Haviah Mighty – “Thirteen” [Listen]
My history isn’t viewed on a pedestal
Off of her phenomenal, Polaris Music Prize-winning album 13th Floor, Toronto rapper Haviah Mighty just released a powerful video for the track “Thirteen.” [Watch the video] Speaking of the song’s meaning, the artist says:
As a Canadian, I’ve been told countless times that I don’t know what racism is, that I’ve never experienced racism, and that racism doesn’t exist in Canada. Because of our reputation as a safe haven, Canadians can be quick to separate themselves from Americans when issues of bigotry arise. Racism is alive and well in Canada, it is simply more covert. The 13th Amendment may be specific to the US Constitution, but it is not specific to US ideologies. Racism is worldwide. The perception of Black people has been destroyed globally.
“Thirteen” speaks factually and candidly, to the painful journey of Black people in North America. And it speaks to how that journey has morphed into continued racial prejudice, using the media and using the law. To get rid of white supremacy is to identify it at its root. I hope when people watch “Thirteen,” they feel moved to do their part in reversing white supremacy. I hope we can begin to see one another as equal – a dream I’ve always hoped could one day be a reality. And I hope people realize that it’s going to take WORK! Who is willing to work, to make change?
Haviah is part of the lineup for Arkells’ Hamilton summer concert The Rally, which unfortunately had to be rescheduled, but I cannot wait to see her next year instead, on June 19, 2021.
Ellis – “I Get Lost” [Listen]
And I know the way that I feel it
All the way, all the way now
Local musician Ellis just dropped us a little gem, the EP Bedroom Covers. Quite literally, a series of covers recorded in her bedroom. I love cover songs to begin with, and even more when they are unexpected from an artist. Ellis gives us three totally different tracks and brings her signature sound to them all: “Lover” by Taylor Swift, “Buried Myself Alive” by The Used (total emo throwback!), and this track, originally by Dinosaur Jr.
Clairandean – “Wounded Healer” [Listen]
We’ve been living in some long shadows
Hoping to find our meadow
Local artist Clairandean released the lovely lo-fi EP Moving In The Dark in April. The multi-disciplinary artist describes the EP on Instagram: “I wrote this EP during a time of grief about heartbreak and we are all collectively grieving right now. My offering for our hearts right now,” while adding that “April 7 is a full moon.” Now we here we are, just having experienced another full moon, and this EP still resonates strongly as we continue to navigate this time. In addition to being a songwriter, Clairandean is also a video artist, tarot reader, and movement coach with goodbodyfeel – check out their latest podcast episode.
Simon Fallon – “Dog Speak” [Listen]
I’ll get up when I find the time
It’s not like there’s anyone to mind
One of my favourite parts of this blog is looking back and tracking the connections of when I first met musicians and watching projects evolve. That’s the case here as I featured Simon on a Playlist in January 2015 with his band Simon Fallon and the Alexanders; in fact, even before that, with his band Miniver Sail in 2013! Simon released a new single last month and shared on his Facebook page: “Mental health has always been a cause that is close to my heart. This is a song that I wrote in March with the help of Nim Agalawatte [of Basement Revolver] during isolation.”
Brutus Begins – “Stuntman” [Listen]
I’m not the star for your lead
Lately it weighs on my pride
Call me whenever you need
Smoke and a dangerous ride
Hamilton-based musician and director Brutus Begins a.k.a. Ricardo Temporao brings together acoustic and synthesized elements with his music. His art has been described as: “the stories are intimate and the songwriting is honest,” and this song is definitely no exception as I was drawn in right away by the lyrics. Watch the video for the track.
SØLYS – “Afterlight” [Listen]
SØLYS a.k.a Michael Chambers creates compositional ambient and neo-classical music for relaxation and deep focus. His latest single “Afterlight” is a gorgeous little number that feels like flowing water. I’ve been frequenting the water’s edge at Van Wagner’s Beach lately for a physically distanced spot to hang out, and I can just imagine popping on my headphones and listening to this one as I look out onto the water and summer sunset, taking a breath to pause and reflect.
Old Kid – “This Is All Just Waiting” [Listen]
There’s still rage in my heart
There’s still rage in my heart
There’s still rage
Toronto-based musician Old Kid a.k.a. Darryl Webster has a brand new single out with local label Maisonneuve Music. The new song offers something different from the artist. He says: “I’ve always wanted to try singing a folk-style vocal over top of layered synths and a pounding bass drum. I’m not sure what held me back, but has there ever been a better time than right now to take a shot at trying something new?” That’s definitely the spirit!
Judah Jump – “BrownSugarCalmDays” feat. LTtheMonk [Listen]
Local producer and DJ Judah Jump is a prolific music-maker, pumping out a ton of solid tracks steadily over the last several years. Judah Jump released his newest offering, the EP Ethereal, this past spring, and it’s the perfect chill summer listen to kick back to. Judah collaborates with local emcee LTtheMonk for an upbeat start to the record.
Lifeandthetribe – “Soften My Heart” [Listen]
But if I open my heart
I know I would never never let you go
Hamilton band Lifeandthetribe is a five-piece R&B/pop band led by Aisha Barrow. The band members met at Mohawk College and bring their backgrounds in performance, dance, and theatre into the mix for their live shows. Their debut release Eye-Sha, released one year ago, was a local favourite of mine. After a few new singles, they return with Eye-Sha: Extended, which brings us a couple more tunes to enjoy, including this great, groovy track, that had me right from the first few plucks of the bass. And then that beat kicks in!
