Sunday, January 31, 2021

A Look At Tarnished's TikTok Videos (Part 1!!)

With news still at a crawl during the current Ontario lockdown, and my 3 day limit between posts arriving today, I'm going to think outside the box a little for our last post of January 2021, by heading to TikTok for a look at some of the videos that Sault Michigan hard rock quartet Tarnished have been posting there since they launched their TikTok page in November! No local band in our listings has taken advantage of TikTok more than Tarnished (as far as I know), with 80 videos posted there as of this writing, though it won't take terribly long to run through all of them, given that TikTok users generally have a 60 second time limit on their videos, and a number of these videos don't come anywhere near the one minute mark. You may have seen some of these videos in Facebook re-posts, but most are TikTok exclusives, so let's begin looking at a few of these to see what Alex, Nathan, Josh, and Gary have been up to on this service in their first month or so there!

Note that TikTok's official embed code for videos does not work on Blogger, so until I find a work-around, just follow the links below to see the clips in action, or see what has been cross-shared on Facebook. Also, if some videos don't have working audio, it's likely because the music in the video is geoblocked in Canada, and I didn't have immediate luck with using an IP blocker. In any event, Tarnished's first video is a very brief clip of Alex using his hunter's instincts on a burger, while their second video has Josh introducing the band (minus Gary) and promising more content to come on their TikTok page. Their next few were largely re-shared on Facebook, including a teaser for their merchandise giveaway contest late last year, their "On The Road Again" video, their fox-headed mascot/Saw villain parody Puzzle Piece eating a shirt(!), and three videos of them making logos out of Yooperlites.

Eight of their next nine videos (from November 22nd-30th) are of (mostly) acoustic covers, all obviously incomplete due to TikTok's runtime limits. Of those, the only non-musical clip of the nine being of Josh Puzzle Piece tripping on camera. We already addressed the covers of Metallica's "One" & The Police's "Every Breath You Take" on the SMS, but the others include Metallica's "Fade To Black", AC/DC's "TNT", Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising", Quiet Riot's "Metal Health", Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", and Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train". The above covers mostly have Alex & Josh alone, with Nathan only in a few, and Gary only in the Police cover on a cajon. These videos will give a good sense of the post-production clipart and effects available to TikTok users, though whether you necessarily like the accoutrements is not for me to say.

Tarnished seem to have a handle of what's on offer though, and the music's all solid while it lasts! The next few clips include Josh walking across a fallen tree, Alex plugging a winner reveal for their merch giveaway, and a nighttime stroll through the woods, before returning to music on December 4th with their drum-less cover of The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California". This one has geo-blocked audio in Canada, but luckily, this was re-posted intact on Facebook, and we reviewed it on the SMS already. Their next four videos are non-musical, including Alex showing off his dog doing tricks, and three more videos of Puzzle Piece: two for merch giveaway reveals, and a shoutout clip we mentioned on the SMS last month. After a video where Josh premieres an exceedingly literal segment called "A Note In Review", their December 11th video was of the guys procrastinating over video editing.

27 videos down, at least 53 to go for SMS coverage, such as some are! Despite the woes of video editing, the guys seemed to have a good grasp on TikTok as of last month, with lots of good musical and entertainment content, though I have a lot to learn about this site (maybe I've been spoiled by long videos?) Some of the non-musical clips are clearly meant for a laugh, and I tried not to give away pertinent details in that regard, especially given the runtime, so give these a watch above to see Tarnished's TikTok repertoire through early December, and stay tuned for more on them and elsewhere on the site next month! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Another Local Video Showcase!!

I feel like it's getting tougher and tougher to cobble together content for regular posts on the SMS. Hopefully things pick up at some point before I have to think about spreading out our "at least one post every three days" guarantee! To keep things fair in this all-video post, let's go in alphabetical order by artist name, starting with some new videos from prolific local punk musician Dustin Jones, as shared onto SooToday this month! Much like he did during the first major lockdown last spring, a cover by him (on guitar) and his daughter Jett (on vocals) was posted on SooToday to share with readers as a point of inspiration, this time tackling Jordan Clarke's "Freaks". Fun performance for what it is, and they even included lyrics to sing along with in the article proper! I can't embed videos from SooToday's video host here, but luckily, their other new video from Dustin was merely shared from Tidal Records' YouTube channel!

A live performance from Mission Control Studios, this is of an original song called "For Now" that was newly uploaded yesterday, though it's not clear whether this is just a solo song or if it will end up being on The Rising Tide's forthcoming new album. This is definitely a folksier song, but I can see it being adapted with the full band if that is at all planned. Well performned and sung, and SooToday again has lyrics if you want to sing along, but give Dustin's video proper a look below!

