By Kristin Archer

Hollerado – “Firefly” [Listen]
We’re not invincible
But we turn the dark into light

Hollerado are the happiest band around. I can always count on their music to lift my spirits – best vibes from those guys. This song is no exception, as they turned a terrible situation into a positive and uplifting song (read the backstory along with their awesome video for the tune!). Check out their ambitious new album 111 Songs which includes, yes, 111 songs! The 7″ vinyl is even glow in the dark, which is amazing. Hollerado also headlined this year’s Sound of Music Festival in Burlington to the biggest audience the main stage has seen yet.

The Plateaus – “YNG LUV” [Listen]
We’re born again
We’re born again

Who are The Plateaus? I’m still not entirely sure. The band, consisting of “brother and sister and friend and lover” provide another jam for your summer playlist. The band popped up seemingly out of the blue back in February with this single and I’m still dancing. The video for this track is the directorial debut by Caitlin Cronenberg and features a bunch of rad cameos. The Plateaus are part of the awesome Royal Mountain Records roster along with Hollerado, Stella Ella Ola, Alvvays, PUP, and more. They’re another act I would love to get to Hamilton soon!

Allie X
Allie X

Allie X – “Catch” [Listen]
Thought you got away with murder
Left me at a loss for the words
Just wait until I catch my breath

Toronto-born and now L.A.-based Allie X is one of the most intriguing artists I’ve discovered in a while. Her debut release CollXtion I is one of my favourites right now – you better make sure “Catch” is on your summer playlist! Hamilton musician Steve McKay (of Twin Within and Bruce Peninsula) co-wrote this fantastic pop jam. Allie X is on Toronto independent label Sleepless Records along with July Talk and Hamilton’s own Pet Sun. Fingers crossed we get a Hamilton show soon!

Dave Monks – “Gasoline” [Listen]
Lovers fall and break their hearts
But I need one to keep

Tokyo Police Club frontman Dave Monks just released his debut solo EP All Signs Point To Yes this week on Dine Alone Records. The EP is nicely described as “a small record with a big heart, a snapshot of a man in a new time and new place who is learning to expand his reach, all while stripping away the superfluous and concentrating on connecting through trust, humour, and sincerity.” You can feel that honesty with every song. Dave hit the road for a bunch of Canadian and American tour dates, including a stop here at The Casbah this Friday, June 26th.

Dave Monks. Photo from Dine Alone Records.
Dave Monks. Photo from Dine Alone Records.

Reiki Share – “Kirby” [Listen]
I’m haunted
Like Buster Baxter is by aliens
And now I can’t turn off my bullshit detector

We know musician Benjamin Theodore Schillaci from performing at open mics around town and as a member of the band Dizzy Spells. He just released his debut album as Reiki Share with a cassette release through HAVN (the release show at HAVN with Annie Shaw, Jaunt, and visuals by HAVN’s Andrew O’Connor was awesome). Benjamin is fascinating to see live, with his impressive guitar playing and looping skills. Reading the lyrics, I totally just caught the Arthur reference, and now I love this song even more! I chatted with Benjamin about the album on a recent episode on 93.3 CFMU.

Reiki Share at HAVN on May 16th
Reiki Share at HAVN on May 16th

Emilio Bonito – “Marth” [Listen]
It was a refreshing change of pace to hear the debut single by Emilio Bonito, a local acoustic finger style guitarist. Emilio began playing piano at age 4 and has over a decade of experience studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He began to build his repertoire of acoustic instrumental guitar while at McMaster. This single was produced by moon:and:6 and released last month on local label Maisonneuve Music. Even without lyrics, the six-minute track takes you on a journey and is a pleasure to listen to.

Juliana LaChance – “It’s Free” [Listen]
Juliana LaChance is a prolific local artist who creates visual art, music, artisan crafts, jewellery, perfumes, and more. Passion Flowers, released in March, is her most recent album. It’s a dream-pop-folk record that showcases her beautiful skills on Ukrainian instrument the bandura. I spoke with Juliana in a recent episode on 93.3 CFMU. Her positive vibes and free spirit nature are a pleasure to be around; she is contributing something really special to Hamilton’s art scene.

Munroe – “Summer” [Listen]
You were the one I loved
You were the one I loved
You were the one I came here for

It was an honour to have Kathleen Munroe perform at I Heart Hamilton’s annual show and fundraiser The Playlist 4.0 in May, making it her debut hometown show. Munroe is a proud Hamiltonian who now splits her time between home, Toronto, and Los Angeles, as she makes her living as an actor. This year Munroe released her debut, self-titled album which was recorded in Hamilton at Threshold Studio with one of my favourite producers Michael Keire. The album, released on local label Hidden Pony, is a beautiful, haunting, and honest collection of songs, and one of my favourite local releases of the year so far. Check out the video for this song which is appropriate for the season.

Etiquette – “Promises” [Listen]
I don’t think I ever knew who you were
Or who you are
Only who you appear to be
Promising promises you can’t keep

Etiquette’s debut album Reminisce was released in March and continues to be one of my most listened to albums this year. I first saw the band back in November during New Hands‘ residency of shows. From there, it was my pleasure to debut a couple of their songs on 93.3 CFMU and have a great interview with singer and songwriter Julie Fader. The band went on to hold one of their release shows here in Hamilton where I was quick to pick up a copy of the album on vinyl (and subsequently DJ at a later gig!).

June 2015 from ihearthamilton on 8tracks Radio.

Florence + the Machine – “What Kind Of Man” [Listen]
To let me dangle at a cruel angle
While my feet don’t touch the floor
Sometimes you’re half in and then you’re half out
But you never close the door
What kind of man loves like this?
What kind of man?

When an album comes along that seems like it was written just for you. Boom. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is that for me. New Florence material could not have come at a better time in my life. Flo has been one of my favourite artists since her debut album Lungs. I can’t get over how good and how cathartic her third album is and I know it will remain a classic for me for years to come.

Pkew Pkew Pkew – “Asshole Pandemic” [Listen]
Can you keep that noise down
I ain’t kidding

Slight disclaimer – this song is NSFW (but super fun to sing along to)! Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots) is another rad band on the Royal Mountain Records roster. It was an absolute blast to have them at I Heart Hamilton’s show back in March. I’d say they were easily one of the loudest bands I’ve booked so far, and they were so much fun to watch. I can’t wait to catch them again. I also got to chat with band member Emmett O’Reilly on 93.3 CFMU before the show.

Dead Tired – “Dead Tired” [Listen]
You’re wide awake
And I’m dead tired

Dead Tired blasted onto the scene with their self-titled debut album this past March. Back in June 2014, I Heart Hamilton was lucky to get the first scoop on the band with a great piece by Andrew Baulcomb during their recording sessions at Hamilton’s Boxcar Sound. This was followed by a raucous set at Supercrawl 2014 and a bunch of shows in and around the Hamilton area as they developed a loyal following.

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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