Hello, fellow punks and music lovers, Justin here. Apparently I missed a fantastic show last weekend while I was away for work. This is going to be a thing that happens every now and then with this new job of mine. Therefore, my long-time friend Eric Letourneau will be writing reviews for the shows I can’t attend! Eric also happens to be a great writer and talented musician. We’ve played in a few punk, metal, emo, and hardcore bands together back in the day. We’re also currently working on putting together a punk project! You can often catch Eric playing at The Working Class on Wednesday nights, Open Mic Night. He is usually accompanied by our great friend, Dave Lamoureux, as their acoustic project named, The Lover and the Bird. Eric also plays bass in a new local punk act called, Rough Outlook. So be sure to catch him whenever you can, he’s a real ear-pleaser! 

As I’ve mentioned above, Eric is a great writer. I love his style and his eloquence, and I’m very excited to have him as part of this segment on my website. I hope you enjoy his piece, and without further adieu, Eric’s review:


As I stepped through the backdoor of the Working Class, carrying a massive Ampeg bass cab, a hundred thoughts loomed in the back of my mind: I wonder how many people will show up tonight… How will the bands be? Will they be cool people? I really hope they’re cool people. Next we unloaded the guitar amp heads and merch bins. Focus on playing well and you’ll have a great time, I told myself. Then, “So long as it’s been forgotten,I mentally rehearsed lyrics from our opening song. We set up our gear while various members of Bigger than All and The Headlines lounged around and played pool. They look pretty coolTwo steaming Don’s pizzas come through the front door: holy fuck I’m hungryThen we did the soundcheck, and I thought for the hundredth time that day, I wonder how the turnout will be tonight

Little did I know, I was about to see, and participate in, one of the best punk rock shows I’ve ever been to. That’s right folks, Saturday night was one for the books. While the lineup featured two (possibly even three) bands that I am convinced were not well known in the Timmins area, the two visiting groups were fantastic in every way. I made sure to ask my fellow band mates from Rough Outlook what they thought of the show. Not one of the members, including myself, thought it anything less than stellar

The show kicked off at about 10:30pm when we jumped on stage to perform seven songs, six of which were covers. I had a really great time rocking out on the bass guitar and belting harmonies with the rest of Rough Outlook (Krys Saudino – lead vocals, Chris Pilon – rhythm guitar, Tyler Brazeau – lead guitar and Matt Stewart – drums). I feel we laid down a nice opening set that served well as a nice transition to the first visiting band, Bigger than All.

Bigger than All is a four piece punk rock band hailing from Montréal, Québec. It features Bigger (Danny) on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Daniel on lead guitar, Alex on bass guitar and backup vocals and Jr. on drums. While their music is fast and punchy, it retains some instrumental complexity with Daniel adding various leads and Alex shredding great bass lines over Bigger’s fast power chords. The vocals, however, are what set this band apart from others in the same genre. Bigger has a voice that reminds me of both Fat Mike’s of NOFX and Chris Demakes’ of Less than Jake. It has just the right amount of grit to carry a melody without being too agressive. The bassist and drummer help out when they can by adding crowd vocals and the typical punk-rock whah-ohs to the mix. The sound was very balanced, and their performance was tight and on point, despite the set up being a little awkward. Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties with the stage, which caused the lead guitarist, Daniel, to have to play between the two other members. Seeing as though he is the only member of the band that doesn’t sing, it made the stage dynamic a little weird. Even still, the bassist drove the energy of the band way up by running from one side of the stage to the other, still managing to masterfully pluck his bass. Bigger was also very entertaining, sometimes looking around in complete confusion and making funny facial expressions before exploding into the next part. Though it took a little while for the crowd to warm up to Bigger than All, the band’s energy level shot up when they finally did. With a strong finish, they paved the way for the headliner of their current ‘Desbouleaux Tour’, The Headlines.

Coming all the way from Malmö, Sweden, The Headlines have been active since 2006 and have played over 500 shows in many countries worldwide. The band, composed of Kerry Bomb – Lead Vocals, Jake – Lead Guitar, Peter – Rhythm Guitar, Cim Dhalle – Bass Guitar and Peter II – Drums, have gained a fan base in Germany, and is known to travel abroad often to play for welcoming crowds the world over. These guys absolutely obliterated the stage Saturday night. You want to know what they sound like? To quote tour organizer Michaël Lagacé, “The Headlines live is like taking a shovel to the face but with a lot of love” and I couldn’t agree more. The Headlines are nothing but pure punk rock, straight from the early 90’s. Their sound invokes the likes of Rancid and the Ramones. The music is catchy and simple, yet edgy and raw. The first thing I noticed was how great they looked as a unit. Kerry, Jake and Cim dressed in traditional punk rock threads. The front woman sported a spike-studded jean jacket covered in patches to match her pink hair. Plaid shirts, tight pants, tattoos and high topped shoes completed the look.


