Cam Kahin's rollicking rock anthem, and 6 more songs you need to hear this week

Listen to fresh Canadian tracks from King Cruff, Janïsa, Les Shirley and others.

Listen to fresh Canadian tracks from King Cruff, Janïsa, Les Shirley and others

Rock musician Cam Kahin has released his debut single, 'Compass,' for Dine Alone Records.
Rock musician Cam Kahin has released his debut single, 'Compass,' for Dine Alone Records. (Fabiana Moreira)

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:

  • Les Shirley.
  • Cam Kahin.
  • Janïsa.
  • King Cruff.
  • Bob Moses and Broods.
  • Nico Paulo.
  • Santi Forget.

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.

'It's Time,' Les Shirley

It's time for your wake-up call,
This time we stand up tall,
It's time for your wake-up call,
Watch out,
Here comes the curveball.

At a splintering 1:58, "It's Time" takes itself seriously, introducing 11 grunge-polished tracks that will act as that personal wake-up call on Les Shirley's brand new release, More is More, co-produced by pop singer-songwriter and fellow Montrealer Marie-Pierre Arthur. Bandmates Raphaëlle Chouinard (vocals, guitar), Sarah Dion (bass) and Lisandre Bourdages (drums) have created something furiously special with this second full-length album, and the handclap-ready "It's Time" has pitch-perfect energy for diving in. — Holly Gordon

'Compass,' Cam Kahin

Back in June, we predicted that Toronto artist Cam Kahin was "an artist on the brink of something special." Named as one of five Canadian acts shaping rock right now, Kahin has since taken another big step forward as the latest signee to Dine Alone Records. His debut single for the label, "Compass," proves why he belongs on the same roster as some of the country's biggest bands (Alexisonfire, Tokyo Police Club, the Sheepdogs). A rollicking rock anthem that kicks off with a powerful punch of a guitar riff, the track wastes no time charging through its four-minute run. (The guitars on this track will feel particularly satisfying for fans of Joyce Manor and Cloud Nothings.) "'Cause it's gonna be a long day/ and I need something to get me through," Kahin sings on the chorus, pleading to those around him to recognize his self-destructive behaviour. "Don't know if I'm going the wrong way/ can't you be my compass baby." While Kahin searches for guidance on "Compass," it appears that in real life, he's heading in the right direction. — Melody Lau

'Dive in,' Janïsa

Don't know why I stay so long on the surface,
I'm scared of the deep end,
I know I should dive in,
I'm reflecting through dark waters and pieces,
Can someone get me through this moment of weakness?

In September, Janïsa and her two sons lost their home of 13 years to a fire. The devastating aftermath found the family displaced, and amplified her loneliness and isolation — the same feelings that sparked the writing of "Dive In," back in 2020. It was co-written by the Toronto singer and her friends Nick Ferraro, Waqaas and Adria Kain over multiple sessions, each person pouring a bit of the loneliness they were grappling with into the music. "This song means more to me now than it did, because I literally need to dive in the waters after a fire, I've lost so much," she said in a press statement.

The production has a nostalgic edge reminiscent of early 2000s neo-soul: its gently strummed guitar and muted percussion could easily fit a Macy Gray or Corinne Bailey Rae song from that era. There's an irresistible richness to her singing, adding extra weight to her words as she sings of the kind of metamorphosis that only occurs after taking a risk. It's gloriously satisfying when she takes that long-awaited plunge in the video. — Kelsey Adams

'Samurai Chop,' King Cruff

This first glimpse of King Cruff's major-label debut album, expected in 2023, sets a high bar. On "Samurai Chop," the Jamaican–Canadian musician, whose real name is Solomon Marley-Spence, deftly blends a range of styles — reggae, hip hop, dancehall and house — bringing Kaytranada's 2019 smash "Go DJ" to mind. The song's warm keyboard and sternum-caressing beat are sometimes at odds with Cruff's trenchant lyrics, and that's intentional: "I'm a big fan of songs that have one vibe but the lyrics tell a different story," he notes via press release, adding, "'Samurai Chop' is about the party lifestyle and how chatter and drama can bleed into it. The line that really influenced the song was 'Words cut deep like a samurai chop.'" — Robert Rowat

'Old Love,' Bob Moses, Broods

Old love,
If only it was easier to fall in love,
Like it was easy at the start for us,
If only it was easier to find someone like you.

Vancouver's Bob Moses unites with New Zealand duo Broods for this moody, mesmerizing house track about hanging on to what used to be. "Old Love" reminds the listener how rare real connection is, with its danceable beat, layered production and harmonies that will leave you wanting more from this collaboration. Smooth and dreamy, this latest single from Bob Moses's album The Silence in Between will make you feel some type of way after a few listens. — Ashley Catania

'Now or Never,' Nico Paulo

"Kiss me now, or never/ hold me close, or let me go" are the first words Nico Paulo sings on her new single, offering the gentlest of ultimatums over a lightly strummed guitar. "Now or Never," the lead single on the St. John's-based Portuguese artist's newly announced debut album, due in 2023 via Forward Music, is an empathetic near-breakup song, the weight of past love holding the relationship fast for the moment. "I just want to feel your love again," Paulo sings, from a place of agency: the lyrics are hopeful, but accepting that it may be time to move on. Paulo's voice lifts "Now or Never" into the clouds, like birds coasting on the wind, deciding their next move. It's a beautiful track from an artist who's fairly new to the East Coast, and we're looking forward to seeing what she releases next. — HG

'Pobre Diabla,' Santi Forget

Santi Forget is an exciting new artist making waves in Toronto's R&B scene. She released her first single last year and has been steadily experimenting with her sound. "Pobre Diablo" is an icy track, with Forget's disaffected and cooler-than-thou vocals telling the story of a party girl. But, this girl isn't all highs and hedonism: there's something going on below her surface. "Pobre Diabla" translates to "poor little devil" and the protagonist of this story is struggling with substance use, inflated egos, and the toxic culture that pervades her nights out. It's a refreshing take on the dualities that can exist within a person, the video playing with the notion of a spectrum between devil and angel, impurity and innocence. — KA