Clairmont the Second, Lxvndr, Joël and more: songs you need to hear this week
5 fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now
Each week, CBC Music producers come together to highlight Canada's best new songs.
To mark Juneteenth — the annual celebration of the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the Confederacy on June 19, 1865 — we're focusing our attention this week on new music from Black Canadian artists.
In the spotlight: recent tracks from Dijah SB, Joël, Clairmont the Second, Lxvndr, and Jesus Cmplxx featuring Aleesia. Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them, too.
What new Canadian songs have grabbed your attention? Share them with us un Twitter @CBCMusic.
'Butter Crisp,' Dijah SB
Toronto rapper Dijah SB just wants to make listeners dance on their track "Butter Crisp." They don't have time for "superficial shit" as they warn: "all bark no bite sounds wack to me." Instead, this feel-good number, featuring Cola H., tries to keep its sights set on an optimistic future on the horizon as Dijah SB looks ahead with confidence: "Got mad cash in the bank, that's the vision." "Butter Crisp" feels like it could perfectly fit into a Kaytranada mix (it was actually produced by Cheap Limousine): a flashy and pulsating soundscape tailor-made for its artists to shine atop. — Melody Lau
'Dream,' Clairmont the Second
Toronto's Clairmont the Second walks across a manicured field, head down and hands in his pockets, in the self-directed video for "Dream" as he kicks off with a hazy, two-line chorus: "I hope that when I dream of you/ you dream of me too." While the soulful "Dream" is as soothing musically as its title implies — the organ-leaning keys enriching that slow and steady high-hat/bass combo — the dream is borne of nightmares. "Buried people, when I doze, we speak again/ it's always brief, they're tryna sleep/ they need their rest/ but while we're here, should say what we need before our time," raps Clairmont on the only verse in the song, which he released within a month of the police killings of George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and Breonna Taylor. On repeat listens, Clairmont's early "oooohs" take on a heavier tone, while the video's visuals, with cinematography by frequent collaborator Beee, are more striking and sombre with each viewing. — Holly Gordon
On his new EP, Grunge Gospel Side B, Joël probes some dark themes, from the brooding angst of "Woes" to the painful introspection of "So Blue." But shining through the murk of those emotions is "Hometown," a three-and-a-half-minute escape to a higher plane where Joël "ain't got time for the noise." Evoking this rarefied atmosphere are some wavering guitar samples, restrained percussion and a tempo that suggests a serene, leisurely walk — away from all the noise and perfect for "taking off," as he repeats so amiably in the pre-chorus. — Robert Rowat
'No Way,' Lxvndr
Lxvndr released her second album, Warmth, on Bandcamp in May, but as her debut full-length is only available in physical form, this new release will be most people's introduction to the P.E.I. rapper. Over a staccato beat, Lxvndr delivers spit-fire verses balanced by a soulful, chill chorus on lead track "No Way," serving up her range of talents in an all-too-brief two-and-a-half minutes. Lxvndr only started performing a few years ago, though in the time of COVID-19 it'll be a while before you can catch her in person. In the meantime, "No Way" is the perfect track to kick off the album — followed by the powerful, guitar-driven standout "Purple Punk" — and a welcome introduction to an artist to watch. — HG
'Fixx U,' Jesus Cmplxx feat. Aleesia
Jesus Cmplxx is the moniker of Steven Fernandez, a Toronto-based DJ, producer, songwriter and co-founder of Pause and Expand, a company that creates meditation music and sound baths. And while this new single falls into the pop-R&B camp, there is an undeniable tranquility that infuses its gently syncopated piano chords and Aleesia's gossamer vocals. The video, directed by Bertrand Guerry and Thibaut Ras, depicts a tortured choreography that, halfway through, unravels itself — a spellbinding metaphor for "fixxing" a complex relationship. — RR