The performance was insane. Kerry Bomb, who, in the past, played bass guitar and left most of the singing to lead guitarist Jake, is an amazing front woman with a seemingly unsurmountable amount of energy. Her voice is extremely versatile, at times soft and soothing and then gritty and agressive in the next breath. She exudes confidence but remains very genuine as she runs, jumps, dances and bangs her head to the music. The music is complete with a good mix of fast beats and downtime, as well as some nice buildups that culminate in some of the most catchy choruses I’ve heard. If you don’t know the lyrics, you’ll know at least the chorus by the end of the song, and you’ll catch yourself singing along. Lead guitarist Jake does quite a bit of vocals as well. His voice, often paired with Kerry’s, is edgy and sits very well in the mix. He also swoops in every so often with a guitar solo reminiscent of old school rock and roll which he does very well. The bassist, Cim Dahlle, is simply electric. She is very energetic and also belts out some great backup vocals, be it harmony or chanting along with the rest of the band. She played on her knees with her bass up in the air, she played behind her head, she jumped off the drum riser, and she did it all while playing perfectly, and with style and swagger. The band was greeted by a great crowd, however small, who succeeded in bringing the band back for not one, but two encores. The first one was one of my favourite punk rock covers of all time: 99 Red Balloons. The best part? Kerry sang the song in German, the language in which the original song was written by artist Nena in 1983. After 99 luftballons, they played an original called Wake Up. The crowd chanted “Wake up! Whah-oh, whah-oh”, with the band until they ended the show with a final crash!

Not only do I not have any negative comments or criticism to offer this band, but I cannot say enough positive things about them to do them justice. Although it is unlikely that they come back to Timmins (mostly due to the massive ocean that separates our home country from theirs), I highly recommend you go give this band a listen. Beware however, that even on the most recent album, Vendetta, Kerry does not sing lead vocals throughout as she was still the bassist of the band at the time of recording.


Luckily, I had the chance to talk with a few of the members from Bigger than All after the show, and it turns out that they’re a really great bunch of dudes. I also had the chance to congratulate The Headlines who seemed very pleased with the outcome of the show in such a small venue in a small town. Simply put, whoever wasn’t there, missed out.

I hope you enjoyed the review. I’ll be writing more of these in the future, whenever Justin is unable to make it out to a show. And remember, the next time you tell yourself there is nothing to do in Timmins, head out to The Working Class and let Krys and Johnny show you how to have a good time. This is our scene. Without us, it doesn’t exist.

Stay sexy, Timmins,



As I sit and stare outside my bedroom window, the world outside swallows me whole. I stare blankly at the mouth of a world too vast and too complicated for my small mind space to take in, to accept. Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I going? Why must I exist in a world so fucked? These questions haunt me into insomnia every night. Their pressure on my chest and shoulders I carry through my days until I can numb myself with my various vices. That is until I came across one artist, one album that reminded me of who I was and who I wanted to be. That artist is Gotye, and his album is “Making Mirrors”.

making mirrors

One of my closest friends, Alex, once introduced me to Gotye by showing me two short documentaries on the making of “Making Mirrors”. I was blown away by the shear artistry that went into this record! I was amazed that one man, with the help of just a few friends, can create such a beautiful piece of art. I found my inspiration once more, and remembered the thing that drives me to get out of bed each morning, the thing that turns the light on in this dark world for me: Music. Can one record really have that kind of power? I really believe it can. I want to recommend this record to you, my dear readers, not because I expect it to have the same impact on you, but simply because I feel it’s a great album, and I want you to give it a shot!

I won’t go too much into how the record was made, I’ll let these short documentaries speak for themselves. If you have 20 minutes, I really encourage you to check these out, before or after you listen to the record. Some of you suggested I try to write these recommendations a little shorter, therefore I won’t dig into every track on the record, I’ll simply discuss what I think are some of the highlights.

Here are links to the documentaries! Click here and here!

Gotye hails from Melbourne, Australia. He released “Making Mirrors” in 2011. He released two other records previous to “Making Mirrors”, but I don’t enjoy them quite as much because I don’t think they were recorded with the same originality as “Making Mirrors”. I do really enjoy the single off of his sophomore record, however. It’s called “Hearts A Mess”, if you’re interested.

“Making Mirrors” opens with the title track, which serves as an introduction to the album more than a song. It opens with what sound like some type of woodwind instrument, then a bass is introduced into the mix. The bass drones deep in the mix in contrast with the floating woodwinds. Gotye sings two stanzas of abstract imagery, and it sets the tone for what the album has in store. This intro is beautiful and sounds as if it’s coming down the heavens.

gotye tat
This is how much I love this record!

“Easy Way Out” is the second track, and it’s one of my favorites on the record. It’s short and sweet, and has an exploding power to it. The prominent sounds are a fuzzy bass and guitar during the intro and choruses. The contrasting verses are softer, but Gotye packs on layers of sampled sounds, synthesizer sequences, and a ton of various percussive instruments. It’s disorienting to try and pick each sound apart from the other as the layers meld together so elegantly into a beautifully edgy and powerful song. Gotye gives us a taste of his vocal abilities in this song as well; he sings the verses in a low, soft voice, and he sings the chorus in falsetto (a whispery head-voice). The lyrics are interesting and very relatable (especially for me) as they are a poetic take on procrastination. He sings about the voice in his head that rationalizes his lack of effort during mundane yet necessary activities, and just how easy it is to give in to that voice and give up. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but his back up vocals during the pre-chorus seem like they might represent that voice in his head. This description really only scratches the surface, you really just have to go and listen to it!


I mentioned that “Easy Way Out” gives us a taste of Gotye’s vocal skills. It’s like an appetizer before the main course that is “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Now, I know most people by now (myself included) consider this song overplayed thanks to mainstream and local radio stations. But how many of you have really “listened” to the song? I urge to try it just once, to listen to this song with an attentive ear, and listen to the layers upon layers of instrumentation and harmonies. Listen to how odd the sounds are, but how when mixed with the other sounds they create one of the most unique and catchy songs ever recorded (in my opinion). Listen to how the instruments have a call and response relationship with Kimbra (the featured singer from New Zealand). And listen to how during Kimbra’s verse, the music builds up before the nuclear bomb that is the final chorus! When I listen to this song, I often feel as though Gotye calculated and discovered a scientific formula for the most memorable music.

somebody i used to know

The fourth track on the record happens to be my favorite on the entire record. “Eyes Wide Open” is to me a refreshing take on a topic often explored: The negative impact of the capitalist system on the world (climate change, poverty, hunger, etc.). Gotye expresses the way in which we are consciously heading down the path of destruction through his poetic verses; “We walk the plank with our eyes wide open.” The song features a fairly simple bass line, and a driving, galloping drum beat. The song also has a haunting pedal steel guitar, which I think is a great touch of creativity. The part about this song that I love the most is not just the content, but also the method by which it was created. See the short documentary to learn more!

The last highlight I want to mention is the song “State of the Art”. One of the documentaries also explains the making of this song; therefore I’m not going to delve too deeply into how it was made. What I want to emphasize is just how creative this song is! It’s so jam-packed with layers of samples, synthesizer melodies, and it was mostly all done on an old court organ from way back in the day; an instrument that most people have either never seen, or simply believe it to be obsolete at this point in time. The song progresses as Gotye packs on more and more layers, until at the very end, the song detonates with every single layer playing at once. I can see how someone might be put off by the vocals in this track because they are so synthetic, but check out the documentary in which he explains his intent and method, and you’ll surely have a better appreciation for it (as I evidently have).

It’s so hard for me to stop here and not pick apart every song on this album. I love them all with the deepest appreciation, and I hope “Making Mirrors” can inspire you in some way, shape, or form, as it has me. So in conclusion, I want to once more urge you to check out “Making Mirrors”, and let me know how you feel about it! Shoot me a message on Facebook, or let me know the next time you bump into me! Also, I’m still working out the style in which I want to write these recommendations, so any feedback will be much appreciated!

Thanks for reading.




It was country night last night (January 16, 2016) at The Working Class in Timmins. The sold out show featured The Devin Cuddy Band, with a local opening act by Lee Hannigan. The Class truly felt like a country bar last night; the show attracted an audience that isn’t typical for our venue, and I was perfectly okay with that! The bands played really well, and the people enjoyed themselves, myself included. If you happened not to have made it out last night, here are my thoughts on what you missed:

Lee Hannigan is a local singer/songwriter. He writes a fusion of country, blues, folk, and rock n’ roll. Last night, 3 supporting musicians accompanied Hannigan on the stage, (a bassist, a drummer, and a keyboard player). I didn’t catch the names of the musicians, unfortunately. Their performance was incredibly tight and masterful. The relatively older backing musicians displayed a show of their skill and experience. The bassist served as a rock solid foundation for the music; he was always on time, and his playing style was simple yet powerful. He was my favorite musician to watch out of everyone. He rocked the fuck out, and sang solid backup vocals with his deep, smoky voice. The drummer was very chill and composed, and rocking a very appropriate Bob Marley t-shirt. He banged his wavy long hair as he performed his groovy beats. His playing was very versatile, from train beats (typical in country music) to funk and jazz beats. He was also a lot of fun to look at on stage! The keyboard player was phenomenal. He shreded on those keys. When in one instant where Hannigan forgot a part, the keyboard player just took over and made the song seamless. These musicians were fantastic, and I had no idea Timmins harbored that amount of talent. I hope to see them perform again soon! Now as for Hannigan himself, while his playing was mostly on point (his guitar playing skills are great, his guitar tone was delicious, and his vocals were mostly always on pitch and on time), I did find him kind of boring to watch on stage. He barely moved around, or even smiled while he was playing. He didn’t look like he was having fun to me. Certainly not like his backing musicians did. His performance just seemed too amateurish for me in contrast with his band. I wanted to see him rock out with the bassist! I also don’t think it’s necessary to present every single song (that’s just my personal preference). I believe talking to the crowd is an art of its own, and if a singer is not completely comfortable doing it, it’s completely fine (if not better) to just not talk as much. Don’t get me wrong however; his skills on the guitar and on the harmonica were great. He played quite well, and his parts were very tightly in sync with the band. He’s also a great outlaw country singer, and a very talented songwriter! I just think his performance skills need some work.