Next up, I was recently alerted to a few new YouTube uploads from veteran local drummer Brian Egglesfield's YouTube channel in the past month! You may recognize Brian from bands like Tripod The Dog and Screwge, and the latter band are kinda the focus here, as Brian uploaded three videos credited to that band from Rotaryfest Stage 1 at Clergue Park back in July 2013! In case you don't have a 2013 program handy, this technically isn't Screwge, rather the Toronto jam rock band Ground Zero, who co-headlined the Saturday lineup that year. As detailed in this YouTube video's description, Screwge were active locally from 1978-1981, with some members later moving down south and playing with Ground Zero through 1993, and the latter band held a one-off reunion here with Saultites Frank Fazi & Shane O'Connell taking part (I'm not 100% certain on if Brian drummed.) Ground Zero proper aren't hard rock centric, but they did cover at least one heavier song!

Brian's Screwge Ground Zero videos include covers of ZZ Top's "Gimme All Your Lovin'", George Thorogood & The Destroyers' "Move It On Over", and as embedded below, both Rod Stewart's "Hot Legs" and Goddo's "Sweet Thing" (nice to hear some classic hard rock Canadian content!) Despite an unzoomed and often crooked camera angle, the audio quality is really good, and the guys have a good fan-friendly sound on these classic covers. There is more to touch on from Brian's YouTube channel from other bands, but check out his Ground Zero videos above and below!

Also, here's a new solo performance video from veteran local hard rock solo guitarist Mike Cliffe's YouTube channel a couple of days ago! His first non-Christmas carol upload here in almost a year, this is an apparent original song called "Persuaders" with him on guitar playing alongside pre-recorded backing instruments, though the video proper is replaced by an AudioFumes card for the last minute. Solid performance of this spacey prog rock number, so give Mike's newest video a watch below!

We'll close by heading south to Sault Michigan for the latest from local hard rock quartet Tarnished! Publically speaking, we haven't heard much from them this month in a musical sense, but a Facebook page posting on January 18th did hint that they were "hard at work". At least partially, this relates to non-musical endeavours, including a video of a planned side series called "Tarnished Talks", where band members (Alex & Josh in the premiere's case) talk about something, starting with what they love about AC/DC. As well, they launched another pilot for a "Tarnished Plays" series where band members play a video game together, with Alex and Josh playing Fortnite in episode 1. Sounds like a fun way to stay busy during presumed pandemic-influenced downtime, and they do have creative observations about AC/DC! Tarnished have also launched a Patreon page for fans to back them and crowd-fund future band endeavours, with exclusive content planned there.

Their only new Facebook video in the last couple of weeks featuring the band on camera is this 33 second clip of Alex & Josh thanking everyone for crossing both the 200 followers threshold on TikTok and 600 likes on Facebook. Not too substantial, but length-wise, it's par for the course for their TikTok page. I should really give their TikTok page more of a look re: the SMS, as most videos there are not shared to or re-uploaded on Facebook, and despite the short video lengths, there is a lot of exclusive videos to see. Stay tuned on that front, but give Tarnished's AC/DC discussion a listen below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new post of some kind by month's end! Thanks everyone!

Monday, January 25, 2021

YouTube Channel Profile Series: wayek

To keep our usual "one post every 3 days rule" alive, here's this month's YouTube Channel Profile, as we're kicking off 2021 in this series with another spotlight on a YouTube channel whose content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, and/or punk artists and/or concerts! As usual, bands in this series are randomly selected. This month's selection is a channel featuring lots of solid content from a once prominent frontman in the local hard rock/alternative scene, so here's what you should know!


wayek's Channel (

Owner: Former No Arrow/SBD singer/guitarist Dann Pichette

Channel Timeline: Launched on September 22nd, 2007; Videos uploaded from November of that year until January 2018

Channel Summary: A personal use channel, Dann made solid use of it as a de facto official channel for both of his primary local bands, including live and jam footage from both during their heydays. Other uploads from his local band period include two 2009 performances by a short-lived side project duo named The Beards and 6 episodes of "The Chett -n- Eshk Show" that he co-hosted in 2007 & 2008. Dann's last four uploads here were of brief video game footage he recorded, and have no local music ties.
Why You Should Watch: This is the best and most substantive source to see videos of Dann's work in No Arrow and SBD, and fans will get a nice dose of his grunge and alternative rock stylings here! The Beards had some promise too, and you may get some laughs out of
The Chett -n- Eshk Show, though be advised of some adult language. The video game clips are short and not too substantial on their own. Note that some of Dann's No Arrow videos, along with some new-to-YouTube clips and footage originally from other channels, would be posted again on drummer Joe Falco's own YouTube channel in 2020.

 Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:
No Arrow - Honey Bucket (Melvins cover): This was Dann's first upload on the wayek channel in November 2007, and it is by far his most popular video, garnering over 5,400 views, possibly as covers of The Melvins weren't too common on YouTube at this early stage. A jam session cover by his 2005-2011 grunge/hard rock trio No Arrow's best known lineup (Dann, bassist Harley Syrette, and drummer Joe Falco), this 40 second clip has a mostly solid reception from commenters, but it's length and very rough audio quality mean it doesn't hold up as well as other No Arrow videos on the channel. Dann's video of No Arrow playing their original "One On The Line" is a longer and slightly better quality take of them reheasing.

No Arrow - Sikkha: The live concert footage of No Arrow on offer here has not aged particularly well in the audio department, with rough & staticy sound quality being par for the course (remember, these were filmed and uploaded in 2007.) Visually speaking, the best videos are of a set No Arrow played at a Sault Area Wrestling event at The Elks Lodge on June 16th, 2007, benefiting greatly from daytime indoor lighting. Dann posted two songs from this gig ("Souls For Sale" and the slightly longer "Sikkha"), which both capture energetic and aggressive performances from No Arrow's peak! For a better quality listen to "Sikkha", check out the alternate mix he posted in 2013.

SBD - Rock Paper Scissors 1: Dann posted 13 videos of his 2009-2011 experimental rock trio SBD onto his channel from January-March 2010, all as credited to an extended original suite called "Rock Paper Scissors", but nine of the videos run for less than a minute, and only one exceeds 77 seconds. Featuring Dann alongside ex-No Arrow bassist (and future Bizotic frontman) Brad Griffith & former Chintzy Slicks drummer Shane Triplett, these videos showcase their grunge-reminiscent but more varied sound well enough, and the sounds on display do shift noticeably from video to video despite the short lengths of many of them, but audio clarity was still an issue.


I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month in this series, our random selection will take us to the Sault Michigan area for a look at YouTube user halfamanvideo's channel, featuring lots of content from 2009-2013 Brimley metal band Half A Man! Look for that on or around February 26th, and for more news on the site by Thursday! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 22, 2021

More New Interviews From Sev's Cellar On The Borderline Radio!!

Let's continue our look at radio show episodes from new local internet station The Borderline today, starting with more episodes of Mike "Sev Micron" Severin's musician interview series Sev's Cellar! Two weeks ago, an hour-long episode was posted where Mike interviewed Rising Tide guitarist Liam Seymour, and it actually starts with a solo performance of "Malaise" by Liam's blues/country rock band The Barn Board Trio. Effective unplugged rendition, especially for genre fans! The interview proper begins about 6 minutes in, and as best as I can gather, this was recorded before the pandemic lockdowns began. Here, Liam discusses his current band projects (including his live work with Jay Case), his musical inspirations, memorable concerts he's played at and seen (even Gianni Gagoots come up!), his favourite original songs, and his future plans, among other topics.

Songs played mid-interview include The Barn Board Trio's "Home" & "Chase You", and his solo original track "A Minute". Entertaining listen for fans of Liam's prolific local work, and you get to know him better with all of the light personal questions (which appear to be a Sev's Cellar staple), though the backing incidental music could get a little loud. The insights about Gianni Gagoots were fun to hear, especially knowing how strange their live shows could get (I don't think they ever fully let on to that on social media!) Liam didn't go into great detail about his work with Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide, but never fear, as Mike also interviewed frontman Dustin Jones for another hour-long Sev's Cellar episode last summer, which should fill your punk quotas! Like with Liam's episode, this interview is preceded with a song, in this case, Dustin and The Rising Tide's own "Molly Malloy".

The interview proper begins about 5½ minutes in, and you can hear Dustin talk about his beginnings as a musician, the videos he posted of him performing with his children, his favourite songs in the past & present, his original run with The Inner City Surfers, the sounds incorporated in his bands, memories of touring, the effects of the pandemic on concert venues (as of June 2020), future goals, his work with Tidal Records and Mission Control Studios, The Rising Tide's new album recording sessions, and more. As well, The Surfers' "Never Ender Bender" and The Tide's "Sorry Sunday" & "Lost & Found" are played in full during the runtime. This is another solid interview, helped by Mike clearly knowing Dustin for a while before this, and you get a lot of good personal insights along the way, despite occasionally loud backing incidental music (including, oddly enough, a Brian Wilson interview layered with this interview!)

