Iskwé – “Breaking Down” [Listen]
You were just one of those
The kind that gets under the skin
You pick me up, pick me up
Then you threw me down again

Iskwé shares the second single off achakosuk, a new release coming out in late fall. The artist says the song “is about freeing yourself of a toxic relationship to find your sense of self and your personal strength. The question is – what relationship? On the surface, it could be personal, but listen closely and you will discover a deeper meaning.” The song is accompanied by an arresting music video. Iswké says of the video: “I wanted to show the emergence of self, by shedding layers of the past while discovering strength in being true to who I am. Our vision, director Jessica Lea Fleming and myself, was to be as inclusive as possible, with each of the dancers representing different communities – Indigenous, people of colour, LGBTQ, as a way to honour our various stages of emergence and growth in finding comfort in who we are.”

Brutus Begins – “Cover Me Up” [Listen]
I’m too scared to give a damn
So cover me up
Hamilton’s Brutus Begins is a project by psych-folk artist Ricardo Temporao, who resamples and processes elements of nature, acoustic instruments and synthesizers to create a sonic landscape that blurs the lines between the real and the reconstructed. The artist cites Beck, MGMT, Paul Simon, and New Order among influences. We’ll get to see Brutus Begins in action at a local show this Sunday, August 25 at Mills Hardware for a free show also featuring Charlie Mauve, LifeandtheTribe, and Motëm.

Capitol – “Blondie” [Listen]
You saw the end dead ahead
In signs I misread
So thank you for last night

Previously UK Cinema, this Hamilton band has rebranded as Capitol, keeping the same indie, new wavy vibe we’ve heard from them previously. A new EP called Dream Noise is on the way this October. The collection of songs was recorded last summer at Candle Recording in Toronto, produced by Josh Korody (The Dirty Nil, Tallies, Weaves) and mastered by Sarah Register in NYC (Future Islands, Depeche Mode, Lower Dens). The band says their influences range from from 70s punk to modern indie rock, and after hearing a couple of solid singles so far, I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.

Wooly Mantis – “Cosmic Venture” [Listen]
Well I’ve never seen
Landscapes quite like this
Hamilton’s Wooly Mantis is a four-piece psychedelic experience. They don’t hold back with their first two singles, so we’re in for a wild ride with their new EP The Cosmic Venture, out now. Catch them celebrating the release tonight, August 23 at Mills Hardware with Shy Harry and The Ollivanders. The band will play the new EP in full along with some new and old songs. As an added incentive – Wooly Mantis will have just 20 copies of the EP on vinyl at the show which include a bonus track that will not be released with the online version of the album.

Wooly Mantis. Photo by Adrienna Elcome.

Scott Orr – “Slow Down (2019 Version)” [Listen]
Where are you going?
Moving too fast
Hamilton singer-songwriter and founder of local record label Other Songs, Scott Orr, reimagined one of his classic singles off of his 2013 album A Long Life, and the result is beautiful. Scott has been incorporating electronic sounds into his more recent material and in his live shows, and this song in particular has been a highlight to hear during his set. Delicate vocals from Allison Geleynse are also present in this new take.

Fanny Price – “Ends So Soon” [Listen]
I can’t hold your attention
I can’t keep your affection
It ends so soon

Hamilton singer-songwriter Fanny Price has been carefully crafting gorgeous, delicate, folk songs, each one lovelier than the last. It’s impossible not to feel her words right to your core during her captivating live sets as well. This brand new single, out today, was produced by Fanny and Scott Orr. Starting slowly, the track flows like a gentle wave and builds in intensity with more instrumentation and back again.

Fanny Price

Buddah Abusah – “Know What” [Listen]
Never catch me in a rut
Don’t expect me to know what

Hamilton rapper, songwriter, and producer Buddah Abusah’s passion and enthusiasm for music is infectious. Dubbing himself a Modern Day Hippie, he’s all about spreading the love and good vibes through his music and live performances. Buddah gives it his all every time he hits the stage and it’s impossible not to sit still when blasting his tunes. Crank this one up!

LifeandtheTribe – “Bird” [Listen]
Everyone’s telling me what I should be
The only one calling the shots should me be
LifeandtheTrive a.k.a. Aisha Barrow is one of my favourite new talents on the Hamilton scene. It’s refreshing to hear some pop/R&B artists coming out of the city. Her EP Eye-Sha, one of my favourite local releases of the year, is an impressive debut, which she recorded and produced all on her own. Now she’s back with a couple of new singles including “Bird,” produced and co-written with Garrett Lajoie. Hear my recent chat with Aisha on 93.3 CFMU and catch Aisha live at Mills Hardware this Sunday, August 25 along with Brutus Begins, Motëm, and Charlie Mauve.


Athanase – “Battlefield” [Listen]
I know – you don’t have to let it go
It’s not okay

Hamilton band Athanase describes the root of their sound starting with “honest folk style song writing, accompanied by the melodic lap steel and topped off with jazz inspired bass.” They bring us their third single, recorded and produced by Cold Creek County’s Jordan Honsinger, from their EP Times Like These, which they have been slowly revealing with a new single every couple of months or so. Athanase recounts the song as taking “an emotional look at the effects of trauma and how it can ripple forward through generations.” See the band next in town on September 5 at Absinthe.

Joel Cumby – “Running Through The Streets” [Listen]
You met my gaze and you said goodbye
One thing that I know
We can’t rewind

It was a real treat to have The Cumbys (Joel and Anne Cumby) play one of the I Heart Hamilton Presents shows at The Mule Spinner last fall. This spring, Joel released a brand new EP Empty Highway, a great introduction to the artist if you haven’t yet had the pleasure. Three solid, folk-country tracks to kick back to on a summer’s day.

Joel Cumby

Sunrise in the Desert – “So Radical!” [Listen]
There’s no way to know what you’ll find
The roots of electronic pop rock duo Sunrise in the Desert were planted in Hamilton before the band went on to achieve great milestones with their music. Their songs have appeared in a nationwide CBC Olympic Sync Ad featuring Usain Bolt, feature film Vox Lux starring Natalie Portman and Jude Law, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for the imagineNATIVE Film Festival, and in television show Good Girls. Songwriter and producer James Gadon says that Hamilton “was very influential to our creative development and the attention we are starting to receive. Even though we aren’t based out of Hamilton anymore, we really miss the city and felt it was extremely pivotal for our inspiration and ability to grow as artists.”

FONN – “Thumbs Up, That’s It” [Listen]
Hamilton is home to many electronic artist producing great work out there – local electronic artist, producer, and DJ Marco Tessaro being no exception. Under the moniker FONN, he has a new jam to take us through the end of summer. “Thumbs Up, That’s It” is an energetic, pulsing track, perfect for that late night dance party. You’ll find FONN DJing about town at spots like Sous Bas, Doors Pub, or chill café Synonym.

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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