Music

Fall 2022 guide: 15 albums you need to hear

Get ready for new music from Tegan and Sara, Alvvays, Savannah Ré, Mah Moud, Daphni and others.

Get ready for new music from Tegan and Sara, Alvvays, Savannah Ré, Mah Moud, Daphni and others

From left: Aysanabee, Backxwash and Carly Rae Jepsen have got new albums coming out this fall.
From left: Aysanabee, Backxwash and Carly Rae Jepsen have new albums coming out this fall. (Jen Squires, supplied by Backxwash, Jasmine Safaeian; design by Melody Lau/CBC Music)

Fall is here, which means darker days, sweater weather and pumpkin spice. And whether those three things strike fear in your heart or make you feel all warm inside, music will be the perfect companion for all your autumn endeavours.

Canada's musicians are ready to oblige with a steady stream of new releases over the coming weeks. Read on for our guide to the Canadian albums we think you need to hear for fall 2022, listed by release date.


Artist: Savannah Ré
Album: No Weapons
Release date: Sept. 23

There's an unintended irony in the title of Savannah Ré's sophomore EP, No Weapons: few R&B musicians working today have a more complete arsenal at their disposal. Ré has taken aim at the genre's highest echelons with her laser-beam songwriting, a quiver full of savvy producers (Boi-1da, Beat Butcha, Jack Rochon, YogiTheProducer), and — most devastating of all — that deep, rich, unmistakable voice of hers. The six tracks on No Weapons include three previously released songs: "About U," a plaintive torch song; the uptempo, finger-wagging "Closure;" and "Last One," her ravishing duet with Dylan Sinclair. When the album drops, look forward to a collaboration with breakout lyricist/MC/producer Mez, alongside two new solo songs on which Ré steps into her power. Tune in to CBC-TV on Sunday, Sept. 25, to catch Ré's performance on the Legacy Awards, the first major Canadian award show to celebrate and showcase Black talent. — Robert Rowat 


Artist: Status/Non-Status
Album: Surely Travel
Release date: Sept. 23

It's during life's quiet moments when you can best connect with yourself, and there's no better place for that than on the road, removed from what feels familiar and comfortable. That's where this new release from Status/Non-Status, the musical project of Anishinaabe musician Adam Sturgeon, comes from, a "loose concept album written as a travel log of animals in flight," as the press release describes, and an exploration of what those quiet moments can reveal. Status/Non-Status's projects have all been impressively ambitious — including 2019's Polaris longlisted Warrior Down and the 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years EP, as well as the recently Polaris shortlisted album Sewn Back Together with Daniel Monkman as duo Ombiigizi — and with Surely Travel Sturgeon and his collaborators are more zeroed in and (mostly) a little gentler, stretching their rock sound under Sturgeon's elastic voice, which gives nostalgic hints of Counting Crows on "Mashkiki Sunset'' and is exuberantly pushed to its limits on ripper "When They Were." Surely Travel is for anyone who has left or is leaving — and wants an unforgettable soundtrack to accompany them. — Holly Gordon


Artist: Mah Moud
Album: abdalla
Release date: Oct. 1

From the first notes of album opener "1167," Mah Moud's voice is transfixing. Once you've heard it, you'll remember it forever for its inherent pathos. Abdalla is an intimate and insular portrait of the pivotal moments that made Mah Moud, from his early childhood through the end of his time in high school (1997 to 2015, to be exact). Sung in English and Arabic, the songs range in genre from jazz to indie-folk to soul. In a press statement he called the album an attempt to "self-actualize an identity." Through the nine tracks, he puts the elements of himself side by side, to see what he can make of them. The child of refugees, Mah Moud was born and raised in Toronto, and his last project, 2018's Maba, traced the diasporic journey his parents took to get from Eritrea to Egypt to the "settler-colonial state of Kanata." It's a tale of displacement, survival and hope. In the time between projects, he racked up writing credits with Mustafa, River Tiber, GOVI and Shad (he's also featured on the latter artist's 2022 Polaris shortlisted album, Tao). Abdalla asks: How do the parts of a person coalesce into a whole identity? And with his tender songwriting, gripping voice and unhindered openness, Mah Moud spells out a nine-song answer. — Kelsey Adams


