Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: A Look Back In The Year Of Local Metal, Hard Rock, And Punk

As has become an annual tradition at the SMS, here's our retrospective post on the past year, as 2015 had a lot of huge moments, good and bad, to reflect on from local metal, hard rock, and punk bands, concerts, and albums! I hope I touched on every major event this year, but it's a tall order to sum everything up like this, so read on below to look back on what happened in the local scenes during the year that was!

We'll start with the latest major concerts at The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino, which was largely quiet on the hard rock side of things during the second half of the year, but had lots going on earlier in the year! On April 3rd, Superior Entertainment jumped into the concert promotion game by bringing hard rock notables Saving Abel back to the Soo alongside Saginaw's Redburn and local country singer Missy Zenker, while the returning Allstar Promotions ended a lengthy hiatus this spring, including via the Europe/Black Star Riders concert there on April 23rd, the only major 1980s-era metal show of the year in Sault Michigan. June 21st brought us touring Rush tribute band Lotus Land, while July saw two huge shows in just a week, including the massive show featuring P.O.D., Hoobastank, Fuel, Lights Out Paris, Redburn, and the reunited I.S.O.M. on July 3rd, while July 10th gave us the return of Canada's own Theory of a Deadman with openers Shaman's Harvest and locals Ten Kings. There was lots to be excited about earlier this year, and here's to much more in 2016!

We saw many more huge concerts in 2015, and in Sault Ontario alone, we welcomed notable out of town bands like Aggressive Acoustic, Anvil, Benighted, Biipiigwan, Caym, Diemonds, Evilheart, Exes For Eyes, Fuck The Facts, Gatgas, The Golers, K'Man & The 45s, One Bad Son, The Ripcordz, and SNFU to town for concerts this year, among many others. Among other big concerts this year: Treble Charger came home to headline at The Machine Shop in February, while That's Chester provided the house music for the live stage production of The Who's Tommy there in November. We also saw two battles of the bands in March of this year at The Speak Easy & Canadian Nightclub, with post-punk quartet Gnaeus winning both to continue their local ascent! Also this year: J.D. Pearce hosted the Gonqshow summer concert series, yearly events like Toystock, Lopstock, Rotaryfest, and the Swampstravaganza returned, The Emergency Festival moved to Rocky DiPietro Field, and The Northern Vibe Festival neatly filled Hempfest's shoes in Ophir, among other big concerts of the past year!

Outside of the Kewadin Casino umbrella, the Sault Michigan/Eastern Upper Peninsula area had a light but eventful year that saw it's peak with the first annual Superior Festival at The Savoy Bar & Nightclub on August 21st, which attracted a big crowd (despite date & venue shuffling) to see Saving Abel & Lights Out Paris once again, alongside a handful of notable openers, including two bands from Sault Ontario! We lost LemmaFest after a 4 year run, but The Sugar Island Festival also kept the concert schedule rolling, as did a number of local dates by out of town favourites like Nudge, Peril, Scarkazm, and Paul Burns' new Wisconsin-based project Dystraction. Numerous local bands also made their mark this year, including classic/hard rock notables Banned & Highway 63, the fast rising 415E & Tantrym Tyme, hard charging veterans Power Slug, and the now-defunct Ten Kings, and not to mention, I.S.O.M.'s reunion in July. There's a lot of promise across the border, and here's to an even bigger year ahead!

This past year was very eventful overall for the local metal, hard rock, and punk scenes, and bands like AlgomA, The Pixo Control, and Shit Liver spread the wealth by commencing their first formal tours, while bands like Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide, The Elements, Jack Spades, and even Rotopsy hit the road in their own right! Much of the summer was notably consumed by the fight to save (or end) the Sault Downtown Association, which caused summer concerts to be cancelled or relocated, and it remains to be seen how things will look next year. Also this year: the Twin City Sound & second Speak Easy Battles of the Bands were postponed, Music Depot closed it's doors, and Brian Davie left Rock 101, while Local2 debuted the Bare webseries, Six Two Oh debuted punk rock bingo, The Canadian Nightclub brought live weekend cover bands back (if briefly), the Club Princess restoration continued, fans rallied to support Havadder drummer Scott McLurg & his family after a sudden heart attack, and Northwest made a deep run in CBC's Searchlight competition, among other big news events in the past twelve months!

Unfortunately, 2015 saw a number of deaths of people who were influential in the local hard rock scene, with arguably the widest reaching being that of Mike Case, the late Case's Music founder, influential music instructor, and country musician who passed away after a lengthy cancer battle in April, followed by former Foggy Notions co-owner & bartender Patrick Casey just a week later. The following month, we lost former Half Past frontman Luke LeBlanc at just 42 years of age, while fans and friends mourned the loss of former Chronic Demonic singer & Shadowthrone guitarist Sabrina Pelchat in October, with a tribute concert held in her name last month. And finally, we suddenly lost That's Chester/Agave Blue guitarist Eugene Orlando last month at just 56 years old, and just weeks removed from his involvement in the live production of The Who's Tommy. It was definitely sad to lose so many familiar faces this year, but hopefully everyone can remember the good times and great memories that they gave us!

2015 yielded a number of high profile album releases from local bands as well, with none at a higher scope than the anticipated three-way CD "Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split" from Montreal's The Ripcordz and local punk/metal standouts Destroilet & Jack Spades! We also saw alternative hard rock trio The Pixo Control release their "Probably Not" CD this month, while the now defunct Haggith released their final albums "Apocalypse II" & "XIV" earlier this year as well, and drummer Mike Haggith put out his newest solo album "The Warinside" in July. Also, Dafter, Michigan's SweetKenny put out numerous new solo albums, Sault Michigan's I.S.O.M. distributed a new disc at their return show, Bad Back released their full length "ALbums", RedD Monkey posthumously released their last album "Opus 2: Untitled", Telephone & Address put out the experimental "Rust Orchid", and Blood Shed Productions sold a number of new demos & digital releases, including an 11-way split CD! Busy year to be sure, and here's to even more in 2016!

While this year was lighter than we have previously seen for new and debuting bands, we did get a solid rookie crop for 2015, with two of the most prominent being pop punk quartet Stereo North and glam/power pop trio Caroline Divine, who've fast carved their own names locally with their own high energy sounds! We also got the now-defunct Ten Kings for an adrenaline dose in the Sault Michigan scene, while 2015 also gave us the Project 421 side project outfit Eclipse, two man alternative duo Infinity Grinder, Habitat Shuffle successors Id Iota (who debuted along with Caroline Divine at the same show in June), young classic/punk trio Leaked, and Steve Mozarowski's new project Faceityoureametalband, who all have a good deal to offer! Also this year: Dullahan brought minimalist black metal to the Soo, Toystock one-off The Rude-Offs reemerged as Killer, and punk duo The Red & Black finally debuted in June. Here's to lasting success in 2016 & beyond!

