8 New Canadian Faves You Need to Hear in October 2020

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Oct 6, 2020

With 2020's extremely peculiar, livestream-focused festival season winding down, it's time to focus on the next wave of rising Canadian talent. This month, we've got some catchy and cathartic rock, surprising new projects from music scene staples, and a Toronto indie songwriter who sounds ready to take on the world. Maybe, by the time festival season rolls around again, some of these rising upstarts will have achieved big-tent status.

Waterloo, ON
For fans of: Weezer, Dinosaur Jr., Blur

Former Gold Finch vocalist Omar Elkhatib debuted his new solo project BUD with a '90s-leaning power pop jam called "What's the Point of This? (If I'm Not into It)," which brings all of the singalong hooks and white-noise guitar fuzz of the alt-rock greats. He's got an EP coming out in early 2021, meaning that right now is the perfect time to become buds with BUD.
Alex Hudson 

Like a Motorcycle
Halifax, NS
For fans of: Cloud Nothings, NOBRO, Partner

Halifax quartet Like a Motorcycle have a lot to say about the music industry, and their sophomore album Dead Broke, out October 30, is a cathartic airing of grievances. Their tight, post-punk tunes are packed with snarling harmonies and rocking riffs, but it's the urgent, succinct lyrics that lead the charge as they take on celebrity culture, exploitation and financial uncertainty with heartfelt fury.
Matt Bobkin

Toronto, ON
For fans of: Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, Third Eye Blind

All My Friends, Giuliana Mormile's new album as Kicksie, is filled with emo-tinged grandeur. From the liquid guitar riffs of "Reaching Out (Peace)" to the shout-along choruses of "BANANA POP!" to atmospheric experiments like "Blind to It" and "All I'm Good For," All My Friends is the sound of a fully formed songwriter who's ready to take on the world.
Alex Hudson

Shantel May
Scarborough, ON
For fans of: Summer Walker, Jazmine Sullivan, H.E.R.

Scarborough gem Shantel May's angelic voice sparkled this past spring on dvsn's "...Again," from their latest album, A Muse in Her Feelings. Continuing to shine, she tapped Westside Gunn for her latest single "Until I Say So," co-produced by Toronto natives Neenyo and "Hotline Bling" beatsmith Nineteen85 alongside Allen Ritter — all of whom are Drake collaborators.
Riley Wallace

Toronto, ON
For fans of: Not Waving, the Haxan Cloak, Orphx

Josh Korody's name may be familiar to many Torontonians, between co-founding dream popsters Beliefs and running Candle Recording Studio. Perhaps lesser known, however, is his gurgling techno output as Nailbiter. New album Brace, due October 30 via Hand Drawn Dracula, is a dark, pulsing kick in the neck. Techno with a DIY punk aesthetic and occasionally jazzy noise experiments scream across this 15-track behemoth.
Daryl Keating

The North Sound
Saskatoon, SK
For fans of: Hunter Brothers, JJ Voss

With a sound as vast and expansive as the Prairies themselves, the North Sound are rising stars in Canadian country music. Led by Blackfoot singer-songwriter Forrest Eaglespeaker, the North Sound's dusty country-rock tunes feature lyrics that veer away from the genre's usual fare, coming more from a place of pain and healing than reckless abandon. Their debut album, As the Stars Explode, is due October 23.
Scott Roos

Montreal, QC
For fans of: ANOHNI, Moses Sumney, Solange

Ottawa-born, Montreal-based indie pop artist NOVEMBER is the queer, genre-bending project you need in your life. Having just completed a BFA in acting, theatricality is central to NOVEMBER's artistic vision, and with influences like FKA twigs, Damon Albarn and Depeche Mode, their sound is difficult to pigeonhole, as on new single "Jerome."
Scott Simpson

Hiroki Tanaka
Toronto, ON
For fans of: Jeremy Dutcher, Grizzly Bear

When Hiroki Tanaka was the lead guitarist for Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, his intricate riffage elevated them to metal-adjacent territory. His debut solo album Kaigo Kioku Kyoku instead favours a folk-inspired neo-classical palette while continuing his former band's multicultural explorations, transforming Japanese folk songs and field recordings into yearning elegies inspired by Tanaka's time as a caretaker to ailing family members.
Matt Bobkin

Listen to tracks from these and other New Faves in our Spotify playlist.

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