Exclaim!'s 32 Most Anticipated Canadian Albums of 2022

Featuring the Weeknd, Billy Talent, Peach Pit, Luna Li and more

BY Kaelen BellPublished Jan 4, 2022

Well, 2021 certainly happened, didn't it? The big thing about time, though — maybe even its defining feature — is that it just keeps on trucking. So let's not dwell on the rapidly-becoming past! Instead, let's look at what's to come, specifically from the world of Canadian music, which promises to be as enthralling and heartbreaking and earth-shaking and quiet and funny and sad as it's always been. At the very least we can count on that.

This list points out a few of the releases we're most excited to hear, from the vivid experimentalism of Tanya Tagaq to squelchy floor-fillers from Blue Hawaii, the hook-filled rock of OMBIIGIZI or the retro dreampop of Luna Li. There's no time like the present to get excited about the future.

Our most anticipated Canadian albums of 2022 are presented by Mary Brown's Chicken & Taters — all Canadian and proud of it!

Brad Barr 
(Secret City)
Release Date: January 21 

A meditative, unhurried record, THE WINTER MISSION is the long-awaited follow-up to the Barr Brothers' frontman's 2008 solo debut The Fall Apartment. What began as a commission from Michael Wolk — Artistic Director at New York City's All for One Theater — eventually became a series of deeply felt fingerpicked acoustic instrumentals, made in the depths of the pandemic. In press materials, Barr describes the record's creation as feeling "like a gift." 

Basement Revolver 
(Sonic Unyon)
Release Date: February 18

Concrete details on Basement Revolver's Embody are slim, but the three singles that the Hamilton, ON, shoegaze quartet shared from the record so far — "Transatlantic," "Skin" and "Tunnel Vision" — showcase a band hitting their stride, developing a distinct voice within their hazy sound. 

Billy Talent
Crisis of Faith
Release Date: January 21

We've already heard quite a bit of the Toronto rockers' sixth album — recent singles "Forgiveness I + II," "Reckless Paradise" and "I Beg to Differ (This Will Get Better)" will all appear, plus the Rivers Cuomo-assisted single "End of Me." Crisis of Faith marks the longest gestation period for any Billy Talent album, arriving six years after 2016's Afraid of Heights

Jean-Michel Blais
(Arts & Crafts)
Release Date: February 4

The new album from the post-classical Montreal pianist finds him acting as composer for the first time in his career, writing for an entire ensemble and building songs inspired by a personal breakup and global breakdown. The record's title refers to the "aubade," a love song from the Middle Ages about lovers who separate at daybreak. 

Blue Hawaii 
My Best Friend's House
Release Date: February 18

The follow-up to 2020's Under 1 House EP, the press materials for My Best Friend's House describe a collection of songs inspired by "themes of empathy and love." First single "L.O.V.E" certainly makes good on that, as it's a synthetic, horn-dotted groove about ultimate devotion. The five-song EP features saxophonist Adam Kinner and songwriter and keyboardist Edwin de Goeij. 

Kissing Mirrors
Release date: Spring 2022

The first full project from Boyfrn, Kissing Mirrors promises to expand on the glittering hip-hop infused pop that the Toronto artist has explored on his previous string of stand-alone singles. There's not a ton of concrete info about the EP just yet, but it's said to feature collaborations with Bobby LoveTerrell Morris and DillanPonders, plus Young Clancy and Jeremy Rose.

Basia Bulat
The Garden
(Secret City)
Release Date: February 25 

Basia Bulat offers a career retrospective on The Garden, which reimagines songs from across all five of her studio albums with classical string quartet arrangements provided by Owen Pallett, Paul Frith and Zou Zou Robidoux. Produced by Bulat and Mark Lawson, The Garden's 16 tracks give new dimensions to a catalogue of already-kaleidoscopic music. 

Lou Canon
Reimagine the Body
(Paper Bag)
Release Date: January 26

Remixing songs from 2020's Audomatic Body, Lou Canon's six-track Reimagine the Body EP features work from an eclectic list of collaborators — Époque Selector, Graham WalshJuly TalkLido PimientaWitch Prophet and Zoon — adding their own flavour to the Toronto artist's slinking, experimental pop. 

Charbonneau / Amato 
Synth Works Vol. 2
Release Date: March 4

Multi-instrumentalists, composers and producers Mathieu Charbonneau and Pietro Amato step away from their myriad side-projects and join forces for their new record as Charbonneau / Amato, a collection of glittering electronica that moves with a joyful lightness. Synth Works Vol. 2 was introduced by the glowing "Light Memoir," opening the door to a world of gentle, ever-shifting sound. 

