Exclaim! Readers Celebrate the Most Under-Appreciated Canadian Artists of 2023

You tell us why TEKE::TEKE, Nico Paulo and Sunnsetter should be stars

Photos (clockwise from top left): Dead Quiet courtesy of the artists, Miesha and the Spanks by Sebastian Buzzalino, TEKE::TEKE by Kamara Morozuk, Evangeline Gentle by Landon Marchen

Published Jan 31, 2024

Here at Exclaim!, we're in the business of probing the underground music scene to highlight our country's best up-and-comers. Naturally, our readers have strong opinions about who are Canada's most under-appreciated musicians — and you told us exactly who you're rotting for in our annual Readers Poll.

Read some of our readers' thoughts below, ranging from budding stars who should be even more famous to little-known indie faves. Discover more of Canada's 2023 gems in our list of great albums you might have missed.

Haley Blais
"Her new album Wisecrack is absolutely perfect. She captures such specific emotions through the songs that it just moves you to the point of tears. Also, she’s really funny."

"I want them to do shows again, and if there was media coverage telling them to do so then they may come back. Crazier things have happened."

Dead Quiet
"They released one of the most dense albums of the year, IV, and seemed to get little publicity. More people need to hear this band, in my opinion."

Fortunato Durutti Marinetti
"He's akin to a more erudite Canadian Lou Reed."

"She has a great sound and voice, and I think she has that 'it factor' and star quality. Can't see her topping the charts like Beyoncé, but she deserves to be an underdog superstar like Charli XCX or Carly Rae Jepsen."

Evangeline Gentle
"A remarkable artist worthy of far more attention and acclaim than so many artists who are far more famous. It's astonishing how little attention Evangeline gets, considering how amazing the new album really is."

The Halluci Nation
"They are a great band. They just released another album, and it's full of bangers and amazing collabs."

Home Front
"Back-to-back incredible releases. They deliver some of the best "bootgaze" there is, and I believe their sound could appeal to wider audiences."

Nicholas Krgovich
"His album Ducks did not get the appreciation it deserved. The quiet contemplation was perfect springtime music."

"He deserves more mainstream popularity because he’s one of the most talented MCs I’ve heard in a while."

"They're '90s underdogs and they're still chugging away. Mad respect."

Ryan McMahon
"Longtime singer-songwriter from Ladysmith who deserves so much attention and props! He has toured with Tom Cochrane."

Miesha and the Spanks
"Their album Unconditional Love in Hi-Fi is a master class in how make an album. It perfectly mixes infectious garage rock with thoughtful, relevant lyrics and ties it together some some great, important storytelling."

"Their debut album rips and they should be given the same level of attention as the Beaches, for instance (who I think are very awesome as well, to be clear)."

Nico Paulo
"Her album is one of the best that came out this year, with amazing performances and songwriting, and despite the Polaris nomination, I feel like it got barely any attention at all."

Single Mothers
"Other than Exclaim!'s coverage, I never see other outlets talking about the band. They released one of their most 'accessible' albums to date, and while it's not my favourite from the group, I really thought songs like 'Sad Dumb Game' were going to help introduce them to a new audience (and maybe convince the band to keep going), but it doesn't look like that's happening."

"Super dedicated artist with a very talented band. They also have a ton of passion and deserve to be appreciated."

"They are incredible and completely underrated. Listening to them doesn’t sound like anything thing else, and they bring so much energy to their music."

"A great storyteller, soul and experimental jazz. Funky basslines!"

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