The Devin Cuddy Band. (Photo cred: Olivia Sullivan)

The Devin Cuddy Band is Devin Cuddy on the piano and vocals, Nichol Robertson on the guitar, Devon James on the bass, and Zachary Sutton on the drums. Timmins happened to be their first stop on their western Canadian tour, and what a delight it was to have them up here all the way from Toronto. Their music is a lot of fun to hear. It has its roots in southern blues and outlaw country. It’s got that New Orleans spice! Their performance last night was fantastic. Their energy was hot and the audience fed on it until our stomachs were full. The bassist did not stop dancing about in the limited space he had on the stage for the entire show. His playing was tight, dynamic, and his vocal harmonies were flawless. The same goes for the drummer; his grooves were punchy or mellow whenever they had to be. He also looked to be having a blast behind his kit. The guitarist’s energy wasn’t at the same level, however. I wanted to see his rock out a little more, but his playing was great! His solos we smoother than butter; he made them look so easy. Finally, Devin Cuddy himself was killer to watch! His piano playing is good to the point where I now regret giving up on my piano lessons as a child. His playing had that ragtime sound as he pounded his keyboard with precision and speed. He too made his instrument look easy to play. His vocals are perfect for his genre. His voice doesn’t have too much twang as we hear typically in country music, and it resides in a confortable mid-range. I’m not really sure to whom I should compare him because I’m not that familiar with the genre. The best thing I can do is recommend you go listen to his record, “Kitchen Knife”. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, and I regret not picking one up on vinyl last night. My only gripe with their performance is the lack of energy from the guitarist (as I’ve mentioned), and the slight repetitive nature of their sound. I felt their set was getting a little long near the end. Despite these nit picks, however, I was overall very impressed by their performance. Ritchie also did a great job with the sound; I could hear every distinct part clearly. My ears were happy! So yeah, I hope to see these guys again, and I wish them luck on their tour!

That’s my review! I hope you enjoyed the read, and I hope you check out The Devin Cuddy Band’s music!


PS. Keep your eyes open for an album recommendation coming soon! I’m currently working on a schedule for my content output. As my life will see a little more stability soon, and I’ll be able to put more work into this website! Thanks again to all those who support me with this thing! I appreciate you all from the deepest depths of my heart!

12279207_794647980672036_5444755377891944776_nLast night (December 26, 2015), I attended a punk show at The Working Class here in Timmins. The show was said to begin at 9 pm, and I got there fifteen minutes past 9. To my dismay, the venue was at capacity and they weren’t letting anyone else in for an unforeseen amount of time. This was very bittersweet for me because while I’m very stoked to see the venue and scene thrive, it was unfortunate to see so many people turned down at the door. I waited outside and from there, I listened to a few songs by Calming Collection, a new punk band fronted by Tory Holmes. The band for whom I was most excited to see perform because it was their first performance at The Working Class, and because their recorded music sounds fantastic! I had the pleasure of watching Tory perform some Calming Collection tunes on an acoustic guitar at an open mic night, and I’m really bummed I missed out last night. Standing outside only lasted as long as it could have considering how cold my friends and I were getting.

Check out their EP, “Departures”, here!

We spent about an hour or so at the bar next door, and I decided to give The Working Class another go. I finally got in with two friends after a little more waiting and got to see The Payoff play their last two songs. They were on point as usual, and I’m really happy to have caught the bit that I did. Rumour has it that they plan on getting into the studio to record soon. If so, I am really excited to hear what they put out!

Give The Payoff a like on Facebook!