Suffer Summer
(Dine Alone) 
Release Date: January 13

Given what we've heard so far, Chastity's third record will be the Whitby, ON-based pop-punk prophet's most dynamic and carefully rendered collection of songs yet. Woven with plush strings and kept afloat on the strength of Brandon Williams' fail-proof melodies, the songs on Suffer Summer are bathed in a particular pre-dusk glow. That final single "Vicious Circle" finds Williams joined by his hero Dallas Green feels like a true arrival. 

Live Slow Die Wise 
Release Date: January 19

Penned in isolation, Live Slow Die Wise finds Quebec's Geoffroy returning to the organic sounds he first explored at the beginning of his songwriting journey. Recorded with Louis-Jean Cormier and made up largely of live acoustic takes, Live Slow Die Wise is described as an exploration of "societal individualism and ego." In press materials surrounding the record, Geoffroy asks, "We're driven by an endless pursuit for growth, innovation and profit. But at what cost?"

Alice Glass
(Eating Glass)
Release Date: January 28

The long-gestating debut solo album from the electro-punk artist, PREY/IV features previously shared singles "BABY TEETH," "SUFFER AND SWALLOW" and "FAIR GAME," plus "I TRUSTED YOU," which came out all the way back in 2018. This new music is as confrontational and glitch-eaten as anything Glass has released in the past, and the record promises to be a serious gut-punch when it finally arrives. 

Scott Hardware
Ballad of a Tryhard
(Telephone Explosion)
Release Date: March 4

The third album from Toronto-based songwriter Scott Hardware, Ballad of a Tryhard, is described as being about "living between emotions." First single "Summer" provides a taste of Hardware's baroque brand of searching art-rock, mutating constantly in the span of four minutes. The record was recorded in Spain and co-produced with Owen Pallett collaborator Matt Smith. 

Kevin Hearn
There and Then: Solo Piano Improvisations
(Celery Music)
Release Date: February 11

A collaboration between Barenaked Ladies member Kevin Hearn and producer and engineer Mark Howard — who's worked with the likes of Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, and the Tragically Hip — There and Then: Solo Piano Improvisations finds the pianist and composer in a particularly spontaneous mode. Each day, Howard would inform Kevin where and when to find the piano that he would be playing, and the album was built from these spur-of-the-moment improvisations. 

Silhouettes of Horror
(Asher Media)
Release Date: March 18

If you prefer your metal loud, dark and just a touch campy (and who doesn't?), then Calgary-turned-Vancouver rockers Hyperia are planning to deliver with Silhouettes of Horror, the follow-up to 2020's equally furious and equally fun Insanitorium. First single "Operation Midnight" is an unrelenting barrage of riffage held down by Marlee Ryley's throat-blistering vocals.  

Title TBA 
(Fueled by Ramen)
Release Date: 2022

Details about Lights' much-anticipated follow-up to 2017's Skin&Earth are scarce, but the end of 2021 saw a flurry of exciting news from the alt-pop star: a North American tour, a guest spot on a Beaches single, and two new songs of her own, "Prodigal Daughter" and the Elohim-featuring "Real Thing." She confirmed on Twitter that the album would be out in 2022. Expect an official album announcement soon. 

Lisa LeBlanc
Chiac Disco
Release date: March 18

The third studio album from the New Brunswick singer-songwriter, Chiac Disco, is said to embody the energy of its title: an "improbable encounter" between disco music and the Acadian French language, described as a place "where glamour meets rurality." Produced by LeBlanc and Benoît Morier, LeBlanc says the record is inspired by the music of Lee HazlewoodWilliam OnyeaborChic and James Brown

Luna Li
(In Real Life)
Release Date: February 25 

There's not a whole lot we know about Luna Li's Duality, but if the spritely psychedelic wash of first single "Cherry Pit" is anything to go by, there's some good stuff coming our way from the Toronto songwriter and multi-instrumentalist's debut full-length. Li finds a joyous, sticky middle-ground between winking nostalgia and modern experimentation, a sound that dissolves time. 

Les Louanges
Release date: January 21

The follow up to his Polaris Music Prize-nominated debut la nuit est une panthère, Les Louanges' Crash (not to confused with Charli XCX's upcoming record of the same name) sounds like it'll expand on the Quebec artist's complex, layered vision of genre-blending art-pop. Single "Qu'est-ce que tu m'fais" is a shimmering workout stuffed full of moving parts, and along with the previously released "Pigeons" and "Chaussée," it bodes well for the record. 

Fortunato Durutti Marinetti 
Memory's Fool 
(Bobo Integral)
Release Date: March 18

Fortunato Durutti Marinetti is the latest alter-ego of Shilohs/Pinc Lincolns songwriter Dan Colussi. His jazz-coloured upcoming record, Memory's Fool, is a dispatch from some smoky lounge room, a new shape for Colussi to inhabit. Introductory single "Memory's Fool" doesn't actually appear on the official tracklist, but as Colussi puts it, the song is "as good a place as any to enter into Fortunato Durutti Marinetti's corner of the universe."

