging! Things may be a ways off yet, but stay tuned as more comes in from either side of these planned splits!
The Apocalypse Afterparty - Bufflesnort

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 in August 2014 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. Though pubic updates have been sporadic as of late, the band announced in December that the title of the EP would be "Bufflesnort"

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 last year's Blood Shed Productions 11-way split album, but at last word, the EP itself is still in the works. Hopefully more comes out soon on it!
The Bear Hunters - The Dead Testament
Rumoured Songs: "The Void", "The Omen", "Neckbreaker", "I Fear No God", "Servitude", "Transcend Judgement", "For Glory", "The Wrath Of Angmar", "The Dying Den", "The Dead Testament", "Deception" (bonus rerecording), "The Forest of Forests" (bonus track)

Background: In tentative planning since 2014 under this title, local death metal quintet The Bear Hunters have been playing songs intended for their second full length CD for a few years now, but only fully began recording sessions for "The Dead Testament" on October 2nd. Following a brief fundraising campaign and the gradual unveiling of song titles, the band have been working with producer Dustin Jones at Mission Control Studios, and have shared sporadic updates on their Instagram page. Like on last year's "Eternal Hibernation", rhythm guitarist Josh Stephney is likely to record parts for the album despite living in Southern Ontario, but it's not yet clear on how bonus tracks will be handled.

Current Release Status: The band hasn't given any firm timetables for when to expect "The Dead Testament" in stores, but as of this writing, the band has finished drum recording and is currently in the midst of rhythm guitar tracking. The band is aiming for a more professional sound and release for their sophomore effort, but the band noted on their Facebook page that if things stay this productive, a release in the late summer may be possible. Keep an eye out for updates!
Caroline Divine's debut album

Rumoured Songs: "Caroline Divine", "Looking For A Fight"

Background: After prior teases of recording sessions and the search for a spot to record, personal Facebook pages from members of newer local glam/power pop trio Caroline Divine have confirmed that they are indeed working on their debut album. The guys took the fall off from concerts presumably due to studio work, but greater details on the track listing, release formats, and so forth have yet to be made. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more!

Current Release Status: No idea yet, especially as the band hasn't shown their cards yet concerning album progress, but follow the band to see when/if they announce anything!
Crucify The Whore - The Beautiful Sounds of Nature

Rumoured Songs: "Don Q", "#1 Women's Rights Activist...", "It Is What It Is", "Banana Blast Beats"

Background: On their Facebook page in December, local goregrind solo project Crucify The Whore announced that their second full length release "The Beautiful Sounds of Nature" was in the works, with four songs from the planned disc already being posted on label Blood Shed Productions' YouTube channel. Presumably being recorded similarly to "Welcome To Earth", this release will apparently be about 40 minutes long, and will contain 20 tracks (which isn't a typo, C.T.W. originals are often very short.)

Current Release Status: The current target date for "The Beautiful Sounds of Nature" to be released is on March 10th, with copies being on sale for $5, so we'll have to see if that holds! Given the nature of Blood Shed releases, I'd have to imagine they have a good idea of what to do, but stay tuned for updates as they come 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 7 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". Good art takes time, and knowing Gates of Winter's talent and attention to detail, they won't want to 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: The most recent indication on Gnaeus' Facebook page mention that they hope "Loomings" will be out for Christmas, which has obviously came and went, but the band did note that and tracking was winding down as of October 20th. Gnaeus have been reasonably quiet online regarding album progress, with the band even confirming a hiatus from public activities last month while they prep for the release, but postings sound positive otherwise, so hopefully things stay on track!
Long Shot's debut EP

Rumoured Songs: "Long Goodbye", "El Camino", "Double Take"

Background: After prior teases of writing original material, local hard rock quartet Long Shot revealed on their Facebook page on January 11th that they were almost done mastering their debut EP. Public updates hadn't preceded the announcement, but Long Shot had posted live demos of three original songs onto their Reverbnation page last fall, and have played these originals and more live since.

Current Release Status: Other than the reveal of EP sessions almost being finished, I have no idea when this might come out, and with the band's members not being familiar sights from prior bands, we have nothing to compare it to. Long Shot have shown skill and maturity since their debut though, and fingers crossed things come along so we can see a release!
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 in November 2014 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 or twice in 2015 and haven't made any public statements regarding the album since 2014. If we hear any updates from their camp, we'll be sure to let you know!
Skeyes of Seven's debut EP

Rumoured Songs: "Enough", "See The Truth", "Fallen Faith", "Destination Unknown", "No One Cares"

Background: Already no strangers to the studio after recording their songs "Fallen Faith" and "Enough" as single in each of the last two years, local modern hard rock quartet Skeyes of Seven hit the studio to record their debut EP last year, though only publically confirmed that an EP was in the works last month on their Facebook page. Sessions are ongoing locally at Deluca Sound Productions, who have shared videos of band members tracking material for the EP. At this stage, it's not entirely clear on whether the band will include the older singles in any form, but ex-drummer John Mignacca did record tracks for the release before moving to Sudbury last year.

Current Release Status: No idea yet, but as of January 17th, Skeyes of Seven had only one more song to record before sending the tracks to be mixed & mastered. Hopefully this can see a release at some point, as Skeyes of Seven have arguably been more active in studio than in concert since their 2012 formation, so follow along to see where things go for their debut EP!
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 last 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 that "Monster" would be pressed last fall, which has came & went, and it's not clear if a release is coming soon or not. 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! Our next feature post, barring a sudden new CD review, will come one week from tomorrow courtesy of this month's Defunct Local Band Profile, so look for that then, and for more news and concert previews next! Thanks everyone!