’Toban tracks

Celebrate 2020 coming to an end with some of the best Canadian music released this year

In a year that felt like an endless series of rugs being pulled out from under us, the one thing you could always rely on was the music. This year delivered a near-endless stream of beautiful, challenging, life-affirming songs — escape hatches to new worlds and maps to help us better understand our own.

Canadian artists in particular have released some incredible music this year, from the righteous fury of Vagina Witchcraft, the serpentine jazz of the Weather Station, the horror-rap of Polaris Prize winner Backxwash or the searching indie rock of Amos the Kid.

This playlist barely scratches the surface — there’s no way to capture every worthy piece of new Canadian music in a single list.

There will be unintentional snubs and dozens that simply couldn’t fit, but it’s a tasting menu of sorts, a collection of some of the best and most exciting new music to come from our home province and beyond. There are ’80s-pilfering glitter bombs from Boniface and Mise en Scene, wild-eyed, joyful art punk from Hut Hut and Crack Cloud, blooming pop songs from Lido Pimienta and Austra, among a dozen other vital sounds and voices.

Some will make you want to dance, some will make you want to cry and some might have you doing both. The moods and energies are as varied as the artists themselves, but they all point to one undeniable truth — in a year defined by loss and upheaval, Canadian artists continued to make vital, necessary music. Hopefully, with this playlist as a jumping-off point, you’ll discover a record you didn’t know you needed.


Robber — the Weather Station, Ignorance

Jesus Cocaine Ketamine Christ — Amos the Kid, Mountain View

Where Are You Judy — Andy Shauf, The Neon Skyline

High School Feeling — Mise en Scene, Winnipeg, California

Count Me Out — Chiiild, Synthetic Soul

Midnight: Ghosts (feat. Chad Price) — Odario, Good Morning Hunter

Center of the World (Kotti Blues) — Marie Davidson & L’Œil Nu, Renegade Breakdown

ALVVAYS — Vagina Witchcraft, Vagina Witchcraft

Woodstock ’99 — U.S. Girls, Heavy Light

Hey Strangers — Hut Hut, Hut Hut Hut

The Next Fix — Crack Cloud, PAIN OLYMPICS

Cue Synthesizer — Destroyer, Have We Met

Fear — Begonia, Fear

Spells — Backxwash feat. Devi McCallion, God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It

How Did You Know? — Austra, HiRUDiN

Sideways — TiKA, Soothing Love

Susie Save Your Love — Allie X & Mitski, Cape God

I Will Not Return As A Tourist — Boniface, Boniface

New Low — Sarah Harmer, Are You Gone

Barb 217 — Julien’s Daughter, The Static That Caries Over

Riverbank — Danny Bell and His Disappointments, Songs for the Town

Reliever — William Prince, Reliever

Crown of Leaves — Mellifera, Crown of Leaves

Pale Blue — Basia Bulat, Are You in Love?

Eso Que Tu Haces — Lido Pimienta, Miss Colombia

Both Of Us — Jayda G, Both Of Us/Are U Down

New Jade — Caribou, Suddenly