Friday, February 28, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Slumshine), Band Link Updates, And Musicians Wanted Group Updates!!

Before we get into this post, just a heads up that tonight's Handsome Sandwich concert at The Rockstar Bar has reportedly been cancelled due to the inclement weather & related staff invailability, as per singer/drummer Johnny Belanger's personal Facebook page this afternoon. Tomorrow's concert is still on, but if you're hoping to see them, do not come out tonight. Disappointing, but not all is lost, so keep tomorrow's show in mind! However, you can stay warm with today's SMS post, featuring recent musician searches, a band moved to our inactive band links, and leading off, here's an overdue addition to our band listings, with a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT too!

We have a new addition to our active band links today, and they are Slumshine, the current acoustic punk solo project from veteran local hardcore punk singer/bassist Brenton Ellis! Slumshine are nothing new, having debuted on stage back in September 2017, but early sound descriptions pointed to more of an alt-folk theme. However, as fans can attest, Slumshine are a full on punk act, just with one musician clad in the finest pink knit ski mask you'll ever find on a local stage! Brent doesn't use his name officially with Slumshine, and curiously uses plural pronouns (i.e. we/us) despite being a solo project. Initially making a splash via sets at the first Oh!No festival and by opening for The Faps, The Ghostly Hounds, and Dany Laj & The Looks in the fall of 2017, Slumshine went dormant throughout the following year, before returning to action in early 2019, appearing at Oh!No III and opening for The Faps again, Darsombra, Femur, and The River Jacks. Also, they released their first album "SLMSHN" on cassette tapes last July, and you can buy/stream it on Bandcamp on a "name your price" model.

Of course, Brent is among the staff of the Oh!No Collective, who distributed "SLMSHN" in their first release as a planned cassette tape-centric indie label, and his talents as a painter and artist are very evident in Slumshine's online marketing. Fans can see Slumshine back at it on Friday, March 20th when they open for The Sick Sons at LopLops (details here), but in a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT, you can see Slumshine in a rare solo headlining appearance on Wednesday, March 18th at... Home Bakehouse Bed and Breakfast at 168 March Street?! This is a new downtown business whose name suggests what they do, so if you like homemade baked goods, or need a place to stay, Home is where the heart is! The locale is very atypical for an ostensible "punk concert", but Home has partnered with the returning Fishbowl Festival for sourdough classes, for what that's worth. This mid-week show has an early 7:00 PM start time, no age limit, and a "pay what you can" entry model. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details!

Currently also a bassist with The Dynowaves, Brent's vocal work here and in Toronto is well known, and musically, I get more of his earlier straight punk vibe here rather than his later hardcore punk screaming, albeit with the stripped down unplugged format. Solid lyrics and strong melodic vocals mesh together well, and I think these sounds would be a great fit with a full plugged-in band, but even in this format, it's easy to see why Slumshine turn heads even beyond the pink mask. A smattering of videos are on Facebook & YouTube, but here's Slumshine playing their songs "Back in Blue" and "Blue Shift" at Outspoken Brewing in December!

Next up, I have reluctantly moved local alternative/indie rock quartet Id Iota to our inactive band links. The group has not issued a public statement since their cover of Pup's "Free At Last" was uploaded to their Facebook page one year ago today, though that performance was sans frontman Christian Lemay, and regardless of his status with the band, they have not played a live set since the 2018 Rotaryfest weekend. Active since mid-2015 when they succeeded the studio-only Habitat Shuffle, Id Iota quickly became a popular sight at a variety of local concerts in the mid-2010s, including at Lopstock II, three straight Rotaryfest Second Stages from 2016-2018, two Ontario tour runs in 2016 with The Pixo Control and Mike Mikus, and opening slots for touring bands like Saturn Alien, Windigo, and The Almighty Rhombus. Along the way, Id Iota also released their "Maudlin Fair" EP in April 2016, and they were working on a full length album as recently as April 2018.

I have no clue what happened to Id Iota, but they were a creative band that had enough genre diversity to slide into hard rock and indie shows with relative ease! Genre preference-wise, I did take to their 2000s ska punk predecessors Free Beer more, but Id Iota showed their growth and progression as musicians very well, and they left a wide footprint locally and with their tours 4 years ago. Hopefully we see Id Iota and their planned full-length CD resurface down the road, but best of luck to Christian, Dustin, Robert, Blair, Justin, and Dan in the future!

Finally for today, here's three recent Musicians Wanted Facebook group postings relating to musician and band searches from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist name:

  • Former Half Past bassist Arthur Lacasse is starting an acoustic rock band with him on guitar, who would cover modern hard rock acts like Highly Suspect, Shinedown, Seether, and Three Days Grace. He already has a singer lined up, and is looking for a bassist, drummer (ideally on cajon), and maybe an extra guitarist. It'd be great to see Arthur back out there, but if you're interested in more details, message him at this link or via his group post from February 8th!
  • A local rhythm guitarist named Jayrald Micky is looking to join a local band, and while he is aiming to play guitar in said group, he does have drumming experience. He didn't give a genre preference, just that he was "looking for anything at this point" and that he just wants to jam again. I'm not familiar with Jayrald as a musician, but if you want more details, message him at this link or via his group post from February 12th!
  • Fluid 5ive guitarist Liam Vaillancourt posted here on February 11th looking for a keyboard player for "a gigging band" that is capable of playing signature lines from various rock, blues, and country cover songs. Liam did not specify in the post if this was for Fluid 5ive or another band, but if it is referring to the 5ive, we have not heard anything regarding Rob Irving's status with the group (note that Rob played rhythm guitar as well as keyboard.) In any event, message Liam at this link or above for more details!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the site this weekend! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Project 906), Leap Day Concert Previews, And More Updates!!

As promised, let's wrap up this weekend's concert previews today by looking at announced hard rock shows taking place on Saturday, February 29th (a.k.a. Leap Day!) To round things out, I do have some assorted recent news and notes, but let's start things with a SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERT!

Sault Michigan hard/blues rock quartet Project 906 will play their first concert of 2020 THIS SATURDAY NIGHT when they return to rock The Strongs Tavern in nearby Eckerman! Apologies for the short notice, this concert was only announced by the venue's Facebook page on Monday. Continuing with their reduced live schedule in the past year, this will be Project 906's first publically advertised concert since playing in Hulbert Township in November, and it will be their first Strongs Tavern stop since June. It doesn't look like there's any special perks or themes to this one, but Project 906's hard rocking covers should go over well at this popular Western Chippewa County nightclub on SATURDAY, so don't miss out on all of the action then! SATURDAY's concert has a 9:00 PM start time, no cover charge, and a 21+ age limit. Visit the above links for more details, and here's Project 906 live!

Next up, let's head east to Sugar Island, where fellow Sault Ste. Marie hard rock quartet 415E will play a rare non-Kewadin concert on SATURDAY NIGHT at The Hilltop Bar at 5393 Sugar Island Road! Long a ticket depot for the Sugar Island Music Festival, this nightclub and restaurant does host live music on occasion, and 415E will do the honours on Saturday for their Leap Day festivities! Most of the advertising focuses on their menu selections, so visit the above links if that interests you, but if you don't want to wait until May to hear 415E's Van Halen-influenced covers, consider a ferry trip to Sugar Island tomorrow! No word on if this is a hint towards the festival lineup this year. The band is advertised to take the stage at 8:00 PM, and expect a 21+ age limit and no cover charge. Visit the above links for more details, and here's 415E live a few years back!

Lastly for publically advertised hard rock concerts this weekend, let's head north to Sault Ontario, where new (and online page-less) local hard rock cover quartet Barely Covered will play their second concert on SATURDAY NIGHT at LopLops Lounge! Featuring 3/4ths of the mid-2010s cover band Changing Lanes alongside new singer Maggie Gasparetto, some readers may recall seeing Barely Covered at this same venue in September, but with a show under their belt and a Leap Day to celebrate, what sorts of covers from the 1980s-2000s will they break out? Remember, sound and setlist descriptions for Barely Covered are heavier than what Changing Lanes had. A very talented lineup is featured here, including Blues Harvest, Startlefish, and Wild Iris alumni, so definitely consider coming to see this one before the month's over! As usual for LopLops, expect a 9:30 PM start time, a $5 cover charge, and a 19+ age limit. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and I don't know of any public videos of Barely Covered yet!

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

  • When researching our Defunct Local Band Profile on them earlier this month, I discovered that inactive local grunge/hardcore duo Bad Back had quietly taken down their Facebook page for unannounced reasons at some point since they dissolved in 2016. I wish bands wouldn't do that, but their Twitter page remains online, so I have changed our link on the SMS to that account, and it was very helpful in completing our profile!
  • Local punk trio Redundant have been named as the local openers for the Buckcherry concert at Soo Blaster on May 13th, as per recent updates on the Facebook event page. Not a perfect genre match, but this is a huge platform for their first local date of 2020, and members do have tickets to sell in case you want to get them in person, so contact them at this link for details!
  • I have moved local death metal duo This Is Your Band On Drugs back to our inactive band links, as they have not issued a public update since quietly dropping out of their planned reunion set at the For Those About To Grind concert at The New A one year ago yesterday. Chase has been very busy in the past year with his own solo endeavours, but best of luck to him and Nick in the future!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for some long overdue news on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Tym Morrison & Tarnished) And The First Half Of This Weekend's Concert Previews!!

Another busy weekend of concerts is upon us to end February with, so much so that I have broken things into two posts, with this one focusing on hard rock acts playing today or tomorrow in some fashion. Our previews of this Saturday's 415E, Barely Covered, and (late notice) Project 906 concerts will be coming in our next post, with room for another short notice booking if it crosses our wires. Now, here's what you should know to start off the weekend, starting with acts with LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for next month!

Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished are expected to continue their "every Thursday" arrangement at Biggby Coffee with another matinee show there TODAY, but while we're on the subject, let's add their March slate of Thursday gigs to our concert calendar as well! Unless the band or venue says anything to the contrary (remember, every Thursday), look for Alex (and Josh or Nathan?) to rock the Ashmun Street coffee shop with unplugged cover sets on March 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th. Tarnished have been very quiet on social media in the past month+, but assuming there's nothing wrong, Alex and crew should have another great batch of hard rocking afternoon tunes in store, so keep these Thursday afternoons in mind! Today's and next month's shows are all 12:00 PM affairs with no cover charges or age limits. See above for more details, and here's Tarnished live!

Next up, let's head back to Sault Ontario, where prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison will return to Gliss Restaurant for his own regular supper-time matinee concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY, sandwiching his latest return to The Roadhouse Bar & Grill TOMORROW NIGHT, but like with Tarnished, that's not all! With March approaching just as fast up here, I'll add Tym's own March slate to our concert calendar today, including returns to Gliss for more weekend sets there on March 6th-7th, 13th-14th, 20th-21st, and 27th-28th. Meanwhile, Tym will play consecutive Fridays at The Roadhouse when he rocks the Trunk Road nightclub again next Friday, March 6th, while returning there once more on March 27th. Finally, Tym will play his third (and last?) announced matinee date at Northern Superior Brewing Company's on-site tap room on Saturday, March 14th. Busy month as usual for this veteran solo artist, so keep all of these dates in mind!

The Gliss shows are all at 6:00 PM, the Roadhouse shows are at 10:00 PM, and the Northern Superior show is at 3:00 PM. None of these have announced cover charges, and while only the Roadhouse has a firm age limit, mind the locales elsewhere. Tym's hard rocking cover selection should go over well at each venue next month, plus at Gliss this weekend and at The Roadhouse tomorrow. so visit the Facebook event pages linked here, here, and here for more details, and here's Tym live!

Also this weekend, new local hard rock quartet The Uncanny Valley will make their LopLops Lounge debut TOMORROW NIGHT when they open for Kawartha Lakes alt-rock quartet Heaps and Hamilton indie rockers Basement Revolver in those bands' own local debuts! With their own comparatively heavier, classic rock-influenced sound, The Uncanny Valley are somewhat outliers on the bill tomorrow, but this should be a great showcase to see this rising young group at a popular downtown locale, and they should set the tone before the touring bands hit the stage tomorrow night! Heaps and Basement Revolver aren't heavy acts, but each bring their own atmospheric and accessible sound to the LopLops stage, so whether you like your alternative music with more melody or trance elements, definitely give both bands a listen to see what they have in store! This stop on Heaps' Live Debut Tour has a 19+ age limit, a $10 cover charge, and a likely 9:00 PM start time.

