Avril Lavigne's triumphant return to pop-punk, and 7 more songs you need to hear this week

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now.

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now

Canadian pop-punk star Avril Lavigne recently signed to Travis Barker's DTA Records. Her latest single, featuring Barker, is called 'Bite Me.' (Submitted by Apple Music)

Each week, CBC Music producers come together to highlight Canada's best new tracks.

This week, we got hooked on new songs from:

  • Avril Lavigne.
  • Amanda Rheaume.
  • New City.
  • Dilettante.
  • Keys N Krates featuring Lido Pimienta.
  • Cedric Noel.
  • Tenille Townes.
  • MANifesto.

Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them.

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

Hit play on our Songs You Need to Hear stream, filled with songs that CBC Music's producers have chosen for their playlists, and tune into CBC Music Mornings every Thursday to hear CBC Music's Jess Huddleston and Saroja Coelho reveal which of these tracks is the standout new Canadian song.

'Bite Me,' Avril Lavigne 

Between the current pop-punk revival and the looming 20-year anniversary of her debut album, Let Go, around the corner, this feels like the perfect time for an Avril Lavigne comeback. While 2019's Head Above Water was a detour to the top of the Christian rock charts, "Bite Me," her debut single on Travis Barker's DTA Records, is a full return to her pop-punk beginnings. Barker, the man behind the blazing hits of Machine Gun Kelly and Willow, admittedly has a signature formula that's grounded in steady drums and distinct guitar riffs, but here, Lavigne brings her own trademark angst to the track. "You shoulda known better better to f--k with someone like me," Lavigne opens, with a fiery conviction, "Forever and ever you're going to wish I was your wifey." The track, according to Lavigne, is about "a guy wanting a second chance but not giving him the time of day," and her determined delivery, paired with the knockout punch of guitars, stands firm in her decision to move on. With pop-punk finally making more space for diverse voices, thanks to the recent successes of artists like Willow and Olivia Rodrigo, it's only right that our pop-punk princess is back to claim her throne. — ML 

'100 Years,' Amanda Rheaume

Can you feel the heat, 
Underneath your feet.
Rising on the land, stirring in the street,
Waking from a hundred years of sleep.

Amanda Rheaume's new single, "100 Years," is both an interrogation and uprising, as the Métis singer-songwriter searches for where she fits in the world and demands a space that's been denied for so long. Two videos accompany her release: the first, a short, chilling introduction from Métis rights leader and activist Tony Belcourt detailing the government's erasure of the Métis people, which leads seamlessly into the second, the video for Rheaume's "100 Years," gorgeously filmed on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabeg territory (Ottawa) with director Sean Stiller and performer Sage Wright. The video perfectly captures the "two roads out of this town" that Rheaume sings of in the opening lines, as she frustratedly and tiredly goes about everyday life in the city while Wright beckons her from the Kitchissippi River. Rheaume's voice is a balancing act of strength and vulnerability, cutting right through that welcome, road-weary swing of the guitar and drums. "100 Years" is great Americana, but even better, Rheaume is continuing to change the canon of what stories that genre tends to tell. — Holly Gordon

'Somebody to Hold,' New City

We've kind of been sleeping on New City since the pop-rock trio added Chase Ellestad to its roster a couple of years back. But the fact is, they've just released their fourth single of 2021 and they sound better than ever. In the beat and harmonies of "Somebody to Hold," there are echoes of such mid-'80s classics as the Pretenders' "Don't get me Wrong," but updated and smoothed out with opulent, glossy production. Seeking a connection is the song's preoccupation: "Want to get a little closer, want to get to know you better," goes the opening verse — an inner monologue that's accentuated by generous reverb on the vocals. A bird makes a brief appearance during the song's breathtaking bridge, while a solo guitar provides running commentary during the chorus, which concludes with the irresistible plea, "I just need somebody to hold." — Robert Rowat