Dustin doesn't give away too many scoops regarding his current local bands, but he did confirm that the pandemic did slow down progress on The Tide's new album, which may go without saying. Still, you will learn a lot about him and his past local music work here, so be sure to give it a listen above! Finally for now, I wanted to briefly note that Mike also interviewed former Papa Fogals Chair guitarist and Soo native Andy Chillman in this episode from last year. While P.F.C. weren't a local band (their hometown of Thessalon is outside of our coverage range), and most of the musical discussion is regarding his folk/indie rock solo work in London, Andy does discuss Sault Ste. Marie a bit regarding his upbringing, gigs Papa Fogals Chair played here, and his continuing regional connections, plus his continued love of metal music also comes up, even if his current music is very far away sonically.

Andy has expanded his range and talents very well in the past two decades, and he's a game interviewee with good answers, so be sure to hear his episode and much more from Sev's Cellar above! That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's YouTube Channel Profile next and more news when it rolls in! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Our Poll On Your Favourite New Albums Of 2020!!

It's around this time of the month when we begin posting our year-end retrospective polls for the previous year, but as you'll recall, 2020 was not a normal year by any stretch. Usually, we have five polls to go up directly relating to the previous year (on new bands, album releases, news stories, concerts from the second half of the year, and on the whole year), with a poll on concerts from the first half of the year launching in July. Given the obvious pandemic-related circumstances we lived through in 2020, I am slashing our polls to just two for this year. It's impossible to do one on your favourite new bands, as not enough had the chance to fully debut last year (The Bridge Heads & Fort Creek publically launched in 2019, 9 Times Dark & The Isolation Sessions haven't played live yet, and that's about it for new local hard rock acts.) As for our year-end polls on your favourite concerts... our pool isn't all that great to draw from.

In terms of public Sault Ontario concerts with a half/majority lineup of metal, hard rock, or punk bands, Sault Ontario didn't have much in the 2½ months of normalcy we enjoyed before the pandemic began (remember, January-March aren't peak times for shows in good years), and with the exception of outdoor Heyden event Squatfest, most of the heavier concerts we saw in the late summer and onward were via cover acts on the bar circuit with limited audiences due to social distancing restrictions. Even if I were to include some of those, it's not really fair to assess a concert when they aren't capable of hosting a full audience. As such, I will only be doing two polls this year, with next month's devoted to news stories from a very newsworthy year, and I do plan to roll at least a few concerts into that selection to make up that poll's difference. Now, what should you know about this month's poll?

We're posing this question to you guys: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk CD of 2020? Between a combination of previously recorded material and musicians working in the studio when they couldn't really go out, we had a surprisingly robust slate of album releases from heavier local acts last year that we can select from! To qualify, albums must have been released for sale between January 1st and December 31st of 2020, so exclusively free releases (like most of Chase Wigmore's 2020 output) are not included. However, "Other" returns as an option if we missed your favourite. Now, here are your choices!

9 Times Dark - Vicissitude: A new solo punk project from local musician Chris Raginskis, 9 Times Dark's debut EP was quietly released in August after being mixed locally at Relentless Audio. We'll likely be taking more of a deep dive into "Vicissitude" next month when we'll likely review it on the SMS, but can you vouch for 9 Times Dark's debut already in this poll?

A Dire Setback - A Dire Setback: The debut album from this popular local punk trio, A Dire Setback had the unfortunate timing of releasing it March, shortly before it's primary CDBaby host shut down, AND during the early stages of the pandemic, forcing their release concert to be held virtually in a Facebook live-stream. This self-titled album got a strong reception from fans, but would you concur?

As It Stands - The Lost Tapes:  Almost a decade after recording their third EP in Mississauga, now-defunct hardcore quintet As It Stands finally had the original songs from those sessions mixed and released last month, giving fans closure(?) with long-awaited studio copies of some of their strongest original material. Were "The Lost Tapes" worth the wait for you?

The Bear Hunters - The Dead Testament: Local death metal fans got a pleasant surprise in November when The Bear Hunters emerged from their "eternal hibernation" to release their second album "The Dead Testament" on Bandcamp! This was a low-key release due to the pandemic, but did the production quality and brutality mesh well for your vote?

