Saturday, January 31, 2015

SweetKenny - "Amazonian" CD Review!!

Let's close January 2015 with our first monthly CD review of the year, and 67th total at The Sault Metal Scene! This month, we're looking at Dafter, Michigan solo hard rock musician Kenneth "SweetKenny" Sutton's 10th solo album "Amazonian", which we chose over his brand new release "Slobber" for our next review of his due to it being slightly heavier. Released on October 31st of last year, "Amazonian" was the third solo album that SweetKenny released in 2014, and like his past releases, it was recorded at Waterfall Records in Dafter over the preceding months. "Amazonian" is self-described as a "heavy rock, vocal, instrumental, high energy, fun album", and like most of his past and later releases, it features Ken on vocals & all instruments. You can buy "Amazonian" for $9.99 on iTunes and/or CDBaby, or for $12 on Bandcamp, and while the full album can be streamed for free via his website, please support his work by buying this album!

Featuring 11 songs (including six instrumentals) clocking in at over 63 minutes in length, with each song linked to it's Bandcamp copy, let's begin our fourth review of a SweetKenny album with the first song, "Look At Life"! Starting with a high energy opening with all instruments in play, this song has a bluesy undercurrent while maintaining a heavy and busy sound from almost start to finish. The first instrumental song on "Amazonian", this song's composition strikes me as overstuffed, but it's well performed, Ken does bust out a solid guitar solo, and it does hold your attention well! Second is "It Just Is", which is a slower paced and more deliberate number. The first song on the album with vocals, Ken breaks out grittier and deeper vocals here, but they mostly lack his usual Elvis-esque melody, and sound too much like he's holding something back. I like the cleaner structure, but the song doesn't have the enthusiasm of "Look At Life", and it is more by-the-numbers.

The lengthy instrumental "Mustang" is third on the album, and it immediately kicks off with a catchy chugging guitar riff and strong bass while shifting to a blues rock sound. Never getting to a speedy pace, "Mustang" has a catchier rhythm and stronger compositon than the first instrumental, and though it never feels repetitive, it does feel a bit too long, and probably could have been tightened up if shortened. Though not as enthusiastic, it's a stronger overall song to showcase Ken's instrumental talents, especially on freestyle guitar! Fourth is "Arm of God", which Ken says is "about things to come." The religious themes don't take away from the song's tone, being the heaviest so far on "Amazonian", including gruff and emotion-filled vocals and strong riffing. At the same time, the heavy composition lacks melody during any stretch with vocals, but given the themes, it is obviously a more serious song. Still, it's an improvement on "It Just Is"!

Fifth is "Bullet", a solid instrumental that is the best showcase yet for his freestyle guitar work, which goes along well with a better paced song structure that doesn't get muddled or repetitive! His guitar soloing, though a little simplistic compared to earlier songs, flows nicely with the overall song, My only real gripe is that "Bullet" (an odd title given the pacing) doesn't have a real ending, instead fading out slowly for the last minute, but it's definitely the best instrumental so far on "Amazonian"! "Crud" is next, and though it runs for 4:30, it is surprisingly the album's shortest song. Keeping with the steady song improvement by the album's middle, this is the best song with vocals yet on the CD, marrying his hard rock freestyle sound with melodic vocals, to good effect, though Ken's singing is oddly low in the mix. Quality guitar solos can also be found in this catchy number, which has the bluesy aggressiveness that SweetKenny specializes in, and it's definitely a highlight track!

Next up is the title track "Amazonian", which opens with jungle and animal sound effects to fit the title, but it's otherwise an instrumental. Keeping with the album's upward trend, this tops "Bullet" for vocal-less tracks on the album, harbouring even more of the melodic blues/hard rock that SweetKenny has done so well, while maintaining a fast pace and a fun spirit! The guitar soloing isn't a focal point, and the song doesn't have a jungle vibe outside of the opening effects, but this has the best complete band sound yet on this album, including a fun drum beat at the end, and it's a must listen!

Song #8 is "It's Up To You", which Ken said is "about you taking steps in faith." The spiritual themes are effective, but the song itself is a regression from the gradually rising entertainment level of the preceding songs, instead pacing itself at a level more appropriate to the lyrical content. Though still a rock song with a good composition, "It's Up To You" has more of a deliberate "talk to the listener" theme that works for the message, but is musically a drop off from the preceding tracks. Then we have the relatively short "Time in a Box", which is also not quite at the level of the title track, but it has it's moments! The lead guitar has an odd dreamlike tone to it on this instrumental, and it does seem to be a bit jumbled between energized and darker tones, especially late. The slow fade out at the end is again too drawn out, but this is a good instrumental that explores some different sounds!

The last song with vocals is "Show Me Why", which ends the sung half of "Amazonian" on a strong note with a more upbeat though impassioned song that makes good use of Ken' vocal range, though it does have moments of repetition. The guitar work is effective and melodic, though not overly heavy, and the ending spoken word plea about freedom adds a little extra punch! The album closes with it's longest song, the free flowing instrumental "Can It Be (Guitar Confusion)". Opening with sounds of a helicopter taking off, this is a consistently good song that makes use of Ken's freestyle guitar work, though it's not groundbreaking from what we've already heard on "Amazonian". Like on "Mustang", this song could stand to be shortened despite little repetition, but it makes use of Ken's multi-instrumental talents nicely, and is a solid capper for SweetKenny fans new and old!

So, what are my final thoughts on SweetKenny's 10th solo album? Overall, "Amazonian" continues the consistency in tone and style for existing fans of his material, but it can be uneven at times Compared to our last reviewed album of his (last spring's "Ink!"), "Amazonian" does have more of a focus on instrumental songs, is much longer, and harbours more serious themes and messages. That's not to say that it isn't a strong release, especially with the middle tracks, which seem to slowly improve and get more entertaining and varied, but they are bookended with more serious and reserved material, often with long fade-outs at the end. Ken's talents as a musician are clear throughout though, but I'd have liked to have seen more of the freewheeling Sykotyk Rampage-esque enthusiasm on more tracks. "Crud" and the title song are clear highlights, but fans of SweetKenny's will be right at home throughout, especially in the middle! Buy "Amazonian" and more of his prolific discography above!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming up next month? I honestly have no idea as of this writing, but you can get previews of albums that may be on the horizon in our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Monday, as any album included in that monthly feature (and more) could be next! The exceptions would be anything from a band who we reviewed in the preceding six months, as I don't want to be perceived as showing a bias for or against anyone, so if Telephone & Address or The Bear Hunters release anything next month, they would be held until at least March or June respectively. On the same token, a new SweetKenny review won't make it to the site until at least July due to the 6 month buffer period, but a review of "Slobber" or a possible summer 2015 release is likely for then! And yes, Blood Shed fans, I am aware of the 11-way split release plans, I'll keep an eye on that. Stay tuned over the next month for more on our next CD review, and for much more next month! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 30, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood), Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

In what may be our last non-feature post of January 2015, we're tackling previews of this weekend's hard rock concerts today, including SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, but we're capping things with some overdue album news from a talented lo-fi solo project in the area, so here's what you should know!

