Javelin – “Light Out” [Listen]
Isn’t everyone just masquerading?
Did you think that you would have to stand naked?
Here you are

I came across this NYC-based electro-pop duo when I learned that local acts New Hands and Kid Years would be opening for them this month at This Ain’t Hollywood. With DJ Donna Lovejoy also on the bill, it was a really fun show. I like the steady drum beat of this track, and the strings. I was excited to hear it live, and Javelin did not disappoint. They had so much energy and the crowd loved them!

Mac DeMarco – “Freaking Out The Neighbourhood” [Listen]
Really, I’m fine
Never been better, got no job on the line
Sincerely, don’t worry
Same old boy that you hoped you would find

Much buzzed about Canadian musician Mac DeMarco makes a nice summery addition to this mix; I’ve been jamming to his album 2. Mac unfortunately had to postpone a string of his recent tour dates but be on the lookout for a Hamilton show hopefully this fall.

Serena Ryder – “What I Wouldn’t Do” [Listen]
Your love is like a river
That I am floating down
I’ve never been a swimmer
But I know that I’ll never drown

This joyful tune by Canadian songstress Serena Ryder is perfect for summer. It’s proving to be a good driving tune – I’ve passed cars who were blasting it as I’ve been listening to it! The clapping and sing-a-long “Whoa, whoa, whoaaaa” never fails to make a hit. Serena recently recorded an interview and performance in Hamilton’s Threshold Studio for the new Fresh FM.

Vampire Weekend – “Unbelievers” [Listen]
Want a little light
But who’s gonna save a little light for me?

NYC band Vampire Weekend are back with their third album Modern Vampires of the City and this track was an easy choice for my summer mix. I like the contrast between the rollicking rhythm and the disillusioned thoughts in the lyrics.

Miniver Sail – “Diamonds” [Listen]
Oh I can see it in your eyes
You’re really searching for gold
But you don’t seem to realize
That I’m standing right here

My first encounter with this 5-piece Hamilton folk band was when they opened for The Strumbellas and Harlan Pepper at The Casbah in May. This dreamy song was a highlight of their set for me. Chrisy’s soft vocals take the lead on this track, but she shares lead vocals duties with bandmate Simon. They compliment each other really well; I like the contrast between the two. Miniver Sail’s EP These Old Woods is an excellent introduction to the band. It’s a lovely listen and the nature imagery conjures up lots of visuals as I listen.

Jessy Lanza – “Kathy Lee” [Listen]
Fell in love with you, boy
Whatcha gonna do?

Hometown gal Jessy Lanza is making waves. Her debut album Pull My Hair Back isn’t out until September (on UK label Hyperdub) but the buzz is already building. The slick video for this track was directed by Lee Skinner (who has produced some of my fave videos by local artists, including The Rest and Canadian Winter) and features local superstar Jed the Dancing Guy. Pitchfork picked up on the track and Hamilton gets a nice feature. If you haven’t yet seen the Human Stories episode featuring Jed, you must watch it.

DAVIDS – “Dead Walkie” [Listen]
I wanna burn every bridge I’ve made
This local synthpop/electronic band is new on my radar and are still shrouded in a bit of mystery. They just released 0613EP – it’s dark, mysterious, and I’m intrigued. It’s taking me a few listens to absorb it. With vocals by Mitch Bowden, Nilla and Terra Lightfoot, the vocals are just as varied as the music. My favourite track is probably “Iranians” but I chose the lead single for this mix, which is accompanied by a steamy video directed by Christopher Mills. According to their Facebook page, they’re “big fans of the tambourine.” If you ever need a tambourine cameo, you just let me know!


The Penske File – “The Valley” [Listen]
So climb on out of your basement room
Take my hand
Cause we’re leavin’

This Burlington band’s sound is described as “folk tinged melodic punk rock.” It’s punk-inspired with solid melodies to latch on and sing along to. After two EPs, they released their debut full-length A Restless Symphony in April. True to the album’s namesake, it’s a punchy, energetic record from start to finish. They just played The Casbah alongside another Burly power pop-punk band Bombing Neverland. They’re always hitting to road so be sure to catch them when you can!

The Dirty Nil – “Game Of Pricks” [Listen]
And I’ve never asked for the truth
But you owe that to me

The Nil contributed to one of last summer’s Playlists with Volume 1 of their Summer Mix-Tape. They’ve just released Volume 2, another stellar offering. This time it’s all covers, with tunes by The Misfits, Iggy Pop, Guided By Voices, and Merle Haggard. The band has also started up something very cool – The Dirty Nil Record Club. Subscribers get limited-edition 7″ vinyls featuring previously unreleased songs, as well as exclusive updates from the band. Now that’s a club you want to join! See the Nil next on August 16th at The Casbah.

The Dandy Warhols – “We Used to be Friends” [Listen]
A long time ago
We used to be friends
But I haven’t thought of you lately at all

As the theme song to one of my favourite shows of all time, Veronica Mars, this tune has come back into my rotation as I’ve been rewatching the series and getting so excited for the movie, which is being made this summer. It has been a long time coming for us Marshmallows – we did it!

– Kristin

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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