Hey, while we are quite possibly slap-bang in the middle of the most catastrophic pandemic in modern history, don’t be fooled into thinking that the new music well is dried up right now. Music creativity is alive and well, with artists across Canada releasing some phenomenal pieces of work. While I don’t want to brag about the amazing talent coming out of Hamilton, ON this summer, there truly are some great new offerings to behold. And let’s face it, you all know I’m pretty biased and love the music culture in the Steel City – so no explanations are needed, right?
With our recent feature on “Paper Thin Walls,” the latest single from Hamilton soul-blues rocker Terra Lightfoot, and our first Snappy Singles feature on emerging artist Evangeline Gentle, anybody might think that we’ve taken an under-the-table sponsorship deal with Hamilton’s own Sonic Unyon Records label. Well, sorry to disappoint all of your conspiracy theorists out there, but the truth of the matter is that the team at Sonic Unyon are set to unleash a swarm of new releases from their very talented roster of (mostly Hamilton based) artists. Here are a few that should be on your new music radar.
As referenced in our recent feature, Terra’s upcoming release, “Consider The Speed,” marks the arrival of her first studio album since her critically acclaimed “New Mistakes” release almost three years ago. Touring relentlessly over the last few years, Terra has both honed and fine-tuned her highly energetic and infectious brand of roots-rock music across the continent. Teaming up with GRAMMY Award winning producer Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell (son of Willie Mitchell), Terra recorded this new album at the legendary Royal Studios in Memphis, TN. As huge fans of Terra’s music, we are eagerly awaiting these new tunes from one of the finest guitar-slingers you’ll meet. “Consider The Speed” is set for release on October 16th.
Over the last few months, the name Evangeline Gentle kept cropping up in my social media feed, my email inbox, and in conversations. Curiosity eventually won me over, and Evangeline’s recent single, “So It Goes” was quickly added to our most recent Snappy Singles feature as one to watch. Scottish-born and Peterborough, ON based Gentle just released her stunning self-titled debut album via Sonic Unyon; an album that has already earned substantial praise from Forbes magazine and NPR here in the US. Also planned is a special online album release concert (with full band), taking place next weekend at Mills Hardware (one of our favorite music venues). The show is being streamed in conjunction with Dan Mangan’s Side Door Concerts series (tickets available via Side Door, album out now).
Basement Revolver have been crafting both noisy and graceful shoegaze-esque tracks since releasing their 2016 breakout hit, “Johnny.” Their affinity for blending 90s-infused indie rock with fuzzy, dreamy pop and poignant, yearning lyrics has earned them a devoted and loyal following well beyond the confines of their Hamilton hometown. The band have spent the last few weeks immersed in recording with producer Ian Gomes at Toronto’s Union Sound Company. The new material, raw, real and beautiful, marks a new phase for the band after recently parting ways with longtime drummer Brandon Munro. Joining Chrisy Hurn (guitars/vocals), Nim Agalawatte (bass/keyboards) and Jonathan Malstrom (guitars) is drummer Levi Kertesz. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
Victoria, BC singer-songwriter Sam Weber is currently in songcraft seclusion in Oregon, working on new tunes and riding out the times, playing the occasional socially distanced show, but itching to tour and characteristically optimistic for what the future holds. For those craving Sam’s sounds right now, he does share his distinct guitar magic to the new Bahamas album, “Sad Hunk,” scheduled for release on October 9th, and its lead single, “Own Alone.” Afie Jurvanen recently explained how he is a huge fan of Weber, and invited him to come play on his new album, with no preconceived plans of what he wanted Sam to play. “I always think it’s so much more interesting when you let them find their way into the songs on their own,” Jurvanen shares. Bahamas producer Robbie Lackritz is currently mixing new material that Weber and bandmate Mallory Hauser created during lockdown, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for new tunes soon.
Okay, so popular Hamilton indie-rockers The Arkells may not be a part of the Sonic Unyon Family, but the band are incredibly proud Hamiltonians who have also just released their latest project, “Campfire Chords.” As the music landscape continues to evolve in 2020, the band took a pause from working on their upcoming studio album and went back to their roots, rediscovering past material and adding a new, stripped back dimension to their popular sound. “We’ve never had time to make an acoustic record because we were too busy playing shows and focusing on new music,” shares vocalist Max Kerman. “All of our big rock n roll songs start with an acoustic or piano, so heading back to that place isn’t too much of a stretch. We wanted a healthy mix of our bigger songs and deep cuts.” “Campfire Chords” is available now, via Universal Music Canada.