8 Emerging Canadian Artists You Need to Hear in April 2024

Meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, featuring self-aware pop from Winnipeg, Toronto post-punk, summery Vancouver rock and more

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Apr 15, 2024

April showers bring May flowers, and April's New Faves bring good vibes. And while that opening line was pretty shitty, this month's crew of up-and-coming Canadian musicians is anything but. 

April's New Faves are here to soundtrack your official transition into real-deal springtime — before you know it, Summer will be just around the corner. But until then, you've gotta ride out Spring's blooming liminality. Smell the flowers, spot the buds and the baby birds! From playful pop music by way of Winnipeg to swirling rock from St. John's and bubbly Toronto jazz, these New Faves do it all.

Keep reading to meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, and head over to our Spotify playlist to hear them alongside our previous homegrown favourites.

Kitchener, ON
For fans of: Combat Wounded Veteran, Slint, boxcutter

Lurking around Southern Ontario's DIY venues is Basque, a screamo band straight out of Kitchener. Aggressive and emotionally devastating, this four-piece has just released their seven-song debut through No Funeral Records. Pain Without Hope of Healing starts heavy and abrasive with opening track "Nausea," but starts to melt into a discomforting and unique experimental sound as the album evolves. Raw and excellently produced, it's a harbinger of good things to come. 
Emma Schuster

Toronto, ON
For fans of: Siouxsie and the Banshees, She Past Away, ACTORS

Evoking the flavours of hardcore punk laced with darkened industrial new wave come Dermabrasion, a fierce songwriting duo with a penchant for haunting vocals and ridiculously groovy instrumentation. All under the veil of goth rock, Dermabrasion's debut album, Pain Behaviour, is a wonderful ride of occult fancy that would feel at home in a dim-lit German nightclub; abrasive and buzzing for the long pale night. These songs are theatrical, with superb mixing that grants them a larger-than-life presence. It's a strong contender for album of the year. You are not prepared. 
Stephan Boissoneault

Liz Fagan Band
St. John's, NL
For fans of: Slow Pulp, Big Thief, Hey Rosetta!

Despite their name, Liz Fagan Band is a collective experience to behold. The four-piece refuses to conform to genre, and strikes a trail in whatever direction the spirit takes them. Fagan's soulful melodies intertwine English and French across their debut EP, Leaning In/Se Pencher Vers, the stories taking on new shades as they shift between the two languages. Fuzzy guitars, brutally real screams and folky undertones all blend together to create a record that feels eerily comforting. Each chorus in lead single "Hurricane Season" packs a sonic and emotional punch as the lyrics confront someone who feels the world all too deeply; a perfect pairing to all of spring's rain and eventual flowers.
Madison Ryan

Toronto, ON
For fans of: Hiatus Kaiyote, Moonchild, Alfa Mist

Moodset writes jazz you can cradle in your palms. Their music warms up your soul, spiced like apple and cinnamon, lavishly textured like a silky latte. The five-piece band's debut album, Let's Talk is astutely titled. The record can coax conversations between strangers or underscore a cathartic car ride home with an old friend. Keep an eye on these young alumni from the University of Toronto music program as they brandish technique that polishes their tracks so brilliantly you can see yourself in the sheen.
Rachel Evangeline Chiong

Clay Orange
Vancouver, BC
For fans of: Bahamas, Kurt Vile, Andy Shauf

last month, Clay Orange released his debut full-length album Deeply. The most recent project from multi-instrumentalist Ross Macnab — who's been performing under various names for over a decade — Clay Orange finds him employing deeply soothing, lush pedal steel guitar and softly strummed acoustics reminiscent of Bahamas or Kevin Morby. Throughout the album's nine tracks, we're privvy to Macnab's introspective lyricism, tapping into his most vulnerable memories. 
Francis Baptiste

Toronto, ON
For fans of: Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Decemberists

Parmida Kakavand first emerged as Päter in 2020 with first single "Dam, Damn," a promising taste of the heights she would eventually scale. Her debut full-length as Päter, 4-7 Company explores the evening hours between work and social life, the time when solitude leads to wandering thoughts and creative breakthroughs. Channeling equal parts twee baroque bombast and clever insularity, Kakavand's music as Päter is refreshingly ambitious and intelligent, an antidote to our modern obsession with detachment and brain-dulling therapy speak. Dramatic, unrelenting and poised just-so, Päter's latest is a tidal wave of emotional release and technical proficiency. It's the sound of a formidable artist announcing their arrival.
Kaelen Bell

Harper K. Smith
Winnipeg, MB
For fans of: Bon Iver, Phil Elverum, Weezer

Harper K. Smith is sick, and not just figuratively. This freak-folk songwriter is the Winnipeg music scene's latest musical transplant, lugging a bindle packed with languor and troubadour sensibilities. Her plaintive lyricism examines chronic illness and urban disquietude, oscillating between disarming clarity ("Sick and sad / Isolation, emptiness") and trenchant metaphor ("God is smoking in the food court / And I'm downwind"). Mind your bedside manner, now; her hushed tones and emotional bloodletting belie a hardy spirit and scathing wit.  
Matthew Teklemariam

Lana Winterhalt
Winnipeg, MB
For fans of: Lucy Dacus, Ingrid Michaelson, Begonia

As evidenced by the bio on her website, Winnipeg musician and producer Lana Winterhalt knows exactly who she is: "a Recovering Theatre Kid – dramatic, emotional, charismatic, sparkly, larger than life — all fuelled by caffeine and Zoloft." Out now, Recovering Theatre Kid is the piano pop, folk rock story of Winterhalt's journey to self-awareness. Pairing heartfelt lyrics with tender and memorable melodies, Winterhalt deserves a standing ovation.
Laura Stanley

Listen to tracks from these and other New Faves on our Spotify playlist: 

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