Artist: Alvvays
Album: Blue Rev
Release date: Oct. 7

Alvvays didn't mean to wait five years between releases. The Toronto-based indie-pop band started writing its followup to 2017's Antisocialites almost immediately after that album's release, but a number of factors kept delaying its recording, including a thief who broke into singer Molly Rankin's apartment and stole a recorder of demos — and, of course, the ongoing pandemic. But for fans, the wait will be worth it. Singles "Pharmacist" and "Easy on Your Own?" both hint at a sound that builds upon their signature guitar pop, but amplified tenfold thanks to My Bloody Valentine-levels of reverb, a slightly new direction aided by producer Shawn Everett (the War on Drugs, Kacey Musgraves). With a title inspired by a vodka cooler Rankin used to drink growing up in Cape Breton, Blue Rev promises to transform little moments of nostalgia into oversized, emotional wallops. — Melody Lau 


Artist: Daphni
Album: Cherry
Release date: Oct. 7

Letting the music go where it wants is the running theme for Dan Snaith's music made under the Daphni moniker. While previous releases like 2012's Jiaolong and 2017's Joli Mai have taken more house- or disco-driven directions, the new album, Cherry, is firmly rooted in Detroit techno. But it doesn't stay there. Throughout the album, the sounds branch out, pulling in Latin horns, glossy vocal samples, and glittering synths to create an indefinable but cohesive story. "It's weird that when the tracks were put in what felt like the right order it took on a new coherence where it pings quickly from one idea to the next and, at least for me, hangs together in a way that feels unified," Snaith said in a press release. The songs are mostly built around receptive loops that hold you in trance-like suspension. They're not overly showy; these are songs that seem content being simple enough to become the bedrock for a moment greater than themselves. As with any good dance music, the goal is to be elevated by the movement of people, the energy between bodies and the electricity in the air. — KA


Artist: Julianna Riolino
Album: All Blue
Release date: Oct. 14

As a fixture in Daniel Romano's longtime band the Outfit, Julianna Riolino is no stranger to the music scene — but this fall we (finally) get to appreciate her brand of power pop-meets-Americana in full limelight with the release of her debut full-length album, All Blue. Every single that Riolino has released in the last two months has reeled us in, from the honky-tonk piano of "Lone Ranger," to the '60s girl-group harmonies of "You" and, most recently, the down-to-earth twang of "Queen of Spades." With notes of Jenny Lewis, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, Riolino pays tribute to the women before her without losing herself in their tradition — and when she sings a knowing verse like "May I call your spade a spade?/ May I tell it like it is?/ It hurts me to the deepest depths/ feeling second-hand chagrin," we know we've found a kindred spirit. — HG 


Artist: waants
Album: Flop Era
Release date: Oct. 19

Halifax's waants comes out with his Flop Era EP swinging, wanting to redefine what it means to flop — and refusing to accept that those opinions even matter in the creation of an album. Teaming up with emerging  local artists on the majority of his tracks — including pop singer Keeper E. and rappers Kye Clayton and Yohvn Black — waants (a.k.a. Adam Warren) gives us a burst of post-lockdown energy, buoying his slick production with an impressive range of voices (including his own). On "Talking About You," bright choruses dive into Black's snarling rap verses, the heavy bass reaching right to your core. It transitions into "Just Can't Get Out of Bed," an immediately catchy dance track featuring Keeper E.'s irresistible voice. On Flop Era, waants pulls your strings in an inviting way, dropping you into an abyss before slingshotting you into the clouds. It's an addictive EP built on mutual admiration and collaboration — and signals that waants won't be entering a flop era anytime soon. — HG


Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen
Album: The Loneliest Time
Release date: Oct. 21

Just like the rest of us, Carly Rae Jepsen has been lonely during the past two or so years. The B.C.-born pop star's upcoming sixth album, The Loneliest Time, is dedicated to those solitary months where she was isolated at home, left to process grief and embark on new dating adventures alone. And while fans of Jepsen may be more used to her pop ruminations on all things love, Jepsen promises to dive just as deep into other emotions on this record. Produced by Rostam Batmanglij, The Loneliest Time's first two singles have shown the potential full range of sounds on the album. "Western Wind" is a sun-soaked mellow track that highlights Jepsen's folk roots whereas "Beach House" is a straightforward pop banger that pokes fun at dating apps. These two songs are wildly different from one another, but Jepsen assures fans that everything will make sense once you hear the album in full, telling Nylon in an interview, "Expect the unexpected. I contain multitudes." — ML


Artist: Tegan and Sara
Album: Crybaby
Release date: Oct. 21

Twenty-five years after Tegan and Sara Quin recorded their first demo in a high-school studio, the beloved sister duo is now gearing up to release a 10th studio album. Crybaby is a sonic homecoming to the quirky indie-rock that skyrocketed the sisters to critical acclaim in the early 2000s, with hints of their more recent mainstream pop prowess found in the shiny production and innovative layers. In a lot of ways, Tegan and Sara are proving there can be power in looking back — with some distance. Not only are some of the finest moments on Crybaby the wistful ones ("All I Wanted," "Faded Like a Feeling"), but the duo is simultaneously exploring other mediums to play with self-reflection. In August, CBC Music's Melody Lau published a book on Tegan and Sara's career and influence, and in October, we'll see the release of High School, a new original TV show based on their bestselling memoir about navigating adolescence together. — Jess Huddleston 


Artist: Flore Laurentienne
Album: Flore Laurentienne Vol. 2
Release date: Oct. 21

After enjoying success with his Juno-nominated debut album, Vol. 1, whose dramatic lead single opened Chanel's fall-winter 2022-2023 show in Paris, Flore Laurentienne (a.k.a. Québec composer Mathieu David Gagnon) is back with a followup album, Vol. 2. A press release describes a "palette of rich orchestral sound, where changing forces of water inspire metaphorical markers that navigate passages of life and loss," and while that sounds like a tall order, the album's two advance singles deliver. Blending acoustic classical instruments with electronic production, the wistful, minimalist "Navigation IV" is a lush Gymnopédie, adapted to 5/8 meter. "Voiles" is rather dramatic and cinematic by comparison, making good use of wind instruments and churning out compelling melodies from a simple descending scale. Vol. 2 will comprise eight tracks altogether, and represents an auspicious new direction for classical music fans looking for something new. — RR


Artist: Milk & Bone
Album: Chrysalism
Release date: Oct. 28

Laurence Lafond-Beaulne and Camille Poliquin, the Montrealers who make up duo Milk & Bone, are back with their most pop-leaning sound yet. Chrysalism is chock full of the synth-heavy, emotionally charged pop that is de rigueur thanks to the Charli XCXes and Caroline Polacheks of the world. It's a sound that suits their fluorescent voices and breezy delivery phenomenally. CBC Music previously called the album's second single, "Borders," "an electro-pop smash that … keeps you locked in with lyrics dripping with yearning, nostalgia and obsession." These themes are expanded throughout the album, as the women parse their relationships, mourning lost love and finding themselves in the wreckage. As they sing on the album opener: "the bigger the love, the taller the fall." Between power ballads, subdued admissions of vulnerability and upbeat dance tracks, Milk & Bone present a collection of raw insecurities, mundane moments, heart-wrenching conflicts and beautiful bonds. "Chrysalism is definitely an album about coming into adulthood," the duo told CBC Music via email. "With this record, we're making peace with the stories and feelings that aren't serving us anymore. A clean slate with an open heart." — KA


