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Allegories – “It’s A Parade” [Listen]
A minute that will plague you for an hour
Or a week or a forgotten year

The return of experimental electronic pop duo Allegories was a favourite local music moment last year. When the pair dropped dynamic new single, “Pray,” a couple of months ago, it was their first release back on the scene in about 6 years. They followed up with this brand new single on New Year’s Eve, which “elicits the feeling of getting lost and waking up to a new day over layers of breakbeats, Idm psych, chopped up acoustic instruments, and colourful flourishes of synthesis.” Check out the hypnotic visualizer for the track.

Allegories

The Crowleys – “Lampshade” [Listen]
Dark clouds obscure the plains
But not a drop of rain

I’m always on the edge of my seat when I know Hamilton band The Crowleys have a new single on the way. It’s always a sonic treat. They’ve done it again with “Lampshade,” released once again with local label Wel-Pel Records. The band says: “Playing with the dystopian theme of our previous single ‘Somnia,’ this track follows a protagonist longing for a pre-apocalyptic world. Stylistically evoking a bright, care-free energy, ‘Lampshade’ is a departure from ‘Somnia’’s dark, broodiness.” It dropped in December, but I’m considering it an early favourite song of mine this year. The band’s debut full-length album is highly anticipated in 2022.

The Crowleys. Photo by Rae Connell.

Chastity – “Vicious Cycle” feat. City and Colour [Listen]
Following the black cloud that follows me
You can’t rain on my parade I’m already sinking

From Whitby, Ontario, and now in our local orbit, Chastity, a.k.a. Brandon Williams, just dropped a brand new album, Suffer Summer, with Dine Alone Records. But not before dropping the fourth new single from the release. Featuring City and Colour, it’s a huge collaboration, and the pair’s vocals work so well together. Brandon also has a great melodic voice that works with a heavier sound, and he totally holds his own with the unmistakable stylings of Dallas Green. Brandon says: “Once the strings were recorded, I felt like the song became too beautiful for my voice honestly. I needed help living up to the song’s potential, and asked Dallas Green if he would sing on it with me. Was genuinely so shocked and excited that he was down. Once he was on the song it turned out way friggin better than what I ever could’ve hoped.”

Chastity. Photo by Jules Noel.

Kojo Easy Damptey – “Dark Stars” feat. Nasr Beny & Emily Kemp [Listen]
Gloomy thoughts monopolize the mind
Clouding your vision until there ain’t no more hope left inside

Afro-Soul award-winning musician Kojo Easy Damptey released a new music video for “Dark Stars” from his sophomore album Giants: Stories of Existence, Resilience, & Resistance. The track is a soulful ballad with hard-punching lyrics describing the state of the world. The album was released in 2018, but it remains all the more relevant today. Kojo is gearing up to release his third album, Radical Thoughts, this spring. The artist says that this album will depart from Kojo’s traditional live band feel, and incorporate elements of electronic music, hip-hop, and Afrobeat.

Kojo “Easy” Damptey

Ben Somer “Back When” [Listen]
I thought love was just a game
And I haven’t felt like playing since I started getting old

I have missed the distinct vocals and songwriting of local musician Ben Somer! When I look back on the now decade plus of the blog, Ben’s music was featured very early on, as well as his studio Boxcar Sound Recording, and I always loved his live sets. Ben just shared “Back When,” with local label Down By The Point Records, ahead of his new album Ben Somer & The Cold Winter, which was produced by acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter, Jerry Leger. The song itself is nostalgic, and I instantly felt that nostalgia when hearing Ben sing again. You’ll also hear Ben’s backing band the Cold Winter with Dan Edmonds on keys, Jimmy Hayes on guitar, Adam Melnick on bass, and Matt Burns on drums.

Ben Somer

The Redhill Valleys – “Anymore” [Listen]
Feel your shadow by my bed
Hear your voice inside my head

Hamilton country, folk, rock quartet The Redhill Valleys start the year strong with new single, “Anymore,” released with Wild and Green Records, based in Hamilton. Prior to its release, the song received an honourable mention as part of American Songwriter Magazine’s Top 50 of songs in the 2021 annual song contest. It also won first place in the July/August American Songwriter Magazine lyric contest. It is a beautiful release to launch into this next chapter for the band – it is the first to be shared from their upcoming two-part EP scheduled for release this spring. 

The Redhill Valleys

Sean Bienhaus – “Cigarette” [Listen]
I’ve been screaming
A long long time

Sean Bienhaus is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Binbrook. He released his debut single in Spring 2021, following up with his debut full-length album, You Won’t Ever Know, in November. As a solo artist, Sean shows his great musicianship across the tracks, making for a dynamic listen. Give him a follow on TikTok!

Sean Bienhaus

Penrose – “boston nova” [Listen]
I’m going back to Boston
And I’m wearing the same outfit I wore last time I was there

Local record label Wel-Pel Records is on a roll! Another artist on their roster, Penrose, shared his first song this past fall. Penrose is the solo project of Levi Kertesz, who you may also know from being part of local projects including Basement Revolver and Ellis. Levi wrote, recorded, and mixed the debut track in his apartment. A great team of collaborators followed, with drums being engineered at Threshold Recording Studio by Cohen Wylie, and it was mastered at Fort Rose Aaron Hutchinson.

Penrose

Brother Tiger – “Let Me Wish You a Happy New Year” [Listen]

A new project on my local radar! Jamie Lawson is making, as he describes it, “psychedelic noise, mid-fi industrial schmaltz” under the moniker Brother Tiger. I’m a big fan of Jamie’s artistry already through his visual art (Poly Studio and Ver Sands) and now hearing music in the mix is exciting! The artist released a series of tracks on Bandcamp, and shared on Facebook that he is gearing up for his upcoming album, The Watcher.

Brother Tiger

Flowzus – “A Judas Story” [Listen]
I thought I had stability and poise
It was really just a gamble
It was really just some noise

Flowzus is a Hamilton-based recording artist and producer; he shares that his influences range from Ludacris and DOOM to defunct pop-punk band Say Anything. From 2020 to 2021, while working on his next solo work, he released collaborations with Hilroy (“A Duo Like You’ve Never Seen!”), Vinnii A (“Runnin on Diesel”) and D. Edge (“2Time-less”). LOCUST, released this past November, is his 5th solo album, and the first to feature almost entirely Hamilton-based artists and producers. The album is described as “fraught, theatrical, and deeply personal in subject matter.”

Flowzus – LOCUST

Ryan Sykes – “champagne problems” (Taylor Swift cover) [Listen]
One for the money, two for the show
I never was ready, so I watch you go

Ryan Sykes is an eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter born and raised in Hamilton. He has shared some great original pop tracks so far in his young career, and he was a standout to me in the local scene in 2021. Ryan bridges into the new year by covering two Taylor Swift songs from evermore, “’tis the damn season” and “champagne problems.” There is so much to work with when delivering Taylor’s stories, and Ryan brings his passion and sincerity to both.

Ryan Sykes

All Of Her Sound – “A Reason To Exist” [Listen]
Hamilton-based musician and composer All Of Her Sound “orchestrates a collective to bring together all art.” You can find several beautiful instrumental tracks released already, and last year, a full-length album titled The Volume Of Love. I love the title track’s sentiment, “A Reason To Exist.” The song title alone says so much. The meditative track leads the way to even more gorgeous instrumentation throughout the album.

All Of Her Sound
kristin
ihearthamiltontour@gmail.com
Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), 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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