Either of Crucify The Whore's new albums: The polarizing but intense grindcore solo project kept busy during the pandemic with two early 2020 albums, namely the full-length "P.C. Sells... But I Ain't Buyin'!" and their second "A Couple of Degenerate Bastards" with long-time collaborator Chase Wigmore. Did you take to Tyler's newest output more than the others?

Mike Haggith - If Ever Comes The Day: With his planned first Thompson-based solo album "Bridges" postponed indefinitely, former Din frontman Mike Haggith released his ultra-personal 50th album "If Ever Comes The Day" in May, which also saw it's release concert moved to a virtual setting. This album saw a lot of positive reviews, but was it your favourite?

Tarnished - Down To The Wire: The only major hard rock/metal album release in 2020 from a Sault Michigan act, local hard rock quartet Tarnished put out their debut album in July via digital platforms, giving ex-Banned frontman Alex Traynor and crew a solid platform as they continued their emergence while they can't play traditional concerts. Would you vote for this one?

Other: Did we miss your preferred option? Was your favourite new local album from a genre we don't actively cover? Perhaps you liked a free album or single release more than anything that actually came out for sale? Did I completely forget about something new from a heavier act last year? If, for whatever reason, we missed the album you loved most, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY! You have until February 19th or so to cast your votes, and it will be interesting to see what readers liked the most, especially when many of us had more time to listen to these albums, in theory! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news on the site by Friday! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

A New Article On A Prolific Punk Musician, Plus More Assorted Updates!!

As the second Ontario lockdown pushes forward, here's a new news post for your Sunday morning reading, and it's half devoted to lots of assorted shorter stories from recent weeks, but leading off, here's all you should know about a recent news piece/interview with a very familiar face!

Veteran local punk musician Mikey Hawdon was interviewed by fellow musician/SooToday contributor Chris Belsito on Thursday, so what should you know in this extended article? Early on, Mikey discusses "Eik Namo", the new album from his main Toronto-based punk band The Fairmounts, as well as discussing his popular Mikey & His Uke series, which famously evolved from solo ukelele "quarantunes" during the first pandemic lockdown into a collaborative series with far-flung musicians. Now, it's a once-a-month project where the ukelele pretense is dropped early on in favour of a full band cover, often with very recognizable non-local names joining in. Afterwards, Mikey talks about his love for Sault Ste. Marie, and apparently, he and his family plan to move back here, but that detail weren't elaborated on otherwise
This intertwines with more Fairmounts talk, including selling physical copies of "Eik Namo" while on Christmas vacation back home during the pandemic, and he also plugged one of his newer Toronto bands, the Huey Lewis & The News tribute group The Power Of Huey, who he played with at a drive-in concert there. The big reveal late in the article is that Mikey has launched his own independent label called Soolebrity Records, whose name alone will be a big hint towards local content, and their first release will apparently be a vinyl re-issue of an album by famed mid-1990s punk band Room 206! While they are admittedly before my time, their pedigree is well known among genre fans from that era, and Mikey would later perform with Room 206 alumni in The Inner City Surfers. I do know that they put out an album called "2 Innies & An Outie", but is that the tape that Soolebrity Records is re-releasing?

Assuming plans stay in place, I hope that the Room 206 vinyl sale does well (I hope to get one myself!), and even if Mikey's move back home isn't imminent, he's a talented guy who has managed to stay busy artistically with lots of irons in the fire here and there. I am surprised that the Surfers' reunion single "Excess Express" and their two new songs ahead weren't brought up, but there was so much ground to cover. Kudos to Chris for conducting this interview, and click here or see above for more details!

