PUP – “Kids” [Listen]
And I’ve embraced the calamity
It has been a minute since we’ve heard from PUP who have been grinding it out on tour for the last little while. They’re back with a brand new song and right as I gave it the first spin, it reminded me just how much I missed them. Here’s hoping we see the band blaze through town sometime soon! Crank this one up.

Hollerado – “One Last Time” [Listen]
The rain must fall for anything to grow

Oh, Hollerado! It’s always emotional to say goodbye to a band, but this one I feel particularly attached to. The band has decided to call it a day, but not without a final album and tour. I think I have seen them live more than any other band. I remember so well seeing them for the first time around 2007-2008 opening for The Stills at McMaster and freaking out over the fact they had Dave Foley in their “Americanarama” video! Watching them achieve so many amazing things since then, put so much positivity into the world, and to get to know them has been a joy. I can’t say enough good things about these men. Thank you Menno, Nixon, Jake and Dean ❤️🎉


Iskwē – “Little Star” [Listen]
Now all I see today
Is how they wash away our little star

Iskwē has one of the most powerful local voices and it’s exciting to hear some new music after her fantastic 2017 album The Fight Within. Iskwē says that this song “serves as both a reminder and a starting point.”

Set to the drumbeat of an Anishinaabe honour song, “Little Star” reminds listeners that we still need to act on the lessons learned from the Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie tragedies. It also gives birth to a new direction for me, as I’ll be digging deeper into the astrology teachings of my Cree ancestors and amplifying the work of thought leaders like Wilfred Buck. Watch the music video for the song.


Begonia – “Beats” [Listen]
If there is nothing wrong
Why am I down so long

Hamilton’s own Terra Lightfoot embarked on a new project this month – The Longest Road Show. A five-day tour across Ontario co-headlined by herself, Begonia, and Lindi Ortega. The impressive tour featured women in every role from front-of-house, designs, the band, and behind-the-scenes. I had the pleasure of working on this tour and I’m so happy it led me to discover the music of Winnipeg artist Begonia a.k.a. Alexa Dirks. Watching her perform at the Hamilton show a couple of weeks ago gave me chills! Her voice reminded me the beloved Adele, although Begonia’s voice is inimitable as well. See: her live version of “Hot Dog Stand.” Watch out for this fantastic artist!

Fanny Price – “Reverie” [Listen]
I just gotta know
Can you let me go?
After Fanny Price’s impressive debut single “Slow Burn” last year, it has been a pleasure to catch her perform live a couple of times and hear a taste of what she has been working on. This track always stood out to me and I had instant chills upon recognizing it when hitting play on the recording. The minimalistic folk/electronic track is the latest from local Other Songs beautiful catalogue.

Fanny Price
Fanny Price

Devin Bateson – “80’s Movie” [Listen]
I’m on loop on beta max
Obsolete thanks to VHS
Devin Bateson is one of my favourite local creators. He’s making music I haven’t heard the likes of locally and I am here for it! In his latest, an ode to the 80’s, complete with music video (directed by Kym Wyatt Mckenzie) with real life DeLorean. The track leads the way for his album Ossiscope, available now for pre-order. Catch him performing his music at the monthly Smooth Comedy shows at The Staircase (the next show is February 28) plus more gigs around town. Bonus: check out the rad remix of this track by echo.exo.eco.

Another Crush – “Here You Are” [Listen]
You went a world away
To keep a promise you had made
Another Crush is a new Hamilton band on the scene. Formed in May 2018, the alternative rock band hit the ground running playing a ton local shows and honing their sound. The quartet’s sound has been described with references to The Smashing Pumpkins, Mazzy Star, The Cranberries and Nirvana. The band has finished recording two tracks with producer Thomas McKay (of Joydrop), but while we await those, get a taste of their sound from the live video for this track. Listen to my recent chat with vocalist Heather Valley on 93.3 CFMU and catch the band on February 28 at Corktown as part of the annual Jim Beam Talent Search.

The Beach Bats – “How Long” [Listen]
Slow down
What’s the hurry with your big ideas
This local ensemble describes themselves as “sandy garage-rock from an inner city beach.” They just released this first single off their upcoming full-length release Last Resort. The album was written and recorded here in Hamilton over at Boxcar Studios with Matt Montour, an early connection and friend to I Heart Hamilton. It’s the kind of track you can kick back to, or as they say, it’s “like sipping margaritas by the pool of a seedy motel in a dry heat.”

The Beach Bats. Photo by Charles-Olivier Studios
The Beach Bats. Photo by Charles-Olivier Studios

Chrys and Momo – “A Lot More Love” [Listen]
If you threw me away
I’d keep coming back to you
Chrys and Momo are Chrysalene Teo and Momcilo Raickovic, a couple who met while attending McMaster University and “bonded over their love of The Beatles, especially George Harrison” in 2014. Beginning as a duo, they then expanded to form a band, further exploring their indie-folk-pop sound. They recently recorded their first EP at Grant Avenue Studio featuring new originals plus covers with a twist. In the meantime, we can enjoy this delightful single.

Arkells – “Hand Me Downs” [Listen]
And you wear this necklace from graduation day
You said “I’ll wear this chain, ’cause I’m breaking it”
In honour of Arkells’ Rally Cry Tour rolling through the area, we have to crank up their newest single off Rally Cry. Their massive hometown gig The Rally last summer at Tim Hortons Field was a sensational show, and they kept that momentum moving with their current arena tour. It was an unbelievable, uplifting show on February 16 at a sold-out Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Two solid hours of hits from their 10+ year discography and I couldn’t stop smiling. They deserve every bit of this moment!



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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