The City of Kingston is famous for three things: being the birthplace of the Tragically Hip, the established post-secondary education and horse slapping at Homecoming. Surprisingly, its exceptional music scene hasn’t attracted the same attention.
While overshadowed by its bigger counterparts in Toronto and Montreal, Kingston has quietly contributed some strong entries to Canadian music. Granted, it’s not going to be an EDM destination any time soon but, its folk and
Indie offerings can stand alongside any other mid-sized city in Southwestern Ontario. Here are a few gems you need to get your hands on.
Saxton’s River by The Wilderness
Since wrapping up their undergrad, members of The Wilderness opted to hang around Kingston, releasing their first album this past May.
The record’s songs are the result of a campus band coming into their own over the course of countless shows at The Brooklyn and The Underground. Nowhere is that more apparent than in tunes like “Springsteen Songs” where the band manages to write a danceable indie song without sacrificing any of its namesake’s emotional heft.
As the band embarks on more cross-country tours, now’s a better chance than any to appreciate a local favourite just before they inevitably rise above the title.
Everything Intertwined by Tom Savage
Compared to The Wilderness, artist Tom Savage is part of a slightly older set of Kingston musicians but is no less relevant, especially after dropping his most recent album Everything Intertwined this month.
Savage is very much grounded in the roots of popular music — country, blues, folk and roots rock. While his most recent effort leans more towards rock, it retains the fundamental respect for each genre’s tradition so that the album could be made today or twenty years ago and still matter.
“Burnt by the Sun” is a good introduction to the hard touring singer-song writer and his considerable skills behind a guitar.
Forty Seven Teeth by Forty Seven Teeth
Forty Seven Teeth, named after the number of points along a mosquito’s suctioning mouthpart, released their self-titled debut EP last year. If you’re nostalgic for the late 90s, well, look no further. The band’s retained the earworm choruses of pop punk bands with a messier, low-fi slacker rock element that gives it the character to stand on its own.
If you feel like wearing some flannel and loitering in a convenience store parking lot, rest assured knowing your ideal soundtrack’s ready.
Oh Little Fire by Sarah Harmer
While Sarah Harmer released this album long after her Queen’s days, it was still partly recorded on Wolfe Island and remains an underrated gem from the singer-songwriter.
This is a great fall album, and if the quiet melancholy on songs like “New Loneliness” doesn’t draw a tear from your eyes, you probably weren’t hugged as a child.
Harmer is an important example of the popularity local musicians can have outside of Kingston, while reminding us the best time to find an artist is when they’re still part of your community.
As the city settles in for fall, there’s no better time to get acquainted with its artists.
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