With seven band members, Hey Rosetta! is Newfoundland’s folk-rock answer to Arcade Fire. Featuring guitars, pianos and a moving string section, the band is frequently praised for its spirited live shows. October 21 will see the release of the group’s highly anticipated fourth album, Second Sight. Lead singer Tim Baker’s unwavering voice and reflective lyrics are what sets Hey Rosetta! apart from so many other modern indie rock acts. The title of the album’s lead single, “Kintsukuroi,” refers to the traditional Japanese art of fixing cracks in a broken pottery dish using powdered gold, silver or platinum in order to embrace imperfections, rather than hide them. It’s a beautiful idea that Hey Rosetta! consistently weaves into its personal, poignant songs.
October 14 will see the release of Stars’ seventh studio album, No One is Lost. The understated optimism of the title perfectly suits the Toronto-based band that has been making music together for almost 15 years. Stars’ sensitive break-up songs are often masked by the exuberant, well-matched vocals of lead singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan, creating a bittersweet listening effect. No One is Lost finds the group experimenting more with electronic beats and music made for parties. Stars’ have no intention of slowing down or growing up, and this is demonstrated in the band’s new video for “From the Night,” which follows the 40-something band members around as they pull an all-nighter at various house parties and on the streets of Toronto until the sun comes up.
Popular Toronto electro-pop singer Lights has just released her third studio album,Little Machines. Recorded in both Los Angeles and Vancouver, the album features the upbeat summer single “Up We Go” and the recently released “Running With the Boys.” Based in Toronto, the 27-year-old singer has been releasing catchy pop albums featuring her high-pitched voice since she first burst onto the Canadian music scene in 2008. Little Machines would make a worthy addition to any running or workout playlist for the coming months.
Despite what the name might suggest, The Rural Alberta Advantage hails from Toronto. The indie-rock trio’s last album, 2011’s Departing, was selected as a long-list nominee for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize. Characterized by fervently strummed acoustic guitars and lead singer Nils Edenloff’s nasally vocals, The Rural Alberta Advantage’s songs are almost always instantly recognizable as their own. Mended With Gold, the band’s third full-length album, features haunting, foot-stomping numbers like “On the Rocks” and “Terrified” that are bound to leave a lasting impression.
Canadian international superstar Bryan Adams is back with his first new album in six years. Tracks of My Years is unlike its predecessors, however, featuring 10 cover songs and just one original song by Adams. The album title is a play on the song “The Tracks of My Tears” by The Miracles, which Adams includes a rendition of, as well as songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, John Fogerty, The Beach Boys and more. Produced along with fellow Canadian music legends David Foster and Bob Rock, Tracks of My Years is a memorable collection of classic songs performed by a classic Canadian artist.
At the age of 80, Canadian poet and songwriting legend Leonard Cohen has just released his thirteenth studio album to widespread critical acclaim. Lyrically, Popular Problems is a thoughtful examination of world issues, including cultural differences and war. Musically, it is a dark, smooth album accentuated by Cohen’s monotone but affecting voice, making it an ideal choice for rainy autumn nights spent inside with a glass of whisky in hand. Cohen may be getting older, but in terms of songwriting, the man is at the top of his game.
Bahamas is the pseudonym of Afie Jurvanen, a singer-songwriter from Barrie, Ontario. A former member of Feist’s touring band, Bahamas has made a name for himself over the last five years with his solo albums Pink Strat (2009), Barchords (2012), and the recently released and aptly titled Bahamas is Afie. His charming, low-key folk songs have a way of capturing listeners, as is evidenced by his 2013 Juno nominations for Adult Alternative Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Bahamas’ songs are always personal with a touch of sadness, but Bahamas is Afie also has welcome traces of optimism throughout.
Born in Calgary, Lowell also lived in the Yukon, Massachusetts, Ottawa and Georgia before eventually deciding to split her time between Toronto and London. The result is a pop singer with a wide range of influences and strong opinions. Her debut album, We Loved Her Dearly (released by Feist and Dan Mangan’s label, Arts & Crafts) is filled with chipper pop songs that house much deeper meanings beneath the surface. Lowell’s lyrics tackle issues like feminism and LGBTQ rights, yet she still manages to keep the music light and fun. Already having debuted at a number of festivals around the world, Lowell is now poised to win over Canadian listeners with her outstanding debut album.
There's something to be said for a band with full creative control over its own music. Following a 2013 Juno nomination, members of Toronto band The Wooden Sky opted to start their own record label and recording studio for their new album, a move that certainly worked in their favour. Throughout Let’s Be Ready, influence from legends like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen can be heard on rock songs like “Saturday Night” and “Shake For Me,” while the band’s folk and alt-country roots shine through on “Baby, Hold On” and “Don’t You Worry About A Thing.” Let’s Be Ready is the perfect soundtrack for Canadian road trips.
This fall has seen the release of many stand-out albums by Canadian artists both old and new. Here are 10 that you should be throwing on your speakers and spending quality time with season
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
Since their 2000 debut, The New Pornographers have been Vancouver’s quintessential Vancouver indie-rock band. Following 2010’s album Together, the band went on a hiatus to spend time on their other musical projects (Neko Case, A.C. Newman and Kathryn Calder are all solo artists in their own right, while Dan Bejar is the enigmatic frontman of Destroyer). Approaching 15 years together as a band, The New Pornographers have never sounded tighter than on their brand new album, Brill Bruisers. CBC Music called it “one of those all-too-rare instant pop masterpieces” and it’s awfully difficult to disagree with that claim.