Sault Ontario classic/hard rock trio Mourning Wood will return to the stage TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT for headlining concerts at The Rednecks Saloon! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced these shows via their Facebook event page on Tuesday. Last seen at Reggie's West two weeks ago, the guys are giving extra hype to this weekend's shows at the former Nicolet Tavern (their first of the year there), as members are now over cold bugs that impaired them at their earlier gigs this year. It's great to hear that Terry, Steven, and T.J. are back to normal all around, so get ready for classic and hard rock covers all weekend on Albert Street West TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! There's no announced cover charges for this weekend, you must be 19 to attend either night, and there are 10:00 PM start times in effect. For more details, visit the above links, and here are the guys at Toystock last fall!

Moving to previously announced shows, local hard rock solo musician Tym Morrison will continue his regular run of shows at The Harp Bar & Grill by hosting and playing at their weekly jam night TONIGHT! The last of his January bookings at the former Madison's Pub (though we fully expect February show announcements to come on Facebook next week), this is a one nighter with no Saturday solo gig due to The Harp's broadcast of UFC 183 tomorrow night, so if you want to see Tym this weekend, be sure to be there TONIGHT, not tomorrow! One night or not, the longtime Caveman Morrison frontman should deliver a solid night of hard rocking covers all night at The Harp, so don't miss out! There's no announced cover charge tomorrow, you must be 19 to attend, and everything should start at 10:00 PM. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and here's Tym covering Journey live at The Harp!

Lastly for known hard rock shows in the Sault area this weekend, we'll head south to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino, where Sault Michigan hard rock cover trio Power Slug are scheduled to play their first gigs of 2015 TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Also playing in St. Ignace for the first time since 2013 (barring any unannounced shows last year), this popular and talented trio featuring Chris Leask, Chris Gurnoe, and Bob Helsten will surely be ready for a full weekend of hard rocking covers for their fans to chug a mug along with! Just for the sake of clarity, I've seen no Facebook updates plugging these shows from available sources related to the band, but we'll treat these shows as on unless indicated otherwise. Power Slug will be on at 9:00 PM tonight & tomorrow, both have 21+ age limits, and neither has an announced cover charge. Check the above links for more details, and here are the guys covering Thin Lizzy!

Finally for today, here's some long overdue updates from local punk/grunge solo project Telephone & Address, who remain hard at work on new studio material! While we await the release of their new album "Rust Orchid", project leader Chris Shoust revealed four weeks ago that their songs "Sunrise" and "Like An Abstract Poem" will be on that album, though both were uploaded to their Soundcloud page a year ago. I won't review the songs yet, as we do expect to review "Rust Orchid" in full on the site this year, but they do confirm the announced change in sound for this album, moving from the bass & drum sound of "Need Not Apply" to experimental rock instrumentals (and no word on if the older song "In Reverse" will also be included, but it's also tagged as "experimental".) This isn't all for Chris' album plans for this project, as Telephone & Address are also working on a compilation album for release this year, so what should you know on that?

To be called "The Early Tapes", it will compile selected songs from their first four albums (2011's self-titled album & 2012's "Live", "No. 3", and "Broken Head"), with the first revealed song being an instrumental named "The Plumbers", original album unclear. For reference sake, "The Early Tapes" will not supercede "Rust Orchid" in CD review priority for the SMS, as we always place original albums over compilations, but keep an eye out for both next year, and check the above links to hear the new/old songs!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review and more over the weekend! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Battle Of The Bands Cancellation, Banned & Brutally Fatal Updates, And Much More!!

Before we likely cap off the month with weekend concert previews and our next CD review, here's some news for this Wednesday afternoon! Along with a new video from a talented regional band, the latest from a rising young death metal project, and much more, we'll lead off with some disappointing news regarding an upcoming concert event, so here's what you should know!

The Twin City Sounds Battle of the Bands scheduled for February 20th at The Rednecks Saloon has officially been postponed. Co-promoter & judge Terry Eaton revealed on the Facebook event page on Monday that they're postponing the battle due to the event's proximity to the VM Radio Battle at The Canadian, which begins just under two weeks later on March 4th, saying that "two battles around the same time just doesn't work for anyone." Bands that registered to compete in next month's battle will be able to get their entry fees back by contacting Terry or Steven Flint on Facebook, so if you registered to play, message them A.S.A.P.! This is disappointing, especially as it's the second Sault Ontario battle in four months to be called off (following November's scrapped Rock For Dimes battle), but it's officially just postponed, so hopefully we see a rescheduled date for later in the year! Also, remember that while an official band lineup wasn't announced for next month, there are a few bands who had signed up to compete in both battles, so be sure to see them in March!

I'll note as well that VM Radio Battle promoter J.D. Pearce had suggested that the winning band of each battle should face off in a head to head finals after the fact, and that'd be cool to see brought up again when the first battle is rescheduled! Stay tuned for updates on both when we hear them!

Next up, here's a new video from Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock standouts Banned, as per their YouTube channel on Monday! Their first uploaded video in four months, this is of the guys covering Fall Out Boy's "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up)" earlier this month at The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino. Filmed by Eric Cairns at Third Cinema Productions (who's filmed them in the past), this is a well filmed and performed cover, though Alex Traynor's vocal range doesn't hold up on the falsettos. I'm not a huge Fall Out Boy fan, but Banned's skill helps a lot on this performance! Also, for reference, the band is playing as a trio here with Wayne Lawrence on bass, so the recent photos of the band as a quartet in Engadine likely indicate that Jim Pentland was only back as a guest that night. Check out Banned's new video below, and stay tuned for more from them!

Also, here's the latest updates from Sault Ontario death metal duo Brutally Fatal, all from their Facebook page over the past month, and our apologies for the delay! Three weeks ago, the band revealed the cover for their first demo EP with their current lineup and name spelling, which will be called "The D.P.E.P.", though we won't share it here due to potentially offensive content. No word on what the title stands for, but an NSFW story about the concept can be read at this link. Austin & Tyler have been working in studio on "The D.P.E.P." this month, even revealing 25 potential song titles for new originals on Saturday, including such eclectic titles as "Ocean of Blood" & "Bulgarian Beetles". The first song for the EP was uploaded to their new Bandcamp page and the Blood Shed Productions YouTube channel last week, and it's entitled "Stomp Your Feet", so how does it sound?

