HamOnt’s Finest

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Last night I went to a free street show as part of this crazy declaration of Hamilton pride known as Supercrawl. Once a month Hamilton has Artcrawl, a street festival of music, food and art on James Street. I’ve only lived in Hamilton for a year and am not the most social while I’m in town because I spent 38456432% of my time working and the remaining hours getting the hell out of Hamilton. This means that I had zero clue what anyone was talking about when they mentioned Supercrawl over the past week. Supercrawl is the largest and fanciest of all Artcrawls. For Supercrawl, the streets are blocked off and big bands from the area come out to play. Last night was an amazing night for for free music because I got to see the Arkells who have been on my list for quite a while. They are regulars on the Canadian music scene, kind of like an indie Kardinal, but amazing nonetheless.

I recognized nearly all of their songs thanks to indie88, the only radio station I listen to now. They sounded amazing live except for a few hiccups with the audio that were sorted out pretty quickly. With free street shows I would think nothing ever goes 100% to plan so I can definitely get past that. The energy of the crowd was nuts. There were fights, mosh pits and an insane amount of pushing. I went to the show solo and planned to meet my friends but there was zero chance of finding anyone in that crowd. That meant that my 5’3 frame was crammed elbow-head-elbow with about 15 bros. As a short individual, this means I saw absolutely nothing and was in constant fear of being trampled. I made the decision to get to the back of the crowd before this fear became real. My view from the back was non-existent, but once I had space to breathe I got to enjoy the show. I’ve come to accept that this is the reality when shows are A) Free and B) All Ages. They played all of their hits and a few off their new album, High Noon. I have to admit that my favourite song of the night was Cynical Bastards. After living in Hamilton for a year I have come to find that Hamiltonians have a ton of pride. Everyone here insists that the city is changing for the better and that the music/art scene is amazing. I can’t say I disagree with the latter. This song captures that perfectly, and it’s hilarious because I was definitely one of those Cynical Bastards.

Good on the Arkells for constantly paying tribute to their roots. Even their name is a show of Hamilton pride. They are doing good things for the city, and last night made it clear that the people of Hamilton appreciate it. Nearly everyone in the crowd was singing along to every song. There were certainly a ton of students, especially in the moshiest of areas, but there was quite a bit of variety in ages for the audience overall. This was certainly nice to see, and kind of rare. This was the most “from all walks of life”-type audience I have ever experienced. This show definitely made me want to buy their album, and also made me feel like a douche for hating on Hamilton so much during my time here. This is all very fitting since my time in Hamilton will soon come to an end……. Well done, Arkells.

Down Time

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After a work-filled weekend with a very rare, yet much appreciated, window for partying, I had a bit of down time after I finished my opening shift at work. I spent about 95% of that catching up on sleep, but for the few hours I was awake I decided to just relax and do a little cleaning. I have some very big life changes coming up in the next month or two. As excited as I am for things to change, the stress has been taking a toll on me. During times of extreme stress I rely heavily on music to help me chill out like most other humans.

I have no memory whatsoever of how I came across this song; however, I do know I listened to it at least four times because it has the ultimate uplifting, chill vibe. “Dreamers” is by someone or some people who call themselves Hopium. I checked out their Facebook page and learned almost nothing. I feel badly promoting a song knowing pretty much nothing about the artist(s) but I’m going to do it anyways because it’s too good. If you like this, you should check out the remix by Jamie Kuse. The remix is the version I came across first. Also very good, just a little more upbeat. Happy relaxing. 

Glass Animals

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Glass Animals are a very unique group fresh out of the UK, and what I’ve heard so far I like. Lately, my boredom has driven me to seek out new sounds and these guys fit the bill. Their other tune that seems to have gained some popularity is called Gooey, but I definitely prefer Pools. I came across this tune on my SoundCloud stream. It’s one of those songs that grows on you. To be honest, the first time I heard it I had no idea what to think. Days later, I realized it was still stuck in my head. I love songs like these that leave a lasting impression even if I’m not quite sure what to make of it. I put music like this in to a strange little category I can’t really describe and just slap the word “indie” on it; however, that does not do these guys justice. 