For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's a new video of The Uncanny Valley that was posted on their Facebook page earlier this week! A short jam session clip where they play their newer original "This Love Is Psychedelic", this again harbours 1970s hard rock influences to good effect, but the angle is way too tight and not optimally angled to capture the guys (Adam's not in frame at all!) The song sounds good while it lasts, so give it a listen below!

Finally for today's concert preview post, local alt-punk cover trio Handsome Sandwich will return to The Rockstar Bar in a rare weekend bar band capacity via headlining dates TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Last seen at Room 21 in unplugged format, this will be Johnny, Jesse, and James' first electric concert since their late notice fill-in date at The Rockstar Bar four weeks ago, but with advance notice and more time to prepare, this weekend's concerts should be even better for them and fans alike! With their eclectic cover selection and sense of humour, these will be can't miss events for fans, so keep tomorrow & Saturday night's shows under advisement! As usual for The Rockstar Bar, these are 19+ concerts with 10:00 PM start times and no cover charge. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Handsome Sandwich at Acoustic Heartstrings!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for our 415E, Barely Covered, and Project 906 concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

YouTube Channel Profile Series: biznasty316

It's now time for our final monthly feature post of February 2020, as this is our newest YouTube Channel Profile, continuing our monthly spotlighting of YouTube channels with half or more of their videos devoted to local metal, hard rock, and/or punk artists or concerts! This month's randomly selected channel features studio recordings from a very prominent local band, so here's what you should know!
biznasty316 (

Owner: YouTube user miners2433, later known as biznasty316, which may reference retired NHL player Paul "BizNasty" Bissonnette and/or that last name. In any event, I don't believe miners2433 is a local resident.

Channel Timeline: Launched on August 19th, 2008; Videos posted from October 2010 through June 2011

Channel Summary: All six videos on this channel are songs from studio albums by local/Toronto indie punk icons Treble Charger. Specifically, all are non-singles, perhaps in an effort to upload deep cuts not already on YouTube at the time. Each video features the song's lyrics in it's description.

Why You Should Watch: If you're a fan of Treble Charger's pop punk-era material, this is worth checking out, especially if you appreciate songs that didn't have a music video! This channel still sees personal usage, but it has not seen a new upload in over nine years, and of course, there are far more substantive channels and videos on YouTube to hear each of these albums in full, as well as their first two indie rock albums "nc-17" & "Self Title".

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

Fade - Treble Charger: The only upload on miners2433's channel from Treble Charger's 1997 album "Maybe It's Me", "Fade" features singer/guitarist Greig Nori and guitarist Bill Priddle alongside then-bassist Rosie Martin and session drummer Mike Levesque. One of multiple songs on the album alluding to personal issues in a relationship, this track has more of a power pop base that gradually builds nicely, though the soft vocals aren't always a great match to the lyrics, especially compared to other songs on this CD.

Wear Me Down-Treble Charger: Now featuring Trevor McGregor on drums, this track comes from Treble Charger's most successful album, 2000's "Wide Awake Bored". We haven't formally reviewed that CD on the SMS yet, but this up-tempo pop punk song has a very catchy chorus and fit right in as the band fully jumped into the punk pool with this album! With over 7,000 views, this is the channel's most popular upload.

Drive - Treble charger: The other four videos uploaded here come from Treble Charger's 2002 CD "Detox", which is still their most recent album, and they include "What You Want", "Can't Wake Up", "The First Time", and featured here, the 7+ minute long "Drive". More of a mid-tempo, serious song while still retaining a punk attitude, the back half of this track is entirely instrumental, which would theoretically be a good jam in live settings, and allows Bill to have a solid showcase to send things out with! We also haven't reviewed "Detox" on the site yet, but pending their new album's progress, that could come first in line.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month in this series, our latest randomly selected channel will be GnaeusMusic, the channel of the popular mid-2010s post-punk quartet, so watch for that on or around March 26th! That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Woodhawk & The Sick Sons), The Return Of Black Cloud, And More!!

I have quite a backlog of stories to tackle right now, so let's keep things rolling on the SMS with a post half devoted to new songs and updates from a prominent independent label's camp, but first, here's a pair of LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for the spring at the same venue that you punk fans will want to take notice of!

New local punk supergroup The Sick Sons will make their 2020 debut and first ever headlining concert appearance on Friday, March 20th when they rock LopLops Lounge! Returning to the site of their December concerts opening for established local punk acts,  this will be their fifth live concert total and will be a quality tune-up gig before they help open A Dire Setback's CD release show at LopLops the following weekend. With a stacked lineup of name punk artists from the past 20 years, genre fans won't want to miss The Sick Sons next month! The opener will be masked local folk punk solo project Slumshine in his/their second concert of 2020, and this should be a good platform for Brent to get his material back out there after a few months off! Stay tuned for more on Slumshine in the near future. A 9:00 PM start time is in effect for this 19+ concert, which has a $5 cover charge. This should be a fine concert for punk fans to check out next month with many familiar faces, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details as they roll in!

Next up, Calgary stoner hard rock quartet Woodhawk will make their local concert debut on Tuesday, April 21st when they headline at LopLops themselves! An unusually heavy headliner for this venue, Woodhawk are touring in support of their new album "Violent Nature", and this should be a fine platform for their melodic yet riff-heavy brand of original rock, and they straddle a couple genre lines, so many different fans should take to their sound! Local support will include alt-punk trio A Dire Setback in their first announced show following their CD release party at LopLops next month, so will they have hard copies for sale three weeks later? In any event, momentum will be on their side! Adding to the hodgepodge of genres here, DJ Seith is advertised to kick things off with another set of his turntable mixes, so what vinyl will he be unveiling for the occasion? Be there to find out, if you can swing a Tuesday nighter in two months! This event is brought to you by the Oh!No Collective in their first announced concert booking of 2020.

A 19+ concert as usual for LopLops, doors open at 8:00 PM on April 21st, and admission is either $10 at the door or the "pay what you can" model. Nice mix of sounds in store for this concert, and Woodhawk definitely sound promising alone, so keep this weeknight concert in mind, and visit the official Facebook event page for more details!

