Dan Griffin – “The Hum” [Listen]
Come on, baby
I saw your face light up like a motel sign
Your heart still beating in the flickering lights

Dan Griffin’s first solo album Leave Your Love came as a pleasant surprise. Although it was released in 2011, I discovered it last year and attended the Album Release at The Casbah. It became one of my most played local albums of the year. Dan is following that up with a new EP, Bordertown, out on August 27th. This first single grabbed me right away and I hear new layers with each listen. It’s exciting to hear Dan expanding as an artist – with his timeless voice and lyrics, he will join the ranks of classic singer-songwriters in no time. Stay tuned for my upcoming Rendezvous with Dan!

The Balconies – “The Slo” [Listen]
Let me go, you’re pulling me
Don’t you know I fall for it
I want you but I just can’t quit

I can’t get enough of The Balconies and am so excited for their first full-length album Fast Motions to drop this fall. The band have cut their teeth over the past several years, touring steadily all over North America and even Europe. This sexy number is off the new album and is a noticeably heavier sound than their previous stuff (I chatted with them about this during our Rendezvous!). With a new drummer, Theo, and Liam moving over to guitar, I’m excited to see them live with the new setup. Catch them at The Casbah on October 22nd.

Thought Beneath Film – “If I Could Fix You (You Know That I Would)” [Listen]
Don’t despair
I swear the sun comes out

The gritty pop jams of this Hamilton band have recently caught my attention. TBF released a five-song EP, Detours, last summer and while I’m only just discovering it now (I dropped the tourist ball on that one, but maybe I just took a Detour to get to them – get it?!) they are now on my radar as a band to watch. We have an East End connection to the city which makes me even more proud to see the guys gaining momentum and doing big things. For Detours, they collaborated with producers who have worked on material by Weezer, Blink 182, Foo Fighters, and more. At first listen, I almost lumped them in with other popular bands of the pop-punk variety, but as the name of the band suggests, further listens reveal more layers. Look out for a new single in September and a full length release to follow. In the meantime, check out their performance of this tune on Southern Souls.

Thought Beneath Film
Thought Beneath Film

Quails in the Nest – “Skyline” [Listen]
I can take almost anything
‘Cause I know I can
But you have no idea, do you?

Mikey Molnar and Nicholas Valerio just released Live at Cottonwood Mansion this month and celebrated with a Release Party at Homegrown. The duo recorded the album live off the floor in a historic old mansion out in Selkirk, Ontario. The seven tracks are refreshing and effortless and capture the band’s live show. They complimented the album by filming the recording process, which was done all in one day. Check out all of the tracks on their YouTube channel.

Day Drunk – “Lie To Me” [Listen]
I’m begging you
Just say those three words
And lie to me

Who doesn’t enjoy getting a little day tipsy? I came across this local three-piece right as they were about to release their debut EP The Stories We Will Tell. Jordan, Marty, and Rhett just formed the band earlier this year and already have a distinct, laid-back alternative rock sound. Jordan’s vocals sound beyond his years; I get a 90’s alt-rock vibe from it. It’s also entirely fitting that I’m sipping a beer as I write this… during the day.

The Box Tiger – “Taller Than Trees” [Listen]
But how are we supposed to know?
How are we supposed to know?

Toronto band The Box Tiger (although I consider them honourary Hamiltonians at this point) released their debut album Set Fire this month. It’s exciting when you hear a band really hit their stride and find their sound. The album is so solid from start to finish and from seeing them live several times now, they just keep getting better. This track has always been a favourite. Next time they come to town, I’ll be ready to jump in on the tambourine!

Haim – “The Wire” [Listen]
You know there’s no rhyme or reason for the way you turned out to be
I didn’t go and try to change my mind, not intentionally
I know it’s hard to hear me say it, but I can’t bear to stay and
I just know I know I know I know that you’re gonna be okay anyway

I’m digging everything I’ve heard so far from this talented trio of sisters from California. Haim are set to release their debut album Days Are Gone in September, which is good, because I’ve been playing their EP Forever for what seems like forever!

July Talk – “Paper Girl” [Listen]
And if you think it’s your turn to ask a question, it’s not
I discovered this sassy tune from hearing it on new Toronto station Indie 88, which has quickly become my go-to for music. This Toronto duo, Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay, have a sound that had me right from their first note. I’m floored that the gruff voice comes out of Peter and, complimented by Leah’s delicate vocals, they’re a unique musical partnership. July Talk’s self-titled album is out now on indie label White Girl Records. I’ve been devouring everything I can get my ears on and would love to catch them in action. They play Hamilton on September 4th at Molson Canadian Studio with Billy Talent. Check out their session on Southern Souls.

Vibonics – “2 Feet Tall” [Listen]
Two feet and I never felt small
I knew one day I would take it all

Kitchen Sink is the perfect title for Vibonics’ new EP. This Toronto six-piece deliver a blend of everything from R&B, jazz, indie rock, hip hop, punk, funk… and if you don’t like it, as they say, “get out of the Kitchen (Sink)”! I have yet to see them live but they have become well-acquainted with Hamilton, having performed at a Steel Gold Hip Hop Showcase and this year’s It’s Your Festival. The band even recorded their EP here at Catherine North, working producers Dan Hosh and Scott Peacock.

Black Baron – “Divine Chains” [Listen]
I don’t think that I can take any more of this restraint
I’ve been hearing the name of this local “dream post-punk” band pop up a lot lately. I caught them at The Casbah alongside S.M., PUP, and The Dirty Nil. My newfound earplugs came in handy – they are loud! But I dug their set. They released a few demos early this year and just followed them up with a new EP Divine Chains. You can see them next at The Doors Pub on August 31st with Slender Loris, Blastronaut, and The Ednas.

– Kristin

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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