The Tragically Hip have unearthed some new music.

On Thursday, the iconic Canadian band surprised fans with the announcement of the new album Saskadelphia, which features six previously unreleased tracks written in 1990, out this Friday.

Five of the tracks were recorded during New Orleans sessions that same year for the album Road Apples, with another recorded live in Montreal in 2000.

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“Welcome to Saskadelphia: the record that stayed in the wings as Road Apples hit the stage. The title, a term coined by the band in a nod to the extensive touring they were doing in the early 1990s, was the original working title for Road Apples before it was rejected by those same label execs as being ‘too Canadian,'” the band explained in the announcement.

The full tracklist on the album:

  1. Ouch
  2. Not Necessary
  3. Montreal (Live from The Molson Centre, Montreal, Dec 7th, 2000)
  4. Crack My Spine Like a Whip
  5. Just As Well
  6. Reformed Baptist Blues

The band also released a behind-the-scenes video about the album and how it came together.

“I went ‘Wow’ when I heard ‘Ouch’ after all this time,” guitarist Rob Baker says. “We were a pretty good little band.”

The Tragically Hip – Photo: Gordon Hawkins
The Tragically Hip – Photo: Gordon Hawkins

Speaking to Rolling Stone, members of the band talked about searching out the unreleased tracks following the death of frontman Gord Downie in 2017.

We knew we had a lot to look for because we recorded a lot back then. We didn’t know what was there,” drummer Johnny Fay said, “so this meant baking them and listening to them as they were being transferred, hearing them for the first time in 30 years. It was crazy.”

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They also explained the presence of the live track “Montreal”, about the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989, for which they were unable to find an original studio recording. As it turned out, they were in luck, remembering that they had performed the song live on the 11th anniversary of the terrible event.

“That night, it was suggested we could play ‘Montreal’ and I was in the dressing room. I ran through it to make sure I knew it, but there were questions about whether we would pull it off,” Baker said. “Gord Downie wasn’t sure about the lyrics, so a road manager pulled them up on the internet. He did a quick once-over and said, ‘OK, we got this.’ Then, we went out and played like we had been playing it forever.”

The Tragically Hip – Photo: Jim Herrington
The Tragically Hip – Photo: Jim Herrington

Talking about putting out the new album, bassist Gord Sinclair said, “We are, sadly, never going to have the chance to put out new stuff. For us, in our minds, this is new.”

The Tragically Hip are also set to receive the 2012 Humanitarian Award at the 50th annual Juno Awards on Sunday, June 6, where the surviving members of the band will perform one of their songs alongside Canadian singer Feist.

Saskadelphia will be available to purchase or stream on Friday, May 21.