Terra Lightfoot – “Consider The Speed” [Listen]
Dreams are coming true
As I’m getting closer to ya
Hamilton roots rocker extraordinaire Terra Lightfoot returns with her fourth studio album, Consider The Speed. Fans have been excited to hear new material from Terra, and it’s well worth the wait! The album was recorded in Memphis at historic Royal Studios with celebrated, multiple Grammy-winning producer Jay Newland. It’s a robust record with so many stand-out moments, and this title track was an immediate fave for me. Watch the music video for the song, shot in one of my favourite Hamilton locations, Gage Park, including that iconic bandshell.
Heather Valley – “How I Got To Memphis” feat. Katey Morley [Listen]
If you love somebody enough
You’ll go where your heart wants to go
Speaking of Memphis, we have a lovely new tune from Hamilton singer-songwriter Heather Valley. The song will be featured on Heather’s forthcoming release Wildflower Radio, “a warm and wistful collection of songs recorded at a haunted farmhouse in southwestern Ontario during the pandemic isolation period.” This gorgeous single is perfect for your autumn playlists; it’s a beautiful cover a classic song by Tom T. Hall, reimagined as a duet with Toronto musician Katey Morley.
Illitry – “Copper Sun” [Listen]
If I could hold
The missing piece
I am over the moon for Hamilton project Illitry (aka Troy Witherow) on the release of his debut full length album, Dalinean Horses. As Troy joked with me on Instagram, it only took 9 years or so! It’s fun to look back on when I first heard this project in early 2012 and the various incarnations it has taken on since then. All of that work pays off, and then some, with this body of work, released with local label Other Songs. Easily one of my favourite local releases of 2020, as we slowly wind down this unusual year.
Devin Bateson – “Piss & Kerosene” [Listen]
I could make a move but I’d never let it form out my mouth
I’m really trying everything is really bugging me now
Hamilton beatmaker and experimental hip hop artist Devin Bateson is back with another stellar batch of tunes in the form of the EP Swift-Tuttle (Fun fact: Swift-Tuttle is a comet!). Continuing to build upon a great discography that remains one of the most unique musical stylings I’ve heard on the local scene, Devin describe these new tracks: “They are silly. They are full of wonder and confusion. And that’s the outlook I have on life.”
S.O.A.P. – “Big Amount” [Listen]
I’m gonna raise a kid
While they raise the rent
Toronto rapper Scribe and Hamilton-based producer Onglish are S.O.A.P. (Scribe & Onglish Aren’t Perfect). I got my first taste of this musical duo from Scribe’s great feature on Onglish’s 2019 album Wav Pocket. It’s exciting to now hear a full project with their debut release, S.O.A.P.. Describing the project: “From start to finish, the SOAP project is cinematic; a testament to the Rapper/Producer duo’s hunger to introduce themselves to the world. Over the course of 5 years, Scribe & Onglish developed a culture of risk & trust, allowing their music to become a single-minded effort, rather than just matching bars to beats. The project is dynamic, flows & instrumentation shifting like a plot.” Along with this lead single, a highlight on the release is “Ounce” featuring local emcee who is one to watch, Paulo Leon. It’s so good, that I’m making it a bonus track on this mix!
Odario – “Peace” [Listen]
We’re making it work
Guyanese-born, Winnipeg-raised, and Toronto-based artist and radio personality Odario releases another new groovy single, this one featuring Winnipeg emcee Len Bowen and Vancouver vocalist Dawn Pemberton. It’s another track to be featured on Odario’s EP Good Morning Hunter, out on October 23. The release is described as “a seamless blend of house, hip-hop, beat poetry and jazz into a fiery groove anchored by Odario’s skillful, layered poetics, saucy steelpan sounds and the track’s percussive grooves.” Just the vibe needed right now! When it came to writing “Peace,” Odario reflects: “Just prior to writing, I was in search of downloadable songs that could calm my tampered nerves. I wanted to inject a sense of hope and positivity into my life during such heavy times. And it was that moment I decided to write my own version of what I was searching for. What I wanted to hear.”
Heather Janssen – “Crazy, For You” [Listen]
I keep my hopes high
But you let me down
Swim with the tide
Still you let me drown
Heather Janssen is one of my favourite local sounds to discover this year on the Hamilton music scene. I keep revisiting her lovely catalogue of tracks released so far, including last year’s EP Fear Of Falling, plus a slew of really solid pop singles. Watch the music video for this new one, full of stunning fall landscapes with Heather showcased beautifully emoting the single’s lyrics. I can’t wait to hear more!
