Grimes, Patrick Watson, Jessie Reyez and more: songs you need to hear this week

Looking for new tunes? Here are 6 fresh tracks from Canadian artists.

Looking for new tunes? Here are 6 fresh tracks from Canadian artists

Jessie Reyez performs at the 2019 Governors Ball Festival at Randall's Island in New York City. (Getty Images)

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 Grimes, Ollie, Leif Vollebekk, Maddee, Patrick Watson and Puerto Rican producer Tainy's latest single featuring Toronto heavyweights Jessie Reyez and Tory Lanez. 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.

'Violence,' Grimes

After the nu-metal turn on Grimes' last single, "We Appreciate Power," the electro-pop star is back in her ethereal club element on "Violence." But don't let the airy soundscape fool you: the lyrics tell a much grimmer story. "You feed off hurting me," Grimes sings over the pulsating beats. It's unclear whether she's referring to a relationship or perhaps our rapid destruction of the environment (a post earlier this year suggested that the album will take on climate change) but the song's repeat phrases succeed in illustrating a vicious cycle that isn't ending anytime soon. Does that make "Violence" a submission to a deadly fate or a call to action? You decide.   

— Melody Lau

'Stuck,' Ollie

Been tryin' to recover but nothin' I do works
'Cause hidin' under the covers is only makin' it worse
I'm stuck.

Is it a coincidence that this new song from Toronto's Ollie arrived just days before World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10)? Anyone who has felt overwhelmed and not known where to turn will relate to the realness Ollie imparts in "Stuck." And he's speaking from experience: he was forced to abandon his athletic dreams and drop out of university following a serious car accident a few years back. "I've been hopin' these doors might open," he sings in the pre-chorus while an affable accompaniment of acoustic guitar, xylophone and tuba (!) suggests there may in fact be a light at the end of his tunnel.

— Robert Rowat

Editor's note: strong language warning.

'Dry,' Maddee

"Many years ago I was told/ never let your guard down/ always stay in control," sings Toronto's Maddee on her new track, "Dry," co-produced by Gray Rowan (Charlotte Day Wilson). It's advice that she follows musically, at first, with this down-tempo number that kicks off with bright keys floating under the electro-soul artist's smooth vocals. But as the song builds, Maddee's voice fills more and more of the space, climbing with a horn section and fully unleashing about three minutes in. "I can't run from it," she self-harmonizes, before stripping the song back down to a whisper. It's a beautiful balance of restraint and abandon, making us question what we're running from and what we should give into.

— Holly Gordon

'Transatlantic Flight,' Leif Vollebekk 

Richard Linklater's Before trilogy luxuriates in the concept of time and unfurls in its own pace. This is the exact thing Montreal songwriter Leif Vollebekk tries to do on his latest single, "Transatlantic Flight," which happens to name-check Linklater's films and the trilogy's star, Julie Delpy. Clocking in at just over seven minutes, "Transatlantic Flight" is a warm embrace that tightens its grip as the minutes roll by. "You look good when you're tired/ on a transatlantic flight," Vollebekk coos in a relaxed tone, knowing that he can take his time to get his message across atop the sparse marching rhythms of piano notes, hi-hat taps and swelling strings. Time clearly has different implications on music than film, but here, Vollebekk becomes a master at his own craft and magically leaves us not only wanting more than seven minutes — he makes us want to spend an eternity bathing in the blues hues of the song's music video, hanging on to every word he sings. — ML

'Feel it Too,' Tainy feat. Jessie Reyez and Tory Lanez

Summer may be over but things are heating up on this new track by Puerto Rican producer and songwriter Tainy, who enlisted Tory Lanez and Jessie Reyez for "Feel it Too." The two powerhouse Canadians are a perfect match, both artists bringing their raw voices to Tainy's smooth R&B instrumentals. While at first glance this song comes off as just another sexy jam, both Reyez and Lanez take agency over the mutual attraction. Between the insistence that "I don't care that they watchin'" and "I don't wanna rush and say that this is love, but/ I feel it when we touch," it's clear that this is more than just a dance at the club. Though Reyez begins with "Everybody knows you don't/ fall in love in the club," you just might if this song plays.

— Natasha Ramoutar 

'Dream for Dreaming,' Patrick Watson

It's helpful that the video for Patrick Watson's new song has some endearing dancing puppets, otherwise we'd still be a mess of feelings puddled on the floor. "This strange dream I'm dreaming/ if it ain't wrong it don't feel right/ never thought you were leaving/ I never thought I'd have to start again," Watson gently sings in the first verse, before asking to be woken up. With the single came the announcement that the Montrealer would be releasing his new album, Wave, on Oct. 18, written during a period when he lost his mother, separated from his partner, and his longtime drummer left the titular group. The bass that comes in during that first verse hints at some lightness as the song builds into something lush and layered, and whether we come out of Wave unscathed or not, we're here for it. — HG


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