Cœur de pirate

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Indie-Pop

Cœur de pirate, real name Béatrice Martin, is a Canadian singer and Songwriter from Montreal, Quebec. Cœur de pirate is one person but has a very ‘bandy’ sounding name, as in, her name sounds like she would be a band, and she does give off that band sort of vibe. During the mid-2000s she received a lot of media coverage on various shows, as well as on the internet. Currently she has 4 LPs released, the latest one from this year titled Child of Light. If you’re interested in francophone music, Cœur de pirate is the way to go, and a must listen. Especially coming from someone who isn’t all that into french music.

Below is the track “St-Laurent.” Right away it has the bell, glockenspiel sound which is indeed quite indie. Her vocals are very soothing right off the bat and overall she gives off a soothing feeling. Although somewhat simplistic the track feels ‘thick’ in a way. And although I cannot quite understand the words, it adds a bit of mystery to the lyrics even though I could just look up the translation. Overall “St-Laurent” is beautiful and nicely sums up Cœur de pirate, beautiful and elegant. I could listen to this track again and again without getting tired of it.

Check her out below!




Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Indie/Pop

From Facebook.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is not a Nascar driver. They are an indie-pop band from Detroit, Michigan and consist of members Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein. The two began recording in Zott’s basement in 2009 and by 2010 released their first EP. So far they have three EPs and two LPs, their latest being The Speed of Things released on Warner Bros Records. After doing some research, I found that the real Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a fan of the duo. The name Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is really accurate, you don’t know what you’re going to get when you listen to them.

Below is a track titled “Run,” and it’s initially what got me hooked on their stuff. Their music is very vibrant and full, making you want to either dance or bob your head. The track is repetitive but it seems that each time something repeats a new layer each time until exploding at the end of the song. Their synth samples are super top notch as well as the vocals. To top if off, the video is done really well and its super entertaining to watch. The band is relatively new, and they are currently on tour, so there is no doubt they will be producing some new stuff in the near future.

So check em’ out below:




The Funny Funk Band

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Funk/Dance/Hip-hop

Image from Bandcamp.

Jackson Steinwall does it all, he plays bass, sings, writes music, and on top of that he’s funny. The formation of the Funny Funk band was for a show Jackson created called “Jackson Steinwall’s Funny Funk Show.” The show featured a set of jokes he had written, with the headlining performance from his funny funk band with original music he had written for his funk combo in highschool. It was a success, and they decided to bring the funk show to new venues and solidify the band. Almost all of the band members are currently studying music at a post secondary level which includes Jackson Steinwall on Bass and Vocals, David Steinmetz on Drums, Andrew Moore on Guitar, Nolan Tait on Keyboards, Emily Steinwall on Tenor Sax, Tom Upjohn on Trumpet, and Margaret Nishimura on Trombone, and on top of that they often feature a rapper at their live shows. Their new EP will be released on Halloween so look forward to that!

The Funny Funk Band can best be described as dancy-funk and hip-hop. The first new track to be released off their new EP is titled “Knockout.” Overall its killer. It begins with a solid horn hook before the entirety of the rhythm section kicks you in the face. “It’ll take you off your feet,” this track literally knocks you out. Jackson’s vocals are sweet with a bite and with a bit of a growl. Soon enough in the track, theres a pretty wicked keyboard/organ solo, followed by a bass lick and then a reprise back to the beginning. Jackson has a good grasp of form which you can clearly hear and you can tell he is not only proficient as a musician and singer, but as a composer. The Funny Funk Band has amazing chemistry together, and its amazing to hear such strong musicians laying down such real music.

I can’t wait to hear the rest of the EP, so check out the track below:






All Them Witches

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Rock/Blues/Psychedelic

From Facebook.

Here is a band I randomly came across online. From Nashville, Tennessee (typical right?), these guys have a real classic blues rock sound. According to Facebook, their members are Rob, Parks, Ben, and Allan. Relatively new, the band started up in 2012, soon enough they released their debut LP Our Mother Electricity and right after they began working on another album Lighting At The Door. It’s obvious these guys are working a lot and moving fast, producing a lot of work.

Below is the track titled “When God Comes Back.” Like I said before it has a very classic rock sound and feel. The guitar is roaring, and overall they are very fluid. Kind of like a chill Led Zeppelin mixed with the Black Keys. The vocals are deep and rich, and to top it off the overall arch of the song is like a story, a buildup and with a climax. In fact, I have listened to this track about 5 times now and I can’t get enough of it. It only makes me more excited for their other stuff. So why not take a listen below if you’re into that sort of thing.

