Ellie Goulding – “Goodness Gracious” [Listen]
Oh my goodness
Here I go again
Pulling you back to me

Ellie Goulding is still riding strong on the force of her 2012 sophomore album Halcyon. The album was reissued last year with new songs, including this current single. The video is a burst of neon colours that compliments the song’s sound, and it’s just what we need to get through the rest of this freezing winter weather.

Illitry – “Follow Me” [Listen]
And I question you this:
When your troubled eyes
Search for mine
Will you trust me
If I’m leading the way?

Rest assured – whenever Illitry drop a new tune, it will end up on my Playlist. We’re being treated to a few singles as we await their debut album, which is looking like an autumn release. From my first time seeing the band live, I’ve always described Illitry as having a magical quality. This single follows suit (pardon the pun). I can’t put it into words – it’s a feeling their music evokes. They are so fantastic. Illitry celebrated the release of this single at The Casbah this month alongside Allosaurus, Elissa Mielke, and Lyon.

Dark Mean – “Albatross” [Listen]
What are you here for?
‘Cause I’ve been here before
Now that you’re so sure
Baby, less is more

It has been way too long since we’ve been graced with material by Dark Mean. The band released a new EP called Samuel The Phoenix this month which was was recorded with their good friend Michael Keire at Threshold. Similar to the way I feel about Illitry, there is a special quality to Dark Mean’s sound as well. I can’t pin it down but it evokes such a wonderful feeling. The band haven’t played a show for quite some time and I’m thrilled to have them this Friday, February 28th at The Baltimore House for I Heart Hamilton Presents: Dark Mean, Quails in the Nest, The Human Orchestra. Don’t miss it!

Dark Mean
Dark Mean

The Dirty Nil – “Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü” [Listen]
‘Cause I don’t care
About your man
No, I don’t care
About your man

The Nil dropped their newest EP Smite this month and the band just keeps getting better and better. The record is available for download as well as on vinyl and cassette tape. That’s right – cassettes are back, baby! All five tracks pack a punch and each clocks in at under three minutes. I still can’t get enough of “Nicotine” (paired with a music video by Lee Skinner) and this umlaut-laden single is fantastic too. The band were one of three mystery bands to bid farewell to the Casbah Lounge last month (stay tuned for that post) and are now playing a string of dates in the U.S. and Ontario. Catch The Dirty Nil in town next on March 29th at The Spice Factory.

The Dirty Nil
The Dirty Nil

The Human Orchestra – “Newton’s War” [Listen]
I fell for you
Like an apple from a tree
Hitting me

This eight-piece band have been on a roll since their debut EP Lip Service was released in the summer of 2012. They’ve played a ton of shows in Hamilton and the surrounding area, opened up for some major acts, and grew a solid and loyal fanbase along the way. I’m still toe-tapping and bobbing along to that first EP, but was happy to hear new material from them in the fall of 2013 with the two-song release Bad Jokes. They’ve been great supporters of I Heart Hamilton and I’m super excited to have them on board for the next show – I Heart Hamilton Presents: Dark Mean, Quails in the Nest, The Human Orchestra – this Friday, Feb. 28th at The Baltimore House! Maybe I’ll try to blend right in with the Orchestra and sneak onstage with a tambourine.

Hands & Teeth – “Not The Same” [Listen]
Hold me down
Down to the river
Wash me clean
Confess all my shame

Hands & Teeth are back! I first saw them in April 2012 (which I now see as a classic I Heart Hamilton post) and that was also the night I discovered Wildlife and Allosaurus, both of which I’m a big fan of now. And, most importantly, it was the night that began my fandom and friendship with New Hands. Still one of my favourite lineups – so I was delighted to find a new tune by Hands & Teeth in my inbox. The band has been laying low, going through some changes in sound and working on new material. They are now with Underground Operations and are set to release a new EP, Before The Light, on March 11th. Catch them February 27th at This Ain’t Hollywood with The Great Machine and The Mackinaws.

The Mackinaws – “Spending My Time” [Listen]
I’ve got it on my mind
I’ve got it all the time

Formerly known as The Great Divide, these local boys changed their name to The Mackinaws and just released their debut album this month, which was recorded live off the floor at Porcelain Records. The new name is just perfect for their sound (and fun to say!) as it blends rock, blues, country, and folk. Solid grooves from start to finish with different members taking the lead on different songs on this album. Their official release show will be March 28th at The Casbah with The Zilis, The Bandicoots, and Fever City. With all of those bands in one place, I know that will be a really fun bill. Check out the video for this first single.

February 2014 from ihearthamilton on 8tracks Radio.

The Balconies – “Beating Your Heart” [Listen]
You wear it on your sleeve
Oh your heart of gold

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – The Balconies are one of my very favourite bands to see live. I’ve been following them for the past few years and it has been fantastic seeing their evolution as a band. They just released their first full-length, Fast Motions, and it was so worth the wait. It’s so hard to pick a favourite song – each has its own identity and stands solid on its own. But I keep going back to this hard-hitting track – it showcases Jacquie Neville’s outstanding, soaring vocals and the darker, heavier direction their music has taken. It was a blast seeing them at The Casbah this month. I also chatted with guitarist Liam Jaeger live on the air at CFMU (my first “phoner,” as they say in the radio biz), a moment I was happy to share with the band.

The Medicine Hat – “Old Bones” [Listen]
And I think that this could be a good thing
A good thing
I think that we could be a good thing
A good thing

The Medicine Hat are an eclectic five piece band with roots in Toronto, Guelph, and Rockwood, and are now settled in Hamilton. They’re a mix of folk, rock, pop, or, as they more eloquently put it: “the sound of falling in love: magical, uncompromising, and a bit ridiculous.” Their debut album Old Bones was released in June 2013 and they’ve earned a steady following since. Band member Tyler Bersche is also the force behind relaunching the café at The Baltimore House. Get ready for the unveiling of Sanctuary Café & Tea Room on March 14th – then catch The Medicine Hat performing at Baltimore that night during Art Crawl.

Aron D’Alesio – “Carousel” [Listen]
Spinning around on a carousel
Young Rival frontman Aron D’Alesio has been working away at some solo material and we were treated to a new tune, available for download on Canadian music blog Quick Before It Melts. Aron’s got that uneasy, “David Lynchian” vibe down to a tee with this track. Young Rival played the very last show ever at Casbah Lounge last month (post about that one is on the way) and are gearing up to release new material, but I’m also intrigued to hear more from this solo project.

– 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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