The headlining band was one of our longer-standing Timmins punk bands, Laforge! The band is made of Corey McGee on lead vocals and guitar, Mitch Bergeron on lead guitar and vocals, Kevin Watson on bass, and Pat Lauzier on drums. It had been a few years since the last time I personally got to see them, and I’m bummed I missed their last performance. I actually got to jam with them a few years back, and they’re really solid dudes. They played very well last night! So well in fact that I felt compelled to write this brief review (I wasn’t planning on writing this due to my late entry). If you haven’t heard of them and you like punk rock, you’re seriously missing out on some tasty jams! Their music is melodious, dynamic, and anthemic. Its very reminiscent of classic 90s skater punk bands like Lagwagon, Strung Out, and No Use For A Name. They had us (the crowd) moshing, headbanging, throwing our fists in the air, and chanting their catchy, home-hitting lyrics! “I’ll be SEVEN-O-FIVE!!” It made me seriously wish I knew more of the band’s lyrics so I could sing along with everyone! Pat’s drumming was fucking killer as always. He has to be the most impressive drummer in town! I can honestly dance to his grooves all night! I won’t go much more into detail about how they sound and how they played partly because I didn’t take any notes last night. I was too busy having a baller time! They were really tight and sounded awesome on the stage overall. If you haven’t heard or seen them, I seriously recommend you take the time to experience Laforge!

This was not taken last night. Photo credit: Craig Chè Koostachin (Taken from Laforge’s Facebook page)

Here are links to their Facebook and Bandcamp pages!

I stuck around the bar after the show for a few more drinks. It was so great to chat with the various members of our prospering music scene here in Timmins. I know a lot of you are reading these reviews, and I want to thank you all for the support and feedback you’ve been giving me. I’m just so happy to be a part of it all! I often contemplate moving back to a bigger city (for a myriad of reasons) but the nights like I had last night that make me want to stay.

Thank you so much for reading. I can’t wait to see you all again at the New Years show!


Last night (December 19, 2015), The Working class hosted yet another great show. Ryan Problems & The Solutions, and Wyatt Young. The show took place between around 10pm and 1:30am.


Ryan Problems & The Solutions are a “Country-fried folk punk [band] from North Bay, Ontario,”[i] that consists of Ryan Problems (lead vocals, harmonica, and guitar), Jo (vocals and percussion), Mike Favretto (mandolin), Uncle Alice (bass), Josh (cajón), and Mad Dog (djembe, percussion). They played a fantastic set last night! Their sound is made up of all-acoustic instruments (other than the electric double bass). It has a ton of twang, and is folky enough to come right out of the east coast! Ryan Problems has a punk-rock voice, however, and it reminds me a lot of bands like PUP, Millencolin, NOFX, and maybe Pennywise! It’s a gritty, raspy, and high voice. I was blown away by just how eclectic their sound is. Every member could also sing flawless harmonies, and the mandolin leads were just plain dope! The band also looked great on stage, taking up all the room they could use on the stage, and looking like they were having a genuine great time playing together. The crowd was definitely feeling their good vibes too, as many were dancing and clapping along in their seats (myself including), and some full out dancing in the open space before the stage. It was my first experience watching this band perform, and I was amazed by just how tight the band was, and by their stellar musicianship. These people are pros and should be recognized as such!

Ryan Problems 2.jpg
Check out Ryan Problems & The Solutions here!


Wyatt Young is Travis Major (Guitar and vocals), Jamie MacKay (Guitar and backup vocals), Chris McCoy (bass), and Brendan Colameco (drums). Only Travis Major and Jamie Mackay performed, however. It was an intimate show, an acoustic and an electric guitar and their voices; they even decorated the stage with a grandfather clock, trees and candles. The electric guitar was very ambient-sounding, as it was drenched in reverb, delay, and other effects. It was a nice addition to the acoustic guitar rhythm. Major’s voice was on point, and he proved his wide-ranged vocal abilities, as he sang his songs with passion, and with a lot of embellishments (the way a gospel singer would). Their sound reminded me a lot of The Tallest Man On Earth. The two were playing beautiful guitars: A Gibson ES 335, and what looked like a Taylor 410ce (I could be wrong here). The duo played very well, and their music does sound very good, but I do have a few issues with their performance last night. For one, the set was way too long (nearly 3 hours for what felt like 30 songs). They also played mostly new material, which was great, but their set could have used more songs from their EP, “Peace Be Your Eternity” (which is fantastic, I do recommend it), and more covers just to keep it interesting. I felt that their set seemed a little too repetitive, and my attention and interest dwindled after the first hour of their performance. They did play a Fleetwood Mac cover, which brought me back near the end, and that’s why I feel as though more well-known covers would have benefited them greatly. To be honest, what I would have rather seen was Wyatt Young play an hour set and open for Ryan Problems & The Solutions. If not, then at least have their sound turned down so the crowd could also enjoy each other’s company during the 3-hour set.

Wyatt Young.jpg
Support them on their Facebook page here!


Those were my thoughts on last night’s show. I did really enjoy the music from both bands. Every single person who took the stage was fantastic as both musicians and performers. Despite my issues with the Wyatt Young set, I had a great time, and I can’t wait for the next show!


