By Kristin Archer

Twin Within – “Tunnel to the Reservoir” [Listen]
I had a vision we were alright
I can’t say enough about Twin Within. The new project, duo Steve McKay and Alex Samaras, is one of my favourites right now. I already know that their debut album Horizontal Lines (out now on Hidden Pony) will rank high on my Best of 2015 local list. The pair sing in unison, making Simon & Garfunkel the easiest comparison, but they are bringing something completely unique to the table. The album was recorded inside a local church and was co-produced with string and wind arrangements by Kirk Starkey (of Vox Metropolis). They are an absolute joy to watch perform live – a must-see at this year’s Supercrawl.

Twin Within. Photo from official page.
Twin Within. Photo from official page.

Benjamin – “Dragon Of Smoke” [Listen]
Before you blow yourself away
You always change

Before I even listen to it, when I see a release from Other Songs Music pop into my inbox, I already know it’s going to be great. As predicted, the debut album The Bear and Barn Owl by Burlington native Benjamin is no exception. I’ve been racing around so much these days, and sitting down to work on this Playlist on a late Sunday night, I put my headphones in, hit play, and it stopped me right in my tracks. It was a welcomed repose and just beautiful to listen to. The record was released last month and features songs written by the artist, Ben Fretz. Other Songs Music founder Scott Orr plays additional instrumentation and also recorded and mixed the album. If Benjamin’s lack of social media is in an effort to let the music speak for itself, it’s working. Hope to catch him live sometime.

Basement Revolver – “Mountains” [Listen]
I’m the taste you’ll never hold between your teeth
Basement Revolver is a new local act on my radar and I was a fan right from this first recorded track that I heard. I got see Chrisy Hurn perform last month as she opened for Dave Monks at The Casbah and was really impressed. As she was singing I made the connection that I had heard her lovely voice before, as part of the band Miniver Sail, and later Simon Fallon & the Alexanders. (I recognized the song “Diamonds,” a song I featured exactly two years ago on July 2013‘s Playlist – where does the time go!). The band is described as “a one-woman experimental freak-folk band” and it seems as though Chrisy has really found her sound. See the band on July 24th at Exhale Music Group’s Eternal Summer series. Basement Revolver also plays this year’s Supercrawl.

Aron D’Alesio – “Diamond Ring” [Listen]
Diamond ring upon her left hand
She belonged to another man

Young Rival frontman Aron D’Alesio released his debut cassette this month. The four tracks are absolutely perfect for the summertime – Aron brings a chill, nostalgic, surfy vibe with these songs. I just love when an artist nails their signature sound. You hear these songs – you know it’s Aron D’Alesio. Seeing him live is always a treat – I’m impressed by the full sound he brings just as a solo act, which we witnessed this month on the rooftop of Dr. Disc. Catch Aron next on July 24th at the last installment of Exhale Music Group’s Eternal Summer series.

Aron D'Alesio. Photo from official page.
Aron D’Alesio. Photo from official page.

Terra Lightfoot – “Never Will” [Listen]
And this tired old melody
Is just for me
Just for me
Just for me

Terra is on fire right now! Easily one of my favourite musicians, voices, lyricists… Terra’s second album Every Time My Mind Runs Wild, out now on Sonic Unyon, is one of the best local releases of the year so far. Her self-titled 2011 debut was great, and now she has really hit her stride. With steady radio play on our campus stations and on Toronto’s Indie88 and 102.1 The Edge, this is her moment. Terra and her band celebrated the album’s release back in April with two hometown shows, one at Mills Hardware and one at This Ain’t Hollywood. Terra will also pull double duty at this year’s Harvest Picnic on August 29th, playing with her band and also with Dinner Belles.

Dirty Jeans – “Voodoo” [Listen]
All my senses tingling
Why wasn’t I listening?

Ashley, Kelly, and Lindsay are just the coolest. The Burlington trio released their self-titled debut EP on Valentine’s Day and have been on a roll ever since. I first caught them quite a while back and now they have hit their stride more than ever. The band was up for a Hamilton Music Award this year and I caught them during one of the parties at This Ain’t Hollywood – a venue that was made for them! Dirty Jeans have been playing a string of dates throughout Ontario this summer, including a bunch of local shows, like this month’s Raise the Roof at Dr. Disc (and they nailed it!).

