Sunday, February 18, 2018

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

It's now time to shut down our first "favourite _____ of 2017" poll and launch a new one on the site! As you may recall, we asked this question last month: "What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk band of 2017?" Unfortunately, this poll only received five votes (can you see why I don't do monthly polls anymore?), but the results are interesting, so thanks to those of you who did vote, and here are the final results!

Vol. (2 votes, 40%)
Handsome Sandwich (2 votes, 40%)
Mike McCleary (1 vote, 20%)
The HTs/You First & The Passive Aggressives (0 votes)
The Kariokeheads/Rob Speers & Jesse Cook (0 votes)
The Noochin' Lanterns (0 votes)
The Soo Fighters (0 votes)
Other (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Aside from the low voter turnout, the results do correlate with a prediction that I had going in, that being that Handsome Sandwich and Vol. would lead the way, given their high profile lineups, early-mid 2017 stage debuts, and multiple live appearances last year. It would have been nice to see more bands receive votes, but with three of the no-vote bands not playing a public show until the fall, and The Noochin' Lanterns arguably being better known from unadvertised "pop-up" gigs, I can't be all that shocked. The biggest surprise was Mike McCleary placing third despite playing a single time at an advertised formal concert in 2017, largely working in studio otherwise, but his skilled and mature hard rock material has been winning fans steadily since last year, and here's to much more from him in 2018! Of the two tied bands, I am again breaking the tie by picking the newer band, as they had less time to garner the same fan support, so while Vol. are the technical winners, it's almost a moot point given the low vote totals. Both bands had a solid debut year, and hopefully they have much more in store to come!

Full disclosure: This poll did not feature The Bananas Guerrillas (previously known as Enema of the Soo), as I believed at the time that they were just a one-off Blink-182 tribute from last fall's Halloween Party at The Algonquin Pub. In any event, "Other" received no votes, but had I known prior to January 18th that they would be continuing as a full band without the tribute theme (a'la The HTs), I guarantee that they would have made the poll!

Thanks to everyone who voted, but what's in this month's poll? Keeping with our "favourite _____ of 2017" theme, I am posing this question to you guys next: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk album released in 2017? While last year was relatively slow for new band launches, we had a decent crop of new albums and CDs from local hard rock acts, which is on pace to build nicely this year given our quick start to 2018! To make this poll, albums must have been initially released in physical or digital formats for sale in the 2017 calendar year, so the digital reissue of "The Din Does Laundry" is not included. As in the past, "name your price" Bandcamp albums can be included, but the album must be completely packaged in a digital sale format there or elsewhere (so Mike Vincent's solo debut didn't make the cut.) Freely distributed albums, loose physical demos, and Spotify streaming exclusives don't count either, but of course, "Other" exists for a reason! That and seven specific choices are available to choose from, and here's some info on each!

Abhorrent Forest - The End of Life or Ethereal: This new instrumental black metal solo project from Despised Eyes alum Will "Old Man Wyrn" Tholberg is a studio-only project, but they launched with a bang with the release of their debut EP "The End of Life" back on January 9th. Not to be outdone, he also put on the dark ambient EP "Ethereal" on September 17th (which was our 100th monthly CD review!), but did either of these get your attention?

AlgomA & Hooded Menace's split vinyl single: Hitting the middle stretch of local doom metal trio AlgomA's venture into split releases with other bands, January 28th saw the release of their split single with Finnish doom metal quintet Hooded Menace, through the latter's label Doomentia Records. Despite it's short length (one song each) and vinyl-exclusive physical release, fans of each band responded favourably, but were you among them?

AlgomA & Shit Liver - Trading Faces: The third chapter of AlgomA's split chapter saw the release of the cassette tape-exclusive "Trading Faces" on September 5th, where they and local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver each supplied an array of cover songs, including the two bands covering each other! This rare cassette release was a hit, and while AlgomA had to miss most of the release tour for it, did "Trading Faces" win your vote here?

The Apocalypse Afterparty - Bufflesnort: Given a soft release on April 27th at a private Mellow D's Underground concert (though a teased fuller launch never received much follow-through), this is the long awaited debut EP from masked local rap/metal collective The Apocalypse Afterparty. In the works since 2014, their loose, hockey-inspired originals did receive positive notices from fans, but would youc ast your vote for "Bufflesnort" over all the rest?

The Din - Suburban Dream: Once it became clear that frontman Mike Haggith was moving out of town and their demise was imminent, local alt-hard rock trio The Din sped up the recording and release of their sophomore album "Suburban Dream" so it would be released on October 21st during their farewell concert at LopLops Lounge (and on CD!) That was a huge way to send The Din off after a successful run, but did the album win last year for you?

Mike McCleary - In Ruins: Before ever crossing our radar for coverage on the SMS, local hard rock solo artist Mike McCleary had already released his debut album "In Ruins" to online sale sources on June 16th, but it was later pulled from most of them by year's end, with three songs on it being reworked for his 2018 album "Weight of the Truth". Given it's apparent de-listing from his canon, this may be an underdog in the poll, but did you love it the most?

Any of SweetKenny's 2017 score albums: The ever-prolific Ken "SweetKenny" Sutton continued his recent focus on albums intended as scores for other media with four new albums going on digital sale in the 2017 calendar year. These included "Epic", "Music Composed For Film", "The Dogs Are Watching", and "Assassins" (: A Comedy Album?!), so there was no shortage of new material last year! Did any of these earn your vote?

Other: Did we miss your favourite new album from 2017? Perhaps your top choice was Mike Mikus' debut album (which does feature a few Pixo Control holdovers) or another non-hard rock/punk album? Maybe you do want to throw your vote to an unfinished, free, or demo release? If, for whatever reason, your preferred album isn't here, then "Other" is for you!

VOTE TODAY!! You have until March 18th to cast your votes, and hopefully there's a higher turnout than last month's poll! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes in the coming days!  Thanks everyone!

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