A Tribe Called Red, the Beaches, Alessia Cara, more: songs you need to hear this week
Each week, CBC Music producers come together to highlight Canada's best new tracks.
The songs that stood out this week come from Alessia Cara, A Tribe Called Red, Harrison Brome, the Seasons, Emilie Kahn and the Beaches. 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.
'Northern Touch (Remix),' A Tribe Called Red feat. Black Bear
The rappers behind the 1998 Canadian hip-hop anthem "Northern Touch" reunited this year to present at the Juno Awards and perform at the CBC Music Festival. But that's not all: Rascalz, featuring Kardinal Offishall, Thrust, Choclair and Checkmate, have topped off their triumphant and nostalgic year with a re-release of their big hit, plus a couple of bonus remixes.
One of those comes courtesy of electronic/DJ duo A Tribe Called Red, whose powwow-step rhythms give this classic a bright new boost of energy. On this new version of "Northern Touch," each rapper's verse is punched up by drums, chants and electronic flourishes. It's not only a perfect sonic pairing, but Rascalz and A Tribe Called Red also share similar objectives to spread the sounds of genres and peoples (hip-hop and Indigenous artists) whose voices are an integral part of Canada's musical landscape but haven't achieved the same prestige as the rock or folk icons our country has prized and prioritized for decades. This collaboration is an important reminder that there's still work to be done, and this electrifying track is proof that these artists deserve a spot in Canada's canon of great music.
— Melody Lau
'Fascination,' the Beaches
Toronto rock 'n' roll darlings the Beaches have followed up their 2017 debut album with this new single, an upbeat, Strokes-sounding garage jam that leaves us longing for top-down summertime drives. Built on thumping percussion and those signature buzzy riffs, lead singer Jordan Miller wrote the tune about a summer adventure in Berlin — which is pretty easy to picture at first mention of head-shaving, whisky and other examples of carefree curiosity. Perhaps most importantly, mid-song, you'll encounter a chorus of buoyant "na na nas" — and, well, what's more youthful and delightful than that?
— Jess Huddleston
'Not Today,' Alessia Cara
If you're smack dab in the middle of a break-up, Alessia Cara's new song and video are either a perfect pairing for your grief party or maybe a bit too much for you right now. Either way, it is a place without judgment, as Cara stands in the corner of a room, wearing a suit and tie that's askew, hair dishevelled and mascara running, singing, "One day I'll swear the pain will be a blip/ I'll have the heart this time of calling it/ I'll be the king of misery management/ but surely not today."
"It's about … [an] in between phase and reminding myself that things do get better, of course, but it's OK to just say, 'You know what, not today. Today I need to be in bed. I need to be sad and just throw myself a pity party,'" Cara told Zane Lowe when she premiered the song on his Beats 1 show. Cara's new album is due out Nov. 30 via Def Jam.
— Holly Gordon
'I Know,' Harrison Brome
Vancouver's Harrison Brome caught our attention earlier this year with Body High, a four-song EP that served as our introduction to his moody pop/R&B fusion, and "I Know" consolidates that positive first impression. The song grows out of a four-note cell that lays a hypnotic groove, perfect for Brome's unhurried verses. In the pre-chorus, his voice is an icy breath on the back of your neck — "Ooh, yeah, I just wanna see that body movin'" — before the undulating refrain drops. If your boudoir playlist is a bit blah, this new track is sure to revive it.
— Robert Rowat
Editor's note: strong language warning.
'Junk,' the Seasons
A year before Hubert Lenoir declared himself "your French-Canadian nightmare" at the 2018 Polaris Music Prize gala, the Quebec glam rocker recorded an album with his band, the Seasons, with the late Richard Swift, producer and former member of the Black Keys and the Shins. This Friday we'll get that album, and "Junk" is the first single, a swagger-filled, post-party proposition that will ease you into the late-night hours. The Seasons include Lenoir and his brother Julien Chiasson, as well as Samuel Renaud and Rémy Belanger, and the soon-to-be-released Midnight, Let's Get a Hot Dog will be their second full-length album. Pre-order it via Bandcamp. — HG
Editor's note: strong language warning.
'Island,' Emilie Kahn
Three years ago, Emilie Kahn posted a cover of Taylor Swift's "Style" on YouTube that quickly went viral. Soon after that, she followed it up with her debut album, 2015's 10,000, under the moniker Emilie and Ogden. (Ogden is the name of her signature instrument, the harp.) Now, Kahn is back and releasing music under her own name, though still with her Ogden in tow. Her upcoming album is called Outro and her new single, "Island," is a sparkling gem of a song that embellishes her harp-led melodies with synths, bass and drums, as well as production from Plants and Animals' Warren C. Spicer. "Island" is a warm embrace of sisterhood in the face of the music industry, which tries to pit people — but especially women — against each other in a competition to be unique and standout. Instead of falling into that toxic mindset, Kahn's "Island" music video shows that strength and support in unity can be more powerful. There's no need to flee and isolate yourself on an island. — ML