Exclaim!'s 31 Most Anticipated Canadian Albums of 2020

From Caribou to Jessie Reyez to Sarah Harmer, here are the LPs we're excited for this year
Exclaim!'s 31 Most Anticipated Canadian Albums of 2020
Kaytranada was on the initial draft of this list, but then he jumped the gun and released his album already. Here are the LPs you'll be listening to after you've already played BUBBA to death. The list includes a comeback from a 2000s great, some blockbuster pop artists, and lots of hotly tipped indie faves. Take a look (and a listen) to Exclaim!'s 31 Most Anticipated Canadian Albums of 2020 below, and remember — it's never too early to start planning your "best of the 2020s" list!

11:11
PM
(Raydar)
Release Date: January

We're still basking in the nocturnal glow of 11:11's MOOD EP, which dropped a few months ago, but the Toronto noir&B singer has already set his sights on a new full-length. He tweeted that PM drops in January, and he's already shared the new album version of the MOOD track "All Year."



Allie X
Cape God
(Independent)
Release Date: February 21

According to goth-pop singer Allie X, Cape God "feels the most 'me' of anything I've ever made." Recorded over a few weeks in Sweden and inspired by the intensity of teenage emotions, it features Troye Sivan on the spooky ballad "Love Me Wrong." There's also a collaboration with Mitski.



Annihilator
Ballistic, Sadistic
(Silver Lining Music)
Release Date: January 24

After 35 years in the game, thrash vets Annihilator are still going strong, and Ballistic, Sadistic will be their 17th album. It was produced by band leader Jeff Waters, who called the LP "angry, technical, back to the first three records vibes." Lead single "I Am Warfare" is, well, ballistic and sadistic.



Justin Bieber
Title TBA
(Def Jam)
Release Date: TBA

It's been five years since Justin Bieber's career-high Purpose — one of our top Canadian albums of the decade — and he's finally set to release a new LP. The 2020 record includes the incredibly horny (or hungry?) new single "Yummy," and Biebs will let fans in its creation with the docuseries Justin Bieber: Seasons.



Basia Bulat
Are You in Love?
(Secret City Records)
Release Date: March 27

The singer-songwriter has re-teamed with My Morning Jacket's Jim James, who produced the forthcoming Are You in Love? Speaking about lead single "Your Girl," Bulat said, "Someone once told me you can't sing and cry at the same time but that wasn't true for me when we were recording this one."



Beneath the Massacre
Fearmonger
(Century Media Records)
Release Date: February 28

Quebec death metal crushers Beneath the Massacre haven't released an album since 2012, but that will finally change with Fearmonger. Judging by the absurdly heavy single "Autonomous Mind," the time away hasn't made them any less technical or ferocious.



Boniface
Boniface
(Royal Mountain Records/Transgressive Records)
Release Date: February 14

Winnipeg songwriter/producer Micah Visser catalogues their coming-of-age experiences on their debut album as Boniface. Preview singles "Wake Me Back Up," "Ghosts" and especially the gorgeous "Keeping Up" reveal a synth-pop sound that's as soulful as it is catchy.



Caribou
Suddenly
(Merge Records)
Release Date: February 28

Songwriter/producer Dan Snaith hasn't released a Caribou album in five years, but that's about to, ahem, Suddenly change. Lead singles "Home" and "You and I" hint at more catchy electronic tapestries full of immersive beats and impeccable synth textures.



Rose Cousins
Bravado
(Outside Music)
Release Date: February 21

East Coast songwriter Rose Cousins is releasing an album all about duality — "for those attempting to make their hearts go in more than one direction and those trying to make it go in just one." The self-produced Bravado features the plaintive piano ballad "The Fraud" and the bouncy yet melancholic "The Benefits of Being Alone."



Cindy Lee
What's Tonight to Eternity
(W.25TH)
Release Date: February 14

Having previously fronted Women, Patrick Flegel is exploring queerness and gender expression in the Karen Carpenter-inspired album What's Tonight to Eternity under the name Cindy Lee. Single "Heavy Metal" belies its title with a reverb-soaked slice of spooky vintage pop.



Destroyer
Have We Met
(Merge Records)
Release Date: January 31

Destroyer's 2011 masterpiece Kaputt helped define the sound of the 2010s — can he do it again in the 2020s? Have We Met's two singles "Crimson Tide" and "It Just Doesn't Happen" push Dan Bejar's brilliantly verbose indie rock into a sprawling electro-pop direction. 




Drake
Title TBA
(Record Label TBA)
Release Date: TBA

Drizzy popped up as a surprise guest during DaBaby's recent Toronto performance, where he said that he was heading back to his crib to finish up a new album for a 2020 release. And Drake has a pretty good track record of keeping his promises — like when he rapped "I'll be back in 2018 to give you the summary" and then released Scorpion as promised.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Elephant Stone
Hollow
(Independent)
Release Date: February 14

Montreal psych combo Elephant Stone are set to explore a post-apocalyptic world in which the rich relocate to a new planet after a climate catastrophe. They've already shared a number of preview singles from Hollow, including the Eastern sitar jams "Land of Dead" and "The Court and Jury" and harmony-drenched psych-pop tunes "Hollow World" and "Darker Time, Darker Space."



Grimes
Miss Anthropocene
(Crystal Math/4AD)
Release Date: February 21

The much-hyped Miss Anthropocene is a nu-metal-inspired "concept album about the anthropomorphic Goddess of climate Change." Grimes has already shared a number of sci-fi-style tunes from the album, including bangers "4ÆM" and "Violence," ethereal mood pieces "So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth" and "My Name Is Dark," and the heavy dance tune "We Appreciate Power."



