Tag: Hamilton ON

New Video: Basement Revolver Shares Cathartic “Circles”

Formed back in 2016, Hamilton, Ontario-based dreamgaze outfit Basement Revolver — currently, Nimal Agalawatte (bass, keys), Chrisy Hurn (vocals, guitar), Jonathan Malström (guitar) and Levi Kertesz (drums) — can trace their origins back quite a bit earlier, to the longtime friendship between Hurn-Morrison and Agalawatte.

The band hit the ground running with the 2016 release of breakout single “Johnny Pt. 2,” which led to the band signing to British label Fear of Missing Out and later, Canadian label Sonic Unyon Records. The Canadian dreamgazers closed out that year with their self-titled EP. Over the next couple of years, Basement Revolver were remarkably prolific with the release of 2017’s Agatha EP, 2018’s full-length debut Heavy Eyes and 2019’s Wax and Digital EP. The band supported their recorded output with touring across Ontario, the States, the UK, and Germany.

2020 was a tumultuous year for much of the world — and unsurprisingly, it was tumultuous year for the Canadian quartet: They had written and recorded a bunch of songs. They had gone through a lineup change in which one member left and was replaced by another. But because of the pandemic and pandemic-related restrictions, they couldn’t rehearse or record in the way they had been long accustomed. And of course touring was completely off the table for much of 2020 and 2021.

The gap between their work and being alone, naturally resulted in serious introspection for the members of the band — including a reconsideration of who and what the band was. According to the band’s Agalawatte, the band had planned on making their sophomore album last year. But they wound up waiting and working out what to do, eventually making changes to what they had written. “The world was shifting around us – and there was some global trauma – with that, we decided we wanted to fully express ourselves. So far we had kind of held off sharing political views, but we were realizing that our silence was actually just violence. We realized that to be who we are fully and authentically, we needed to share our voice.”

For the band’s members, they felt the need to share things in public, that they had long held private: Agalawatte came out. Hurn came out. According to Hurn-Morrison, the pair came out against what she describes as homophobic and transphobic environments, much like Redeemer University, a private Calvinist university, which has been the birthplace of countless local acts.

Back in 2020, Redeemer University announced a policy that would discipline students for any sexual behavior outside heterosexual marriage. “While we were in the studio, the CBC released an article about Redeemer University, and their homophobic and transphobic policies. I realized then and there, I had to come out. I had to share my experience with being bi,” Hurn-Morrison explains.

Basment Revolver’s sophomore album Embody is slated for a February 18, 2022 release through Sonic Unyon Records. Thematically, the album sees the band wrestling with questions of identity, sexuality, faith and mental illness in an explicit, honest, and self-aware fashion. Sonically, the album’s material reveals a much deeper sound paired with a crisper production. And while arguably being the most personal album of their growing catalog to date, the album’s material is rooted in hope and hopeful waiting — to physically be with your friends, to tour and to engage with the world with this newfound understanding of yourself and your place within the world.

Embody‘s fourth and latest single “Circles” is a slow-burning and expansive bit of shoegazy dream pop featuring swirling layers of shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, atmospheric synths, Hurn’s achingly plaintive vocals and a driving rhythm section. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to A Storm in Heaven era The Verve and The Sundays, “Circles” is a deeply personal song in which it’s narrator openly struggles in the aftermath of being raped, and — sadly — informed by Hurn-Morrison’s personal experiences.

According to Chrisy Hurn, the song captures the feeling of “trying to do everything in your power to get better, but there is just that one thing that it always comes back to — knowing that it is a slow and long journey.

“As much as it is about this heavy, shitty thing that happened, I feel resilient. I feel a little bit stronger every time I hear it — a little bit more like I can stop hiding parts of myself.” Of course, while being cathartic for the band’s Hurn, she has the hope that it will help listeners, who may be going through similar experiences.

The recently released video is split between symbolic imagery of Hurn struggling with depression and anxiety — and seemingly gathering the courage to perform such a devastatingly honest song with her bandmates. The video’s color palette capture the brooding and serious nature of the song.

New VIdeo: Hamilton, Ontario’s Ellevator Releases a Stylish Visual for Sleek and Anthemic New SIngle “Easy”

Rising Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock trio Ellevator — currently Nabi Sue Bersche (vocals), Tyler Bersche (guitar) and Elliott Gwynne (bass, synths) — have received attention in their native Canada and elsewhere for a developing and honing a sound that draws from late-aughts guitar music, post-rock, U2, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Feist, Spoon and Death Cab for Cutie paired with lean, razor sharp hooks, sweeping crescendos and Bersche’s sultry, pop star vocals singing lyrics, which thematically touch upon power, love and loss from deeply lived-in, personal reflections.

