Saturday, March 18, 2017

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

It's now time to shut down last month's poll and unveil our newest poll, but first, remember that we posed this question to you guys last month: What was your favourite new metal, hard rock, or punk album released in 2016? Though we have clear results, we sadly got only 14 votes in this poll, a sharp drop-off from our poll on your favourite new bands of last year, but thanks to everyone who did vote, and here are the final results! 

Gnaeus - Meditations (5 votes, 36%)
The Din - Give In To The Din (4 votes, 29%)
Id Iota - Maudlin Fair (2 votes, 14%)
AlgomA & Chronobot's split vinyl EP (2 votes, 14%)
Other (1 vote, 7%)
Crucify the Whore - The Beautiful Sounds of Nature (0 votes)
The Inner City Surfers - Time To Travel On (0 votes)
Long Shot's self-titled EP (0 votes)
Malignant Neoplasm - Blast Beats & Bulls**t (0 votes)
The Strange Coyotes - Strange Coyotes III (0 votes)
One of SweetKenny's 2016 albums (0 votes)
Telephone & Address - Are You Now or Have You Ever Been... (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, in ascending order, I can see why the zero-voted albums ranked lower, as the were by and large released by solo acts or online only, but in particular, I know that The Inner City Surfers' posthumous album would have received more attention had the band gave it some form of public acknowledgement, even without a reunion. I can't speak for the "Other" voter (maybe they liked a non-metal/punk album?), but the top four albums definitely make sense, given each band's successes and out of town reach last year. If anything, AlgomA and Chronobot's split is an overachiever given the vinyl-only release format, but it was very well received, as was Id Iota's debut EP, both well mixed by Unsalted Audio to boot. Going in, I expected Gnaeus and The Din to compete for first place, and while I'd hoped for more votes all around, the sadly now-defunct Gnaeus delivered an entertaining and proficient album in "Meditations", and while many fans also gave into The Din, I cant dispute the results!

Thanks to everyone for voting! As for this month's poll, we're continuing our "favourite _____ of 2016" polls by posing this question to you guys: What was the biggest local metal, hard rock, or punk news story of 2016? The past year was eventful as usual for bands, events, lineup changes, statuses, and general stories from bands covered on the SMS, and it was very tough to pare things down to 25 stories to pick from in the poll, but hopefully I covered most ground of note! To get into the poll, each story must have had hard rock, metal, or punk involvement in some form, and have primarily took place and been publically announced in the 2016 calendar year, so stories like Gnaeus' breakup, the AlgomA/Hooded Menace split, and the Pop Evil concert are obviously waiting for 2017's poll of this ilk. Similarly, Jack Spades' recent lineup departures weren't considered, as the exits weren't publically stated until 2017, regardless of if they officially left the band last year or not.

Of course, if something you'd rather vote for isn't an included choice, then I have included "Other" as usual. And lastly, remember that this poll is about the biggest news stories of last year, not the happiest or your favourite. We're seeing what you considered newsworthy, not necessarily stories that were positive, so keep that in mind just in case you wonder why certain topics are included. Now, here's what you should know about all 25 choices!

A Dire Setback & Live705 launch in November: Seemingly coming from out of nowhere to become one of the most promising new local punk bands in recent memory, A Dire Setback debuted last fall with a full slate of originals alongside their own concert promotion agency Live705, who have hosted three well recieved concerts already, with more in the pipeline. Does the dual launch earn your vote?

AlgomA release split EP with Chronobot: It was no April Fools joke when local doom metal trio AlgomA's long-awaited vinyl split with Saskatchewan stoner metal band Chronobot finally went on sale on April 1st, earning a positive reception locally and abroad, and helping set the stage for this year's split with Hooded Menace. It's a solid EP, but was this split's release your top news story of last year?

Bay Mills Bands Together holds first fundraiser event: Multi-band concerts don't happen nearly enough in the Sault Michigan area, so it was a bonus back in May when the non-profit group Bay Mills Bands Together held their first ever benefit at Pickles in Brimley to help Marissa Kronemeyer through her car accident recovery. This was a huge show with loads of talented acts, but was it enough to get your vote?

