Genre: Roots rock If you like: Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow, Kathleen Edwards Best track:Cross Border Lovers Rating: NNNN (out of 5) Why you should listen: Always a great guitarist and passionate voice from the Hammer, Terra Lightfoot’s latest, has something new: hits. Packed with hooky songs and jammed with empowering choruses, these tracks need to be blasted from a muscle car radio while cruising past the flaming smoke stack passing by Hamilton Harbour. Great next step for rising Canadian talent.
Genre: Synth Pop Sound: Tingling synths find a groove that you can dance to If you like: Tegan and Sara, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Silversun Pickups Best track:Just The Once Rating: NNNN (out of 5) Why you should listen: Metric breathes new life into their discography on Formentera II. It’s entertaining throughout, with multiple memorable tracks, like Detour Up, Just the Once and Nothing Is Perfect. It’s an achievement for any band to be able to create fresh music that continues to excite their audience, and with nine studio albums already under their belt, Metric keeps adding more favourites to the canon of great Canadian music.
Genre: Rootsy, indie pop Sound: Lonely prairie meets Cabbagetown If you like: Lumineers, The Arkells, Wilco Best track:CANDU Rating: NNN (out of 5) Why you should listen: Anthemic, rootsy indie rock dripping in traditional sounds. This Toronto band manages to summon the plaintive longing of empty spaces their name suggests—though their history doesn’t. Fans of TRAA will be happy as the group builds on the sparse, snare-drum fuelled trademark sound that won them a 2011 Polaris nomination and solid national following since their launch in 2005.
Genre: Indie folk Sound: Intimate songs that make you feel like you’re listening in on secret stories between dear friends If you like: Ethel Cain, Lizzy McAlpine, MUNA Best track:Afraid of Heights Rating: NNNN (out of 5) Why you should listen: The trio of songwriters, Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus – known together as boygenius – thoughtfully intertwine their voices on this four track EP, a post-script of their critically acclaimed album from earlier this year, the record. Each song builds its own universe; a story that is contained in a tender moment. The EP, the rest, might be interpreted as the remaining songs from this project – however, just like how beats of silence are needed in music to give the beautiful notes the right amount of space to be adored, and how these songs revel in its quietude, you could also say that the rest is about enjoying the respite.
Genre: R&B, neo-soul Sound: Uplifting, buoyant R&B affirmations If you like: Sade, Solange, Jill Scott Best track: Yaya Rating: NNNN (out of 5) Why you should listen: Scarborough-based indie R&B artist Aphrose (Joanna Mohammed) builds on the promise that has seen her featured on CBC and dropping backing vocals for Daniel Ceasar, Jesse Reyez and Charlotte Day Wilson among others. Aphrose’s gorgeous vocals power a fresh R&B sound that draws heavily on classic soul. Confident and mature beyond what should be expected from an indie release. Aphrose is one to watch.