July 2015 from ihearthamilton on 8tracks Radio.

Rhythm Church – “Know Better” [Listen]
Hey, I know
I shouldn’t be drinking alone
But I want to shake up my bones
I want to shake til I’m gone

Vincent Tompa’s project Rhythm Church is always so much fun to see. With a ton of recordings already up on his bandcamp page, it seems like he is constantly creating. Rhythm Church’s latest offering is the album Bangs – right from the blaring first track “Cruel,” I knew it was going to be his best yet. The recordings are fuller and louder than ever before and capture the energy of what he does live. The live show is constantly evolving too, Vince now plays with a band, and I always appreciate how much he puts into the whole world of Rhythm Church. The lo-fi video for this one will be a familiar scene to anyone who has experience a late night or two around Hamilton.

The White Crowleys – “Zodiac Goodbyes”
This local psych-rock crew have been on my radar for a while, but I still have yet to catch them live! They are gearing up to release their new 7″ Fane Jonda this Friday, July 17th (conveniently also the same day as Tame Impala’s new record, a big influence for the band. The boys celebrate the release of their funky-coloured vinyl (I love a colourful vinyl!) on Friday as part of Exhale Music Group’s Eternal Summer series. After that, stay tuned to see them at August’s edition of Raise the Roof at Dr. Disc. Check out my recent chat with Cohen and Justyn on 93.3 CFMU.

The White Crowleys. Photo from official page.
The White Crowleys. Photo from official page.

Redanda – “Decanter” [Listen]
It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Redanda. Remember my first Redandate with the boys? They’re a band that still stands out for me because the first time we met, I not only saw them play, but had dinner with Corey, Connor, Curtis, and Chris! That night also marks my introduction to The Great Machine which became another local favourite for me. It’s fun to look back at my past adventures and see where I’ve made connections along the way. Dinner again soon, fellas? The band releases this tune along with one more new one this Friday, July 17th at Homegrown Hamilton along with The Great Machine, The Boogies, and We Were Heads.

Bossie – “Meteor” [Listen]
There’s a part of me that is better off dead
I’m always on the hunt for a summer jam, and from the first few notes of Bossie’s “Meteor,” I knew I had a serious contender! Bossie is the new project by Anne Douris, who we know from Stella Ella Ola, one of my favourite bands I’ve had the pleasure of booking. Anne had mentioned to me that she had some pop songs in the works, and she certainly delivers with this first single! The video for this song, directed by Veronika Paz, is also one of the best I’ve seen in a while. As described: “It’s all one take and has over a hundred projectile cues of glitter, mini marshmallows, sequins, popcorn, candy corn, easter grass, cupcakes, confetti, corn syrup, tinsel and cake sprinkles.” I don’t know if there’s a video more relevant to my interests. Get to know Bossie!

Bossie. Photo from official page.
Bossie. Photo from official page.

ttwwrrss – “Strut” [Listen]
When local electronic artist Sean Thompson (aka ttwwrrss) started rolling out a new project called “A Summer of Towers,” it was an easy choice to include for July’s Playlist. Label Maisonneuve Music revealed that the artist would be releasing a brand new song each week for 12 weeks. Simply sign up to get the download right to your inbox every Monday for free (it began on June 22 – still time to get in on this!). ttwwrrss is a prolific artist, constantly creating, so it’s not surprising that he has this much material ready for our ears. He says of this banger: “Strut started out as a disco song. I’m trying hard to write synth hooks and build songs with chord progressions and structure. […] The bass/synth sound is heavily influenced by Justice. The vocal is sampled from a 1943 public domain recording of a speech by J. William Fulbright.”

Ducats – “Sprouted” [Listen]
I may have easily seen Ducats (aka Dan Empringham) live sooner than this, but my first memory of his set is February at This Ain’t Hollywood for 93.3 CFMU’s annual fundraiser bash. The bill was heavy on the electronic (also featuring another one on this mix, ttwwrrss) and it’s always so hard for me to articulate what I like about electronic music – I’m into it or it’s not my thing. Ducats absolutely proved to be my thing. He makes, as he simply states, “Music for people to dance to.” I may not be much of a dancer, but I know what I like. I even made it a point to check out a future show he was on, a bill that would typically not have been my cup of tea. Gotta keep expanding your horizons!

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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