Sonically similar to Tyler Gibson's other duo project Rotopsy's song "Cops 'N Moms", this song is a short death metal number with repetitive shouted lyrics (largely of the song's title), though there is some late growling vocals too. It's consistently heavy and engaging for Blood Shed loyalists, but we'll have to see how the rest of the songs evolve. We won't embed the full YouTube video here due to the cover art being included, but stream the full song at this link, and stay tuned for more from Brutally Fatal & the Blood Shed!

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

  • According to their official Facebook page, Sault Michigan nightclub and occasional concert venue The Back Door (which was recently sold to new owners) re-opened for an "encore presentation" of their usual Friday night party last week, and will apparently be permanently re-opened soon under their new management. Great news for regulars, but will bands be a part of the new owners' plans? We'll let you guys know if we hear anything!
  • Sault Ontario music store Music Depot's Facebook page revealed on Sunday that they are "temporarily closed" and hope to be back soon. This announcement follows rumours of the Gore Street store's closure in December, though there were later assurances that Music Depot was just sold to new owners. Hopefully the temporary closure is just that, as I know many musicians enjoy going there, and we'll let you know when/if it re-opens!
  • The fifth annual Sewer Swampstravaganza all ages concert will indeed move from The Oddfellows Hall for this year, as it will apparently be held at The Canadian Nightclub for this year's installment on May 9th. A reason for the venue change wasn't announced, but The Canadian is a quality location, and hopefully there's a great turnout this year! Our source is promoter Steve Mozarowski on the Facebook event page yesterday, and stay tuned for more on the lineup!

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: The Cola Heads

Hey guys, it's now time for this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile, but we have a change in band to start the year. We originally planned to profile newer Toronto sludge metal band Larval Host (featuring RedD Monkey's Joe Bumbacco) today, but in all honesty, I can't do their profile justice at this point due to some needed biography information and no known public media of their songs. It'd be very incomplete if we looked at them now, so I've opted to postpone their profile in this series until we can write a fuller, more complete profile of them, but they won't be forgotten! In their place, I've chosen another Toronto band with a local member to spotlight for SMS readers this month (hence the day's delay), so read on below for what you should know this time around!
The Cola Heads (Toronto, Ontario)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED; ex-members in italics. This lineup information may be incomplete. Let us know if you have any additions or corrections!)

Julian Swift Phillips (vocals/guitar)
Liam Jaeger (guitar/originally drums)
Curtis Faux (bass)
Hank Richards (drums)

Wesley Dixon (bass)
Nick Sewell (bass)

Official Facebook page:
Official Bandcamp page:
Official Twitter page:
Official YouTube channel:

Local Info: The Cola Heads' only local member is bassist Curtis Faux, who is definitely a known commodity from bands back in the day and Toronto-area punk and metal projects! Local fans may best know him from his extensive band work with current Destroilet vocalist Brenton Ellis in bands like Maximum RNR, Detroit, The Labour Of..., and The Sexual Vigilantes, most recently being seen in the Soo at last month's Detroit reunion concert, though all have played here at least once with them in the fold. Aside from the above bands, Curtis is staying active in separate projects like The Cola Heads and thrash metallers Chainbreaker, so don't miss out on his bands! 

Band Bio: Originally launched by Julian Swift, Liam Jaeger, and Wesley Dixon in 1997 when they were around 14 years old, The Cola Heads made some waves in the Toronto area opening for bands like The Vapids before falling inactive for well over a decade, with members focusing on other projects through the 2000s. In 2012, Julian's older brother Nick Sewell suggested that The Cola Heads should reform, which they did that June. The band quickly released a self-titled demo of older material the following January, and quickly re-integrated themselves into the Southern Ontario concert scenes. In the past two+ years, The Cola Heads have opened for the likes of The Nailheads, Guttermouth, and The Saigon Hookers, while recording more original material, and finalizing their current quartet lineup, with Curtis Faux joining circa early 2014. Still hard at work with new concerts, look for more from The Cola Heads in the coming months!

The Cola Heads' skate punk sound harbours a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and compared to Jules & Curtis' past work together in The Labour Of..., this band will arguably be more up punk fans' alleys in general, and I myself like them a lot more! Strong edgy vocals, catchy riffs, and good chemistry populated both their recent shows and what I've seen from 1997, though they've considerably improved their stage presence in the years since their debut. You don't see too many bands reunite after 15 or so years apart (one offs aside), but The Cola Heads have made it work, and Curtis fits in nicely in their current lineup too! It'd be interesting to see him bring the band north to the Soo, and give The Cola Heads a listen for some strong punk rock!

The above links feature videos and audio from The Cola Heads, including their full 2013 demo, while there's plenty of other videos of theirs on YouTube to check out, including videos from at least two 1997 concerts of theirs, and plenty on guitarist Liam Jaeger's own YouTube channel, like this video of their current lineup playing two songs at The Bovine Sex Club last fall, so give it a look below, and check out much more from The Cola Heads at the above links!

I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! Next month in this series, we'll stay in the realm of Toronto punk for 2015 with a look at The Tight Ship, a new age punk band featuring Sault Ste. Marie native Valerie Calam on drums! Look for that on or around February 26th, and stay tuned for more news and notes this week! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The New Tuned Episode, Blood Shed Productions Updates, And Much More!!

We're back with a new news post on this Sunday morning, so what's on tap today? Assorted shorter recent news items, a new song from a talented local musician that has a lot of personal meaning, the lastest updates from a local label, and leading off, a popular webseries' newest installment, so here's what you need to know!

The newest episode of Local2's ongoing music spotlight webseries Tuned with Donna Hopper was posted on Wednesday, so what should you know on it? The lead story features Donna interviewing Treble Charger frontman Greig Nori on his relocation of his recording studio from Toronto to The Machine Shop at Mill Square, which you may have read about on SooToday earlier this month. Featuring part of an acoustic rendition of their song "American Psycho", the interview features Greig discussing how he got involved with Mill Square and Algoma University for his studio's move home, plans for new concerts & recordings that he'll help bring to The Machine Shop, and his optimism for the development plans at Mill Square. I won't spoil the contents of the interview, but he genuinely seems very excited about what's going down! He also plugged Treble Charger's own concert at Bon Soo on February 6th, which Donna also mentioned in the concert calendar segment.

