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November Music Preview: 10 albums you need to hear this month

Judith Lynch

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 Martha Wainwright, Colleen Brown, Nuela Charles, the Jerry Cans and more. Read on for more about each upcoming release.

Who: Colleen Brown
Album: Seasons are Circling
When: Nov. 1

Why you should listen: Is there anything that Colleen Brown’s voice can’t do? Sweet, sour and all points in between, pick any genre and any song and she can likely sing the pants off of it. Not that songs have pants, but that’s beside the point. What you need to know is that, while she can sing anything out there, Brown also writes her own music. And believe me when I tell you that they’re not wearing any pants, either. Her latest, Seasons are Circling is a collection of songs that she recorded with some of her musically minded friends in basements, living rooms and attics across Canada over the last few years. — Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)


Who: Hello Moth
Album: A Slave in a Stone
When: Nov. 3

Why you should listen: Calgary's Hello Moth dabbles in a variety of sonic styles and textures resulting in an intense and theatrical record. Slave in a Stone ranges from techno punk to electro funk to dreamy ballads with a distinct DIY aesthetic. Frenetic, weird and all kinds of exciting, Slave in a Stone is the kind of innovative music-making that keeps the future of Canadian music looking bright. — J.L.


Who: Arion Orchestre Baroque
Album: Bach: Magnificat, BWV 243
When: Nov. 4

Why you should listen: “All I Want for Christmas is You” is fine, but if you’re looking for Christmas music with a bit more substance, turn to this new release from Montreal’s Arion Orchestre Baroque. It’s Bach’s reworked version of his own famous Magnificat, including four extra movements intended for performance at a Christmas Vespers service. Arion’s quintet of highly capable soloists sing the choral movements one on a part, so this is a lean, mean reading of the work, led by Alexander Weimann from the harpsichord. A Christmas cantata by Kuhnau rounds out the album. — Robert Rowat (@rkhr)


Who: Nuela Charles
Album: The Grand Hustle
When: Nov. 4

Why you should listen: Edmonton’s Nuela Charles first came to our attention in 2013 when she entered our annual Searchlight competition. She didn’t win, but we were blown away by her talent and have been waiting to hear new material from her ever since. It’s finally here. You can hear her latest, The Grand Hustle, here and watch her perform some of the new songs in a First Play Live session, which will be released on Nov. 9. — J.L.

Who: Monomyth
Album: Happy Pop Family
When: Nov. 4

Why you should listen: Everyone needs a bit of summertime in their November, and these Halifax indie rockers’ pop songs are both breezy and bleak at once. With a sandy, slight Beach Boys-esque vibe to tracks like album opener “Aloha” coupled with lyrics like “I wanna be hated in my hometown/ I wanna be despised/ hated in my hometown/ after sleeping on a bed of lies,” it’s a seasonally perfect balance of not-quite-shimmery pop and the ennui of living your life as right as you can. Happy Pop Family is the second album from Monomyth, via Mint Records, and was recorded with Each Other’s Mike Wright at Montreal’s Drones Club early last year. “No matter what happens/ I know I’ll take it all in stride,” Josh Salter sings on the rockier and penultimate track “New Year’s Resolve,” giving us all a bit of hope, and a nice anthem, for the coming year.

— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)


Who: The Jerry Cans
Album: Inuusiq
When: Nov. 4

Why you should listen: Nunavut's the Jerry Cans combine Inuk throat singing with folk, rock, punk and country on their third release, Inuusiq. The first track, "Ukiuq," shines with its catchy hooks and pedal-to-the-metal, foot-stomping rhythms, setting the tone for the rest of this high-energy album. Inuusiq is also the first release from the Jerry Cans' very own label, Aakuluk Music, which they've created to help more bands from Nunavut find a wider audience. — J.L.


Who: The Darcys
Nov. 4

Why you should listen: It’s rare for a band to get a shot at a second act, while a third act is almost unheard of. Just don’t tell the Darcys that, as they've shifted their lineup and sound on Centerfold for what is, technically speaking, the third time in four albums — and it works. Gone is the brooding tone of 2013’s critically acclaimed, Cormac McCarthy-esque Warring, as is half of the group that comprised that iteration of the Darcys. Still in place are principal songwriters Jason Couse and Wes Marskell, who make a go of it as an official duo while tapping into a distinctively sunnier, synth-heavy, retro-feeling vibe. “It’s only San Diego, 1988,” Couse sings, firmly planting this album in a time and place, which is not to say they’ve completely come in from the shadows. If anything, Centerfold is just as comfortable in the dark underbelly as it is on the beach — less Laguna Beach, more Scarface or Miami Vice. While Centerfold is a bright and earworm-heavy album, it’s also an ambitious exploration of how far the Darcys can take electro-pop out of its comfort zone. — Jesse Kinos-Goodin (@JesseKG)

Who: Martha Wainwright
Album: Goodnight City
When: Nov. 11

Why you should listen: “I used to do a lot of blow/ now I only do the show” is a brilliant line, and this album is full of them. Some, like that one, written by Wainwright, some written for her (and with her) by a host of famous friends (Glen Hansard, brother Rufus, Beth Orton and Tune Yards’ Merrill Garbus). But the truly glorious thing about Goodnight City, Wainwright’s first album in four years, is her vocal delivery. This album is chock full of more characters than a Dorothy Parker short-story collection, and each is vivid and fully realized, bodies made whole by something as extraordinarily nebulous as hard work, talent and craft. — Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)


Who: Jim Guthrie and JJ Ipsen
You, Me & Gravity: the Music of Planet Coaster
Nov. 17

Why you should listen: This strikingly upbeat instrumental album is Jim Guthrie’s latest foray into soundtrack work, this time with frequent collaborator JJ Ipsen (Hayden, Brave Shores). Created for Planet Coaster, a game where you build and manage roller coaster parks, it’s filled with lush horns, guitar and piano, with a spine of optimism that just won’t quit. Guthrie’s beautiful soundtrack work has appeared in projects Sword and Sworcery and Indie Game: The Movie, and it's hard to imagine anything more vibrant to travel alongside you while building death-defying roller coasters in this new game. — HG


Who: The Weeknd
Album: Starboy
When: Nov. 25

Why you should listen: The opening scene of the “Starboy” video, from the Toronto singer’s forthcoming album of the same name, features the Weeknd killing off his old self, infamously idiosyncratic hairstyle and all. Given the song’s melodic contribution from French electronic superstars Daft Punk and the frenetic, rock-infused adrenalin shot of followup single “False Alarm,” it doesn’t seem like sweeping this year’s Junos and picking up Grammys has blunted the artist born Abel Tesfaye’s sonic curiosity any. On the contrary, the Weeknd is giving us all the signs that Starboy, like Beauty Behind the Madness before it, will mark a sharp and engaging sonic diversion for the singer. — Del F. Cowie (@vibesandstuff)


More to explore:

October Music Preview

September Music Preview

August Music Preview

July Music Preview