8 Emerging Canadian Artists You Need to Hear in May 2022
Meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, including a Nova Scotian pop experimentalist and Montreal's most unrelenting punks
Published May 09, 2022Our latest crew of emerging Canadian artists are equal parts funny and sad, insular and energetic, brash and gentle. There's a little bit of something for everyone, another reminder that Canadian musicians push boundaries and pluck at heartstrings like no others. Keep reading to meet Exclaim!'s latest New Faves, including a folk-rock troubadour out of Manitoba and a Hamilton quintet who specialize in glittering psych-pop. Then, head over to our Spotify playlist and check 'em out alongside our previous home-grown favourites.
For fans of: Tame Impala, Jefferson Airplane, The Velvet Undergound
Transport yourself to a hazier decade with the Crowleys — a five-piece Hamiltonian vintage psychedelia group hot off the heels of their lollipop-sweet 2021 single, "Lampshade." With the 2019 addition of vocalist Giulianna Frontini, the band's swirling concoction of '60s rock, '80s pop and modern psych-rock has only grown richer, placing the band comfortably alongside the rock giants of a previous century.
Sarah Jessica Rintjema
For fans of: Björk, Maggie Rogers, Empress Of
Combining whirring, industrial-tinged beats with her crystalline voice, Nova Scotia's Keeper E. (aka Adelle Ellwood) makes starstruck pop music that blurs the ever-dissolving line between accessibility and experimentalism. Her latest release, Thank U and Please and Don't Go, glitters with high-noon light, a collection of skin-tingling pop songs that melt into unpredictable shapes. Keeper E. manages to wring pop magic from life's smallest corners.
Quebec City, QC
For fans of : Erykah Badu, H.E.R., Noname
Neo-soul songstress Modlee is the first female artist signed to Quebec's 7ieme Ciel records, effectively making her the R&B ambassador for the whole province. In an industry that doesn't always treat the genre with the respect it deserves, her sumptuous 2022 record Soul Urge album sets the bar at new heights with stellar production, profound lyrics and a distinct sound all her own.
Antoine-Samuel Mauffette Alavo
For fans of: Serpentwithfeet, Blood Orange, Sampha
Jahmal Padmore has been a vital player in Toronto's music scene for 15 years, including co-organizing monthly jam session Practice, which makes it no surprise that his debut album comes off as intimate and riveting as, well, a jam session. Due on May 27 via Telephone Explosion, Esparonto's best moments weave hip-hop, rock and funk into his R&B tapestry, matched by an equally colourful cast of collaborators.
For fans of: Chubby and the Gang, The Chisel, Big Cheese
Sometimes a little mystery can go a long way. Scour the internet for information on Montreal punks Puffer and you're bound to come up short. It's the absence of details that makes the newly formed quintet's RoachLeg Records demo, Live and Die in the City, all the more impressive. Featuring five tracks of fast 'n' fun hardcore punk of the old-school variety packed with burly vocals, rocking refrains, and quicksilver guitar licks, it's a recipe for a ripping basement show.
For fans of Big Thief, Julia Jacklin, Sharon Van Etten
Since her debut EP All That You've Known was released in 2019, Irish folk singer Amy Blake has been quietly working on her full-length debut. During this time she's released four singles, 'Circles in the Sand', 'Blue' and 'Give and Take' and 'So Lovely'. Her haunting, ethereal voice seems to take a new shape with each release as she pushes to develop her own unique sound moving toward her solo debut.
For fans of: Songs: Ohia, Kevin Morby, Bob Dylan
Twisting languid folk-rock and bluesy alt-country into a distinct braid of sound all his own, Winnipeg's Sam Singer makes music that floats free of time. "I Want You Blue" is the latest taste of his incisive, insular writing, teasing a grey-skies melancholy from the song's breezy sway. Carried by patient guitar, twinkling keys and sighing background vocals, it's a deepening of the lushly-rendered folk of 2019's Don't Mistake Me for a Lovebird.
For fans of: Daniel Johnston, Cate Le Bon & Bradford Cox
Alaskan born and Montreal-based musician Gus Englehorn released his excellent debut record Death and Transfiguration back in 2020. The album served as an introduction to his intriguing, off-kilter vocal delivery and melodic sound reminiscent of '90s indie rock and '80s post punk. His Dadaist and surrealist subject matter is often mirrored by the eerie visuals courtesy of his partner and drummer Estée Preda. Englehorn's Secret City Records debut, Dungeon Master, arrived on April 29th.
Listen to tracks from these and other New Faves on our Spotify playlist: