Jaunt. Photo by Mariah Hamilton.

By Kristin Archer

Alex Whorms – “Jones” [Listen]
Do I set my sights just a little too high when I look at you? 
Is this a mirror on the wall that I’m talking to? 

I was introduced to the music of Alex Whorms while judging this year’s McMaster Battle of the Bands finals at The Casbah. The band impressed us with their smooth sounds (and matching outfits!). It was this song in particular which caught my attention. A song Alex says she wrote “about identity, in her early teens,” it was recorded at Grant Avenue Studio and also earned the FACTOR grant that helped them to fund their touring and more recording. We’ll see Alex and the band as part of the upcoming season of Raise the Roof at Dr. Disc on June 8th, but first, see them on April 22nd (early show 4-6pm) at Artword Artbar to celebrate the anniversary of their EP Our Lives.

Alex Whorms. Photo by DRSM Photography
Alex Whorms. Photo by DRSM Photography

Ellevator – “Voices” [Listen]
I heard the future as you spoke for me
Another Playlist, another stellar single from Ellevator! Last month I was treated to a secret show and got to hear some of their new material firsthand – and it’s well worth the wait for the band’s debut EP, to be released with Arts & Crafts on April 20th. Singer Nabi Sue Bersche says of this song: “I always had a pretty firm idea of what the Love Of My Life™ would be like. I had them mapped out completely, down to the rusty old pickup truck and the 5 o’clock shadow. But then they weren’t any of those things. They were late nights on the phone and making out in my parent’s hatchback, they were unexpected and ill-advised and all sorts of tears. But I knew from the start that they were my future. So I guess ‘Voices’ is a love song.” Catch Ellevator play with Banners and New Love at Club Absinthe on April 26th.

Avery Raquel – “Come Right Back To You” [Listen]
You’ll never know what I’m thinking
You’ll never know what’s on my mind
Avery Raquel is already set to release her third full-length album. My Heart Away, produced by JUNO and ECMA winner Greg Kavanagh, is due out in June. Her sound moves from contemporary jazz into vintage Motown, as evidenced on this sultry first single. Avery says the album presents the evolution of a relationship, and this song depicts “near the end, when things aren’t quite working out. Its general message is ‘I’m done with your games, but I’ll give you one more chance to explain why ‘us’ is a good idea,’ all the time knowing exactly what the answer will be.”

Avery Raquel
Avery Raquel

Haolin Munk – “Deep Space Float” feat. Lee Reed [Listen]
I’m signing off
All is lost
Our favourite funky jazzy superstars Haolin Munk are set to release a new album The Planestasia Suite this month. The band says “The Planestasia Suite is a sci fi story told by us, with a bunch of our friends and favourite musicians performing as the characters in the story. It’s about Mal Astro (Emay) stealing back his favourite spaceship from his former employer, Lee Greed (Lee Reed). Some of the story is told by the vocalists, and some is told through instrumentals.” I patiently wait to vibe out to the rest of this spacey record – there will be a listening party on April 20th at Fort Rosie.

The Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band – “Svengali” [Listen]
Crank up the newest tune from this quirky ragtag team of musicians (and watch the video) off their latest release Quantaundron?. To tell the tale of the band’s origin in their own words, Pucumber was “born in the deep freeze at an orchestra boot camp virtuoso vegetable instrumental secret santa pool in Hamilton.” Naturally I wonder what my own vegetable name would be, were I member of the crew. Catch the band next in Guelph on April 14 at Kazoo! Fest.

Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band. Official photo.
Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band. Official photo.

Bad Dates – “Hands” [Listen]
Somebody is watching me
I can feel them watching me
We’ve seen the name Bad Dates popping up more and more on some rockin’ local bills – the band is gearing up to release Dead Centaur, recorded with Marco Bressette of Dead Tired. The four-piece are no stranger to Hamilton’s music scene, having played in various projects over the years, so you’ll no doubt recognize these guys. Catch them next on April 27th at This Ain’t Hollywood.

Jaunt – “Faster Interactions” [Listen]
The good dudes of Jaunt are back with a new tune and video for us. I’m continually impressed by this band; they create really interesting, intricate songs while keeping such an effortless way about them. Keep your eyes and ears open for their EP Cue out this month, which featuring vocals from Caitlin Woelfle-O’Brien (a.ka. Blunt Chunks) and Eliza Niemi of Mauno. They say of the collaboration, “the songs end up evolving into something we never could have imagined from their starting point.” Jaunt celebrates a Hamilton EP Release show on April 12th at The Mule Spinner with Dan Edmonds and Lauren Goodman.

Jaunt. Photo by Mariah Hamilton.
Jaunt. Photo by Mariah Hamilton.

Lava Dolls – “Just Say Yes” [Listen]
Just take a moment to breathe
Just try to sit still while listening to this one! Hard rockin’ trio Lava Dolls bring us their full EP Little Secrets – recorded with Steve Albini to tape and mixed and mastered impressively in less than 4 days at Electrical Audio in Chicago. It fully captures the dynamic, raw energy of their live show. When I caught up with the guys last summer we chatted about their amazing 1st place win at the International Songwriting Competition’s Unsigned Category (which saw 16,000+ entries from 137 countries). Lorde, Tom Waits, and the late Chris Cornell were among the final judges.

Daniel Caesar – “We Find Love” [Listen]
We find love
We get up
And we fall down
We give up
I’m late to the party, but thanks to the JUNO Awards I dove right into Daniel Caesar’s discography after watching his performance at this year’s show. Daniel performed this beautiful single as well as an amazing duet with Jessie Reyez – a reprise of her phenomenal single “Figures” (which is now available for download). The singer also walked away as a JUNO winner for R&B/Soul Recording for his wonderful album Freudian.

ttwwrrss "No Emotion" album art
ttwwrrss “No Emotion” album art

ttwwrrss – “No Emotion” [Listen]
It’s always a pleasure to hear new music from prolific experimental electronic artist ttwwrrss. Released with Maisonneuve Music, the industrial beats of Sean Thompson have been described as “belong[ing] in a world on the brink of armageddon.” Something that feels all too relatable right now! This track hits a good balance of danceable groove and ttwwrrss’ signature dark undertone.

Emilio Bonito – “Chrysanthemum” [Listen]
A lovely springtime track from the fantastic and intricate fingerstyle guitar stylings of Emilio Bonito. Released on Maisonneuve Music and recorded and produced by moon:and:6, Emilio says that this song “symbolizes a time of self-reflection.” The artist says, “I was trying to uncover deep down my identity, my values, and who will I become underneath all the petals.” It’s phenomenal what can be expressed without words; Emilio’s gorgeous instrumentation evokes so much emotion.

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), 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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