The best new music of 2016: Here are nine Saskatoon artists you should listen to right now

Have you noticed the crazy surge of new music that’s been erupting from Saskatoon since the beginning of 2016?

There’s been so much of it we’ve barely been able to keep up. Local musicians: Just keep doing what you are doing – you are all beautiful and delicate little unicorns and no one can take that away.

Uhm, anyway, here are nine new Saskatoon (ish) tracks that you should probably listen to right now:


Chunder Buffet – “Makeout”

On that tiny piece of beach towel real estate where angst meets fun lands Chunder Buffet’s new single “Makeout.” Amidst shredding surf solo-isms and frothing waves of bitey vocal lines emerges a sun-clad rhythm section that would probably help you build the sand castle rather than knock it over.


We Were Lovers – “Glory Days”

Amidst vintage-sounding synths and crystalline bleeps ‘n’ beats, “Glory Days” is the latest lush dance effort from We Were Lovers. It’s not hard to close your pink-eyeliner-encrusted lashes and be transported back to a time when leg warmers and headbands ruled the club roost. An electro-pop anthem that shines with the sequined-sheen of the twirl of a disco ball, the duo deliver a track that recalls the best parts of ‘80s radio while infusing it with a pointy boot to the bum.


Shuyler Jansen – The Long Shadow

On his latest release, an ambitious dip into the deep end of folk, rock and psych-pop, Shuyler Jansen seamlessly collects a handful of scattered riffs, tangents and musical mementos and presents them with impeccable order. It’s the instrumental off-kilter-isms, like a gloriously over-exuberant drum roll or a lick of guitar shimmer, that stirs the heart. But it’s Jansen’s golden vocals that gut you right in the feels, not unlike a blast of melty brown sugar sinking gently into your morning oatmeal. Ambitious yet steady enough to bear the brunt of its myriad of influences, The Long Shadow is curiously upbeat, vaguely hazy and immensely engaging. And yeah, Shuyler still has Saskatoon citizenship so whateves.


Factor – “The Magic City”

An otherworldly instrumental precursor to an album dedicated to the urban ghosts of yesteryear, Factor has launched lead single “The Magic City” of his forthcoming album Factoria. Sheets of audacious noise cascade from the floorboards amidst a pulsating beat that’s akin to a tension-brimming house party filled with guests who are wearing Corn Pops strung together on dental floss instead of gold chains because everyone is DTB (down to brunch).


The Avulsions – “The End”

It’s the labyrinth song structures that suck you in like a sailor plummeting to their doom in the briny tentacles of a killer ocean, but it’s the bewitching black magick of the dark ‘verb that keeps you conscious. On “The End,” the first taste of the forthcoming album from The Avulsions, the group drops a strange sense of undead urgency amidst blissy pop-isms and guile-cool noise.


Dream Country – self-titled

An airy romp through rambling pop peaks, Saskatoon sextet Dream Country has left us with a whopper of an album that arrived after years of anticipation. It doesn’t disappoint. Some tracks, such as “Trans Canada,” blister with tension-filled instrumentation – check out the destructo guitar solo near the end – while others showcase the group’s near-perfect vocal harmonies. One of Saskatoon’s most hidden gems, and quite possibly “the one that got away.”


Kay the Aquanaut – Station Wagon

Spitfire rhymes, laid-back soundscapes and an agenda the size of the massive middle finger railing against corrupt fat cats, waste and want and the perils of modern life. Kay, as per usual, nails it. Check out “Smoke & Coffee” for a morning eyeopener that doesn’t skimp on the piss in the cornflakes.


Haunted Souls – “Corrected Canada Food Guide”

On “Corrected Canada Food Guide,” the latest track from Haunted Souls, guitars that buzz like a handful of gravel in a blender ram headfirst into what might be the most uncoordinated gang vocals in the history of brat punk ever. The results are an epic tickle fight where the participants are rewarded with a tumble down the stairs, a rug-burned knee cap and a timeout session in the dining room. Also, it’s worth mentioning that this track was delivered via the paper-loving punks at Montreal art label Pentagon Black, who have dished up a heaping helping of our nation’s greatest natural resource: weirdos drooling on instruments.


Ride Til Dawn – In Our Prime

Quite possibly the early contender for album artwork of the year, Ride Til Dawn’s In Our Prime traverses the endless landscape of jangle-pop dad-rock where the kids are full of beans and horseplay in the backseat, but you’re about to drop them off at hockey practice where you’ll grab a beer in that weird lounge in the back and maybe sneak a smoke in between warm-up exercises. And then the twang-tongued pedal steel kicks in and you’re all like “yeah, yeah, okay, yeah.”