Pup, Marianas Trench, Tanya Tagaq, Katie Moore and more: songs you need to hear this week
Seven hot new 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 Pup, Marianas Trench, Katie Moore, Tanya Tagaq, Just John & Dom Dias, Sean Leon and Summer Walker feat. Drake. Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them, too.
What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.
'Free at Last,' Pup
Not only does Toronto band Pup have a solid discography of melodic pop-punk anthems, but they also have an incredible history of music videos. From hiring young actors — including a pre-Stranger Things Finn Wolfhard — to creating a fictionalized origin story for the band, to a choose-your-own-adventure-style interactive game, Pup sure knows how to have fun with visuals.
For its latest, "Free at Last," off upcoming album Morbid Stuff, Pup attempts a social experiment that transforms into yet another must-watch music video. Prior to releasing "Free at Last," the band put out the lyrics and chord chart for the track and asked fans to interpret them and record a cover of the song no one has heard yet. The results, according to singer Stefan Babcock, were all unique. He added, "No two of the covers sounded the same either. The amount of creativity and love put into these things absolutely blew us away." And while the actual version of the track, a barrelling rock number that includes a memorable sing-along chorus and even a standout guitar solo, is great, it's also fascinating to hear how others perform it. (All 253 covers that were submitted have been made available here.)
— Melody Lau
'Toothsayer,' Tanya Tagaq
On March 1, Tanya Tagaq released her Toothsayer EP, a five-track playlist created for the National Maritime Museum's Polar Winds exhibit in London, England. The album title links back to Tagaq's 2017 novel, Split Tooth, a mythobiography about a girl growing up in Nunavut in the 1970s.
"I named this Toothsayer because I always liked the term 'soothsayer,' to look into the future and to speak wisely," Tagaq explained in a statement. "Teeth represent protection and hunting in nature. We are going to have to get our fists up and our teeth out to carve our way to survival in this world."
The cracking and movement of ice floes create percussive elements in "Submerged," but it's on the title track that Tagaq really plays with a mix of field recording and her vocal range. With longtime collaborator and producer Jean Martin, Tagaq's throat singing keeps the sometimes frenetic heartbeat of the song while birds cry out and the melody of Tagaq's voice later intertwines with the radio frequency of an electric guitar. It's a transportive, visceral combination.
— Holly Gordon
'Your Ghost,' Marianas Trench
Having already teased their new album with some catchy advance tracks ("Only the Lonely Survive," "Echoes of You"), pop-rock perennials Marianas Trench dropped Phantoms on March 1 and its quasi-title track, "Your Ghost," is already haunting us. Its intimate R&B vibe soon blooms into a banging stadium anthem, a transition that would seem unlikely were it not for Josh Ramsay's imposing vocals. "I can leave this place forever/ but I know I'll never sever from your ghost," he sings, building to a stratospheric — and ultimately cathartic — finale.
— Robert Rowat
'Tango Town,' Just John & Dom Dias feat. DillanPonders
On their latest track, "Tango Town," Just John, Dom Dias and DillanPonders prove that the "Toronto sound" isn't limited to OVO or XO. Not ones for clean labels, rappers Just John and DillanPonders bring their own unique flair to the track. DillanPonders' gruff voice grounds the track whereas Just John's is more experimental, creating the perfect balance. While the heavy bass may feel familiar to hip-hop fans, producer Dom Dias expertly weaves in animal shrieks and a floating flute to create an eerie, unruly atmosphere. Take a trip to Tango Town with these three rising stars.
— Natasha Ramoutar
'Blue Days,' Katie Moore
Montreal-based country singer Katie Moore released a duets album with her partner in music and life, Andrew Horton, in 2017, titled Six More Miles, and today we're premiering the video for "Blue Days," an original song off the album that's a mix of country covers and material written by the two musicians. A meditation on loss and moving forward — "The colours of my love are always too bright/ just before somebody leaves," sings Moore, before steadily reassuring that she'll be fine — "Blue Days" also features the talents of Joe Grass (Patrick Watson) and Sage Reynolds (Jordan Officer). The beautifully sunlit time-lapse video was filmed by rapper and collaborator Socalled, near his parents' house in Chelsea, Que. A prolific solo artist, Moore's releasing this video to mark getting her full back catalogue up on iTunes — and "my sixth solo album will be out in October," she promises. — HG
'Winner,' Sean Leon
Sean Leon is the king of narrative, intricacy and innovation. From his 32-minute soundtrack Sean Leon (The Death Of), which encouraged a full top-to-bottom listening experience, to his pop-up exhibit Up Out the Basement, this artist consistently delivers content that is well-crafted and thought-provoking. His latest track, "Winner," delivers the same quality. The melodic chorus and smooth flow enchant on this track. The beat, which was produced by Canadian-Nigerian producer WondaGurl and French-Moroccan producer Ikaz Boi, is more than enough to get any house party jumping. Throughout the song, Sean Leon confidently proclaims, "Mama raised a winner," and with his track record, we're inclined to agree. — NR
'Girls Need Love' (Remix), Summer Walker feat. Drake
While Drake has yet to put out new music of his own in 2019, he has stayed busy with lots of other stuff including the re-release of his 2009 mixtape So Far Gone, teaming up with former foe Meek Mill for a music video, announcing a Las Vegas residency and winning a Grammy. To add to that, he has jumped on the remix of Atlanta R&B singer Summer Walker's 2018 track, "Girls Need Love." The slow, simmering song finds Walker laying out her need for affection, love, sex and more. On the remix, Drake responds, telling a lover that he'd happily give her whatever she wants. While "Girls Need Love" remains a highlight for Walker, it's also a great reminder that Drake has truly mastered both rap and R&B, and that his versatility is one of the many reasons he's one of the world's biggest stars. — ML