Exclaim!'s 31 Most Anticipated Canadian Albums of 2024

Featuring PACKS, Ducks Ltd., Lou Phelps, Eve Parker Finley and more

Photos (from top left): Ducks Ltd. by Colin Medley, Eve Parker Finley by Stacy Lee & Justin Karas, EKKSTACY by Montana Little, PACKS by Carlee Diamon

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Jan 8, 2024

We survived! Last year seemed hell-bent on breaking spirits and taking everyone down a peg or two, but the clouds cleared (and then quickly reformed), and here we are in 2024, which sounds entirely impossible. The next 360 days are as hazy as ever — there's little to be certain about of besides a whole bunch of great new Canadian music. That, as always, is a comfort. 

This year's upcoming music promises to help stoke those little embers of joy and hope that we've always gotta work to maintain, with an embarrassment of riches. Here's our list of the Canadian Albums we're most excited about in 2024. Straighten out your hats and pull up your trousers, the new year is here. 

Spencer Burton
North Wind
Dine Alone Records
Release date: January 26

"No matter how hard we try to do good in this world, we hope that the ones we raise will do an even better job," Spencer Burton said of North Wind single "Goodbye." "It's a song about passing the torch and holding that torch even higher. Ultimately, it's a song about love." That spirit of family runs through Burton's latest full-length, written in the North Woods during a period of solitude and reflection. Recorded in Nashville with Andrija Tokic, these songs capture feelings of centeredness and hope — "I'm not really trying to write music these days," said Burton in a press release. "I'm trying to write good feelings."

Adult Contemporary 
Chromeo Recordings 
Release date: February 16

Chromeo have been at this for a long time, and Adult Contemporary promises a return to the duo's original formula. Dave Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel wrote, produced, performed and arranged every song on the album, leaning on the longstanding intimacy of their creative and personal relationship — it finds the duo "exploring what it means to be funky in your 30s and 40s." 

Comeback Kid
Trouble EP
New Damage Records
Release date: March 15

Winnipeg hardcore vets Comeback Kid are making their return in 2024 with the Trouble EP, and they've previewed the release with the single "Trouble in the Winner's Circle." The new EP is described as "an almost palette cleanser from past material, leaning more upbeat, but still carrying the hard-hitting aggression we're known for." The EP was produced and recorded by the band and John Paul Peters at Private Ear Recording in Winnipeg. 

Ducks Ltd.
Harm's Way
Royal Mountain Records
Release date: February 9

Toronto's undisputed jangle-pop champions, Ducks Ltd. promise more frenetic, crystalline melodies and tongue-twisting songwriting with Harm's Way, the follow-up to 2021's debut full-length Modern Fiction. In the band's own words, the songs on Harm's Way are "about struggling" — struggle rarely sounds this effortless. 

Echoes Of…
Aakuluk Records 
Release date: January 26

The latest project from Andrew Morrison (of the Jerry Cans, Terry Uyarak, Aakuluk Music), Echoes Of... finds Morrison prizing collaboration like never before, crafting intricate layers of sound alongside artists like James Ungalaq, Terry Uyarak, Ivaana, Naja P, Jace Lasek and Maazes. The musicians drew on the raw beauty and community of Canada's North for Euphemisms, exploring loss, love and what life means under the Arctic sun. 

United Masters
Release date: January 19

Vancouver's EKKSTACY returns with a self-titled album — the follow-up to 2022's Misery — that's shaping up to be his most dynamic and all-encompassing yet. Careening between post-punk, Britpop, surf rock and smears of shoegaze, if EKKSTACY lives up to the bar set by "goo lagoon" and "bella," it'll be well worth getting lost in. 

Elephant Stone
Back into the Dream
Elephants on Parade
Release date: February 23

Montreal psych-rockers Elephant Stone are Back into the Dream in 2024, following 2020's Hollow — one of our most anticipated Canadian albums of that year — with an exploration of the unconscious mind and hazy world that exists past the veil of wakefulness. Swirling single "The Spark" introduces you to this world of heavy lids and half-remembrances — "'The Spark' is my love letter to the art of songwriting, a tribute to the creative process itself. It's about that serendipitous moment when time and space align, allowing you to capture lightning in a bottle," Rishi Dihr said in a statement.

Gamma Tag
Northern Electronics 
Release date: January 26

E-Saggila is bringing her production skills to 2024 with Gamma Tag, a fierce collection of weapons-grade electronic music from the Iraq-born, Toronto-based producer. The record, which pulls from techno, breakcore and gabber, is meant to "snap us out of our digital daze," according to a press statement — you can check out the frenetic title track now.

Eve Parker Finley
In the End
Release date: February 9

"I credit my therapist a lot in my art-making, but this single is perhaps the most deserving of her praise," Eve Parker Finley said of In the End single "The Mirror." The song tackles dysphoria, longing and self-acceptance over a sweeping baroque arrangement — it's Parker Finley's most lush and accomplished work to date, and In the End promises even greater heights. 

