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LTtheMonk – “The Lo” [Listen]
So eclectic 
In her records I had to say it’s
Love at
First needle drop

Hamilton-based emcee LTtheMonk has been rolling out tracks, videos, and visuals from the universe of his great third album, On The Wall, released last summer. Now he shares brand new single, “The Lo.” Is this the beginning to LT’s latest era? I can’t wait to find out! Gearing up for the warmer weather once again, you know I love a banger. “The Lo” is perfect track to crank up right now.

LTtheMonk. Photo by becausedesignmatters.

Kojo “Easy” Damptey – “Party X Clementine” [Listen]
I know we come from different places
And we have been in different spaces
And yet here we are in the moment
Wondering what our next step should be

Kojo “Easy” Damptey is back with brand new tunes! Born and raised in Accra, Ghana and now Hamilton-based, the Afro-soul musician, producer, songwriter, and composer has shared two new tracks so far from his upcoming third album, Radical Thoughts. With vocals and lyrics by Kojo, “Party X Clementine” also features beat production by Brett Klassen (a.k.a. Onglish) with mixing and mastering by Michael Chambers. It’s a warm, upbeat jam to kick off our spring season.

Kojo “Easy” Damptey

Onglish – “Patterns” [Listen]

Onglish, a.k.a. Brett Klassen, is quite the prolific beatmaker in Hamilton. Sharing his creative process, the artist shares that he is most inspired by dancers, both amateur and professional, and aims to leave easter eggs in his music for them to catch and move with. Expanding on the title of this track, Onglish shares that “‘Patterns’ is an electronic instrumental meditation on shifting patterns against a repeated cycle. The kick drum represents the constants such as sleep, meals, or hygiene that we all partake in, we can all understand and move with the constant patterns. Everything else, the percussion, bass, piano, synths, effects etc. are the unique routines, arrangements or patterns we create for ourselves.”

Onglish. Photo by Lex Leosis.

Spookyguava – “Bones” [Listen]
Can’t go on
I stand alone
I’ll love you now
Until we’re bones

Happy to share a new local artist on my radar! Spookyguava is a 17-year-old independent alt-hip hop artist from Hamilton, who has already released several singles over the past couple of years. He doesn’t feel confined by genre, he just creates, and you can hear those different sounds throughout his young career so far, from beat-heavy hip hop (“Fade Away”) to some punk pop flair (“Homecoming)”. “Bones” is immediately catchy, with a more pop-leaning melody and chorus you can sing along with. Check out the visualizer for the track.

Spookyguava – Bones

Ariana Fig – “Maroon” [Listen]
I fall in love almost every night
It’s not that hard for you to play nice

There’s so many versions to you

Local singer-songwriter Ariana Fig continues to find her voice and evolve as an artist. She shares another very strong single, “Maroon,” which she describes as a “subliminally honest song. It tells the story of being in this constant state of over-exerting oneself; giving too much away to people who never asked.” For this release, she collaborated with Swedish-Canadian singer-songwriter and producer Sarah MacDougall and the project has also received funding from FACTOR Canada as well as The National Arts Centre of Canada. Watch out for a 4-song EP to come later this year.

Ariana Fig. Photo by Steph Montani.

Olivia Purnell – “Real Man” [Listen]
Take it like the man
You said you thought you were

I first encountered local singer-songwriter Olivia Purnell last fall from her lovely single, “In My Life,” which followed her 2020 debut album, Louder Than Words. As I noted then, Olivia is another promising young artist to watch out for. Olivia has shared two tracks so far this year, “Real Man,” and “Gravity,” and both songs show growth as an artist all around, from her songwriting to the production.

Olivia Purnell

Melissa Marchese – “Cigarette Song” [Listen]
Just gotta keep moving on

If you have been in and around Hamilton’s music scene for the past decade or more, as I have, chances are you have been in the crowd when the captivating Melissa Marchese has taken the stage. We’ve heard Melissa’s stunning vocals in various projects over the years, from fronting a rock band to pop-up performances where she can sing literally anything you could ever want to hear! Now, Melissa steps forward officially for the first time as a solo artist, sharing her debut single. She shares: “I wrote this song three weeks into one of my hundreds of failed attempts at quitting smoking. My hope is that this song can hold space for someone else struggling with any type of addiction. It does get better. It’s never too late.” Great collaborations on this track as well, including Adam Michael (guitars), Jason Bhattacharya (drums), Jesse O’Brien (keyboards), Nick Czarnogorski (bass), Laura Cole (backing vocals), Tomi Swick (backing vocals), and it was recorded at Jukasa Studios.

Melissa Marchese. Photo by Brent Perniac.

The HP’s – “Hope To See You Again” feat. Claire Davis [Listen]
I hope I see you again
I just wish I knew when

‘Parkside’ Mike Renaud is the founder/owner of Hamilton-based music company Hidden Pony Records & Management. Now he showcases his own musical chops as bandleader of The HP’s, a funk/soul collective that is gearing up to release their debut album this year, Gritty City Soul, Vol. 1. This latest single has a special Hamilton connection – during Supercrawl 2015, Parkside was taking care of Sharon Jones as she headlined the festival with The Dap Kings. I was fortunate enough to be there as well, front row for that moving, unforgettable performance! It was also Parkside’s 40th birthday, and the two bonded during this special show. The song’s title is taken from his final words to the late talent.

The HP’s

Ten Minute Detour – “Morningbird” [Listen]
Let’s talk about mistakes we made

Indie rockers Ten Minute Detour relocated to Hamilton via Calgary a few years ago. The band describes their formation as being “brought together by the winds of change (and a few classified ads)”. After a couple of albums in 2015 and 2018, and two singles that followed in 2020, the band shares a great new track this year. “Morningbird” kicks off a new chapter – it is the first song to be shared from the band’s upcoming album. I love its sound, and it has me looking forward to what is next. Fun fact – the band shared “Morningbird” was “originally written for a surf film but eventually found its way to the forefront of our recordings and here we are!” Ten Minute Detour plays Mills Hardware on May 27.

Ten Minute Detour

Devin Bateson – “Space Glide” [Listen]

Let’s wind down this playlist with a couple of instrumental tracks. At the top of this year, media creator, beatmaker and experimental hip hop artist, Devin Bateson, shared a new 3-song EP, Too Poor To Die In Space. Devin shares, “These tracks were all made at separate times, really all as random beats but I kept grouping them together in a folder cause I felt like they just fit. And they do.” It’s a spacey batch of tunes to zone out to and to have a much-needed meditative moment.

Devin Bateson

[zoethecat] – “Springtime” [Listen]

An appropriate song for the season, Hamilton-based producer and multi-instrumentalist [zoethecat] shares this peaceful new track. Released with Maisonneuve Music, it’s a “laid-back, chillhop-inspired track based around a lazy guitar lick, smooth vibes and some jazzy chords layered cool rain and nature sounds.” Treat yourself to a stroll around your neighbourhood with this one, as spring renews itself once again.

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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