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From dvsn to Maylee Todd, here are the local albums we'll be listening to this season
The City That Always Sleeps (New Damage), September 15
The second album from Toronto’s mightiest band arrived on September 15, three years after Monsoon Season let heavy music fans know that the former members of the Illuminati, the Mountains (Sebastien Grainger’s backing band), Bart and the Bicycles weren’t going quietly into the night. You could call Biblical’s take on howling stoner metal “sludgy,” “tsunami-like” and “atmospheric.” But The City That Always Sleeps is also kinetic with unusual grooves and masterfully sustains a spacious tension that’s both gorgeous and dread-inducing. – Carla Gillis
At the Baby G (1197 Dundas West) on November 3.
Strange Peace (Royal Mountain/Sub Pop), September 22
A meeting of METZ and legendary engineer (don’t say “producer” – you’ll piss him off) Steve Albini seems like a match made in raw, scraping noise-punk heaven. Strange Peace, though, is the trio’s most diverse, most – dare we say it – mature album yet. There are songs at slower tempos, songs with synths and songs about fatherhood, online identities, ambivalence about living in Toronto and, sure, Trump. It’s heavy, but a different kind of heavy. – Richard Trapunski
At Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor West) on September 29 & 30.
Habitat (Outside Music/Hand Drawn Dracula), September 22
Three albums in, Beliefs have hit that sweet spot between a distinctly defined sound and pushing past it. The shoegaze band’s gothy Habitat features some of their most confident vocal performances – particularly Jesse Crowe’s on Half Empty – and most arresting experimentation. Striking texture props up the strong melodies, while propulsive rhythm gets a greater focus. The industrial Comb is full of unnerving, throbbing static and a warped lead vocal by co-bandleader Josh Korody, while All Things Considered bludgeons with fat low tones. It seems that Crowe and Korody’s keeping busy in side projects like Nailbiter and Yi has only helped to crystallize their vision for their primary project. – CG
With Odonis Odonis at the Garrison (1197 Dundas West) on November 3.
Fool’s Paradise (Arts & Crafts), September 22
The third album by Ladan Hussein – the first on which she doesn’t use a pseudonym – finds the “doom soul” songwriter matching her most personal material to her powerful, room-quieting voice. Fool’s Paradise is about “finding home, identity and self-love,” and follows Hussein’s revelation that her father was in a band in Somalia in the 70s. She dug deep into the VHS recordings she found of his and other Somali musicians that survived the war. Fool’s Paradise is the sound of an already-awe-inspiring singer fully coming out of her shell. – RT
At the Mod Club (722 College) on November 30.
(Outside Music), October 6
Tamara Lindeman, aka the Weather Station, has outdone herself on her self-titled fourth album, with her evocative, wordy narratives tumbling forward in a steady stream that never loses momentum or melodicism. The songs are robust and her voice stunning – upfront in the mix and unvarnished – with touches of imperfect delivery lending a naked transparency to her string-enhanced folk music. She produced for the first time, and got musical assists from bassist Ben Whiteley, drummer Don Kerr and guests that include Ryan Driver, Will Kidman and Ben Boye. – CG
At the Great Hall (1087 Queen West) on November 24.
Morning After (OVO Sound/Warner), October 13
It’s been a busy year for OVO Sound. The Drake-affiliated label’s various groups have been putting out a steady stream of singles this year as well as guesting at each other’s hometown concerts. There are albums on the horizon from Majid Jordan and Roy Wood$, but we’re most excited for R&B duo dvsn’s, Morning After, the follow-up to last year’s 90s-referencing, trend-shunning debut Sept 5th. The pair has been adding more live instrumentation into the mix lately, and singer Daniel Daley doesn’t seem to be fucking around in the vocal department, if the all-falsetto single Mood is any indication. – Kevin Ritchie
Any Other Way (Numero Group), October 20
Jackie Shane lived in Toronto in the 60s, recorded a handful of soul classics, then disappeared. There’s been a rediscovery project picking up steam for the transgender R&B singer ever since. This new artist-approved anthology (the first authorized, non-bootlegged compilation) collects all six of her 45 singles, live highlights, previously unreleased outtakes, and, for the first time, the story in her own words in liner notes written by York University musicologist Rob Bowman. A missing link in Toronto’s Black and queer scenes and some amazing tunes that deserve a second life. – RT
(Upset the Rhythm), October 27
Catchy, energetic rock ’n’ roll will never go out of style, we promise you. And if it’s got swagger and ambition? Nothing’s better. Enter Darlene Shrugg, the magical collaboration between Maximilian Turnbull (formerly Slim Twig), U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy, Simone TB (whose list of bands will put this waaaaay over word count), and Ice Cream’s Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist. Their debut album is saucy and catchy, with a bold, glammy, theatrical aesthetic that brings to mind T. Rex and the Alice Cooper Band. But the five-piece can also turn meditative and tender on a dime. It’s so good to finally have a full-length. – CG
At the Smiling Buddha on November 24.
Acts Of Love (Do Right! Music), November 3
We’ve been waiting for years for Maylee Todd to explode. She’s got all the right components: she can dance, she’s got a fully-formed DIY aesthetic, her voice is soulful as hell, and she’s got boatloads of charisma. Her music goes from trippy and laid-back MIDI soul to get-out-of-your-seat disco-funk, plus the occasional harp ballad. Acts Of Love, which is 100 per cent self-produced, focuses mostly on her stripped-down pop chops, with 17 refreshing and relatable songs about polyamory, addiction, exhaustion, love and sex. This could be the one. – RT
At the Great Hall (1087 Queen West) on November 19.
The rapper, formerly of Montreal and more formerly of Edmonton, has been teasing out tracks after a long hiatus paying tribute to each of his hometowns – the Oilers anthem Connor McDavid, the Kaytranada-assisted Montreal after-hours elegy My Crew (Woooo) – and now he has one for his new one, Toronto. The FrancisGotHeat (Bryson Tiller/Drake) produced Don’t Talk To Me warps his version of the Toronto sound around a Started From The Bottom-style come-up. He’s pivoting to the next phase of his career and, with a self-titled album on the horizon, it won’t be long before we hear what the full-length Toronto version of Cadence Weapon sounds like. – RT
This story is part of NOW’s Fall Music Preview.