And as usual, you can expect that a number of bands saw lineup additions, changes, and departures in the last 12 months, with The Apocalypse Afterparty notably shifting from a two man rap/rock band to a half-female quartet with two bassists and an MPC player in short order (and drummer X left afterwards too!) Also this year: The Pixo Control swapped Steve Edwards & Matthew Thibert with Dustin Goodall & the returning Keeghan Rosso, Project 421 brought back singer Curtis McKenzie & replaced drummer Larry Mousseau with Chris Thompson, and Mourning Wood said goodbye to TJ Case & hello to Paul Belair & Glen Thomas for their new four-piece lineup. 2015 also saw Haggith enlist ex-bassist Caleb Cachagee to replace Daniel Horton on guitar, Mike Haggith & The Din replace guitarist Curtis McKenzie with Tammy Hill, Skeyes of Seven replace Jonny Amendola with John Mignacca, Destroilet split with co-singer Brenton Ellis, and Sault Michigan's Tantrym Tyme welcome Michael McLeod on guitar, among other notable lineup changes of 2015!

And yes, we did say goodbye to a number of notable bands this year, including the aforementioned Haggith (for the second & presumed final time), hard rock quartet Beaumont Avenue (formerly The Suicide Kings), and all-female hard rockers The Danger Cats, who all played their final shows in mid-2015, to their fans' dismay. Also this year, we lost Sault Michigan guitarist Joe Jenkins' most recent hard rock cover bands (Exiled & Ten Kings), while Sault Ontario doom/punk trio The Revolution disbanded twice in a few months' time. As well, a number of notable bands have fallen inactive for a lengthy period to end 2015, despite not announcing a breakup or hiatus, including bands like Giwakwa, The Highest of Fives, Id Iota, The Northern Tragedy, The Red & Black, The Strange Coyotes, This Is Your Band On Drugs, and The Thrill Junkies, among others, while the future of That's Chester is also in limbo following Eugene Orlando's passing. Hopefully we see these bands back together or in new projects in the months to come!

However, where we lost some bands, we also welcomed some back to prominence in 2015, with fan favourite extreme metal bands Pillory & Winkstinger both reuniting after prior breakups this fall, and hopefully we see both back on stage in the new year! The same can be said for a pair of bands from Sault Michigan metal musicians Bob Helsten & Art Dietz, who brought back their early 2000s Sault Michigan acoustic band The Creepy Little Coffee People and late 2000s metal band Integrated System of Machines this year to a positive reception. A handful of notable bands ended lengthy hiatuses from the concert stage in 2015 as well, with Treble Charger, Garden of Bedlam, The Billy Bastards, and Skeyes of Seven returning to the local stage for the first time in over a year each, and hopefully there's more in the works! As well: Rotaryfest's Second Stage returned after a year's hiatus at a new home, RedD Monkey held a one-off reunion in Toronto in February, and former Rosie metal night promoters Dismembertainment were revived in Alberta, all among other returns & comebacks this year!

2015 was an eventful year in the local metal, hard rock, and punk scenes, with a lot of big and exciting concerts & moments, and I sincerely hope 2016 is even bigger & better, so join us in the coming year, and I hope you guys liked this look back at the year that was! Stay tuned for our 2016 preview post and much more in short order! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood & Havadder) And New Year's Weekend Concert Previews!!

On this last day of 2015, here's our final regular post of the year, but we have our reflective post on the year that was coming later tonight, so look for that then! Now, we have SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for shows taking place this weekend and beyond, as well as most of what you should know for hard rock this weekend to end the year (Tym Morrison's Saturday nighter and even later notice shows will follow), so read on to get caught up!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will kick off 2016 with concerts at The OLG Casino THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHT, which follow their previously announced New Year's Eve party at The Rednecks Saloon TONIGHT! Apologies for the short notice on the casino dates, we had actually listed them on the site since drummer Glen Thomas announced them on his personal Facebook page in November (prior to their last OLG Casino weekend), but we forgot to mention them in a post at the time. This is a busy weekend ahead for Terry, Steven, Paul, and Glen, who will start things with their second straight New Year's Eve concert at the former Nicolet Tavern tonight, complete with a similar masquerade ball theme, and given the occasion, there will be party favours, a poutine bar, and champagne available free with admission, which will be $10 at the door, or via advance tickets at Rednecks or through band members.

The OLG Casino gigs (which, for sake of clarity, haven't been publically confirmed by Mourning Wood's Facebook page yet) are 9:30 PM shows with no announced cover, and all three shows are 19+. For more details, visit this link and above! Sounds like Mourning Wood have a big weekend ahead, with a fun party and a return to a still somewhat unique venue to come, so keep these shows in mind, and here's Mourning Wood live earlier this year!

Next up, local classic/hard rock cover quartet Havadder will return to Studio 10 for a New Year's Eve party TONIGHT, which they'll follow with a one-nighter THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar! Apologies again for the short notice on both shows, they were each only announced via separate Facebook event pages (here & here) earlier this week. TONIGHT'S New Year's Eve show brings them back to the Hudson Streeet gentlemen's club that they often rock on holidays (most recently on Halloween), and fitting the atmosphere, there will be a cold cut/shrimp buffet, drink specials, party favors, champagne, a door prize, and yes, adult dancers, so keep all of that in mind if you want to be at the Studio for this one! Tickets are $15 at the door or in advance at the venue, while couples have a discounted $25 rate. Doors open at 8:00 PM, Havadder's set will be at 10:30 PM, and this is obviously a 19+ event.

As for SATURDAY'S Rockstar Bar show (which appears to be a one-nighter with no gig tomorrow), this will be Havadder's first full show of 2016, so keep it in mind as they continue their recent streak of frequent appearances at The Algonquin Hotel's upstairs bar! That show will be a 10:30 PM affair and 19+ as well, but the cover charge will either be zero or much less than at the Studio. Whether you want to ring in the new year or just rock out with Havadder, keep their hard-edged fan favourite covers in mind for TONIGHT & SATURDAY! See the above links for more details, and here's Havadder live!

