8 Emerging Canadian Artists You Need to Hear in October 2023
Meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, featuring vengeful Vancouver metal, indie pop by way of Montreal and St. John's slacker rock
Published Oct 18, 2023Spooky season is upon us, and the ghouls and goblins are making their way to this side of the veil. Yes, you can celebrate their arrival with some "Monster Mash" or "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah," but why not mix things up?
This month's New Faves provide some alternatives to your Halloween playlist, bringing vibes of all kinds to October's chills and thrills. From joyful bluegrass to heaving metal and nervy R&B, October's crop of up-and-coming Canadian artists are bringing a bit of everything to the table (or the candy bowl).
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: Black Wizard, Red Fang, Bison
Out of the ashes of renowned Vancouver band Black Wizard comes Bloodrhine. The band's self-titled debut single introduces a more sinister sound than that of Black Wizard, with a harsher vocal delivery and an emphasis on punishing riffs. Aiming for a sludgier and more vengeful approach than their predecessors, Bloodrhine make good on the promise: "Bloodrhine" is all thrash, no fat. The band's debut EP is set for release next month, and if you get the chance to see them live, you'd better take it.
For fans of: Magik Markers, Beat Happening
Montreal's Feeling Figures are just terrific songwriters. They seem to cover every base over the course of their songs — loose, wild, and fun while still deep in the pocket. They can crank the volume, but they never lose their grip on the gentler and more sombre moments that colour the edges of their tunes. Powered by catchy hooks and spritely shared vocals, the band's songs demand repeat listens and plenty of sunshine, and after a killer 7" on the equally stellar Celluloid Lunch, we're being blessed with the full-length Migration Magic late next month. Grip it and jam it all day long.
For fans of: Charley Crockett, Sturgill Simpson
Eastbound from the high tidal coast of Vancouver, bouncing between the great Rocky Mountains, through open Prairie skies, past the hustle and bustle of Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and clear to the harbours of the East Coast, the rumours of a new country star have echoed across the nation. There's but one name behind the singular sound: Janky Bungag. With his quick-ripping guitar licks, Bungag's an artist who's deeply studied the gospel of bluegrass and prays at the altar of country outlaws like Waylon Jennings. The Filipino-Canadian's self-titled debut album is set for release on November 3, and you can get a taste of it with lead single "Heartbreak Bound." Just be sure to keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case your headphones catch fire during that absolutely blistering guitar solo.
St. John's, NL
For fans of: Kelly McMichael, the Kinks, Monomyth
John Moran plays in Kelly McMichael's band, so it's only fitting that Moran brings some of McMichael's timeless pop sound (as well as her backing vocals and piano playing) to his own LP, this summer's Tapes from Studio J. Produced by Jake Nicoll, who also helmed McMichael's excellent 2021 album Waves, it highlights wobbly guitar strums, horn and flute flourishes, and a charmingly lackadaisical vocal delivery that sounds a bit like Moran just rolled out of bed, displaying a vintage pop finesse that belies its easygoing delivery.
St. John's, NL
For fans of: Grouper, Tigers Jaw, Hop Along
The foggy October evenings of St. John's make a perfect backdrop for Little Fauna's guitar-driven melancholy. What started as an RPM Challenge by frontperson Krys Burton in early 2023 soon evolved into a garage rock trio who lean into their kaleidoscopic shoegaze influences with ease. Their latest single, "Miserable," is the soundtrack to autumn angst, complete with ripping background harmonies and plenty of juicy melodrama. Little Fauna are picking up speed in their local scene, and their upcoming debut album is one to keep an eye on.
For fans of: Jai Paul, Daniel Caesar, Moses Sumney
Raised in Winnipeg, MB, before settling in Toronto, Libyan-Canadian artist Saturn Blue has already lived a handful of lives. The songwriter born Muhammad Mneina once made music as Kensho, but his new Saturn Blue moniker is perhaps his most fully realized incarnation yet. His first single after a seven-year hiatus, September's "Lust" is a nervy, clattering slice of R&B that takes the wily smoulder of Mneina's 2016 single "Breathe & Receive" and strips it to its essential elements. Measured and clear-eyed, it's a confident reintroduction to an artist who took the time to hone his craft.
For fans of: DijahSB, Chance the Rapper, Bruno Mars
Calgary's Sinzere makes the kind of lush, joyful rap-funk that demands big stages and bigger crowds. Glittering and festival-ready, her latest single "Big Pimpin'" is all swagger and toothy smiles, a throwback that still manages to sound of the moment. It's an exciting detour following the more lean stylings of 2022's Tabula Rasa, and if it's any indication of where Sinzere is headed, you'd better keep your ear out.
For fans of: Erykah Badu, Indie.Arie, H.E.R.
To the uninitiated public, it may seem like the Vancouver-based, self-taught producer and vocalist Tee Krispil airdropped into the Vancouver music scene out of nowhere, when she's really been working toward this moment her entire life. Inspired by her love of hip-hop, R&B and electronic music, Krispil put in the work teaching herself how to cook all the beats for girl group (and Exclaim! Staff Pick alums) NADUH before releasing music on her own. Krispil's latest single "Winning" is an easy, groovy and soulful representation of where she's at in her life right now. It's all good.
Listen to tracks from these and other New Faves on our Spotify playlist: