July Talk, Wintersleep, River Tiber and more: songs you need to hear this week

Here are five new Canadian tracks that grabbed our attention.
Students from Dennis Franklin Cromarty, the First Nations' high school in Thunder Bay, in studio recording "Mourning Keeps Coming Back," a new song collaboration with July Talk and numerous other independent artists. (Nick Ferrio)

Each week, CBC Music producers come together to highlight Canada's best new tracks.

While we prepare ourselves for the upcoming deluge of year-end lists, let's not forget the many amazing new tunes that are still being released. This week, we got hooked on new songs from July Talk, Wintersleep, Foxwarren, MorMor and River Tiber. Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them.

What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.

'Mourning Keeps Coming Back,' July Talk feat. Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School students

This beautiful song shimmers and summons like a sunrise glowing pink and orange hues across a snowy, frosted-cake landscape. "Mourning Keeps Coming Back" is both an act of testimony and of bearing witness. It's rooted in the lived experiences of Indigenous high-school students in Thunder Bay, and created in collaboration with artists like July Talk, Nick Ferrio, Broken Social Scene and more. But the students' voices are centred in their own verses, claiming their space in the song, sharing their truths, bolstered by soaring sing-along choruses. The blend of voices singing sweetly, children and adults in community, is an emotional and visceral experience. The song is also a call to action from these students — to everybody listening — as they talk about racism, poverty, clean water and racialized violence.

— Andrea Warner

'Surrender,' Wintersleep

Opening up a love song with the line "36 years young/ halfway to my tomb" is a bold way to unfold your feelings, but if anyone can pull off that melancholic arrow to your heart, it's Wintersleep. With the release of "Surrender," the Halifax band announced its plans to return in 2019: its seventh studio album, titled In the Land Of and produced by Tony Doogan (who's worked with Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian and done four other Wintersleep albums), will be released on March 29 via Dine Alone Records, three years after the Juno-nominated The Great Detachment. "Surrender" begins gently, with Paul Murphy's vocals floating atop an increasingly layered bed made of Tim D'Eon's guitar, Loel Campbell's drums, Chris Bell's bass and Jon Samuel's keys. It's at the crash about halfway through, when Murphy belts "I surrender to you!" over a storm of instruments, that you realize this isn't (solely) about an existential crisis — it's about being consumed.

— Holly Gordon

'Pass the Hours,' MorMor

Toronto's MorMor made a big impression on us this year, landing on CBC Music's list of the 10 best new Canadian artists who ruled 2018. If you also fell in love with MorMor this year, it looks like there will be much more of him next year, as he just announced a new string of 2019 tour dates this week. He also released a new track called "Pass the Hours," a dream-pop track marked by a catchy underlying bass line and MorMor's gorgeous voice, which effortlessly shifts from soft coo to soaring falsetto on the turn of a dime. We've said it once and we'll say it again: we can't wait to see what else MorMor has in store for us. Perhaps a full-length soon?

— Melody Lau

'To Be,' Foxwarren

It's fitting that the video for Foxwarren's "To Be" is shot on 16-mm film and evokes strong Wes Anderson vibes. The song is an ode to loneliness, which permeates the track from its laidback guitar strumming to its longing lyrics. In Foxwarren, 2016 Polaris shortlister Andy Shauf collaborates with his childhood friends on a debut recording that's been incubating for the past decade. "To Be" is representative of the band's sound, which is sophisticated, down-tempo and just melancholy enough. We're cuing this one up for those grey and dreary post-holiday evenings.

— Michael Morreale

'Deep End,' River Tiber

It's been a relatively quiet year for Tommy Paxton-Beesley, a.k.a. Toronto producer River Tiber. While he has produced some incredible work for Charlotte Day Wilson and Travis Scott this year, Paxton-Beesley's own music as River Tiber has been fairly sparse since his 2016 debut, Indigo. This week, he remedied that with the release of "Deep End." The track is a big, spacious love song that feels like Paxton-Beesley's heart has floated off into the sky, where being "up in the clouds with no reception" is his personal version of heaven. And in the words of Liz Lemon: "I want to go to there." — ML


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