Also, here's something we briefly alluded to in this month's poll write-up last week, but haven't included in a formal post yet, as local experimental/death metal solo project Black Cloud are back! After quietly closing all of their social media accounts and deleting their "Abstract Sounds" demo from Bandcamp late last year, project leader Peytan Andreola reversed course by launching a new Facebook page on January 31st, with a new YouTube channel to match. Posts on Facebook have been minimal since, but Peytan revealed on Saturday that he's "close to finishing lyrics" for some sort of release called "Ambient Silence", while he is apparently planning to revisit songs from "Abstract Sounds", which could explain why it was taken off of Bandcamp. In any event, "Abstract Sounds" in it's original form can be streamed on the new YouTube channel. The other video there is actually a podcast interview with Peytan where he talks about Black Cloud's existing and future projects. This is a 27 minute interview, so be warned before listening.

You do get some interesting insights from this still relatively new project, but how much of this will see the light of day as described in the interview? Time will tell! Embedded below is Black Cloud's first new song post-return, as uploaded to their new label Blood Shed Productions' YouTube channel last week, and it's entitled "Spill The Blood (And For All I Care Let The Blood Spill In The Air)". More of a noise rock song with no growled vocals and almost too much percussion, there is definitely musical and production growth, and signing with Blood Shed makes perfect sense! Give Black Cloud's new song a listen below, and they're back in our active band links!

Finally, let's close with another new video posting on the aforementioned Blood Shed Productions YouTube channel, which has been posting new sampler material from assorted acts with releases in the works in 2020 as of late, including established rapper Miracle Man and an electronic project named Nothing Good. However, metalheads will be most interested in the new song from the label's flagship solo project Crucify the Whore, entitled "Whorticulture". Planned to be on a full length release called "P.C. Sells... But I Ain't Buying It", it gives 73 seconds of punishing grindcore, minimalistic as it may be, so fans will want to give it a listen below, and stay tuned for more!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's YouTube Channel Profile on the site next! Thanks everyone!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Haggith - "Flight 75" CD Review!!

It is now time for our 128th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and with no brand new metal, hard rock, or punk CDs to look at this month, we're dipping into the archives for our long overdue look at defunct local hard rock/grunge quartet Haggith's only live album "Flight 75"! We are tying in this selection with the recent live debut of The Bridge Heads, the new local hard rock band featuring every band member except relocated drummer/namesake Mike Haggith. Recorded live at their first of two self-promoted Bushplane Musical Madness concerts on November 24th, 2012 at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Center (itself the release party for their "Apocalypse" studio album), "Flight 75" was released on January 19th, 2013 through their independent label PaperClip Productions, with sound for the concert provided (I believe) by Dirk Becker's Sykotyk Sound Company.

Haggith are represented here by their classic lineup, including Mike on drums & vocals alongside singer/guitarist Curtis McKenzie, lead guitarist Daniel Horton (also now of Jack Spades & Big Mistake), and bassist Caleb Cachagee. You can buy "Flight 75" on Haggith's Bandcamp page on a "name your price" model, or stream it for free on YouTube, and while physical copies ran for $5, they are long since out of print. Just for clarification, this was not a concert I was in attendance for, so I cannot give extra context for Haggith's set proper. As such, this is relatively new to me, but all but one track would feature in their first three studio albums, so comparisons will be inevitable. Featuring 11 songs running for about 50 minutes in length, let's kick off this live album review with the first song, namely the instrumental "Chaos In The Streets Of Aftermath" from their then-new CD "Apocalypse", which is largely similar to the studio track, but omits the distracting keyboard work and the bridging sequences.

Losing the keyboard parts is a HUGE improvement, but such a tense, drawn out, vocals-devoid song feels out of place without the connecting story. Two songs follow next from their October 2012 debut CD "Dragon Joy Ride", starting with "Livin' It On The Run", which is slightly cleaner of a recording than on the original! This live take retains the grunge influences and nice contrast from soft verses to heavy choruses, but Curt's vocals drop off late, almost as if he kept singing away from the microphone.

The song is lengthened by a call-and-response section with the crowd, but the soundboard audio has largely muted the crowd noise, so this ends up being ineffective. Still, this was a highlight on their debut album, and the song works well here! The third "song" is actually two, entitled "Wanko (Reprise)/Wanko", despite the reprise coming after the original on "Dragon Joy Ride" (ending the album, even!) Arranging it like this makes sense though, as the shorter, faster "Wanko" is a better structural fit at the end. The reprise has somewhat softer instrumentation but matches the studio copy in groove and proficiency, and the original fast "Wanko" works way better without the heavily echoed vocals. Stripping that out gives it a raw live immediacy that is a much more natural fit, and like on the opener, this is the second song so far on "Flight 75" where I prefer the live copy!

We next have two songs that were not yet released in studio form by the band at that time, but would see the light of day in May 2013 via their third album (and second "mainline" CD) "Deuce". The song ahead is "Leon the Janitor", which notably featured Mike on lead vocals rather than Curt. This rendition is the closest yet to the studio version, but like on "Livin' It On The Run", the volume of Mike's mic seems to inexplicably drop off late. Everyone performs well on this fast hard rocker though, and it's nice to hear it again! That's followed by "Loverbeam", their faster punk-style number that is largely intact from the future studio version, but it was probably a good idea that they re-worked the outro. It's not a technical masterpiece, but everyone performs strongly to this song's level, and it's upbeat with solid lyrics, so it works well enough!

Song #6 is the only cover on "Flight 75" (members' prior projects excepted) to never get a studio copy released, but a different live recording later turned up on their "For the Cause" EP. Their rendition of Cheap Trick's "Reach Out" was a live favourite in their early months, and while I'm not a huge Cheap Trick fan, their cover was a always welcomed! Curt's vocals seem strained to their limit here, but it works for the song, and I just with Daniel's guitar solo was a little louder. Caleb acquits himself well here too, and this was a good choice to get the Haggith treatment! The next two tracks are "Fin (Part 1)" & "Fin (Part 2)", which were the linked songs from "Apocalypse" about Mike Haggith's astronaut character leaving the zombie infested Earth, though the the track in between (the sound effects-only "Liftoff") was not played at this show. Click here for full details on that album's storyline.

The brief "(Part 1)" retains it's melancholy, soft, and introspective nature, with Curt's vocals a good match, though it runs for a little shorter than on the full album. By contrast, "(Part 2)" runs for over ten minutes, almost double the length of the studio version! This differs in key ways, with Mike's spoken word dialogue taking on a more isolated, downbeat tone, while the extra run time strikes me as far too drawn out and needlessly long, especially for a live concert with fans patiently waiting. The intensity ramps up late, especially with Curt's verse, Mike's drumming, and the impassioned screaming for Dad (the latter two not on the album.) I don't know that "Fin" was ideal for a live concert, but they adapted it as best they could!

