LISA – “Primitive Us” [Listen]
Why’d you have to go
And bum me out
‘Cause we had the magic
Brand new single by LISA is here, and the dreamy tune is just in time for spring. I’ve been super excited to hear more from singer-songwriter Lisa Savard-Quong since hearing snippets of older material and catching her live at local music series Cinquefoil. The singer-songwriter’s debut album is still to come, and I can’t wait!
cover image: LISA

Jaunt – “On Your Mind” [Listen]
What do you make of all the days
Unkept in memory
Did they really happen?

With two solid EPs already under their belt, Chat and Cue, Toronto’s Jaunt has quickly become DIY indie darlings. This new track is my favourite one yet. It’s an irresistible tune that will leave you with a spring in your step, hopefully with moves as good as the ones displayed by Pat in the video. Bonus? They made gifs.

Jaunt "On Your Mind"
Jaunt – “On Your Mind”

Dead Tired – “Get On Me” [Listen]
I’ll show you something you’ve never seen
Dead Tired has consistently churned out the tunes, with consecutive Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3 7-inch releases (available digitally as well as on multi-coloured vinyl). Now the band gears up for their first full-length release since their 2015 self-titled debut. Get ready for Full Vol. to rock your eardrums on March 22. In the meantime, crank up this feisty song along with the new video.

Charlie Mauve – “Skin Hungry” [Listen]
I’m not going to fall in love
I’ve been a big fan of Michelle Owen’s vocals and musical sensibilities since discovering her under the stage name Harlow two years ago. So stoked to see her re-invent now as Charlie Mauve and find her sound! This first single is exactly where she needs to be. It’s sexy and strong, and sounds like it could be plucked straight from the 90’s alternative singer-songwriter cannon while being completely current at the same time. Pumped to hear more.

Charlie Mauve
Charlie Mauve

Devin Bateson – “Wrong Horse” [Listen]
But what good is fifty bucks
If all my interests are just self doubts
Back-to-back Playlist appearances for Devin Bateson, and deservedly so. Having released two EPs plus a two experimental albums, we now have Ossiscope to dive into. Tapping into a unique sound that is all his own, the record is rich with samples, both found and recorded in real time, intricate and introspective lyrics, and self-made beats. It’s already one of my favourite releases of the year. Watch the video for this track and listen to my recent chat with Devin on 93.3 CFMU. Next show: March 28 during Smooth Comedy at The Staircase (I’ll be DJing at 7:15pm before the show starts – come hang!)

LTtheMonk – “Oscar (Still Stuck in La La)” [Listen]
The month kicked off strong thanks to the release of LTtheMonk’s second full-length album Kinks, Drinks & Hip Hop. Originally from London, England, LT has built a great community in Hamilton, connecting with likeminded musicians and honing his craft. He launched the album with a high energy release party at Mills Hardware, which was a blast! LT’s live show is something to be experienced. Hearing his precise emcee skills paired with the talented live players in his band makes him stand out as one of the most exciting local acts to watch for. Catch him on April 25 at This Ain’t Hollywood.


Gillian Nicola – “Night Comes To Call” [Listen]
Watching the clock til the moon comes again
Local singer-songwriter Gillian Nicola has shown tremendous dedication to her craft over the years and just keeps getting better. She returned from the Banff Artist in Residence program a year ago even more inspired and with new material to share. With a new album to come in May, get a taste with this new single. We’ll see Gillian play live next on March 21 at Mills Hardware supporting Megan Bonnell. Listen to my chat with Gillian on 93.3 CFMU.

Robin Hatch – “Nocturne” [Listen]
It’s not often that an instrumental album comes my way, so it was a treat to be introduced to Solo Works For Piano. A classically-trained musician, we know Robin Hatch from various projects over the years including Our Lady Peace, Rural Alberta Advantage, Sheezer, and Dwayne Gretzky, and she currently plays in Hamilton band Whitehorse. Robin recorded and produced this record herself, most of which during a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She says, “I am interested in improvisational composition as a storytelling medium, and melodies that focus on the intersection between contemporary classical music, progressive rock, and free jazz. Most of the album I improvised, transcribed and re-learned as classical pieces, with some of the music written more traditionally on manuscript paper starting with a melodic idea and sort of expanding on it until I got too distracted.” The album is out digitally and on vinyl. Watch the video for “Vertigo.”

Robin Hatch. Photo by Joe Fuda.
Robin Hatch. Photo by Joe Fuda.

Aestrid – “Killer” [Listen]
Brighter than the summer sun
My local explorations have expanded to connect me with a band across the world! It has been a pleasure to get to know trio Aestrid from Utrecht, Netherlands over the last couple of years. The band routinely makes their way to Ontario for touring as well as recording. Their newest offering A Lake Inside was created in Kingston during one of those tours. The record fantastic; you can sense the passion in everything they do. From the slow burn of “Crusher” to the hard-hitting beat of this song, “Killer,” the album is my favourite from Aestrid yet. Their live show is also one that must be experienced! Learn more about the creative process through my interview with the band.

Logan Staats – “Fear Of The Flame” [Listen]
‘Cause when it hurts
At least I know I’m learning

Logan Staats is one of my favourite Canadian voices. To watch him perform live is truly something so special – I can’t recommend his live show enough! His words and his voice run so deep and will stay with you. After a fantastic year as one of the winners on the first season of The Launch, Logan is back with a new single. Starting out quietly with Logan’s signature rasp, the track slowly builds, rising with an uplifting chorus that will have you swaying along.

Logan Staats
Logan Staats

Zyla – “Mr. Happy” [Listen]
Mr. Happy’s feeling fine
You know Nick Zyla as the friendly face behind the bar at his namesake watering hole, Zyla’s. The James North eatery and live music venue quickly became a warm community haunt for many, and we need more spots like this. With several music releases over the years, Zyla just dropped Pink Martini Album, which features local musicians Chris Bruder, Jordan Snider, Tom Altobelli, Jordan Tunney and Aaron Bowers putting their own spin on some old Zyla songs, with Zyla on vocals. The album was fittingly recorded right at Zyla’s.

Chopped Liver – “Yours To Discover” [Listen]
Bluegrass crew Chopped Liver is a new band on the local scene. Consisting of double bass, banjo, guitar, Dobro, washboard, and mandolin, they released their first EP Why Did They Tear It Down? this past summer, recorded at Hamilton studio Hazy Grove Recording Studio with Ryan Barwin. Now they’re back with a brand new single, freshly released today! Chopped Liver fittingly played a St. Patrick’s Day bluegrass matinee at The Casbah and you can catch them back on that stage soon enough, on April 20 for a Homegrown Special.

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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