The Dirty Nil – “Done With Drugs” [Listen]
They’ve been good, they’ve been sweet
But now it’s time to get clean

While this period of physical distancing must be proving difficult for many musicians, The Dirty Nil have a leg up in that they live together. As a result, the Nil have been able to finish up their next album and deliver us a brand new banger. The band also kept us entertained with a couple live sets – a limited-time screening of their concert live from The Opera House, plus a full set broadcast live on SiriusXM from an empty Phoenix Concert Theatre. Both of these had me longing for the days when we can get back to live shows, but it was indeed the next best thing. In the meantime, crank this one.

The Dirty Nil. Photo by Stephanie Montani.

Capitol feat. ELIO – “Weathered” [Listen]
Forgive me if I stay still when your
Shoulder brushes mine
I know I don’t know you well but
I want to for a night

Hamilton indie band Capitol put out one of my favourite local releases last year with their debut album, Dream Noise. The band continues with their signature blend of retro, new wave, and cinematic goodness with their latest single, “Weathered.” The track also features vocals from Charlotte Grace Victoria aka ELIO, and it’s so lovely to hear her beautifully balanced alongside the vocals of Capitol lead Josh Kemp. Look for the 7” vinyl featuring “Weathered” plus a second single “Piano Exit” on July 31.


ELIO – “LA In Two” [Listen]
And I’m terrified
That I’m gonna lose, yeah
’Cause what if I, what if I, what if I do?

As featured in our last track, ELIO is Charlotte Grace Victoria. I was a fan of the Toronto artist’s previous project GREY \\ WATER who were received warmly in the Hamilton scene as well. Now as ELIO, the artist dives into dreamy bedroom pop, with an excellent batch of singles so far that are very much up my alley. I can’t resist a good pop song. ELIO also befriended and found a mentor in pop artist and songwriter Charli XCX. The stars are aligning for this project, and I can’t wait to hear more. Watch for ELIO’s debut EP this summer.

Lennon Stella – “Fear Of Being Alone” [Listen]
I get the feeling it’s not love that keeps us holding on
It’s not love that keeps us holding on
It’s the fear of being alone
Speaking of irresistible pop music! Canadian (Nashville-based) artist Lennon Stella just nails it. Lennon came to fame as she and her sister Maisy starred in the TV show Nashville, along with their lovely covers online. I love their voices so much, and it has been a pleasure to watch Lennon develop her own style, re-introducing herself with her 2018 EP Love, me, and now her debut full length, Three. Two. One.


MER – “Alive” [Listen]
My mama used to say that
If I go after my dreams I might just make a wave that could change it all
I got my fears I let them fall

It has been a busy year so far for MER, rapper and producer who was born and raised in Hamilton. MER has played with a variety of styles throughout his time exploring music, from jazz to metal. Now the artist finds his groove in hip hop as he refines his sound. MER’s brand new EP Lifted just dropped last month, along with two new singles this past spring.

Ty-Rex“Singin’ My Song” feat. Buddah Abusah [Listen]
And I don’t listen to hate
Really it don’t concern me
I always keep it together
Just like Bert and I’m Ernie

Local artist, producer and engineer Ty-Rex (now based in Toronto) has delivered a ton of new music this year, including his EP Amore and a slew of stellar singles, including this track which sees him teaming up with Hamilton-based emcee Buddah Abusah. Such a great one to kick back to on your summer playlists.


TOBi – “24 (Toronto Remix)” feat. Haviah Mighty, Shad, Jazz Cartier, Ejji Smith [Listen]
I’m a be a legend in my next fuckin’ 24
I’m a see some blessings in my next fuckin’ 24

A stacked lineup of Toronto talent comes together for the remix of TOBi’s “24,” off the deluxe edition of his latest album, STILL+. In an interview with CBC about the equally impressive video for the track, TOBi says: “I wanted to create a moment. And I think it’s gonna set a precedent — if not now, in the future — to show that artists can come together and put this talent together and make something special in the city.”

Buunkin – “Ex” [Listen]
Local rapper Buunkin has been making some serious waves. He dropped this full length W-UU last month and it’s an impressive debut chock full of gritty bangers from start to finish. You’ll catch features from fellow local emcees including LTtheMonk and Hoss Bowman, and a solid community of artists including Buunkin have come together to release music under ZYX. Check out his latest video, “Pole Smoke”.


