Golden Feather – “Come On Strong” [Listen]
Don’t let your thoughts unwind
And take you off a million miles from here

Just dig in to this moment
Before it passes by

One thing I love about the Hamilton music scene, the collaborations! Yet another supergroup has formed with Golden Feather: Steve Kiely, Brad Germain, Ronson Armstrong, Chris Wheeler, and Gareth Inkster. Their debut EP Light On Water shares positive energy and good vibes for all. The collection was recorded over at Halo Studio, with additional instrumentation from the studio’s owner Roman Marcone.

Granny Smith – “Delusions Of Grandeur” [Listen]
We can live in harmony
Granny Smith, aka Jason Bhattacharya, has had a busy year of creating. We got two albums from the multi-instrumentalist this year: A Hint Of Granny and Granxiety, plus two stand-alone singles, including this slow burning gem. The musician says the song “tells the story of the illusion of love outdoing the real action of partaking. To go through the motions of what love ought to be vs allowing yourself to feel love. To feel love and to know you can get lost in it. Loving to be remembered, loving to forget, loving to be found, loving to be seen.”

Granny Smith

Kirty – “This Year’s Been Hell” [Listen]
Now’s not the time for your dreams
Toronto-based musician and member of Fast Romantics, Kirty, is back with a dreamy new single. The subject matter, however, not so dreamy! Ironically, this single was written before this challenging and tragic year. Kirty says: “It’s a wild, wild coincidence that I wrote and recorded this song and held onto it long enough to release the track in the middle of a pandemic, civil unrest, environmental crisis, and a political circus. [The song is] about working through pain and loss and understanding that there are times when you need to put everything else in your life on hold. Just for a bit, and focus on the people around you. It’s about witnessing someone experience their final chapter of this grand ol’ life, and the mix of feelings that bubble up from that experience.” Kirty is gearing up to release her third solo effort, in 2021.

Kirty

The Dill – “Lover Baby” [Listen]
From the moment I see you
To the moment you’re gone
To the moment we fall asleep

The Dill, aka Dylan Hudecki, delivered his debut album Greetings From in 2018. It was a long time coming for the Hamilton musician, who has cut his teeth in the local scene and beyond, playing in lots of bands over the years. A prolific musician in his own right, in 2016 The Dill released one song a week over the course of 52 weeks! The Dill now shares Beside, a previously unheard collection of songs which didn’t make the cut for that debut album.

Drives The Common Man – “Night Vision” [Listen]
Still caught up in the fiction
Of life without a mission

I’m so addicted to TikTok! It’s fascinating to watch songs take off on the platform, and to stumble upon new talent. That’s how I became introduced to London, Ontario based artist Drives The Common Man. His cover songs with his signature melodic pop punk vocals caught my attention right away and I looked forward to hearing his own original music. Cue the incredibly catchy tune, “Night Vision”! The artist says of the track: “When I started arranging the drums for ‘Night Vision,’ I knew I wanted a song that people could dance to. The lyrics are me being very honest with myself about the issues I face with drugs and alcohol, and I hope that the honesty rubs off on people who are in a similar situation.” The release is in partnership with Red Moon Rising, an Indigenous owned-and-operated music company, founded to amplify Indigenous artists and to expand artistic opportunities for Indigenous artists.

Drives The Common Man

Jacob Weil – “Feeling My Youth” [Listen]
I was always too green to realize
So much more going on behind those eyes
Piano-based folk-rock musician Jacob Weil just released his first solo effort with the single “Feeling My Youth,” the title track from his debut solo EP due out in January 2021. Based in Vancouver, Jacob is originally from Hamilton. No stranger to the stage, Jacob has been a touring musician in several groups, including Sam Weber’s band. Sam is a fellow west coast musician who is now based in L.A. Keeping the creative process in his musical family, Jacob recorded this EP with Sam and a few other friends down in L.A. earlier this year.

