Lee Reed’s art is consistently visceral and captures our particular moment in time, whether globally, nationwide, or right here in our own city. His new track “Drop The Charges” is dedicated to the Hamilton Encampment Support Network; specifically, echoing the calls to Drop The Charges against the six members of HESN who were violently arrested in November 2021. As Lee states: “The young, largely racialized, organizers of the Hamilton Encampment Support Network (HESN) have spent the last couple years at Hamilton’s encampments, supporting and defending our unhoused neighbours. At the start of winter, as temperatures dropped below zero, 6 members of HESN were arrested for defending an encampment from eviction. This song is in support of HESN, with all proceeds [from Bandcamp sales] going to their fundraising efforts.” Please also find the fundraiser to support the six youth activists’ legal fees.
One of my most anticipated local albums of the year is Ellevator’s debut full length, The Words You Spoke Still Move Me, due out on May 6. Each track we’ve heard so far is so fantastic. This band has been working hard to hone their sound, and with every release, they level up even more. Describing this single, they say: “‘Slip’ is about killing the things that hold you captive and returning to the water, wherever that is for you.” Watch the riveting and mysterious music video for the track, with a cameo from Hawksley Workman. Catch the band performing as part of Hamilton’s annual Winterfest on February 26.
New indie band on the scene, Linebeck, is the project of local musicians you may recognize already. Chrysalene Teo and Momčilo Raicković solidified a wonderful musical partnership as Chrys and Momo around 2018, and now they return in a new iteration. The band shared: “Our secret plans to take over the world were put on pause because of the pandemic. So we’re hitting restart.” In April of last year, they shared their debut demo, and I’m looking forward to hearing more. Give them a follow on TikTok to see what they’re up to!
So pumped about this new era of Hamilton indie/dream pop/shoegaze band Basement Revolver. “Circles” is the band’s fourth single to be shared from their upcoming album. The countdown is on – their second full-length album, Embody, is out this Friday, February 18. Each track has built upon the next and reveals the explorations, both sonically and lyrically, to be expected for the record as a whole.
Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Eric Brandon has beautifully crafted every single song he has released thus far, making him one of my favourites to keep an eye on in the local scene. He has done it again! This lovely new song is also the final single he will share before his full length album, due out this spring. The artist shares, “‘Take It Out On Me’ is a love song…however unconventional. This song is about loving through the pain- those make or break decisions in a relationship where you know in order to support your partner, you have to carry some of their hurt. It’s about saying ‘I’m not going anywhere,’ through the dark times as well as the light.”
You may be familiar with Mike “Parkside” Renaud as the man behind awesome Hamilton-based label, Hidden Pony Records. Now he showcases his own musical chops as bandleader of The H.P.’s. But this is certainly not a new venture – before turning to the business side of the music industry, Parkside got his start as a drummer in a ‘90s Montreal soul/funk band, Parkside Jones. Coming full circle, The H.P.’s. are a giant funk/soul collective and are about to share their debut album this year, Gritty City Soul, Vol. 1. The all-star lineup includes vocalists Claire Davis, Carleigh Aikins, Julian Taylor, and Carl Jennings (Freedom Train) and instrumentalists Jesse O’Brien (keyboards), July Talk’s Danny Miles (percussion), Scott McIntosh (guitar), Jennings (bass), The Northern Soul Horns (Arkells). If it’s anything like this first toe-tapper of a jam, we’re in for more groovy tunes to come.
LifeandtheTribe released her great new track, “Goddam,” this past October, and now follows up with the deluxe edition of the release. Along with an instrumental version of the song, she also shares a remix featuring S.O.A.P. (a.k.a. Scribe and Onglish). Seeing local music collaborations is always a treat, and S.O.A.P. brings their smooth, sophisticated sensibilities to the song, making it a whole new experience. Now we have two awesome versions to enjoy!
This is my favourite new track yet from Hamilton electronic-pop duo, Allegories. Along with it, they announced that their first album in 14 years, Endless, will drop on April 29 with local label Hidden Pony. The duo, Adam Bentley and Jordan Mitchell, have been creating music together for years, and this track recalls for me what I loved from the anthemic indie rock of their previous band, The Rest. They describe this track as a “timid diss track to oneself and all that you love.”
