By Kristin Archer

Hollerado – “Born Yesterday” [Listen]
You make me feel like I was born yesterday
Like I’ve never been broken

I can always count on Hollerado to cheer me up and bring the good vibes. I love these guys. They put their hearts into every recording, every show. They’re a rollicking good time and I hope you dance around your room to this songs ten times in a row like I just did.

Steve Strongman – “No Time Like Now” [Listen]
Don’t pretend this ain’t nothing
I can feel the way you’re looking at me

Want a kick of the blues this year? Yeah, you do! Hamilton’s own Steve Strongman is back with an infectious new single and it had me grooving right from the first note, as to be expected. Steve is revered as one of Canada’s top blues musicians and has opened for guitar legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter and Buddy Guy. Keep an ear out for Steve’s latest album No Time Like Now, out in March on Sonic Unyon/Sony Music Canada.

Steve Strongman. Photo by Matt Barnes
Steve Strongman. Photo by Matt Barnes

Bossie – “A Lot Like Love” [Listen]
The same exchange over and over
It starts to look like it might not be true
Bossie, the solo project of Anne Douris (of Stella Ella Ola), should be on your radar if she’s not already. Bossie released this latest tune a couple of months ago and underneath the danceable beat, its lyrics are wise commentary on our connections in the digital age.

ELSEE – “Electric On My Feet” [Listen]
Give me a dancefloor
Singer-songwriter ELSEE was new to the local scene last year with the release of her debut single, the wonderfully groovy and soulful “Eggshells.” She followed up with a holiday single “Every December” and generously donated proceeds to local non-profit CityKidz for Christmas. She’s back with more irresistible  grooves, dancing into 2017 with this brand new track. It’s impossible to not tap your toes to this one! Check out my recent interview with ELSEE on 93.3 CFMU.

ELSEE. Photo from official page.
ELSEE. Photo from official page.

EONS – “White Feather Roses” [Listen]
Gather up the feathers as they all fall down
This was one of the quieter releases of 2016 and one of the loveliest that came my way. EONS is the solo project of Matt Cully, founding member of Bruce Peninsula, which I’m a huge fan of, and the band was actually one of my first interviews ever. The beautiful, mystical folk album Long Walks is the follow up to Arctic Radio and was released in November. Matt played locally with a fave of mine, Coszmos Quartette. Here’s hoping I can catch him next time around.

Ethan Paxton & The Brakemen – “Young Flames (Coming Down)” [Listen]
Beneath the rubble
You could see
Your perfect little fantasy
There’s more than one talent in the Paxton clan! Younger bro of Matt, Ethan Paxton really impressed me when I first saw him perform live last year. He just released his debut EP Beneath The Rubble (produced by Dan Edmonds), with backing band The Brakemen. You’ll see some sweet Hamilton shots in the video for this song, directed by Dylan Hudecki. Look out for a new single just released, produced by Michael Keire. Catch the dudes at “The Brakemen Brunch” Saturdays from 2-5pm at The Casbah – LaLuna sandwiches, beer, and some Springsteen, 60’s, and original tunes. Sounds like a good time to me.

Ethan Paxton & The Brakemen
Ethan Paxton & The Brakemen

SIANspheric – “I Have It” [Listen]
2016 saw the return of SIANspeheric – released on Sonic Unyon, Writing the Future in Letters of Fire is the band’s first full-length release since 2001, and also their first full-length release on vinyl. This slow burning soundscape leads the way to the album, and features the vocals of local friends Earth, Wind and Choir.

Who Is This Now? Film Soundtrack – “Two Of Us (Odd Years)” [Listen]
You and me Sunday driving
Not arriving on our way back home
One of my favourite non-music releases in 2016 was a film by Mitch Fillion (of Southern Souls) called Who Is This Now?. Mitch impressively takes the role of director, editor, sound tech, camera operator, and lead actor in his films. This “disguised documentary,” as he calls it, delves into the “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy – did Paul McCartney really die in a car crash in 1966? Watch and decide for yourself. The film is accompanied by a killer soundtrack of Beatles covers. You can screen the film along with Calling Occupants (which I also loved) for free on his website Near Death Experiment Films.

Slo Motions – “Straight Shooter” [Listen]
The people dancing
Around the truth
I just got to let it all hang loose
This rock trio is new on my radar – we had them as part of 2016’s Raise the Roof lineup at Dr. Disc and they released this groovy little EP in August. It was recorded with new friend of mine, Mike Monson at Catherine North Studios, always one of my favourite studios to visit. The band celebrates a new album release Jan. 20th at This Ain’t Hollywood.

Slo Motions
Slo Motions. Photo courtesy of the band.

Little Boxer – “Young Lovers” [Listen]
Wanna feel like everything’s fine
This rock outfit from Toronto has been dipping its toes into the Hamilton music scene. Their latest EP Volume IV was released in October – the five songs range from danceable rock’n’roll, to more stripped down slower jams, to a pulsing synth-driven jam right in middle.  You can find guitarist/singer Zachary Erickson hosting the open mic night at Lou Dawg’s Hamilton on Thursday nights, and you can catch him solo at various open mics around the city.

Liteyears – “I Feel You In My Bones” [Listen]
I feel you in my bones 
Like a chemical 
Sweeping through my veins 
Taking control of me
I was happy to see the guys from Thought Beneath Film return as new project Liteyears. Under the new moniker, their new EP American Towns was released last summer. It’s the same solid songwriting we’ve come to know from them with an even more polished sound. Each song is infectious and stands out in its own way, making it hard to pick a favourite. Liteyears bring these songs to life in The Zoetic Sessions featuring collaborations from an all-Hamilton cast of musicians from Impact Percussion, Orchard Park Secondary School Concert Band, members of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and more.

Liteyears. Photo from official page.
Liteyears. Photo from official page.
Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, 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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