Sewn Back Together 
(Arts & Crafts)
Release Date: February 10 

The brainchild of Daniel Monkman of Zoon and Adam Sturgeon of Status/Non-Status, OMBIIGIZI finds the Anishinaabe songwriters shedding some of the distorted "moccasin-gaze" blur of their individual projects and leaning into cleaner tones, finding a clarity of songcraft and voice. First single "Residential Military" is an instant earworm, conjuring the sideways pop tones of '90s college rock. 

Peach Pit
From 2 to 3
Release Date: March 4

The follow-up to last year's You and Your Friends, From 2 to 3 is described in a press release as "a collection of songs that were written late at night, alone in a small apartment with a hushed voice so as not to wake anyone." First single "Look Out" is a pristine example of that hush, a shimmering acoustic stunner that takes the band's dream pop to a gentler, country-laced plane. 

Samantha Savage Smith 
Fake Nice 
(Saved by Vinyl)
Release Date: April 22

Co-produced by Samantha Savage Smith and Chad VanGaalen/Alvvays collaborator Chris Dadge, Fake Nice places Smith's unmistakable voice in a kaleidoscope of glittering folk-rock. Single "In It to Win It" is like being submerged in a bubble bath, all opalescent sheen and light-as-air melody. Her first record since 2015's Fine Lines, there's a sense of urgency and joy that runs through Fake Nice, a relief at once again having found the words.  

Kiefer Sutherland
Bloor Street
Release Date: January 21

Actor-musician Kiefer Sutherland recorded his third album with producer Chris Lord-Alge in Los Angeles, but its heart is in Toronto. The record's country rock lead single and title track is all YYZ namedropping, celebrating the places and faces that make up his hometown. The album also includes the single "Two Stepping in Time." 

Tanya Tagaq
(Six Shooter)
Release Date: January 21

Tanya Tagaq's fifth full-length promises explicitness and specificity — even in a discography as potent and unblinking as Tagaq's, Tongues is said to feel like a reckoning. Pulling excerpts of poetry from the artist's award-winning mythobiography Split Tooth and stretching them against spare, industrial instrumentals, it's unlikely to sound like anything else released this year. If the injured lope of the title track is any indication, Tagaq has only grown more fearless since she left us last. 

Release Date: February 18

In Tennyson's own words, the new record from the Edmonton-born electronic producer is "a musical diary of a brain gone sideways" — it's the artist's first project that finds him singing on nearly every song, and if singles "Iron" and the Rae Morris-featuring "Slow Dance" are any indication, Rot will find him leaning even further into his pop music bona fides. 

Katie Tupper
Towards the End
(Arts & Crafts)
Release Date: February 18

Saskatchewan's Katie Tupper makes the kind of soul-stained folk that feels instantly familiar, but it's her complex writing — vividly capturing the sights and smells of her home province, like the "fields of butter" on "How Can I Get Your Love?" — that makes her debut EP so anticipated, further calcifying the singer/songwriter's distinct and subtle touch. 

Synchro Anarchy 
(Century Media)
Release Date: February 11

The fifteenth full-length album from the stalwart prog-metal quartet, Synchro Anarchy is the follow-up to last year's Lost Machine – Live and their The End of Dormancy EP. Their last studio album was 2018's The Wake, and this one promises even more skull-shaking intensity, as evidenced by new single "Planet Eaters." 

Sam Weber
Get Free
(Sonic Unyon)
Release Date: February 4

According to the record's promo materials, Sam Weber's Get Free traces the artist's journey from his home country of Canada to his new universe of Los Angeles, a collection of travelling songs that tell stories of rediscovery and rebirth. "When I go rambling / Hold on to your lunch / Look at me now / Look at me grow," goes a line in single "Already Know." It's a road trip album if there ever was one. 

The Weeknd 
Dawn FM
Release Date: January 7 

On January 1, the Weeknd posted a message to his Instagram that read, "Music can heal and that feels more important than another album rollout." He meant what he said, and the followup to 2020's After Hours is arriving this Friday. It'll include new single "Take My Breath" and collaborations with the likes of Lil Wayne, Quincy Jones, Oneohtrix Point Never and Tyler, the Creator — plus, surprisingly, Jim Carrey. 

Young Guv
(Hand Drawn Dracula)
Release Date: March 11 and late 2022

Ben Cook has not one, but two albums as Young Guv arriving in 2022, with GUV III — that's the follow-up to 2019's GUV I and GUV II, try to keep up here — coming in March, while GUV IV is expected sometime later in the year. The sister albums were written in the wilderness of New Mexico, and GUV III single "Lo Lo Lonely" is shot through with some of the state's dust-blown grit.

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