Caribou, Justin Bieber, Odie and more: songs you need to hear this week
6 fresh tunes 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 Caribou, Justin Bieber featuring Kehlani, Odie, Jon Vinyl, Penny Diving and a new Lou Reed cover by Villages. 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.
'Get Me,' Justin Bieber feat. Kehlani
Never intended to relate, I mean, what are the chances?
Never thought I'd connect with you, not in these circumstances
The miracle of finding "the one" is the subject of Bieber's latest single, a delightful collaboration with Kehlani, who's been announced as a support artist for Bieber's 2020 Changes tour. In contrast to the buoyant "Yummy," released last month, "Get Me" is a moodier song whose sparse production pushes the lyrics to the fore. "See, you're lookin' beyond the surface/ can tell by the questions you're asking/ you got me low-key nervous," sings Bieber over a simple bass-and-percussion bed occasionally enhanced by magical touches of electric piano. His and Kehlani's voices blend uncannily when they come together, with Bieber adding some breathtaking flourishes as the song drifts away.
— Robert Rowat
'Cremation (Ashes to Ashes)' (Lou Reed Cover), Villages
Halifax's Villages have taken their traditional-leaning sound to Lou Reed's "Cremation (Ashes to Ashes)," and the resulting cover makes it sound like the 1992 song was born out of the members' Cape Breton homeland. "We were struck by Lou's ability to playfully capture the weight of mortality," the band said via press release. "Coupled with the tune's English folk leanings, we instantly added the song to our live set. Over time, the song changed shape and it really began to feel at home in our live show."
The band, whose members formerly played as pop-rock band Mardeen, worked with director Mel Stone for the video, which is made from 8mm film shot in 1950s Cape Breton by Stone's great uncle, AC Frost. "Having grown up in Cape Breton, I have a deep love for our stunning island.… When I heard 'Cremation (Ashes to Ashes)' for the first time, my mind went straight to the brooding seas captured on these reels," Stone said. "I believe AC would have been moved by the music Villages are making, timelessly drawn from the island like cool water being drawn up from the deepest well."
— Holly Gordon
'Never Come Back,' Caribou
As Dan Snaith prepares for his first Caribou album in five years, the Canadian producer has released another sneak peek at Suddenly, out Feb. 28. Whereas the album's first two singles, "Home" and "You and I," went for a more relaxed, throwback sound, "Never Come Back" bumps up the BPM for something more tailored for the dance floor.
Similar to some of Caribou's most well-known songs, "Never Come Back" relies on a propulsive sample loop and a refrain that becomes an immediate earworm: "And you never come back/ and you never come back to." That repetition is eventually broken by a verse that gives more context: "I can never forget it/ promise me that you don't regret it/ you and I were together/ even though we both knew better." While the relationship hinted at here sounds cataclysmic, that toxicity can breed an obsession that replays everything over and over again in your head. "Never Come Back" is perhaps Snaith's way of working through that feeling, fighting through it one cowbell beat at a time.
— Melody Lau
"Last year I found myself caught in an internal war," posted Odie on Instagram on Jan. 29, announcing this new single. "For the longest time I did not realize that I fell out of love with myself and my art," he added, explaining his hiatus since 2018's Analogue, the debut that turned so many heads. Well, now he's back with his self-love evidently restored, if "Slowly" is any indication. More art pop than alternative R&B, the song establishes a brooding atmosphere as Odie reflects on his recent emotional journey: "I throw my demons away/ and keep my pain on the side/ it's OK, it's all right, Imma pray 'til I find my way home." But the song ends hopefully, with strings building to a stirring conclusion, hinting that Odie's prayers may have been answered. — RR
'Moments,' Jon Vinyl
Jon Vinyl has proven that he can write songs about falling in love, but on "Moments," the Toronto artist is exploring the intricate balance of actually being in a dedicated relationship. "Put it on me, baby," Vinyl croons on the chorus, assuring his partner that they can lay their stress on him, if needed. He later assures, once again: "Even your best friends know I'm never gonna stop/ here to protect you 'til the wheels fall off." Accompanied by a grooving beat and a sultry guitar riff (the track was produced by OVO-affiliate Govi), "Moments" continues to further Vinyl's own brand of R&B and solidify his voice as someone who is confident, romantic and willing to put the work in. — ML
'Can You Feel It,' Penny Diving
"I try too hard/ to get it right … can you feel it?" sing twin sisters Chantal and Kathleen Ambridge on "Can You Feel It," from Montreal-based Penny Diving's upcoming debut album, Big Inhale. It's a game of catch and release, the six-minute track building the tension on the first half of the lyric — sometimes flipping it to "and still can't get it right" — until we're set free with the latter half's question. It's a bold choice for an album's opening track, but Chantal and Kathleen, along with trio member Thomas Augustin (Malajube), skilfully pull it off. "The frustration and urgency is mirrored in the guitars and vocals, until finally [you get] a sense of release when the music switches gears and the voice echoes 'Can you feel it?' It's a call to immediacy, a refusal of the burden of expectations," says the band. Penny Diving has already released three other singles — "Nineteen," "I Surrender" and "Shotgun, She Said" — and you'll want to check out the full album on Feb. 7. — HG