Moving to previously announced concerts, let's head to The Rockstar Bar for their New Year's Eve concert TONIGHT, as local classic metal quintet Project 421 will end 2015 on a heavy note as headliners! Replacing the usual Cherry Crush New Year's show there for unannounced reasons, this will be a partial sequel to their 2 year reunion and pre-Christmas shows at The Algonquin Hotel, with Project 421 (who will play at 12:00 AM to kick off 2016) once again joined by their online pageless nu-metal side project Eclipse, who will open the show at 10:00 PM, so if you've missed these bands or want to see them again, keep tonight's show in mind! However, in The Elements' place tonight, fans will get a rare Rockstar Bar appearance from young local glam rock/power pop trio Caroline Divine in the middle 11:00 PM slot, and their old school yet fresh sound should be a nice bridge tonight, so don't miss them either! Promoted by Project 421 bassist Daniel Horton (and curiously not as a PaperClip Productions show), there is a $10 cover charge in effect, but everything's standard otherwise, including a 19+ age limit.

For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! If you want some heavy metal for to send 2015 out with, this may just be your best bet, so definitely consider a trip downtown to The Rockstar Bar if you want to ring in 2016 with 421! For a preview, here's Project 421 live last year!

Finally for today's previews, let's head across the border to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino, where Sault Michigan hard rock quartet 415E will end the year with their own New Year's Eve concert TONIGHT! After a quiet few months from the former Hubbard-Menard Band's camp, the Van Halen-inspired local favourites will rock St. Ignace for the last time in 2015 tonight, and if you're up for their varied and often heavy covers, you know where to be for your New Year's plans! For reference, The London Gentlemen will end the year tonight at the Soo Kewadin, and no word on who's playing this weekend at either Kewadin Casino branch, as their entertainment page hasn't been updated yet for 2016 dates (we'll let you know when it is!) No word on if there's a special pricing in effect for the occasion (if there isn't, there'd be no cover as usual), but expect a 9:00 PM start time and 21+ age limit once again. Check the above links for more details, and here's 415E live!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for our retrospective look back on the big moments of 2015 later today! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Pixo Control - "Probably Not" Review!!

As a late Christmas present, here's our 78th monthly CD review, as we're taking a look at local alternative hard rock trio The Pixo Control's debut CD "Probably Not"! Released through Tidal Records on December 12th during their CD release parties at LopLops Lounge, "Probably Not" was recorded earlier this year at Mission Control Studios with producer Dustin Jones, and was mixed and mastered by current bassist Dustin Goodall. The album features frontman Michael Mikus on vocals, guitar, and (in between lineup changes) bass, with Keeghan Rosso back on drums, and the CD also features guest appearances by ex-bassist Steve Edwards on "60" and cellist Emma N-K on "No". Copies of "Probably Not" are on sale for $10 at The Rad Zone, Case's Music, and at Pixo Control concerts, while you can also buy it online via Tidal Records' online store for the same price, and while you can stream the whole thing on the band's YouTube channel, support their work and buy a copy!

And yes, each song name below is linked to it's YouTube posting Featuring 12 songs running for about 56 minutes, let's begin with the first song, "Quick Little Quarter"! Opening with a catchy, siren-esque guitar riff and nice pounding drums, this song has effective building vocals from Michael, and a strong consistent tone that, if a little low early, nicely grows in vocal intensity and range! The song can be a little repetitive by it's conclusion, but it delivers what Pixo Control fans have came to love, and it's a fast paced yet casual number! Second is "Call Me A Liar", which opens with a Tool-esque stretch before settling into a lower and darker verse that probably translates well to acoustic performances, but I do find that the melodic chorus isn't a perfect mesh for the rest of the song's mood. Definitely channeling some classic grunge in the verses, Michael and Keeghan rock this one effectively and compliment each other well, but I'd have made the choruses angrier than they are on the final product. Solid track though!

Next up is "This Is Momentary, Forever", which maintains a steady, bass-heavy, 1970s-feeling riff until the verses kick in, with Michael singing in a low rasp overtop of low instrumentation, though the choruses ramp up the intensity and pace. Fun old school sound here, with the choruses definitely wanting to make you move, but a slow winding instrumental bridge late definitely drags the song down before picking up steam late, albeit sans vocals, which almost sound like they were accidentally left out of the second half. Still, this is a fun track that keeps things rolling! That's followed by "Land of the Moles", one of The Pixo Control's most familiar songs, and it maintains it's laid back yet edgy sound in studio form! Keeping a catchy rhythm and cadence through the verses, the choruses & bridge sound even grander here than they do live, which is an interesting shift! It's not a heavy or fast song, but it's memorable and catchy sound, and strong instrumentation, help it become a standout track!

The fifth track is "Reasons", which spends the majority of it's runtime as a reserved, folksy instrumental (by and large), with Michael providing echoed vocals, giving an eerie vibe of sorts before the full band finally kicks into their usual gear for most of the last minute, albeit at the same tempo. It's not a favourite track of mine just on personal preference, but it shows The Pixo Control's range and depth, and allows for some extra introspection and darker moods! Things pick up a bit more with the next song, "Vicinity", which has a Foo Fighters-esque vibe to it (I wonder if that was intentional?), but Michael and Keeghan acquit themselves well here, with an effective sing-along chorus, solid hooks, and strong drumming, even with a small solo spot in the bridge! A guitar solo might have helped break things up a bit, but this is another album highlight to be sure, and has that live intensity too!

Seventh is "60" (an abbreviated name for "Sixty Extra Chances Called Minutes"), which sees the only album credit for original Pixo Control bassist Steve Edwards, credited for fuzz bass. The song itself (another very familiar live track) maintains the same strong sound as we see live, including the bouncy guitar riff, strong raspy vocals, and a nice measured pace, and while not overly aggressive, it's alternative edge will appeal to many fans! Steve's contributions are nice to see and well done, and the song holds it's own well in studio form! Then we have "Tall Ships", a solid grungy original with nice vocal layering on the choruses and an authentic grungy feel that gives me a bit of a Nirvana callback! I like the addition of a guitar solo mid-way through this song, which is fairly reserved until the choruses, but Michael's vocals flow well, and it's another well performed track!