Piper & Carson – “Don’t Know Where We’re Going” [Listen]
Your silence is not enough
We all regret not speaking up
But now’s the time
Local duo Piper & Carson bring us their new album, Edgewalker’s Remedy, on October 23, which they describe as “a collection of songs as lullabies for adult children. This album is a reflection of our experience in the world and the transformative decolonization process we are all being called to participate in.” The two also bring a thoughtful approach to making releasing music. I really admire and relate to their perspective when they say: “We find we are feeling the exhaustion that comes with living a majority of our social lives online these days and have been planning what our exit strategy might be from social media. For years it has felt imperative as musicians to have a facebook, instagram and twitter account. Lately however we are questioning this reasoning and wondering what better ways we can collectively invest in each other and our relationships.” The pair will host a special Porch Concert this Saturday, October 24.
Bianca Bernardi – “The Fire” [Listen]
I’ve learned to hate September
Everything burning is all that I remember
I am here for all of the incredibly talented women in our local music scene! After I first heard Bianca Bernardi perform locally at Mills Hardware (and awesome sets they were, opening for Ten Kills The Pack and Begonia), I was so impressed with her vocals and songwriting. Bianca first released her debut EP in 2014, and I know the singer-songwriter has been so excited to share what she has been working since then. “The Fire” is a stunning re-introduction to this soulful artist.
Robin Hatch – “Planetarium” [Listen]
Toronto-based composer Robin Hatch continues her prolific music-making streak with her latest album, Noise. It’s a minimalist electronica album influenced by early krautrock, as well as the production style of Giorgio Moroder, Robert Margouleff, and Malcolm Cecil. The theme of the album’s title, “noise” is described by the artist as “the different ways we seek short-term gratification, whether through relationships, work, or the internet; then, after chasing the dragon, finding ways to regenerate authentic comfort following the comedown.” This hypnotic track is perfectly suitable for my dark October jams; eerie and pulsing, I can hear it scoring an episode of American Horror Story.
Teen Ravine – “Everyone” [Listen]
If everyone knows everything
About everyone’s going ons
No one knows anyone at all
Teen Ravine is the project of Nick Rose and Dan Griffin. The pair’s self-titled release in 2018 was such a memorable debut and I was delighted to hear something new. This new tune leads the way for a new release in February 2021, an album recorded live alongside a chamber quintet. “The song explores the desire to withdraw from an overstimulated world where consuming stuff, staying busy, and living vicariously through our performative digital avatars is the name of the game.” The band adds: “Given the current state of affairs, this song feels prescient in a way we hadn’t anticipated. We hope that it makes you feel sad and hopeful in equal measure.”
Thomas Duxbury – “This City” [Listen]
And I made my mistakes
But I’m sorry the pain I know
But I must move on
After a bunch of fresh new singles this year to introduce himself, local musician Thomas Duxbury now shares the album Back 40 Homegrown. The beginning of this project came from Thomas learning how to record, mix, and master music, and has now expanded to become alternative rock outfit Thomas Duxbury and New Mother Nature. The album is chock full of classic rock sounds, groovy jams, plus folk and country vibes as well.
Rarity – “Worn Down” [Listen]
The mystery of loving me
Has finally come to a close
Hamilton rockers Rarity share two different sides to the band with the pair of singles released so far this year. Both are solid follow-ups to their 2019 album, The Longest Lonesome. We have the more vulnerable, stripped-down sound of “Worn Down,” plus their signature, dialed-up selves with “Leave It Alone.” The guys will join fellow Hamilton band The Dirty Nil on their Dancing To Trash livestream tour on October 30. Best we’ve got, til we can all rock again!
King Park – “Stuck In The Middle” [Listen]
Can’t seem to figure this one out
You’re stuck in the middle
King Park shares another song off their forthcoming album, Everett. The Hamilton band candidly shares that the song is “both a confession and an accusation, expressing my own inability to move forward following a breakup. You can hear in the lyrics that there was very little hope for a better future. I ran into her at the store for the first time since it ended, and realized that nothing had changed for me. Despite the months in-between I was nowhere near moving on.”