Two more songs from "Dragon Joy Ride" come next, starting with "I Am", which is largely similar to the studio copy, but Curt's singing is noticeably getting strained by this point. A mid-paced hard rocker with a strong bite, it still suffers from a repetitive chorus, but the guys have a good musical handle on things, and Mike seems to be showing off with his drum fills! Solid track overall, and it's followed on both the studio album and "Flight 75" by "Rage Train", as preceded by Curtis introducing the band to the audience. A slightly shorter cover but otherwise faithful to the original, this hard edged track was one of my favourite early songs of Haggith's, and Caleb has one of his better bass showcases here, but the backing vocals aren't a great fit. The chorus vocals again sounds a little worn, but everyone delivers to their best at this late stage of the concert!

"Flight 75" closes with it's partial namesake, "75", which would later get studio versions on both "Deuce" and Mike's later band The Din's 2016 debut album. The second track here with Mike on lead vocals (not counting his spoken word on "Fin [Part 2]"), this is again similar to the band Haggith's later studio copy, though the backing vocals are again to it's detriment, and with hindsight, The Din's cover improves on it with a tighter, faster arrangement. Still, this is an upbeat, heavy way to end the album!

So, what are my final thoughts on Haggith's only live album? I can't speak for Bushplane Musical Madness I as a concert, but Haggith delivered an entertaining set at this early stage of their run, and it gave fans a nice cross-section of their first three albums in the process! There were songs here that I preferred to the studio version (like "Chaos In The Streets Of Aftermath" and "Wanko"), but others suffered from live fatigue or re-arrangements I wasn't on board with. Such is the experience of a live concert! Aside from noticeable wear on Curtis McKenzie's voice late, the guys were performing on their game here, with Curt and Daniel Horton a fine match on guitar, Caleb Cachagee showing solid bass skills that we were slowly seeing more of in studio, and Mike's drumming and vocal performances were as steady and reliable as ever! It is worth noting that the album's track listing is heavily edited compared to their actual setlist that night, omitting five originals and two more covers. To me, the exclusions of "No Cure For Insanity" & "If You Get Out Alive" are especially disappointing.

Also, while the soundboard audio is solid, it does heavily mute the live crowd reactions, which does take away from points in the show where Curtis and Mike are clearly talking to the fans. On the whole, "Flight 75" is an entertaining look back at this prolific quartet just when they were starting to really make a name for themselves as a live act, so give it a listen or buy it at the above links! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, and as for next month.... it's CD release party is just over a month away, so how does A Dire Setback's debut CD sound? Look for that between March 29th & 31st, and stay tuned for more news and notes on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Lycanthro & Whoop-Szo), Plus New Solo Videos!!

The last week of the month is upon us, so let's kick things off with a new news post on the SMS, and it includes some new videos from familiar solo musicians, but first, we have two interesting LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for two months from now, so here's what you should know!

London sludge/post-metal quintet Whoop-Szo will rock Sault Ste. Marie for the third time on Thursday, April 16th when they play at.... The Sault Ste. Marie Museum!? Not too long ago, this would have been even more surprising, but just last week, the 690 Queen Street East museum opened it's doors to a concert from Brantford folk musician Benjamin Dakota Rogers that was well received, so click here for more on the museum's debut as a live music venue and how things may look for their second go-around. Of course, our city's museum has a lot of historic and cultural importance that adds to the appeal, and don't forget, Bone Yard/ex-That's Chester drummer Ric Datson is their assistant curator. Regarding Whoop-Szo proper, fans may recall seeing them at LopLops in 2018 and at the Dryer Fire pop-up venue in September. Known for their hybrid of everything from metal & grunge to folk & pop, Whoop-Szo should leave another big impression in April!

No opening acts are advertised, though both of Whoop-Szo's prior local dates had extra touring bands. Promoted by the aforementioned Dryer Fire's regular concert arm, this concert will take place inside the Museum's Discovery Gallery, and an early 6:00 PM start time is advertised for this presumably all ages concert. Like last week, local vendors will be on hand, and while an admission fee wasn't advertised, Benjamin's concert there ran for $15, and paid attendees will be able to actually tour the museum with their admission. Very intriguing show in all facets, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details!

Next up, a more traditional metal concert will hit The Rockstar Bar five days later, as Ottawa power/thrash metal quartet Lycanthro will make their local concert debut on Tuesday, April 21st! Delivering a decidedly old school brand of NWOBHM-influenced speed metal, this late stop on their Tour of the Wolf should provide a hard hitting metal blast for fans in two months time, so if you can swing coming out on a school/work night, Lycanthro should deliver the goods! Local openers will include an increasingly rare set from local death metal veterans The Bear Hunters, in their first concert of 2020, just their third in the past two years, and their first Rockstar Bar appearance since their Amon Amarth tribute set on Halloween weekend in 2017. Bear Hunters sets are getting rarer and rarer, but they have survived into a new decade and still have a new CD in the pipeline, so don't miss their latest long-awaited return in April to see what they have in store!

Local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades are also advertised to open in their own first concert set of the year, and first of two announced dates for the spring after laying low through the winter. It'll be great to see Jack Spades back themselves, so don't be late! Seemingly self promoted through The Bear Hunters, this 19+ concert has an early-ish 8:00 PM start time advertised (given the date, hopefully that sticks), and an admission fee has not yet been announced. This should be a brutal night for metal fans, so visit the official Facebook event page for more details as they roll in!

We'll close today with some new videos, starting with the latest original song from former Sense of Truth/Skeyes of Seven frontman Cory Murchison's YouTube channel, as posted there earlier this month. Entitled "Breaking Free", Cory says that this is about "breaking out of old habits and freeing ourselves from society's hold", and if you missed his heavier regular sound after his surprise "Love Yourself" cover, you'll be more at home here! Very bass-heavy, but it's a solid hard rocker that would have fit in one of his local bands, and watch for liberal usage of Facebook or Snapchat video filters while he sings to the camera. Unique touch, so give everything a look below!

