Illitry – “Runaways” [Listen]
I’ve heard that the ocean
Is bluer than any sky

Illitry are gearing up for their biggest release yet. Their first EP is finally out this month, which they have worked on for the past while with Michael Keire at Threshold Studio. The band celebrates with a hometown release on November 20th at Baltimore House with New Hands and Ken Park, and November 27th in Toronto at The Drake Hotel with Bass Lions and Kira May. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – their music is magic and I can’t wait to hear more. Check out my Rendezvous with Troy Witherow.

Ryan Hemsworth – “Snow In Newark (with Dawn Golden)” [Listen]
And I don’t want to leave you here
I just want to be your shadow

Ryan Hemsworth is back with his sophomore album, Alone For The First Time, the follow-up to his 2013 debut Guilt Trips. The new album is short and sweet, clocking in at under less than a half hour, with seven tracks. It leaves you wanting just a little bit more, even though it covers a lot of ground in that time. When I first heard this lead single, I had to hit repeat. Again. And again. Not stopping listening to this one any time soon. Ryan embarked on his latest North American tour, Sucker For Punishment, this month.

Ryan Hemsworth
Ryan Hemsworth

Gdansk – “Atlas” [Listen]
Look ahead
The daylight’s breaking through the darkness

Gdansk is making some of the most beautiful local music I’ve heard lately and I was happy to have them be part of an I Heart Hamilton show back in August. I’m a big fan of their last release, EP 1, so am pleased to hear their next collection of songs, EP 2, out on November 25th. The first single is a new version of their impressive single “Atlas.” The EP was co-produced by lead vocalist Tim Mann and Michael Keire of Threshold.

Lights – “Running With The Boys” [Listen]
Singing every song
Loving every line
Til the night is done

Canadian artist Lights just released her third album Little Machines in September and I’ve been dancing around to the lead single “Up We Go” since then. The album follows suit with catchy electro pop you can latch on to. It’s full of upbeat, positive tunes; it’s solid all the way through. Lights made a recent tour stop to Hamilton and hopefully we see her pass through again soon enough.

Ken Park – “Car Commercial” [Listen]
I first discovered Ken Park when he played with Beta Frontiers, Rhythm Church, and Pony Girl last month at Baltimore House, which led me to his album You Think About It Too Much (great title), released on Toronto’s Daps Records. Catch Ken Park back at Baltimore House on November 20th for the third week of New Hands’ residency at the venue. This will be a special week of the residency because it’s also Illitry’s EP Release. Plus, I’ll be DJing in between bands!

OHM – “The Feel” [Listen]
OHM is local duo Dan Riveo and Haime Manuel, who grew up together in Kitchener. Dan began with vinyl DJing (he is one of the resident DJs at Night Drive///, Saturdays at Baltimore House) and later collaborated with longtime friend Haime, who was into production. The two found a mutual love for house music and recently released an EP. I spoke with Dan on 93.3 CFMU about their music and premiered this brand new track.

Death From Above 1979 – “Trainwreck 1979” [Listen]
My younger self sure didn’t anticipate getting to see DFA 1979 reunite and release a new record when they announced they were disbanding back in 2006. The Physical World made for an awesome addition to my newly begun vinyl collection when it hit record stores in September. It’s been a great one for my fall season soundtrack.

Black Rhino Riot
Black Rhino Riot

Black Rhino Riot – “In Your Head” [Listen]
I want to be the one that’s in your head
Pop punkers Black Rhino Riot (from Hamilton/Guelph) are back with a solid new EP, In Your Head. The band just celebrated its release last month as they were on the road playing a bunch of dates including Oshawa, Toronto, Hamilton, and all the way out east to Halifax, Moncton, and Charlottetown. You can hear how much the band has strengthened in the short time they’ve been together. They’ve really been honing their chops and the result is a catchy EP that I enjoyed right from my first listen.

The Beaches – “Strange Love” [Listen]
It’s strange
That’s how you think of love

The Beaches are a fiery four-piece from Toronto. Their debut EP Heights only came out in May and they’ve earned a ton of buzz, played major festivals like Osheaga, SXSW, and our very own Supercrawl. They’ve also shared the stage with Kings Of Leon, Arkells, and July Talk. I had the chance to chat with the band (read our Rendezvous) right before they embarked on “The 401 Road Trip” tour with Vancouver band BESTiE, which includes a stop in Hamilton at Mills Hardware this Wednesday, November 19th.

The Bandicoots – “Just After Dark” [Listen]
Have you seen my heart lately, my friend?
I can’t seem to find that pesky old thing

The Bandicoots is a young band I’ve had on my radar for a little while; I’m a fan of their upbeat tunes. The band is back with a new single and I immediately thought of Arctic Monkeys when I heard the first few seconds of it (which is a compliment!). Their upcoming EP was produced by Michael Keire and mastered by Brian Lucey (who has also done The Arctic Monkeys!). Check out the fun video for the song, which the band filmed themselves, DIY-style. They say of the video: “The idea came to us while swimming at the cottage when we saw Nick’s shadow – which is ironic considering he was born on Groundhog Day.”

November 2014 from ihearthamilton on 8tracks Radio.

Bass Lions – “We Got Guts” [Listen]
Fall back on the silver lining
I learned of Bass Lions when they played last month at The Casbah on a great bill (Bass Lions, Paper Lions, and Rah Rah – oh my!). Opening the show, the band first lured us to the stage with the promise of pizza (I’ll let it slide that there wasn’t any!) but we were treated to a tasty set nonetheless. This song in particular grabbed me at the end of their set. Their self-titled debut is out now, including a deluxe limited edition vinyl with a remastered version of their EP “More Than Islands” pressed to its B Side.

HIGHS – “Mango” [Listen]
I know you’ve been thinkin’ bout it
Cause I can see it in your face

Toronto band HIGHS have been making a splash. Their self-titled deluxe EP was released last month and they have been supporting Twin Forks across some Canadian dates and have also toured with Canadian indie darlings Hey Ocean. They will be in town on November 27th at The Baltimore House. The show will be a fantastic end to New Hands’ awesome Baltimore House residency this month. Check out a great live performance of this irresistible single “Mango” on Audiotree.

Chastity – “Lash Out” [Listen]
A new artist on my radar, Chastity, aka Brandon Williams, has been popping up on local shows lately. He’s got that cool lo-fi sound going that a lot young bands are doing, and I dig it. You can download some demos through Chastity’s page. I’ll be keeping an eye on more releases from the artist and hope to catch a show soon.

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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