2018 Top Twenty Album List – Martin Noakes

Martin Noakes Top 20

If I thought that selecting my top 20 Canadian albums in 2017 was a daunting task, it completely pales in comparison to the time and effort needed this year to narrow an extensive list down to JUST twenty!  Spending several days returning to my blotter that contains the 2018 album releases that stood out for me, the list very quickly accelerated from thirty to forty, and currently exceeds fifty.  Enough!  The goal here is to whittle down to twenty, and here I am, hurtling towards the abyss with almost three times that many.

Exploring new genres and artists through 2018 has further increased the difficulty in keeping the contenders to a minimum.  It’s so easy to select new music from my favorite artists, which fills half of the list alone, and so I had to scale back and be a little more critical in selecting the cream of the crop.  Naturally many will be missed during the consideration stage – it’s too overwhelming to remember everything, and others will be scratched as the sudden death stages approach.  And while there are some albums that I absolutely have to include from the established artists, I want to highlight some of the independents who put out some amazing new work this year.

So after plenty of head scratching, excessive amounts of caffeine, and maybe a few glasses of whisky, here are my top twenty Canadian album releases in 2018.  Don’t ask me to rank them. I am taking the same approach as last year, and simply listing alphabetically.

  1. Basement Revolver – Heavy Eyes
  2. Belle Plaine – Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath
  3. Born Ruffians – Uncle, Duke & The Chief
  4. Calpurnia – Scout
  5. Colter Wall – Songs Of The Plains
  6. Doris Folkens – Self Titled
  7. Erin Costelo – Sweet Marie
  8. Hubert Lenoir – Darlene
  9. Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoquyik Lintuwakonawa
  10. Joan Smith & The Jane Does – Normalize
  11. Jory Nash – Wilderness Years
  12. Kaia Kater – Grenades
  13. Marie-Mai – Elle Et Moi
  14. Melanie Brulee – Fires, Floods & Things We Leave Behind
  15. Nick Faye & The Deputies – Stumbling Distance
  16. The Fugitives – The Promise Of Strangers
  17. The Good Lovelies – Shapeshifters
  18. The Once – Time Enough
  19. The Sheepdogs – Changing Colours
  20. The Young Novelists – In City & Country


The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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