Jacob Weil

Adam Rigby – “Waste Away” [Listen]
You can call me when you want
I’ll open the gates
Another new local singer-songwriter on my radar, Adam Rigby, shares a brand new single this month. This time of the pandemic has been a challenging time, but also a time to pivot and reevaluate; take a chance on something new. Adam began recording and releasing music for that precise reason, deciding to pursue his own original music, a creative endeavour that he had previously put off. Adam shares, “Being at home with the whole world on pause gave me the drive to chase this dream of mine. It made me think that if the whole world can get flipped upside down like this in a matter of days, why should I not spend my time doing why I love?”. An experienced performer already, Adam has been involved in many theatre companies in the Hamilton area. In June, Adam released his debut EP On Your Mark, followed by another new single in October, and now one more to end the year strong!

Adam Rigby

Matt Paxton – “Dance Me Home” [Listen]
When you close your eyes, where do you go?
There’s a gate in the garden that leads to the snow
Hamilton musician through and through, Matt Paxton has consistently delivered a steady discography of tunes. Happy to hear new music! The song may have began in his hometown, but it gained some international flair along the way. Matt says: “I wrote the first verse of in my backyard in Hamilton and finished the second verse six months later while I was travelling around Europe with my fiancée. I wrote a line or two in Galway, and patiently waited until the next stop to write the next part. I eventually finished the song in Rome, after stops in Florence, and Zürich. There’s a little stardust from all those places in time that make up the spirit of this song.”

Scott Orr – “Do You?” [Listen]
Do you
Do you want to
‘Cause I do

Scott Orr is winding down the year with a chill new single. In keeping with the laid back vibe of Scott’s music, the Hamilton musician also continues to experiment with electronic sounds which pairs well his soft vocals. The added layer of saxophone that slides in makes the song even smoother. This single also comes with an instrumental version of the track. Watch a lovely live-off-the-floor performance from Scott on Facebook.

Scott Orr

Ekelle – “Why” [Listen]
Move on
But I won’t forget this
Toronto pop/hip hop/R&B artist Ekelle dropped a new EP this year, Hood Pop. I loved hearing the banger “Gimme” earlier this year, which kicks off the release with a bang. Midway through, however, we get this lovely mellow single. The artist describes the song as “a breakup song that isn’t the kind where you stay down forever. It’s about knowing that you deserve better and moving on. I guess that’s what a breakup is though, right? You’re feeling low at the beginning, but as time goes by you remember who you are, pick yourself up and move forward.”

Ekelle

Tate McRae – “You Broke Me First” [Listen]
I know you, you’re like this
When shit don’t go your way you needed me to fix it
And like me, I did
But I ran out of every reason

17-year-old Calgary pop singer-songwriter and award-winning dancer Tate McRae struck a major chord this year. After releasing her debut EP All The Things I Never Said in January, this follow-up single went viral on TikTok in the summer. Finding a spot nicely among moody pop artists like Billie Eilish (in fact, Billie and her brother Finneas also co-wrote one of the album’s tracks), Tate has quickly become one to watch. She has been busy making the pandemic award show and late night performance circuit, with her MTV EMA performance being a standout.

Tate McCrae

Kvn Rose – “Messy” [Listen]
Why can’t you tell me what you’re running from?
Why can’t you feel me ‘less you’re feeling numb?

Singer, songwriter, and producer Kvn Rose comes in hot with a strong debut single. The impressively smooth singer (also known as “Hamilton’s best kept secret”) tells the tale of a “fun love gone sour,” the relatable experience of dealing with a love interest that just can’t settle down. Clocking in short and sweet at two minutes, I find myself hitting repeat to groove all over again. Really looking forward to hearing more from this artist.

S.O.A.P. – “Crashing” [Listen]
We swim against waves
Toronto rapper Scribe and Hamilton-based producer Onglish are S.O.A.P. (Scribe & Onglish Aren’t Perfect). They just dropped their self-titled debut album this fall and now shine a light on this single from the release. For this smooth song, the pair teams up with singer-songwriter Earlybird. The song floats beautifully while also being a strong anthem of persistence and pushing on.

