Arkells have had a busy start to the year. They just dropped a brand new single, and along with it, announced a new album. Blink Twice will be the follow up to Blink Once. More exciting news – the band scored two JUNO nominations – Rock Album Of The Year and Group Of The Year, and will perform live at The JUNO Awards on May 15. On the homefront, we still have The Rally at Tim Hortons Field to look forward to on June 25! Check out the music video for “Reckoning.”
Hamilton-based band Ellis In Transit start the year strong with their first new single in almost two years. “Gucci Socialist” is their best yet! The band was originally formed as an acoustic duo in Scotland, where Alexandria Shankland and Philip James performed across the UK before making their way to Canada. From there, bassist Francesco Citino and drummer Keagan Early helped bring them into a full band where they began playing shows all across Ontario. The band was in the studio this past fall, and look to share even more new tunes this year.
The dynamic duo of A Hutchie (Hamilton-based) and NPNP (Montreal-based) are back with another collaborative release, Graph Attack // Sneaker, under their label Cold Cache. One year ago, they released the great COCO // TOMO, and this new release is a similar concept. The pair trades tracks, each re-interpreting the other’s work, resulting in four tracks to hit the dance floor to. You can also pick up a limited edition hand-cut 12″ on Bandcamp.
After ending the year with a festive holiday cover and two great Taylor Swift covers to kick off 2022, local pop musician Ryan Sykes returns with a new original single, “Sucks 2 Be U.” With a post-breakup theme, he describes the track as exploring “a new beginning where you realize that you are much better than they made it seem and it sucks for them now that they can’t ever get you back.”
A talented new local artist on my radar, AM$ shares debut single, “Bittersweet.” Describing the track, the artist shares on Instagram: “I made this song about a year ago and it was the first time I had an unwavering personal connection to a song I had made. The moment I heard the instrumental I knew exactly how I wanted to execute the melodies to go along with it. You know how they say the best ideas come when you’re not even thinking? This song was one of my ideas. Rather than writing down what I was thinking, I wrote down what I was feeling and everything came together so easily.”
Emerald B. is a 16-year-old singer-songwriter, dancer, and musician from Hamilton who strives to inspire others. In her young career, she has already performed at many venues across Southern Ontario, and toured in four cities in the U.S. both as a solo artist and as part of JUNO-nominated all girl pop group, Girl Pow-R. Emma describes her music as inspired by the emotional pain and depression she went through in the past year, adding that her goal is to help and guide others who deal with any kind of struggle or mental illness. She recently shared the brand new, uplifting single, “Up.”
Hamiltonian James Alphonse’s music ranges from electro pop, pop rock and R&B. The artist is gearing up to release his debut solo EP – produced by Andre Kaden Black (Fefe Dobson, Francesco Yates) and Tal Vaisman (21 Pilots, Imagine Dragons). His newest single, “i dont need to choose,” is about relationship insecurities faced by his long-term and long-distance partner.
It’s always a delight to hear a new tune from Family Of Things. Bradley Barnham shared, “This song is more than music to me, it’s growth and dedication and community and love, and it all comes from a place of honesty and vulnerability. I’m so proud of Aaron Brown and me for producing it ourselves, and am so grateful to have been able to involve so many gifted souls along the way.” Watch the live video, filmed here in Hamilton at The Mule Spinner, made in partnership with Lizzie Peirce and Musicbed. The song is just gorgeous, and the band shares that they are working on new tunes. Can’t wait!
One of my faves in the Hamilton scene, Ellevator, are levelling up with their next era as a band. Their first full-length album, The Words You Spoke Still Move Me, is due out on May 6. Every single so far has been so awesome and on steady rotation around here, and I can’t wait to hear what else they have been cooking up. The band shares about the track, “We’ve carried it with us for years, across state lines, hiding version after version in notebooks and voice memos. Now it’s all yours.” Check out the video! Ellevator plays Bridgeworks in Hamilton on May 27.
Singer-songwriter Ben Somer shares another new single, “Don’t Come Looking For Me,” with local label Down By The Point Records. It’s the second to be released so far from his upcoming album, Ben Somer & The Cold Winter, which was produced by acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter, Jerry Leger. It features a stacked local lineup – Matt Burns (drums), Dan Edmonds (banjo, wurlitzer, organ), Jimmy Hayes (guitar, pedal steel), James McKie (violin), Adam Melnick (bass), and the recording team at Boxcar Sound, with art by Ashley Ince.
Thomas Duxbury and New Mother Nature is an alternative rock group based out of Hamilton. The beginning of this project came from Thomas learning how to record, mix, and master music. For this latest single, Thomas says that he challenged himself to record his new track, “Ain’t No Life,” completely using cassette tapes and a 30-year-old tape machine.
Hamilton-based Americana artist Heather Valley shares her new EP, Eternal Rest. Heather recorded this quiet and intimate collection in isolation at a lonely farmhouse in southwestern Ontario. The release features Thomas McKay (Joydrop) on wurlitzer, Nim Agalawatte (Basement Revolver) on bass, Gareth Inkster (Walk Off the Earth) on violin, and Mike Brenner (Magnolia Electric Co, Wild Pink, Marah) on steel, and Heather Valley. It was mixed and mastered by Nim Agalawatte at Four String Audio in Hamilton. Describing the tracks, Heather says they explores “the honest things in life: how solitude intersects with peace and truthfulness, how people only understand one another via their own experience, especially in the dark territory of trauma and recovery, and how we live cycles, just like the seasons on a farm.”
Sea of Troubles is a noisy, experimental punk band based in Hamilton. They describe their sound as “based around propulsive, overdriven bass riffs, aggressive, rhythmic guitar playing and manic but finessed vocals.” The band is new on my radar, but they formed in 2019 with their first EP, Ecchi (エッチ), released in April 2020.