With the release of 2018’s self-titled EP, the Hamilton-based indie act exploded into the national and international scenes: material from the EP amassed over a million streams across the digital streaming platforms. The band also toured across North America with Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good, BANNERS, Cold War Kids, JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin, Dear Rouge, Bishop Briggs, Arkells and Amber Run.

Elleavator’s long-awaited full-length debut is slated for a 2022 released through Arts & Crafts. But in the meantime, the Canadian trio released their first bit of new material in some time, the Chris Walla-produced “Easy.” Featuring slashing guitars, shimmering synth arpeggios, Nabi Sue Bersche’s pop star-like vocals and razor sharp hooks, “Easy” reveals an act that has made a bold and decided step forward in their sound and approach. The song sees the band balancing deliberate attention to craft, earnest, lived-in lyrics and slick, studio polish in a way that reminds me of Deep Sea Diver’s impressive Impossible Weight.

Much like the rest of the trio’s previously released work, “Easy” thematically touches upon love, connection and identity while drawing from Bersche’s personal experiences: For a period of her youth, Nabi Sue Bersche was a member of what could be described as a cult, and “Easy” is a rumination on the good and evil things we are raised to believe. “I was raised in the world of charismatic Christianity – an offshoot of Pentecostalism,” Ellevator’s Nabi Sue Bersche explains in press notes. “God was magic and prophetic ecstasies happened every Sunday. As a child, I spoke in tongues and prayed until my body swayed with a gentle force like wind knocking me backward. A deep and abiding love of the natural world took hold of me. I witnessed firsthand the wild power of music – how it could uplift, ensnare, console, inspire.

“When I was 17 I moved to the other side of the world and joined what would most accurately be described as a cult. I prayed for strangers I met in parking lots. I shut my eyes and read the dappled light between my lashes like tea leaves that could divine the future. Vulnerability was a badge in that community so I learned to overshare. Teachings were given in the language of freedom while the stiff hand of purity reduced my body to a shameful temptation. Growing up like that gave me a love of music, a nose for bullshit, and a lot to unravel. This song is about the good and evil things we are raised to believe. I was held captive by an ideology that severely limited my life and my perspective of the world around me. It’s a process I’m still in the middle of, this work of extraction.”

Directed and edited by Cam Veitch, the recently released video for “Easy” was shot in and around a Hamilton parking lot with a sleek and stylish panache fitting of a sleek and stylish song. But throughout there’s the odd sense of the video’s protagonist — the band’s Nabi Sue Bersche — being followed by something inescapable and constant.

New Video: The Dill’s Groovy “Lover Baby”

Dylan Hudecki is a Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and grizzled Hamilton music scene vet, best known for stints in bands like By Divine Right and Junior Blue. Back in 2018, Hudecki stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist with his solo recording project The Dill — and the project’s full-length debut Greetings From.

Released through Dead Radio Love Records, a boutique imprint of Riverfest Elora, Greetings From was a vinyl release featuring a best of selection of the 52 songs he had written as part of a larger magnum opus titled 52, which features 113 different Canadian artists collaborating with Hudecki and took the better part of 15 years to write and record. Late last year, Hudecki took 12 of the remaining 40 songs left off the vinyl, had those tracks remixed and remastered and released it as a book-end effort titled Beside to close out the last chapter of 52.

rock musicians including The Weakerthans and Bahamas’ Jason Tait, Broken Social Scene’s Sam Goldberg, Rheostatics’ Don Kerr, Twin Within’s Steve McKay, Monster Truck’s Jeremy Widerman, Chalk Circle’s Chris Tait, Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt and a list of others. Sonically, Besides is centered around playful eclecticism paired with Hudecki’s wry and sobering observations on navigating life’s great disappointments.

For Hudecki, the experience has shown I’m that good things do come to those, who wait. “I’ve got great friends, plain and simple,” Hudecki says. “If it wasn’t for them, this project wouldn’t exist. The spirit of collaboration kept me going. I had to finish it for them, if no one else.”

Besides’ latest single “Lover Baby” which features Bahamas’ Don Kerr (drums) and Monster Truck’s Jeremey Wilderman (guitar) sees Hudecki pairing his wry, deadpan delivery in English and French with a scuzzy and bluesy guitar-led groove that would thrill Jack White or Dan Auerbach and an enormous hook. At its core, “Lover Baby” is a playful yet earnest plea of eternal devotion. After making music that was full of guitar tracks and multi-layering, it’s great to try to be minimal and evolve as a songwriter to keep it to the basics,” the Hamilton-based artist says.

The recently released video for “Lover Baby” features Hudecki dancing around the streets of Hamilton, Ontario in a monkey mask. “Sometimes, we just need to go for a walk and dance down the street for the hell of it — taking the piss out of life,” Dylan Hudecki say of the video treatment. “I cruised around Hamilton, Ontario dressed as a monkey while filming the video for my new song, ‘Lover Baby.’ It was an interesting feeling to be looked at as odd and unusual – ostracized for being different – which ultimately felt freeing.”

