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Ellevator – “Easy” [Listen]
Took a page from your book
And curbed my doubts with miracles
We have some Hamilton heavy-hitters coming in with new music this month! Ellevator returns with “Easy,” a track I’ve loved hearing at their live shows. This track leads the way for the band’s first full-length album. Singer and songwriter Nabi Sue Bersche shares that this song “is about the good and evil things we are raised to believe. I was held captive by an ideology that severely limited my life and my perspective of the world around me. It’s a process I’m still in the middle of, this work of extraction.” The song was produced by Chris Walla, formerly of the band Death Cab For Cutie.

Ellevator. Photo by Stephanie Montani.

Basement Revolver – “Skin” [Listen]
Make me feel like new
Just dancing here with you
Kicking off our shoes
I am so, so excited to watch the evolution of Hamilton’s Basement Revolver, as a band and as individuals. The band just launched into their new era – new album, Embody, has been announced, along with the release of its first single, “Skin.” Chrisy Hurn shares: “The songs on Embody were pieces of me, and I needed them to feel how those pieces of me feel. Each of us contributed extensively to the album’s production and we have given ourselves real permission as a band to explore our sound.” It’s a stunning return, and I can’t wait to hear the full release. Watch the beautiful music video for this single, filmed by Stephanie Montani.

Basement Revolver. Photo by Stephanie Montani.

The Crowleys – “Somnia” [Listen]
Growing wings is very pleasing
From the sky I like the view
What the sun and moon are feeling

I can only hope to pursue
Sonically, The Crowleys take inspiration from 80’s movie soundtracks with their latest, “Somnia.” Lyrically, the band shares: “In Roman mythology, the Somnia are beings that take on other forms in people’s dreams to progress them along. Our new song’s lyrics revolve around dreaming as a way to push the boundaries of reality, and how we can influence, and be influenced by them.” The track, released with local label Wel-Pel Records, is the first to be released from the band’s upcoming full-length album. This is one local release I have been anxiously awaiting!

The Crowleys

shn shn – “maladaptive daydreams” [Listen]
Why don’t you stay here
shn shn is the beautiful and immersive new project from Shanika Maria. Under this moniker, her debut self-released, self-produced EP, structura, was shared in October 2020. Now, the electronic producer and singer-songwriter gears up for the follow up EP, e.strange.d. The dreamy first single, “Maladaptive Daydreams,” is described as being “about attachment to an idea/person and holding on so dearly to that even when cracks begin to form, distractedly so, the hopes and dreams become harder to tease from reality.”

shn shn

Yugen Oracle – “Stardust” [Listen]
I just want to feel alive
Until we turn back to stardust
Yugen Oracle is the musical collaboration between J.S.K XXVI and Hilda. Together they released three incredibly smooth tracks which make up Between EYE. You can also find great recent releases from the artists individually – producer and experimental hip hop artist J.S.K XXVI dropped the album 1144 this spring, while producer and singer Hilda has released a string of stellar singles this year.

Yugen Oracle

Whitness – “Jo Ki Jo” [Listen]
Times are getting harder
Trying to work a little smarter
Whitness is an R&B/Afrosoul artist new on my radar in the local music scene. With her music, she describes herself as being “committed to being an example of the light that is in the world despite the challenges she has faced, and continues to be an inspiration to those who follow her, on how to authentically be yourself and share your gifts.” Look out for an EP in the works. In the meantime, watch a recent performance from Whit as part of the City of Hamilton’s Music Mondays virtual series.

Whitness

Akintoye – “Overload” [Listen]
Everybody want a piece
Of my hopes and my dreams
I ain’t folding though
When I cry and I bleed till it overflow
Wear my heart on my sleeve through the overload

What Akintoye has already achieved as an independent artist is just incredible. As I’ve mentioned before, I first met Akintoye through his work with Hamilton Youth Poets. Now back in Vaughn, AK has been cranking out insanely great music and attracting a massive social media following, all from his home studio (seriously – 1.4 million followers on TikTok and counting!). At the end of 2020, he released his third album, Vertigo, to great streaming success. He just dropped a new album, Centrepiece, and levels up once again. Watch the music video for “Overload” – one of my favourite jams I’ve heard this summer, hands down!

Akintoye

Andrea Arthur – “So Bad” [Listen]
There is nothing they could say
No nothing they could do
I’m meant to be with you

Hamilton-based musician and singer Andrea Arthur released a summery new pop jam, “So Bad,” this June. She describes music as “a tool for her to process, grow and learn as an individual whilst simultaneously connecting with her listeners on a similar path.” From a young age, Andrea grew to appreciate a wide variety of genres, which has informed her musical journey.