Artist: Backxwash
Album: His Happiness Shall Come First Even Though we are Suffering
Release date: Oct. 31

The same way a holiday album should only be released in December, we're now convinced that a new Backxwash album should only be released on Halloween. 2020 Polaris Music Prize winner Backxwash, real name Ashanti Mutinta, is known for her relentlessly fierce nu-metal that deconstructs the religious doctrines that burdened her coming-of-age in Zambia. With each new release (most recently her 2021 album, I Lie Here Buried With my Rings and Dresses), Backxwash's heavy growls are proof she's becoming kryptonite against what muzzles us, and speaking her truth at any cost. Save for collaborations with Billy Woods, Health and Banshee, Backxwash's new solo sounds have been kept under wraps, but a 20-second Twitter clip posted in July tells us it will be perfectly scathing. — JH 


Artist: Various artists
Album: The Art Of... compilation
Release date: late October

Based on the handful of singles I've heard so far, I've never wanted a whole album more than ArtHaus Music and Chin Injeti's The Art Of..., a compilation highlighting Black artists in Western Canada. There's the catchy, bass-heavy bounce of "A Mil" from hip-hop artist Teon Gibbs and the silky smooth neo-soul warmth of "Fabric of my Being" from 20-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist Bukola. There's "22," Iman Wamboi's dazzling soul-pop love letter to her younger self and the pure elemental chaos of "TRUSS (Temperatures Rising)" from the intriguingly experimental producer/musician Phen Ray. But the two tracks that have taken up residency in my head and heart are the soaring atmospheric pop of "V78," singer-songwriter Chlose's first-ever single, and Sadé Awele's aptly named "Elevating," a soulful, shimmery display of Awele's self-described jazz-hop style of music. The Art Of... isn't even out in full yet, but the depth and breadth of the artistry evinced so far is thrilling. — Andrea Warner 


Artist: Ging
Album: We're Here, my Dear
Release date: Nov. 4

Many listeners are familiar with the artist formerly known as Frank Dukes thanks to his production credits: he's got the Weeknd, SZA, Drake, Rihanna, Lorde, Rosalia and Kendrick Lamar under his belt, and that's not even an exhaustive list. But in January, he reintroduced himself to the world as Ging, moving from producer to artist in his own right. As a kid in Toronto, Adam King Feeney was often addressed by his middle name, pronounced Ging. A return to his childhood identity felt fitting for the next phase of his music-making. Often crafting pop and hip hop for other artists, Ging presents a debut project that's guitar-driven and rooted in folk, with a bit of shoegaze-y flair. His vocal delivery sways from light and effervescent on tracks like "Miracles," to Gallagher-esque on "Never Want to Leave." At its heart, We're Here, my Dear is Feeny telling the intimate stories of his life. The collection's nine songs were written as a love letter to his family, particularly his children as they dealt with the aftermath of their parents' separation. The album is an emotional triumph, and Feeney is clearly relishing the ability to expand and experiment with his sound. — KA


Artist: Aysanabee
Album: Watin
Release date: Nov. 4 

"What's your name?" asks Aysanabee's grandfather, his eyes squinting in the sunlight, as the video for the track "Nomads" comes to a close. It's a central question for the Oji-Cree singer-songwriter, whose moniker, Aysanabee, is his mother's maiden name and whose debut album, Watin, is named after his grandfather. With Watin as the central figure, Aysanabee built his full-length debut album around nine recordings of his grandfather's story, retelling the trauma of his years at a residential school, and how he started his young family. Aysanabee stitches these interludes together with his world-building songs, using the recordings as jumping-off points to dig into his family's past as a way to claim his future. "Grandfather/ did we flip the scripture? Grandfather/ I think we've flipped the script/ I'm sure," he sings on "Nomads" just before the galloping drums kick in. On Watin, Aysanabee joins his incomparable voice with his grandfather's, linking his past to his present in powerful reclamation. — HG

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