Canadian albums to stay tuned for in 2016

The coming year in Canadian music may be just as musically vibrant as the last 

Kasador performing at QPop! at Queen’s in 2015.
Kasador performing at QPop! at Queen’s in 2015.

The past year has brought phenomenal Canadian talent to the forefront of the international music scene, and 2016 looks equally posed to impress.

Last year, we saw Billboard-topping albums from Justin Bieber, Drake, BADBADNOTGOOD with Ghostface Killah and others. These albums came alongside newer Canadian bands making waves with strong releases from Born Ruffians, The Elwins and Viet Cong.

With 2015 behind us, we have the 2016 music scene to look forward to. Some old bands are making returns, while some new bands hope to find success. Here’s a brief list of Canadian talent set to wow us with new music in the New Year. 


BADBADNOTGOOD performing at NXNE in 2012 (Supplied by Dimitri Kouri). 

This Toronto-based instrumental hip-hop jazz trio has been on the rise in the last year.

Their musical abilities gained them enough attention in the music world to collaborate with well-known hip hop artist and prominent member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah. Their 2015 album, Sour Soul, features him on every song, which expanded their fan base and international relevance.

The success of the album, paired with their appearance at several music festivals this year, has rocketed them so far onto the music scene that they’ve made it onto the Coachella lineup for 2016.

They’ve also shared pictures and hints of studio work —  most recently with hip hop artist Mick Jenkins — that has led Exclaim! to place them on their list of the top 10 most anticipated albums of 2016. According to Exclaim!, the album could include work with hip hop artists Kali Uchis and Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring —  both of whom have appeared with the trio during live shows.


The image that was posted by Operators on their Facebook page and is presumed to be the art for their upcoming album. (Supplied by Operators)

Fans of Operators, a Canadian synth-pop band, have become slightly exasperated by the band’s reluctance to admit that they’re releasing a new album. As a sassy response, the band is liking and responding vaguely to Facebook comments requesting answers.

Although the band has yet to officially confirm their new album, new songs have been released, new promotional material has been popping up on their social media and tours and show dates have been planned for the spring, when they’ll be hitting locations across the U.S. and Canada, including Kingston.

After the band changed the profile picture for its Facebook page, one fan commented, “Please, for fuck's sake, tell me this is your album cover”. The band simply “liked” the comment. Other comments requesting the band “fess up already” about their new album have gained answers such as “maybe” and “hopefully”.

Their EP, self-released in 2014 and creatively titled EP1, has a unique electric sound paired with intriguing synth. A full-length album is exactly what’s missing from their already-successful start.

Hopefully, the album will released in time for the band’s show at the Grad Club in Kingston on Feb. 27. 

You Say Party 

The album cover for You Say Party’s upcoming self-titled album. (Supplied by You Say Party)

It’s been seven years since the world was blessed with an album from You Say Party (previously known as You Say Party! We Say Die!), a dance-rock band from Abbotsford, BC.

Although there have been live shows and small releases, You Say Party will be the first major release we’ve received from the band since they went on hiatus in 2011.

If this record is anything like “Ignorance”, the single released in early December, we’re in for a great record. The single has the same dance, electric-punk sound that fans have been missing, but shows the band has grown since their last record.

The vocals, guitars and drum sounds blend together to create an ethereal dance sound, but the instrumental guitar — which comes in halfway through the song — reminds listeners that there are talented musicians behind the atmospheric vibes.


The album cover for Toronto punk band PUP’s last album, released in 2014. (Supplied by PUP)

This punk outfit from Toronto left fans a taste of their new year with a recent Facebook post promising everything a punk fan could ask for.

“2016: new record, more shows, more beers, more hangs, more weed, more love, more snacks, more homies, more coffee, more everything always!” they wrote.

Since the band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2014, PUP has brought their loud, catchy hooks to live shows across North America, and it doesn’t look like they’re stopping any time soon.

Although there have been no confirmations on an album release date or a title, they aren’t hiding the fact that this record is being dropped and it’s going to be a wild ride – as a punk album should be.


Drake during his performance at Bluesfest in Ottawa. (Supplied by Brennan Schnell)

Everyone is fearing a Beyoncé-styled overnight drop on this album, as Drake’s already done it once with his mixtape If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late. However, this album has been in the works for a while and we still haven’t been released from an anxiety-ridden state of anticipation.

The title of the album was released via Billboard in 2014, but it was pushed aside to allow him to finish his 2015 mixtape and pursue a collaboration with American rapper Future titled What a Time to Be Alive.

Drake’s recent singles, such as the 2015 anthem “Hotline Bling”, is proof he’s been hard at work in the studio — hopefully compiling Views From the 6.


This Kingston-based band has garnered a lot of buzz from their new single and video, which premiered on Exclaim! just last week.

The band’s been around the music scene since 2012 under different names. However, they appear to have found musical and industry success with their current set-up.

The catchy indie synth-rock sound they’re best known for, similar to Canadian indie favourites such as Arkells and July Talk, comes out in their debut single “Neighbourhood”. The lyrics and vocals leave something to be desired, but the recording captures an energetic performance that makes up for what the vocals lack.

Despite the single’s shortcomings, it’s strong enough to draw attention to their forthcoming debut album, and to their growing popularity within and outside the Kingston music scene.

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