By Kristin Archer

Timid, the Brave – “Alice” [Listen]
And I cannot believe
You slept with your bed by the door
Always ready to go
Local label Other Songs Music starts the year off strong with Firesale, the first release from artist Timid, the Brave (Tim Selles) since his debut EP in 2012. The soft melodies and introspective lyrics have been a favourite of mine since that debut. Having only seen Tim perform live a handful of times, he’s the kind of artist who’s songs stick with me, and I was pleased to hear some of those songs in their recorded versions on this album.

Tim says of the new record, “Loss often leaves us questioning where we belong and it can paralyze and prevent us from moving forward. But there’s also an optimism present in the songs, when the trees blossom again and you muster up the courage to step back outside with fresh perspective, ready to go.”

He will celebrate the album’s release on March 9th at This Ain’t Hollywood.

Timid, the Brave. Photo by Kevin Miller
Timid, the Brave. Photo by Kevin Miller

Eric Brandon – “Old Love” [Listen]
And I am lucky
My eyes were open
And I did not turn
Eric Brandon recorded his EP Old Love in both his home base of Hamilton and in Nashville. It must have been impossible not to let the richness of Nashville’s music scene seep in, and its influence is evident with every note. I can just picture Eric at the Bluebird. The EP’s closer and namesake is my favourite of the 5 emotional songs, with Eric’s soulful vocals front and centre. Imagine my surprise to learn that the wise-beyond-his-years singer is only 24.

Ethan Paxton & The Brakemen – “All We Are” [Listen]
Take your time
But don’t take chances

All we are is all we could be
Ethan & clan get back-to-back appearances on the Playlist – last month their debut Beneath The Rubble, produced by Dan Edmonds, caught my attention. They’ve already got a new single, this toe-tappin’, finger-snappin’ worthy tune, produced by Michael Keire at Threshold Studio. Check out the band’s recent appearance on Southern Souls.

Ascot Royals – “New Skin” [Listen]
Stick out your chests
And wave your guns
You don’t concern us
We’ll carry on
I first met these guys almost a decade ago, and with some lineup changes along the way, brothers Jimmy and Ben Chauveau remain the original members. They became one of my favourite local bands from day one (the band was based in Brantford) and it was my pleasure to have them as part of several I Heart Hamilton shows at This Ain’t Hollywood and The Baltimore House.

This is their moment – they’ve been on tour with Big Wreck, a new EP is on the way, and have been gaining momentum with radio play for this infectious melodic fist-pumper. Cannot wait to see what’s next.

Ascot Royals
Ascot Royals

Marcio Novelli – “Siren Song” [Listen]
Won’t you be my friend
I think I know how this will end

But I cannot help myself
This Hamilton-born singer-songwriter is back with a new EP The Reimagining, Vol. 1. The seven tracks are reworked versions of previous material recorded with a full band. The songs are stripped down and presented acoustically, and the honesty of Marcio’s lyrics are front and centre.

Marcio says of the release: “This EP is something I’ve wanted to do for a while–stripped down versions of my songs that closely resemble the mood and style they embodied when I first wrote them. While my albums tend to take you on a bit of a roller-coaster ride of emotions representative of the mood fluctuations I experience in a day, this EP is what it sounds like when my day fades to night –I put the kids to bed and pick up my guitar to soothe my restless soul and melancholic heart.”

Marcio will be releasing new tour dates soon including a stop in Hamilton – watch out for that!

Robyn Dell’Unto – “Common” [Listen]
Oh I heard you came back
Somebody saw you around
This town is tiny like that
While Robyn Dell’Unto may be based in Toronto, the singer-songwriter has strong Hamilton roots, as a McMaster grad and having performed many of her earliest gigs in town, in venues like The Casbah. Robyn’s previous two albums I’m Here Every Night and Little Lines are favourites of mine that I revisit often. She’s the kind of artist I’ve unapologetically put on repeat for long stretches of time. Her newest offering Beaconsfield caught me by pleasant surprise, by playing with more electronic sounds this time around, but all the while maintaining the perfect melodies and relatable lyrics that make her such a fantastic songwriter. Robyn continues her streak – I’m obsessed with everything she releases.

Robyn Dell'Unto. Photo by Ryan Nolan
Robyn Dell’Unto. Photo by Ryan Nolan

New Love – “Every Lie” [Listen]
All the signs I cannot ignore
You know I know
Rambunctious rockers New Love blasted onto my radar recently with this debut single. Fresh out the gate, they impressively landed a spot opening for July Talk at their recent Hamilton show. Recorded at Catherine North with Scott Peacock and Dan Hosh, their debut 3-song EP Close was released on Valentine’s Day and they celebrated appropriately with a bash at Club Absinthe.

B.A. Johnston – “I Need That Donair Sauce” [Listen]
Our favourite troublemaker B.A. Johnston is up to his old hijinx again with his 11th album Gremlins III. In an official statement, “The album title came from B.A.’s desire to be sued by someone famous.” This album is kicked up several notches from his previous material by the addition of a backing back on several of the tracks. With song titles such as “Too Messed Up To Be In This Canoe” and “Dave Says No To Drinking In The Backseat,” you know you’re in for a good time. Catch the album release show – the 100% Irish St. Patricks Day Album Release Boozer, to be exact – March 17th at This Ain’t Hollywood.

B.A. Johnston
B.A. Johnston
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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