8 Emerging Canadian Artists You Need to Hear in January 2024

Meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, featuring synthetic art pop from Montreal, searing rock by way of St. John's and fierce country stomp from Winnipeg

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Jan 16, 2024

So, how was everybody's first two weeks of 2024? Holding it together? Letting it all fall apart? Either way, you're gonna need some new music for the rest of the month ahead (let alone the year)— and Exclaim!'s latest crop of New Faves has you covered.

Whether you're getting on the straight and narrow or throwing caution to the wind — perhaps by following our New Faves' leads with some sly barbs at your fellow Canadian musicians — this month's up-and-coming artists can soundtrack it. From tender, skittering rap to lo-fi rock pump-ups and everything in between, January's 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.

Ashton Forever
Burlington, ON.
For fans of: J. Cole, Blxst, Big Sean

Hard work really can pay off, and Burlington's Ashton Forever has reemerged to deliver one of his most intense songs to date. His latest single, "Proud of Me," exhibits the melodic rapper baring it all about his life struggles, remaining positive in an unforgiving music industry and his ultimate desire to make the one he loves most — his mom — proud. The song's emotional and lyrical depth is bolstered by upbeat production that enriches Forever's delivery, highlighting every word of his expressive storytelling.
Papa Minnow

Montreal, QC
For fans of: Nicolas Jaar, Chad VanGaalen, Forest Swords 

DahL are Montreal's newest weirdo synthetic art-poppers. Their latest single, "Una Minutes," is a strangely calming electronic track that features gorgeous pizzicato strings, synths and a glitchy industrial beat, with murmured vocals filling in the middle distance. Look out for their upcoming slot opening for Montreal legends Suuns and New York post-punks Activity at this year's Taverne Tour, and keep your ears peeled for their forthcoming LP, That's It, in the spring.
Stephan Boissonneault

St. John's, NL
For fans of: Descendents, Sebadoh

A fresh new act has emerged from the shadows of St. John's to join the city's steadily growing roster of punk-adjacent rippers. These self-proclaimed slackers have only been around for less than a year, but they haven't wasted any time putting together some tight, bass-driven melodies and instant sing-along hooks on last year's Shirts Versus EP. Dogfish's catchy, headbanging garage punk is too good to remain under the radar, and the new year is sure to bring more memorable, thrash-worthy moments at their shows and beyond.
Madison Ryan

Paige Drobot
Winnipeg, MB
For fans of: Alanis Morissette, the Mothers of Invention, Daniel Johnston 

Paige Drobot's psychedelic swirl has come on slow but strong. Following sporadic releases since 2019, Drobot's debut full-length, The Psychics, is her ass-kicking debutante ball. Backed by her band of the same name, it's a pithy rock statement filled to the brim with restless basslines and capricious progressions. Frenetic freak-out jams give way to hip-straddling swing, all tethered by Drobot's warble and garage rock underpinnings. Listen to "Space Music" and try to stay within the outer limits during its cacophonous breakdown.
Matthew Teklemariam 

Thousand Knives
Halifax, NS
For fans of: Misery Signals, Zao, Counterparts

If you like your metalcore a tad on the nostalgic side, Halifax's Thousand Knives are a band you can't afford to sleep on. With killer riffs that run the gamut from angular dissonance to harmonized melodic passages, and breakdowns heavy enough to make even the oldest hardcore kids forget how much their backs hurt these days, Thousand Knives is definitely one to watch for in 2024.
Jeremy Sheehy

Nice On 
Kingston, ON
For fans of: Lawrence, Vulfpeck, Alabama Shakes 

Nice On play the kind of crowd-pleasing funk music that's practically laboratory-made for summer festivals — the exact sort of tunes you want to hear while you spin around on some sun-baked grass, surrounded by kids in face paint and tiny Tevas. It's not all lightheartedness and family fun though: new single "Pay Off Baby" includes a hilarious barb at fellow CanCon rockers Half Moon Run, though I won't spoil the reveal here. Singer Brittany Blair's soulful, feather-light voice dances atop the eight-piece's funk swirl with total ease, keeping things cool despite the heat. 
Kaelen Bell

Toronto, ON
For fans of: Drive Like Jehu, Fugazi, Jesus Lizard, METZ

Although their caustic sound is indebted to distortion and dissonance, Sundowner's robust rhythm section pulses in a way that demands dancing, the basslines and drum patterns travelling in hypnotic Möbius loops as the abrasive guitar feeds back over the rumble. The band (Cole Firth on bass and vocals, Nick Gergesha on guitar, and Isaac Heron on drums) put in some serious work in 2023, releasing a raw five-song demo and playing dozens of shows in Toronto and in neighbouring cities. They're currently busy preparing for the release of Asbestos Tiles, a five-song EP out digitally on February 2. They've already uploaded the album's first single, the torrid, harmonics-filled "Certain Death Looming," which acts as a fitting and thunderous introduction to the coming cacophony.
Marko Djurdjic

Glengarry, ON
For fans of: Idles, PUP, Queens of The Stone Age

North Glengarry is a 10,000-person township that alt-punks Tucana call home. The band initially ran their practices in front of a harsh audience: the local cattle. With that crowd work under their belt, they're expanding their discography and their reach with recent shows in cities on both sides of the Ontario–Quebec border. Witty and topical, newest single "All Goes Black" — with its instant classic lyric, "Waking up in someone else's clothes / Face down in a town full of Mac DeMarcos" — will transport you instantly to a grungy basement show, scene-y shit-talk and all. 
Emma Schuster 

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

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