Lastly, here's some new acoustic cover videos from local/Elliot Lake punk solo project Ashoka At The Show, as uploaded to project leader Darren MacDonald's YouTube channel last week! After a four month hiatus from new music (partially due to his wife's surgery), Darren has resumed uploading new videos on YouTube, largely reflecting his own gameplay of NHL 20 and his create-a-team, the Halifax Buccaneers, so if that interests you, he's got a lot of that to see! Musically, the two covers are a sped up rendition of Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" (a favourite of his daughter's), and as embedded below, John Denver's "Leavin' On A Jet Plane". These are far removed from his original punk base, especially if you recall the band's live era locally, but Darren's a good singer with clear guitar ability, and he adds a frank honesty on these covers! Give them a look above and below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates on the site this week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, February 21, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Buckcherry), Theory Of A Deadman Concert Videos, And Rad Zone Updates!!

Here's a stacked news post for your Friday evening, and it includes early details on a popular local business' new home, lots of video footage from a big recent concert, and leading off, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for a name band in a somewhat unexpected venue in the spring! Here's what you should know!

Platinum-selling Anaheim, California hard rock quintet Buckcherry will make their Sault Ontario debut when they headline at Soo Blaster (not Blasters) on Wednesday, May 13th! Best known for hit songs like "Sorry", "Lit Up", and "Crazy Bitch", this will be Buckcherry's (at least) fourth local concert appearance total, following headlining dates at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino in 2011 & 2012, and their outdoor set opening for Pop Evil there in August. Scope-wise, this is a much more intimate concert, but that appears to be by design, given the locales of the other stops on their Eastern Canada tour run that month. I'm not a massive Buckcherry fan, but they've been good to the area in the past decade, and they should have no problem getting a strong crowd to Soo Blaster in three months with their party hard rock hits! At least one opening band is to be announced, and Ottawa promoters The Diamond Mine Agency are looking for musicians interested in the opportunity, so e-mail for details.

And yes, I am well aware of the connections to be made to the cancelled Rock The Border Festival in Sault Ontario in June 2017, which would have been headlined by Josh & Stevie's rap rock side project Josh Todd & The Conflict. These are completely different established promoters, and I haven't heard anything worrying from them or their recent tours elsewhere. This 19+ concert has an 8:00 PM start time, and tickets are now on sale at this link for $40 plus service fees, which is comparable to premium seating last year. This should be a huge show for Buckcherry fans to see them up close, so visit the official Facebook event page for continuing details!

Next up, we have lots of videos to get to from the Theory of a Deadman-headlined concert at The Sault Community Theatre Centre on Sunday, courtesy of Christopher Paci's excellent YouTube channel once again! He labelled all of these as taking place at the Kiwanis Theatre (shortening the venue's old sponsored name), but that's no big deal, I still call it the Kiwanis more often than not. Chris shot 10 videos of the British Columbia hard rock/post grunge quartet's set on Sunday, including of their songs "Rx (Medicate)", "Santa Monica", "World Keeps Spinning", "Straight Jacket", "History of Violence", "Nothing Could Come Between Us", "Angel", "Bitch Came Back", "Lowlife", and as embedded below, their set-closer "Bad Girlfriend". It's good for fans that they still play their old hits despite their softer last two albums, but if you like the latter, you're in good hands! Chris was in further away seats than normal for shows he films at, so these videos can be blurry and have over-exposed lighting.

Also, the audio on these tends to be fairly muffled, but they're all very listenable, especially the newer tracks. Old or new sound, I'm not a major fan of Theory (of a Deadman), but fans will enjoy these videos, which cover more than half of their set. Check them out above and below!

While we're on the subject, did you know that this concert had an opening band?! Local advertising never confirmed this, and unless you follow the openers on social media, I can fully understand you guys not knowing! Reminds me of the Ace Frehley's Sault Michigan concert in 2009 in that respect, but I do apologize for letting that slip by! The openers on Sunday and on Theory's ongoing Canadian tour are newer Saskatoon rock trio W3apons, who did play at LopLops last May, a show we didn't cover on here because their available songs then didn't skew towards hard rock. Chris filmed W3apons playing this untitled original (which does have a heavier bite to it), their song "Off The Top Of My Heart", and as embedded below, a surprise cover of Rage Against The Machine's "Bulls on Parade".W3apons have a good sound, sort of an alternative/power pop hybrid that I can see fitting well with modern-day Theory in particular, so give their videos a look above & below as well!

Lastly, I wanted to give some early thoughts on the new Rad Zone location, now that it's been open for the past week! Of course, the local record/video games/skate/etc. store left The Wellington Square Mall last month, preceding their move to the former Foch Cleaners building at 721 Queen Street East. As of my first visit, they hadn't put up proper signage, but the front room currently holds DVDs and VHS tapes, the main second room holds records, CDs, video games, comic books, box sets, and collectibles, and the back third room comprises more records and the relocated Hole In The Wall Bookstore (not sure if that name will be used there still.) So far, everything on the sales floor so far is well laid out, but the new location is a little smaller, and the brick walls of the building may complicate adding new shelves. As of when I was in, cassette tapes and local albums were not on the floor, but I hope they can find efficient space for both, especially the local albums! I spent $30 worth on records and movies, and with a downtown location near more relevant local businesses, I know I'll be in more often!

The new location without mall hours allows The Rad Zone to close later for special events, such as tonight's Vinyl Listening Party hosted by DJ Seith (click here for details), so that's a plus! Of course, congratulations to Monk, Mel, and Evan on getting everything moved and back in business in such quick time, and check out their Facebook page for relevant updates, including recent videos related to the big move, such as this fast-motion preview video of the new store's layout, courtesy of Shaw Spotlight correspondent Christian Lemay. Well done, though have the pause button ready!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the site in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (415E & The Wyld Stallyns) And More Weekend Concert Previews!!

As promised, we're capping off this weekend's hard rock concert previews with this post, though we are leading off with LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, one on SHORT NOTICE! Yes, I am well aware of a big concert announcement at Soo Blaster, stay tuned for info on that very soon. Now, here's what you should know for those new shows!

Local acoustic hard rock trio The Wyld Stallyns will return to The Whiskey Barrel for one night only TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band only acknowledged the show via their Facebook page earlier today, but the venue had advertised it all month as part of their February schedule announcement, as seen on the shows' collective Facebook event page. I must get better at following The Whiskey Barrel's monthly concert schedules, apologies again! This will be The Elements side project's first concert since playing at LopLops two weeks ago, and it picks up where they left off when they played another Friday nighter at this popular Gore Street restaurant/nightclub last month. No word on why they're not playing on Saturday, but look for more hard rocking and varied covers TOMORROW from The Stallyns! Expect an 8:00 PM start time, no cover, and a 19+ age limit. See above for more details, and here's The Wyld Stallyns live!

