Calcedon – “To The Light” [Listen]
Name three things
Use five senses
I Heart Hamilton was happy to premiere the brand new single from Calcedon, the musical project of electronic art pop artist (and violinist!) Brielle Melle. The Hamilton-based artist describes her new song, with its delicate vocals, driving bass, and rhythmic kicks as “a will to fight, but with a resolved smile on your face,” and is candid with experiences of postpartum depression. Channelling that pain into her art, I love her sentiment: “What I learned in that liminal time is this: we are not in control, and we never have been. Sometimes our path takes us through the thick of the abyss. But the journey will be lighter if we travel it together.”

STACEY – “Far Away” [Listen]
Sometimes it feels like the world’s coming down
With some kind of illness no cure to be found
A lyric that seems like it was written about these strange days – but STACEY actually penned this song in 2018. I’ve been a big fan of this Toronto singer-songwriter since I first heard her debut, self-titled EP in 2013 and caught a show at The Casbah Lounge alongside Brielle Melle, aka Calcedon (our previous track!). STACEY describes her new single as “a dream escape from the vast darkness and sadness of the world. I wanted to provide the listener with whatever comfort and understanding I could — and a break from reality.” While listening to it on a springtime walk, the song delivered just that. Look out for STACEY’s debut LP Saturn Return this fall, and watch this dreamy video.

STACEY. Photo by Kristy Benjamin.

Ellis In Transit – “Hands Up” [Listen]
When you’re feeling small
Push ahead through it all
Ellis in Transit is a British-Canadian alt-rock band based in Hamilton. The band was originally formed as an acoustic duo (Alexandria Shankland 
Jim Robertson) in Scotland, where the two performed for a year before heading to Canada. Their passion for classic rock is clear from the first notes of their newly recorded material. The duo branched out to form a full band and crank things up a few notches. Getting to work, they crafted their self-titled EP locally at Catherine North Studios.

Shade – “Combat Rave” [Listen]
You’re not the same when I’m not around
Hamilton rock’n’rollas Shade dropped their debut album Combat Rave this month. It has been a long time coming, and worth the wait. Describing the record, the band says: “Combat Rave was inspired by a few years of ups and downs, and lots of new musical experiences. It’s about going through the daily shit – constantly being bogged down by the past, acknowledging that, taking a step forward and rising about it all with a sneer to break through the bullshit.” These are strange times, but the boys didn’t slow down when it came to celebrating its release, hosting an online bash for the occasion. Crank this one up to eleven!


Instrument Of Death – “First Time Caller, Long Time Listener” [Listen]
I do it all 
In spite of myself 
I do it all

No rest for the wicked over at the house of The Dirty Nil. Drummer Kyle Fisher just cranked out his first original solo tune, with some help from bandmate Ross Miller on drums. It’s rad to hear Kyle step into the role of vocals and bass for his first stab at a song all his own. Another one you need to crank up right now!

BLUE – “2020 Vision” [Listen]
Spent days begging for change 
State of the world that I couldn’t arrange

Another one from The Dirty Nil fam – BLUE is a project from Nil bassist Ross Miller. On his Facebook page, Ross says of the new release 2020 Vision: “3 hardcore songs, where I express my love and anger for what I hear, read and see. Initially these recordings were only intended to be used to show my band the songs for our early 2020 performances but now with my vision, they are what they were supposed to be. Instead of purchasing please listen, be kind to the world, and the loving people you are in quarantine with. Enjoy and keep a positive attitude.”

Back Teeth – “Gardens” [Listen]
Back Teeth is Allie L Torrance, Evelyn Charlotte Joe, and Brad Germain – all musicians you will recognize from various projects in the Hamilton music scene. One of the many things I love about this scene – watching collaborations and new combos of stellar musicians come together. Back Teeth released Live at Boxcar this month, taken from a live set at Boxcar Sound. As you know, the east Hamilton studio one of my favourite local music spots! Check out the recorded EP Garbage Head, released in 2018, which was preformed, recorded, and produced with TJ Charlton and Vee Bell, with songs written by Allie Torrance.