Pop/R&B vocalist Julianna Jones has been honing her craft, sharing a great batch of singles so far in her young career. Drawing from modern and classic influences such as Ariana Grande, Christina Aguilera, The Beaches, and Adele, she infuses R&B, soul, pop, and rock writing from her personal experiences in love and life. I was happy to catch a live set last summer as part of The Gasworks’ Porch Concert series, and she did not disappoint! Julianna adds another lovely track to her repertoire with “Just Another Girl.”
Sometimes limitations can bring about more creativity. During one of the lockdowns, Hamilton/Waterloo-based artist Adam Rigby linked up online with LA-based artist ANOU, through a mutual respect for each other’s music. They met up for a virtual writing session, where ANOU presented a concept for the first verse of this track, and the song flowed from there. Give Adam a follow on TikTok for more of his awesome work!
Granny Smith, a.k.a. Jason Bhattacharya, is a fantastic multi-instrumentalist who consistently churns out great music. His latest track, “Out Of My Head,” is a lovely tune which gently drifts along, then is over too soon! The musician shares: “This song is based on a series of dissociative episodes I had after having 4 seizures that left me in a coma for over 10 hours. I was put on a variety of anti-seizure meds that took hold of me in an unimaginable way. After landing on the medication that I remain on to this day…I found myself losing time, losing touch & overall feeling quite out of my head.” Check out the creative music video for the song, featuring stop motion animation.
Madam Sad was introduced to me when I saw her name as part of the lineup at Sounds Gay! Hamilton, a live music series that debuted in Hamilton last year. Taking place at The Casbah, it’s a music series for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community (stay tuned to their official Instagram for show info and check out my interview with host, Nim, on 93.3 CFMU!). Madam Sad performed at the November session. In 2021, she also released her album, Interrupted Girl. I always love hearing the candor of an artist with just their guitar. Madam Sad delivers a beautiful collection of acoustic songs with this release.
Mary Clements is a Hamilton-based artist who describes her sound as “sometimes folky, experimental, bilingual, artsy and mostly rooted in piano and voice.” She is currently working on her first album, and shares the delightful single, “Come With Me.” About the song, Mary shares, “I really wanted this song to feel like a warm and welcoming personal invitation.” I love the bilingual element as well, as Mary effortlessly shifts to singing in French. Check out the music video for the song.
Super stoked for new music from Jasmyn! Formerly of the band Weaves, Jasmyn shared her debut solo single, “Find The Light,” this past fall (along with a stellar music video). With this new project, she has decided to use her own name, Jasmyn, to mark the start of exploring her own unique sound as a solo artist. She signed the project to ANTI- Records (sister label to Epitaph Records) and to Royal Mountain Records for Canada. More exciting news this month – Jasmyn joined the Hamilton-based Straight & Narrow Artist Management roster. Check out the lyric video for the track.
Naked House, a.k.a. Damon Guyett, shared a brand new single to kick off 2022. The artist wrote, produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the meditative track himself. It’s a contemplative listen, and certainly suits the current mood. Damon is working on a follow-up to his album Waves Goodbye (2020), to be released sometime later this year. Check out the music video for this track.
Hamilton rockers Burn The Louvre just shared the first single from their upcoming album, Silhouettes. It’ll be a unique release, where they will share a new track every month this year to keep us on our toes. I recognized this track right away as I pressed play – the pair played it at the enjoyable Music Raft Open Mic this past summer, hosted by Fort Elgin (stay tuned to their page for this year’s edition of that awesome event). The band says: “‘Wish We Were’ is about living in the present and looking forward to the future instead of longing for a past that never was. I wrote it for my first girlfriend when we were both 24. Basically, the premise of the song is ‘wouldn’t it be great to have met you sooner in life?’. Well, sure, but life is rarely that linear. All that we can do is make the most of the time we’re given with that person, however long that may be.”
Damn it – I did it again. The same way that I missed putting Flesh Rag’s album Inside Your Mind on my Best Of 2018 Playlist, I missed putting Matt Ellis’ Full Moon Fever on my Best Of 2021 mix. Hamilton band Flesh Rag were part of the Class of 2019 showcase at The Casbah hosted by Exclaim!. Matt Ellis of the band was secured to play the 2022 edition of that annual showcase to share his solo set, but alas, the pandemic intervened. But you still need to crank this one up! Full Moon Fever was released one full year ago. True to the punk rock roots of the Hammer, it packs a mean punch. Matt followed up this year with two new tracks that you can find now on Bandcamp – Everything Sucks.