OMBIIGIZI – “Cherry Coke” [Listen]
Still I wonder where you’ll be
Still I wonder when you’ll find
OMBIIGIZI – pronounced om-BEE-ga-ZAY, meaning ‘this is noisy’ – is a collaboration between Zoon (Daniel Monkman), and Status/Non-Status (Adam Sturgeon). Both musicians are Anishnaabe artists who explore their cultural histories through sound. Their fantastic album, Sewn Back Together, was released one year ago, and earned a spot on the Polaris Music Prize – Short List. Catch the band playing a free, all ages show alongside local band Ellevator on February 25 at Collective Arts Brewing, presented by Wavelength Music.
Joys – “Forever On My Mind” [Listen]
Every moment I believed
You were never far behind
Hamilton’s post punk rockers, Joys, made splash in 2021 with their debut single, “Gloria,” and have been ones to watch since then. The band is back with their third release, “Forever On My Mind.” It’s another bop! The band shares that this track was written a few months into the pandemic, and “the writing process was truly collaborative and natural and the result is something we couldn’t be more proud of today.” Check out the music video!
Ariana Fig – “Punchline” [Listen]
Wasn’t prepared for this
No one told me how you’d feel
Local singer-songwriter and Western U student, Ariana Fig, just dropped her second EP, Maroon. The artist continues to grow and it’s her best offering yet. Favourites for me include the super catchy “Guilty Pleasure,” first introduced last summer, and “Punchline,” the last single before the full release. The EP was produced by Swedish-Canadian singer-songwriter, Sarah MacDougall, and also features collaborations with Ben Heffernan on production. Ariana celebrated the release with a sold out show at TAP Centre for Creativity in London, also the first show where the musician showcased the tracks with a full band.
Bernadette Connors – “Run Wild” [Listen]
I didn’t start the fire
Bridges burn on their own sometimes
Bernadette Connors is a new local artist on my radar, but already a seasoned and experienced live performer. Her first album, Monarch, is a great introduction to the musician’s signature soulful, country, blues rock sound, and dynamic vocal ability. It was produced by John-Angus MacDonald of The Trews. Catch Bernadette performing as part of the ‘Hamilton Women Rock Night,’ a free show February 17 at Hamilton Winterfest, on the rooftop of Jackson Square, along with Heather Valley and Jasmyn.
Jacob Weil – “Beginnings” [Listen]
Try to sing it in my head
It comes out wrong
Hamilton-born (now Vancouver-based) musician, Jacob Weil, just shared a lovely new tune, the first from his upcoming record, due out this summer. He recorded the album live-off-the-floor at a studio in Texas with Sam Weber and more great collaborators. Jacob shares: “This song to me, encapsulates so many of the feelings that raced through my mind over the course of that week. The feeling of letting go, the feeling of taking what comes and greeting it joyfully, the feeling of acting on instinct, and taking chances on anything and everything.”
Gareth Inkster – “Lee Shores” [Listen]
They echo forever
On Lee Shores
Gareth Inkster is sharing the second release from his upcoming new album. A great artistic and musical collaboration came about to create the song – the lyrics were largely written by the visual artist James Tughan, who is also responsible for the cover art (and the upcoming album art). Gareth shares: “Upon reading my other lyrics for reference for his piece of art, he was inspired to reflect on the themes himself, and sent me back a poem which he hoped I might turn into a song.” It’s a beautiful, dynamic piece, and one of my favourites yet from Gareth, who also adds: “The song is about the connections between people in relationships. Whether you’re an isolated person or somebody who is rooted among many people, our relationships bind us to one another in a way which endures. Taught as a string, these sometimes tenuous threads can vibrate like a string, and the echoes of these vibrations become part of us long after the relationships may have changed.”
Lost Faculty – “Muddy My Mind” [Listen]
Keep me then release me
Whenever you’re ready
Lost Faculty is the musical project of Hamilton’s Matt Burdett. His first release under this new moniker, “Muddy My Mind,” was created at a fave local music spot of mine, Threshold Studio, with Michael Keire. The indie rock track kicks off a rad next chapter for the musician, who also just debuted the new project live at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern. Looking forward to hearing what’s next!
Emma Whale – “sleeping with the window open” [Listen]
I’m swirling through a cloud in outer space
If only for a moment, that’s the way you make me feel
Emma Whale is a producer and engineer at the awesome Catherine North Studios, a gorgeous open concept studio in a century-old converted church in downtown Hamilton. It’s a spot I’ve always enjoyed getting the opportunity to visit. Emma is also a musician and songwriter in her own right, becoming a multi-instrumentalist at a young age. Emma has shared two EPs so far: This is Awkward (2020) and things change (2021), both lovely showcases of her strong melodies and lyrics. The latter leans more into an electronic pop sound, sharing another side of the artist.
Melissa Dutch – “Pretty Disaster” [Listen]
A pretty disaster
The end of all things
The smoke and the ashes
Hamilton singer Melissa Dutch describes herself as an “ethereal, soulful songstress,” and I’m happy to discover her music. With a few singles released already, she showcases her gorgeous vocals through an indie folk pop sound. The artist shares that this beautiful ballad “was born through the ending of a 9 year relationship, and the loss of my religion in the same breath. The subsequent growth and rebirth that buds out of tragedy underlies the powerful vocals and poetic lyrics.” Check out the music video for the track, which Melissa also directed.
Andrew Bentham-Riley – “Try” [Listen]
Let’s make better days
Hamilton-born indie folk singer-songwriter, Andrew Bentham-Riley, took a leap and started releasing his own original music in 2022. He has shared a couple of demos and singles so far to introduce himself. The singer-songwriter community in Hamilton has always been so strong, and Andrew dove in right away. Catch Andrew hosting the Steeltown Songwriters events at The Casbah Lounge, a new series launched last year. On March 1, you’ll find Andrew on the lineup along with another artist in this mix, Bernadette Connors.