Rich Aucoin. Image made By Scott Munn

By Kristin Archer

Rich Aucoin – “Release” [Listen]
Everything Rich Aucoin does is cinematic and bold – it’s an experience. It was crushing to hear that new material was completely lost when his laptop was stolen during a trip in 2016. One track from that EP in the works was salvaged – this instrumental track that now leads the way for a new EP, Hold, which is due March 16th. Featuring Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene on drums, it’s accompanied by a meditative video with an apt description: “Rich Aucoin lay in the water, repeating the mantra of there being no shark attacks in Nova Scotia while the rest of the crew flew drones safely from shore.” Experience Rich’s latest live show when he hits Mills Hardware on February 23rd.

Rich Aucoin. Image made By Scott Munn
Rich Aucoin. Image made By Scott Munn

Logan Staats – “The Lucky Ones” [Listen]
I never want to see your heart happy with another
I never wanna let you go, so hold me close tonight
I first caught Brantford/Six Nations-based singer-songwriter Logan Staats play a short set at The Casbah in 2016 and was so moved by his voice. Logan now catches the attention of Canada after an appearance on new CTV reality show The Launch which sees up-and-coming artists recording an original song and guided by industry professionals. This single is the result of that show, and in the wrong hands (or voice), it would be your run-of-the-mill radio hit, but Logan’s depth and artistry shines through as he makes the track his own, particularly in the live version. We last saw Logan play Hamilton in the summer during the Quilt of Belonging run at The Cotton Factory – keep an ear out for his next stop in town again soon!

Laila Biali – “Got To Love” [Listen]
Full of laughter, full of love
If you knock him down, he gonna get back up
A few months ago jazz singer Laila Biali visited McMaster’s LIVELab for a live performance filmed for an upcoming promotional shoot. Extras were needed for the audience and it was my first introduction to the artist. I was completely floored by her voice and in particular, a cover of “Nature Boy” that left us with chills. Laila releases a new self-titled album also featuring a beautiful cover (Coldplay’s “Yellow”) but this joyful single and video kick off the album on a finger-snapping, toe-tapping note. As I write this I can’t sit still (much like the premise of this video!)

Miles From Nowhere – “Brotherhood” [Listen]
Everything is faux real
Everything so surreal
Miles Evans-Branagh is a new local artist on my radar and it’s refreshing to hear his soulful sound. The artist from Waterdown comes from a musical family, started playing at age 5, and hasn’t stopped since. This smooth debut single was produced and recorded with fellow local musician Jason Bhattacharya. Hear my chat with Miles on 93.3 CFMU.

The Crowleys – “Midnight Blue” [Listen]
I don’t wanna wake up but I just feel restless
In my eyes I’m the one but really I’m just a mess
One of my favourite local bands making music right now, and if you’ve seen The Crowleys’ live show, you know why! They have been carefully releasing singles here and there to wet our whistles for what will be a full EP out on Feb. 9th. Recorded, mixed and produced by Michael Keire and Cohen Wylie at Threshold Recording Studio, the song is complimented by an awesome video by Evan Bond (formerly of my faves, New Hands). The band says of the video: “The carefree yet melancholic tone of the song guides an antique robot through a day at the beach where his imagination and reality clash.”

Math Club
– “Water To Wine” [Listen]
January’s not so cold if I don’t ever leave this bed
A fitting lyric for this month’s Playlist. Indie-emo rockers Math Club follow their 2016 debut album There’s A Light On Upstairs with a new single described as “a song about finding a balance between taking upon oneself the burdens of everyday life, and dropping everything to wait for divine intervention.” Math Club begins work on a sophomore EP and we’ll see them this Saturday, January 27th at The Mule Spinner with Shawn William Clarke and Little Kid.

Oh Geronimo – “Mountains” [Listen]
You can knock me down
But you won’t see me break
Burlington indie rockers Oh Geronimo (that’s just a fun name to say) gear up for a new album The Sled, due out in a month or so. They tease us with this new single, which they say is a song about “never giving up, whilst withstanding the pressure to compromise who we are in order to be successful.” They add: “The universe often taunts us to throw in the towel, but we’re fighters.” If that’s not the spirit to launch into 2018 with, then I don’t know what is! The band plays Zang Zone in Burlington this Friday, January 26th.

Pineapple Girls – “Sleeptalking” [Listen]
I just want to paint myself golden
You always test my patience
I had been hearing this colourful bandname bounce around for quite a while before actually hearing some tunes. Upon hearing this first single, it’s a fitting sound for the name, which they describe as “disco-dream-scream pop.” The strength of these two tracks that make up their release Sleepover are enough to put them on my list as ones to watch out for. Catch Pineapple Girls at Mills Hardware on February 17th with The Penske File.

Charlotte Cardin. Official photo
Charlotte Cardin. Official photo

Charlotte Cardin – “Main Girl” [Listen]
Now I’m just a pretty face who can help you
Just a pretty face who can help you
Get your shit together at your own pace
Montreal artist Charlotte Cardin was one of my favourite musical discoveries in 2017 when I happened upon her incredible EP Big Boy, released in 2016. She followed up strong with her Main Girl EP which showcases more of her exceptional vocals and raw, honest lyrics. I’m sad I missed the boat on her two sold out shows in Toronto in March but in the meantime, I’ll be enjoying this one on steady play.

Essen – “Rex” [Listen]
Essen is the solo project of Spence Newell, former lead singer of New Hands who parted ways in 2015 (you know my love of New Hands rages on!). Dreamy beats and his signature baritone melt together – it’s lovely to hear Spence’s vocals again on the three tracks that make up Judgment Of Process.

NPNP – “You Gotta Chance” [Listen]
Released on the prolific HAVNrecords, the start of 2018 blessed us with NPNP, a solo effort from DJ Nick Persons of PERSONS, one of my favourite groups in the city. Described by the artist as “
Eclectic Non-House/Acid, Off-beat rhythms clashing with Electroacoustic breakdowns and free-jazz spazz-outs,” it amazes me how electronic artists even begin to craft their beats. You can vibe out or dance up a storm to this one. Crank it!

NPNP. Official photo
NPNP. Official photo
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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