Sarah Harmer
Are You Gone
(Arts & Crafts)
Release Date: February 21

After a decade, she's finally back! The "deeply personal and political" Are You Gone is billed as a spiritual sequel to 2000's You Were Here. Based on the peppy, infectious lead single "New Low," it feels as if no time has passed.



Holy Fuck
Deleter
(Last Gang Records)
Release Date: January 31

Holy Fuck continue to bridge the gap between electronic music and indie rock on Deleter. It "explores what happens when humanity and technology coalesce." Judging by the infectious, krautrock-inspired singles "Luxe" and "Free Gloss," you won't want to delete 'er. 



Lexxicon
Bashment Trap House
(Independent)
Release Date: January 31

The new album from Toronto hip-hop/dancehall singer Lexxicon is inspired by his journey as a Jamaican Canadian. With singles like the body-positive "Fatty Fatty" and the slightly more melancholic "Lonely," Bashment Trap House is shaping up to be a party album with a heart.



Matty & Leland Whitty
Title TBA
(Label TBA)
Release Date: March

Matty (a.k.a. Matthew Tavares) officially left his former band BADBADNOTGOOD in 2019, but he's still working with the group's sax player Leland Whitty. Following their collaborative song "Blue," the duo have confirmed that they will release a full length in March.



Mister Nobu
Tavie
(Arts & Crafts)
Release Date: Spring

Choir! Choir! Choir! co-founder and director Nobu Adilman is releasing a solo album under the name Mister Nobu. Tavie looks to be a highly collaborative affair, as it features contributions from members of the Sadies, Super Friendz, Absolutely Free and, of course, Choir! Choir Choir!



Non La
Not in Love
(Kingfisher Bluez)
Release Date: February 14

Having served title in an array of Vancouver projects, including indie pop combo Thee AHs, DJ On is now readying a debut album as Non La. Giddy lead single "Light in My Loafers" is an "ode to Grindr and gay hook-up app culture." 




PARTYNEXTDOOR
Title TBA
(OVO Sound/Warner Music)
Release Date: January

The Toronto singer-rapper dropped the smooth Drake collab "Loyal" ahead of the release for his new album, which he tweeted would arrive in January. The exact details of the record are still under wraps, but he's been teasing the possible title Club Atlantis since way back in 2017.




William Prince
Reliever
(Six Shooter)
Release Date: February 7

The second album from the Juno-winning country singer from Manitoba's Peguis First Nation is all about healing. He said in a statement, "Reliever takes aim at the moments where we as human beings feel we aren't enough." This inspiration tone can be heard in the rich, lushly orchestrated single "The Spark."



Protest the Hero
Title TBA
(Record Label TBA)
Release Date: TBA

It's been a long journey for Ontario metal warriors Protest the Hero, who postponed recording sessions back in 2018 due to singer Rody Walker's vocal issues. After getting back on track, the band confirmed this past November that recording was finally complete. The LP apparently includes keys, strings and acoustic guitars.
 

Jessie Reyez
Title TBA
(FMLY)
Release Date: TBA

The soul-pop singer has been on the rise for a couple of years, releasing two EPs and netting a Juno Award (plus a recent Grammy nomination). Her recent single "Far Away" is set to appear on her long-awaited debut LP, the details of which are still forthcoming.



Andy Shauf
The Neon Skyline
(Arts & Crafts/ANTI-)
Release Date: January 24

His latest folk opera is The Neon Skyline, which follows a lovesick narrator on his trip to his local watering hole. Sample the Paul Simon-esque bounce of the singles "Things I Do" and "Try Again," which blend lyrical intimacy with lush baroque pop flourishes.




Tough Age
Title TBA
(Mint Records)
Release Date: TBA

Toronto garage trio Tough Age have been tweeting about their recently recorded album for a few months now, recently revealing that they had planned to call it Everyday Life until Coldplay beat them to that title. They also shared a scrappy new indie-pop tune called "Waiting Here" — although that song reportedly won't be on the full-length.



Rufus Wainwright
Title TBA
(BMG)
Release Date: TBA

His upcoming record is said to be "a return to form and his most accessible album to date," acting a "bookend" to his 1998 debut. The full LP details have yet to be announced, but he's signed to BMG and shared the soaring cabaret single "Trouble in Paradise."



We Are the City
RIP
(Light Organ Records)
Release Date: January 24

Ambitious Vancouver prog-pop trio We Are the City are releasing RIP as the more carefully refined counterpoint to their spontaneous, experimental 2018 album At Night. Singles "Song in My Head" and "Killer B-Side Music" mix ambitious, in-your face production with plentiful pop hooks.




Weaves
Title TBA
(Tangly Entertainment)
Release Date: TBA

The adventurous Toronto indie rock band took a quirky turn on the avant-electro single "Internet Tears." According to the band, this track "represents the start of a new era for the band, who [are] pushing [their] eclectic and adventurous sound into new places" for their third album.



The Weeknd
Title TBA
(XO/Republic Records)
Release Date: TBA

Okay, so the Weeknd is one of a few artists here who also appeared on the 2019 version of the list. But this time around, he's released two glitzy singles — "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" — and he's also apparently registered the song title "Like Selena," suggesting that more material is on the way. Hopefully Abel Tesfaye finally releases this album, so we don't need to put him on the 2021 list as well. 




Wolf Parade
Thin Mind
(Royal Mountain Records/Sub Pop Records)
Release Date: January 24

Scrolling mindlessly on social media has given all of us thin minds, which is why indie rock howlers Wolf Parade have named their new album Thin Mind. But this isn't thin-minded music — preview singles "Against the Day" and "Forest Green" are characteristically complex and brainy indie rock anthems.