Thanks for reading! And please go an check out the two bands. You’re missing out otherwise!



[i] Taken from their Facebook page. I couldn’t describe them any better than that!

Last Sunday (December 13, 2015), The Working Class, also known as my new favourite place in the world, hosted a damn good show: Cancer Bats from Toronto, also featuring Lord Dying from Portland, Oregon, and local hardcore heroes, The Payoff. The sold out show took place between 9pm and just past midnight. Despite it being Sunday, the venue was filled to capacity, and the energy was destructive (both figuratively and literally)!

Cancer Bats 1
Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats killing it.

The Payoff is a Timmins local five-member beatdown hardcore act. It consists of Joel Dumas (Vocals), Joey Polowy (Lead Guitar), Bee Rad (Rhythm Guitar), Craig-Ryan Larocque (Bass Guitar), and Krys Saudino (Drums). They’re set was short and sweet, and hard and aggressive. They served as the perfect opening act as they warmed up the crowd for the chaos to come. I loved Joel’s energy. He always does a great job at engaging the crowd; making hand gestures to emphasize the lyrics he sings, and making eye contact with individuals in the crowd, which altogether enables us to feel his energy. He’s everything I want to see in a frontman. The instrumentation was also on point. The guitar tones were heavy and the bass was not subdued in the mix; it was prominent and accentuated the “beatdowness” of their sound. I could clearly hear the contrasting frequencies (highs, mids, and lows) in the spectrum. Finally, the drums were nice and tight. I really love Krys’s drum tone; I could feel the kick drum deep in my chest, and the snare is punchy, clear, and groovy. I really could not expect any more or any less from The Payoff. They played a new track, (the title of which I didn’t catch) and it was also great. My question is, when are they going to come out with some recorded material?!

Check out The Payoff’s Facebook page here!

Lord Dying is a four-piece band, but I’m assuming their bassist could not make the trip up north as he was missing from the stage. The band is composed of Erik Olson on guitar and lead vocals, Don Capuano on bass, Nickolis Parks on drums, and Chris Evans on guitar as well.[i] Their lack of a bassist did not prevent me from enjoying their set, however. Their sound is pulverizing, doomy, sludgy, and just all around heavy. They don’t even need a bassist, (and this is coming from a bassist)! They really remind me of bands like High On Fire, Mastodon, Electric Wizard, etc. The vocals are very much in the mid-to-high range, and Olson does a great job at conveying anger and fury. The drummer is really tight and impressive to watch. Another element I liked about their set was how well they looked on the stage: The two guitarist were playing (what seemed like) the same guitar model (LTD Eclipse Deluxe EC-1000), one with a pearl-white finish, and another with a flamed maple top, and a see-through black finish. I really liked the look of the contrasting guitars. Behind them were 2 Marshall half stacks (a JCM 900 and a JCM800), one on each side of the drums. The bass drum also had an incredible looking design. The band looked professional all around. And speaking of professional, during their first song, the power was cut out to their entire left channel, yet they kept playing as though nothing had happened. The problem was short-lived as Ritchie Caron (the sound technician) and Krys Saudino jumped to the rescue and solved the issue. They gave us a great performance, and I’m glad they came all the way up here to play for us.

Lord Dying 3
Check out their music video for “Poisoned Altars”!

Finally, we get to the meat of the article; the headlining set, Cancer Bats. The band is made of Liam Cormier (Vocals), Scott Middleton (Guitar), Mike Peters (Drums), and Jaye R. Schwarzer (Bass). They killed it, ladies and gentlemen. The crowd ate them up and loved every moment of it. Cancer Bats are a doom flavoured southern metal band. Their sound is very reminiscent of Black Sabbath and Pantera, and has a modern edge to it that makes it unique in my opinion. Their music is heavy, sludgy, gritty, and very groovy, (I don’t think I stopped dancing throughout their entire set). Their performance began with some low droning guitar chords and Cormier inviting the crowd to approach the stage. As soon as we did, the band exploded with “True Zero” from their new record, “Searching For Zero”, which I highly recommend!

Cancer Bats - Searching For Zero
Click here for a taste!

Throughout their set, the band played some of my favourites from their previous record, like “R.A.T.S.”, “Road Sick”, and “Bricks and Mortar”, which is one of my favourite tracks in their entire catalogue. It’s deadly, heavy and catchy as all hell! “Grief like a halo around my neck… MY SALVATION! BRICKS AND MORTAR!!!” They also played a few of their older classics like “Pneumonia Hawk” and “Hail Destroyer”. The band maintained their energy throughout the entire set; they head-banged wildly, jumped about, and beat their instruments into a pulp. Cormier is a great frontman. He maintained his vocal abilities for every song he sang, and proved to be an all-around awesome dude. He gave shout-outs to the opening acts, as well as to the guys who own and run the venue (Johnny Cayen and Krys Saudino). He gave us Timminites respect and praise for our great bourgeoning music scene. He was also very funny at times. I had the opportunity to shoot the shit with him after the show at their merchandise table, and he’s just a rad dude altogether. I was really impressed. The band concluded their set with a banger, “Satellites”. The crowd chanted for more, but we didn’t get more. However, that was okay with me, because “Satellites” was a perfect song to close with.