Check it out!






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Genre: Pop/Rock

Hatley (Hatley Edmonds) is a singer/songwriter currently based in Toronto, Ontario. According to her bio, she previously spent a year at Concordia University and dropped out to begin her music career full time. And almost immediately she released her debut EP Songs I Wrote While I Hated My Life At Concordia University, which is an appropriate title for a somewhat indie sounding EP. Since then she has performed in many venues across Toronto and has been working on her second EP. Besides that, Hatley has a very strong social media presence and is constantly putting out new stuff online and keeping in touch with her supporters!

The track I listened to which is available for download on itunes is called “Crazy.” The song has a very basic chord progression which is something I see as an asset, simple is good, and it works well with the backbeat underneath. There is a heavy influence on lyrical content which is up to the listener to decipher, just listen closely and find out. “Crazy” is very poppy but hard around the edges. And is in fact, crazy. By the end of the song, the lyrics and melody are trapped in your head and you’re forced to hit replay. There is no doubt Hatley is going to grow into big things, so be sure to check her out below!







By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Fuzz Punk

Looks like we got more than just music from them!

Full of snakes album.

Now this is a band with a unique sound. Introducing Mumblr, a “Fuzz Punk” band based in Philadelphia. Capturing the pure essence of the emotional trials and tribulations of being a youth growing up in Philly. Combining different elements of rock and punk giving a feeling of ‘fuzzy punk’ (which is also because of their use of distortion). Mumblr contains Nick Morrison, Ian Amidon, Sean Reilly, and Scott Stitzer, these guys give a nod to famous rock and punk bands, and indie artists alike. Their new album Full of Snakes comes out September 16th but I’m talking about them now!

One track is available on soundcloud titled “Got It.” Off the bat, I get a kind of The Shins vibe even if its unintentional. As I’m sitting here and listening more this feeling of Weezer comes in (more Pinkerton, not really their later stuff). Their vocals are quite good and it seems as if they effortlessly combine their drums, bass, and guitar into this ever building containment of music which eventually explodes in your face much like a spasm of joy, but don’t tell them I said that. Their bass especially sticks out to me. “I’ll invite you to my room, all the time, cause I got if you want it.” These are very good lyrics, they’re suggestive and get you thinking. And they’ve got what we want, and what we crave.

Check them out below!




Also check out fleeting youth records: http://www.fleetingyouthrecords.com/

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Steel Toed Slippers

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Rock

With a new EP recently released titled Stolen Words, now is the perfect time to check out rock and or roll band Steel Toed Slippers. A band with a name that fits their music, something heavy combined with something light which creates a style of music that is gentle and tough at the same time, like a steel toed slipper. Steel Toed Slippers hails from Humboldt County, California and consists mainly of highschool chums Matt Moss and Will Nicoll and a bunch of bass players. So far they have done quite well, with tons of tour dates coming up.

After listening through the EP a couple of times, I have formed a solid opinion on it. It’s very mellow and lighthearted but with an edge. The first track on the EP “Forever Born” feels very laid back but with tons of movement. This track has direction, especially in the guitar line which drives the song forward in cohesion with this rock style type of singing. Steel Toed Slippers has a distinct style that is even poetic in a sense without being cheesy which is something I have often come across when faced with this style. Their drum lines do quite well in adding to this concept of motion, the music has a point and is a like a well oiled car driving along, with a destination in mind.

So check them out below!






United Ghosts

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Electro/Rock

From Facebook photo by Dylan Gordon

United Ghosts came to me in an email, and with the release of their new EP titled Dear Electric Sun I have finally gotten around to writing about them. It is difficult to arbitrarily assign a genre to them but they flawlessly combine a mix of styles with tastes of electro and rock with psychedelic, as well as killer vocals on top. Simply beginning with Sha Sabi and Axel Steuerwald, United Ghosts released their first track in 2011, and so it began. From California, United Ghosts embraces an LA sort of sound, with a twist which is very different from what I’m used to hearing in the East. They have received much positive praise from many publications from the US and the UK, but now they can add Canada to their list.

Specifically, I listened to “out of love” which is the highlight of their EP, and encompasses it as a whole from what I think. Their combination of voices work well together on top of the pulsating beats and repetitive synth sounds. The track sounds familiar to me but not in a bad way, as United Ghosts employs techniques that work and sound good to listeners but without being too cliche or boring. Despite being new, this track already feels like a classic to me and I can’t stop listening to it again and again. I really reccomend you check out the rest of your stuff if you like this track, and why not take a listen to their EP as well.

