Hannah Georgas – “Easy” [Listen]
I thought I had a million things to say
I woke up and I can’t think of a thing
I swear I had a million things to say
I woke up and I can’t think of anything

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas brings us the beautiful release All That Emotion. The record was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, who also just produced Taylor Swift’s folklore, therefore blessing us with another lovely release for autumn. Hannah began working on this album after the release of her 2016’s For Evelyn, starting with writing and demoing in Toronto, finishing in Los Angeles, and traveling to upstate New York to record with Aaron. The result is her most personal album to-date.

Hannah Georgas. Photo by Vanessa Heins.

Julie Neff – “Over It” [Listen]
Every time I turn the page

It gets torn in the middle
Getting knocked back down
Makes me feel so little

Last month, Toronto-based indie-pop artist Julie Neff dropped this rhythmic new single and I’m still jamming to it! It’s the title track from her next EP on the way. I became a fan of Julie’s after hearing her perform at local Hamilton music series Cinquefoil (which I’m sure missing right now!) which then led me to discovering her great EP, Catharsis. Describing this new single, Julie says it’s “about that time in your life when you’re stuck in a job or a situation that has worn you down, burnt you out, hurt you, and you know you need to leave — you’ve had that clear epiphany — but you don’t know how yet. The time isn’t quite right yet. You’ve been enlightened, you’ve seen what the other side could look like, but you’re not quite sure how to cross the river.”

Julie Neff

Orville Peck – “Legends Never Die” feat. Shania Twain [Listen]
Don’t worry ’bout making sure they won’t forget
No, it’s fine, ’cause legends never die

Elusive country musician Orville Peck is one of my newest favourite Canadian musicians to watch. He garnered a lot of acclaim with his debut album Pony in 2019, and now follows up with the EP Show Pony. His irresistible, deep, crooning country voice is such a pleasure to listen to. It’s so awesome to think back to seeing him at Casbah at the top of 2019! Leading this new EP is the ideal collaboration – a duet with Shania Twain. You also have to hear the album’s closer, a beautiful and haunting cover of Reba McEntire’s “Fancy.”

Naked House – “I Don’t Want To Let You Down” [Listen]
I could use the time off to gather
all of my feeble thoughts

Damon Guyett, aka Naked House, is a Hamilton-based multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. He is also the former keyboardist/vocalist of the psych-rock band Dizzy Spells and was also a touring member of Twin Within, which were two faves of mine on the local scene. Now he’s back with a brand new tune, a hint of what’s to come from his new album Waves Goodbye, due out on November 6. The track will have you bopping along in no time as it layers and builds.

Naked House

Rich Aucoin – “Walls” [Listen]
We’ll tear it down from the other side
We’ll knock it down from the other side
We’ll bring it down from the other side
We’re reaching out to the other side
Halifax musician Rich Aucoin always thinks outside of the box when it comes to his art. The artist just released his 4th album, United States. Upbeat and psychedelic in its aesthetic, the album’s lyrics dive into the state of the world. Even though his high energy and interactive live shows can’t happen right now, Rich is still cranking out the good vibes, first with a super fun album pre-order campaign, and now with the music video for this track. It’s one of the best I’ve seen in some time – total Much Music nostalgia, as Rich recreates many classic music videos. There’s even a cameo from Rick Campanelli aka Rick the Temp, born in Hamilton!

Rich Aucoin. Photo by Riley Smith.

4K Quay – “Marathon Moves” [Listen]
Please don’t step in my zone
You could slip
‘Cuz we came with a mop

I’m continually learning about more and more hip hop artists coming out of Hamilton, and it’s high time this genre gets more love in this city! 4K Quay has been releasing a steady stream of releases this year – first with the EP Poseidon Flow at the top of 2020. The release features great local collabs, including 905BEATZ and Samsonhasthose (plug: check out Samson moderating an upcoming panel at this year’s virtual Musician Entrepreneur Conference). 4K Quay just dropped a new single along with a music video for it, directed by Christian Thompson (The go karts!! Brilliant).