The episode closes with footage of Chris Johns' set at LopLops last month during their 12 Musicians of Christmas event, and as usual, bloopers during the credits. Another strong episode, and while there's still a lot to be revealed about Greig's local studio and his work with The Machine Shop, we should know more once things open in the spring! We'll keep you posted, and check out the full new Tuned episode at this link! Remember, Local2's video host doesn't allow external embedding.

Next up, here's the latest from local independent metal/rap label Blood Shed Productions, who have been hard at work in recent weeks! The track listing for their upcoming 11-way split CD is now available to check out on local goregrind duo Rotopsy's Facebook page, and it features 28 songs (remember, many of the featured bands specialize in very short songs.) You can see the full track listing at this link (we won't embed it here due to some potentially offensive song titles), but 18 of the 28 songs are from local artists, none are featured on more than 3 tracks, and two bands (The Apocalypse Afterparty and Britain's Peppermint Green) are only included once each. This split album is ambitious to be sure, but we'll surely hear more come next month's release party! Rotopsy bassist/label owner Tyler Gibson has also revealed some big news from his own solo project Crucify The Whore, so what should you know from their camp?

In the past week via their Facebook page, Tyler has revealed that C.T.W. are working on a planned split release of some kind with North Bay grindcore band Scrotox (more on that is coming in March), and that he's working on a mini-tour for C.T.W. & Rotopsy this summer (that may include American dates.) He also teased a second Dank Fest concert, which would be a sequel to last April's 10+ band all ages show at The Oddfellows Hall. There's more afoot from the Blood Shed, but the guys are definitely busy and aren't even close to done, so follow along at the above links!

Also today, here's a new solo song from Skeyes of Seven frontman Cory Murchison, though it has a very personal connection. The first upload on his YouTube channel since Sense of Truth's live debut six years ago, it's of an original song named "Just A Fiction", which Cory wrote about his dad's struggle with depression after suffering a stroke last year., and how attention should be brought to depression and mental illness. The video features scrolling text about the song's origin before transitioning to a slideshow of photos of him and his dad, plus other relevant pictures to the song's message, ending with how his dad is doing now. It's a a dark but soft song that has an Alice In Chains feel to it at times, but above all else, it does bring attention to depression, which Cory has had to witness first hand, and it's worth watching on that basis especially! Give it a look below!

Finally for today, here's three more assorted shorter updates from the last little while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by event, venue, or company name:

  • Edmonton garage rock band The Archaics (who played locally last summer) and pageless newer local metal trio Them are new confirmations for the second annual Das Bunkerfest, to be held at "Das Bunker" over the August 28th weekend. Solid choices, and stay tuned for fuller information on each day's full band schedule! Remember, we'll know the address "when we need to." Our source for the above info is the Facebook event page.
  • After a month's hiatus to undergo renovations, local concert venue LopLops Lounge re-opened on Friday, so fans and regulars should be excited to hear that news! Our source is the venue's Facebook page. No word yet on the next hard rock or punk bookings for LopLops, but we'll let you know when we hear anything!
  • New local internet radio network VM Radio (who recently launched a permanent sixth feed for electronic music, VM Bounce) have pledged to donate $1 to the Algoma Residential Community Hospice (or ARCH) for every person that likes their Facebook page, up to a $5,000 maximum. That's a great idea for a great cause, but VM Radio are only past halfway, so like them above, listen to VM Rocks, and click here for more details on the campaign!

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Ten Kings), Scarkazm Concert Previews, And The Return Of The Swampstravaganza!!

Our second post of the day is half devoted to Sault Michigan-area concerts (including LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for the next few months and the last of this weekend's own concert previews), and half devoted to the return of an annual Sault Ontario concert event! Here's what you should know, and check out this weekend's Sault Ontario hard rock concert previews in the post below this one!

New Sault Michigan hard rock quartet Ten Kings will make their live concert debuts on Friday, February 27th & Saturday, February 28th at The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino, which they'll follow with their debuts at St. Ignace's Kewadin Casino at The Northern Pines Lounge on March 13th & 14th! Though not yet acknowledged on Kewadin's own entertainment page, the February gigs replace ones originally scheduled for local classic rockers Ricochet (who've since removed them from their Facebook page), and the March gigs originally belonged to local indie rockers The London Gentlemen, who haven't acknowledged them that I've seen. Remember, Ten Kings are the new band from Nixxon Dixxon alum Brandon Carr, Bottom Line bandmates Joe Jenkins & Will Storey, and Scofflaw alum Barney Gravelle, which is a very promising lineup!

There's no cover charges for these 21+ concerts, and all have likely 9:00 PM start times. For more details, visit the official Facebook event pages at the links here & here! It's great to see Ten Kings get some shows booked, and hopefully they can hit Nixxon Dixxon & Scofflaw-esque heights in the E.U.P.! Stay tuned for more from them as it comes in!

Next up, here's our last known hard rock concert previews for this weekend, as Traverse City metal trio Scarkazm will hit the Eastern Upper Peninsula for the first time in 2015 for shows TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT at the aforementioned Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino! Some of you may have seen members Adam Crawford & Jeff Hudson earlier this month with Peril, but these will be Scarkazm's first St. Ignace stops since April, so if you've missed their hard hitting originals and covers in the past so many months, don't miss out on their St. Ignace returns this weekend! As usual for Scarkazm shows in our neck of the woods, there are 9:00 PM start times in effect, 21+ age limits, and no announced cover charges. For more details, visit the above links, don't miss Scarkazm's 2015 E.U.P. debut TONIGHT & TOMORROW, and here's Scarkazm covering Alice In Chains!

Finally, here's some exciting news, as there will indeed be a 5th annual Sewer Swampstravaganza this year, but there are changes afoot too! As revealed on the Facebook event page, the annual Steve Mozarowski-promoted all ages concert (which traditionally has at least 9 different acts) will be held during the same timeframe as last year, placing it on Saturday, May 9th rather than moving to a different month like it had in the past. That's helpful for establishing it as an annual event, and hopefully people remember that date! As well, the event page suggests that the location is to be announced, which suggests that this year's Swampfest may not be at The Oddfellows Hall, which hosted the first 4 installments. This could be exciting if a different quality venue is booked, but it would be odd to see a Swampstravaganza held somewhere else. We'll keep you guys posted when more is announced! No bands have been officially confirmed yet either, but who might we see?