Ninth is the incredibly lengthy titled "Congratulations on Your Decision to Become a Pilot", which has a darker and gritter essence for the most part, but still retains the working Pixo Control flavour! Michael's singing has the extra note here to carry the lyrics, and there's some strong distorted guitar riffing before the song kicks into another gear for the final minute, taking on a fast and melodic theme that would be very fun to jam with live! The ending is a little abrupt though. The shortest song on "Probably Not" is next, that being "Scratch", and it's arguably the most punk-influenced song on the album to boot, harbouring a more aggressive sound that seems to have hints of skate punk on it, and it should appeal to fans who don't take to their alternative & grunge influences as much! Keeghan really shines on drums here, and Michael lets loose vocally in the second half, adding to arguably The Pixo Control's most explosive song yet, and it's a clear highlight on this CD!

The album's penultimate song is "No", featuring a guest appearance by cellist Emma N-K, who has joined The Pixo Control live on this song as well. If you liked "This Is Momentary, Forever", you'll take to the low melancholy vocals, minimal instrumentation, and slow pacing to start this song, but Emma's cello work does add to the dark feel early! The last two minutes build more to what I hoped "T.I.M.F." would have though, with more of a full-band presence, dramatic vocals, and a clear sense of purpose, before coming full circle at the end. Strongly done overall! The nine minute long "Potpourri" closes out the album, which opens (and closes) with the sound of radio dials being fiddled with. Building from Michael softly playing the riff to a mid-paced alternative jam, the song never really seems to get off the ground (and definitely feels overlong) until the last couple of minutes bring a higher energy performance, complete with a rare guitar solo, and a closer that feels like how live shows would! Fitting closer to the CD, but "Potpourri" still felt like it ran for way too long.

So, what are my final thoughts on The Pixo Control's debut CD? Overall, it's a very entertaining and diverse first release from this talented young band, and I will say that the production was excellent, with this album frequently maintaining the live concert feel from how the songs were performed! Some weren't identical to prior live versions (which we were warned about), but nothing was shockingly different. Michael Mikus showed a raspy yet well suited vocal style to go along with strong guitar and bass work that called back to his musical influences nicely, while Keeghan Rosso was a great and steady compliment on drums, so you can't go too wrong there! Songs like "Scratch", "60", and "Tall Ships" were among the highlights, but I would have liked to have seen more guitar solos, "Potpourri" was way longer than it needed to be, and at times, some songs could meander in one gear for an extended period. Originals like "Alphabetical Order" and "The Great Salute To Radio Edits" were also missed, but hopefully we see them in their next album.

The Pixo Control crafted a very good debut effort here, and this can only be a bright beginning for this promising trio, so here's to a huge 2016 and beyond! Buy "Probably Not" A.S.A.P., and I hope you guys liked this month's CD review! To kick off the new year, we will be reviewing a new local CD, but which one? As of right now, we're leaning towards a newer release from Dafter, Michigan solo artist SweetKenny, who released three new albums since our last review of his, but that may change pending other potential new CDs. In any event, stay tuned for updates, and for weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A New Local Band, Plus Some New Videos!!

I hope everyone had a good few days off! We're keeping at it on the SMS, and for today's new post, we're touching on some new and recent videos from a few different (and widely varying) local bands, but leading off, here's a new local band to take note of featuring many familiar faces!

We have a new local band to add to our links, and they are Killer, an apparent full continuation of the one-off Rude-Offs from last month's Toystock event! If things maintain from last month's show, Killer should be a punk band of some description, but they should prove to be a more mainstream side project from members of Destroilet, with all but singer Mike Hull a part of this band, including guitarists John Conway (a guest last month) & Christian Foisy, bassist Adam Larocque, and drummer Matt Waples. They'll be fronted by Treble Charger frontman Greig Nori and Stiffler's Mom/Bone Yard singer Greg Simpson once again, and this created a very intriguing band just from membership alone! Other details on Killer have yet to be established, including specific genres, if they'll be covers only or will have originals, and when we'll see them live and where, but if you liked/missed The Rude-Offs last month, be sure to like Killer's Facebook page for more details!

Next up, here's a new video from Tidal Records' skate team's year end party/concert at The Rockstar Bar from December 18th! Uploaded to the skate team's YouTube channel last week, this captures moments from most of the involved acts, plus the screening of a new compilation video of Tidal Records' skateboarders, and it's well filmed to capture many different angles of the night's proceedings, including some with a fish eye lens! The video starts with DJ Seith & Conika's joint set, including solo Seith mixes and additional guest appearances (Gnaeus drummer Brendan Garlick, for one, jumps in at 1:29 of the video), before showing portions of the live video screening. The final product looks well edited, bur this version was apparently exclusive to the party (however, samples are on the channel proper.) Fans of post-punk and alternative hard rock will look forward to the video-ending clips from Gnaeus' set, though curiously, the filmer did not include footage of headliners The Pixo Control's set (I wonder why?)

It looks like this was a hit concert to celebrate Tidal Records' skate team's one year anniversary, and I wish I could have been there to see everyone in action! I'm sure Tidal Records have a lot more in store for 2016, from both their music and skateboarding arms, so stay tuned for all of that, and give their video from the party a look below!

Also, here's some new video finds from a mildly unexpected source, that being local pop rock cover band Cherry Crush! Though arguably best known for their covers of pop and dance hits, these local favourites do indeed cover heavier material at times, and three videos uploaded to their Facebook group in March show that! Joining a cover of Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" (the only one filmed at this jam featuring singer/ex-Foggy Notions owner Taryn Bugyra), the videos are of Cherry Crush covering AC/DC's "TNT" and "Whole Lotta Rosie", and as embedded below, Black Sabbath's "War Pigs", all with new drummer Rico Calvano (ex-Fusion) on vocals. Also featuring guitarist Jules Cote & bassist John Amendola, these are well performed by three talented local veterans (Taryn's a great singer too), and while songs of this style don't make up most of Cherry Crush's live repertoire, they do give a glimmer of their wide ranging set! Give these (and more) a look above & below!