Check out United Ghosts below!





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Calle 13

By: Brandon Benguaich
Genre: Rap/Hip-hop

Calle 13 is by no means underground, in fact they are one of the most popular bands from the Latin-American musicsphere. But, they are relatively unknown to the majority of our readers (Canadian). Calle 13 are a band from Puerto Rico which mainly consists of Residente (René Pérez Joglar) and Visitante (Eduardo José Cabra Martínez), as well as PG-13 (Cabra Joglar). They became really popular in Puerto Rico, especially after the release of their first album in 2005. Calle 13 is currently signed to El Abismo but were first signed to White Lion Records in 2005.

Calle 13 is mostly known for their unique sound combining different styles of music including rap, latin, reggaeton, rock, and more, although they do try to distance themselves from reggaeton. Many people consider reggaeton to be a wishy washy over saturated pop genre, but whatever attempts Calle 13 try at it are considered successful.They are also known for their lyrical content and social commentary on Latin America. Below is the track titled “El Aguante.” This track is a great example of their diversity as performers and musicians. There is an interesting sample at the beginning, a good beat and many different electric sounds. Translated, the title of this track means stamina. I think the track represents hard work and human resilience. Calle 13 speaks the truth, and if you’re looking for different music thats popular in other places outside of the traditional rap we hear in the english speaking world, check them out.





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Dana Swarbrick

Genre: Folk/Jazz/Blues

Photo courtesy of Sabrina Sibbald of Chases the Sun Photography

“I’m outgoing and confident. I try to be funny. And I love music.” As we were sitting at the front window of My Dog Joe, Dana Swarbrick began making faces at the adorable golden retriever outside. Perhaps this was where the true magic began, as I started to interview the local Hamilton singer – songwriter. I had first seen her perform at the very same café not too long before, where I had witnessed her eccentric hallmark – what I call: the mouth trumpet.

Every bit as unique as the personality that faced me, my jaw literally dropped as Swarbrick pursed her lips together to weave the bridge of Fireflies and Starlight, a song about her best friend. A technique taught to her by a fellow member of her vocal jazz group, Swarbrick has now held workshops of her own on the creation of the perfect brass instrument sound.

Swarbrick’s personal favourite is her recent single, Waterfall “It’s about a woman falling in love with a waterfall. The word waterfall itself is never mentioned in the song. It’s very poetic. It flows like a waterfall – I wanted something that would ascend quickly and flow down a bit slower. I wanted to write a song in ¾ as well.” Then as a quick cheerful addition – “In the city of waterfalls!”

In addition to the well-versed musical knowledge, mouth trumpet, and burgeoning joy, Swarbrick also possesses one of the purest voices with, what I would describe as, a vintage overtone. It’s homely and calming and perfect for tracks like my personal favourite, L’Art, a song about artistic passion which encourages listeners “…de t’exprimer, de t’exprimer”. Having done french immersion, Swarbrick and I initially began our conversation in French… quelque chose que j’ai apprecié beaucoup!

Her passion is something that translates beautifully into her performance and her appreciation for her fans is extraordinarily humble. In fact, Swarbrick dedicates the time and effort to create her EP covers with her fans’ favourite colours.

Photo courtesy of Dana Swarbrick - A sample EP created for her friend Cam

Photo courtesy of Dana Swarbrick

“My dad was always really into music… He’s always been a big influence to the genres I listen to.” Swarbrick’s musical journey continued in school as a part of the community choir and band (she also plays baritone sax!). Musical influences include Norah Jones, an icon of whom Swarbrick’s folk-jazz-blues has been wonderfully compared to. Personal favourites include Fleet Foxes, Beirut, and Grizzly Bear.

Having opened for Hannah Georgas at Casbah, Swarbrick is also a local ambassador for the local Hamilton music scene. She’s began Ham Tams, a local initiative rooted from Montreal’s Tam Tams, that celebrates the spirit of the local creative community, with activities like slacklining, a drum circle, and of course, jam sessions.

“I want to write a jazz song that makes people feel the blues. I want to write a song that makes people fall in love again.” And here is an artist who does just that.

P.S. Come see Swarbrick perform at the YPNHOI sponsored show at Homegrown Hamilton August 23rd! (She’s on at 9:25pm! Email us for more information.)

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