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

  • I have removed local classic/hard rock cover quintet Fluid 5ive from our active band links due to the deletion of their Facebook (and only online) page at some point last month, which would seemingly indicate their dissolution. If accurate, a reason has not been announced, but Fluid 5ive had not been publically heard from since their last concert at The Water Tower Pub in February of last year, and who knows what affect the ongoing pandemic had on the band as a whole. Fluid 5ive were a talented group, and hopefully we hear from Colin, Liam, Rob, Jeff, Pierre, and Joe again down the road!
  • Local musician Kiefer Barone is apparently looking to join a metal band as a rhythm guitarist, as per his posting on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group last month. Kiefer had posted searches on this group in the past, most recently a drummer search for a metalcore band in 2015 I'm not familiar with Kiefer musically, but message him at this link or above for more details!
  • The former members of local classic metal quartet Late & Loud have reunited... kind of! Jonathan, Brendan, Benn, and Josh have been collaborating on a podcast called Late & Legends since October, where they play a fantasy RPG game together, and you can even support the podcast via Patreon. Very surprising project, but creative at the same time, so give it a listen above or on Spotify to hear their adventures in Renlan!
  • As a promotional offer during the lockdown, Ryan McLaughlin at Relentless Audio is offering a deal for musicians looking to have studio material mixed & mastered without having to leave the house. If you heard the "new" As It Stands EP, you'll know the quality work Ryan does, so message him above or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from last week for more information!
  • Sault Michigan hard rock quartet Tarnished have announced a new concert for 2021 (presumably conditional on the pandemic easing up), as they are scheduled to to take a road trip to Curtis on June 30th to play at the Erickson Centre For The Arts! Now, Curtis is 90 minutes west of the Soo, which is outside of our coverage range, but it is nice to see Tarnished have something planned, and hopefully it will stick! Visit the Facebook event page for more details!
  • Young Sault Ontario classic/hard rock band The Uncanny Valley have apparently parted ways with bassist Adam Fahrer, as per his removal from their lineup on their Facebook page's About section. A reason for his departure was not announced, but the band has not updated their Facebook page since posting their "Middle Man" single in October. This is a surprise to hear, especially as Adam was presumably on the recordings for their upcoming debut album, but hopefully we hear from him in music again in the future!
That's all for today, but stay tuned for our first 2020 wrap-up poll on the site next! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

As It Stands - "The Lost Tapes" EP Review!!

It's now time for our 139th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and this is almost a decade in the making, as we're looking at defunct local hardcore quintet As It Stands' posthumous third EP "The Lost Tapes"! Recorded back in the summer of 2011 at Metalworks Studio in Mississauga with producer Kevin Dietz, a planned contemporary release did not occur before As It Stands broke up in 2014, but members finally had the material mixed locally by ex-guitarist Ryan McLaughlin at Relentless Audio and released on digital streaming and download platforms on December 18th. The band's first paid music output since 2007's now-obscure "Kill The Music, Save The Children", this new EP features the exact same lineup, including singer Justin Pregent, guitarists Garrett Masters & Albert Bourrier, bassist Angelo Huckson, and drummer John Mignacca. As of press time, "The Lost Tapes" is only available digitally, but it only runs for $1.99 on Amazon!

You can also stream this EP on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music, and we'll let you know if it ever sees a physical release. Note that "The Lost Tapes" do not include the cover of Blink-182's "Stay Together For The Kids" that A.I.S. also recorded at Metalworks, presumably for copyright reasons, despite that song being included with the EP's (now-deleted) unmixed Soundcloud posting in 2016. With four songs running for about 16 minutes, let's begin this review with the opening lost tape, "A Sinking Sinner"! Kicking off a steady drum intro from John, the band slowly joins in until everyone gets to their usual hardcore fury in the first verse, and just in case you need a refresher, early-2010s As It Stands had definitely trended heavier than you may recall from them in the mid-late 2000s! In fact, this song has some slight tweaks to the verse-chorus-verse structure that work well, and the guitar riffing pounds along well to match!

Justin's screaming is very solid here, and his two clean choruses have a nice grit to them, but the backing gang vocals don't mesh too well to me, and a guitar solo would have been a nice addition. Still, a strong metalcore opener that doesn't abide completely by the formula and showcases their musical growth! Next up is the longest song on offer, "Embay The Terrible", which immediately launches into a breakdown with vocals from Justin, but the music proper gets more melodic as the song progresses, especially in the choruses. No clean vocals here, but the gang backing vocals are used better, and Justin does go even harsher at points with his screaming! Angelo's bass work fills this one out nicely, and there's a proper guitar solo on offer too, if somewhat buried in the mix. This is definitely a more aggressive and entertaining track that will definitely please hardcore fans!

Song #3 is the peculiarly named "Oh Herm, Herm Delish" (honestly, I never liked that title), and after a lo-fi intro, the full band and production values kick into gear, complete with even more ferocious metalcore, including copious breakdowns early! The drum-centric bridge in the middle comes out of nowhere and somewhat kills the momentum,  but everything around it works nicely, including more varied screaming from Justin in the second half, pounding percussion from John, and a catchy rhythm, so fans will get a kick out of this one! The EP closes with it's shortest song, "One Less Than Wayne Gretzky" (fitting, given that the NHL season began yesterday!) Very punk-style intro to this one before the vocals bring us back into hardcore land, including the return of the "Sinking Sinner"-style backing vocals that sound like they were sung in a cave.