Event page posts by band members suggest that 2014 performers The Bear Hunters (the only band that played each of the first 4 Swampfests), Haggith, Mike Haggith solo, The Revolution, and DJ Seith are all interested in playing again, as is rapper Mikey Thomas (who would be playing for the first time if added), so fans of last year's show should like the early interest! For reference, last year's other local performers included Sykotyk Rampage, Rotopsy, ex-RedD Monkey cellist Pete Mozarowski, Rihkee Strap from Ye Olde Mold Pickers, This Is Your Band On Drugs, and an open mic performer block (no word on if that will return), while The Northern Tragedy, James Watterworth, Guy Smith, Conika, and The North Shore are active artists that played in 2012 or 2013. As well, this event is not opposed to out of town bands, as seen by 2013 headliners Warsenal and last year's set from Aggressive Acoustic, so I wouldn't be overly shocked if we see an out of town band once again come May 9th.

It's great to see Steve (alongside Sykotyk Rampage guitarist Dirk Becker once again) bring the Swampstravaganza back for a fifth year, and I'm very curious to see who all is signed on to play this year! If the last 4 years are any indication, there will be bands wall to wall from afternoon until well into the night, so stay tuned for updates on the lineup, admission charges, and more as everything comes in! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes this weekend! Thanks everyone!

This Weekend's Sault Ontario Hard Rock Concert Previews!!

A strong weekend of concerts is upon us, so let's get most of the weekend's hard rock concert previews up this morning, and apologies for not having these on the site yesterday! We'll split our previews up a bit to spread them out, so as a result, our previews of the Scarkazm shows in St. Ignace (and any potential late notice announcements) will come in a second post later today, so look out for all of that this afternoon, in all likelihood! Now, here's what you should know for shows in Sault Ontario TONIGHT & TOMORROW!

We'll start our previews at The Rockstar Bar, where three prominent local hard rock bands will take the stage TONIGHT for the first time in 2015! Headlining at 12:40 AM are local classic metal quartet Project 421, who will be taking the stage for the first time since Sault Band-O-Rama 3 months ago and their hard hitting covers should go over well once again! Bassist Daniel Horton's other active band Haggith will also take the stage tonight at 11:35 PM, in what will be their first show since The Bear Hunters' CD release party in November, and just their second with new bassist Jordan Leach.  With plenty of new songs from upcoming albums to showcase, don't miss Haggith's first set of the year either tonight! Local all-female hard rock quartet The Danger Cats will open tonight at 10:30 PM in their first show since September, and it's great to see the girls back at it with their improving blend of covers & originals, so don't be late as they roar back to the stage!

Promoted by Haggith frontman Curtis McKenzie, this show has a 19+ age limit, 10:30 PM start time, and $7 door charge, but you can get in for $5 with an advance ticket, which you could/can get through band members. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! I'm unsure if I can go yet, but it's great to see all three bands hitting the stage once again to kick off a new year, so check the above links for more info, and don't miss out TONIGHT! For a preview, here's Project 421 live last year!

We'll touch on this weekend's other Rockstar Bar show in a bit, though we'll now head down to The Rednecks Saloon, where local classic/hard rock quartet Havadder will return for a full weekend of action TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Coming two weeks after their most recent gig at the aforementioned Rockstar Bar, this talented veteran cover band (who finally confirmed the returns of Travis Sharpe & Scott McLurg to their lineup on their Facebook page in the past week) should be raring to have at 'er once again with their up-tempo and often heavy selection of classic songs, so don't miss Havadder at the former Nicolet Tavern this weekend! There is no announced cover charge for tonight or tomorrow, you must be 19 to attend, and there's a 10:00 PM start time in effect. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and here's the guys at The Rednecks Saloon late last year!

Also this weekend, longtime Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison will bring his acoustic solo concerts back to The Harp Bar & Grill TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Continuing his year+ long run of (generally) weekly concerts at the former Madison's Pub, this will be Tym's last double run of shows over a weekend until February due to next Saturday's UFC PPV broadcast, so if you like his usual solo shows on Saturdays (in addition to TONIGHT'S hosted jam night), be at The Harp TOMORROW! You can take in Tym's entertaining and extensive list of covers both tonight & tomorrow at 10:00 PM, there's no announced cover charge, and you must be 19 to attend. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and here's Tym live at the former Bossy's Pub & Grub a few years back!

Finally for now, we'll come full circle back to The Rockstar Bar, where local alternative/hard rock cover quartet Lucky 13 will return for one night only TOMORROW NIGHT! A one nighter due to tonight's aforementioned Project 421/Haggith concert, this show was announced via the venue's Facebook group earlier this week, but has since been confirmed by the band on their official Facebook event page, marking their first update through their own Facebook page since October. Regardless, this will be this popular veteran act's first show at The Rockstar Bar of the year, and come fresh off of their Rednecks Saloon gigs last weekend. Their gritty and entertaining sound should come across nicely TOMORROW, so don't miss out! There's a 19+ age limit, 10:00 PM start time, and no announced cover charge in effect, so see above for more details, and here's the guys at Toystock!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for our Scarkazm previews and more later today! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

YouTube Channel Profile Series: 9 Pounds Of Brownies & Despisedeyes

Before we dive into this weekend's concert previews, here's this month's YouTube Channel Profiles, as we kick off a new year for our monthly feature series on randomly selected YouTube channels featuring at least 50% of their videos containing a local metal, hard rock, or punk band/concert relevance! This month's installment features two bands once again, as the first channel that we randomly selected only had two distinct types of videos that fit our coverage, so we added a channel with only one video to full it out. With that said, there's some entertaining videos from both sides of the border to check out, so read on below for this month's profiles!
9 pounds of brownies (

Owner: YouTube user Jacob Cross, formerly of the Charlevoix, Michigan-area metal band 9 Pounds of Brownies

Channel Timeline: Launched on September 21st, 2008; Videos posted from May 2009 until May 2010

Channel Summary: Though intended as an official YouTube channel for his inactive Charlevoix band 9 Pounds of Brownies (with four videos of them featured from shows in 2009 & 2010), Jacob's channel largely features videos from the Ace Frehley-headlined concert at The Dreammaker's Theatre at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino on November 13th, 2009. These include 6 videos from his set, and two from openers 16 Second Stare's set.

Why You Should Watch: Fans of Ace Frehley, Kiss, 16 Second Stare, or this show in general should want to check out Jacob's channel for arguably the largest active source of videos from that concert, and he had a good view of the action! The 9 Pounds of Brownies videos, though not local to the Sault area, do have merit as well for some rising young Northern Michigan musicians, so give them a look as well to see what you think! However, note that Jacob has not visibly updated his channel in over 4 years.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

fox on the run ace frehley @ kewadin 11/13/09: Jacob's six videos from original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley's local concert include him playing his original "Outer Space", and covering Kiss' own "Shout It Out Loud" & "Parasite", Hello's "New York Groove", Black Sabbath's "Snowblind" (in two parts, linked here & here), and as embedded below, Sweet's "Fox On The Run", which has a channel-high total of over 1,700 views. These clips suffer from staticy audio in general, and most aren't of the full songs, but Jacob had a nice close view of Ace, and you'll still notice strong performances!

