Sunday, July 13, 2014

Meet The (Inactive) Local Punk Bands!! Part 1

After a few days to cover some news, our features on punk bands to roll into our coverage return today, as we're now rolling in punk bands from the Sault area that are defunct, or have been inactive for a full year! Note that we're not including the numerous punk bands without surviving (and substantial) online pages/media, as most are missing readily sourceable information unless they have a lot of local news media press and album releases, and I want everything linked on the site to go to a useful location. I know many popular & talented examples that won't fit these features, but I guarantee we'll cover many pageless old bands in various formats in the coming months, so stay tuned!

We'll start our defunct punk band roll-out with bands who have Facebook pages, and work our way to other sites from there, so we'll start in alphabetical order with Sault Ontario alternative punk quintet Brain Tuel! Active from 2001-2009 (though members have updated their Facebook page since), Brain Tuel's lineup featured singer, keyboardist, & current solo musician Jeff Jonusaitis alongside guitarists Andrew Pothier & Zach Reid, bassist Mark Schildroth, and drummer Marc-Andre Parent. Releasing three demos in the mid-2000s ("Adeline Ave.", "Black & White" and the acoustic "Stuck in Small Places"), Brain Tuel were among the more locally prominent young punk bands in the mid-late 2000s, which saw them open for the likes of Faber Drive, The Imports, and The Johnsons, and play at numerous varied venues, most recently an unplugged show at the former Arcadia Coffeehouse in May 2009. Brain Tuel's mix of standard punk rock with indie influences served them well in the 2000s, and I remember them having a fun live presence with nice melodic singing and good, to-the-point songwriting!

With members living in different locations now, a reunion looks unlikely at the moment, but check out Brain Tuel's Facebook, MySpace, PureVolume, BandSpace, and YouTube pages for lots of media and information on their run, and here's the band playing their song "Here's Lookin' At You, Kid" at The Oddfellows Hall circa 2005!

Next to add are defunct local garage/punk duo The Fever Tops, who might be best known as the predecessors to frontman Michael Mikus' current alternative hard rock band The Pixo Control! Active for just 9 months last year, The Fever Tops featured Michael alongside former These Sins of Time drummer Mitchell Harris, and you may remember them from scattered appearances at Superior Heights Collegiate, last year's Art In The Park event, and sets opening for Devon Coyote at Cafe Natura both near the end of their run in September, and in a one-off reunion/farewell set three months ago. Though succeeded by the heavier and fuller sounding Pixo Control, the newer band has taken on some earlier Fever Tops originals into their sets, such as "Land of the Moles". Michael's YouTube channel features three Fever Tops demos, and they are reminscent of Michaels' other recent original work, but with more of a minimalistic garage rock feel that does retain many punk influences, with Mitch showcasing solid drum ability!

I'd say The Pixo Control are a more complete version of Michael's musical scope, but check out more of his first band above, and here's their Black Keys cover at their farewell show at Cafe Natura in April!

Also "new" to the site is For July, a screamo & pop punk band that was active in Sault Ontario from at least 2008-2011. The flagship band for defunct local record label idioRECORDS, their lineup featured label founder Dave Hunter on vocals & guitar alongside guitarist Jordan Latour and As It Stands alum Ryan McLaughlin (most recently of Fist Fighting Stephen Hawking) on drums, with their vacant bassist position never publically filled. Peak activity for For July seemed to occur in their initial year, with optimistic band biographies, a handful of studio recorded originals, and what appear to be early album plans, but I don't recall For July ever playing a public concert, and updates from 2009 and later are very hard to source. I'll admit that For July's sound isn't my cup of tea, but Dave and company seemed to have a good thing going with this project, with good production, a high energy, and melodic hooks, and it'd be interesting to see For July resurrected!

If you like pop punk with hardcore and emo influences, or bands like Saosin or Senses Fail, For July's surviving original material might be worth checking out, so give them a look at their Facebook, MySpace, Reverbnation, and Unsigned, and here's their MySpace promo video featuring many assorted clips from recording and jam sessions early in their run!

Finally for today's punk band additions are inactive local/Toronto punk quartet The Inner City Surfers, who were easily one of the most successful local punk bands of the 2000s! Launched in 1999, their lineup continually featured Rising Tide bandmates Dustin Jones on lead vocals & guitar, and Mikey Hawdon on drums alongside Role Models bandmates Dave Bahun on lead guitar and Brad "Example" Lacell on bass, merging musicians of four different backgrounds into a skilled and entertaining package that fans will recognize from many major concerts here and out of town through the end of 2012! Saultites may remember The Surfers from sets opening for the likes of Jackyl, Treble Charger, Strung Out, and Matthew Good, alongside numerous packed headlining shows, and tour dates across Canada at their mid-late 2000s peak. The guys have released at least three albums (a self titled demo in 2000, "Laughing on the Outside" in 2002, and a later self-titled CD in 2007), with copies of the latter readily available on online stores like iTunes, though all 3 albums appear to be online too.

Easily likable from their fun, recognizably Ontario punk rock sound, The Inner City Surfers could provide both a laid back fun sound and a more aggressive old school punk sound without missing a beat, but that's easy to expect with a band with such talented and experienced members! I'm sure a reunion show could happen at a drop of a hat, but it's still surprising that they haven't played live in a year & a half. Check out more from The Surfers at their Facebook, MySpace, and CBC Music pages, and here's their music video for their song "What A Life"!

I hope you guys liked our first defunct punk band "introductions"! Our second defunct punk band feature this week will feature two punk bands with primary pages on Reverbnation (The Scary Uncles and OBCD), and we'll add two more from another social media portal to be determined. In the meantime, look for a new news post tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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