Blandlord – “Dog Bite” [Listen]
Days turn into weeks, into months, into years
I’ve been a fan of this Hamilton trio – Greg Preston, Jon Daly, Caleb Moroz – since almost the beginning of I Heart Hamilton (eight years ago! whew!) under their previous moniker The Great Machine. They’re just as rockin’ as ever with this new tune and name. Drummer Caleb takes lead vocals on this one, and they continue to pack a punch with this tight track.

Sundried Whales – “Tea In Japan” (demo) [Listen]
I’m beginning to wonder
What’s going on in our heads
You’re stranger danger
But I’m not that concerned

It has become a fun tradition these past few years to be part of McMaster’s annual Battle of the Bands. I joined the judges’ panel for a third year and recognized a familiar face in singer and multi-instrumentalist Emman Alavata (formerly of Detour/Post Romance, who had previously won the title). Sure enough, Sundried Whales took the cake! The band impressed with their quirky and tight set, and Emman spoke endearingly when accepting the trophy, citing Hamilton studio Halo Music as being instrumental throughout their jamming process.

Sundried Whales
Sundried Whales

Snotty Nose Rez Kids – “I Can’t Remember My Name” [Listen]
Swimming through the cream of the crop
Mama, don’t let me get lost

Snotty Nose Rez Kids are hip hop duo and life-long friends Yung Trybez and Young D, hailing from the Haisla Nation, ‘The People of the Snow.” They’re prepping to drop a new record, Trapline, on May 10, but first the deliver us this banger with a message. They say that the song “suggests we are lost and don’t understand our position in this new world, but the lyrics tell the opposite. Instead of being consumed by society, we preserve everything that makes us Indigenous by staying true to ourselves through all the bullshit.” The group is about to hit the UK but we’ll see them back this way in Toronto on June 15 at Young Dundas Square. Check out the video for the track.

G!sy Mohamed – “Free” [Listen]
And I’m just trying to spread the love
That everybody’s shown me

“I’m a man in a mission / I’ve got plans / I’ve got visions” raps 18-year-old Gisy Mohamed on his single “Given,” released last year. The young artist isn’t messing around and followed up strong with his solid first EP 18 Years Young. I got to know Gisy’s work through Hamilton Youth Poets, whose young artists continually inspire me. Check out one of Gisy’s pieces as part of the Black Poet Residency film screening during HYP’s annual Louder Than A Bomb Canada: Poetic License festival May 5 at the AGH. Edit: Check out the official music video which is out now!

G!sy Mohamed
G!sy Mohamed

Lacey Hill – “Each Other” [Listen]
We got lost in each other
Indie/folk/blues singer-songwriter Lacey Hill, hailing from Six Nations, has been steadily creating in the local scene for years, becoming a recognizable voice. Most recently I enjoyed her supporting Terra Lightfoot, Begonia, and Lindi Ortega during the Hamilton stop of The Longest Road Show tour. Lacey’s acoustic sounds are incredibly heartfelt and honest, and she is a pleasure to listen to live, with playful banter in between songs.

Athanase – “Times Like These” [Listen]
You wanted my forgiveness
For times like these
A new Hamilton indie folk band on my radar, five-piece Athanase just released a brand new single which follows their 2018 EP Yellowbird. The band says they wear their “blue collar heart of their sleeve,” as shown through their honest folk style songwriting. Hamilton has a rich tradition of folk, and it’s no wonder the band fits right in and has quickly gained a local following.

Raddleshack – “No Hurry” [Listen]
No need to put on a show
‘Cause it’s you I’m trying to get to know
Groovy quartet Raddleshack have been working the Hamilton scene for a number of years now with their catchy, toe-tapping jams. The band recently filmed a live-off-the-floor session for “Without The Fire” at Hess Street staple Doors Pub – check it out below and see them April 26 at This Ain’t Hollywood supporting The Beach Bats‘ album release show.

BODYDBL – “Bridges” [Listen]
You burnt all your bridges
And you’re stuck on the other side
Toronto power pop quartet BODY DBL has roots lying in punk rock and musical theatre. The band cites a range of influences, from Alice Merton, Talking Heads, Vampire Weekend, and The Runaways. That fiesty, high energy runs through their first two singles and they’re gearing up for more. Catch the band on April 26 at Mills Hardware along with Dizzy Spells for a bill that’s sure to make you shimmy.

Chester Edington – “Beyond The Blue” [Listen]
I first got to know this local artist from his work with Illitry and it’s awesome to hear new tunes from Chester through his solo work, plus with Fake Shape. Releasing this new atmospheric electronic track, Chester says “I was inspired to write this after hearing a classical piece on CBC Radio about a bird so blue that it disappeared between the water and sky. I thought the concept was so peaceful and beautiful that I wanted to write my own piece about the same thing. Imagine the wind and turbulence are making it hard to fly but the bird keeps persevering.”

Miteh – “Filament” [Listen]
Hamilton’s electronic scene always amazes me. Miteh is another new artist on my radar, and a prolific one at that. Creating music ranging from instrumental, trip hop, alternative rock, and atmospheric, Miteh (multi-instrumentalist and composer Josh Skerritt) has two albums under his belt already; his last, Kinema, was released on UK Indie label Pegdoll Records. “I’m a lifelong Hamiltonian and appreciate everything about living here – the good and the bad. I try to reflect feelings of darkness and light in my music and hope people can relate,” says Skerritt. “This city produces so much talent, and people across the country are starting to really recognize that.” Check out the video for the track.

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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