Keys N Krates' summery single, and 6 other songs you need to hear this week
Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now
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:
- Keys N Krates.
- Tommy Genesis.
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 which of these tracks is the standout new Canadian song.
For their latest single, the musicians of alt-pop quartet Valley enlisted the songwriting skills of Soaky Siren (a.k.a. Rosina Russell) and the result is a peppy, danceable tune that eschews the band's trademark sarcastic edge to instead bask in unfettered summertime fun. Samples of Siren's voice permeate the song — "her voice has such a lush vintage yet modern feel to it," the band explains. The lyrics have some clever flourishes, too: "The way you move is so pro," they sing in the chorus, "Like '98, you Michael in Chicago," a reference to the Bulls' legendary season. The simile is echoed in the video through scenes from an outdoor basketball court in Toronto. (Nice cropped Bulls T-shirt, Karah James.) The video also finds the bandmates eating junk food, playing ping pong and generally putting the "pop" in popsicle. — Robert Rowat
'Party Again,' Tops
Earlier this year, writer Amanda Mull grieved the loss of casual friendships in the midst of our ongoing pandemic. In her article for the Atlantic, she wrote: "Tools like Zoom and FaceTime, useful for maintaining closer relationships, couldn't re-create the ease of social serendipity, or bring back the activities that bound us together." That urge to reconnect with nebulous acquaintances — the coworker you use to chat up in the hallway or the familiar face you only run into at concerts — is the driving force behind Montreal band Tops' latest single, "Party Again." A breathy, breezy pop anthem, "Party Again'' is a glimmer of hope as singer Jane Penny admits, "I just can't live without friends." It's fitting that this song comes with the announcement of an upcoming Tops tour. With any luck, we will all be able to soon reunite and party again — perhaps even at a Tops concert. — Melody Lau
"What would Sam Cooke do today with all the technology we have?" That's the question Chiiild, a.k.a Montreal producer and musician Yoni Ayal, asked when getting started on his 2020 EP, the aptly titled Synthetic Soul, and he continues to push those boundaries with Hope for Sale, his just-released full-length album (which we've been eagerly awaiting). A burst of cinematic strings kick off "Weightless," pulling a nostalgic string that Ayal further unspools with a mix of live and layered drums and vocal effects — plus a mood-boosting mouth trumpet line — that help you float along in the spirit of the song. "Let's think about nothing/ just think about nothing/ lay there and just daydream/ darling, yeah, yeah," Ayal invites in the pre-chorus, and there's no reason to refuse. — Holly Gordon
'Brazilian Love Song,' Keys N Krates
The electronic trio known for its crunchy, bass-inflected heavy hitters opted for something more melodic and summery on this latest single. With an emphasis on baile funk, the genre of music born out of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, "Brazilian Love Song" is teeming with tropical heat. But it moves beyond Brazil to deliver a hybrid party sound: Spanish vocal samples, shiny disco, anthemic house and Bollywood strings are all grounded with quintessential trap hi-hats, maintaining that Keys N Krates essence. "Brazilian Love Song" is a jam to blast while desperately holding onto the last days of summer. It's a futile endeavour to try and resist dancing to it — the visuals for this song and the group's previous single, "Take it Off" with German-American singer Bibi Bourelly, feature dancers in suspended motion for good reason. — Kelsey Adams
'Passenger Seat,' Homeshake
"Oftentimes when you're in a dark place, you're supposed to journal and that helps release the pressure," says Peter Sagar (Homeshake). "For me, it always found its way into the music." That may help contextualize this new dream-pop track, the second single to drop ahead of the Sept. 10 release of Under the Weather, Homeshake's fifth studio album. While Sagar admits to going through a "deep, deep depression" in 2019 as he worked on the album, "Passenger Seat" is serene rather than sombre, vacillating hypnotically between C-sharp minor and C major harmonies. Sagar's falsetto rides triadically atop pulsating synth chords, getting interrupted now and then by surprises of burbling electric piano. The video, beautifully animated by Pete Sharp, is set in some kind of psychedelic spacial orbit, possibly inspired by all the Star Trek episodes Sagar admits to watching as Under the Weather took shape. — RR
'A Woman is a God,' Tommy Genesis
In 2018, Ariana Grande challenged listeners by arguing, "When all is said and done/ you'll believe God is a woman," and King Princess serenaded a lover by singing, "Your pussy is God." The thread between womanhood and holiness is not a new revelation, but it's become a theme with which musicians can harness and express the strength and power of being a woman. Consider Vancouver artist Tommy Genesis's latest single, "A Woman is a God," the latest entry to this musical canon. Grounded by a sinister house beat, Genesis slinks around the track with a confidence that doesn't waver. By the time she reaches the chorus — a hypnotic refrain of "If a man is a man/ then a woman/ a woman is a God" — it's delivered as a cold, hard fact. And if that conviction isn't enough, Genesis also reinforces her own dominance by telling you directly: "This track is a smash." — ML
'Flower Child,' Untradition
In the few years since he's been releasing music, producer and songwriter Julien Bowry's musical project Untradition has flitted from freeform jazz to twangy country to anguish-fuelled blues. He's clearly having fun defying genre conventions: on "Flower Child," straightforward guitar rock is paired with self-assured rap bars. It's a confidence-boosting mantra — the opening line, "Pull up on you, stuntin' any way I want," is a telling depiction of how he wants to move through the world. Bowry stresses that "They gon' know my name," and he makes you believe him by the time the third chorus comes in. The cover art is a cyanotype of Bowry created by artist Noor Khan, who wanted to capture him in a meditative pose, looking as if he was submerged in water. Khan had Bowry lay on a sheet of cotton muslin treated with chemicals that caused anything exposed to the sun to turn a deep blue, creating a silhouette of his body. — KA
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