Clairmont the Second, Jessie Reyez, dvsn and more: songs you need to hear this week
6 fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now
Here at CBC Music, we're always on high alert for new songs by Canadian artists, especially during this time of social isolation, when music continues to provide entertainment, comfort and distraction.
This week, we're listening to new tracks from Jessie Reyez, Clairmont the Second, Loony, Nap Eyes, Tops and dvsn featuring Snoh Aalegra. 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.
'Dun,' Clairmont the Second
"Show is cancelled but new music isn't," Clairmont the Second assured fans on March 17 when concerns over COVID-19 forced a wave of concert cancellations including the Toronto rapper's early April hometown gig. That new music came in the form of the track and music video for "Dun," a burst of energy that hits like a double shot of espresso in these more languid times. Its menacing beat backs up Clairmont the Second's combative flow as he warns his foes that he's "dun letting y'all slide/ dun going outside." Turns out we're all done going outside, but the gift of Clairmont's first new single of the year is keeping our spirits up. — Melody Lau
Scarborough-based Loony sold out her first headlining show in Toronto in 24 hours based on the strength of two previously released EPs and a third release coming on April 23 — and with this second single from the forthcoming Joyride EP, the singer continues to prove that the hype is real. The wistful opening piano notes on "No!" lead into a chime-like riff that lifts the bass-heavy track, Loony's smooth, no-nonsense voice breaking into falsetto intermittently, admitting, "'Cause it's you, oh it's you, oh it's you, I can't say no." Loony and her band build "No!" up and strip it back down multiple times over the nearly four-minute track, giving us a buoyant ride layered with live instruments and low-key electronics. Produced by Akeel Henry (Ty Dollar $ign, Shawn Mendes) and Adam Pondang, Loony's R&B sound leans on Influences like Lianne La Havas and Erykah Badu, while fellow Canadians Daniel Caesar and Charlotte Day Wilson feel like contemporaries. — Holly Gordon
'Between Us,' dvsn feat. Snoh Aalegra
Drawing inspiration (as well as a sample) from Usher's 1997 slow jam "Nice & Slow," this new song unfolds as a make-up session between dvsn's Daniel Daley and featured guest Snoh Aalegra. "Let me start by sayin' sorry," begins Daley, with Usher's neon-tinged beat pulsing in the background. "Don't be sorry, just be careful, baby," replies Aalegra on her verse, her voice refreshing as it climbs. You don't need to be Dr. Ruth to know where they're heading: "Let's open up and take our clothes off," each sings, introducing the maddeningly simple yet undeniably infectious chorus. — Robert Rowat
'DEAF (who are you),' Jessie Reyez
Jessie Reyez often oscillates between tough and tender. When she's not cooing about love, she leans into the more self-proclaimed Quentin Tarantino side of her personality, where bravado and confidence slice like a newly sharpened knife. "DEAF (who are you)" fits into the latter. On the second track from the Toronto singer's debut album, Before Love Came to Kill Us, Reyez is quick to stake her claim in the music game (straight up pointing out, "I feel like my city needs a female in a Phantom") while scoffing at detractors: "Who are you, ah, anyway?" If this album is your entry point into Reyez's music, then this track acts like the Coles Notes of her strengths, from declaring her musical calling card ("'F--k love' is my anthem") to her general ability to attack a beat with a style and flow that is all her own. — ML
'Primordial Soup,' Nap Eyes
It sounds counterintuitive to call a marching-band drum roll gentle, but that's exactly how Nap Eyes kicks off their track "Primordial Soup," off the Halifax-formed band's most recent album, Snapshot of a Beginner. The rock four-piece — with bandmates Nigel Chapman, Seamus Dalton, Josh Salter and Brad Loughead — headed to the National's Long Pond Studio for this fourth album, working with producers Jonathan Low (the National) and James Elkington for the hi-fi sound on Snapshot. "Primordial Soup" feels oddly on the nose during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Chapman singing of molecules and evolution, and the people who "started to fight and died/ while others just won inside." But the track is inarguably timeless, as Chapman asks, "And I wondered why I should be/ so free and happy/ so sad and chained" over a drum build and crash that feels very National-esque. Chapman clinches the song with a series of affirming yeahs, making it feel like we're all in it together. — HG
'Direct Sunlight,' Tops
Montreal band Tops' latest single is exactly what it sounds like: a sunny melody that is guaranteed to brighten your mood. "Direct Sunlight" was inspired by a trip singer Jane Penny took to a Berlin pool, where she was suddenly confronted by a fear of heights atop a diving board. "I wanted to capture that duality, the way that even the sunniest days can have this underlying darkness to them," she explains in a press release. "And how it's not just the physical reaction to fear that casts the shadows, but more how the ever looming possibilities of loss or discontent are revealed." On "Direct Sunlight," Penny chooses to "play with the light" instead of letting the darkness consume her. The song's shiny synth-pop optimism urges us to do the same. — ML