 

 

Ready For It

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I am obsessed with this song. I can’t get enough of Strangers, the most recent album by RAC. This song is something entirely different from what I’ve come to expect from RAC and that’s why I love it. There is nothing worse than an artist who is far too predictable. RAC’s beats have certainly not gone stale. It has that amazing 80’s vibe that comes standard with most St. Lucia songs, but with an added etherial, dream-like sound from the female vocalist. I’ve had this on repeat for days. The worst part about this song is that it’s less than three minutes long. 

Say My Name

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My sister is a fan of Odesza and tried her hardest to get me to see these guys while we were at Osheaga. I generally trust her taste in music, but opted to roll solo to Bleachers instead for reasons described many times in previous blog posts. I certainly did not regret my decision because Jack and friends put on a great show, but if given another opportunity to check out Odesza I’ll be smart enough not to pass it up a second time.

I finally got around to checking out their Soundcloud page last night and was not disappointed. I downloaded just about every track I could get my hands on. P.S… they are offering a lot of free downloads at the moment. I’m at the stage where every song still feels like a little surprise when they pop up on my playlist. This gem is the first of many I’m sure I will post on my blog. It’s just repetitive enough that it provides the perfect soundtrack for pre-party activities without being monotonous and boring. Slightly mellow tunes like this get me just the right amount of pumped. Despite all recent attempts to party being foiled by pneumonia, exhaustion and work, the desire still burns strong. Thank you, Odesza, for being my motivation to push through until Friday. Only two more sleeps to go. 

Sam Smith Can Do No Wrong

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I love every song I have heard so far from Sam Smith’s album, In The Lonely Hour. He released a video on YouTube at the beginning of August for I’m Not The Only One. The video shows the dude from The Mindy Project cheating on his wife, Dianna Agron, with some brunette. The acting is pretty damned good on Dianna Agron’s part because I feel her pain. Oh the memories of being cheated on. Despite it being a pretty well-made video, I hate the ending. Dianna’s character does what most people hate to admit but probably would do in real life, she stays with him. There’s no sweet sweet revenge at the end of this video which is what I, and probably every other viewer, wanted so badly to see. Unfortunately, that is life.

Video aside, the song is beautiful. In the typical Sam Smith style, you feel his emotions so clearly with every note he sings. He has an amazing voice that makes you wish his songs would never end. For the most part, I am waiting for him to release singles off of his album so that I can stretch out the excitement I get from his album for ages until he releases a new one. I do this when I want something I really enjoy to last, like carefully unwrapping Christmas presents one at a time and alternating between all four of my sisters and I. It’s painful, but it works. 

Here’s the video so you can love the song and hate the ending. 

Bleachers Show Review

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I work for Virgin Mobile and occasionally get tickets to shows since the company is big on the music scene. This time I had the chance to see Bleachers for free at the Mod Club and I pounced. I had already seen them once this summer when they played on the Friday at Osheaga and I was in love. I have been listening to Bleachers for months now, and every time they release a song I have been thoroughly impressed. The full album, Strange Desire, came out recently and it is worth every nickel. Canadians don’t do pennies anymore. 

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Unfortunately, Toronto traffic got the best of me and I missed the opening act, Misterwives. I ran in to a friend who caught a couple songs and it sounded like he was impressed. I will check them out when I have a spare minute, but for now I can only comment on Bleachers. If my memory serves me, they opened with Wild Heart and started the show off with a bang. The energy was on-point the entire time. Even during the slower tunes they kept the audience involved by asking people to clap and sing along. Jack Antonoff was engaging throughout the entire show. He gave up the spotlight from time to time by having the other band members get some solos in, and took the time near the end to introduce the audience to each band member. I like this idea because these guys are new on the scene, and for the most part people only know Jack. It was evident that every guy in the band can carry their weight musically, and the audience went especially wild for the sax solo. Who doesn’t love a sax solo? It was hard to choose, but the highlights for me were Shadow, Take Me Away and You’re Still a Mystery. It’s only a matter of time before these songs blow up. I would love to catch Take Me Away live with Grimes as well, so here’s hoping that day comes. It came up a couple of times that this was their first live show in Toronto. I’m sure this will be the first of many and I will definitely check them out again when the opportunity arises. Twice in one month and I’m still not sick of them. 

 

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