October Music Preview: 8 albums you need to hear this month

There's a whole heap of new music on the way. Here's a preview of some of the albums October has in store.
The Once has a new album coming out October 2016. (Supplied by the artist)

Every month, we look ahead at the albums coming out from across the country that we think you should hear. This month we have new albums by Tanya Tagaq, John K. Samson, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Philippe Sly and more. Read on for more about each upcoming release.

Who: The Once
What: We Win Some We Lose
When: Oct. 4

Why you should listen: The first in a series of EPs for St. John's the Once, We Win Some We Lose was recorded at producer Daniel Ledwell's studio in Lake Echo, N.S., and on it the folk trio finds a balance between "traditional" East Coast sensibilities and catchy pop elements. Whether it's the banjo-plucking, harmony-filled "We are Love" or the simpler keyboard number "Tell me Something I Don't Know," all of the Once's moving parts shine a big, bright light on lead singer Geraldine Hollett's vocals and the harmonies that support her (including bandmates Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale). It's a collection of five beautiful songs, with two repeats ("Last Lemonade and "The Blood inside Your Heart (For Olilve)") added as live versions, making for a sweet taste of what's in store on upcoming EPs from the Newfoundland band. — Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)

Who: Diamond Mind
Album: Heavy Metal Sunshine
When: Oct. 7

Why you should listen: Edmonton three-piece Diamond Mind cleverly combines elements of pop, rock, soul and, well, noise in their groovy debut record, Heavy Metal Sunshine. The music isn't always easily accessible but that's not a bad thing. The album warrants repeat listening which leads to pleasant sonic discoveries with each spin. — Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)

Who: Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
Album: Kings and Kings
When: Oct. 7

Why you should listen: In 2011, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings released Kings and Queens, an album featuring guest performances by some of the band's favourite female singers. Now, we have the companion piece. Kings and Kings features the band performing with some of their favourite "guy" friends with collaborations with Keb Mo', Rodney Crowell, Bruce Cockburn, City and Colour, Nick Lowe and more. — JL

Who: Philippe Sly and John Charles Britton
Album: Schubert Sessions
When: Oct. 14

Why you should listen: Philippe Sly, the charismatic bass-baritone who swept the prizes at the 2012 Montreal International Musical Competition, returns with a fresh take on Schubert Lieder, swapping the usual piano accompaniment with the guitar stylings of John Charles Britton. The effect is akin to sitting on a sofa with the two musicians and having them whisper and strum the music for you alone, like an impromptu singer-songwriter session. It's intimate and immediate music-making that's sure to bring new audiences to these little Schubert gems. — Robert Rowat (@rkhr)

Who: Gord Downie
Album: Secret Path
When: Oct. 18

Why you should listen: "We are not the country we thought we were," Gord Downie said in a press release about this album. Sit with that for a second. We are not who we thought we were. We are not who we think we are. If you're at all surprised by the story of Chanie Wenjack and the horrors of residential schools then you simply have not been paying attention. You can change that. Today. Start with this album. — JL

Who: Tanya Tagaq
Album: Retribution
When: Oct. 21

Why you should listen: According to its own press release, Tanya Tagaq's new album, Retribution, is about rape: "Rape of women, rape of the land, rape of children, despoiling of traditional lands without consent." Thematically, that's punk as f--k, and the music and arrangements are a perfect match to the album title's literal and metaphorical interpretations. The record moves in and out of darkness, and there are moments here that are so intense one might be tempted to turn it off, but there's no escape from the feelings that Tagaq evokes. Chilling, thoughtful and wrenching, Retribution is equal parts indictment and rallying cry, revenge fantasy and warning. — Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)

Who: John K. Samson
Album: Winter Wheat
When: Oct. 21

Why you should listen: Sometimes you don't know that you were waiting for an album until the album itself is announced. It's been four years since John K. Samson's last solo project, Provincial, and it's been eight years since the last studio album from Samson's band, The Weakerthans. This month, Samson's back with another solo album, Winter Wheat, that employs the Weakerthans' rhythm section. Recorded during a Winnipeg winter (they are truly like no other), Samson remains a songwriter and music-maker on top of his craft. — JL

Who: Skye Wallace
Album: Something Wicked
When: Oct. 29

Why you should listen: Skye Wallace's gritty and pretty sound is in full effect on her wildly ambitious new album, Something Wicked. The dark-folk singer-songwriter blazes new trails on this album, having left her home in Vancouver for a year in Toronto to make Something Wicked with beloved musician/producer Jim Bryson. The result is a tremendously diverse collection of songs that pivots confidently between dirty blues, warm art-pop, folk-rock and the occasional nod to sultry Canadiana. "I'll burn you to the ground," she sings with a snarl that's equal parts promise and threat on the lead single "Blood Moon." Her vocals brandish the stomping, sexy, relentless rhythm like a rider taming a wild horse before the fiddle moves into the foreground, giving the whole track a sweaty, rootsy, country-noir vibe. Something Wicked is a great walk on the wild side. — AW


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