Finally for today, here's the latest from Sault Michigan classical metal project Theatre of Night, so what's been going on with them lately? Largely working in (and on) their studio during the latter months of 2015, T.O.N. have shared a few samples of recent studio work on their Facebook page as of late, including this classical sample (apparently shot pointing to a screensaver) that keyboardist Craig Harrison shared in November. Their most recent clips include this short video of guitarist Steve Giles jamming to a Britny Fox song, and most recently, this short sample clip of a new original song named "Uhura's Ghost" (meaning the Star Trek character?!) It has an ethereal quality to it, and it sounds promising, but we of course await fuller details on Theatre of Night's recent studio work, which has seemed to be leading to a new album for a while now. We'll keep you posted, but check out their new videos above & below, and stay tuned for more from Theatre of Night!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more as the year winds down! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Tym Morrison

On this Boxing Day, here's this month's YouTube Channel Profile (now on the 26th of the month as a schedule balance due to the hiatus of our Out Of Town Profiles), as we once again are looking at 1-3 randomly selected YouTube channels whose content is at least 50% comprised of local metal, hard rock, and/or punk videos! To close the year, we have a channel from a very familiar face in the local music scene, whether you frequent his weekly solo shows and/or enjoyed his band work, so here's this month's YouTube Profile!
Tym Morrison (

Owner: Local solo hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison, also well known from band work with acts like Caveman Morrison, Hollow, Metal Militia, and Calgary's Feral Noise

Channel Timeline: Launched on September 30th, 2006; Videos uploaded from August 2007 through June 2014

Channel Summary: Primarily in use as a showcase for Tym Morrison's original solo music, all but 9 of Tym's YouTube uploads are of his own compositions, ranging from regular songs to tributes to parodies. The channel also includes two comedy skits, a live video of his old band Feral Noise, and six live concert videos of his most recent local band Caveman Morrison.

Why Should You Watch: Tym's channel is definitely worth checking out for fans of his prolific music work, and if you're a fan of his original material, this channel is a good source for his later songs! However, note that this channel has no uploads of songs from his "Solo Project" CD, his extensive array of live solo concerts, or his non-Caveman Morrison band work in the Soo. As well, he hasn't visibly used this channel in over a year, in case that affects whether you subscribe or not.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

Caveman Morrison playiing Crazy Train.MOV: Tym's only videos filmed at local concerts come from his now inactive hard rock cover trio Caveman Morrison's show at The Roosevelt Hotel (now Reggie's West) on December 10th, 2011, in their second show with their then-lineup uniting Tym with bassist James White (The Elements) & his brother/Redundant bandmate Rick White (a former Caveman Morrison bassist already) on drums. An attendee filmed the band covering Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride & Joy", Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World", Judas Priest's "The Ripper", Foreigner's "Blue Morning, Blue Day", part of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall", and yes, Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train", and while the video quality is mixed and a little dark, this lineup had good chemistry & handled these songs well, and it'd be nice to see Tym revive Caveman Morrison down the road!

layitontheline: Though Tym has yet to release his once-planned second studio album (which you can stream samples of on his website via the "Music" tab), two full copies of songs listed for the album can be checked out on his YouTube channel. They include "Dungeons & Dragons" and "Lay It On The Line", which Tym described as "a power metal song about someone moving on from a failing relationship", and it's a nice showcase of his strong guitar ability and rangy singing that suits the genre! Tym's other solo originals on his channel were not listed for the album, but save for the parodies, all have a message or clear theme, and were recorded similarly to the above songs.

Nadine RIP My Friend: Tym's most popular video is this tribute song to his friend Nadine Dowding, who suddenly passed away in February 2013. Composed not long afterward, you can sense the emotion in Tym's performance here, and while it's not musically heavy, it has a fittingly somber quality that I'm sure touched people when it was originally posted! Some of Tym's other posted songs are about or in tribute to friends, family, and lost loves as well, including this tribute to his dad from last year.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month in this series, we'll be looking at 2 channels due to the first randomly selected channel only having one video posted, so we randomly chose one more with just 2 videos to fill it out. As a result, we'll begin 2016 with a look at YouTube user bffcfka's channel (featuring a CASS Cafe performance from 2010) and dormant local doom/death metal band Giwakwa's YouTube channel (featuring a concert video & a jam clip), so look for that on or around January 26th! That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and notes as the year winds down! Thanks everyone!

Friday, December 25, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Project 421 & Mourning Wood), More Updates, And A Christmas Surprise!!

Merry Christmas, everyone! And yes, Happy Holidays too if you don't celebrate. We have a Christmas present to round out this post, but first, here's some recent musician searches and LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for the holiday season (including a SHORT NOTICE one), so here's what you should know!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will host a special Boxing Day jam night concert at Reggie's West TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, this show was only announced via the official Facebook page last night. Apparently a delayed replacement for local blues rock veterans' Mojo weekly Thursday jam night (presumably cancelled due to Christmas Eve commitments), this is the first publically announced jam night hosted by Mourning Wood since their Rednecks Saloon jam nights ended in the spring, but the format will be very similar, with them as the house band rocking out as usual, and extra performers are welcome to join in and bring their instruments & talents! If you're familiar with Mojo's jam nights, this should also be fun, if not as blues-heavy, so keep it in mind for your Boxing Day plans TOMORROW NIGHT! And no, they're not listed for a concert at Reggie's West (the former Roosevelt Hotel) tonight, as far as we can tell.

This 19+ concert has no announced cover charge and an earlier start time of 9:00 PM. For more details, visit the above links! It's nice to see Mourning Wood breaking out their jam night concept again (they definitely know a wide range of songs to help with that), so don't bypass this show if you want some plans TOMORROW NIGHT, and don't miss their New Year's Eve show at Rednecks next week either! Here's the guys live earlier this year!

Next up, the previously teased New Year's Eve concert at The Rockstar Bar is indeed still on (despite the deletion of two prior Facebook event pages), as local classic metal quintet Project 421 will end 2015 on a heavy note as headliners there on Thursday, December 31st! Replacing the usual New Year's Eve show from pop rock cover veterans Cherry Crush for unannounced reasons, this show comes barely a week after their Christmas-themed show from Wednesday night, and will be similar in scheduling and tone to that and their 2 year reunion show, complete with new (and still online page-less) local nu-metal band Eclipse opening once again, but in lieu of The Elements, young local glam/power pop trio Caroline Divine will make their Rockstar Bar debut (I believe) to end 2015, and it's neat to see them spreading their wings further! Promoted by Project 421 bassist Daniel Horton (and curiously not through the PaperClip Productions label), Eclipse will open at 10:00 PM, followed by Caroline Divine at 11:00 PM, and Project 421 on at midnight to kick off 2016 in style!

Given the New Year's trappings, there will be an increased cover charge of $10 in effect next week, and you must be 19 or older to attend. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! This sounds like another solid concert, and definitely a good and heavy way to finish off another year, so keep this one in mind when planning your New Year's Eve festivities! (Also, just as a reference note, Wednesday's Project 421 concert was moved downstairs to The Algonquin Pub due to a booking conflict, as per event page postings. Hopefully it went well despite the move!)

