Lights' power pop declaration, and 5 more 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:
- Cadence Weapon.
- The Beaches.
- Lex Leosis.
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.
Chiiild is the project of Montreal's Yonatan Ayal, who has been busy in 2021, first hopping on a song with Emotional Oranges and then dropping a few enticing advance tracks from his debut full-length, Hope for Sale, due out later this year. The most recent of these is "Gone," which he describes via press release as "a song about the simple misunderstandings that come up when you least see them coming." The song unfolds as one side of a dialogue — "You've got your stories and I've got mine," he sings in the verse, "with a little practice we'll be fine" — an intimacy that's mirrored by acoustic-leaning production and songwriting that recalls "Fast Car"-era Tracy Chapman. The black-and-white video, directed by Zac Wolf, depicts a couple driving together without interacting, illustrating how small rifts in communication can arise between even the closest individuals before being resolved and forgotten. — Robert Rowat
'Beside Myself,' Lights
Canadian pop darling Lights is a welcome, omnipresent artist who churns out solo albums, collaborations, electronic side projects and books at an impressive rate that lets her loyal fanbase know she's right there with them. While she never really misses, there's something particularly special about a classically cinematic Lights anthem — one that inspires hope and community through transition. It's safe to say that, universally, we're in the thick of unprecedented transition — straining to see the greener grass on the other side of dragging uncertainty — and an ethereal-turned-triumphant power-pop declaration can be a nice assist over the fence. Lights wrote that "Beside Myself" is somewhere between "happy 'n' sad," and while it could go either way, we're leaning happy. — Jess Huddleston
'Skyline,' Cadence Weapon
Cadence Weapon's latest album, Parallel World, is a compact listen clocking in at 27 minutes. This means rapper Rollie Pemberton wastes no time getting straight to the point. The halfway mark of the album is "Skyline," a track that may not sound as sonically inventive as the songs leading up to it, but it's a two-minute state of the union that really hits at the heart of the problems plaguing the city he currently lives in. Pemberton's critiques of Toronto stretch back to certain tracks on his previous self-titled album — "High Rise" is a prime example — but on "Skyline," a relatively sparse, industrial beat leaves space for Pemberton to lyrically take aim at how local and provincial governments have failed its citizens through gentrification, especially Black people. "LRT stations in Little Jamaica/ lead to mass displacement," Pemberton notes, of a neighbourhood that he has devoted a lot of time advocating and fighting for in recent years. He follows that line with the question: "Condo ads with white faces/ Who's gonna gain from the changes?" But perhaps the most incisive line is the very first thing Pemberton utters at the top of the track, a simple, exhaustive proclamation illustrating the demoralizing cycles these institutions continue to get stuck in: "Happening again, eh?" — Melody Lau
You know what it feels like,
Strugglin' just to be alright,
No stars to be found on these long nights
So begins this tender lament from slchld, the moniker of Vancouver's Doohyuk Jang, whose alt-R&B is a balm for our ennui as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into its 15th month. Set in comforting C major, "Alright" is a breakup song of the "I need you back" variety that leans heavily on a recurring flat-ii chord to tug on your heartstrings. But despite woe-is-me lines like "When I'm with you, girl, I don't need pills," the song avoids wallow territory with lively percussion and running commentary from a quavering electric guitar. — RR
'Let's Go,' the Beaches
The Beaches are back with some pent-up energy and enough furious guitar to immediately get you out of a seated position — even if the farthest you can go right now is your living room. The Toronto-based quartet dropped "Let's Go," a shoe-in for the growing song-of-the-summer short list, with the announcement that the Beaches will be releasing a new EP, Future Lovers, on May 14. Accompanied by an adorable video of kids rocking out, "Let's Go" is a high-octane kick, with "ooooooohs" for days and a take-no-prisoners attitude, one that eschews expectation, punches through sexism and still finds time to be a bit self-deprecating. Here's to a Beaches summer — both upper- and lowercase. — Holly Gordon
'Won't Wait,' Lex Leosis
Former Sorority member Lex Leosis had to hit pause on her plans last year to promote her 2020 album, Mythologies. But instead of waiting to tour that release, the Toronto rapper returned to the studio and recorded a brand new EP. Terracotta is due out on July 9, and "Won't Wait" is its first single. The track is anchored by a breezy, tropical beat as Leosis confronts a romantic partner; refusing to be strung along she declares she "won't sit around waiting for you." She sounds like she's at the end of her rope, but is still putting in a fight throughout the track, demanding "more action" and for someone to fill in the role of "king of the castle/ a fling with no hassle." In a press release, she explained, "I feel like women especially are made to feel 'clingy and crazy' when we just want some communication." On "Don't Wait," Leosis is loud and clear — now if only her subject can reciprocate before it's too late. — ML