Daniel Caesar, Louise Burns, Chris LaRocca and more: songs you need to hear this week

Four new tracks to add to your playlist right now.

Four new tracks to add to your playlist right now

Toronto R&B artist Daniel Caesar enlisted Pharrell, Brandy, John Mayer and others for his sophomore album, Case Study 01, released June 28, 2019. (Keavan Yazdani, Sean Brown)

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 Chris LaRocca, the Once, Louise Burns and Daniel Caesar featuring Brandy. 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.

'Salt,' Chris LaRocca

The Portuguese word "saudade" does not readily translate into English. The closest you can get is nostalgia, but that doesn't quite capture the word's implied pain and longing. Chris LaRocca's new album, Saudade, comes out on July 17, and of the four advance tracks released so far, "Salt" comes closest to representing the album's title. "I wish you never looked my way/ wish I wasn't shook this way," he laments over a simple accompaniment of acoustic guitar and finger snaps, smarting from the song's titular salt being rubbed in his emotional wound. With his febrile falsetto and poetic turns of phrase, LaRocca reminds us that "falling deep" is a double-edged sword — the pleasurable pain at saudade's core.

— Robert Rowat

'Before the Fall,' the Once

"I remember water. I remember a boat," says Geraldine Hollett, one-third of St. John's the Once, in the wistful, conversational opener of the new video for "Before the Fall," off the band's  2018 album, Time's Enough. There's a mix of overlapped audio, spoken memories layered with Hollett's soft singing, when the words "I don't know what to be" stick out just before the song kicks in. It sets the nostalgic tone for a track that's trying to make peace with the past (and how you remember it) while being open to the future. Hollett and bandmate Phil Churchill trade verses, Churchill lamenting "I lost it all somehow" and Hollett asking, "Well what are you gonna do now?" It's both hopeful and heartbreaking, with Hollett, Churchill and bandmate Andrew Dale crafting harmonies that curl around each verse just so. The second half of the video brings some visual levity, when Hollett, Churchill and Dale join in on the last chorus as puppets made in their own likeness (stay to the end, Marvel-style). "Don't sweat what you can't change/ close eyes and rearrange" is the perfect takeaway from "Before the Fall," and we're happy that the Once reminded us with this gem of a new video.

Holly Gordon

'Just Walk Away,' Louise Burns

While the exact release date of Vancouver artist Louise Burns' fourth LP, Portraits, is unknown, it already feels certain that if the rest of the album sparkles like the first single, "Just Walk Away," we might be in for one of the strongest Canadian pop releases of the year. After her 2017 album was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize, Burns wrote her new collection in Los Angeles with co-producers who have helped shape sounds for the likes of Arcade Fire, the Killers, Carly Rae Jepsen and Sia. "Just Walk Away" is a bold stride into pure pop territory that Burns has only waded into previously, with her infectious steel drum beat and honeyed vocals signaling that summer is officially here, and so is a new era for Burns.

Jess Huddleston

'Love Again,' Daniel Caesar feat. Brandy

Last week brought us the surprise news of a sophomore album from Daniel Caesar, and with it came his first collaboration with Brandy, queen of the duet. Over a simple, seductive beat, Caesar and Brandy trade verses, circling each other slowly. "If you can/ take my hand/ I promise we'll find love again," sings Caesar on the refrain, with Brandy's backup vocals providing the ooohs and yeahs. "You should ask around 'bout me/ put your trust in me, baby," Brandy assures, after listing some not-cool activity. It's no "The Boy is Mine," but "Love Again" is a slow burn of an earworm that is begging for a smooth set of repeats. — HG