Kate Nash – “3AM” [Listen]
Do I really have to get used
To being alone again?
I wish that you were here
You must know that you are my best friend

March is an exciting one for new music – I’m unbelievably stoked about the new Kate Nash album. She’s one of my favourite artists and I can’t wait to see her live in Toronto on the 15th. Girl Talk is the perfect blend of her previous two albums and she has really come into her own as an artist. From the Tarantino-esque “Death Proof,” to her feminist rant on “Rap For Rejection,” to the unexpected swell of classical music on the closer “Lullaby For An Insomniac,” there is so much to this album and I’ll be digging into these 15 tracks for a long time.

FireXFire – “Losing Control” [Listen]
Something’s ignited
There’s no use fighting
Where is the place that we both used to know?

As the first track off their EP Ashes, just released last month, this tune comes out of the gate much like the band’s namesake – like fire! They’re a power pop-rock group with lots of synth and catchy hooks. The EP is faring well on the local radio chart at CFMU. The band are based in Toronto and have built a steady reputation playing that scene, but you can see them live at Baltimore House on the 29th with local band Spark Society.

The Human Orchestra
The Human Orchestra. Photo from official Facebook page.

The Human Orchestra – “Heavy Handed Heart” [Listen]
But you know I can’t get you out, out of my mind
I’m just waiting here
But your heavy handed heart is killing me

This rollicking Hamilton 10-piece (I think? It’s hard to keep count!) band just released a music video for this tune – it was shot at hot spot The Casbah. I joked with band member Jeff that anything with balloons, I’m on board. They’re a festive bunch! I love the groove of this song and can’t help but bop along to it and hit play again when it’s over. Catch their live show on the 23rd at Casbah with Imaginary Cities.

Rival Sons – “You Want To” [Listen]
I’m so sorry
This time I mean it
Let me in
I know you want to

When I went to see one of my favourite bands, The Balconies, live last month, they opened for these rockers. I naively had no idea who they were – turns out they’re a classic/blues/hard rock four piece from Southern California with a huge following. They’ve opened for AC/DC and Alice Cooper. Listening to their newest album Head Down to get a taste of what I would be in for, this tune had me right away. Guitarist Scott Holiday even makes an entertaining cameo in the interview I filmed with The Balconies.

The Monarch Project – “Desire” [Listen]
As I awake
Each day my eyes grow slightly wider
They let me see
The roads that drive to my desire

Hamilton’s The Monarch Project just hit their one year mark as a band and in that time, they’ve played a steady amount of shows, from their debut at Homegrown, a residency on King William Street, to several festivals, like Burly Calling. They also released their first recordings – a 7″ that includes this groovy track. With a laid back rock’n’roll style, they have a throwback sound to the 60s, citing The Beatles and The Yardbirds as influences.

Stuck On Planet Earth – “Another” [Listen]
It’s in the words and how they sound so sweet
It’s in the things you choose to believe
But I smile, and although it’s not the right thing
All the while, I’ll pretend like this is something

I came across this three-piece alternative band from Vaughn after recently interviewing our mutual friends, The Box Tiger. The band name caught me right away because, well, I sure feel that way sometimes! They’ve got a raw, energetic sound; I love a solid three piece band and appreciate how much noise can come out of that setup. SOPE is no exception. This track is off their EP Play Along, released in September 2012. Check out the section of their site called Offline, where you can sign up for a mailing list to receive goodies from the guys – a refreshing way to connect with a band. Catch them at Absinthe on the 14th – an all ages show with a packed lineup.

The Conservation Authority – “Bayfront Park” [Listen]
Don’t let your head run away with your heart
Don’t let your head run away with my heart

I’ve been seeing The Conservation Authority pop up quite a bit lately. The six-piece folk band are from London but are now rooted in Hamilton. We have McMaster University in common, and I remember seeing band member Harrison Cruikshank last year at Baltimore House in a McMaster Thespian Company production. This tune (appropriately named after a Hamilton landmark) is off their EP Beneath the Trees from 2011, a lovely introduction to the band filled with sweeping harmonies and rich instrumentals. The band just opened for hometown folk darlings The Dinner Belles at their annual Valentine’s Barnburner. Catch them opening up for another huge show this month – Rah Rah and Two Hours Traffic at Casbah on the 20th.

Donovan Woods – “The Coldest State” [Listen]
I was in love once
Believe me, it can be

This marks Donovan’s third appearance on one of my Playlists, and rightfully so. His last album The Widowmaker is easily one of my favourite music discoveries from last year and my most played. I was so excited for the followup Don’t Get Too Grand, released this month. Like the last album, each song I listen to becomes my instant favourite (this track and “Sask” being early contenders, but it will surely change again). There’s a wonderful familiarity about his music and the simplicity of his lyrics and melodies. I already know this will be one of the best albums of 2013 for me. He’s also one of the top people you need to be following on Twitter.

MS MR – “Fantasy” [Listen]
And my reality
Could never live up, could never live up
To my fantasy

Yet another awesome find from the treasure trove that is You, Me & Charlie, I can’t get enough of this song from New York band MS MR. The thumping rhythm of the chorus sounds like it could belong to Florence and the Machine and with a genre described as “Tumblr Glitch Pop,” they’ve got a sound that’s right up my alley.

Wildlife – “Born To Ruin” [Listen]
But if you do your best
And I do my best
We can have it
We will rage and ravage

Another album I was excited to get my hands on this month, Wildlife’s …On The Heart, their followup to 2010’s Strike Hard, Young Diamond (which was recorded here in Hamilton with Michael Keire and Glen Marshall). I saw the band for the first time a year ago at Casbah, and their live show blew me away. The new album is fantastic – big, anthemic sounds that will have you stomping along. The band cites Springsteen as an influence, an artist that immediately came to mind when listening to this album. I hope they roll through town soon, but in the meantime, you can see them during Canadian Music Week in Toronto on the 21st.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege” [Listen]
Halo ’round his head
Feathers in a bed
In our bed, in our bed

Just when I was missing the fiery vocals of Karen O, in comes the band with a new single. It sounds like a typical Yeah Yeah Yeahs tune, as it should, but when that choir kicks in, game on. I like it the more I hear it; it’s got a hypnotic quality to it. More to come from the band with their new album, Mosquito, out next month.

– 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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