Charlotte Day Wilson, Hubert Lenoir, Lights and Conro: songs you need to hear this week
4 fresh tracks to revive your playlist right now
And just like that, summer 2019 is gone. But rather than despair at the darkness and cool temperatures that loom, we're taking solace in new music.
This week, songs by Charlotte Day Wilson and Conro have grabbed our attention, as well as two exciting collaborations: Hubert Lenoir featuring Kirin J. Callinan and Lights featuring Travis Barker. 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.
'Mountains,' Charlotte Day Wilson
It's been over a year since Toronto artist Charlotte Day Wilson released her EP Stone Woman, but last week, she returned with her first new solo single this year, "Mountains." Co-written by Babyface and featuring background vocals from Daniel Caesar as well as a rousing gospel choir, the track may sound crowded and busy on paper, but it manages to find plenty of space for Wilson's warm, glowing voice to shine through. "Please don't forsake me/ all of a sudden/ my heart is breaking," Wilson pleads on the chorus, as backup singers echo her thoughts. For a track with fairly minimal instrumentation, save for a steady stomping/handclap rhythm, this is the biggest Wilson's music has ever sounded, an all-consuming vibe that fully envelopes its listener.
— Melody Lau
'What's Love,' Conro
EDM artists sometimes get a bad rap for the formulaic nature of their music, but in that world of repeated four-bar phrases, epic builds, ticking clocks and big drops, Conro has found a distinctive voice. His is a kinder, gentler brand of EDM and for proof, look no further than his latest song. Sparse accompaniment and subtle tropical-pop percussion underpin the opening verse — "Is this a fatal attraction, or something brand new?" he asks — and when the chorus arrives, Conro's benign tenor gets the vocoder treatment while a simple rhythm guitar keeps the pulse. Yes, eventually layers are added and energy mounts, but the song never loses that light touch and transparency that Conro has evidently mastered.
— Robert Rowat
'Hunny Bunny,' Hubert Lenoir feat. Kirin J. Callinan
Hubert Lenoir has been pretty quiet, release-wise, since his 2018 Polaris Prize performance, so it was a nice surprise to get this new collaboration with Australia's fellow enfant terrible, artist Kirin J. Callinan. "Hunny Bunny" is an English track from the typically French-singing Quebec City native, which he told the Fader was mainly due to being surrounded by Callinan and an English producer while recording in Amsterdam. The highly danceable electro-glam pop track slinks along, a low-key groove with a playful breakdown halfway through (and with a few French lyrics thrown in for good measure). Lenoir told Le canal auditif that there's also French music coming soon: "parlant de français, j'ai des chansons en français qui s'en viennent aussi bientôt, si jamais y'en a qui freakent, ben freakez pas plz" (Speaking of French, I have French songs that are coming soon, if there's anyone who's freaking out, don't freak out, please).
— Holly Gordon
Editor's note: strong language warning.
'Long Live,' Lights feat. Travis Barker
"To every MySpace using, forum posting, bubble tea drinking emo kid who's been with me since The Listening, this one is for you." With that Instagram post, Canadian pop sensation Lights released her new, Travis Barker-assisted single, "Long Live," to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of her debut album, The Listening. The nostalgia-filled ballad is carried by Lights' sweet vocals and the Blink-182 drummer's subdued percussion, throwing back to 2009 with mentions of winged eyeliner, Subarus and the characteristically 2000s indie band the Postal Service. As with most Lights songs, she simultaneously achieves preciousness and honesty, paying homage to her climb with the chorus lyrics, "Long live The Listening and everything in between/ Long live the motherf--king team."
— Jess Huddleston
Editor's note: strong language warning.