Also today, here's three assorted items from the Musicians Wanted Facebook group, which we haven't touched on in the last while, so who all is looking to find musicians to fill out a band or jam with? As usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist name:

  • Local musician Al Blais is looking to start a band, and is open for auditions. He didn't specify any further details, but personal postings indicate that he does like metal bands. If you're interested in getting more info, message Al at or via his Musicians Wanted group post from December 12th!
  • Redundant/Elements bassist James White is looking for a guitarist to join a grunge cover band that he's working on launching, that would cover primarily bands from the Seattle scene of the early 1990s like Nirvana & Pearl Jam. There's already some interest, but if you want to throw your hat into the ring, message James at this link or via his Musicians Wanted group post from Sunday!
  • Bear Hunters guitarist Mitch Sirie is looking for a piano or keyboard player that would be interested in playing rock and/or metal. Presumably, this references one of his long gestating solo projects like The Sorrow Fields, but he didn't elaborate on details. If you're an interested pianist, message Mitch at this link or via his Musicians Wanted group post from December 12th!

Finally for today, I wanted to have a little Christmas present for you guys, especially given my recent concert hiatus due to family health concerns, so today, we have defunct local punk quartet Proposition 86's self-titled album from 1998! Arguably best remembered today as the first major band from late Woods of Ypres frontman David Gold (who drummed for Proposition 86 during his high school days), I was able to borrow a copy of the cassette tape from The Rad Zone's Paul Muncaster last month (huge kudos, Monk!), and I made mp3 copies and scans of everything for personal use, and now, as a Christmas upload for readers courtesy of our YouTube channel! Also featuring singer/guitarist Gord Jones, lead guitarist Paul Michael Stos (now of The Billy Bastards), and bassist Steve Zuppa (later of Downshift), Proposition 86 recorded this tape with producer Keith Davis at Full Scale Audio and released it independently through their own Knutsford label, and it's obviously now out of print.

Featuring 10 songs ("A Bloody Day", "Execution Style", "The Permanent Solution", "Release", "Unfold", "Lies", "Inferior", "Another Lost Cause", "Scapegoat", and a hidden bonus cover of Under The Influence's "Whoa"), you get some solid skate punk from the late 1990s local scene here, and while it's a far cry in tone from Woods of Ypres, fans of Steve's later bands will be in familiar territory! Now, is a review of the "Proposition 86" cassette tape imminent on the SMS? Probably not, as precedence goes to new CDs, but in a month with nothing new to cover, this could very well fit in, especially if we can tie it in with a Billys concert! Check out Proposition 86's album above, and here's track #1, "A Bloody Day"!

That's all for today, but I do hope everyone has a merry Christmas, and stay tuned for much more as the month & year winds down! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Havadder) & Christmas Weekend Concert Previews!!

With Christmas and Boxing Day falling on Friday & Saturday this year, this would presumably seem like a good chance for regular live bands to take a holiday break, but there are a few hard rock acts playing live this weekend, so that's the focus of this concert preview post! We'll touch on even later notice shows when confirmed online if possible, but let's start with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Havadder will return to the stage THIS SATURDAY for a Boxing Day concert at The Rockstar Bar! Apologies for the short notice, the concert was only announced via the official Facebook event page on Monday. Just two weeks removed from their last shows at the same venue, this should be a good avenue for fans of this popular veteran quartet to rock out after Christmas, and as the event page says, perhaps dance off extra holiday pounds? No word on if there's a band playing at The Rockstar Bar on Christmas night, but Havadder aren't listed for Friday in any event. Also, barring a potential New Year's Eve show at a separate venue, this is Havadder's last announced concert of the year, so keep it in mind on that basis! THIS SATURDAY'S 19+ concert has no announced cover charge (but have cash on hand just in case), and a 10:30 PM start time is in effect. Get more details at the above links, and don't miss out on this Boxing Day action! Here's Havadder live earlier this year!

Moving to previously announced concerts, let's briefly skip across the border to The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino, where Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned are scheduled to play TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Making their first St. Ignace appearances in a month, and last of the year within an hour of the Soo (though they'll be in Drummond Island on New Year's Eve), Banned should have a strong weekend of cover favourites and possible originals in store for fans in St. Ignace this weekend, so definitely consider a trip down there to take in the holidays in rocking fashion! And if you're wondering why Banned are playing live on Christmas night rather than spending time with family, remember that 2/3rds of the band are the father/son duo of Don & Alex Traynor! There's no announced cover charges for this weekend's concerts, you must be 21 or older to attend, and everything starts at 9:00 PM both nights. See above for more info, and here's Banned live!

Also this weekend, we'll head back to Sault Ontario for local hard/alternative rock cover quartet Lucky 13's own Christmas weekend concerts, which will see them rock out TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rednecks Saloon! Though still not acknowledged by the band on their Facebook page, the venue's Facebook page announced the shows last week, which is rare to see from their online arm. Just two weeks removed from their last shows at the former Nicolet Tavern, Lucky 13 should have a solid weekend of concert action in store for fans, and yes, they are playing Christmas night if that's what you're up for tomorrow! For reference sake, The Rednecks Saloon will be open at 12:00 PM tomorrow & Saturday, and will offer a free turkey dinner at 5:00 PM tomorrow, so keep those in mind if need be! Both of this weekend's Lucky 13 shows start at 10:00 PM, neither has an announced cover charge, and you must be 19 or older to attend. See above for more details, and here's Lucky 13 live at The Canadian!

Finally for this weekend, prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison is advertised to continue his long-term run at Gliss Steak & Seafood this weekend, but his website's calendar now confirms that he'll only be playing there THIS SATURDAY for a Boxing Day matinee (presumably, Gliss will be closed today & tomorrow for the holiday, though his website had previously listed all three dates.) Similarly, his website doesn't list New Year's Eve or New Year's Day concerts anymore either, just Saturday, January 2nd, and while the holiday could be a partial impetus, Gliss' Facebook page confirms that a special concert from Paul DellaVedova & Catherine Taddo will be taking place there next Thursday as part of their New Year's festivities. As for Tym, he should have a solid night of post-Christmas hard rock in store on Saturday, so if you're up for some supper-time acoustic hits, head downtown to Gliss! There is no announced cover charges or age limits in effect for this 6:00 PM concert, so see above for more details, and here's Tym live!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more in the coming days, and Merry Christmas in advance! Thanks everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2015

A New Local Band, Wednesday Night Concert Previews, And Shit Liver's Documentary!!

