8 Emerging Canadian Artists You Need to Hear in September 2021
Meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, from cross-country indie pop to Toronto's newest boy band
Published Sep 07, 2021Whether you're going back to school, back to the office or back to the same ol' routine, these emerging Canadian artists are sure to freshen things up. Meet the latest New Faves, including cross-country indie pop and Toronto's newest boy band.
Vancouver, BC/Toronto, ON
For fans of: Sylvan Esso, Alvvays
Meeting through a mutual friend set bi-coastal indie pop duo Stacy Kim and Kaelan Geoffrey's remote collaboration Bestfriend ahead of the pandemic curve. On latest single "Hannah in the City," they close the distance in sprawling synth-wave with an insistent lo-fi groove, setting the scene for the nostalgic dreamscapes their debut EP, places i've lived, will call home on October 1. Follow-up EP places i've left is set to arrive shortly thereafter.
Central Heat Exchange
For fans of: Yo La Tengo, Broken Social Scene, Alex G
A true pandemic project, Central Heat Exchange unites remote collaborators from Winnipeg, Austin and Chicago (all cities in the Central Time Zone, hence the band name). These long-distance acquaintances began sending songs back and forth in 2020, resulting in 10 tracks of hazy pop that dabble in fuzzed-out shoegaze ("Cold"), wonky folk rock ("Dusty Glass") and opulent late-era Stereolab ("Tulips at My Bedside"). Their wobbly self-titled album arrives on September 10 via Birthday Cake/Citrus City/Sunroom.
The Free Label
For fans of: Anderson .Paak, BROCKHAMPTON, Omar Apollo
With the group's easy chemistry and vibrant energy, pop/R&B boy band the Free Label are infectious, creating music that will have you singing and dancing for days. Recent singles "Reckless" and "I Don't Think" are drenched in their signature rhythm and groove while also proving the band's constant evolution. A series of local shows are lined up throughout September, and new single "Playground" is set to drop on October 7.
For fans of: Kaytranada, Knxwledge.
Producer and DJ Aïsha Vertus, a.k.a. Gayance, is bringing the world together with her music. On debut EP Not Toning Down, due October 15, she reflects her globetrotting history — including her Haitian roots, Montreal upbringing and stints in Brazil and Belgium — with a tight collection of skittering, entrancing UK garage tracks augmented by collaborators from all over the planet.
For fans of Jorja Smith, Banks, SAULT
Gabrielle Godon is one half of hip-hop duo Heartstreets. On Speed of Life, her newly released sophomore EP as Laroie, she shows off her deep, sensuous vocals and strong R&B influence with hints of electro. The tracks give a taste of what is to come in her solo career, one that will surely make her shine all over the country.
For fans of: Julia Jacklin, Sharon Van Etten, Jennifer Castle
Rooted in her rich voice, the folk rock music of Vancouver artist Ashley Shadow (Ashley Webber) is enthralling. On September 24, Shadow will release Only the End (via Felte Records), the follow-up to her 2016 self-titled debut record. The album is highlighted by a gorgeous country duet with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and is co-produced by Shadow and Joshua Wells (Black Mountain, Lightning Dust).
For fans of: J Hus, Octavian
On paper, Skiifall sounds like the ideal artist for Drake's OVO label. The Montreal rapper seamlessly mixes his hip-hop influences with the dancehall music that surrounded him during his youth on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent. On his latest EP, WOIIYOIE TAPES Vol. 1, Skiifall quickly flashes his lyrical brilliance on the introspective "Lost Angeles" and his ability to craft nocturnal bangers like "My Gully."
For fans of: Julia Holter, Jenny Hval, Weyes Blood
Upon each swirling breath of Tegan Wahlgren's spine-tingling voice, a silky strand of warmth is gracefully entwined into the lush, eloquent world where their overwhelming internal struggles shift into very elemental, life-affirming forces. Performing as Wallgrin, the Vancouver-based composer's gossamer textures are magically hopeful on singles "Slice in the Mouth" and "Silver Trail," teasing their second album, Yet Again the Wheel Turns, which is slated to be released in spring 2022.
Listen to tracks from these and other New Faves in our Spotify playlist.