A Tribe Called Red, Ralph, Kallitechnis and more: songs you need to hear this week
6 new tracks to add to your playlist right now
Here at CBC Music, we're always on high alert for new songs by Canadian artists.
This week, we're listening to new tracks from A Tribe Called Red, Ralph, Kallitechnis, T. Thomason, Misha Bower and Quincy Morales. Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them, too.
What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.
'The OG,' A Tribe Called Red feat. Black Bear
A steady drumbeat introduces us to "The OG," as Black Bear, a group of drummers and powwow singers from Manawan, Que., provides the backbone for A Tribe Called Red's fiery new single. A rallying call-and-response rhythm drives the song, mixed and faded around audio of NDP MP Romeo Saganash's speech in parliament last September — with a heavy pause when Saganash says the prime minister "doesn't give a f--k" about Indigenous people's rights. It's a powerful balance of remembrance and proclamation, pointedly released one month after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet approved the Trans Mountain expansion project.
"It would be impossible to overstate the impact that Romeo Saganash's words had on the Indigenous world and on us personally," Tribe's Bear Witness explained in a statement. "We feel that the stand he took that day in parliament needs to be remembered, memorialized and commemorated. This is a celebration of that moment. Romeo, the Halluci Nation salutes you."
— Holly Gordon
'Running,' Kallitechnis, Evil Needle
Were you among the blessed individuals who caught Kallitechnis's show on July 4 at the Montreal International Jazz Festival? If so, then you got to hear her premiere "Running," her fabulous new collaboration with French–German DJ/beatmaker Evil Needle. Here, Kallitechnis has transitioned effortlessly from contemporary R&B to neo-soul/electronica and her immediately recognizable voice warms up the cool ambience with an uplifting message: "I'm running for you/ I'm running for the ceilings we broke through/ I'm running for the dreams we're making true." Running to see her is what you should be doing the next time she tours to your city.
— Robert Rowat
'Pleasure,' T. Thomason
Now that we're all on the same page that there's no such thing as a guilty pleasure, we can really dive into T. Thomason's bright new summer jam. "Pleasure for the sake of pleasure" is Thomason's motto, as each beat swirls us closer to the sunny day at the lake the Halifax singer is describing. "This was a time in my life when I was rediscovering self-care, joy, taking time to find beauty in the world and letting myself daydream," Thomason has said. The best surprise? "Pleasure" comes to a close with a brief, though delightful, saxophone solo. — HG
Toronto artist Ralph's brand of infectious synth-pop sometimes slides into R&B territory, but on her latest single, "Gravity," she goes full '90s house. An ode to MuchMusic's Electric Circus, which Ralph told the Fader was "the coolest thing happening in Toronto" when she was growing up, the big glossy production is definitely meant to be blasted in a dance-club setting. The song finds Ralph singing about the elation of falling in love, but not without letting some of that gravity bring her back down to Earth, making her question whether she should allow herself to feel this way. Ultimately, she shrugs this off though, singing, "Being with you is my favourite mistake," because sometimes you just have to float off in hopes that someone will be there to catch you. It's a risk every time, but the rewards can be as euphoric as this song makes it sound.
— Melody Lau
'Trying to Have it All,' Misha Bower
The nostalgic new music video for the title track from Misha Bower's debut album, Trying to Have it All, perfectly captures a summer-night staple: wandering the midway at the carnival, lights flickering, balloons popping, stuffed animals flopping against the legs of tired little kids, constant flashes of sound and colour interrupting the darkness. Bower's voice is hypnotic and beguiling, particularly in contrast to the tense foundation of strings and piano. Consider also the nuance and detail she gives the song's subject, whose selfish desires are all too familiar to many: "I want to be a family man, but I don't want a family/ I want to get all that I can, but I want it to come easily/ I want a lover, wife and mother, fierce and full of light/ I want to save the settings on the best day of my life." As a songwriter and a storyteller, Bower is a singular solo talent in the making.
— Andrea Warner
'Final Days,' Quincy Morales
In an interview with CBC Metro Morning, Coco Veira described her late son, Jordan Veira, as "the perfect combination of intellect, heart and soul." Jordan touched many lives through his activism and artwork, as evident from the outpouring of love and grief on social media at his recent passing. One of those touched was musician Quincy Morales, who has dedicated his release "Final Days" to the late activist. Sampling Jordan in the opening, the song evolves into a moving neo-soul anthem with harmonies that blend effortlessly. Ruminating on themes of legacy and mourning, Morales asks, "Who are you gonna be on your final days?" A moving requiem for a much loved and celebrated community leader, "Final Days" is the tribute that Jordan Veira deserves.
— Natasha Ramoutar