We can't go three days without a new post on the SMS (it's no rule, I just don't like to), so here's a new news post for your Monday evening! We're mostly focusing on previews of special Wednesday night concerts for your pre-Christmas plans (with Christmas over the weekend this year, these make sense), but we also have a local metal band's long awaited documentary, and first, a new addition to our band links that may be familiar to some readers! Here's what you should know!

We have a new-ish local hard rock band to add to our band links, and they are The Creepy Little Coffee People, an acoustic hard rock quartet from Sault Michigan! A revival of a band that originally launched circa 2000, The Creepy Little Coffee People were apparently "one of the first acoustic acts in the Soo", and played numerous gigs in their heyday at local bars and casinos, even opening for touring bands, but as their run predates most online media, it's hard to know about and research their first run. Their original and revived lineup includes Integrated System of Machines singer Bob Helsten (a.k.a. Orb Hearthstone) and guitarist Art Dietz alongside Retro Troop drummer Troy Earls on guitar & former Clownsack bassist Tony Rogers on the djembe (an African drum), which he formerly played with Electric Motor Fish as well. Listing their varied influences as Alice In Chains, Iced Earth, and Tantric, The C.L.C.P. are described as a "laid back original band" with "cover songs that have inspired us" in a lounge atmosphere.

Alongside pictures of a gig at the former Brewster's Nightclub (which I believe is now Zim's), The Creepy Little Coffee People are planning to unveil new originals, pictures, and shows, though further details are to be announced. Given my age, I'm unfamiliar with this band from their early run, but they have a lot of talent and familiar faces from the local metal scene, and from a city that later gave us acoustic acts like Unleashed & Wild Fate, how could this band not deliver again? Stay tuned for more from The Creepy Little Coffee People when it rolls in!

Next up, here's our preview of a special Wednesday night concert THIS WEDNESDAY, as Six, Two, Oh.'s long awaited second punk rock bingo event will also be a live concert! After the cancellation of planned punk rock bingos over the last two months, this unique event returns (at last) to The New American Pub on Wednesday with live bands in tow, they being local/St. Catherine's grindcore trio Shit Liver and local doom metal favourites AlgomA! This will be Shit Liver's first local concert set since August, and it's good to see their ferocious grime/punk hybrid back over the holidays, while AlgomA are a fitting choice given their ties to the promoters, and they should sludge things up nicely on Wednesday! As for the bingo side of things, ex-Lion Ride bassist Brenton "Buck Norris" Ellis returns as the caller for the games, with irreverent prizes ranging from albums to artwork to food available for winners, so have your dabbers ready for the second local installment of punk rock bingo!

There is NO cover charge for Wednesday's concert/bingo night, but keep in mind that bingo cards will presumably cost an unlisted amount. This is a 19+ event, and everything starts at 9:00 PM. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! Though one could arguably call this "metal bingo" given the performers, this should be a fun and unique event for your holiday season plans, so be at The New A on Wednesday to enjoy the music and/or play some punk rock bingo! For a preview, here's the previously teased Shit Liver tour documentary, as posted to the band's YouTube channel on Friday! Entitled "A Long Grinding Road", the 57 minute video summarizes their Northern Debauchery Tour from April & May of this year, and there's obviously a lot of ground to cover within, so what should you know? Without spoiling anything, the video outlines the tour from post to post, including testimonials from band members and friends of the band about what happened and was experienced on the road. For reference, the section on Shit Liver's two local shows in April comes 4:30 into the video, features a clip of The Bear Hunters live, and runs for about 6 minutes.

Among things you'll see: Road footage & mishaps, jamming, eating, camping, and relaxing between shows, many odd sights along the way, irreverent jokes & conversations, screaming across bridges, the "Calgary counter", failed Victoria bookings, final thoughts on the tour, and yes, live concert clips, albeit mostly from bands they played with (however, Shit Liver songs are heard multiple times.) Very entertaining overall, with Josh, Mike, and Matt all showing good senses of humour, and you see the struggles & benefits of such a D.I.Y. tour, plus many great sights from western Canada! Definitely check it out below, and don't miss punk rock bingo on Wednesday!

Finally for today, here's another preview for a special concert THIS WEDNESDAY,  as local classic metal quintet Project 421 will join forces once again with funk/hard rock quartet The Elements and new local nu-metal outfit Eclipse for an encore of their December 5th concert at The Rockstar Bar! Entitled "We Wish You A Metal Christmas", this replaces the 421 reunion trappings with a seasonal theme, but if you missed the three bands' joint concert from two & a half weeks ago, here's a chance to see everyone again, and fans should know the performers' talents whether you're a metalhead and/or funk fan! And remember, Eclipse (who still don't have an online page) are a side project of Project 421 members, but we do await full public information regarding their lineup, and we'll let you know if something comes out, but see Eclipse for yourselves on Wednesday! There is no announced cover charge for this show (but bring cash just in case), you must be 19 or older to attend, and everything starts at 10:00 PM.

For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! This sounds like a very solid concert with a little something for everyone, so don't miss out on Wednesday, and here's Project 421 live last year! (Also, note that a Project 421-hosted New Year's Eve show at The Rockstar Bar, that would have featured them alongside Eclipse and Caroline Divine, was announced via two separate Facebook event pages on Friday, but both were deleted for unannounced reasons. Hopefully nothing bad happened!)

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Banned & Mourning Wood), Plus New Videos!!

We almost never post three posts in a single day, but with some SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS to touch on, we might as well rush this one, so we rounded things out with two new videos that went online today from both sides of the border. Now, here's what you need to know!

Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned will return to the Dondee Lanes in Sault Michigan for solo headlining concerts TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the extremely short notice, we only just heard about these shows on the band's Facebook page this evening, and they weren't previously announced by the band that I've seen. These will be Alex, Wayne, and Don's first concerts at the local bowling alley/concert venue in over two months, and will be their second last weekend of shows within our coverage range of the year, so if you're up to seeing Banned's varied and often heavy covers and select originals this weekend, be at the Dondee TONIGHT & TOMORROW! There's no announced cover charges for these 21+ concerts, which have an early start time of 8:00 PM each night. Check the above links for more details, and here's Banned

Next up, Sault Ontario classic/hard rock quartet Mourning Wood are also playing live this weekend, with shows on for The Rednecks Saloon TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT as well! Again, profuse apologies for the short notice, we only heard about these shows via drummer Glen Thomas' personal Facebook page this evening, and the band hasn't plugged them online at all either. Despite the late public notice, these will be Mourning Wood's first announced concerts since Toystock IV three weeks ago, which is a longer break than usual for this prolific band, but Glen indicated that the guys have 7-8 new songs to debut in their set, so keep that in mind as well! Also, the road work around the former Nicolet Tavern has apparently concluded, so parking shouldn't be an issue this weekend. If you can't make their New Year's Eve concert at Rednecks, TONIGHT & TOMORROW'S shows are at 10:00 PM with no announced cover charges and 19+ age limits. See above for more details, and here's Mourning Wood live at The Rednecks Saloon a couple of months ago!