Bret Michaels returns to Kewadin Casino in November: 2016 was a light year for hard rock acts at The Dreammaker's Theater, but things ended with a bang when Poison frontman Bret Michaels returned to our area for the sixth time (at least) in November for this headlining concert with many charitable aims and on-site auctions for said causes. Fans thought it was "nothin' but a good time", but would you agree with that?

Brian Davie returns to Scott & Brian In The Morning: There usually isn't a lot of shocking news to come out of the Sault's rock station, Rock 101, but fans got a nice surprise in December when Brian Davie returned to 101.3 FM's morning show after a nearly 2 year hiatus. It's awesome to hear Brian back with Scott Cook weekday mornings once again from 6:00-10:00 AM, but did his return top everything else in this poll?

Darren Emond's Iron Maiden comic book is released: It's not every day when a comic book release makes local waves, but that changed in May, when local/Wawa artist Darren Emond unveiled the official Iron Maiden comic book that he did all of the artwork for, with the comic receiving an official launch at The Rad Zone. This was a big deal and a fun read for Iron Maiden diehards, but would you vote for it here?

The Din release their debut CD "Give In To The Din": One of last year's biggest and most anticipated album releases was the first studio album from The Din, whose alternative/hard rock originals and carry-overs from frontman Mike Haggith's solo discography earned a warm reception from fans before and after last summer's high-profile release concert at The Tech. Is this your choice?

The Fishbowl Festival debuts at The Gore Street Cafe: Amidst a tumultuous year for The Gore Street Cafe, ownership held the ambitious but successful month-long Fishbowl Festival in February & March featuring many arts, culture, and awareness events at the laundromat, plus concerts from bands like The Din and The Pixo Control. It's bigger & better this year, but did year #1 do enough?

Gnaeus release their only CD "Meditations": Just a week prior to The Din's CD release show (which Gnaeus opened), the two bands switched places when the post-punk quartet launched "Meditations" at The Rockstar Bar to a positive reception of their own! It's a shame that they broke up 7 months later without their planned follow-up CD "E La Vita", but have you meditated enough to vote for Gnaeus here?

Guy Thiffault's passing & tribute concert: The local punk community was rocked in December when former Hangdowns/Nebraska Arms frontman Guy Thiffault suddenly passed away at the age of 36, but his friends & fans came together less than two weeks later for a stacked and emotional tribute to him at The Rockstar Bar, headlined by a Bin Hawdon reunion. Was this last year's biggest story?

Hedley returns to Sault Ontario in July at The Yard: As part of new downtown outdoor venue The Yard's Canada Day Kicker, we saw the return of Abbotsford, B.C. pop punk quartet Hedley to the Soo for the first time in over 5 years last summer at this highly attended concert! Also featuring Toronto's The Beaches and the most recent local gig from Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide, does this show get your vote?

Id Iota release their debut EP "Maudlin Fair": Though it went on sale in Toronto a week prior to it's local launch, local alternative rock quartet Id Iota unveiled their first CD to a solid reception last April when they headlined at LopLops Lounge, and ended their 10 month hiatus from the local stage. This EP got positive notices locally and out of town, but did you like it enough to vote for it?

Jay Perron's sudden passing: A regular staple as a DJ and former concert promoter at The Canadian Nightclub, fans and colleagues were shocked when Jay Perron suddenly passed away in October at the age of 43, with fans gathering for karaoke and pool at a fundraiser for his family the following week. DJ Reverend J has been missed at the controls, but was this last year's biggest news item?

Jesse Merineau & Caroline Divine win the Speak Easy Battle: The first of last year's two battles of the bands saw indie rock musician Jesse Merineau (with backing from the now-inactive Caroline Divine) edge out a stacked field including The Din, Eclipse, and Jack Spades to claim the $400 top prize. Fan-voted or not, this was a huge victory for Jesse & crew, but would you vote for it here?

K.I.C.K. win the VM Radio Battle of the Bands: Taking place before and after the Speak Easy Battle, five local bands competed in the second multi-night VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian last March, where indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. defeated The Din and Eclipse to claim top honours in the finals. This wasn't as big of a battle as in 2015, but did you find that it still delivered the goods?

