Céline Dion, Lou Val, Yukon Blonde and more: songs you need to hear this week
Each week, CBC Music producers come together to highlight Canada's best new tracks.
This week, we have songs from the legendary Céline Dion, Braids, Lou Val, 11:11, Anemone, Yukon Blonde and Kandle. Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them.
What are the Canadian tunes you're currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.
'Love the Way You Are', Yukon Blonde
Somewhere between wrapping up a European tour and preparing for the summer festival circuit, Vancouver indie-rock ensemble Yukon Blonde found the time to bestow upon us a summery new gem. On April 20, the band announced their upcoming album Critical Hit, along with "Love the Way You Are" — an uplifting anthem, urging and encouraging the listener to grab life by the proverbial horns with lyrics like, "If you want something baby/ Go out and get it." Catch Yukon Blonde at the CBC Music Festival at Echo Beach in Toronto on May 26, 2018.
— Buhlebenkosi Chinhara
"I don't want your body/ Even though I think about it/ It's your mind I want." Despite this assertion in the pre-chorus of 11:11's new track "Listen," this is in fact a make-out song of the highest order. It's definitely a more sensual vibe than the one put forth on the Toronto musician's self-titled debut EP from a few years ago, and it perfectly suits his frosty vocals. And if 11:11 means "make a wish," as numerologists would have us believe, ours would be for more of the gorgeous acoustic piano stylings that finish out the song.
— Robert Rowat
Hear 11:11 and all your favourite R&B artists on Marvin's Room, heard Fridays at 3 p.m. on CBC Radio One and 7 p.m. on CBC Music with host Amanda Parris.
'Bout De Toi', Anemone
With the weather finally warming up, we're feeling a little more spring in our steps nowadays. But that bounciness may also be credited to the music of Montreal band Anemone, a band whose mission statement is to "capture the feeling of driving endlessly on a sunny day with a lover." Well, the sun is shining brightly on "Bout De Toi", a track off their newly released EP, Baby Only You & I. Here, the band's synth-pop structure is fortified by psychedelic flourishes, cowbells and bongo drums. It's a simple melody, but one that quickly burrows deep inside your brain and will suddenly manifest as you strut out onto the snow-free sidewalks. Don't forget to add this one to your upcoming summer playlist.
— Melody Lau
'Float', Lou Val
For the past few years, Ajax artist Lou Val has been loosely dropping Soundcloud singles from his bedroom, before deleting them shortly thereafter. Lonely in Paradise, his first official body of work, finally hit streaming services on Friday to quiet reception — something that, without a doubt, won't last long. A hazy blend of Daniel Caesar, Moses Sumney and Channel Orange-era Frank Ocean, Lou Val's smooth R&B is honest, sultry and impressively mature for a debut release. "I don't want to go back again/ There's nothing there but heartbreak and fear of finding your way/ Finding your place," he sings in laid-back falsetto on "Float", a dreamy ballad about sorting through coming-of-age notions. While Lonely in Paradise varies in tempo and arrangements, "Float" is a golden standout — chugging along over ambient chords, rolling in and out of distorted vocals like a slow tide at sunset and reflecting exactly the vibe that the album title suggests.
— Jess Huddleston
'Collarbones' and 'Burdock & Dandelion', Braids
Last year, Raphaelle Standell-Preston put out her third Blue Hawaii album, Tenderness. The album, which flexes the Montreal artist's more dance-driven desires with her collaborator Alexander Kerby, explored modern-day relationships by examining online communication and the isolation that can breed. Now, a year later, Standell-Preston has re-teamed with her other band Braids and it seems like some of those themes have followed her.
"Collarbones" and "Burdock & Dandelion" find the band back in familiar sonic territory — warm, lush production marked by glitchy electronic flourishes — while ruminating on body image and insecurities, something that technology has exaggerated over the years. Standell-Preston repeats the phrase, "Breasts pushed up/ I'm trying to show you/ I have collar bones and cleavage you can rest in," throughout "Collarbones", exhaustively voicing the unhealthy nature of selfies in the age of Instagram. That leads straight into "Burdock & Dandelion" where Standell-Preston wanders down drug store aisles in search of a pain fixer in the form of flower tinctures or a box of hair dye. After all of this, all these internal struggles we feel to please external eyes, Standell-Preston (and listeners) can't help but ponder: "Why the hell do we all want someone, need someone?"
"I'm afraid this will consume me/ I'm afraid this will be who I am," Kandle sings during an eerily quiet moment, backed by harmonies, on her new single. It's a stripped-down, honest few seconds in what otherwise comes across as a gritty, playful rock song from the Montreal-based singer, hinting that "Bender" isn't actually about partying too hard. "After one particularly bad episode of chronic migraine, I found myself in the ER dancing on the edge of hysteria in a shrouded fog," she said via press release. "I was feeling very dark and sedated and I put all of that pain and hurt into this dirty circus waltz, determined to wrestle control from its grip. For me, music is therapeutic; it's about drawing on alchemy and sheer willpower to transform my suffering into a musical weapon that momentarily defeats my adversary: pain."
"Bender" is the follow-up to Kandle's first single this year, "When My Body Breaks", featuring July Talk's Peter Dreimanis. Look out for her new EP on May 11.
— Holly Gordon
'Ashes', Céline Dion
Céline Dion returns in glorious force, elevating yet another melodramatic piano ballad to the level of modern-gothic masterpiece with 'Ashes', the theme song for the forthcoming Deadpool 2. The song soars and swoops along the keys like birds in flight, an evocative dance of angst and vulnerability as she asks, 'Can beauty come out of ashes?' Dion gives good melodrama, there is no one better at it, because she takes it seriously. Every feeling, no matter how over-the-top, is afforded respect and space in Dion's expansive, emotion-rich universe. This only makes the song's accompanying music video even funnier, especially at the end when Deadpool himself, Dion's fellow Canadian Ryan Reynolds, pops up and asks her to dial it down. Dion's response is gold, and it offers us a welcome glimpse of her comedy chops.
— Andrea Warner