Best Saskatchewan Albums of 2019

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The Top Ten!

(December 20, 2019) - The fifth annual Best Saskatchewan Albums poll has concluded, and we're pleased to announce the winners! From the albums released in the past year*, our jury first assembled a Long List of 40 diverse albums, and sent it forward for voting by the general public, with thousands of people participating from 34 countries. We hope you find something new to enjoy here, whether it's from the Long List or from the greater list of eligible releases that came out. Support local, support live, buy an album today!

The BSA project is to promote and celebrate Saskatchewan music. We seek to raise more awareness of our province's music and celebrate our artists’ many successes over the past year. The top album as decided by this poll has also been awarded the 2019 Saskatchewan Music Award for "Album of the Year."

The Dead South - Sugar & Joy

#1. The Dead South: Sugar & Joy (Bluegrass/Roots/Americana)

In achieving the #1 position, The Dead South are the winners of the 2019 Saskatchewan Music Award for Album of the Year

With their critically acclaimed 2019 full-length, The Dead South continue to delight their growing fan base, garnering them the #1 spot on this year's list. It's no fluke, though - the band garnered the #1 spot in our BSA 2016 as well, for "Illusion & Doubt", achieved a Canadian certification of Road Gold, a Gold single certification, and recently picking up the 2019 Roots/Folk Artist of the Year (Saskatchewan Music Awards, in a tie with Kacy & Clayton). They're also internationally renowned for their high-energy, engaging live show.

"A bluegrass album for those who think bluegrass is a genre that won’t appeal to them. The songwriting, playing, arrangements and production are all first class, which is why ‘Sugar and Joy’ will broaden The Dead South’s fan base and why this album deserves your time." - PennyBlackMusic

Billboard debut

Website   iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile

Amy Nelson - Good Intentions

#2. Amy Nelson: Good Intentions (Country/Pop Country)

Coming in at #2 on our year-end album poll, we've got Amy Nelson with her latest release "Good Intentions."

Regina's Amy Nelson is an established country artist (with 40 Saskatchewan Country Music Association award nominations, winner of Entertainer of the Year 2018), a winner of Big Dog 92.7's The Next Big Thing, 2019 Saskatchewan Music Award nominee, and the 2019 CKRM Proudly Saskatchewan winner. Amy has also had impressive success in Australia, with two Top 10 singles so far along with major festival appearances.

Good Intentions is available through Apple Music, Amy's website, and at Boston Pizza locations across Sask (with $1 from every BP album to local summer music camps for kids.)

Website   iTunes purchases   Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile

Robot Hive - Prophylaxis

#3. Robot Hive: Prophylaxis (Electro-Rock/Pop/Electronic/New Wave/Alt Rock)

Regina electro-rockers Robot Hive claim the #3 spot with their full-length debut "Prophylaxis."

Undeniably catchy melodies and dancey hooks, born from experimentation. Robot Hive is something of a collective, with the end goal being 'to create a unique and musical experience and to break boundaries.' Robot Hive is Dan Besuijen, Chris Notenboom, Les Schaeffer, Matt Kaip, Greg Flichel, Elton Roscoe and Henry Brass.

Website BandCamp album purchases iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile

Hunter Brothers - State of Mind

#4 Hunter Brothers: State of Mind (Country/New Country)

We arrive at number four on our year-end, fan-voted poll to find Hunter Brothers, "State of Mind."

"If you are looking for seamless harmonies that send chills up and down your spine, raising the hair on your arms, you’ve picked the right album to listen to!" - Complete Country

These five talented brothers have had an amazing year, including a recent Gold certification for single "Lost," with a 2019 Saskatchewan Music Award "Single of the Year" for that song as well. They also achieved the #1 most-spun Canadian song on the country radio charts in 2019 (Mediabase) and were the only Canadian artists in the top ten list of all artists for country radio play.

Website   iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile

Reignwolf - Hear Me Now and Close Talker - How Do We Stay Here

#5 (TIE) Reignwolf: Hear Me Out (Rock/Indie Rock)
and

Close Talker: How Do We Stay Here? (Pop/Indie Pop)

Sliding into the upper half of the countdown are Reignwolf with "Hear Me Now", and Close Talker with "How Do We Stay Here?"

"(Reignwolf's) debut LP, Hear Me Out, packs nearly a decade of creative power in 10 tracks, each endowed with hard-driving guitar riffs, frenzied vocal hooks and a stripped down, garage rock sound that has been largely absent from guitar-driven rock for much of the decade." - Billboard

"Close Talker’s latest album is a self-produced inquiry into the ephemeral state of the world and the innate yearning for permanence. Musically, this album is very well-thought out and feels intentionally nuanced. The indie rock vibes make the songs casually accessible, but you’ll get more out of each track as you put more in." - WhyYouShouldLoveMusic.com

Reignwolf: Website BandCamp album purchases iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile
Close Talker: Website BandCamp album purchases iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile

Foxwarren - Foxwarren and Kacy and Clayton - Carrying On

#6 (TIE) Foxwarren: Foxwarren (Indie Pop/Alternative)
and
Kacy & Clayton: Carrying On (Roots/Americana)

The #6 tie in our Top Ten comes with a 1-2 punch from a knockout pair, with Foxwarren's self-titled release and Kacy & Clayton's "Carrying On."