Pillory play their first live concerts since 2014: The aforementioned Speak Easy Battle saw the long awaited return to the stage of local death/thrash metal band Pillory, after an almost 2 year hiatus from the stage. Now with new bassist Jordan Leach, a smaller 3 piece lineup, and a much heavier and aggressive sound, Pillory have been melting faces ever since, but does their return top 2016 to you?

The Pixo Control disbands: Last year saw more bands quietly fade away than publically announce a breakup, but the biggest of the latter in 2016 was alternative/grunge trio The Pixo Control, who broke up over the summer and were succeeded by frontman Mike Mikus' new solo pop rock project, emphatically tearing off a Pixo Control t-shirt in his first music video. Does this get your vote?

Project 421 & Eclipse part with singer Curtis McKenzie: Though Curt has since reunited with the latter group (more on that soon), his departure from the two linked metal bands in November created a wave of discussion & debate from all sides, not to mention that a loss of a singer of his vocal talent would be hard for any band. Things are seemingly being patched up for one group, but would you vote for this story?

The Ripcordz headline an all-ages show at The Canadian: Plans were teased for months regarding an all ages local concert with Montreal hardcore punk legends The Ripcordz, and that was realized last August when they rocked The Canadian Nightclub alongside Jack Spades, Project 421, and Eclipse. The Ripcordz always get a huge reception locally, but were you among the horde?

Shit Liver go on their second Canadian tour: After a successful first tour run in 2015, local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver had an encore from April-June of last year, heading from out to British Columbia and back, plus a tour-capping stretch in Quebec. Also featuring a local return opening for The Motherfuckers early on in the tour cycle, this was another hit run of shows, but do you concur with that?

Sky's The Limit fundraiser held at The Tech in May: Algoma Family Services hosted this well recieved concert event for mental health awareness at the former St. Mary's College last spring, which was headlined by The Pixo Control in their final concert, alongside acts like The Din and the non-White Pines debut of Electric Church. Were you there to vouch for this concert in this poll?

SNFU headline at The Rockstar Bar in September: Whenever a local stage sees the return of Mr. Chi Pig, you know that there will be many fans opening up wide to say "SNFU!", and that was the case in September, with diehards singing along with ease all set long! Also featuring opening sets by The Elements and the most recent live appearance of Jack Spades, does SNFU's return get your vote?

Stegadeth make their local concert debut: Also debuting at Live705's inaugural concert, Stegadeth surely pleased fans of T-Rex Manning, with 3/4ths of that band returning with their classic original song in tow, though with more of a Ramones and overall punk influence than before. They've been regaining their profile fairly steadily since the fall, but was Stegadeth's debut 2016's top story?

Tidal Records acts tour Ontario in April: The aforementioned Pixo Control, Gnaeus (with new drummer Alex Proulx), and Id Iota (with the newly released "Maudlin Fair") hit the road for a run of Ontario tour dates in April alongside rapper Conika and Tidal Records-affiliated skateboarders for their popular Skate By Day, Rock By Night tour. Would you vote for it over the other choices?

Winkstinger reunite after a three year hiatus: After playing just one public show since mid-2012, local extreme metal band Winkstinger returned after a lengthy break with a new lineup when they opened for The Motherfuckers at The Oddfellows Hall in April. New members Keith Gagnon & Andrew MacDonald fit in fine with Jesse & Jonas, even if they've been fairly quiet since last summer, but would you vote for them?

Other: Did we miss your preferred choice? Perhaps you'd rather vote for last year's K-Man & The 45s or Gorod concerts? Maybe you thought the debut of Project 906 or Electric Church warranted a vote more than the rest? Did a band's descent into inactivity rate higher, like with Gates of Winter or Caroline Divine? If, for whatever reason, the biggest story of 2016 isn't listed above, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until April 18th to cast your ballots, and it will be very interesting to see who or what wins out, so cast your votes A.S.A.P. in the red voting field on the left of the page! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates this week! Thanks everyone!

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