16 second stare fire in the hole @ kewadin 11/13/09: Jacob's other videos from the Ace Frehley concert were of his openers, Florida hard rock quintet 16 Second Stare, who brought an energetic nu-metal sound to the Soo on this November night over 5 years ago! Their filmed videos were of their originals "Eargazm" and (as embedded below) "Fire In The Hole", and while the audio quality is as patchy as on the Ace videos, Jacob got more diverse camera angles that focused more on each member of the band. If you like modern rock and nu-metal, you should find something to like from 16 Second Stare!

Despisedeyes' Channel (

Owner: An original member of defunct Sault Ontario metal band Despised Eyes (identity unclear), though the channel is credited to the band as a whole

Channel Timeline: Launched on November 4th, 2008; Only video uploaded that day

Channel Summary: The only uploaded video on Despised Eyes' channel was the music video for their song "I'm Myself", which is about being yourself no matter what others may think. Featuring jam session footage and action from a road hockey game, it's well edited but suffers from it's converter program being a trial version, as evidenced by the recurring watermark. Despised Eyes were a work in progress that never played live before falling inactive by 2011, and frontman Mathew Vincent's vocals are shaky and unrefined, but this song showed some promise that members Mike Vincent & Adam Brett realized more fully with their successor band Skull After Betrayl. Note however that Despised Eyes have not visibly updated their channel since this video's upload, but you can hear five more audio demos from this time period at their MySpace page.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! So, what's coming next month in this series? Believe it or not, we'll be looking at two channels again for a third straight month, as the first channel that we randomly selected only has one video total, so we randomly chose one more with only 2 distinct video types to fill it out. With that said, we'll be looking at YouTube user Scott98633225's channel (featuring an audio recording from the mid-1990s local punk band BK), and one of inactive local hardcore punk/classical trio RedD Monkey's channels (featuring most of the songs from their 2 released albums), so look out for all of that on or around February 22nd! That's all for now, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews either tonight or tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Benighted), Pixo Control Updates, And Much More!!

I hope everyone's having a great Tuesday! Keeping with our recent steady output, today's news post includes new material from two linked projects, the latest from a promising young band, and more assorted updates, but first, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for March! (Edited on Wednesday at 2:05 AM)

A long teased death metal concert is now official, as French death/grind quintet Benighted will headline at The Oddfellows Hall on Saturday, March 7th (and by French, I mean from France, which is very cool in and of itself!) A favourite of promoter Tyler St. Amour, Benighted's brutal and intense death metal sound should be more than welcomed to Sault Ontario in the midst of their first Canadian tour, so be sure not to miss this show if you live death metal & grindcore! They'll be joined by Montreal theatrical death metal quintet Bookakee, who are known for wearing costumes, using props, and enacting sketches during their sets of technical & progressive death metal, and they have to be seen to be believed, so make sure to see them in March! They're scheduled for 11:00 & 10:00 PM respectively, while the top local support slot will go to local death metal favourites The Bear Hunters in their first announced show since November's CD release party, and they'll be on at 9:00 PM.

Very fitting choice, and they should brutalize on March 7th! The only other currently announced local band will be goregrind solo project Crucify The Whore (in their second announced show of 2015) at 6:30 PM, and while The Revolution have expressed interest in playing, the other three local band slots have yet to be confirmed. The first concert from Heavy North Entertainment in over 4 months, admission will be $7 in advance (starting on February 1st) or $12 at the door, the first band will be on at 5:30 PM, and this is ALL AGES! For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! This sounds like it will be a great concert for death metal fans, so be sure to stay tuned for updates as they come in!

Next up, here's the latest from young local alternative/hard rock trio The Pixo Control, who will be making a big appearance on a new local webseries soon! The show is called Bare, and it's a VM Radio-produced series where local musicians will perform in a stripped down acoustic fashion (a'la MTV Unplugged), with multiple cameras filming all of the action. A preview photo is shared of the set on VM Radio's Facebook page, but it's not from The Pixo Control's episode. Other details on Bare are forthcoming (including on what sites to watch it on), but we'll let you know when more comes out. Either way, it sounds like a fun series, and I'm curious to see who else plays on Bare! Also, a review of their most recent concert (at Cafe Natura on December 30th) is now online via the local music & arts website Ears & Eyes, as written by contributor Shane Erickson (a.k.a. DJ Seith), and it's fairly in depth on all of the bands that night, so what should you know?

Along with remarks on the reunited Frasiers and Great Chamberlain (who featured The Pixo Control's Michael Mikus and The Fever Tops' Mitch Harris), he praised local post punk quartet Gnaeus' energy, openness, and their "hard-charging alternative rock sound", while enthusiastically praising Michael's stage presence and intensity when discussing The Pixo Control, who debuted a new song named "Alphabetical Order" that night. I won't spoil the rest, but Shane is well spoken in the interview, so give it a look at this link or above, and read more from Ears & Eyes too, it's a great site!

Also today, here's the latest from Telephone & Address frontman Chris Shoust's other two active bands, those being his duo projects The Red & Black and Orange! They both now have new media on their respective Soundcloud pages, with Orange's page now featuring 10 new "Sunday Sessions" recordings posted last week (bringing them to 14 total), all continuing their diverse punk/rockabilly instrumental sound! The Red & Black's new Soundcloud page features 7 original songs, including 4 previously heard on their Bandcamp page, and three new songs named "Sing or Move On", "Stay at Home in Bed", and "This is All That Matters". Their new songs are effective yet lo-fi like before, and fans of Chris & Damian's past collective work should enjoy the songs! It should be noted that The Red & Black's Soundcloud page implies that their 7 songs will comprise their portion of the hinted split album with Orange, but it's not clear yet which Orange songs will be included, or if this album will get a paid public release in some form.

Chris' projects have been very prolific in terms of media in the last few months, so we'll have to see what comes next from them! Stay tuned for more updates, and yes, we have more from Telephone & Address themselves as well, so keep an eye out!