The Golden Age of Wrestling
Scorpion Deathlock
Release date: January 19

Vancouver's shapeshifting pop mastermind, Jeff Cancade, is back again as the Golden Age of Wrestling, following up last year's Crossface Chicken Wing and 2020's Tombstone Piledriver with Scorpion Deathlock. Cancade wrote, recorded and produced Scorpion Deathlock over the winter before relinquishing the record to Brock McFarlane for mastering. "It offers a glimpse into the lives of a disparate group of strangers, overcoming stages of grief and searching for a new beginning," the artist said of the album's narrative, a vantage point brought to life by diaphanous lead single "The Chauffer." 

Hot Garbage
Precious Dream
Release date: January 19

Hot Garbage promise to take their gripping psychedelia to new places on Precious Dream — recorded with producer Graham Walsh, the band's sophomore effort explores "a parallel universe where phones are not what they seem, lobotomy has its merits, lower is actually better, and tunnels stretch the very fabric of spacetime." In the meantime, check out singles "Snooze You Lose" and "Mystery." Get ready for a real head trip. 

Shaina Hayes
Kindergarten Heart
Release date: February 23

On Kindergarten Heart, Shaina Hayes weaves a tapestry of careful melodies and always-thought-provoking lyrics, following her 2022 debut to coax a waltz with a renewed sense of self. Reteaming with zouz's Francis Ledoux and David Marchand — who co-produced to coax a waltz alongside Hayes — she started recording Kindergarten Heart in late 2022, and the record finds her "rekindling a sense of childlike wonder by getting back in touch with earlier versions of yourself." 

Release date: April 12

iskwē's nīna (which means "me" in the songwriter's Cree language) finds her unpacking the last few years of her life, sifting through a divorce, a bad breakup and the isolation of pandemic lockdowns. After travelling to Mexico City, iskwē recorded the album's 10 songs alongside producer Damian Taylor. If single "I Get High" — featuring none other than the legendary Nina Hagen — is any indication, nīna will find iskwē scaling brand new heights.

Any Light
Last Gang Records
Release date: February 9 

While creating Any Light, BC's Loving mined moments of serendipity and chance, long-forgotten melodies and fuzzy memories. The resulting album is fittingly diaphanous and hard to pin down — single "Medicine" is a gentle smear of traditional folk melodies, while closer "Blue" slows jangle pop to a delirious crawl. "For me, light signifies awareness or insight," said vocalist and lyricist Jesse Henderson about the album. "These songs document a shift in perspective."

Corb Lund
El Viejo 
New West Records 
Release date: February 23

A tribute to Lund's late mentor and friend, Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson, El Viejo finds Lund playing in the shadows — "It's a lot of minor keys and gambling songs, is what it is," Lund said in a statement. Record in Lund's home with "no adults in the room," El Viejo is made up of all acoustic sounds and voice, every track captured live in a single room, with some songs recorded in one take. Lead single "Old Familiar Drunken Feeling" sees Lund on the lighter side of things, recalling a night of too much booze and excessive smoke. 

Major Love
Live, Laugh, Major Love
Slow Weather Music Inc. 
Release date: May 2024

Major Love — the collaborative project between Edmonton songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Colleen Brown and Scenic Route to Alaska — are following up their 2018 debut this May, excavating the painful reverberations of pandemic isolation with latest single "Making the Most of It." Produced by Marcus Paquin, the upcoming record promises catharsis and introspection like only Brown and co. can provide. 

Long View 
Release date: May 2024

Mawzy finds Newfoundland-born/Toronto-based artist Matt Cooke in a state of reinvention. Under this new moniker, Cooke leans away from his folky roots to something more maximalist and shiny, incorporating synths and drum machines and blowing the doors off his musical world. You can check out the title track now, which showcases the shimmery universe crafted alongside producer Thom D'Arcy.

Noir Fever Presente: Moonshine & la Fédération Internationale du Bruit
Noir Fever
Release date: January 26

The first release from Aluna's new Noir Fever label, Montreal collective Moonshine's new mixtape promises a litany of gifts from members like Pierre Kwenders, Uproot Andy, Branko and more. The group's first full-length release after their long-running SMS for Location series, Noir Fever Presente: Moonshine & la Fédération Internationale du Bruit is all groove and silky atmosphere. About lead single "Sikoyo," Kwenders said it "embodies embracing the present, pursuing your aspirations, and prioritizing what truly matters to you."

Mother Mother
Grief Chapter
Warner Music 
Release date: February 16

On Grief Chapter, Mother Mother frontman Ryan Guldemond goes for it, tackling the big picture and the granular with equally grandiose passion. "Death and grief rooted themselves in these songs, but not morosely," Guldemond said of his band's ninth studio album. "It's used more as a reference point for how to live more fully and presently. Life is fleeting, therefore it's precious, and death is the most effective way I know to frame this miracle of living." Dreamy keys and aching vocals drive latest single "The Matrix," a lullaby for an uncertain future. 

The Once 
Out Here
Release date: February 16

Newfoundland folk trio the Once are returning after six years away with Out Here, the follow-up to 2018's Time Enough. "Sometimes music takes a while to flow. If you don't panic and instead surround yourself with people who love you that you can trust, magic can happen," the band said in a statement. You can get a taste of that magic with the lilting single "Oh You."

