Music

Helena Deland, Emanuel, Jeen and more: songs you need to hear this week

5 fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now.

5 fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now

''Pale' is about a sharp frustration, grand confusion and prevailing feeling of inadequacy that comes with constructing parts of my identity around the male gaze!' — Helena Deland (Sabrina Jolicoeur)

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:

  • Quarter-Life Crisis featuring Frances Quinlan.
  • Emanuel.
  • Jeen.
  • 11:11.
  • Helena Deland.

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.


'Postcard From Spain,' Quarter-Life Crisis feat. Frances Quinlan

Ryan Hemsworth is no stranger to collaboration and his latest project, Quarter-Life Crisis, is entirely based on the idea of working with other musicians. Each track on this upcoming release (due out Dec. 4 via Saddle Creek) will pair the producer with an indie act who is tasked with writing lyrics atop Hemsworth's music. "Postcard From Spain" is the first single, which finds Hop Along singer Frances Quinlan's vocals gorgeously soaring over Hemsworth's dreamy acoustic soundscape, as Quinlan bookends the track by name-checking Canadian icon Buffy Sainte-Marie. The cherry on top: the swelling chorus where Quinlan is backed by the West Philadelphia Achievement Charter School Choir. — Melody Lau


'Black Woman,' Emanuel

Emanuel is definitely on the rise this year. Back in the spring, the London, Ont., singer received a promotional boost for his debut single, "Need You," by actor Idris Elba over social media, helping it break more than three million streams to date on Spotify alone. His latest single is stripped of all pretense, relying mainly on a finger-picked guitar and his striking lyrics to convey a message of both "reconciliation and also celebration — celebrating how strong our women are and how they hold us up," Emanuel says in a press release.

Written over a year ago, the song was inspired in part by a 1971 conversation between James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni, as well as Emanuel's relationship to the women in his life. "She's a queen from another place, why are you so displaced? She's a goddess walking on Earth," he sings in his soft falsetto as the song swells to its orchestral climax. It's a powerful message intended not just for these times, but for all times. "It's saying the exact same thing it was saying when it was written a year ago," says Emanuel. "I see you, I recognize you, I appreciate you and I love you." — Jesse Kinos-Goodin


'Deep End,' Jeen

Toronto singer Jeen released her self-titled album last week, opening up her typically lo-fi solo recordings to a full-band, in-studio project. There is so much to love on Jeen — debut single "Anything You Want" stands out, with its urgent undercurrent and freeing chorus  — but "Deep End" is what's on repeat this week. Kicking off with a bouncy chorus that could double as a schoolyard chant, Jeen offsets her jaunty sound with a swirling weight of anxiety: "I'll be in the deep end/ there I'll go/ called me on the weekend/ should've said no/ but with all the voices in my head/ I couldn't hear a word you said," she sings, twice, before sliding into the first verse. It's a light, fun song that belies its spiralling core, perfectly encapsulated by the repetitive flow of that oft-repeated chorus. — Holly Gordon


'Treat,' 11:11

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?," wrote William Shakespeare in his best-known sonnet, and poets have been metaphorically obsessing over the objects of their desire ever since. In his delightful new slow jam, 11:11 turns to the produce aisle for inspiration. "I don't mind a little fuzz on your peach," he begins over finger snaps and guitar, making it clear that subtlety is not his point. "I can taste your mangoes through your ankles/ you know all the angles I like/ you're gonna be my dessert tonight." In the three rising notes of the chorus he indulges in this "sweet, organic treat," his gustatory pleasure evident in his warm falsetto and the addition of percussion and layered vocals. — Robert Rowat


'Pale,' Helena Deland 

"Spending this much time in my naked body's not making it familiar to me," Helena Deland sings in the opening moments of her latest single, "Pale." When you enter a relationship, you risk losing yourself, Deland suggests, as she describes this track in a press release: "It talks about the fear of being eternally unsatisfied and ultimately dispossessed of my identity in trying to construct it around/through my partner's/the male gaze." The track itself reflects that disconnectedness, shifting from sparse and echoing one moment to crowded and booming the next. Even when the track feels intimate, an eerie bass or synth sound comes whirling in like a warning sign. But instead of scaring off the listener, it draws you even further into Deland's spiralling thoughts. — ML

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