Andy Shauf, Ali Gatie, Ellis and more: songs you need to hear this week

4 fresh tracks to add to your playlist right now.

4 fresh tracks to add to your playlist right now

Released on Jan. 24, The Neon Skyline is Andy Shauf's 6th full-length studio album. (Supplied by Andy Shauf)

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 Andy Shauf, Ellis, Ali Gatie and the Jerry Cans. Scroll down to find out why you need to listen, too.

What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.

'Neon Skyline,' Andy Shauf

Like a skilled author, Andy Shauf has an innate ability to draw a listener in with a strong opening chapter. The title track from his latest album, Neon Skyline, is the perfect scene-setter: kicking off an evening at Shauf's neighbourhood bar and introducing us to the record's protagonist (voiced by Shauf) and a cast of lived-in characters. The Regina native plops you into a setting with careful ease cushioned by smooth, upbeat instrumentation.  

The evening continues to unfurl throughout the album, with Shauf exploring love and loss as he hears of an ex-girlfriend who has returned to town. Shauf often gets compared to '70s folk-pop icons like Paul Simon and Randy Newman, and it's easy to see how Neon Skyline could form the foundation of a small, intimate Noah Baumbach film. But even if Shauf's music never actually translates to another medium, he has clearly solidified himself as one of the country's best storytellers working right now.

— Melody Lau 

'Atauttikkut ​​​​​​,' the Jerry Cans

The Jerry Cans came out blazing with a new track last week — one that might sound a bit familiar. The band from Iqaluit first performed the song "Atauttikkut" on CBC q's Live in Iqaluit show in April 2019, and it's a feverish meld of violins, guitar and throat-singing that is about togetherness, strength and "love in dealing with loss," as the band has stated. "Atauttikkut Iqpigusugiaraliqtugut/ Atauttikkut Qiariaqaqtugut," Andrew Morrison sings in Inuktitut. Translated: we have to feel things together, we need to cry together. With the new single came an announcement: the Jerry Cans will be releasing their fourth album, Echoes, on May 15 via Aakuluk Music.

— Holly Gordon

'What if I Told You That I Loved You,' Ali Gatie

For Mississauga's Ali Gatie, whose 2019 single "It's You" became a global hit, success tasted particularly sweet. "Used to share a bedroom with my mom and record in her closet while she worked the overnight shift … used to bus an hour and half in the winter to work minimum wage jobs … everyone laughed at my dreams and I just worked and worked and worked and worked," he posted on Instagram when "It's You" went platinum last October, racking up well over 300 million Spotify streams.

Well, now he's back and evidently aiming to replicate that success with "What if I Told You That I Loved You," a new single whose gently syncopated guitar bed and emotionally vulnerable lyrics are seemingly modelled after those of "It's You." Which is great if, like us, you're always up for more of a good thing.

— Robert Rowat

'Fall Apart,' Ellis 

"Lean in, but don't look too close," Ellis warns someone on her latest song, "Fall Apart," from her upcoming debut album, Born Again. Anxiety can feel like an ugly beast, and as the Hamilton singer-songwriter said in a statement: "I can't hide it from the people closest to me." To have intimate relationships with people is to let them in, to let them see you "spinning in circles in a black haze." Over a sparkling, '90s-filtered guitar track, Ellis is still grappling with that vulnerability as she sings, "I didn't mean to fall apart." But her willingness to open up and concede that her anxiety is something that is ultimately out of her control is a liberating admission. — ML