January Music Preview: 6 albums you should hear

There's a whole heap of new music on the way. Here's a preview of some of the albums January has in store.
Danny Michel's upcoming release is included in CBC Music's list of albums you should hear this month. (Six Shooter Records)

Every month, we look ahead at the albums coming out from across the country that we think you should hear. This month, there are new albums from Austra, Danny Michel, Kid Koala and more. Read on for more about each upcoming release.

Who: U.S.S.
Album: New World Alphabet
When: Jan. 13

Why you should listen: The band's sound is hard to pin down, but its energy and dedication is unquestionable. New World Alphabet transitions easily between head-bopping chill vibes like "Who's With Me" and quirky, hella danceable jams like "Domino" and "Alien".

Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)

Who: Austra
Album: Future Politics
When: Jan. 20

Why you should listen: If the lead single from Future Politics is any indication, this Toronto band's third LP just might be its most ambitious one yet. It's "a commitment to replace the approaching dystopia," says vocalist Katie Stelmanis in a press release. "It's not about 'being political,' it's about reaching beyond boundaries in every single field." — JL

Who: Kid Koala feat. Emilíana Torrini
Album: Music to Draw to: Satellite
When: Jan. 20

Why you should listen: This is the Montreal turntablist's first non-sample-based record. Instead, Eric San is writing, producing and collaborating with vocalist Emilíana Torrini, and performing all of the instruments on his fifth studio album. With not a sample to be found, San incorporates synthesizers, keyboards, guitars, strings and assorted noisemakers to create a 72-minute ambient soundscape. Music to Draw to: Satellite could be one of the big sleeper hits of 2017. — JL

Who: Danny Michel
Album: Khlebnikov
When: Jan. 20

Why you should listen: It's not every day you get to hear music recorded in a makeshift studio aboard a Russian icebreaker making its way through one of the coldest inhabited corners of planet Earth. Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield invited Danny Michel to join him on the Kaptain Khlebnikov, and Michel was so inspired by the experience that he created a makeshift studio in his cabin and wrote and recorded the tracks that are at the core of his latest album, Khlebnikov. — JL

Who: Alejandra Ribera
Album: This Island
When: Jan. 27

Why you should listen: Alejandra Ribera's sophomore release, This Island, born in part of isolation — self-imposed and otherwise — offers up her most accessible and up-tempo songwriting to date. The arrangements are rich, the lyrics thoughtful and the joy evident. It has the makings of a timeless classic. — JL

Who: Japandroids
Album: Near to the Wild Heart of Life
When: Jan. 27

Why you should listen: Vancouver duo Brian King and Dave Prowse return from a self-imposed, five-year exile to save rock 'n' roll — or at the very least light a guitar-fuelled fire under its behind. Recorded "clandestinely" in Vancouver, Toronto, New Orleans and Mexico City, Near to the Wild Heart of Life is the group's third album, expanding on the blistering riffage of 2012's breakout release, Celebration Rock.

— Jon Dekel (@jondekel)


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