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with every performance of that night. I had a great time, and I could see on the faces of everyone else there that I wasn’t alone in how I felt about the night. It was definitely one of the best shows I’ve personally been to in my hometown, and one for the books altogether!

Thanks so much for reading. I apologize for the delay. I really wanted to have this published last week, but I got caught up. I’ll certainly do my best to avoid such delays in the future.

Thanks again!


[i] Taken from their Facebook page

Welcome to my first official album recommendation. I have so much great music I want to share with you, and I decided to start with my favorites. Once I work through my all time faves, I’ll be working through my personal record collection, and then through my Spotify library (which will never end). I’m listening to new albums everyday and always discovering fantastic music that deserves recognition.

Records(this isn’t even half…)

Jack Tatum formed his indie rock/dream pop band, Wild Nothing, in late 2009 in Blacksburg, Virginia. He has since released 2 full-length records, “Gemini” (2010) and Nocturne (2012), and two EPs, “Golden Haze” (2010) and “Empty Estate” (2013).[i] All of which have been deservingly critically acclaimed. Now, I recommend giving all of these projects a listen, but if you can only choose one, start with “Nocturne”.

The genre in which this record is best categorized in my opinion is dream pop. Dream pop is often described as lush, dreamy, smooth, icy, washed out, etc. The reason being that the genre characteristically uses a lot of reverb in the mix to create a wet and vast sound.

The following is my description of each track. I don’t plan on making all of my recommendations this long, but this album is so special to me that I just had to give you a short description of every song in the hopes of enticing you to give this record a chance.



Strings fade in and the song explodes with a driving hook. The strings sink lower into the mix and the guitar lead just holds onto me in such a gentle caress, like everything is going to be okay. The bass dances joyfully with the drums, and the strings come and go from the centre of attention to the back smoothly without fight.  Tatum’s voice is whispery and lush, soaked in reverb. His words sing of forbidden love. “I’d go with you if you asked me to, but we wouldn’t get too far. Two strangers in the dark.”

Midnight Song:

The guitar lead is icy and wet with delay and reverb. Tatum has a real skill for writing catchy guitar parts. The drums pound away in a simple beat, the kick is deep and the snare is punchy. The reverb makes them sound like they were recorded in a big hall. The lyrics are as cold and dark as the music with expressions of sorrow and longing. “In my head you dance like the wind. You’re my burden.”


My favourite song on the record, and it’s also the single. The guitar lead just hooks me right in and I drift with it into a blissful abyss. The drum beat and bass are simple and nostalgic, and the synthesizer bring us back to 1986. The parts layer so smoothly with elegant subtlety. Tatum sings beautiful poetry about surrendering to love. He displays a little more range in his vocal capabilities as he fluctuates between a soft high voice and a deeper chest voice.

Through the Grass:

This song is gentle and ghostly. Every line he sings during the verse is repeated by his voice sounding further away as its heavily drenched in reverb. An acoustic guitar is featured in this song and it brings a nice contrast to the cavernous sound of the rest of the arrangement.

Only Heather:

The song’s introduction builds from what sounds like a recording of an orchestra tuning played backwards (I have no idea if that’s what it really is, but that’s what it makes me think of). This song is faster paced that the songs before. The drums and bass are driving, and the guitar is picked quickly and elegantly. Behind this arrangement is a beautiful lush sounding synthesizer pad. It’s subtle but it really holds the song together in my opinion, as it fills up any potential silence.  Tatum sings a rather straightforward love song here, and the chorus is quite catchy: “Only Heather… Can make me feel this way.” I’d love to meet her.

(artwork that came with my vinyl copy of “Nocturne”)

This Chain Won’t Break:

The song opens with a loud, hard-hitting drum pattern and a gong breaks in on the 4th beat of every second bar. This song is rather heavy on the synthesizers as there is many different synthesized textures layered one on top of the other. This is especially the case during the bridge. I really lose myself in these sounds as Tatum sings, “All these faces. All these faces. Well they look the same.”

Disappear Always:

The guitar lead in the beginning of this track is fantastic. It seems to come out of nowhere at first listen, but then I realize there’s nowhere else this melody can belong but right where Tatum placed it. It’s short and sweet, and it’s the reason I always revisit this song. The song also has a killer guitar solo near the end. I can really relate to Tatum’s words in this song as someone who deals with depression and anxiety, I’ve felt the loneliness and seclusion he expresses in this song. “This house is now a grave. I’ve been sleeping here for days. I’m too hidden to awake. So I disappear always.” I fucking love that lyric!


