Published Apr 06, 2020As the world continues to stay under lockdown to slow the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it might be the perfect time to buckle down and discover your next favourite artists. From rising R&B sensations like LOONY and Tasha Angela to the leaders of Canada's next rock vanguard such as Babe Corner and Wares, these nine emerging artists may make isolation speed by that much quicker.
For fans of: Mazzy Star, Vivian Girls
Vancouver four-piece Babe Corner make a big impression with their debut EP, Killer. Much of the five-song collection channels the Jesus and Mary Chain's romantic slow-burn, but the true standout is stunning closer "Cigarette," a timeless piece of pop perfection that could have been released at any point in the past 60 years and would still sound fresh.
For fans of: Caribou, SOPHIE, Yves Tumor
Toronto producer Casey MQ recently co-founded Club Quarantine, the hottest online queer dance party in this age of physical distancing. In between DJ sets from the likes of Charli XCX and Charlotte Day Wilson, MQ has previewed tracks from an upcoming full-length that continue to push his sample-driven sound and ethereal vocals.
For fans of: Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, D'Angelo
Montreal's Chiiild are difficult to pin down. An official press release refers to them as both a "band" and a "collective" — and yet that same press release refers to Chiiild with the pronoun "his." After some extensive Googling, I still can't figure out what "his" actual name is, but one thing's for sure — the psych-learning R&B of debut EP Synthetic Soul is undeniable.
For fans of: Jessie Reyez, SZA
LOONY's JOYRiDE EP, due April 23 via AWAL, leverages the Scarborough-based singer-songwriter's love of R&B, hip-hop, jazz and rock sounds and penchant for lyrics about the various permutations of love, relationships and destiny. Current singles "WHiTE LiE" and "NO!" reflects her passion and proactive approach to expression.
Ryan B. Patrick
Dawson City, YT
For fans of: Fiver, Kacy & Clayton
Joey O'Neil wrote her upcoming album Ever Ahead, due April 10, on a road trip from her home in the Yukon to Ontario and back again. In this collection of postcard-like, twanged-out folk tracks, highlighted by O'Neil's knock-out sing-speak vocals, she pens an ode to her trusty truck, sings about sadness, and even covers The Littlest Hobo's theme song for charming results.
For fans of: Mac DeMarco, (Sandy) Alex G, Kirin J. Callinan
P'tit Belliveau's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 has such a unique mix of songs that it feels like a career-spanning selection, but it's actually the Moncton-based musician's cheekily titled debut record, out now via Bonsound. While jumping between French and English, P'tit Belliveau blends country, folk, synth-pop, and surf rock and has a hell of a lot of fun doing so.
For fans of: High on Fire, Black Tusk, Neurosis
Pale Mare may brand themselves sludge metal, but they're more like slush metal, pushing through the gnarly sound of bands like High on Fire but with Chris Colohan-esque yells and a bit more punk pep — must be the wet sleet mixed in. Pale Mare II, their second EP, is days old, and the title reflects their no-bullshit approach.
For fans of: Jorja Smith, Solange, Corinne Bailey Rae
In a time where the world feels uncertain, Toronto songstress Tasha Angela is the clue to get lost from it all. Tasha released her debut EP Hidden Gems in February, introducing her butter-like vocals and soul-baring vibrations that hint at a more modest era of music.
For fans of: Flasher, Woolworm
Wares are fighters, and they prove it on forthcoming sophomore album Survival, due April 24 on Mint Records. Cassia Hardy's confident vocals and ripping guitar solos lead the Edmonton quartet through tales of desire, pain and passion, with lyrical and instrumental urgency playing off of each other for an album filled with tension and, more importantly, release.
Listen to tracks from these and other emerging Canadian artists in our Spotify playlist.