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

  • Apolcaypse Afterparty "songwriter" Paul Stanghetta (a.k.a. Puablos Stancu) is looking for "chicks with bass & an amp", presumably to join the band, which does follow earlier hints that they were looking to expand their lineup with female members. If you're a female bassist and are interested in joining this unique rap/metal project, message Paul at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from Tuesday!
  • We've moved local death metal band Social Suicide to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity, having not posted on their Facebook page since January 5th, 2014. Active since 2011, this band was led by the aforementioned Tyler St. Amour, and underwent many member & sound changes, but house parties aside, never played a public show or released any media. Best of luck to surviving members in the future, and don't miss Tyler & fellow Social Suicide alum Anthony Boudreau in the newer metal band Them!
  • Only 5 registration forms for the VM Radio Battle of The Bands at The Canadian Nightclub in March are available to whoever wants to pick them up and enter, rather than just bands who reserved spots, so if you want in and/or had a reserved spot, head down to The Rad Zone A.S.A.P. to get your forms! Once completed and sent in with your $100 entry fee (which you get back by selling your ticket packages), you're in for the battle! Our source is promoter J.D. Pearce on the Facebook event page today.

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more in the coming days, including this weekend's concert previews & more! Thanks everyone!

Monday, January 19, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Sandman, Havadder, And Lucky 13), And A Black Metal Musician Search!!

Let's get back to news and updates on this Monday afternoon, so what's in store for this post? A local drummer's musician search, and leading off, LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for THIS WEEKEND and in March, so here's what you need to know!

Local classic hard rock cover quartet Havadder will return to The Rednecks Saloon for solo headlining concerts THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHT! Announced yesterday via the official Facebook event page (nice to see some more advance notice!), these will be Jason, Jamie, Travis, and Scott's first shows at the former Nicolet Tavern since their early December weekend there, so if you haven't been at The Rockstar Bar in the past month for their entertaining and often heavy cover attack, you know where to be this weekend! As they like to say, "if you haven't, you should, because if you don't, you didn't!" You can by coming to The Rednecks Saloon Friday or Saturday at 10:00 PM, both shows have no announced cover charge, and both have age limits of 19 or older. For more details, visit the above links, and stay tuned for our preview of these shows later this week!

Also this weekend (and with some advance notice), we'll see local alternative/hard rock cover veterans Lucky 13 rocking The Rockstar Bar THIS SATURDAY! Our source is a post by The Rockstar Bar's Martin Fiser on the venue's Facebook group earlier today. A one night only event due to Friday's Project 421-headlined concert, this will be this popular cover quartet's first show at The Algonquin Hotel's upstairs bar in 2015, and will come fresh off of their Rednecks Saloon gigs this past weekend. Ed, Jeremey, Jeff, and Roger have more than proven their talents and chemistry since debuting in 2012, so expect a great night of diverse covers and lots of aggressive material on Saturday night! There is also a 19+ age limit and 10:00 PM start time, and while The Rockstar Bar has had more no cover weekends lately, bring $5 or so just in case. For more details, visit the above links, and stay tuned for more in the next few days!

Finally for new concert announcements, here's something for you Metallica fans out there, as Toronto-based Metallica tribute band Sandman will make their long awaited return to Sault Ontario on Friday, March 20th at The Rockstar Bar! Referred to on their pages as "Canada's Tribute To Metallica", this talented group was last seen in the Soo in June 2008 at The Canadian Nightclub, a show that has a personal sentimental attachment as it was the first 19+ concert that I ever attended. I have no idea why it's taken Sandman almost 7 years to return to Sault Ste. Marie, but it's great to see them back! It's also worth noting that frontman Rick Van Dyk and bassist Paul Fonseca were members of Helix in the late 2000s, and played locally at least once with them, so there's another notable connection! This 19+ concert will likely have a 10:00 PM start time, and it's not clear yet whether there will be a door charge or advance ticket sales. For more details, visit The Rockstar Bar's Facebook group linked above, and keep posted for more details!

Finally for today, we have a local musician search that aspiring black metal musicians out there might want to look into. In the past week, I've been contacted by Sevriz (real name not published on request), a young local black metal drummer that would like to jam with other musicians, presumably towards forming a full local black metal band. To facilitate the search, he's even posted a classified ad on Kijiji and a YouTube video to promote it. His criteria is very definite, so to sum it up, he's looking for serious dedicated black metal musicians with time for a band, and that are willing to contribute where needed, but read the Kijiji ad for all of Sevriz's preferred criteria. The preferred age range would be 16-20, roughly. The YouTube video (uploaded to his channel on January 9th) sums up the search, as set to music by the black metal project Xasthur.

Not counting blackened death metal, we haven't seen much from full black metal projects in the Soo in recent memory, and though Woods of Ypres come to mind first, their post-2008 work was mostly doom metal. If Sevriz can get a full black metal band going, that'd be a nice change of pace, and I know fans that would welcome it, so check out his wanted ad at the above links and his YouTube video below, and message him at if you're serious about trying out!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes this week! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Last Month's Poll Results & Our New Poll!!

Hey guys, it's now time to shut down last month's poll and launch our new poll! As you may remember, last month's poll posed this question to you guys: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk CD of 2014? We scored a solid 37 votes over the past month for the poll, which is pretty good for the site, so thanks to everyone for voting, but which new local album "won"? Here are the final results!

Jack Spades - The First (10 votes, 27%)
AlgomA - Reclaimed By The Forest (8 votes, 22%)
The Bear Hunters - Eternal Hibernation (6 votes, 16%)
The Northern Tragedy - Home Ice (3 votes, 8%)
Telephone & Address - Need Not Apply (2 votes, 5¼%)
Crucify The Whore - Welcome To Earth (2 votes, 5¼%)
Shit Liver - Shit Liver (2 votes, 5¼%)
Mike Haggith - A Place Of Our Own (2 votes, 5¼%)
This Is Your Band On Drugs - This Is Your Band On Drugs (1 vote, 3%)
Other (1 vote, 3%)
Habitat Shuffle - Sober Drift (0 votes)
Northwest - Northwest (0 votes)
Rotopsy - Rotopsy (0 votes)
Any of SweetKenny's 2014 albums (0 votes)

What do you guys think? In ascending order, I'm not overly surprised with the selections that got no votes, based on their release methods and SweetKenny being from the Sault Michigan area, but I did assume some would get at least one vote. I can't speak for the "Other" voter (perhaps they meant the low profile Bad Back demos?), while it's good to see This Is Your Band On Drugs attract some attention! The albums that got 2 votes aren't too surprising (aside from Shit Liver, who I thought would be much higher), while The Northern Tragedy's three vote finish is a pleasant surprise, especially given their recent hiatus! The top 3 were personally predicted to be that high (albeit alongside Shit Liver), and while I didn't exactly know how the order would break down, Jack Spades' debut EP "The First" outpaced AlgomA & The Bear Hunters' CDs with 10 votes and 27% of the final total. Strong finish for an entertaining debut disc from this popular punk/metal quintet, and we'll have to see how their teased split with Destroilet shakes down this year!

