8 Emerging Canadian Artists You Need to Hear in May 2021
Meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, including the future of Vancouver hip-hop and Montreal's masked mystery
Published May 04, 2021April showers (and the occasional snow flurry) bring May flowers, and these emerging Canadian artists' careers are also approaching full bloom. Meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, including the future of Vancouver hip-hop and Montreal's masked mystery.
"The coast," BC
For fans of: Altar of Plagues, Deafheaven
Five-piece Anti-God Hand came roaring out of British Columbia in February with Endless Excavated Earth, a two-track release that saw long-form black metal tease at prog and ambient elements, highlighted by huge riffs from a gripping twin-guitar attack. Debut album Wretch, out in June, finds them further honing this formula, as evidenced by the dynamic extremes of single "Zero-Harm Environment."
For fans of: Dizzy, Avril Lavigne, Jimmy Eat World
Kirsten Frances and Cameron Breithaupt have been making music as Babygirl for some time now. On their new Losers Weepers EP, they really find their groove. Over Breithaupt's dreamy, minimalist guitar lines, Frances details young romance in all its awkward and uncomfortable glory, exemplified by "Million Dollar Bed," in which Frances daydreams of getting even with an ex by becoming rich and famous, only to realize success can't change how she feels.
For fans of: Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott
Move over, Missy Elliott — Canada's got our own Missdemeanour on the rise. Missy D's talents are manifold: she can deliver rapid-fire rhymes and melodious hooks in both English and French. Bridging generations with her throwback flows and hot-topic subject matter, she says it best on latest single "Rollin": "I'm a kid of the new school but I'm down with the old."
For fans of: Bibio, slenderbodies, Toro y Moi
Delachute has taken Montreal — and his sizeable Spotify following — by storm thanks to the songs on his self-titled debut EP. The anonymous artist explores dark love stories and lays them down on beautiful, haunting melodies. Delachute shines while hiding behind a mask, making listeners want to learn more about him, his identity and — most of all — his stories.
For fans of: Malajube, Plants and Animals, Klô Pelgag
Grafting lush sweetness and noisy aggression atop folk, rock and pop templates, Thierry Larose does it all on debut album Cantalou. His jubilant tracks recall Montreal's indie rock heyday mixed with some killer guitar solos. The results bang at the gates of Francophone music's language barrier — if Anglos don't open the door, Larose might just tear it down with force.
For fans of: Erykah Badu, Cartel Madras
Taraneh (a.k.a. Tee Krispil), Jenny Lea, Rosita Alcantara, Giorgi Holiday and Larisa Marie have each been on the forefront of the Vancouver music scene for years now, making their powerhouse hip-hop collective NADUH a bonafide supergroup. If their recent singles have been any indication, expect the quintet to continue to subvert and shatter expectations of what modern hip-hop and R&B can be.
For fans of: SOPHIE, Black Dresses, 100 gecs
With her full-length hyperpop debut, Into the Void of Infinite Sadness, dropping May 7, pseudo-antigone (Simone A. Medina Polo, also of g3n3ric fr4ct4ls) is an up-and-coming producer presenting an experimental, fun sound full of bleeps, bloops and ludicrously distorted vocals. Each track delivers tongue-in-cheek, intellectual progressivism through its lyrics, carefully woven into a project inspired by experimental pop producers.
For fans of: Summer Walker, Kiana Ledé
Justine Tyrell is at her best on debut EP While You Were Sleeping with emotionally intimate songs built for late nights and low lights. The self-empowerment of "War" and "Radar" is strengthened by Tyrell's sense of melody — and she literally spells out her message on the slow-burning "Worthy." Those outside the Stampede City won't be sleeping much longer.
Listen to tracks from these and other emerging Canadian artists in our Spotify playlist.