G.R. Gritt's truth-to-power dance party track, and 7 other songs you need to hear this week
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.
This week, we're listening to new tracks from:
- I M U R.
- Regard, Troye Sivan and Tate McRae.
- Shad featuring Phoenix Pagliacci.
- G.R. Gritt.
- Leanne Zacharias.
- Ruth B.
- Dizzy featuring Luna Li.
- Jenn Grant.
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.
Hit play on our brand new Songs You Need to Hear stream, filled with songs that CBC Music's producers have chosen for their playlists, and tune into CBC Music Mornings every Thursday to hear CBC Music's Jess Huddleston and Saroja Coelho reveal which of these tracks is the standout new Canadian song.
'Case of You,' I M U R
This new song from Vancouver's alt-R&B outfit I M U R coincides with the 50th anniversary of Blue, the seminal album by Joni Mitchell, who, according to a press release, had a "heavy influence" on I M U R's Jenny Lea. Lea penned "Case of You'' back in 2018 as an homage to Mitchell, borrowing the original song's classic line, "I could drink a case of you," for the chorus. Whereas Mitchell's "A Case of You'' was an intimate, acoustic guitar song, I M U R's homage is a steamy slow jam that uses a heavy bass line and seductive sway to flesh out the lover-as-intoxicant metaphor: "I could drink a case of you/ I don't need no chasе with you/ I just love the taste of you." Watch for I M U R's forthcoming album, My Molecules, due out June 25 via Distorted Muse. — Robert Rowat
'You,' Regard, Troye Sivan and Tate McRae
Dancing through heartbreak is something pop stars Troye Sivan and Tate McRae have perfected in recent years. Now they're teaming up for the first time ever — along with Kosovo's DJ Regard — to bring you their latest post-breakup anthem, "You." "How could you ever leave me without a chance to try?" Sivan and McRae sing over their respective, hushed verses. Both appear to be hung up on a past relationship that has ended, but continue to be haunted by this person. The memory of their ex is almost too magnetic, pulling them in just as the song does, drawing listeners directly to its big chorus where both artists admit, "When I try to fall back I fall back to you/ when I talk to my friends I talk about you." Their heads may be trying to bring them back to reality, but their hearts can't help but run back to the moments of euphoric love, blissfully basking in the potential of a reunion no matter how bad of an idea that actually is. — Melody Lau
'Out of Touch,' Shad feat. Phoenix Pagliacci
Shad, the people's rapper, has done it again. Laying down bright, bounceable beats that act as the golden platter on which his intelligent wordplay is served up, it's a special trick, really — getting the people grooving while feeding their awareness. On "Out of Touch," Shad (alongside guest vocals from Phoenix Paggliaci) tackles timely topics like consumerism, civil unrest, global warming and big pharma; dire, pressing issues that undoubtedly perpetuate our state of disconnection, unhappiness, sickness and wanting. He says it plainly: we're out of touch. And where's the lie? In a year of what feels like endless challenges, there's a place for both the fluff and the pertinent in what we put in our ears, and it's some kind of reassuring to count on Shad for the latter. — Jess Huddleston
'Ancestors,' G.R. Gritt
Inspired by their grandmother and the violin that they inherited from them as a teen, G.R. Gritt's debut solo album, Ancestors, is a powerful act of reclamation and recognition. Due to colonial violence and the residential school system, Gritt (who was one-half of the Juno Award-winning duo Quantum Tangle) grew up without much connection to their ancestral culture or language and they've spent years trying to rectify that. Ancestors is about the breadth and depth of the ways that Gritt names and claims themself — two-spirit, transgender, francophone, Anishinaabe/Métis artist — and how they're inextricably connected.
