8 Emerging Canadian Artists You Need to Hear in March 2023
Meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, from hazy Winnipeg psychedelia and Montreal surf rock to surging Toronto power-pop and epic Vancouver post-rock
Published Mar 08, 2023It's March! Spring is officially within our grasp, and this month's group of emerging Canadian artists are here to usher in the melt. With ebullient piano pop by way of PEI, bruising prairie grunge and burbling bedroom dispatches from Toronto, and gargantuan metal out of Ottawa, March's artists cover great swathes of feeling and wield their instruments like tender weapons. As always, there's a little something for everyone to get lost in the springtime swirl.
Keep reading to meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, and head over to our Spotify playlist to hear them alongside our previous homegrown favourites.
For fans of: Porches, Half Waif, Alex G
angel apricot's music sounds like everything and nothing else — streaks of early '90s twee, a dash of billowing mid-2000s baroque indie, a dusting of bruising emo and modern bedroom pop — it all folds together in apricot's carefully layered confections. January's "get 2 u," their latest offering, sees them stretching the organic rock of last year's the pink sunset over you into burbling synthetic pop music. Over garbled bird chirps and a rubber-ball drum machine, apricot murmurs barely legible promises of devotion. The words may not be entirely clear, but the feeling is.
For fans of: Dr. Dog, White Fence, King Tuff
It can be exciting when an artist manages to nail a certain sound from bygone days without sounding like pastiche, and Matt Damron — a singer-songwriter from North Carolina who now calls Montreal home — has done just that with the debut single "Sacred Sounds." The sound in question is late '60s psych folk, reminiscent of the likes of Donovan but with an alt-country tinge. Look out for Damron's debut album, arriving sometime later this year via Baby Horse Records, a label he runs with the help of a collective of musicians in Monteal's Sud-Ouest.
Hush Hush Noise
For fans of: How to Destroy Angels, Deerhoof, Casket Girls
Half of larger-than-life comic book vaudeville-punk duo the Hank & Lily Show, Lily Fawn self-produced 2019's Hush Hush Noise debut with Eric Hogg of Soma Sound, but she's opening things up a little on the forthcoming Dangerous Creature. Fawn can play ukulele, baritone guitar, musical saw and percussion, and she's stacked the band with a "star studded collective of killer musicians," so it's anyone's guess where they'll take this thing next. The newly released "Dangerous Creature" demonstrates the magnitude of Fawn's insightful, poetic lyricism and soaring vocals, while the instrumental empathetically emotes with a brooding alt-rock via a kinky industrial trip-hop vibe. Do not miss them on tour this summer.
For fans of: Cursed, Baptists, Vatican Chainsaw Massacre
Moratorium provide a fresh take on the Canadian lineage of hardcore from the likes of Cursed and Baptists. Taking a familiar sound and modernizing it with lyrics about important social issues including land ownership, body autonomy and environmental issues, the band are remaking hardcore in their image. Moratorium will be releasing a new EP later this year, so keep an ear out for its upcoming first single.
For fans of: Silver Jews, Grandaddy, Jonathan Richman
Nicholas Goszer picked up a guitar in his early 20s and never put it down. Some odd years later, the Winnipegger — who goes by Nickybaby — dropped his debut LP. Arriving at the end of last month, the alt-rock outsider tunes found on Nickybaby drift between lo-fi country ballads and crunchy grunge with lyrics about the passing of time, regret and addictions, aiming to convey the stories and universal toils of aging millennials. The expertise brought by fellow Winnipeggers Living Hour to both production and instrumentation gives Nickybaby a slight dash of professionalism, though it never gets in the way of its endearing DIY character.
For fans of: Tobias Jesso Jr., Clairo, Billy Joel
Logan Richards makes the kind of seamless, instantly hummable pop music that prizes humour and heartbreak in equal measure — an old-school flair for storytelling collides with just-left-of-centre sophisti-pop sensibilities, making for music that you'll swear you've known forever. His latest, the three-track Learning to Love EP, finds the PEI artist at the height of his good-natured, musically elastic powers.
For fans of: Sloan, Limblifter
Tearing Up's press materials namedrop Andy Shauf, Joni Mitchell and the Chicks — but those are a bit misleading, pointing to the emotional resonance of the music but not to the sound. Unlike those reference points, Tearing Up's debut album, Heavy (which came out in late January), is pure rock 'n' roll, with songwriter Graham Caldwell's howl and clanging guitars shrouded in enigmatic reverb. Written in the wake of personal losses for the artist formerly known as Billy Moon, including the death of his father, Heavy doesn't wallow — it rages against the dying of the light.
For Fans of: Palehound, Lucy Dacus, the Cranberries
In contrast to their name, there's nothing understated about the grungy, emo, and punk-ish rock sounds of Tinge. On the trio's debut EP Big Deep Sigh (out now via House of Wonders), the blunt and deeply moving lyrics from multi-disciplinary artist Veronica Blackhawk touch on longing, identity and intergenerational trauma. To paraphrase a line from the bellowing "Big Crush," Tinge use every colour in their pencil case.
Listen to tracks from these and other New Faves on our Spotify playlist: