Jason Bajada's 'Zombie Cry,' and 5 more songs you need to hear this week

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now.

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now

Montreal singer-songwriter Jason Bajada released Crushed Grapes, his 8th studio album, on Sept. 23.
Montreal singer-songwriter Jason Bajada released Crushed Grapes, his 8th studio album, on Sept. 23. (Richmond Lam; design by Holly Gordon/CBC Music)

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:

  • Piao.
  • Jason Bajada.
  • Daniel Romano's Outfit.
  • Mormor.
  • Luna Li.
  • Drumaq and VanJess.

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.

To hear more about these standout songs, tune in to CBC Music Mornings every Thursday and Toronto's Here and Now every Wednesday afternoon, both available via CBC Listen.

'Haunted by Potential,' Piao 

When you're young, you may have a very specific idea of what your adult life will look like. Maybe you think you'll get married by a certain age, or if you're a musician, that signing to a record label is the ultimate sign of success. But what happens when you find yourself in your 20s with none of those boxes checked off? That's what Chinese–Canadian artist Piao ruminates over on her latest single, "Haunted by Potential." "Although I'm an adult and have learned a lot/ I'm still like a child in more ways than I'm not," she sings over sparse piano chords, allowing for her powerful vocals to shine through. Part of growing up is realizing that, even as an adult, we don't have the answers to everything. But instead of being "haunted by potential," filling your head with what-ifs, the key is to cast aside expectations, take what you do know now and transform it into something you can still feel proud of. For Piao, this song is a beautiful accomplishment. — Melody Lau

'Zombie Cry,' Jason Bajada

There's an unsettling yet intriguing disconnect between the soothing folk-pop of Jason Bajada's "Zombie Cry" and the alarming scene whose aftermath he describes in the song's lyrics. "Never thought this day would end/ In the back of an ambulance," he begins with a detached tone over gently strumming guitar. One imagines him sitting in the dark, trying to come to terms with the day's events: "Just a zombie cry, then you went down/ Thought you were just fooling around/ Can't remember the last time I had ever felt so afraid." That fear takes the form of otherworldly, off-kilter strings that disturb the calm of an instrumental interlude between the second and third verses before Bajada returns with his hypnotic melody. "Zombie Cry" is a highlight from Bajada's eighth studio album, Crushed Grapes, which was released on Sept. 23. Montrealers can attend an album launch on Oct. 4 at Le Ministère. — Robert Rowat

'La Luna - Part 1' and 'La Luna - Part 2,' Daniel Romano's Outfit

Daniel Romano may have officially become the most prolific Canadian musician in the last two years, considering he's released 11 albums under his own name and with his band, the Outfit, over that time. And this month, he added a 12th: an epic recording called La Luna, which is one song in two parts (with 12 subsections), and is Romano's poetry set to a rock opera-level of music vividly recorded with Outfit members Julianna Riolino, Roddy Rosetti, David Nardi, Carson McHone and Ian Romano. Diving into the half-hour of music will take you through, among many things, an overture, graceful harmonies, birdsong, an existential crisis and a grand finale — a soundtrack befitting any Baz Luhrmann film, and the perfect backdrop heading into October's harvest moon. "My destiny's already mine," Romano sings on "La Luna - Part 2," and we can't help but agree. — Holly Gordon

'Chasing Ghosts,' Mormor

Mormor knows how to craft a song of anthemic proportions: the driving bassline on "Chasing Ghost" is immediately gripping, his whispery and hazed-out vocals invoke nostalgia, and there's something prophetic in his intonation. The Toronto artist has displayed his uncanny ear for melody across all of his projects, and it's clear from the previously released singles that his upcoming debut album, Semblance, out Nov. 4, will be full of intentional, singular tracks. Mormor's music is deeply introspective, and in telling us about himself, he spins poetic verses into treatises on the human condition. "Chasing Ghosts" begins with the lyric, "I watched you race toward the sun," a futile endeavour because the only thing that greets you if you make it is combustion. Sometimes the shiny, sexy, fun thing isn't what we need most. Mormor shared in an Instagram caption that he wrote the song from "an awareness that chasing momentary pleasures can become an end in itself. So much of what we race after disappears. The chasing of ghosts becomes an endless cycle." The enticing glow of the sun is what might pull you in but it'll only lead to your own demise. — Kelsey Adams

'Butterflies,' Luna Li 

While we've singled out one track from Luna Li's latest release, consider this a recommendation for the entire Jams 2 EP, with its full run clocking in at under five-and-a-half minutes. Jams 2 is the follow-up to 2021's Jams EP, a collection of instrumentals that showed fans the artist's process of building a song from the ground up. (Some tracks on Jams even evolved into fully formed songs on her 2022 debut album, Duality.) Jams 2 is similarly full of musical sketches, ideas that show the potential to blossom into something bigger, especially the R&B-leaning "Butterflies," a collaboration between Luna Li and fellow artist Amaria. Now that the Toronto musician is busy touring around the world, the Jams releases will always be a slice of intimacy harkening back to her early days, still experimenting with ideas in her bedroom. — ML

'Dis N Dat,' Drumaq, VanJess

Hailing from St. John's, N.L., pop musician and self-described "notable fashion head" Drumaq (Drew MacDonald) now plies his craft in Los Angeles where he's evidently hitting his stride. He cites Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan and Rihanna as influences, and has always strived to make R&B-leaning pop songs. He truly succeeds on this collaboration with VanJess, the duo of sisters Ivana and Jessica Nwokike, who bring a disco sensibility and a healthy dose of funk to "Dis N Dat," a steamy song about yearning for a hookup. "I been up, stuck on you, I fantasize/ There's so much to discover/ Yeah, there's so much you can find inside, tonight," sings Drumaq with not-so-subtle innuendo in the opening verse, before the Nwokike sisters spell it out in the chorus: "Put your **** on me like dis, like dat." It's fun, racy and eminently danceable. — RR