Here Are Exclaim!'s 22 Most Anticipated Canadian Albums of 2019
Published Jan 02, 2019Between U.S. Girls topping our pop and rock list and Jeremy Dutcher topping our experimental list, 2018 turned out to be a great year for amazing Canadian albums. Of course, 2019 is shaping up to be no exception. We're only days into the new year, and there's already a heap of exciting new albums set to come out in 2019. Here are the ones we're most excited for, presented in alphabetical order.
To relive the year that was, check out our Best of 2018 coverage.
The 22 Most Anticipated Canadian Albums of 2019:
It's been five years since Absolutely Free's 2014 debut LP, and they're set to return in style in 2019: their sophomore album was helmed by noted indie producer Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Japanese Breakfast, Sky Ferreira). Lead single "Still Life" is a sweet, spacey slice of atmospheric art-pop.
Montreal songwriter Chloé Soldevila makes eclectic art-pop as Anemone, and her debut album Beat My Distance is due out February 15 via Royal Mountain Records. A press release promises a psychedelic album full of shoegaze and Krautrock reference points. A few dreamy, peppy tracks are already streaming on Bandcamp.
Having made his mark as the frontman of the now-defunct Hey Rosetta!, Tim Baker has struck out on his own for a solo LP. He's shared a couple of delicate, reverent acoustic performance videos, although an announcement promises "playful arrangements and technically profound" recordings for the full-length.
On Halloween, the songwriter posted a photo with producer Aaron Dessner, revealing that the two had collaborated on her new album in Upstate New York. Given that she's working in the same barn studio as the National, perhaps the new album will be a step away from synth-pop and a return to her atmospheric folk-rock of old.
Wonky indie pop tunesmith Homeshake has gone in an airier direction with Helium, due out February 15 on Sinderlyn. The album was inspired by surrealistic Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, with Montreal songwriter Pete Sagar's dreamy narrative interspersed with synthesizer instrumentals and ambient influences.
Despite label drama, Grimes said she has two albums in the works: "The second one will be extreme darkness and chaos, the first will be highly collaborative and most glorious light." Lead single "We Appreciate Power" hinted at a sound that's both futuristic and retro, playing off nu-metal riffs and sci-fi lyrics about artificial intelligence.
Formerly known as Un Blonde, Montreal songwriter Yves Jarvis's first album under his new name, The Same but by Different Means, is due out on March 1 via Flemish Eye and Anti-. With 21 songs ranging from 14 seconds to over eight minutes long, the album reportedly contains "careful folk noir, tender R&B flourishes [and] pillowy vocal beds."
Carly Rae Jepsen
We don't have any details about the pop star's album plans yet, but joyous new track "Party for One" has us eagerly anticipating whatever she has in store. In a statement about the single, she said "This song represents a lot of what this album is about for me which is romantic love but self-love too."
The Sorority are one of Toronto's hottest new hip-hop acts, and the group's Haviah Mighty now has a solo LP forthcoming, too. She wrote on Facebook, "2019 bout to be wild #newalbummode."
Lee Harvey Osmond
CanRock lifer Tom Wilson will explore his heritage on Mohawk, which was produced by Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies and features Oh Susanna, Paul Reddick and more. He said in a statement, "It is my way of showing honour and respect to a culture that I'm just shaking hands with."
Having overcome a serious health scare, Mississauga MC John River has been ramping up the momentum for a new album with a series of singles. Since September, he has rolled out "Burn the Boats," "Before I Go," "Where I'm Headed," "The Bastard of the North" and "Hold Me Back." Bring on the full-length!
Sweet and salty rockers July Talk made a big splash with 2016's Touch, and a recent tweet revealed that they've been recording at the Tragically Hip's Bathouse Studio. They went in a wistful folk rock direction with "Mourning Keeps Coming Back," a recent collab single with First Nations high school students alongside Broken Social Scene, Nick Ferrio and Ansley Simpson.
The super-trio of Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat), Ryan Dahle (Limblifter) and Hawksley Workman will release their sophomore album, Heavy Meta, on February 8 through Light Organ Records. If singles "De-Evolve Again" and "Burning Money" are anything to go by, the album will offer plenty of classic pop melodies and bombastic rock riffs. (Hawksley Workman has a solo album of his own, Median Age Wasteland, due out March 1. It was produced by Murray Lightburn of the Dears.)
Protest the Hero
Vocal issues interrupted the Ontario metal band's recording session back in the spring, and they cancelled their European and Japanese tours while he recuperated. Thankfully, a November Instagram post with the caption "new album vibes" reveals that they're back on track.
BC folkie Ben Rogers signed to Dallas Green's freshly launched Still Records for his next album, which was also produced by Green (a.k.a. City and Colour). Singles "A Changed Man" and "Steady Going Nowhere" point to a sound that mixes dusty Americana with gothic, moody atmospherics.
Quirky Winnipeg pop experimenters Royal Canoe recently hid a cassette copy of their new album Waver in a boombox somewhere in their hometown; the rest of us will hear it January 25 via Paper Bag Records. Singer Matt Peters promises "leaner arrangements and clearer melodies," with lyrics that tackle modern life's absurdity.
Said the Whale
After going synth-y on 2017's As Long as Your Eyes Are Wide, Vancouver's Said the Whale have returned to their guitar-centric roots on Cascadia. Due out February 8 on Arts & Crafts, they've already released a few preview tracks, including the crunchy, politicized power-pop banger "UnAmerican."
Okay, hear us out: prolific metal weirdo Devin Townsend recently struck up a friendship with divisive Nickelback's Chad Kroeger — wait, we said hear us out! — which explains why the singer is on Townsend's upcoming album Empath. Last we heard, it's being mixed and also features Steve Vai.
We Are the City
BC prog-pop adventurers We Are the City recently announced two sister albums: the raw, spontaneous At Night arrived this past October via Light Organ Records/Tooth & Nail; another very different album, already finished and titled RIP, is expected to follow sometime in 2019.
During a recent show, ever-mysterious Toronto singer Abel Tesfaye promised, "Chapter 6, coming soon." It's not clear if the album is actually called Chapter 6, but it's evidently going to be longer than 2018's six-song My Dear Melancholy, since he added in a tweet, "some chapters are smaller than others. not this next one though…"
Wintersleep hail from Nova Scotia, and the indie rockers will be exploring their physical surroundings with a new album, In the Land Of, on March 29 (courtesy of Dine Alone Records). Frontman Paul Murphy said, "A lot of the songs touch on this idea of being a stranger or feeling foreign in all the different landscapes in which the songs took place lyrically."
The indie rock band have posted photos from their rustic writing sessions. In an interview, singer-keyboardist Spencer Krug told Exclaim! that the band are aiming for a fall 2019 release for the LP. He said, "We're going to write most of it together. Wolf Parade are most successful when we don't form too many of our ideas at home by ourselves."