We’ve all seen the best-of lists for music in 2015. Now, it’s time to look forward to the most exciting upcoming albums for the new year. For Toronto-based musicians, 2016 is slated to be a great year, because of up-and-coming and well-established favourites. While some of these artists have not officially confirmed an album release in 2016, the guessing game is all part of the fun. Here’s a list of local acts to look forward to hearing from in 2016.
1) Jazz Cartier
Since his show at The Cat’s Eye, Toronto-based rapper Jazz Cartier has been touring his wildly successful mixtape Marauding in Paradise. The album blends Atlanta trap music with the character of a grimy, downtown Toronto house party. Cartier recently released a track on Soundcloud called “I Know,” with its description alluding to a new album in 2016.
2) Basia Bulat
This singer-songwriter is known for her graceful yet powerful voice and her unique use of the autoharp. All three of her albums have been nominated for a Polaris Music Prize, and her most recent album, Tall Tall Shadow, was nominated for a Juno Award in 2014. It’s been quite a while since we heard from Bulat, but her upcoming album Good Advice is scheduled to be released on February 12.
3) Crystal Castles/Alice Glass
Diehard Crystal Castle’s fans will know that Glass’ departure from the electro-punk band was a heartbreaker. However, both Alice Glass and Crystal Castles (with new member Edith Frances) have dropped their own individual tracks, and both provide their own spin on the trademark witchy-electronic sound that they’re known for. Both projects are rumored to have releases this year, but maybe if we wish really hard, Glass will return to give us some classic Crystal Castles goodness.
4) Tory Lanez
Tory Lanez is a volcano that is about to erupt. Slowly but surely, the 23-year old Toronto rapper has been getting his name out there; he’s released some absolute bangers like “Say It” and “B.L.O.W.,” and has also been featured on the new Freddie Gibbs and YG albums. His debut album is set to be released sometime this year.
If you enjoy polished, saccharine, and memorable synth-pop, then Lyon is worth checking out. Although she’s released some tracks here and there, Lyon has not released much since her debut EP, Indian Summer, leaving fans salivating for more. Currently, Lyon is supposedly in the studio working on a full-length album.
A personal favourite, PUP has been dominating the Toronto punk scene through sheer energy and dedication. Their style is an explosive combination of infectiously catchy melodies, primal screaming, and heavy guitar riffs. Judging from their new song, “DVP” (named after the Don Valley Parkway), PUP shows no sign of relenting on their new album.
Alvvays (pronounced Always) increased in popularity over the past couple of years due to their summery melodies and melancholic lyricism. Accordingly, their self-titled debut, chocked full of catchy songs like “Archie, Marry Me” and “Party Police,” made many critics’ best-of lists in 2014. Mad many critics’ best-of lists in 2014. The groups new album is expected to deliver faster, more aggressive jangle pop.
You simply cannot write a list of most anticipated Toronto albums without mentioning the 6ix God himself. The past year has witnessed Drake take over the rap game completely, thanks to If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, What a Time to Be Alive, and the wildfire status of “Hotline Bling.” His new album, Views From the 6, is reported to have features from Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, and Kanye West. Sufficed to say, I’ll be disappointed if this album is anything but hot fire.