Legendary Hamilton-based slacker-poet B.A. Johnston has just released his tenth album, Shit Sucks, and on it – hark! – a straight-up electropop tune! The endlessly listenable “What A Wonderfully Mediocre Day” features all the mainstays of a classic Johnston composition – compact song structure, descriptions of life’s simple lazy pleasures, deeply Canadian references – and one of the catchiest choruses in recent memory.
This song is pop perfection that pays proper respect to a perfectly executed lazy day featuring precious couchtime, chips & dip, garlic bread, and Star Trek TNG. Johnston wisely tells us that we can elevate the most mediocre day into the extraordinary by upholding some basic standards and being relentless yet discerning in our pursuit of happiness. Don’t skimp on that dip! No Q episodes! If done right, there is decidedly no place like home: “If I had a holodeck, make it look like my living room, watch Next Gen all day”.
Listen to that bleepy hook! We think he should go electro more often. Shit Sucks is available now from Bandcamp.
Some days, there’s nothing more smile-inducing than the laid-back drawl of an understated yet uplifting Motëm hook. Hamilton’s electro-rap poet loves bringing things back to basics and his philosophy of being up-front about being conscientious and kind seems, well, rather punk. Not ironic or putting on airs, definitely not preachy. He’s just chilling in an arboretum, rhyming about Atlantis and asking you about how you’ve been. Ten years from now, he’ll be seen as a visionary. And what a beat from Sweden’s Lil Ocean!
Check out Motëm along with a bevy of Silent Shout faves in Hamilton this Saturday at a fundraiser for CFMU at This Ain’t Hollywood.
Hamilton’s New Hands reentered our orbit with the relaxed and lovely “Swimming,” but this is nothing like that song. “Strange Attractor” begins in layers: first radar blips, then groups of arpeggios, and then full percussion. Once Spence Newell’s vocals kick in, it’s clear that this is one powerhouse of a dance single.
They’ll be releasing “way too much” music in 2015, according to their Facebook page. We can’t wait!
Motëm, how we’ve missed ya. Well it hasn’t been that long since last year’s Insider/Outsider and Caveman in Japan but we’re always hungering for more Motëm. Hamilton’s hazy motivational electro-rap guru has put out the Einzelgänger mixtape and it’s on a whole other level. Single “Truth be Knownst” is probably the highlight, a deep grooving production that’s very direct in its message. Be yourself! Do it today!
Holy crap. So assuming that you’re in the same boat as us, that Caribou’s masterful Swim has not left your metaphorical tapedeck since its release, this is the day you’ve been waiting for. The very first song from the new Caribou album, Our Love, out in October. It’s a mostly instrumental affair, using a repeated vocal loop and building to a big crescendo. In terms of catchy singly-ness it’s certainly no “Odessa”, but it’s pretty damn cool. I think it’s safe to assume that this album will have MUCH to offer. October is too far away!
It has been two years since we’ve heard anything from Hamilton’s New Hands, and from the title and grainy imagery of this new single and its accompanying video, you’d think they had spent the time being tossed about by gentle pool waves. Instead they’ve been refining and paring down their sound, leaving Spence Newell’s hypnotizing tenor front and centre. We approve immensely.
Jessy Lanza, probably THE breakout artist in 2013, just released this fantastic Yours Truly session for Pull Your Hair Back highlight “Strange Emotion.” The performance begins at 1:54.
And check out Silent Shout’s interview with Jessy from last October, where she discusses her favourite music of 2013.
Dylan III is Dylan Aiello, a current resident of Berlin originally from Hamilton, Ontario who also happens to be the keyboard player in Sean Nicholas Savage’s European band. He makes some of the most engaging, original and exciting music we’ve heard recently.
The Art of Business, like many of his songs, is about Capitalism, and displays an impressive depth of thought and a pitch black sense of humor. Clocking in at just over 10 minutes its as ambitious and sprawling in its intention as it is in its duration, using repetitive synth lines to build a sense of grim foreboding under expertly imitated management conference speak and samples from actual motivational speakers, before breaking into a first person narrative from the perspective of a banker leaving his office during a protest that is legitimately chilling. It’s brilliantly crafted and nimbly navigates subject matter that could easily fall flat or ring false. A truly remarkable composition.
There’s plenty of more excellent material available on his soundcloud and he’s promised a new series of tracks called Fahrenheit starting in the new year that will appear weekly and will feature a subject, product or company that he admires. The first two installments are already up, one on Bitcoin and one on Whistleblowers.
Hamilton’s Jessy Lanza has had a bit of a meteoric rise to fame, and deservedly so. Could her music be any more cutting edge? For a long time she’s been the Hammer’s go-to opening artist for all the best visiting electronic musicians, like Trust, Diamond Rings, and Miracle Fortress. After signing to prestigious UK label Hyperdub and releasing Pull My Hair Back, the spotlight has been shining brightly on her. Working with Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys as co-writer and co-producer, her debut album has not left our figurative tapedecks since we got our grimy paws on it. Pitchfork hype? Yep. Resident Advisor features? Check. Toronto Star love? Uh-huh. The “Kathy Lee” music video is one of the best of the year, no question.
Pull Your Hair Back is available now from iTunes, and you won’t hear another forward-thinking electronic pop release better than it this year. Jessy plays the Garrison in Toronto on Saturday November 2, and tickets are available here.
Here are Jessy’s Silent Shoutout picks for under-the-radar music you should check out:
Huren (aka Dave Foster) is from Hamilton and is a great lyricist.
Tee Flii is one my favourite r&b singers right now and this track is produced by DJ Mustard who is also amazing. Tee Flii also calls girls “annies” which is cute.
This video was shot in Hamilton in February and captures everything I love about the city.
I am really into the new direction Bieber has taken.
This track has the power to take you to all sorts of different places.
Just an incredible cover here from Hamilton’s Jessy Lanza. Electro-r&b at its softest. Her excellent first album Pull My Hair Back is out now on Hyperdub.