Andrea Arthur

Ariana Fig – “polar opposite” [Listen]
What do you think about me
And the person I’ve become
Hamilton-based musician and Western U student Ariana Fig had a strong start to the year with the release of her debut EP, Taboo. The young artist has a wide range of musical tastes and experiences, starting with playing violin in a symphony orchestra, to performing in musical theatre, to writing her own original music from the age of 13. “polar opposite” is a strong follow-up to the EP; it’s a mature next step for this artist who continues to come into her own. Definitely one to keep an eye on in the local scene!

Ariana Fig. Photo by Stephanie Montani.

Matt Paxton – “Boxcar Blues” [Listen]
Got the boxcar blues
Shuffle on down the tracks
Hamilton singer-songwriter Matt Paxton just shared his new album, Train Tracks, released with Down By The Point Records. The ten tracks of “train songs” were recorded by Matt solo at home, and mixed and mastered by Michael Keire at Threshold Recording Studio (plus cover art by Kyle Stewart). The album features songs written and/or sung by Woody Guthrie, Boxcar Willie, Willie Nelson, Elizabeth Cotten, Hedy West, Jim Croce, and Townes Van Zandt. Matt shares his inspiration: “My grandfather, Sam Fiorillo, worked for the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway and ever since I was old enough to remember, I was into trains. I remember finding model trains and tracks in the basement of my grandparent’s house hidden under a table cloth when I was a kid. I also recall finding a Boxcar Willie cassette tape at their house too. I wish I knew more stories about my grandfather working for TH&B, but I’m lucky to have one photograph of him on his retirement day in 1977, along with an old TH&B key. I look at them every day. Trains and songs about trains have always fascinated me, thanks to him. So this one’s for him.” Catch Matt performing live at The Casbah’s patio on September 12.

Matt Paxton – Train Tracks

Timid, The Brave – “Hamer Bay” [Listen]
How nothing stays the same
Wading in the waves
Washing off your name
Watch it float away
Hamilton singer-songwriter Timid, The Brave brings one of my favourite local releases I have heard this year with his new album, Vuja De. I’ve been a big fan of Tim Selles’ songwriting over the years, and it’s wonderful to get another full-length. You’ll hear lots of layers on this album, and Tim collaborated with fellow Hamilton musician Gareth Inkster, who played many different instruments, along with working on the production and engineering side. Tim shares: “I hope those lyrics and moments in the songs stand out to you and bring new insights as you listen. I also hope that these songs will feel immediately familiar to you, and that there will be moments when you can say, ‘I hadn’t thought of it quite that way before, but I feel that way too.’” Tim released a lyric book along with it, and I’m really enjoying reading along, drawing my own meaning from the songs, just as he intended.

Timid, The Brave

Camie – “parasite” [Listen]
And I said to that old lover
If there ever was another
I’d be damned
But here I am

Musician, performance artist, and playwright Camie (aka Camille Intson) has been creating within the local arts scene for years now. With her new indie-folk EP, troubadour, Camie shares a new chapter of her artistic life. Describing the release: “It paints a portrait of a young queer woman in control – it tells the story of its ethereal narrator running away from home, moving through vast physical and emotional landscapes, and returning at the end of her long journey. I wrote all these songs about my pre-Covid travels through Europe, creating a time capsule of my youth in an infinitely more open world.”

Camie

Harlette – “Gemini” [Listen]
Like a Gemini baby
I will never be alone
I’ve been a big fan of musician and singer Michelle Owen from her various projects over the last few years, so my ears perked when I heard the latest, Harlette! The band is comprised of Michelle, Martina Lake, Jay Emmons (of The Glorious Sons), and Steve Kirstein. They’re off to the races with their first single, “Gemini,” a firey, catchy, rock pop number. The track is released with Michelle and Jay’s music company, 745 Music.

Harlette

The Effens – “Eventually” [Listen]
So bite in, as hard as you can
Till you get what you want from me
Toronto band The Effens (who work with Hamilton label Hidden Pony) have been cranking out gritty gem after gem all year long, leading the way for their third EP, Eventually, out now (also released on and the group’s own LootBag Records). Self-recorded and produced in a basement studio, the band says each track on Eventually “carries its own narrative weight – a common thread is loss of innocence, and the pain of trying to protect one’s innocence during change and growth.”

The Effens

King Park – “Coffee Cheques” [Listen]
You live life like it’s something I can’t see
Hamilton band King Park describe their latest single as a “gritty, harsh look at a boy realizing that things don’t work out the way that you want them to, even if you have (what you think are) the best intentions.” The track will be featured on the band’s upcoming album, Everett, out October 29. I’ve been a fan from the band’s 2017 debut, The Light I Can’t See, and look forward to hearing more of what they have honed in on since then.

King Park
kristin
ihearthamiltontour@gmail.com
Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing an influential 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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