Thanks to everyone for voting! As for this month's poll, we're continuing with our "favourite _____ of 2014" polls by posing this question once again: What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk band of 2014? As always, there's new local bands that debut each year, and we once again saw a strong number of new bands and new blood to help keep the scenes going into the mid-2010s, but which one did you guys like the most? As usual for our annual poll on this question (which welcomes full punk bands for the first time), bands must have both publically launched and played their first public live concert in the 2014 calendar year to be included among the choices. Bands that launched in 2013 or earlier but only began playing live in 2014 aren't included, which does exclude bands like This Is Your Band On Drugs, but you can vote for "Other" if you wish to vote for them! Also excluded are bands that only played private gigs, high school events, or open mic nights, bands that have yet to play live at all, and one-off projects, but again, you do have "Other"!

Also, for the sake of clarity, The Pixo Control aren't a choice because they launched publically in December 2013, so they fell just short of fitting the poll, as they're technically part of the 2013 rookie class. Great young band though, so stay tuned for more on them soon, and remember, you can vote for them with "Other"! Now, we have 13 choices (and "Other") to choose between, so read on below for your choices in this month's poll on your favourite new bands from last year!

The Apocalypse Afterparty: Since their debut at the private Das Bunkerfest in August, this masked local rap/metal duo (and their Smokin' Heroines) have been delivering "a fresh new noise" to the stage, including at a Toronto show this fall, and at September's IDNS concert. Featuring RedD Monkey & Fury alumni as "songwriters", they have lots of big plans ahead, but were they your top new band of 2014?

The Bottom Line: A short lived Sault Michigan hard rock band that was only active from April through July, fans may recognize The Bottom Line from sets at last year's LemmaFest & the Music & Art Dockside Festival, before abruptly dissolving due to bassist Jack Slater's college commitments. Though succeeded by Full Throttle & Ten Kings, were The Bottom Line's 2 shows enough to warrant your vote?

The Elements: Debuting at the first Heavy Thursday at the former Roosevelt Hotel in February, this newer funk/hard rock quartet have accomplished a lot since, including opening for Random Killing, rocking Hempfest in Moonbeam, and joining the cause at Rock For Dimes last fall! Featuring Side FX, Jack Spades, Redundant, and Changing Waves alumni, have The Elements impressed you the most of 2014's new heavier bands?

Exiled: The newest hard rock cover band from Absolute alumni Donny Newell & Justin Lawless, Rudyard hard rock quintet Exiled have been making their name in the Sault Michigan area since debuting this summer, including at established bars and motorcycle clubs alike! Also featuring Division of Sanity & Bottom Line alumni, have Exiled made you a fan more than the rest of last year's rookie crop?

Fist Fighting Stephen Hawking: Featuring Fitswitch, As It Stands, Late Shift, and Frightlight alumni (all of which being local drummers too), fans may recognize this promising punk quartet from sets at the Bon Soo Marquee and at one of the last Heavy Thursdays at The Rosie before abruptly falling inactive in the spring. Despite only playing live in February, F.F.S.H. had a good thing going, but did you like them the most?

Full Throttle: Not to be confused with the 2012-2013 Sault Michigan band of the same name (though both featured Ryan Kitzmiller & George Belleau), the second version of Full Throttle launched in July to succeed the disbanded Bottom Line, but they only played a handful of shows before disbanding themselves in the fall, though Joe Jenkins & Will Storey are now in Ten Kings. Still, were Full Throttle (version 2.0) your favourite?

Gnaeus: A young post-punk quartet with a garage rock sensibility, Gnaeus have been carving their own path since debuting last spring, including high profile sets at The Emergency Festival and Lopstock, and the December 30th show at Cafe Natura, along with original recording sessions. These guys have been doing their thing very well in the past year, but have Gnaeus appealed to you more than the rest in 2014:?

Highway 63: Essentially the successors to Jager/Monkey's Uncle and Sir Charge, Highway 63 is the newest classic/hard rock cover band from veteran local musician Henry Switzer, as joined by his son Nathan, longtime bandmate Ron Suchey, and Power Slug's Chris Leask. Launching in March before fully beginning their local concert run in the fall, the guys have impressed fans in the Sault Michigan area, but are you among them?

Infamous: You may remember this newer young hard rock band featuring Lizzie Pearson, Anthony Boudreau, and Damon King from their set at Sault Band-O-Rama at the Primavera Hall in November (and from once being scheduled for Rock For Dimes), but we haven't heard a lot from them since. Lizzie & Damon have also been playing as an acoustic duo named Deviant, but if you saw Infamous, did you like them the most last year?

Long Shot: Active since at least January, this hard rock cover band have largely played special events and unfamiliar venues since their launch, most recently at the Eagles' Club in Heyden in September. The Dawe brothers, Nathan, and Jeremy haven't been heard from publically since, and hopefully all's well, but are Long Shot your favourite new heavier or punk band from last year in the Sault area?

Mourning Wood: Launching this summer, this newer classic/hard rock cover trio features Asylum Country's Terry Eaton & T.J. Case alongside Beaumont Avenue's Steven Flint. Playing at numerous bars over the past few months (including bringing hard rock back to Reggie's West, the former Rosie), this frequently seen band shows no signs of slowing down, but are they your #1 new band of 2014?

The Revolution: Originally the second version of Brutally Fatal, this Austin McCrae-led doom/punk trio have survived numerous lineup changes since launching in February, but have opened for Anciients, Archelon, and Endast, rocked the Sewer Swampstravaganza, and began recording a debut EP over the past year! With new bassist Jordan Leach in tow, the guys have been plans for 2015, but did you like them more than other new bands?

Them: Coming just under the wire for this poll via their set at the Blood Shed Productions Boxing Day house party (whose address was publically advertised), Them have been active since at least February, apparently play a variety of genres, and their lineup features Bring The Misery alum Tyler St. Amour, ex-Revolution bassist Rainey Vincent, and Infamous' Anthony Boudreau on drums. We don't know much else, but did you like them the most last year?

Other: Is your favourite new band somehow not listed? Did you like a new band that wasn't from the metal, hard rock, or punk genres the most? How about a band that only played live for the first time this year, only played private or one-off gigs, or is studio only? Maybe you even liked a band from Soo Band Roulette the most? If for any reason, your favourite new local band of 2014 isn't a choice here, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until February 18th to cast your votes, and it will be very interesting to see what band wins this month! I will emphasize once again though, please don't launch online campaigns to rack up the votes for a specific band, as I want to see fair results. This isn't a popularity contest. Thanks everyone, and stay tuned for more news soon!