Musically, there's nothing too shocking here to report from the preceding three songs. It's very heavy and has good breakdowns to mosh to, and Garrett & Albert pair well on the riffs, but it does end abruptly, and it could have used a guitar solo to pad it out a bit. Still a solid track that stands up with the others! So, what are my final thoughts on As It Stands long, long awaited third EP? Overall, it's a strong batch of original material that will definitely make up for the long wait time for their old fans and interest new metalcore fans alike! While only one song from their mid-2000s EPs exists online for comparison, it's clear that "The Lost Tapes" are a huge jump in recording and writing quality. Justin's screaming was top notch, Albert & Garrett had strong guitar riffs and breakdowns throughout, Angelo's low end work was reliable, and John's known drum skill was put to good & varied use!

I appreciate the variance in normal song structures here, and the heaviness was almost non-stop, but it would have been nice to hear more of Justin's clean vocals, more than one guitar solo, and more natural sounding backing vocals. Of course, I understand why they dropped the Blink-182 cover (maybe they can post it for free again?), but it would have been nice if they expanded this EP via including the songs that As It Stands recorded in the Soo and in Stoney Creek in 2010, which never had a paid release of their own. Maybe we'll see them down the line, let alone re-releases of their early EPs, if this one does well! That all said, it took almost 10 years to get the Metalworks sessions released in a paid form, and I think it was worth the wait! Stream or download As It Stands' new EP above, and I hope you guys liked this month's CD review! That said, what are we reviewing on the site in February?

We will be looking at one more Relentless Audio-mixed album next, namely local punk project 9 Times Dark's debut album "Vicissitude", so look for that next month, and stay tuned for a new post by Sunday! Thanks everyone!

Monday, January 11, 2021

New Musician Interviews From The Borderline Radio, And More!!

Before we begin today's post, I wanted to offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of veteran local radio personality, program director, and sports announcer John Bell, who recently passed away, as per an announcement on 1230 WSOO's Facebook page yesterday morning. Stay tuned to relevant Sault Michigan news outlets for information on services when it becomes available. A Minnesota native, John would become a fixture of local radio over the past 35 years across multiple stations and companies. SMS readers may best recognize John as the long-time news anchor for Rock 101 and their sister stations, but his on-air and behind-the-scenes roles on the Sault Ste. Marie airwaves go well beyond that, including lengthy runs as a DJ and/or morning host with WSOO, 99.5 Yes FM, and the former Know AM/Talk Radio 1400, as well as doing play-by-play for the Sault High Blue Devils hockey team and local junior hockey clubs like the Soo Eagles and the Soo Indians.

John had dealt with major health issues in the last couple of years that I won't get into here, but a fundraiser burger bash was held in his honour in October 2019 at The Elks Lodge, and that seemed to go over pretty well. I never met John, but his familiar voice and on-air talents were ever present when listening to local radio, and he will be missed by all that knew and respected him, if social media testimonials are any indication. R.I.P. John!

Now, today's post continues in the realm of radio, specifically Sault Ontario internet station The Borderline, which we covered shortly after it's launch last fall, and one missing aspect for me at the time was the ability to listen to episodes online after the fact if you weren't able to catch them live. Well, they have done just that on their redesigned website, and 10 of The Borderline's shows have streamable-on-demand episodes at this link! As such, let's at least start to spotlight the series that have episodes dealing with local metal, hard rock, or punk music, and we'll first look at Across The Tracks, where host & station founder Adrian Vilaca talks to local musicians about the story behind their original music. Most aren't hard rock artists, but back in August, Adrian did interview local/Thompson, Manitoba alt/hard rock musician Mike Haggith about the background of his newest CD "If Ever Comes The Day", so what should you know behind that episode?

An 84 minute listen, it features Mike discussing the lyrical inspirations and real life feelings that enveloped the album and it's individual songs, including how his day job in aviation puts things in another perspective, the reason behind the two blank tracks. Every full song from "If Ever Comes The Day" is included after the interview segments, though they aren't discussed in their running order on the actual album. This is an entertaining listen that will likely be the most context you'll ever hear from Mike re: the album's concept, and Adrian gives Mike lots of room to go into lots of details therein, so fans will want to hear the whole episode at this link! While we're on the subject, fellow Borderline staffer Mike "Sev Micron" Severin interviewed Mike Haggith himself on Friday for an episode of his own interview series Sev's Cellar, which has interviewed multiple hard rock performers so far.

Honestly, I'll hold a full write-up on Sev's interview with Mike Haggith for now, because only the second half of the interview is available to stream on demand. It's not labelled as such in the description, but Sev clearly notes that it's part 2 about three minutes into the 68 minute file, before jumping into the interview in progress. Hopefully the first half is posted at some point!