'Bonnie,' Dilettante

A mainstay of Toronto's local band scene, For Jane is back with a new name: Dilettante. Teasing their self-titled debut album, out May 2022, the first single "Bonnie" is full of hazy synth, disco-inflected grooves and soaring, effusive vocals. The song opens with a sample of Audrey Hepburn in the 1959 film The Nun's Story: the picture of a self-determined woman committed to pursuing what she needs above all else. Co-bandleader Natalie Panacci wrote the song after a fling with a drummer from London, U.K. He called her a "bonnie," a term of endearment used to describe the ideal woman. He also unknowingly gave her the first verse of the booming track after telling her: "Bonnie, you're a work of art/ You're a wild card/ You're a dreamboat into my heart." As the song builds, Panacci and fellow bandleader Julia Wittmann spin a transfixing web with their intermingling vocals, as the heady, fleeting romance reaches its apex. — Kelsey Adams

'Siento Mi Destino,' Keys N Krates feat. Lido Pimienta 

Keys N Krates' latest release, the vibrant Original Classic, features a wide range of guest vocalists including Juicy J, Haviah Mighty and Bibi Bourelly. And while we've already praised some of those collaborations, "Siento Mi Destino" featuring Lido Pimienta may be the best yet. Pimienta has rarely ventured this far into the dance sphere, but her voice immediately feels at home, soaring among synth swells and heavy rhythms. "Lido Pimienta has this incredibly epic voice," member Jr. Flo told Complex, "and having her sing over an emotional dance track was something new." That epic scale is played with here as Keys N Krates allow Pimienta to do her own thing on the verses, while isolating her voice and shaping it like an instrument on the song's breakdown, like helium powering a liftoff. The result pairs Keys N Krates' meticulous dance construction with Pimienta's warmth and power — a winning combination that makes us beg for more. — Melody Lau 

'Stilling,' Cedric Noel

If you don't know Montreal's Cedric Noel, then his new release, Hang Time, is the perfect invitation. Written over the past four years, the album is a straight shot to Noel's heart, exploring identity and belonging as a Black musician in a predominantly white indie-rock scene, his songs sitting squarely in the centre of a folk-pop and ambient Venn diagram. "Stilling," one of the standout tracks on the album, tries to "find a sense of place and struggle between two spheres of life," as Noel revealed in a statement. That struggle bleeds through the core of the song, from the chill, atmospheric opening to the intense, enveloping chorus where Noel asks a question in two parts: "Am I still, still, still a part of it?/ Still, still, still apart from it?" Noel, a prolific songwriter as well as bass player for Ada Lea, Alexia Avina and Dana Gavanski, counts Hang Time as his eighth album, and it still feels like he has so much left to give. — HG

'Villain in Me,' Tenille Townes

One of the most endearing things about the country genre is its often quite literal, unabashed recounting of the truth; whether a mundane, everyday encounter or the human experience in all its grit. Tenille Townes's latest slow-picked ballad is fearlessly the latter. "This song terrifies me, but I feel more hungry for honesty than I ever have in my life before and that hunger is carrying me to a much more personal anchor in my songwriting," says Townes in a press release. Townes doesn't dress up the unsavoury manifestations of darkness and ego, but instead lays them out plainly over melancholic chords — once again solidifying her songwriting aptitude and infectious vulnerability. — Jess Huddleston

'One Strike,' MANifesto

Since the September drop of their debut album, Pinky Swear, Toronto's MANifesto — self-described as "5 grown up gays from Toronto who cover songs originated by girl groups" — has released a series of music videos to accompany their singles. The newest one is a simple but evocative tribute to the wondrous witches of the world and the light and dark of the space between the autumnal equinox and winter solstice. Mariachi-style brass and percussion dance with strings as the singers' voices harmonize over the bright choruses of All Saints' "One Strike." The song pulses with life as MANifesto work their ceremonial magic against a backdrop of rolling hills and foreboding skies. Come for the cover, stay for the beautiful costumes, hit replay again and again as MANifesto makes "One Strike" their own. — Andrea Warner


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