Jordan Haller – “Take Care” [Listen]
We’re doing what we can
With the time that we’ve got left
Burlington-based singer-songwriter Jordan Haller just released his debut album, Drifting, in December. I first discovered Jordan when the recent McMaster grad came on the show at 93.3 CFMU last April. At the time he had an EP of covers under his belt (Covers Vol.1) which earned him a following on YouTube (I love a good pop cover song on acoustic guitar). It was clear Jordan is a promising talent and from there, he began penning the original songs that would make up his debut album. He performed this song live in studio and it’s fantastic to see this artist find his sound. Jordan celebrates the album’s release this Saturday, January 10th at This Ain’t Hollywood with Quails in the Nest and Nick Pacheco.
Simon Fallon and The Alexanders – “Distance” [Listen]
I’ve been walking for miles now
And I think I see how all this distance
Was just meant to sort me out
SF&A say they’re “The sound of a Sunday afternoon,” an apt description for this new folk-pop ensemble. Members of the band previously made up Miniver Sail, and I was a fan of their sound, so was pleased to hear this new project, with Simon at the helm. The band played last year’s Supercrawl even before releasing their first album, which is set to come this year. In the meantime, we have this lovely first single to enjoy.
Whitehorse – “Downtown” [Listen]
I like the unfamiliar
I’m not scared by that
Husband and wife folk duo Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland are doing our hometown proud. Their first album The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss made a huge mark and landed on the Polaris Music Prize short list. Their sophomore album Leave No Bridge Unburned is out February 17th on Six Shooter Records. To say I’m a fan of this single is putting it mildly; I cannot get enough and it’s been on steady play right from my first listen.
Good For Grapes – “Skipping Stone” [Listen]
But I’ve made enough of my old mistakes on my own
And I’ll make enough of my own mistakes when I’m old
The music of Vancouver band Good For Grapes was passed over to me a while back. I get sent so much music but their debut album Man On The Page, released in 2013, really grabbed me. Unfortunately, I’ve missed the six-piece folk rock band when they’ve passed through town, but do hope to see them sometime. I love this single off the album and the video for it is one of best I’ve seen lately.
Ophelia Syndrome – “Stay” [Listen]
Hold me like you wanna stay
Let’s pretend we are okay
Ophelia Syndrome just released North Sea, their third album since the band formed in 2009. They say of the album: “We wanted to find balance between North Sea’s often depressing themes of loss, failure, betrayal, abuse, inadequacy, anger, helplessness, and other forms of general human stupidity by having more fun than you can imagine making music with friends.” It was produced by Kori Pop and recorded with Dan Rodrigues. The band are super supportive of all things Hamilton, which is what I love to see!
Scarlett & Disher – “Enjoy The Silence” [Listen]
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
Indie pop duo Laura Scarlett and David Disher record creative and unusual cover songs. Their EP Dream (2013) takes on 1960s pop songs and the results sound, as the title suggests, dreamy, and also sounds like something David Lynch would approve of. Their next EP Halo, released last year, moves up a couple decades and covers three songs by Depeche Mode. The pair also released a Christmas EP, That Christmas Feeling, featuring holiday classics and one original. Even more interesting still is their release Saturday Morning on Friday Night, made for a design show and fundraiser by Chris Farias, which reimagines classic theme songs from our generation’s childhood. With this incredibly eclectic discography already, there’s no telling what they’ll do next.
Brett Klassen presents Les Czars – “Elevator” [Listen]
Tomorrow’s not promised
So today I’m being honest
Elevate the conscience
What floor are we on next?
It’s really cool to hear your own city in music. Brett Klassen’s album Hope’s Hotel chronicles life in his apartment building right here in Hamilton. It’s unique to hear a concept album; through his lyrics, Brett tells stories of people in the Beasley neighbourhood. Brett recorded the majority of the album himself and a couple of tracks were recorded with Adam Bentley and Jordan Mitchell (The Rest). Through the recording process, Brett also formed what would be his live band, Les Czars. I caught them play live back in October at the Hamilton Independent Media Awards and was so glad I did. They have such a great energy and I look forward to seeing them again.
Christian Punk Band – “Revampires” [Listen]
I don’t ever want to see you cry
Christian Punk Band may not be Christian or punk, but they create some damn catchy tunes. Fronted by Christian Turner, the trio from Toronto cite Misfits, Metric, Weezer, and Pixies as influences. This EP was released in November and was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Brian Wirth of Thought Beneath Film, another band skilled at the art of the catchy song. Christian Punk Band recently opened for Montreal band TOPS in Toronto.
Big Lonely – “Dirty Clocks” [Listen]
Do you have any good reads?
Could you send them my way?
I’ve been running out of original ways
To spend my day
Burlington has a strong music scene which is perhaps underrated when we talk about music from the greater Hamilton area. Big Lonely is another band coming from a history of solid Burlington rock bands and just released their first full length Close Your Eyes, Keep Talking in December. They describe themselves as “a picnic basket of smouldering emotion, waiting to erupt.” Now there’s a new one! Check out the video for this tune (my kinda sports game).
Beautiful Nothing – “Highway To The Sky” [Listen]
With nothing left to lose, and nothing left to prove
I’m headed for the highway in the sky; I’m coming
Beautiful Nothing are originally from Burlington and play frequently on the Hamilton scene at various venues and festivals. They even featured Jed “The Dancing Guy” Lifeson in their music video for “Finer Things,” making for a joyous video. The video for this track will be released this month, and the band generously gave me a sneak peek before its release. It looks like it was a blast to shoot (should you need any extras in the future, you know where to find me!). See them January 15th at Club Absinthe.