Iskwé. Photo by Lisa MacIntosh

By Kristin Archer

Iskwé – “Soldier” [Listen]
You gotta be strong
The release of Iskwé’s second album The Fight Within is the time to get to know her before she takes off to even greater heights. Even cooler, the Winnipeg-born artist of Irish and Cree/Dené roots is now based right here in Hamilton. Citing British electronic acts Massive Attack and Portishead influences, Iskwé gravitates to those darker tones. The deep pulsing beats and rhythms of “Solider” pull you in right away. Iskwé celebrates her new album this Thursday, November 16th at The Casbah with Rococode and Calcedon.

Iskwé. Photo by Lisa MacIntosh
Iskwé. Photo by Lisa MacIntosh

King Park – “Stay” [Listen]
Your heart is a ghost
It’s haunting this home
I first caught King Park on the bill at Basement Revolver’s album release show (which I was also happy to DJ!) and was taken aback by the heavy, emo, soaring rock sounds that blasted from the stage. Was not expecting that! The band has been through an evolution, moving away from their punk rock roots and maturing into a deeper, grittier sound. Along with some changes in the lineup, the band comes out stronger on the other side and is raring to go. King Park’s new EP The Light I Can’t See is out now.

Chastity – “Chains” [Listen]
Don’t waste your pain on hate
Start your life outside of the chains
I was super stoked to learn that Chastity (Brandon Williams) joined the ranks of Royal Mountain Records (Alvvays, Mac DeMarco, PUP, Metz, Pkew Pkew Pkew – to name just a few!). It’s an awesome match for the artist from Whitby, who has also played in Hamilton quite a bit, gaining a solid following. After only hearing a handful of lo-fi demo tracks dating a couple of years back, I was really impressed with the new EP, Chains. Loud, noisy, distorted, it’s short but it packs a mean punch. Williams says of the EP, “when I’m drawn to write I’m either sad or I am pissed. The world has changed since writing my last release, and both the sad and pissed feelings have since increased.” Crank this.


Scott Orr – “Violent Blue” [Listen]
It’s not over
It’s not over
Haven’t seen you for so long
Scott Orr is busy working on a new album, but in the meantime, he drops this gem our way. True to his intimate and soft delivery with his acoustic material, this single has an added layer to it with a floating electronic current running through it. The song is kicked up another notch when the drums join in. It will be exciting to hear how the rest of the album takes shape.

Teen Ravine – “Steady On” [Listen]
I use the term “dream team” a lot, but I don’t use it lightly! Here’s another one for ya. Teen Ravine is Nick Rose (Dwayne Gretzky) and Dan Griffin (solo artist and ex-Arkells). Nick has been playing sold out shows with cover band supergroup Dwayne Gretzky while Dan had taken a break from releasing music lately, and I’m a big fan of his solo records. Before even hearing the music, I spotted their press photo and was immediately excited at the thought of this collaboration. The singles we’ve heard so far are 80’s inspired and are mellow and catchy. A full LP is to follow.

In an interview with The Line Of Best Fit the pair says of the track: There’s a bridge over the Don River in Toronto and written above it is the phrase: “This river I step in is not the river I stand in.” You could drive over it a thousand times and miss it. But it’s a really beautiful thing… a subtle reminder that no matter how hard we try to resist it, nothing is permanent, everything is in flux.

Teen Ravine
Teen Ravine

Alvvays – “Plimsoll Punks” [Listen]
Your posture’s blocking out any possible light
I can hardly see
This conversation spirals into a fight
I can barely breathe
After a flawless debut album, there’s always pressure on that second one. Alvvays completely delivers with Antisocialites. Every song is so solid and could stand alone as a single. Altogether, it makes for a cohesive and enjoyable listen. I recently picked up the record at new shop Into The Abyss and find myself flipping the vinyl back to side A to play again after each listen. Alvvays plays The Studio at FirstOntario on November 20th.

Jaunt – “Machined” [Listen]
Invent an escape 
With haste we move forward
Jaunt has their dreamy sound down. This track is our first taste of a new EP to come in 2018 and it definitely leaves you wanting more. Guest vocals from Caitlin Woelfle O’Brien (Blunt Chunks) and Eliza Niemi (Mauno) add lovely layers to the song. Jaunt is coming to town this Friday, November 17th – watch their Facebook for info.

Jaunt. Photo by Max Parr
Jaunt. Photo by Max Parr

Robin Jupiter – “Follow The Rainbow” [Listen]
You may not find the leprechaun
On the other end
You may not find that pot of gold
But you’ll always have your best friend
A fixture of many open mics around town, I first saw Robin Jupiter hammer away at the piano at Baltimore House (RIP!). During another mic at Jillard Guitars, I caught him play this song and suffice to say, we all knew the words by the end! It reminds me of the wide-eyed innocence and hopefulness of Kermit the Frog, taking you right back to being a kid again. Robin just released his album Definitely DEFINITELY! (available on his website) which features collabs from Jordan Snider of The Altobeelays.

November 2017 from ihearthamilton on 8tracks Radio.

The Elwins – “Hey! Ya, You” [Listen]
I got it bad
Now I have to wait
I got it bad

What’s the deal with that?
This delightful quartet returns with their third album Beauty Community, released on local label Hidden Pony. It’s more of what we’ve come to love from the group – 13 indie pop jams that hook right into you, and you can’t help but bop along instantly. This lead single has more of a sexy, slinky, slower groove to it to launch into the record. The Elwins are part of a very sweet double bill with Fast Romantics this Wednesday, November. 15th at Mills Hardware.

Ferguson North – “Shine” [Listen]
I could be doing this for a very long time
Ferguson North is the dynamic duo Astrid Hepner and Tim Tickner, who forged a musical bond when they connected in Hamilton in 2008. Both already accomplished musicians, Astrid is a saxophonist from Germany who has trained in jazz and has recorded and performed internationally, and has worked in the music industry for many years in NYC, while Tim has been a top composer in Canada for the last 25 years, writing and producing for Diana Ross, the Boomers, and Alice Cooper.

Their debut EP E1ns (available now at Dr. Disc and online) is a musical trip from start to finish, merging their passions for jazz with European electronica. Ambient and mellow one minute, you’ll be busting a move the next. The pair plans to host their own live music series in 2018.


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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