Next up, here's a show that the band gave some reasonable advance notice to, as Sault Michigan hard rock quartet 415E will play at The Hilltop Bar in nearby Sugar Island on Saturday, February 29th at that venue's Leap Day party! This is a very surprising announcement in two respects, one being that this is the first 415E concert in a long, long time while that wasn't under the Kewadin Casino umbrella (at least, not that had a public announcement online.) It'll be interesting to see how Dave, Chris, Brett, and Jason are received here! The other unique aspect is the locale, as seeing a hard concert announcement in Sugar Island outside of the annual Music Festival there in August is completely new for us. The Hilltop Bar is a long-time ticket depot for that event, FYI. The pictured cover photo from the bar's Facebook page indicates that said Leap Day party will have a heavy emphasis on their restaurant offerings, but they have yet to confirm 415E as the live music (the band did that on their Facebook page.)

No cover charge is advertised for this event, and while start times aren't advertised either, Hilltop Bar events usually begin at 7:00 PM, and the bar proper opens at 10:00 AM. The address is 5393 Sugar Island Road. 415E's hard rocking covers should go over well at this relatively unfamiliar venue next Saturday, so see above for more details!

Moving to the rest of this weekend's concert previews, let's stay in the E.U.P., as The Hair Scare Live is hitting The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin Casino THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! A special concert named after the popular 1980s metal radio show on Rock 101 on Saturday nights, this is an event that you may want to see in person rather than just turn on your radio, and it will be headlined by former Cinderella frontman Tom Keifer in his first local stop since Cinderella played here in 2011. Tom and his solo band should have plenty of Cinderella classics like "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" in store, so don't miss out! Support will come via Maryland glam/hard rock quintet Kix and Los Angeles hair metal veterans Faster Pussycat, both in their apparent local concert debuts. Genre fans will surely know many hits from both bands, from "Don't Close Your Eyes" to "House of Pain", so expect lots of throwback action!

As best as I can tell, Hair Scare host and Rock 101 morning DJ Scott Cook will be on hand as the MC on Saturday, which is only logical given the branding. Presented by Meridian Entertainment, this all ages & 7:00 PM concert still has limited standing room tickets available for $25 and premium seats available at higher prices, so visit this link, the in-person box office, or at 1-800-KEWADIN to get hooked up. The Dreammaker's Theater has always been very kind to hair metal, as have fans, so this should be a great concert! Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Tom Keifer live!

Finally for this weekend, let's wrap up back in Sault Ontario, and if you can't get to The Hair Scare Live, Canadian fans aren't completely out of the woods on SATURDAY NIGHT, as Oshawa-based Bon Jovi tribute band Bon Jovi Forever will return for this headlining concert! Bon Jovi fans are in good hands here, as this tribute is making their third local concert appearance on Saturday, following well recieved gigs here in May 2016 and this past October. With a faithful looking and sounding stage show for fans of their early hair metal classics and newer, more general rock output, you should find something to like from B.J.F. in their third local go-around! Might they already have Bon Jovi's new single "Limitless" in their repertoire? As was the case last year, this is a 19+ concert with doors opening at 9:00 PM, and tickets run for $15 in advance at The Canadian's front desk, $20 at the door. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and here's Bon Jovi Forever live!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post on the site tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Most Of This Weekend's Hard Rock Concert Previews!!

Another busy concert weekend is upon us, so we're breaking up our previews into two posts once again! Due to the amount, we're bumping Saturday night's Tom Keifer/Kix and Bon Jovi Forever concerts to our next post, coming either tonight or tomorrow, with other news and/or short notice show announcements rounding things out there. Now, here's what you should know to start this weekend in rough chronological order!

We'll start with the expected continuation of Sault Michigan hard rock band Tarnished's "every Thursday" arrangement at Biggby Coffee, as we should see them back for another matinee acoustic concert TODAY! Unfortunately, neither the band nor venue have plugged any installments of this series on social media this month, but when the shows don't really change week to week, maybe they don't feel they have to regularly, barring a change or timing perk. "Every Thursday" means what it means unless otherwise stated, I would assume! Look for Alex (and Josh or Nathan?) at the Ashmun Street establishment once again this afternoon at 12:00 PM rocking out for tips and coffee, and as usual, this is an all ages event with no cover. Tarnished have a strong hard rock base and clear talent, so whether this is Alex alone or with company, don't miss out! See above for more details, and here's Tarnished live at Biggby Coffee last year!

Next up, let's take a detour to Sault Ontario, where another weekly run of acoustic matinee concerts continues TOMORROW & SATURDAY at Gliss Restaurant courtesy of prolific local hard rock singer/guitarist Tym Morrison! However, that's not all, as Tym will play his second concert at Northern Superior Brewing Co.'s on-site taproom THIS SATURDAY AFTERNOON, so you have three chances to see Tym's acoustic covers downtown this weekend! Tym's Gliss run is long established for fans, but he only just debuted at the 50 Pim Street brewery last month, and by accounts I have read, that show was a hit. Another usually busy weekend is in store for Tym and his fans, so keep all of the action on Pim and Spring in mind for these two days! The Gliss gigs are at 6:00 PM sandwiching Saturday's Northern Superior show at 3:00 PM, and while these don't have stated age limits or cover charges, mind the locales. Visit the Facebook event pages linked here & here for more details, and here's Tym live!

Also this weekend, local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to The Rockstar Bar for headlining concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Not counting last week's fill-in as hosts of Mojo's weekly jam night, this will be their first true concert weekend since rocking the Reggievelt three weeks ago, and this will mark their Rockstar Bar debut with their current lineup, last playing there before Cameron joined. Soundcheck proper have not verified these shows publically, but the venue's Facebook event page has that covered, so look for another strong weekend of hard rocking and increasingly varied covers from this veteran outfit tomorrow and/or Saturday! No word as of yet on Soundcheck's next gigs after this weekend, we'll keep you posted when the band or venues announce anything, hopefully with reasonable notice. As usual for Soundcheck's Rockstar Bar gigs, these shows have 10:00 PM-ish start times, no cover charges, and age limits of 19 or older. Visit the above links for more details, and here's Soundcheck live in concert last year!