Melt the Honey
Fire Talk Records 
Release date: January 19

Recorded in the fluid, fantastical Casa Pulpo on the outskirts of Xalapa, Mexico, Melt the Honey promises to be PACKS' warmest and most florid record yet. Madeline Link's songwriting is a warm bath that hides danger in its depths, and singles "Honey," "HFCS" and "Paige Machine" find her at the height of her hazy, sharp-eyed powers. The follow-up to last year's Crispy Crunch Nothing, it continues the hot creative streak that Link's been mining as of late. 

Lou Phelps
Celestial Morals 
Release date: February 2024

For his third studio album, Lou Phelps turned to older brother Kaytranada for executive production, making for the duo's most fully-fledged collaborative project yet. Chèlbè — which translates to "stylish" or "fly" in the brothers' native Creole — is led by the bustling "Jungle." The album will be Phelps's first in over three years and the full-length follow-up to his sophomore full-length effort Extra! Extra!, which featured a guest contribution from Kaytra. 

Royal Tusk
Release date: February 23

Alberta hard rockers Royal Tusk come roaring back to life with Altruistic, the announcement of which came attached to a half-hour documentary called Do No Wrong: The Making of Altruistic. Featuring three tracks released earlier this year — "Relegate," "Head Up" and "All My Life" — the self-produced album is set to arrive just over five years after the band's 2018 LP Tusk II

Talia Schlanger
Grace for the Going
Latent Recordings 
Release date: February 2

An intimate, soul-stirring meditation on the power of words, Talia Schlanger's debut, Grace for the Going, finds the Ontario songwriter and radio broadcaster working with producer/engineer David Travers-Smith. On single "See You Home," Schlanger recounts her Bubba's journey across the Atlantic after surviving the Holocaust, escaping alongside her husband and young daughter for a new life in a new world. 

Nick Schofield
Ambient Ensemble
Backward Music 
Release date: February 9

Featuring collaborations with a chamber ensemble that includes clarinet, double bass, violin and more, Nick Schofield's Ambient Ensemble is the follow-up to the Gatineau-based artist's 2021 instrumental record Glass Gallery. About lead single "On Air," Schofield said he "imagined the music accompanying a painter in her studio, the windows open and the song flowing in and swirling around the artwork." 

Snotty Nose Rez Kids
Red Future
Release date: June 2024

SNRK are looking to a Red Future with their follow-up to 2022's I'M GOOD, HBU?, pulling from ideas of Indigenous Futurism to craft an album that's filled to the brim with sonic diversity and rich narration. Weaving boom bap beats with smooth R&B melodies, and nervy dance tracks with steely attacks, it promises to be a new watershed moment for the duo. 

Part Time Believer
Glassnote Records
Release date: February 9

A long way from their formative days in 2008, the follow-up to 2019's Rattlesnake promises the grand rebirth of the Strumbellas, an album-length statement on the feeling that no matter what you're striving for, you just can't reach it. David Ritter — pianist, organist, percussionist and vocalist — said of the album, "A lot of these songs are about trying to, like, figure out why we're all feeling this way, and how we can find more peace in our lives." Opener and lead single "Hold Me" finds the band as anthemic and energized as ever. 

Sum 41
Heaven :x: Hell
Rise Records
Release date: March 15

The supposed final album from Ajax's kings of pop-punk, Heaven :x: Hell finds the band returning to their roots before they say goodbye. The band also decided to go out with a band, saying their farewell with a 20-track double album that's split into two distinct halves — the Heaven half described by Deryck Whibley as "early Sum 41 pop-punk," while the Hell half is "newer, heavier Sum 41." You can get a taste of Hell with latest single "Rise Up." 

Vera Sola
City Slang 
Release date: February 2

More than five years since her debut Shades, Nashville-based (and Canadian by way of her father Dan Akroyd) singer-songwriter Vera Sola will return this year with Peacemaker. Named for the Colt Single Action Army pistol, or the Peacemaker, the album is an exploration of Sola's "family lineage of old west gunslingers." You can dip into Peacemaker ahead of its release with singles "The Line" and "Desire Path."

David Vertesi
Tiny Kingdom Music Inc. 
Release date: February 2024

The most all-encompassing collection of songs from David Vertesi yet, Fictionalized finds the Canadian music lynchpin tackling a concept album of sorts, following the pandemic-era collective spiral to its deepest point. Featuring performances from Haley Blais, Jill Barber and Sam Lynch, Fictionalized also includes the Jordan Klassen-featuring "One in a Million" and "My Parents House."

Allie X
Girl with No Face
Twin Music Inc.
Release date: February 23

The follow-up to 2020's Cape God, Allie X's Girl with No Face is her first self-produced record and finds the former Ontarian leaning into the throb of '80s dance music and synthetic goth rock. "At times, it felt like I wasn't going to make it out alive," X said of the album's solitary gestation. You can hear that desperation in the nervy bounce of single "Black Eye," which finds X as confident and hard-to-define as ever. 


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