The album's incredible title track, which features a guest verse from hip-hop/soul artist Kimmortal, is a beat-heavy, electro-folk upper that actually captures the feeling of speaking truth to power. It's a propulsive dance party that uplifts ("Don't you know that you're sacred, baby, and that our ancestors are holding you?") and validates as it indicts ("You ask for a seat and there's no room/ you walk their path but you can't come through/ you ask to be heard and you're 'being rude'/ you raise your voice then they might shoot"). — Andrea Warner
'Studio,' Leanne Zacharias
Cellist Leanne Zacharias has been performing Music for Spaces since 2005, when she was a grad student in Austin. The project, as she describes it, explores and renegotiates "relationships between audience, performers, compositions, buildings, public spaces and the natural environment." This June, the now associate professor at Brandon University's School of Music is releasing the recorded version of her ever evolving project, featuring five cello works by both Canadian and American composers, as captured in acoustic spaces in rural Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario — reached by hiking, boating or dirt-road driving with producer Paul Aucoin. During COVID times, when borders are closing and the end of isolation feels both near and yet so very far, Music for Spaces feels especially perfect for deep listening in these times.
"Studio," one of the five recorded works, involves only two notes, the tension rising and easing over its six-minute vignette. Recorded in a fieldstone church near Kaleida, Man., the piece was composed by Quebec's Michael Oesterle, and is accompanied by stop-motion animation by Winnipeg artist Christine Fellows (also a close friend of Zacharias), whose images beautifully capture a sense of motion, travel and stillness throughout. The video and piece are a powerful combination, and a perfect entryway into Zacharias' work. Look out for her full project — and her first solo album — in June. — Holly Gordon
'Situation,' Ruth B
Last week brought the good news that Ruth B has a new LP coming out on June 11, her first since 2017's Safe Haven. Moments in Between is a "raw, emotional accounting of the anxieties and uncertainty Ruth faces as a woman in her mid-20s," according to a press release, and while that may seem like a disheartening prospect, lead single "Situation" proves how tunefully Ruth B gives voice to her burdens. "You say we're having fun/ then you say that I'm the one," she sings in the first verse, an inner monologue that articulates the familiar frustration of not knowing where you stand in a relationship. While comforting piano chords underpin the chorus — "What's our situation?" — production soon expands to give Ruth B a solid, mid-tempo basis for her mellifluous vocals and relaxed phrasing. — RR
'The Bird Behind the Drapes,' Dizzy feat. Luna Li
When Katie Munshaw first wrote "The Magician," a song about dreaming of bringing back a friend she lost years ago, she envisioned the song sounding entirely different. "I had known all along what I wanted that song to be about and what the story was," she said in a YouTube Q&A, "and I just didn't really think that the production was doing justice to the story."
Now, a year later after she released the song on the band's 2020 album, The Sun and her Scorch, Munshaw has been given a second chance to transform that song — and a handful of others for an upcoming EP — into something brand new. Enlisting the help of Toronto artist Luna Li, who provides a gorgeous string arrangement and vocals to the track, this new version of "The Magician," titled "The Bird Behind the Drapes," is finally closer to what Munshaw likely had in mind. Slowed down and stripped of its bombastic pop production, "The Bird Behind the Drapes" is given space to breathe, leaving its melancholic words to really sink in over its four-minute runtime. The result is sweet and mournful, but still has a glimmer of hope peaking through, almost tapping into the same nostalgic energy as Broken Social Scene's "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year Old Girl"; a beautiful feat of production magic. — ML
'Flying on Your Own' (Rita MacNeil cover), Jenn Grant
Over the more than three decades since its release, Rita MacNeil's "Flying on Your Own" has taken on many forms of agency. For Jenn Grant, the song symbolizes her mother's freedom, leaving P.E.I. for Nova Scotia with a young Grant and not much else, to make a new home and start a nursing degree. "There was no one she knew waiting for her there," said Grant, in a press release. "But a determined energy to 'fly on her own.' I have found, as we all do I think, that it takes a while before you see your parents as real 'people.' I am about the same age as she was then, when she summoned the courage to just keep going." Grant's version has a beautiful, fresh spirit, her voice carrying a similar hope to MacNeil's, this time overtop loops and synths reminiscent of Grant's aqua alta project. (A Phil Collins-esque drum fill adds a little '80s flair to the song that was originally released in 1987.) Fittingly, it was just announced that this year the original will be inducted alongside the late singer-songwriter into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. — HG