Back Teeth

Scott Orr – “Circles” [Listen]
Baby, I miss you
I thought I saw you
First off, a very happy happy 10th anniversary to Hamilton record label Other Songs! Founded by Scott Orr, the label has given us such beautiful music over the years. I Heart Hamilton just hit nine years this month, and Other Songs has been a big part of its soundtrack. Thank you! Back in March, Scott Orr gave us this lovely new song, which he says is “about losing touch with people in and out of your life.” Also new from Scott this year, you can find Tape Demos, and the Fall Apart EP.

shn shn – “taking time” [Listen]
Take time
Take time
shn shn is the new ambient pop project from singer-songwriter Shanika Maria. Our regular schedules have been halted and we’re all being made to take time right now, but it’s so important to remember to really do it – slow down, pause, and reflect. This is just the track to lull and calm you as you return to centre. Looking forward to hearing more from shn shn’s musical explorations.

shn shn. Official artwork by the artist.

Gareth Inkster – “Vacant” [Listen]
I don’t want to be this way for much longer
Hamilton singer-songwriter Gareth Inkster describes his new single as being “written as a knee-jerk response to a really difficult season of life at the end of last summer. I had lost my appetite, I wasn’t sleeping well, and having a really hard time making sense of my situation. It went on for a while, too – so much so that I eventually just grew sick of how I was feeling, and really wanted it to be over. Sitting at my piano late one afternoon, I sang a demo into my phone and it was pretty slow. After transferring the song to guitar, I realized it had the potential to be a driving, bare-bones, passionate howl. The song then promptly took shape.” Gareth recorded the song himself at home, with drums contributed by Sheepdog Studios’ Glen Watkinson, Adam Carter on rhythm electric, and Robinson Inkster on bass. Gareth tackled the rest: acoustic, vocals, piano, organ, some rhythm electric, lead electric, aux perc.

Matt Berninger – “Serpentine Prison” [Listen]
Don’t try to connect the dots anymore
Let them go
They’re going to do it on their own

The National may not be a Hamilton band, but with their manager Brandon Reid being one rad Hamiltonian, I like to think of them as honourary members of our community. Especially after 2016’s unreal Welcome To Hamilton benefit show headlined by the band. Front-person of the band, Matt Berninger, just announced his debut solo album Serpentine Prison, due on October 2. Matt shares the title track today and describes how it came to be: “The song was written in December 2018 about a week after recording The National’s I Am Easy to Find. For a long time I had been writing songs for movies and musicals and other projects where I needed to get inside someone else’s head and convey another person’s feelings. I liked doing that but I was ready to dig back into my own garbage and this was the first thing that came out.” Listen back to my favourite interview ever – my chat with Matt in June 2016 on 93.3 CFMU – and watch the video for the song.

Matt Berninger and Kristin Archer, June 2016. Photo by Lisa Vuyk.

Athanase – “Wolves” [Listen]
A rising tide raises all ships
Except for the ones that were sinking within
Hamilton-based modern folk-rock band Athanase recently released their second EP, Between II Shores. The band nicely finds their signature sound and really comes into their own with this new release. Here’s hoping we can celebrate its release with a proper show, scheduled for Mills Hardware this fall, when we can get back to live music! In the meantime, listen to my chat with Jason and Ailish on 93.3 CFMU along with a beautiful live performance in studio of this song! You can also find a lovely live-off-the-floor performance of this track, filmed inside The Loft at Millworks Creative District.


Moscow Apartment – “Halfway” [Listen]
You draw my words out
With your quiet voice
I couldn’t drown it out
If I had the choice
Brighid and Pascale are one dynamic musical duo. It was a pleasure to help host the young Toronto band’s first Hamilton show back in November 2018 with the team at The Mule Spinner. Musical partnerships aren’t always smooth sailing; however, and the pair shared that this new single stemmed from a fight. They say: “One day we had a big fight and Pascale wrote the beginning of our new single, ‘Halfway,’ as a way to ask Brighid for forgiveness. Brighid wrote the second verse and worked on the chorus, giving birth to this song.” The band also shared “Meredith Palmer”, all leading up to their EP Better Daughter, still to come.

Moscow Apartment
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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