S.O.A.P. Photo by Lex Leosis.

A Hutchie – “Potion Shop” feat. Ian Keteku [Listen]
If I gave you my heart
If I gave you my love
Winding down the end of the year for local releases, A Hutchie, aka Aaron Hutchinson, comes through with a stellar new experimental album, Potion Shop. It may be his first full length release, but he is already a staple of Hamilton’s underground music scene, and was the co-founder of venue and gallery space HAVN (which is very missed!). The features on this album are all so amazing: Emay, Sarah Good, Ian Keteku, Trevor Turple, Benita Whyte, and Blankie. You will also hear several more local musicians on instrumentals throughout the ride. Each track is its own little adventure, making for an exciting listen as you don’t know what sounds are around the corner. As the description aptly states, “Pop the cork on Potion Shop and drink it down for an all-too-fleeting trip across a musical terrain that’s disorienting but also warmly familiar.”

A Hutchie

Ktriggs – “Priorities” ft. LTtheMonk [Listen]
Promise one day I’ll be on
Busy going for the throne

Local emcee Ktriggs has been on a roll, sharing a bunch of new tracks this year. With his music, Ktriggs aims to bring fellow Hamilton artists together to help share the talent coming out of our local hip hop scene. This city is typically known for rock and singer songwriters, so I love seeing more rappers and hip hop artists getting more on the map. There is so much talent out there. Ktriggs just dropped this brand new tune with the help of fellow Hamilton rapper LTtheMonk, the second collaboration between the two.

Akintoye – “Vertigo” [Listen]
I put my soul in my music
It has been a fantastic year of growth for emcee Akintoye. Full circle here – in my January 2020 Playlist I cited the emcee’s 2019 debut album Indecisive and said watch out for this artist! In March of this year, Akintoye dropped his second album, Vibrate. He ends the year strong, topping himself once again with the album Vertigo. With a rapidly growing following on TikTok and Instagram, the buzz is so well deserved and is the result of a ton of hard work. I first became friends with Akintoye through his amazing work with Hamilton Youth Poets. The artist is now based in Toronto. Onward and upward! I can’t wait to watch this artist on the rise. This album is fire!

Akintoye – Vertigo

Joey Vinegar – “I Think I Like You Too” [Listen]
Hanging in and hanging out
Well you know I could use some company
Brantford-based multi-instrumentalist and music instructor Joey Vinegar has been in and around the local scene since the 90’s. A versatile musician, he’s fluent in the stylings of guitar, piano, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, and bass. Suffice to say, Joey is no stranger to the stage! This year he shared a bluesy, groovy EP called Malt, and now follows up with this high energy new single, sure to get you moving and shaking. This one was recorded here in Hamilton at Halo Studio.

TV Freaks – “Capital Eye” [Listen]
I can’t stare at
Anything beautiful too long
Hamilton punk rockers TV Freaks are back, baby! In May of this year, the band released Scraps Vol. 1, a collection of previously unheard b-sides, demos, covers, and rarities. Now the band delights fans with a new album, People, released at the end of October. Most of the songs were recorded live-off-the-floor in May of 2018 by David O’Connor, with additional touches recorded in 2019 by Sean Pearson at Boxcar Sound. Hearing their fast and furious, high energy tunes really makes me live shows, let me tell you! The band dedicates the album to This Ain’t Hollywood ❤️ Check out the music video for this track.

TV Freaks

Black Collar Union – “Gone Wrong” [Listen]
Torn apart with a broken heart
But I ain’t losing sleep
Hamilton hard rocking trio Black Collar Union describe their new tune as “an anthem for the people who refuse to give up, no matter what life decides to throw at them.” That’s the energy we need right now! The band continues: “The main statement of this story is, standing tall, despite it all, ’cause that’s just who I am. No matter what the day throws at you, keep your head up & keep swinging.” Certainly an anthem for 2020 and beyond, no matter what comes next. Watch the music video for the track.

Black Collar Union
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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