October preview: 5 albums you need to listen to this month
Gord Downie, the Barr Brothers, Weaves and more.
The summer-to-fall transition is always one of the busiest times for new albums, and this October is no different. With so many amazing Canadian albums coming out this month, we highlight some of the ones we're most excited about. Scroll down for more.
The Weather Station, self-titled (Oct. 6)
Tamara Lindeman says her upcoming album, a self-titled effort under her moniker the Weather Station, will be a "rock and roll record." But don't expect Lindeman to ditch her beautifully insightful folk sounds for rumbling bass lines and brash guitars; this is Lindeman's version of rock music. On lead single "Thirty," that means an acoustic guitar riff that barrels forward as she lists off keen observations with her sprightly voice. Oh, and there's flute. This may not sound rock 'n' roll, but it's a unique take on the genre that we can't wait to hear. — Melody Lau
Weaves, Wide Open (Oct. 6)
Just a few weeks back they were among 10 finalists for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize for their debut full-length, and now, favourite Toronto band Weaves returns with a much-anticipated sophomore LP, Wide Open. The band refers to the new album's sound as Americana — but that doesn't mean they've ditched their Pixies-tinged indie edge. "It felt right to try to represent my own experience in the world while knowing that everyone in my age group is poor or having a tough time with life in one way or another, so I was thinking about how to blow those feelings up into these kinds of songs," wrote charismatic lead singer Jasmyn Burke in a release earlier this year. "Blowing up a regular life into something like an anthem. In a way I was thinking about it like Bruce Springsteen, but in a lot of ways my experience of the world couldn't be less like Bruce Springsteen's." — Jennifer Van Evra
The Barr Brothers, Queens of the Breakers (Oct. 13)
Genres are made for blending, but never is that more apparent than when the Barr Brothers release new music. Made up of classical harpist Sarah Page and brothers Andrew (percussion) and Brad Barr (vocals/guitar), the Montreal-based band has released a crashingly loud lead track ("It Came to Me") and a six-minute, psychedelic, harp-driven refrain ("You Would Have to Lose Your Mind"), and both are stunning. The first new album since 2014's Sleeping Operators, Queens of the Breakers was recorded in both Montreal and St. Zénon, Que., and was engineered by Ryan Freeland (Milk Carton Kids, Ray LaMontagne, Bonnie Raitt) and Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire, the National). — Holly Gordon
Gord Downie, Introduce Yerself (Oct. 27)
Gord Downie is a force of nature. While the Tragically Hip frontman continues to challenge and inspire the country with his work on Secret Path and, to a larger degree, reconciliation, he is far from done. Downie recently announced a solo album, Introduce Yerself, a 23-song double album addressed to the people in his life. "This is my solo record," he says in the trailer. "Each song is about a person." Recorded over two four-day sessions with Kevin Drew (who produced Secret Path), it's Downie at his most personal, his poignant reflections elevated by Drew's cerebral yet lo-fi touch. — Jesse Kinos-Goodin
Majid Jordan, The Space Between (Oct. 27)
Aside from dropping in October, there isn't a ton of info about Majid Jordan's upcoming sophomore record, the Space Between. However, based on the tracks we have heard, the album should find the Toronto duo building on the house-infused grooves that formed the foundation of Majid Al-Maskati and Jordan Ullman's self-titled debut. "One I Want" finds them teaming up with their OVO cohort PartyNextDoor for a slinky, suggestive collaboration, while "Phases," the song that announced the group's comeback, is about yearning of a different kind, with Al-Maskati endearingly alluding to his move from Bahrain to Canada and his struggle to adapt to — and find acceptance in — a new society. If the goal on the new album is steady artistic growth that doesn't forsake their foundation, then Al-Maskati and Ullman are on the path to achieving it. — Del Cowie