Duckai – “Stuck” [Listen]
I’ve really been digging what we’ve been hearing lately from local music-maker Duckai. Great production, musical sensibilities, smooth harmonies – the artist’s DUCK! EP remains one of my favourite local releases this year (refresh with my June Playlist)! The elusive duck returns with smooth new single, “Stuck.” Perfect to jam to this fall.
LifeandtheTribe – “Goddam” [Listen]
All eyes are glancing at her
Cause she is the number one stunner
A new fresh track this month from Lifeandthetribe, the R&B and pop project of Gambian born and Hamilton-based artist Aisha Barrow. As the single art aesthetic suggests, Lifeandthetribe is ready to take flight with this one! It’s a confident, go-getter anthem to step to, and my favourite track from the artist yet!
Mandolynne – “Scream” [Listen]
Coming down off a silver cloud
Fall off the world and land on your feet
Hamilton-based artist Mandolynne shares a deeply personal new track, drawing inspiration from a traumatic experience that she had while living in the foster care system. The musician says she uses her art “as a way to process these events and has found healing during the process.” In doing so, her music may help others explore such thoughts and shared lived experiences within themselves. I look forward to hearing more from Mandolynne, an intriguing addition to our local soundscape.
Joys – “Gloria” [Listen]
I’ll promise you, so starry-eyed
I’ll tear my heart again for you
Recently scoring 93.3 CFMU’s “Single Of The Week” feature is Hamilton band Joys. Their debut single is immediately catchy and familiar, harkening back to that 80’s new wave sound, with some more modern indie rock and pop punk flair as well. Check out the music video for the track. It’s a super strong intro to the band, and I’m looking forward to hearing more.
Basement Revolver – “Tunnel Vision” [Listen]
I feel so confused
All the time
So stoked about this new era for Hamilton band Basement Revolver. They share that their upcoming new album, Embody, is one of friendship, of working out identity together, and making deeply personal art. The latest single, “Tunnel Vision,” delivers the grungy, gritty shoegaze that the band does so well – I love when they get loud! Guitarist and vocalist Chrisy Hurn shares that the song is about her struggles with an eating disorder: “Unfortunately, many aspects of pop culture confirm elements of EDs by focusing heavily on weight loss, fat phobia, and unrealistic beauty standards.”
Ellevator – “Charlie IO” [Listen]
The words don’t come so easy when I voice my doubts
Are they even worth repeating
Hamilton band Ellevator are they’re gearing up for their first full-length release, due out in 2022 (produced by Chris Walla). They say gorgeous new single “Charlie IO” is about “a friend who is seeking self-discovery through psychedelics and other pseudo-religious escapisms without doing the hard and un-sexy work of real self-reflection and owning your shit.” Check out the great music video for the track (and spot the local sights!)
Olivia Purnell – “In My Life” [Listen]
I would do anything
To be with you for eternity
There are lots of new local artists on my radar this month – and we love to see it! Musician, producer, and singer-songwriter Olivia Purnell recently shared a lovely new single, “In My Life.” Last year she introduced herself with the album Louder Than Words, and followed up this year with a string of new singles. Another new promising young artist to watch out for!
Scott Orr – “Wanna Bud?” [Listen]
Fire up your turntables – there’s a new album Scott Orr album to listen to! (Or fire up the cassette player – Scott’s got you covered on all formats.) The Hamilton-based musician just released his latest album, Oh Man. It is always such a treat to dig into a new collection of songs from this singer-songwriter. Recorded throughout March-October 2020, Scott describes the album thematically as “about death, our planet, and the afterlife through a folky, smooth-jazz lens.”
Donovan Woods – “Being Together” [Listen]
It’s only heartache
And you never get more than you can take
Every time I hear a new track from Toronto-based musician Donovan Woods, my reaction is, “He’s done it again!” His songwriting just gets me every time. My love for his music goes way back to the start of this blog 10 years ago, and he has created such an impressive discography throughout that time. Accompanying this single is another great track, “Here In Chicago”. Donovan will be hitting the road in 2022 across the UK, then back to Canada, with a show at Toronto”s Massey Hall in May.
