Best Saskatchewan Albums

The Best Saskatchewan Albums of 2018
THE TOP TEN ROLLOUT

The votes are in! We're pleased to celebrate the bounty of awesome Saskatchewan music released this year, and present the Top Ten as determined by the voting public. We hope you find something new to enjoy here, whether it's from the Long List or from the greater list of eligible Saskatchewan releases that came out. Support local, support live, buy an album today!   

** The Top Ten Track Sampler on Spotify **

Belle Plaine - Malice Mercy Grief and Wrath#1. Belle Plaine: Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath (Roots)

In achieving the #1 position, Belle Plaine is the winner of the 2018 Saskatchewan Music Award for Album of the Year

Swaying through a series of moods, a beautifully crafted and timeless recording

“Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath is the kind of album you’d imagine playing on the jukebox in the background of a small town bar on drizzly Friday night with just the bartender and two other patrons in the joint. Her voice makes the record tender, but its content really makes you stop and think.” (Lula 1892)

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Jack Semple - Can't Stop This Love#2. Jack Semple: Can't Stop This Love! (R&B)

Semple’s 2018 release is a driving collection of powerhouse blues, funky dance grooves, and soft, soulful reflections. Jack still can’t stop this love of the music that took hold of him over two decades ago and it shows. Known as one of Canada’s premiere guitar virtuosos, Jack returns with an album that will continue his legacy as an R&B force.

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Colter Wall - Songs of the Plains#3. Colter Wall: Songs of the Plains (Country)

Hearkening back to the days of ‘country and western music,’ Wall’s latest album Songs of the Plains (Young Mary’s Record Co.) presents his one-of-a-kind baritone and employs supremely minimalist production on songs about cowboys, farming, campfires, and the road. With producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Shooter Jennings, Chris Stapleton, Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga) at the helm, authentic sounds add colour, augmented by a bevy of A-list musicians.

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Hook & Nail - Ghosts of Taylorton#4 (TIE) Hook & Nail: Ghosts of Taylorton (Folk)

Hook & Nail is a folk/roots trio implementing vocal harmonies with electric and acoustic instrumentation to deliver stories. Their songwriting draws inspiration from historical stories from their region, bringing the personalities and circumstances described into the present. This album is a wonderful example of a traditional-in-spirit folk/roots album with a contemporary feel, blending lovely voices and skillful playing into an experience you’ll want to enjoy on repeat.

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Rosie & the Riveters - Ms. Behave

#4 (TIE) Rosie & The Riveters: Ms. Behave (Folk/Jazz)

Rosie & the Riveters' gritty, sultry, vintage-inspired folk anthems paint a portrait of a woman's voice in a man's world. Although the trio never planned to get political, they found that watching the news these days made it impossible to see the status of women around the world and stay silent. The twelve tracks that made the album are a collection of powerful and daring songs, reflected in song titles like “Gotta Get Paid,” “Let ‘em Talk” and “I Wanna be King.” 

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Marie-Veronique Bourque - une porte s'ouvre

#5.  Marie-Véronique Bourque: Une porte s’ouvre (Jazz)

Bourque is a flutist who has been active on the music scene for more than 25 years. Boasting an impressive array of accolades including awards, educational achievements and symphony gigs, Une porte s’ouvre (‘A door opens’) is her debut album, produced by Tyler Hornby at OCL Studios, Calgary. Dedicated to French jazz, this instrumental album is a treat to listen to from beginning to end, and is a welcome addition to the versatile musician’s experiences with classical, Baroque, folk, world, traditional French, cabaret and blues stylings. 

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Alex Bent + the Emptiness - Vanilla Blue

#6 (TIE.) Alex Bent + the Emptiness: Vanilla Blue (Pop)

With a solid, versatile voice and style that melds introspective pop with alternative hip-hop, Bent’s Vanilla Blue is likely to catch the ears of fans of both genres. The production is ethereal at times, and vocals haunting, somehow conjuring the freshest sounds and vintage pop at the same time, boasting a darker post-modern edge that contrasts with memorable lyrics and hooks. 

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Bears in Hazenmore - Atlas

#6 (TIE). Bears in Hazenmore: Atlas (Rock/Pop)

Atlas is the third album from Regina’s ambient alternative rock band, Bears in Hazenmore. Since that time they’ve been perfecting their thoughtful songwriting as well as a knack for shimmering, eclectic pop sounds. Atlas thematically features stories of people in transit: whether it be the process of accepting mental illness, moving homes, or accepting lost love, the only real constant throughout the record, as well as life, is change. 

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LOA - Tide

#6 (TIE). LOA: Tide (Electronic Pop)

A new wave R&B artist from the Queen City, aka Jessica Burnett, her enchanting debut EP (Trifecta) was produced by Walt Jeworski from world-renowned, NYC-based MSR studios. The dark R&B set boasts the handiwork of industry heavyweights such as Heights Beats and Colin Leonard. On Tide, we get a taste of LOA’s satiny vocals, by turns contemplative (intimately intoning “I need some space to move my heartline”) and sultry, as on the album’s lead single, Funeral. 

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Untimely Demise - No Promise of Tomorrow

#7. Untimely Demise: No Promise of Tomorrow (Metal)

A bludgeoning 11 track release containing elements of thrash, speed, death, progressive and black metal, No Promise of Tomorrow delivers on the band’s reputation for ballistic speed and furiously tight riffage rippling with energy. “Words can only go so far in describing a band like Untimely Demise. This is truly a group one must hear to understand their sound, as they combined unique extreme metal influences with a thrashy approach” (Skull Fracturing Metal). 

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Into Eternity - The Sirens

#8. Into Eternity: The Sirens (Metal)

Returning with their greatly anticipated new album “The Sirens” (M-Theory Audio), Into Eternity lives up to their iconic status in Canadian metal, with neoclassical guitar riffs and soaring melodies contrasting with solid drumwork, dual power guitars, and death vocals. The band borrows from many subgenres of heavy music to form the perfect blend of technicality, memorable songwriting, traditional heavy metal and the sheer savagery of metal's extreme genres. 

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Dayda Banks and                             the Enabler - Emulator

#9. Dayda Banks & Filth the Enabler: Emulator (Hip Hop)

“Emulator” is the seven-song collaboration EP made this past summer by fellow Saskatoon hip-hop artists Dayda Banks & Filth the Enabler. It “Emulator” features a cool combination of throwback introspective lyrics along with nostalgic pop culture references,mixed with ‘90s classic hip-hop beats and more modern trap-style production. Dayda’s rapid-fire flow and deeper lyrical writing style blends well with Filth’s more laidback and grimy style delivery.    

 

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Altars of Grief - Iris

#10. Altars of Grief - Iris (Metal)

Released to widespread critical acclaim, Iris (Hypnotic Dirge Records) carries us through a dark and epic storyline, laying intense and moving lyrics over intriguing textural layers, and dynamic, soaring, symphonic-like arrangements contrasting with and complementing driving metal riffs. The Regina-based blackened doom metal group have crafted a record “stuffed to the gills with riffs that range from quiet and contemplative to vicious and raw; vocals that shift from crooning and melodic to gut-wrenchingly violent and engrossing” (Metal Injection).

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MORE:

Fuller descriptions of the Top Ten

The 2018 Long List 


Holiday

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