Now, when this song opens, I swear this is an 80s ballad. The synth pads just make me float, and then the guitar comes in, and that tone… I wish I could replicate it on my guitar. The drums and bass keep a rock solid rhythm going throughout much of the song and soften out during the interlude. The interlude features an oscillating synth texture that sounds like wind recorded under water. “Tell me once or twice that love is paradise. Love is paradise”

Counting Days:

I love the synths in this song. There are so many different layers. The most ear-grabbing one for me is very percussive and staccado (you’ll recognize it when you hear it). This song has a very melancholy tone: “It’s cold in your bed and those flowers have long been dead.” It’s as though Tatum is a ghost speaking to his grieving lover.

The Blue Dress:

The bass runs and drives the song as the leads come and go as they please. Tatum adds many pieces of sweet ear candy throughout the song. The words long for a love too good to be true: “And then I dreamt of you so sweet. In the garden of my touch. Drowning into sheets. Imaginary love.”


The album comes to a close with this track. The synth echoes and weeps, as the guitar condoles. The bass and drums keep a steady rhythm and support the many layers above them. Bongos are featured on the closing of the song, which adds a pleasant and tasteful touch. The lyrics a little more abstract, dark and cold: “Touch me one last time. I don’t want to remember this life.”

Now, click here to listen! 

So that’s my (very detailed) recommendation. Please, please, PLEASE! Give this album a shot! Let me know what you think. And let me know what you think of this article. If you have any recommendations for me and want to hear my thoughts of something, don’t be shy!

Thanks for reading.


[i] Taken from Wikipedia

My name is Justin Presley. I’m an aspiring musician and writer, and this is my first blog post. I’m a native of Timmins, a small mining city in Northern Ontario, which is also where I currently reside. I discovered my burning passion for music at the age of 13 when my friends who were in a punk band called Split Second asked me to be their bassist. I had taken piano lessons as a young child, but did not by any means consider myself a musician at this point, although I loved all types of rock music back then; classic rock, punk, metal, you name it. I begged my parents to buy me my first bass, to which they did reluctantly, thinking it would just be another activity that I would eventually quit. Punk music proved to be the best learning ground for a self-teaching beginner. I learned how to read tabs and learned to play tunes from bands like The Misfits, NOFX, Leftover Crack, The Virus, Rancid, etc. (Rancid being a lot more challenging than the rest). With Split Second, I had my first on-stage experience in this old dingy dive bar called the GV Hotel (a bar my grandfather used to party in back in the day), and after that experience I knew in my heart that this was something I wanted to do forever. Music is a breathing fire within that keeps me alive, and when I don’t tend to it, life is cold and dark.

In high school, most of the friends I made were other musicians, and with them I formed many bands and played a myriad of shows locally. We played a lot of metal, emo, and post-hardcore. We covered Metallica, Killswitch Engage, Atreyu, Silverstein, A Day to Remember, and we wrote a lot of original material. The bands I played in that are most note-worthy were called Room 18, Yours Truly, and Sans Regret (pronounced in French because we were a francophone band). You can probably find old recordings of those bands on MySpace. I also participated in the school’s band, which is called “Quand ça nous chante”. The music teacher who organizes and coaches the band has since become a great friend and mentor to me. It was also in high school that I took up guitar and singing, and where I discovered my second passion, writing. My English creative writing teacher inspired me deeply and has also served me as a mentor. She is the one who pushed me to start this blog.

My passions led me to take music and English literature at the University of Ottawa. There I grew as an artist and one that appreciates all genres of music and all forms of art. I made few more artist friends there who continue to inspire me today. It is also there where I learned to think about art critically and how to better appreciate it. It has greatly widened my perspective on life and the world. Though a degree in the arts probably won’t make me millions, it was certainly fruitful in the way that it has conditioned me into a better version of myself. While in Ottawa, I refined my skills as a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and DIY producer. Today, I am working on a solo musical project, on which more is to come in future blog articles.

That is basically my life’s story in very broad brush-strokes, and now what I briefly want to discuss is what More Than Melody promises to deliver in the near future. My ideas so far are to write album recommendations, concert reviews, my personal life experiences in terms of a DYI artist, my progress on my projects, links to my own music, shout-outs to some of my fellow artists (musicians, writers, visual artists, photographers, etc.) and their work, and editorials on topics pertaining to art in our society. This blog might also become a YouTube channel later on with similar types of content.

To conclude, I’d just like to cordially invite you on this journey with me, and to thank you in advance for the support. If you have any feedback on how this blog can better accommodate you as a reader, or ideas for things you’d like me to discuss, do let me know.

Thanks for reading.