Music

Johnny Orlando and Dvbbs' danceable debut collaboration, and 6 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

Johnny Orlando's debut album, It’s Never Really Over, has been nominated for pop album of the year at the 2021 Juno Awards. (Supplied by the artist)

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:

  • Johnny Orlando and Dvbbs.
  • Loony featuring Mick Jenkins.
  • Tate McRae.
  • Hillsburn.
  • Sarah Neufeld.
  • Cotis.
  • Smaller Hearts.

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 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 the standout new Canadian song.


'I Don't,' Johnny Orlando with Dvbbs

Johnny Orlando and Dvbbs have entered the song of the summer conversation. "I Don't" marks the first time the two Canadian acts are teaming up, and the result is an upbeat pop-EDM crossover. Bolstered by duo Dvbbs' propulsive dance beat, Orlando dives into a difficult romantic situation where he is forced to break someone's heart. "How can I tell you that I love you when I don't?" he sings on the song's post-chorus. That agonizing line is followed by a beat drop that acts like a sunken heart. The lyrics may feel at odds with the bright production, but the best way to mend a broken heart sometimes is to dance the pain away — a summer anthem that will definitely resonate with many. — Melody Lau 


'Royal Flush,' Loony feat. Mick Jenkins

Spring's first flush is upon us and with it, an appropriately titled new song from Loony's upcoming album, Soft Thing, due out June 24. Like buds that are getting ready to flower, love's nearly overwhelming potential is the subject of "Royal Flush." "You know that period of time when you're feeling someone, and you're pretty sure they're feeling you, too?" asks Loony via press release. "It's like, I feel like we both have a winning hand here and if we play it, the world could be ours." The song is a compact, funky jam with the perfect tempo for strutting and a bridge that samples Loony's voice and launches it into the stratosphere. Mick Jenkins' brief rap verse capitalizes on the card-playing metaphors inherent in the song's title while his rhymes accentuate the slap of the beat. — Robert Rowat


'Wish I Loved You in the '90s,' Tate McRae

Upon learning that budding pop star Tate McRae was born in 2003, it might give you pause to hear her new EP's closing track is titled "Wish I Loved You in the '90s." But in an interview with Variety, McRae defends her appreciation of that bygone era, saying, "I have this whole idea in my head that if phones didn't exist, social media didn't exist and this whole couldn't-care-less persona of every single person in the world didn't exist, that people would actually be able to find good love and not be in toxic relationships all the time." She's not wrong — digital dating does lack a certain lost chivalry — and she conveys it beautifully over the song's slow-chugging, fittingly '90s acoustic chord progression. — Jess Huddleston


'Get High,' Hillsburn

If you have a fear of heights and/or flying, Hillsburn's new video will serve as excellent exposure therapy. In it, lead singer Rosanna Burrill and drummer Clare Macdonald "Get High" by strapping on some parachutes, and it is a mixture of apprehension, terrifying moments and absolute glee — parallelling relationships, maybe? (Burrilll originally looks unfazed, while Macdonald's facial expressions mirror my personal anxieties with the whole situation.) From the band's upcoming May 28 album, Slipping Away, "Get High" has a drum-centric heartbeat, and Burrill's falsetto on the verses pulls you in from the start. I can already hear the anthemic buildup and chorus at the Halifax band's live show (fingers crossed). Plus, the single's central lyrics  — "I just wanna get high with you/ and sleep in the afternoon" — feel like a nice pre-summer goal. — Holly Gordon


'Stories,' Sarah Neufeld

The word "ethereal" is often (and not always accurately) used to describe music. But in the case of "Stories," from Sarah Neufeld's upcoming third solo album, Detritus, ethereal is the perfect adjective to contain the music's stratocumulus qualities. The substance of "Stories" enters your ears on a breeze, with Neufeld's violin and gossamer wordless vocals floating on rising currents of luminous synthesizer. Full of motion, the song (and in fact the whole Detritus project) was inspired by Neufeld's collaboration — an "incendiary duet," according to a press release — with dancer/choreographer Peggy Baker. Detritus is due out May 14 via Paper Bag Records. — RR


'What's it Gonna Be,' Cotis

If you dig Allan Rayman's mysterious rasp or the melodic alt-pop of Ryan Beatty and Dominic Fike, look no further than Victoria counterpart Cotis and his latest single, "What's it Gonna Be." A certified warm weather bop, the singer's capable croon glides over the song's atmospheric pulse, which is cut with scorching guitar licks for that true, highway-at-dusk, Don Henley effect. Many gen Z artists are dabbling in this hybrid rock-pop space right now, but few are doing it this well. Cotis exhibits an impressive, low-key focus on a track like this — leading me to think he's working behind the scenes to methodically time his inevitable takeoff. — JH


'Double Space,' Smaller Hearts

Song-of-the-summer contenders start popping up this time of year, and Halifax's Smaller Hearts have a lo-fi synth-pop jam to add to the mix. Wife-and-husband duo Kristina Parlee and Ron Bates have crafted an unusually (for them) upbeat song in "Double Space," which they describe as "almost an instruction: let's be bigger; let's be uninhibited; let's double space." There's a rough Postal Service vibe to the band's synth-driven beats and loops, and as Bates sings, "But all at once the year is done and pictures fade away/ so we begin to draw again" the timeliness of their song really takes hold. "Almost a rebuke to 2020, or a challenge to ourselves to rise above the bad vibes of the time, even if only for the duration of a pop song," Smaller Hearts explained in their press release. "Double Space" is a perfect, three-minute escape.  — HG

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