We'll close by looking at a full episode of Sev's Cellar from early last year, where he interviewed Jack Spades/Frightlight frontman and local concert promoter J.D. Pearce (a.k.a. Johnny Pints)! However, be advised that this was recorded before the pandemic, hence why J.D. promotes the local First Jason and Anti-Queens concerts and Jack Spades' annual July tour run, all obviously being cancelled. He also alludes to the lineup changes in Jack Spades, including an apparent new guitarist & drummer, but again, the pandemic may have delayed a further public reveal. The interview afterwards features J.D. discussing his inspiration as a songwriter, his favourite lyrics, songs he's listening to now, info about his personal life, why his concert output was decreasing, memorable local concerts of his, and advice for young musicians, among other topics. "Fright Night" and "C.H.U.D." by Frightlight are also played in full.

Mike revealed in the episode that J.D. would be hosting a punk/metal show on The Borderline, but as best as I can gather, that series never premiered. A lot of the context of the interview is very much dated now (this was only posted for on-demand listening last month), and the background music seems out of place despite reflecting the interview discussion, but this is a fun listen that has some interesting insights from a performing and promotional viewpoint! Give it and more a listen above, and stay tuned for more from Sev's Cellar and beyond in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 8, 2021

Defunct Local Band Profile: Telephone & Address

With news still at a snail's pace around here, let's post this month's Defunct Local Band Profile a couple of days early! This monthly feature series looks at one or two local metal, hard rock, or punk acts that are either defunct or have been publically inactive for a year, in order to spotlight them and their run for current readers, all as randomly selected from our inactive band links. Our first profile of 2021 is on a prolific and original solo project that you may recall seeing and hearing in the 2010s, so here's what you should know!

Telephone & Address

Genre: Outsider Punk/Grunge/Ambient
Hometown: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Members: (Members not in their last known lineup in italics. This information may be incomplete, particularly regarding the rumored full lineup that Telephone & Address played with at the Oh!No festival in Leeburn in 2019. Let us know if you can fill in any blanks!)

Christopher Shoust (F.F.B., Orange), all instruments

Jackson Reed, drums

Audio/Video: A prolific artist in multiple media, Chris completed four demos in 2011 & 2012 (a self-titled release, "Live", "No. 3", and "Broken Head") that have long since been taken down, though an "Early Tapes" compilation from these demos was once teased, and select older songs are on their Soundcloud page. Through Chris' own Harmisntus Productions banner, Telephone & Address released five official albums afterwards, including 2013's acoustic "Rotten EP", 2014's drum-and-bass album "Need Not Apply", 2015's ambient instrumental album "Rust Orchid", and the electric/full band albums "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been..." in 2016 and "Monster" in 2018. All had distinctive cardboard packaging on their limited CD runs, but have different artwork in their digital download copies on Bandcamp. Select videos from their live concerts do exist online, but here's Chris playing two songs live on Six, Two, Oh.'s old studio performance video series in 2015!

Info/Analysis: Launched circa 2010, Telephone & Address was Chris Shoust's primarily artistic output as a musician in the past decade, which saw him play at a handful of notable concerts, including a some festivals in the summer of 2011, sets opening for bands like IDNS, Bardos, Dri Hev, and Iansucks, and a few well received solo gigs at the old Gore Street Cafe. While primarily a solo project, acclaimed local indie musician Jackson Reed did join Telephone & Address as a drummer in 2017, but after the release of the previously recorded "Monster" in 2018, they quietly went on hiatus. Telephone & Address resurfaced to play at the third Oh!No concert festival in Leeburn in September 2019, with advertising indicating that this would be a full band set, but their Facebook page never plugged the festival, and they have not been seen publically since, with Chris more recently focusing on visual artwork.

Not one to stick to one style of music forever, Telephone & Address' diversity helped them stand out locally in spite of their lo-fi recording methods! Their output won't be universally for everyone, especially the challenging "Rust Orchid", and only "The Rotten EP" overtly reflects on their generally unplugged live concert sets, but Chris is a talented musician with a distinctive voice, and his music complimented his visual art well. Hopefully he revisits his music down the road, but there's enough range in Telephone & Address' five albums to find the right audience among curious fans!


I hope you guys liked this month's Defunct Local Band Profile! This series will return on or around February 10th for another look at a randomly selected band, and next time, it will be 2016-2017 power pop/hard rock band The Noochin' Lanterns! That should be interesting, so look for that then, and stay tuned for a new post of some kind by Monday! Thanks everyone!