Fake Shape is an emerging Hamilton Ontario-based indie quintet that formed back in 2018. Each of the band’s five musicians offer their own unique aesthetic into the mix — and as a result, their sound features elements of indie rock, pop, ambient electronica and others. Over the past few months, the band has been holed up at Hamilton’s Fort Rose Studios writing and recording material that would eventually comprise their forthcoming debut EP Night Swim.

“It’s Easy,” Night Swim‘s first single features an expansive song structure begins with an ambient and brooding intro before quickly morphing to swaggering prog rock and prog jazz-inspired pop centered around plaintive and expressive vocals, shimmering and atmospheric synths arpeggios, slashing guitars, a sinuous bass line and an infectious hook. And while recalling Radiohead and JOVM mainstays Bells Atlas and Milagres, the song drifts and effortlessly glides through contrasting mindsets and feelings, accurately capturing feelings of dread, unease and uncertainty with a psychologically precise attention to detail/

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New Audio: Hamilton Ontario’s Ellevator Releases a Dramatic and Bittersweet New Single

Earlier this year, I caught the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock quartet Ellevator on a bill that featured JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin. And as you amy recall, the band which is comprised of Nabi Sue Bersche, Elliot Gwynne, Michael Boyd, and Tyler Bersche specialize in a muscular yet meticulous take on pop centered around Nabi Sue Bersche’s raw lyricism and an incredibly cinematic sound.

2018 has been a big year for the Hamilton, Ontario-based quartet: they’ve amassed over a million streams across all the streaming platforms, and they’ve gone on a run of successful tours across North America opening for Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good and BANNERS, as well as a stadium show with Cold War Kids, Bishop Briggs and Arkells. And adding to a successful year, Ellevator will be opening for Amber Run during their December North American tour, which includes a December 8, 2018 stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. You can check out the tour dates below. 

“The Storm,” the Canadian indie quartet’s new single is centered by Nabi Sue Bersche’s tender and aching vocals, an enormous, power chord-led hook, arpeggiated synths and a propulsive rhythm section and a deliberate attention to craft that recalls 70s AM rock — with a slick, contemporary vibe. As the band explains, the single is “an apology and an explanation. It’s the turmoil in our personal skies caused by ending the relationship. It’s a reminder that I care about you, and that you can’t seek comfort in me anymore. Trust that I know you well enough to rightly believe we’re not each other’s sun and stars – but don’t trust me – because I’m breaking your heart.” The song possesses the bittersweet air of a relationship at its inevitable end and an uncertain but necessary future. 

With the release of their debut single “Johnny,” the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock trio Basement Revolver, comprised of Chrisy Hurn (guitar, vocals), Nimal Agalawatte (bass) and Brandon Munro (drums) saw a rapid career trajectory as they received praise from the likes of DIY Magazine, The FADER and Exclaim! for a sound that draws from 90s alt rock and dream pop — but paired with deeply personal, yearning lyrics. Adding to a growing profile, the band released a handful of Hype Machine, chart topping songs which resulted in the Canadian indie rock trio amassing more than one million streams of their songs.

Recorded at TAPE Studio, where they recorded their first two EPs, their Adam Bentley and Jordan Mitchell-produced full-length debut Heavy Eyes is slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Fear of Missing Out Records and Sonic Unyon Records, and as the band’s Chrisy Hurn explains in press notes, recording in a comfortable environment allowed them to not only hone the sound that has won them international attention, it allowed them freedom to get heavy or more laid-back when the song required it; but perhaps more important, as Hurn says, “It also gave me the confidence as a writer to not take myself so seriously, to let myself get cheesy or goofy with some songs.”

“Dancing,” the buzz-worthy Canadian indie rock trio’s latest single finds the duo pairing buzzing and distorted power chords, propulsive drumming, a soaring hook and yearning lyrics within a song that sounds as though it were influenced by The Cranberries and PJ Harvey — and while subtly uptempo, it manages a buzzing and brooding nature. As the band’s Hurn explains of the song, When I’m feeling down, I like to borrow a car and drive until I am lost – it makes me feel better and distracts me a little. So, yeah, break out of your shell and dance… or get some fresh air.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months or so, you’d likely see that I’ve written quite a bit about the Hamilton, ON-based singer/songwriter, guitar and newest JOVM mainstay Terra Lightfoot. And although she’s a member of Canadian country act Dinner Belles, Lightfoot, who personally has claimed Maybelle CarterSister Rosetta TharpeLead BellyLightnin’ HopkinsSam CookeOtis ReddingNina Simone and Billie Holiday, the Hamilton-based singer/songwriter and guitarist has developed a reputation as a solo artist, who crafts raw, slow-burning singer/songwriter guitar pop. Adding to a growing profile across her native Canada and elsewhere, Lightfoot opened for the likes of  Emmylou HarrisRon SexsmithGordon LightfootBlue RodeoRheostaticsGrace PotterThe BothBuilt to SpillSloanArkellsBasia BulatAlbert LeeJames BurtonThe SadiesSteve StrongmanMonster Truck and Daniel Lanois.

