Monday, July 7, 2014

Meet The Local Punk Bands!! Part 2

Today at the SMS, we have our second of three posts to "introduce" active non-hardcore punk bands to our expanded coverage, and if you missed it, check out our post on The Billy Bastards, The Northern Tragedy, Redundant, and Treble Charger at this link! Today, we have an accomplished recent punk quartet, a newer addition to the local scene, and a talented veteran outfit that debuted last fall (as presented below in alphabetical order), but to round things out, we're also noting a local punk band that's now defunct, but were planned for this post before we heard. Now, here's what you need to know!

Next to be rolled into the SMS is local/Toronto celtic punk quartet Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide, who merge 2 members each of two very different local bands into their own entertaining animal! Active since 2007, they have carved out a very good reputation through numerous concerts in Ontario and beyond on the strength of lots of Canadian tour runs and original material. Led by former Inner City Surfers frontman Dustin Jones, he's joined by Boot Hill Crooners/Wild Turkeys bandmates (and brothers) Sheldon & Marshall Jaaskelainen on string instruments & stand up bass, as well as Dustin's longtime Surfers bandmate Mikey Hawdon (The Fairmounts, Lion Ride, etc.) on drums, while the band previously featured Dan O'Shea (Redefined) and Frank McCormick on drums in the late 2000s. One of the most recently accomplished local punk bands, Dustin and The Tide (who are signed to Dustin's local independent label Tidal Records) have played on two different Vans Warped Tours, received numerous accolades from known musicians, and have shared the stage with bands like The Saigon Hookers, The Salads, and Magenta Lane, among others.

With 3 CDs (a self-titled disc, "Whiskey Will Be Our Sun", and "Dancing Our Demons Away") under their belts, local fans last saw DJRT at The Rockstar Bar in December, but they just wrapped up a lengthy tour with 3 Barrie shows, and more dates are sure to come. Though far from a traditional punk band, Dustin and The Rising Tide have a nice blend of punk themes and Celtic sounds that very much sets them apart, and their sound is definitely great to have drinks to! Hopefully I can get copies of their albums, but stay tuned for more from this band & Tidal Records as 2014 rolls along! Check out more at their website, and on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and MySpace, and here's the music video for their song "Alright"!

Also in new punk band additions, we'll now be covering Gnaeus, a new post-punk/garage rock quartet that just launched in February! One of many local music projects affiliated with the Ears & Eyes collective, their lineup includes former Station frontman Aaron Alessandrini alongside bassist Matt Fronzi, drummer Brendan Garlick, and keyboardist/guitarist Matt Irwin. Named after a Latin given name and term for a birthmark, Gnaeus made their live debut at The Roadhouse Bar & Grill on June 13th, and followed that with a set at the Lopstock all ages festival at LopLops Lounge two weeks later. I have yet to find a video of Gnaeus live, but their first studio original "Lovers" can be heard at their Soundcloud page, and while not a fast & furious track, Aaron's vocals have a slight edge to them and are a bit deeper than expected, and the guys have a good melodic sound that definitely borrows from the garage side of their genre descriptions (plus, I like the imagery on their online logos and art!) There's still some unknowns for them, but we'll keep you posted as we hear more! Follow Gnaeus on Facebook & Twitter to stay in the loop! 

Lastly for new active band additions is one that we'll be covering going forward, but I can't add them to our links because I don't think they have an online page yet. They are Northwest (formerly written as two words), an alternative/indie punk quintet that debuted on the local scene last fall, and have made occasional concert appearances in the months since! Debuting with a second place run at last November's Viva La Battle at The Canadian Nightclub, Northwest's lineup features Small Town Rivals bandmates Wayne Watkins on vocals & guitar, Mike Smykacz on bass, and Clint Wilson on drums, alongside guitarists & former Terminal bandmates Greg Callaghan (also a local solo artist) and Mike Yakasovich. Recently working on a debut digital EP, Northwest (who also have Tidal Records affiliations) have been seen in both full band & acoustic settings since their debut, including appearances at Coch's Corner and at Searchmont's Slopefest competition, with more dates likely to follow once their EP's recording sessions wrap up.

Possibly considered all-local successors to The Small Town Rivals, Northwest reminded me of Wayne's old band Nebraska Arms in many ways, their veteran skill and catchy rhythms have served them well since their launch, and though getting at least a Facebook page would help their exposure, they've got a solid thing going for fans of indie punk! We'll let you guys know when big news from Northwest comes out, and here they are at The Canadian last fall playing their original "I Got You"!

Finally for today, I wanted to address the status of a local punk band that you may have heard about in recent months, and were planned for this post, but I don't believe they're currently active. The band in question is Fist Fighting Stephen Hawking, a punk cover quartet that you may remember from The Marquee at Bon Soo and at the last Thursday nighter at The Roosevelt Hotel in February. Their lineup featured Frightlight alumni Jeff De Rose on vocals & Rick White on guitar alongside Northwest's Clint Wilson on bass and ex-As It Stands guitarist Ryan McLaughlin on drums, a lineup that uniquely featured four musicians with drumming backgrounds. Their Facebook page was recently deleted, which likely points to the band's dissolution, and though I believe it followed a member departure, I'm unsure if that was a reason for their ultimate end. Disappointing to hear that, as they had promise from their early 2014 gigs, as you can see in these two videos from Rick's YouTube channel, both courtesy of a filmer at their Heavy Thursday set in February!

One video has covers of Lagwagon's "Mr. Coffee" & The Offspring's "All I Want", while the video below features covers of AFI's "A Single Second" and Guttermouth's "Baker's Dozen", and while the songs can be a bit sloppy at times, this was early in their run (so we thought), and there's a fun punk spirit to this set! Lively and intense, it'd have been interesting to see where Fist Fighting Stephen Hawking would have went locally! Check out the full video below, and best of luck to the guys in the future!

I hope you guys liked this second feature post to formally welcome punk bands to the site! Our third and final one for active bands will come this week as well, and it will feature the aforementioned Small Town Rivals, along with Brad Example & The Role Models, The Fury (yes, they're coming back), and The Wing-Its. Once that's done, we'll begin featuring defunct and inactive punk bands to add them to our links, so look out for all of that soon, plus news and concert previews! Thanks everyone!

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