Illitry – “Like Everyone Else” [Listen]
If I could let go
I feel your twilight
When Illitry drops something new, you drop everything and listen! It has been a pleasure watching the journey of Illitry, aka Troy Witherow, over the years. Still one of my very favourite local musicians and I’m pretty sure my most frequent guest on 93.3 CFMU! Illitry was kind enough to share a demo of this song a few years back, and much like all of his work, I loved it immediately and couldn’t wait to hear more. Illitry is set to release their much anticipated debut full length album this fall with local label Other Songs. I want to see this project get the full recognition it deserves, in Hamilton and beyond, with this record. In the meantime, keep this one on repeat!
Family Of Things – “YKB” [Listen]
I know you better than you know yourself
But that doesn’t make it easy
You know I love a bop! And you know I love Hamilton duo Family Of Things. The band put out a stellar debut record last year, Oscilloscope, and continue in fine form by treating us to a brand new single for the summer. This is one band I have my eye on as being one of the city’s next big musical exports – I just love everything they do.
Two Stripes Down – “Oh Yeah, Alright” [Listen]
I’ve been thinking
About your face
It looks a lot
Like a face
Blues rock duo Two Stripes Down finally drop their debut EP! I’ve grooved to these tunes many a time before, as I’ve caught local musicians Jimmy and Andrew live over the years at venues like The Baltimore House, Homegrown Hamilton, and Zyla’s (all of which are sadly gone now and were all incredible spaces in our local music community). It’s awesome to now have these gritty, bluesy, fun-loving rock tunes on recording. It’s such a fun listen from start to finish, and I can’t wait until we can rock in person again!
Burs – “Eventualist” [Listen]
If it was gonna happen to me
It was gonna happen to me
Toronto-based psych-folk band Burs recently shared their debut EP Through Windows. This first track of three caught my attention right away. The band describes the song: “’Eventualist’ is a reflection of the idle dormancy with which we promise the most pressing of tasks: ‘I’ll get to that at some point.’ If procrastination were a virtue, the Eventualist is a shining example.” The band is described as “aiming to carry their listeners into a world of introspection, honesty, mysticism and kindred spirit. Much like their namesake suggests, their objective is apparent: creating small things that stick with you.”
Land Of Talk – “Footnotes” [Listen]
Night after night
I’ll be there
Yeah I’ll be there night after night
You know I will
Montreal-based, deep, dreamy indie rock band Land Of Talk are set to release their latest album Indistinct Conversations on July 31. All tracks were written by band leader Elizabeth Powell, and explores an intimate look at the artist. Elizabeth says of the making of the album: “I used to think that as a ‘female vocalist,’ as a ‘female singer,’ like…‘gotta sing high! You’ve really got to blow your load in the chorus and show people how high you can go.’ Now it’s like, what if I get to the chorus and I don’t feel like singing? What if I just kind of want to get something across in very few words? This record is me being a lot more true to what I want to say and how I would want to hear it, not really trying to cater to any preconceived notions of what a woman is ‘supposed’ to sound like.”
Moscow Apartment – “New Girl” [Listen]
And every man that knocks
Turns the handle anyway
Toronto duo Moscow Apartment released their sophomore EP, Better Daughter, this month with local label Hidden Pony. It’s a beautiful progression from their 2017 debut EP, bringing them into a more layered sound with a full band. Lyrically, the teens (Brighid Fry & Pascale Padilla) naturally expand their horizons as well, “Tackling subjects which range from internalized misogyny to the complicated nature of adolescence.” This track specifically takes on street harassment; the band says: “There was one week where we were cat called probably 10 times; we felt fed up and wanted to write a song about men not respecting women’s boundaries, especially in public.” This lyric is alone is such a standout moment on the EP for me. Supporting women in music is so important to me, and I’m so excited for more people to discover this band.
Vile Creature – “You Who Has Never Slept” [Listen]
So I was perusing Bandcamp’s Twitter to find more info about the site’s next Bandcamp Friday – the music platform has frequently been choosing Fridays where they waive their cut of sales for the day, with all proceeds going to the artists. While on their feed, I saw an artist spotlight of a Hamilton band that was new to me, Vile Creature. Founded in 2014, the self-described “non-binary doom duo” say they “traffic in an abrasive blend of uncompromising sludge and experimental funeral-doom metal that explores themes of veganism, LGBTQ and animal rights, and anti-oppression.” Vile Creature has a string of releases already, most recently Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!, which just dropped with Los Angeles metal label Prosthetic Records.
Sidenote: their website is insane and I love it. The Geocities vibes, the guest book, the twinkling background, the counter, the font choice… *chef’s kiss* AND the return of the message board. The band says: “Growing up message boards were one of the most important ways i discovered the music that i still love today. i still have a soft spot in my heart for the old school message board. i am sure this won’t work, but Hollowed Bones is here for you if you need it. some of my closest friends to this day were made from message board threads in the late 90s and early 00s, maybe you’ll make some rad friends too?” Message boards are totally how I got my start. I am here for this!