Eric Brandon – “Feeling Good” [Listen]
We just met, so let’s confess
We’re both still on the fence about each other
But I’m just as curious as I was ever
To get to know you better
I’ve really been enjoying all of tracks that Hamilton musician Eric Brandon has been releasing over the past while. His vocals are also distinctive and recognizable, he needs to be on the radio right now among the heavy-hitters of Canadian singer-songwriters. “Feeling Good” is a sweet, sentimental track; a lovely addition to his repertoire. To hear more from Eric, check out the concert film he released last year, beautifully shot at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre.
AIOFE – “SID” [Listen]
My heart is stuck
For this love, yeah
Another refreshing new talent on my local radar – Irish-born, Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Aoife-Louise Doyle. With a mix of folk, pop and rock, AIOFE describes her debut single, “SID,” as “initially meant to be a love song. Over the years, it unfolded into a mix of conscious and subconscious voices of a person in love.” The track features Devon Savas on bass and Levi Kertesz (also from Basement Revolver) on drums, guitars, and synths. It’s a full local affair – the song was engineered and recorded by Cohen Wylie at Threshold Recording Studio, and mastered by Aaron Hutchinson. I’m looking forward to hearing more!
Devan – “Orchid” [Listen]
You see me like an orchid
Thinking I’ll be back quick
In and out of orbit
Toronto-based singer-songwriter and producer Devan has been one of my favourites in the Canadian music scene this year. We got the lovely EP Pink Noise earlier this year, the musician’s debut solo release (you may also know her as 1/3 of folk pop band Wild Rivers). Devan now bookends the year with a new EP, Liquid Sunshine. It’s another stellar collection of songs. She says “Orchid” is about feeling underappreciated in a relationship.
Arkells – “Arm In Arm” [Listen]
Tell the ones you love
You love ’em
Right now this is where I need to be
The Rally concert may have been postponed for a second time, due to the pandemic, but it will be all the more exciting when we can gather at Tim Hortons Field in 2022! Arkells are full steam ahead with their 6th album, Blink Once, filled with catchy and poppier than ever jams from start to finish. Frontman Max Kerman says about this latest single: “’Arm In Arm’ is about the two things that have helped us through hard times: friends and music. One of the best things we see from the stage is seeing folks arm in arm, singing along. We haven’t had many chances to do that together lately, but with any luck we’ll be reconnecting on tour with folks who also take this kind of medicine.”
Cadence Weapon – “On Me” [Listen]
Face ID on me, white programmer so they don’t see it’s me
Got fans on me, IG story, know where I be
It has become a fun tradition to keep up with the Polaris Music Prize each year – highly recommended for all music nerds! I always discover so much. This year’s winner, however, was very much on my radar already. The third time was the charm at Polaris for Edmonton-born, Toronto-based rapper, producer, writer, and poet Cadence Weapon, as his album Parallel World took this year’s title. Released in April of this year, it’s a tight, concise, incredibly poignant record. Clocking in at under 30 minutes, I always find myself right back at the start when it finishes, to take in another listen. Describing the record: “Parallel World touches on themes of systemic racism, structural inequality, police profiling, gentrification, the internet’s pervasive effects on our lives and the surveillance state that disproportionately punishes Black people. Using elements of trap, drill, grime and acid house, Parallel World is the soundtrack for the dystopian future we’ve somehow found ourselves in.”
Snotty Nose Rez Kids – “Red Sky At Night” [Listen]
No justice, no peace
We’re dying in the belly of the beast
Vancouver-based hip hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids blaze through with their latest album, Life After. Describing the album’s inspiration, the pair says: “This album wasn’t the project we set out to make. In 2020, we had plans for a whole other concept but COVID stalled our career and made us examine a lot of the things about ourselves that we were too busy to notice. We ended up looking deep, using forced isolation to begin to address issues around mental health and depression. Those issues were amplified when we started losing friends and community during the pandemic. When it was hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel, we started thinking a lot about what life would be like after lockdown.”
David Disher – “Do The Halloween Twist” [Listen]
And if you ain’t got the nerve to learn the moves of the dance
Just start a-tappin your toes and start a-clappin your hands
I’m all about the spooky season of autumn & Halloween. Everyone goes crazy for Christmas, but I look forward to this the most! We need more Halloween anthems. Hamilton musician and composer David Disher understood the assignment! David composes dark, electronic film scores, instrumental music, and off-kilter pop. These two new tracks, “Do The Halloween Twist” and “HALLOWEEN” need to be on your party mix this season. (Check out my ever-expanding playlist of spooky season jams on Spotify, including these tracks, plus more from David Disher’s other project, Scarlett & Disher.)