4K Quay

RHYMETHiNK – “BE FREE – Mother Tareka ft. Es & Solar-C” [Listen]
In the face of oppression
We rise above
RHYMETHiNK is a radical hip-hop music collective whose “mission is to create and disseminate expressly revolutionary Hip-Hop: to soundtrack & support the frontline efforts of freedom fighters and social movements; to popularize anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and anti-authoritarian politics in Hip-Hop.” They just dropped Anti Up Vol.1. FTP (For The People), a 13-track compilation of new and unreleased material in support of the Canadian #DefundThePolice movement. Songs in solidarity with those organizing on the frontlines against state violence and systemic racism. All proceeds from Bandcamp sales will be donated to Black Lives Matter Canada.

Emay – “Republic Of New Afrika” [Listen]
Tough but I’m generous

Masculine but effeminate
Centered, I’m comfortable in my own skin
Unlike the reactionary degenerates

Previously based in Hamilton (fun fact: we went to the same high school!), Emay is now based in Edmonton, but remains one of my favourite emcees to watch. The precision of his lyrics and delivery are always so stellar.


TonyTone – “Fade Away” [Listen]
Fly, fly, away

Oh fly, fly, fly away
But don’t you call my name
When you walk away

Born and raised in Hamilton, TonyTone, aka Anthony Marzanek, is another new local artist on my radar creating pop/R&B/hip hop, often an unsung genre in this city. TonyTone finds his sound nicely, creating lounge beats and ambient moods. Describing this smooth single, the artist says: “‘Fade Away’ is a good example of a track I wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered myself. It was not meant to fall into any sort of genre… I just play around with sounds and write until I come up with something I like. Doing the production and mixing process makes me feel like I’m really in control during the creative process and final sound.”

Paulo Leon – “Glass Plates, Pt. 2” [Listen]
The billionaires ain’t saving me

The billionaires ain’t saving trees
New local record label and art collective Andthenyoudie consists of mainly POC of different creatives and artists who seek to share their lived experiences via the power of art. One of their artists, Paulo Leon, dropped his most recent project Partly Stabilized & Partly Curious. From the age of 13, the Hamilton-based, first generation Chilean Canadian artist began dabbling in slam poetry, MC-ing, and other improvised performances, and by 17 he produced, wrote, and recorded his first mixtape. Andthenyoudie says the goal of Paulo Leon’s work is to “convey a sense of escapism for his audience and to comment on his own lived experience by exposing his truest self.”

Paulo Leon

Ellis – “Saturn Return – Dizzy Remix” [Listen]
I will look into the mirror
And I will not be ashamed
Turn my face up to the sky
And I will not be afraid

Hamilton-based artist Ellis released her great debut full-length record Born Again back in April. Although certainly not an ideal time to release music as you’re building your career, Ellis has received such a warm reception for the album (released on Royal Mountain Records and Fat Possum). She continues to bring us music to enjoy during these isolated times, the beautiful Bedroom Covers EP, and now Saturn Returned, a collection of remixes of the single “Saturn Return.” Artists Dizzy (who also released one of my favourite albums right now, The Sun And Her Scorch), Cyril Hahn, and Braids reimagine the track. All are perfect for your fall playlists as we take stock and ring in a new season.

Ellis. Photo by Brendan Downey.

Shn Shn – “Melt” [Listen]
shn shn is the new ambient pop project from singer-songwriter Shanika Maria (Hamilton/Toronto-based). The artist teased us with a song on Soundcloud this past spring, and now officially releases two singles for us to enjoy, “Melt” and “Essence.” Shanika is known for her chameleon-like ability to switch up genres with her previous releases, and now she dives into production, beat making, and sound creation with shn shn. Each track is a gorgeous meditative moment, with midi and live instrumentals, samples, and vocals. The artist is working towards her debut EP called structura, which she describes as “a collection of songs with cinematic overtones, lush vocals, and atmospheric noise taking you on a visceral journey.”

Shn Shn

Laura Cole – “Gone” (Live) [Listen]
And why you gotta be so shallow
I never heard your song on the radio
Listening to Laura Cole’s latest release, Live At The Mule Spinner, has me missing live music so much! I was at this show, Laura’s first hometown gig in quite some time, back in November 2019. It was a chilly night as we packed into one of my favourite Hamilton music spaces, The Mule Spinner. Great vibes in the room all night long as we grooved to Laura and the band. It’s a pleasure to get to listen back to Laura’s signature style and remember that set, including one of my favourite moments: Laura’s cover of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” during her encore. The tracklist is a fun mix of covers, fan favourites from Laura’s debut Dirty Cheat, and some newer tunes.

Laura Cole
Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), 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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