Run The Jewels – “JU$T” feat. Pharrell Williams & Zach de la Rocha [Listen]
Look at all these slave masters
Posin’ on yo’ dollar

American duo Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P) surprised fans with an early release of their latest album, Run The Jewels 4. They say: “Fuck it, why wait? The world is infested with bullshit so here’s something raw to listen to while you deal with it all. We hope it brings you some joy. Stay safe and hopeful out there and thank you for giving 2 friends the chance to be heard and do what they love.” The band also provides a list of organizations on their website that are fighting for justice, change, and equity in America.

Run The Jewels. Photo by Timothy Saccenti.

Kojo “Easy” Damptey – “Chasing The Felon” [Listen]
A time is coming
Where the light will shed your darkness

Hamilton-based Afro-soul artist Kojo “Easy” Damptey brings us two new tracks with Acoustic Sessions in the Hammer. “Chasing The Felon” revisits a track off of his 2018 album Daylight Robbery. Re-envisioning the track in a stripped-down setting with acoustic guitar and violin draws our attention to the song’s message once again.

Bonnie Hamilton – “Up From Love” [Listen]
The pain doesn’t hurt anymore
‘Cause it don’t exist

I’ve been a fan of Bonnie Hamilton for her work in the local scene for years now, and this year the artist really comes into her own with the release her EP When Stars Collide. It’s a beautiful introduction to the artist if you have not yet had the pleasure. Bonnie creates a lovely blend of soul, funk, jazz, ska, and reggae. With the new single, “Up From Love,” it’s a new fresh take on one of Bonnie’s older songs.

Bonnie Hamilton

Juice & Jam – “Do It Again” [Listen]
Don’t let the truth get one over on you
I was lucky to be privy to this single from Brantford duo Juice & Jam before it dropped last summer, and right away I thought we should declare it one of the songs of the summer! I’m just going to roll it over to this summer, because it is still such a jam (pun intended 😎) and one that will get stuck in your head and have you bopping along right from your first listen.

Granny Smith – “New York” [Listen]
The more and more I think of you
The more and more I try
This spring, we got the album A Hint Of Granny from Hamilton musician and producer Granny Smith, aka Jason Bhattacharya. Jason has spent the past decade playing alongside artists including Bart, Dan Edmonds, Ejji Smith, Ferrari Garden, J.R, Miles from Nowhere, and Taylor Knox. It was awesome to hear new original material as the artist shares his own sound with us. Granny Smith is back with a brand new, jazzy single for the summer!

Joseph Boudreau – “Yesterday’s Today” [Listen]
What if we were wrong
And all the things that we thought were lost
Were only hidden inside of us

You’ll recognize Hamilton musician Joseph Boudreau from various projects over the years in the local scene, including The Monarch Project, which I first saw way back in 2012 at Homegrown Hamilton (RIP!). Joseph just dropped his debut solo effort, Yesterday’s Today. The album’s namesake is a standout track for me. The artist says he offers “audiences an intimate listening experience and a glimpse into a world of inspiration filled with reflections of youth, and the contemplation of surrender.” The record was produced by Joseph and Adam Cannon, with additional engineering by Michael Monson over at beautiful local studio Catherine North.

Joseph Boudreau. Photo by Meaghan Eady.

Juanderbred – “Dreams” [Listen]
EGO is the debut release from Hamilton electronic music duo Justin Rodin-Lehmann and Joseph Bonilla. Both musicians are formerly from local band Family Of Things. The record ranges from club bangers to more chilled out, ambient soundscapes; really something to keep you going from your summer morning to night!

[zoethecat] – “mirage” [Listen]
Winding down this month’s mix with a chillhop, lo-fi beat number from [zoethecat]. This is the latest project from multi-instrumentalist and music producer Michael Chambers. With years of classical piano and audio engineering training under his belt, Michael has since enjoyed a prolific career as a producer and recording engineer. He has worked with artists including James Wyatt Crosby, ttwwrrss, Whitehorse, and Sarah McLachlan. You will also be familiar with him from his music created under the monikers moon:and:6 and SØLYS. With two dreamy soundscapes from [zoethecat] released already, be on the lookout for another to come on August 7.

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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