"Foxwarren’s 10 tracks range in tone from brooding Elliott Smith-like ballads to Paul McCartney ditties. As a whole, though, they fixate on the dream realm, with the shimmer of warped synths and eerie vocals suggesting a distant surrealism." - Pitchfork.

“A beautiful mix of Kacy's crystalline vocals and Clayton's inventive, deep-groove country guitar.” And a greater attention to detail in their songwriting; with narrative tales of loss, regret and yearning alongside vivid portraits of the Northern Great Plains and its isolated inhabitants." - Mojo

Foxwarren: BandCamp album purchases iTunes purchases Spotify streaming   YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile
Kacy & Clayton: Website BandCamp album purchases iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile

Despite the Reverence - Plethora and Alex Bent and the Emptiness - Baby

#7 (TIE) Despite the Reverence: Plethora (Metal/Rock)
and
Alex Bent + the Emptiness: Baby (Pop/Hip Hop)

The seventh spot of our year-end countdown is a tie, with Despite The Reverence's "Plethora" and Alex Bent + the Emptiness's "Baby" making their appearance!

"With their fourth studio album, Despite the Reverence provides us all with a plethora of tunes that every lover of heavy, atmospheric tunes will certainly enjoy." - Belgian Metal Shredder

"Likened to that of hip-hop/R&B artists Post Malone, Joji and Frank Ocean, (Alex) Bent mixes his own twist of nostalgia with the current trends of the genre." - artist bio

Despite the Reverence: Website   iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page  
Alex Bent: Website BandCamp album purchases iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile

Dayda Banks, Ellen Froese, Eekwol and T-Rhyme

#8 (3-WAY TIE) Dayda Banks: "We Should Go To Japan" (Hip Hop/Rap)
Ellen Froese: "Fightin' Words" (Folk/Roots)
Eekwol and T-Rhyme: "For Women By Women" (Hip Hop/Rap)

"Dayda Banks floats somewhere in between Nas and Eminem, with all the intelligent storytelling that makes certain rappers truly noteworthy - and without ever ripping anyone off." - Hidden Sound.

"Whether performing a folk traditional, a rock 'n' roll classic, or her own compositions, Froese handles it with an air of authenticity – all tempered with a healthy dose of humour and self-deprecation." - ellenfroese.com

For Women By Women (FWBW) is the debut album of veteran rappers Eekwol and T-Rhyme, who team up to relay powerful messages about hip hop, Indigenous experience and being women with style, skill and fierceness.

Dayda Banks: Website   iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile
Ellen Froese: Website BandCamp album purchases iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile
Eekwol & T-Rhyme:   iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile
Eekwol
T-Rhyme
YouTube page
Eekwol
T-Rhyme
Facebook page
Eekwol
Twitter profile
Eekwol
T-Rhyme

Too Soon Monsoon - Waves

#9. Too Soon Monsoon: "Waves: We Provide What We Absorb, We Absorb What We Provide" (Alt Pop/Indie Pop/Pop Rock)

Flowing into #9, we've got Saskatoon's Too Soon Monsoon with their full-length concept piece, Waves. With nods to influences like Fleetwood Mac, Metric, Fiona Apple and The White Stripes, the band creates a fresh sound by fusing elements of alternative-pop and rock.

Website BandCamp album purchases iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile

Chris Henderson - Point of View

#10. Chris Henderson: Point of View (Country)

We began our countdown with country artist Chris Henderson Music claiming the #10 position for his latest album, "Point of View." The 2019 Male Vocalist of the Year (Saskatchewan Country Music Association) presents a "blend of modern country sound, with strong traditional roots."

Website BandCamp album purchases iTunes purchases Spotify streaming Instagram profile YouTube page Facebook page Twitter profile

 

VIEW THE 2019 LONG LIST

 

*Best Saskatchewan Albums of the Year 2019 process

The Best Saskatchewan Album of the Year project is in its fifth annual iteration. This category is based on an album, as a whole, released during the time period of October 15, 2018-November 1, 2019. SaskMusic researches and collects eligible album releases for this time period to the best of our ability, however, artists/labels are encouraged to submit to ensure that no eligible releases are overlooked.

​All genres of music are included in consideration. Official reissues/compilations of previous material, where released as a new package with a new UPC number, will be considered.

Album Criteria. To be considered in this category, the album

​Process

  1. A list of eligible releases will be compiled. To help ensure we don’t miss an eligible album, submissions are encouraged through the SMA nomination process.
  2. A jury of industry professionals and peers will listen to the qualifying albums to help us determine the longlist. The longlist will be announced at the Saskatchewan Music Awards, November 28.
  3. The longlist will be open for general public voting, exclusively online, from November 29-December 13 (extended from December 12). These votes alone will determine the Top 10. Only one vote per IP address will be recorded.
  4. The Top 10, aka shortlist, will be announced online beginning December 16 (tentative date). Please note, ties would result in more than 10 albums appearing on the shortlist.