Finally for today's concert preview post, we'll head back to Sault Michigan, where Traverse City metal trio Scarkazm will return for concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rapids Lounge at the local Kewadin Casino branch! Last seen in the E.U.P. when Scarkazm played at this same venue early last month, this is the second of three straight months where they're coming to the Soo for a full weekend of hard hitting cover action, though their sister band Peril were just in St. Ignace last week (video footage forthcoming.) Adam, Dave, and Jeff should have another great weekend of tunes in store for local fans this weekend, so don't miss out on either night this weekend! As usual for their local road trips, expect Scarkazm to be on at 9:00 PM both nights, with 21+ age limits and no announced cover charges in effect. Visit the official Facebook event pages linked here & here for more details, and here's Scarkazm live in concert in their own right!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for our Hair Scare Live and Bon Jovi Forever previews (and more) on the site next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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

It's now time to close down last month's poll and launch a new one on the SMS, as we continue our "favourite _____ of 2019" polls! Last month, we posed this question to you guys: What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk band of 2019? Alas, we only received four votes since January 18th, but there is a very clear result, so how did it break down?

I won't bother giving the full results here as usual, as all 4 voters gave us a unanimous result, with new local punk quartet The Sick Sons receiving all of the selections. I'm not surprised that they won, given their live prominence in the back half of 2019, but even in our low voted polls like this one, usually there's at least one dissenter! That all said, 2019's was a light year for debuting bands, with The Guitar Gangsters & Stoned To Deaf only playing live once each publically, while Mackinaw Trail and Tarnished were disadvantaged by Sault Michigan readership being lower than Sault Ontario's. In hindsight, I should have included The Uncanny Valley in the poll, given that they did technically debut live in 2019 (December 31st), but I didn't know what they played before this poll launched, and no one voted for "Other" anyway. In any case, The Sick Sons are deserving winners, following their well received sets at the Random Killing and Ripcordz concerts, with LopLops support gigs ahead, and don't miss them at A Dire Setback's CD release show next month!

Thanks to everyone for voting! As for this month's poll, I am posing this question to you guys: What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk album released in 2019? While there wasn't a lot of high profile heavier CDs released locally in 2019 with wide physical distributions or big launch parties,  we still got a lot of new paid album releases in this 12 month span from a wide array of local talent that you can pick from here! To make the poll, an album or CD must have been released for sale between January 1st and December 31st of 2019, with paper sleeve demos, free downloads, and albums exclusive to YouTube or Facebook videos excluded. Given the relatively unique occurrence of two qualifying albums being released and pulled from the marketplace last year, I will include them here as they were on sale at one point, though their current status is worth noting when you're deliberating your choices. Of course, "Other" is back as usual if your preferred choice isn't here. Now, here are your final options in this month's poll!

Alex Traynor - Crazy World:  The debut solo EP from Tarnished/ex-Banned frontman Alex Traynor, and a rare album release from a live concert-playing Sault Michigan-area hard rock act in the 2010s, "Crazy World" received a positive reception from local and downstate fans with it's modern rock energy and songwriting, but would you pick it as your favourite of last year?

Either of Awokest's debut albums: A busy 2019 for prolific Sault Ontario solo musician Chase Wigmore notably featured the paid debut albums from his experimental/death metal project Awokest, including his compilation debut "Enter The Nightlands" in January and the all-new studio alhum "Solving The Human Condition" in April. Mixing techno influences with extreme noise metal, Awokest made a strong first impression as a paid album act, but would you vote for them?

Black Cloud - Abstract Sounds: The experimental metal solo project from local guitarist Peytan Andreola, their debut demo "Abstract Sounds" was released on Bandcamp in June, before being taken down during a brief hiatus late last year. The project quietly resurfaced last month, complete with the demo returning on YouTube, but not in paid form. A work in progress with clear promise throughout, would you cast your vote for Black Cloud's debut?

Either of Chase Wigmore's formal debut albums: After years worth of free EPs and loose demos, the aforementioned Chase Wigmore finally released what he calls his debut folk/punk studio album "Songs To Punch Yourself In The Face To" in December, and just two weeks later, he followed that with another digital album, the death metal-focused "One Last Act of Defiance". Harbouring lots of intense material for fans on both sides of the coin, would either earn your vote here?

Crucify the Whore - Crucifiction Inquisition: Capping off a quiet but escalating late 2010s, the local goregrind solo project put out the aforementioned 5 song lo-fi EP last February, featuring more of the brutal minimalist grind that Blood Shed Productions followers have known and loved over the past decade. C.T.W.'s newest solo release won't win over the unconverted, but would it get your vote in this poll?

Heavy Lies The Crown - Scatter Brain: Despite still not playing a public concert in the Eastern U.P., new St. Ignace progressive metal band Heavy Lies The Crown have had a steadily rising profile downstate in 2019, and that peaked in September with the release of their debut EP "Scatter Brain". Featuring some early 2000s nu-metal influences and a solid musical base, H.L.T.C. are on the rise, but can you vouch for "Scatter Brain" in this poll over the rest?

Mike Haggith - Ashes of K (Official Motion Picture Soundtrack): The postponement of his "Bridges" album meant that local/Thompson, Manitoba hard rock musician Mike Haggith released no new studio albums in 2019, but he did release the soundtrack to the 2018 Windsor, Ontario independent film Ashes of K on his Bandcamp page last year! Featuring 7 solo songs and 4 from The Din, the music holds up, but would a soundtrack compilation be enough to vote for over the competing CDs?

Mike McCleary - Propaganda Model: Prolific local solo musician Mike McCleary has largely been quiet in 2019 amid personal and outside concerns, which included his newest solo album "Propaganda Model" (released in February) being taken down later in the year for planned reworking. While very political in it's lyrics, Mike's solid musicianship and songwriting was on full display, and hopefully he resurfaces with new music in the future! Did you hear this album enough to vote for it?

Other: Did we miss an album you'd rather vote for? Was your favourite new local album of 2019 from a non-metal/hard rock/punk act, a free release, or even unfinished? Did I just neglect to include something? If, for whatever reason, your preferred new album isn't included above, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY!! You have until March 18th to cast your votes, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top here, hopefully after more than 4 votes roll in! That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the site soon, including weekend concert previews! Thanks everyone!