We'll close this impromptu post with new videos, including the latest That's Chester-approved wake-up song, courtesy of yet another Facebook video upload from guitarist Gabe Tessaro (and shared on the band's Facebook page), and it's of the veteran classic/hard rock quintet covering the brief number "Tommy's Holiday Camp" from their production of The Who's Tommy at The Machine Shop last month! It's short and not the most representative of their skill and general sound, but it's fun and well choreographed, and you get the unique visual of late guitarist Eugene Orlando playing the accordion! It should also be noted that a Facebook post by the band yesterday implied that had Eugene not passed away, they'd have been playing at The Water Tower Pub yesterday, but that was obviously cancelled, and unless something unforeseen is announced, it will be the fate of their announced New Year's Eve show there as well. Still, give That's Chester new Tommy video a look below, and R.I.P. Eugene!

Finally, here's the newest solo performance video from ex-Elipzis/RedStone Riot bassist Ryan Harrison's YouTube channel, but unlike his past solo videos, this is of him playing the keyboard while singing! A cover of Sugarcult's "Memory", this is his first video in a few months, and though his beard has been trimmed dowm since the last time we saw him, he puts in some good emotion on this performance, and he does have piano skill that would be interesting to see more of! Give Ryan's new solo video a look as well!

That's definitely all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Last Month's Poll Results & Our First Poll On The Favourites Of 2015!!

For our second post on this Friday, we have the results of last month's poll and the launch of our newest poll, our final of 2015! First though, let's touch on last month's results from this question: Should more local metal, hard rock, and punk bands play acoustic concerts? Only 9 votes, but there are clear results from them, so thanks to those of you who did vote, and here's the final tally of the votes!

It depends on the band, not every one would fit (4 votes, 45%)
Sure, it'd be a change of pace and/or more marketable! (2 votes, 22%)
No, I prefer my metal & punk to be electric (2 votes, 22%)
Only for special occasions (1 vote, 11%)
Indifferent/no opinion (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, despite the low vote turnout, the results do show that most of the voters are at least partially receptive to acoustic or unplugged concerts from local metal, hard rock, and punk acts, with a poll-high 4 indicating that it depends on the band. I can understand the 2 dissenters, as personal preferences are what they are (especially for such aggressive genres), but fans do seem to like the idea, at least with some reservations! There's no clear trend towards acoustic shows becoming a common thing from otherwise electric acts, but I'm all for bands doing acoustic sets on at least an occasional basis, and there are some bands that would definitely make such an event into a unique occasion based on their sound and success alone (acoustic Bear Hunters, anyone?) Hopefully we see more of this in the future from the right bands!

Thanks to everyone for voting! As for this month's poll, I thought we should kick off our "favourite _____ of 2015" polls now that this year is winding down, and with that in mind, we're posing this question this month: What is your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk band of 2015? Of course, we saw a handful of new bands make their debut on the local scene this year, and while we have seen stronger years for debuting metal and alternative bands, there's some notable names within that will hopefully keep the good vibes going into the late 2010s! We have culled 7 bands (and "Other") for this year's installment, and like in past years, bands must have both publically launched AND made their live debut in the year 2015 (hence the absence of bands like Dullahan and The Red & Black.) As well, bands outside of our covered genre range, one-off bands, and existing bands who underwent a name change don't count either. Now, here are your choices!

Caroline Divine: Successors to the defunct Frasiers, power trio Caroline Divine turned up the dial with a heavier glam/power pop sound that has won them many fans since their debut in June, including sets at this year's Rotaryfest Second Stage and Lopstock, with studio recording plans also now in play! Caroline Divine are definitely on the rise, but are they your top new band of the year?

Eclipse: Though still without an online page, Eclipse are a nu-metal side project from members of Project 421 that you may remember from playing at The Rockstar Bar last month, with a New Year's Eve show also to be announced, plus their likely participation in next year's second Speak Easy Battle of the Bands. There's still some unanswered questions, but have you seen enough to vote for them?

Faceityoureametalband: We've only seen this new hardcore punk project from RedD Monkey, Bear Hunters, and Pillory alumni once this year (at Swampstravaganza IV), and they too lack an online page, but fans of frontman Steve Mozarowski's past band work took to Faceityoureametalband during their lone show! A later listed set was quietly cancelled, but did you still like them the most?

Id Iota: Debuting in June at the same Algonquin Pub show that introduced us to Caroline Divine, Id Iota are an alternative hard rock band that succeeded Habitat Shuffle and feature alumni of Free Beer & The Vertically Impaired in their lineup. Notably opening for Saturn Alien that same month, Id Iota have been noticeably quiet since then, but did you like them the most in this poll?

Infinity Grinder: Uniting former No Arrow bassist Brad Griffith and Northern Tragedy drummer Terrence Gomes into an alternative two man band, Infinity Grinder debuted at March's Speak Easy Battle of the Bands, and later made a strong impression at this year's Swampstravaganza, though they too have been fairly quiet in recent months. Did Terrence & Brad leave enough of a mark on you?

Leaked: A young hard/classic rock trio featuring new Mike Haggith & The Din guitarist Tammy Hill, Leaked made their debut at Korah Collegiate school events, including their annual Relay For Life, but once again, this is a band that we haven't heard updates from in a number of months. Leaked showed promise, but did you have them as your #1 new local band of 2015?

Stereo North: One of the most visible new punk/alternative bands of the year, pop punk quartet Stereo North debuted at this year's Bon Soo Marquee, and have since made waves opening for the likes of Exes For Eyes & Broomfiller, and also had a strong showing at the VM Radio Battle! Featuring T-Rex Manning & Starlit Sins alumni, did you like Stereo North the most?

Other: Did you prefer a different new band to those given above? Did a non-metal/punk band pique your interest more? Did a band that hasn't debuted yet do enough to earn your vote? Maybe you liked a new band from out of town that has a Saultite member? Maybe we forgot a band? If your preferred choice isn't above, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until January 18th to cast your votes, and it'll be interesting to see the final results, so do so A.S.A.P., and stay tuned for more news and notes in short order! Thanks everyone!