Lightfoot’s third full-length album New Mistakes is slated for an October 13, 2017 through Sonic Unyon Records, and as you may recall, the album’s first single “Paradise” found the Hamilton, ON-based JOVM mainstay thoroughly reinventing her sound while still retaining some of the essential elements that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere — including Lightfoot’s personal and deeply heartfelt lyrics and booming, soulful vocals; however, “Paradise” may arguably be one of the most anthemic songs she’s released to date, as it’s rooted around the sort of bluesy shout and stomp reminiscent of T. Bone Burnett, The Black Keys and others. Of course, the song clearly pushes the Canadian JOVM mainstay’s sound towards a decided, blues rock direction — but it does so while revealing an artist, who has found her own, unique voice.

New Mistakes‘ latest single, the atmospheric  “Norma Gale” may arguably be Lightfoot’s most singer/songwriter-like songs, as it was inspired by her meeting and befriending Norma Gale, a country singer/songwriter, who developed a great following in Nashville and wound up playing with Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty during the 1970s. As Lightfoot explains in press notes, the song chronicles Gale’s life, as she’s trying to make a name for herself as a musician — while raising a young son as a single parent. “I kept in touch with Norma and her son, and let them know when I finally made it to Nashville to do some writing, but unfortunately, she had passed away two weeks earlier,” Lightfoot recalls.  Unsurprisingly, based on Lightfoot’s own work, I can see why she would be drawn to Gale and her story — and as a result, Lightfoot empathetically conveys the strength and resolve to achieve your dreams, even when things are at their most desperate. And as a musician, how can you not see yourself in the struggle of those before you, who have tried to make a name for themselves?

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New Video: Terra Lightfoot Returns with an Anthemic, Arena Rock Friendly, New Single

If you had been frequenting this site over the course of last year, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Hamilton, ON-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Terra Lightfoot. And as you may recall, although she may be be best known as a member of Canadian country act Dinner Belles, Lightfoot, who is personally influenced by Maybelle Carter, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Lead Belly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday has developed a reputation for crafting raw, slow-burning singer/songwriter-based guitar pop that nodded at  Patsy Cline and others, as you would have heard on “All Alone,” off her sophomore effort, Every Time My Mind Runs Wild and a gorgeous and mournful, solo rendition of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” that drew influence from Chet Atkins‘ instrumental rendition. Adding to a growing profile. Lightfoot has opened for the likes of  Emmylou Harris, Ron Sexsmith, Gordon Lightfoot, Blue Rodeo, Rheostatics, Grace Potter, The Both, Built to Spill, Sloan, Arkells, Basia Bulat, Albert Lee, James Burton, The Sadies, Steve Strongman, Monster Truck and Daniel Lanois on stages across France, the UK and her native Canada. 

Lightfoot’s third full-length album New Mistakes is slated for an October 13, 2017 through Sonic Unyon Records and as you’ll hear on the album’s  first single “Paradise,” the album finds Lightfoot thoroughly reinventing her sound while retaining some of the elements that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere — while still being based around Lightfoot’s personal and deeply heartfelt lyrics and booming, soulful vocals, the song is arguably one of her most anthemic songs, rooted around the sort of bluesy shout and stomp reminiscent of T. Bone Burnett, The Black Keys and others. And although it’s a decided, contemporary rock-based, modernization of her sound, it reveals a singer/songwriter, who is actively coalescing her influences into a clear and unique sound and vision. 

As Lightfoot explains in press notes, “For me, ‘Paradise’ is about letting go of perfection in love. It’s not wrestling with the problems and missteps in our relationships but embracing them. I think it’s a more realistic way to look at love and it gives me some comfort to know I’m not standing there with rose-coloured glasses on.  ‘Paradise’ actually started out as a different song called ‘Thunder’ that was a huge hit at our shows. On the last day of tracking the record, I had this crazy idea that I wanted to change the words because I wasn’t happy with all of them, so I set up a pillow fort and a guitar in the tracking room, went to work… and ended up with a new verse melody and completely different lyrics. Gus and Werner liked the new verse so much they said, ‘Okay, now go write a chorus to match that verse” — and ‘Paradise’ was born!

The recently released music video for “Paradise” is a highly symbolic video that features Lightfoot playing solo and then accompanied with her incredibly dapper backing band in an abandoned factory with an unusual intimacy. Along with that there’s a sequence that features Lightfoot dancing joyously in the rain — perhaps after recognizing a truly adult and realistic version of love.