Rezz's new Grimes remix, and 6 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:
- Grimes and i_o, remixed by Rezz.
- Illenium, Dabin and Lights.
- River Tiber.
- Vince the Messenger.
- Alice Glass.
- Kennedy Rd.
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.
Tune into CBC Music Mornings every Thursday to hear CBC Music's Jess Huddleston and Saroja Coehlo reveal which of these tracks is the standout new Canadian song.
'Violence (Rezz Remix),' Grimes and i_o
On paper, a Grimes and Rezz track feels like it could be a clash of styles, with both artists boasting signature sounds that feel firmly grounded and uncompromising. But on Rezz's remix of Grimes' Miss Anthropocene single "Violence,'' off Grimes' new Rave Edition of that same album, the Niagara Falls EDM star bends elements to her will, moulding synths and beats into gargantuan waves that come crashing down in her trademark bass drops. In a tweet, Rezz revealed a deeper connection she had to the track during its inception thanks to its co-producer, i_o, who died last year at the age of 30: "When Garret (i_o) was making 'Violence' with her, we were texting a lot during that time. He would send me updates of their song and I told him it was a repeat song for me." The result is not only a beautiful ode to Grimes and Rezz's friend and collaborator, but a cosmic expansion of the world he helped establish on this song. — Melody Lau
'Hearts on Fire,' Illenium, Dabin, Lights
This uplifting new EDM anthem brings out the best from its three collaborators: Dabin's deftly waltzing acoustic guitar, Illenium's stadium-ready builds and, soaring on top of it all, Lights' impassioned vocals, her heart burning with unrequited love. "I wish you could read my mind," goes the chorus, "Or give me a sign, or tell me you wanted to be mine." There are echoes of Avril Lavigne's 2006 banger "Keep Holding On" in the song's compound meter and rock 'n' roll leanings, and like that song, "Hearts on Fire" will have you emotionally invested and swaying/singing along in solidarity. — Robert Rowat
'Hypnotized,' River Tiber
River Tiber released a two-song EP just as 2020 was ending, and the latter track, "Hypnotized," is a real vibe, from its groovy instrumentation to its claustrophobic lyrics: "Turning over and over/ yeah, I need to/ get out of the country/ 'cause I'm losing my mind." Fans of BadBadNotGood will appreciate that steady bassline and percussion (the band's founder, Matthew Tavares, recorded the drum samples), while the Toronto producer's wispy vocals float atop, always guiding but never intruding. Written, recorded and produced by River Tiber, "Hypnotized" is the perfect place to get lost. — Holly Gordon
'Black Sheep,' Vince the Messenger
One of Canadian hip hop's most exciting new voices, Vince the Messenger continues paving his own path with his first single of the new year, and arguably his best yet: a slow-burning, Smokey Robinson-sampling anthem about individuality and thriving against the odds. This is something a lot of rappers rhyme about, but Vince clearly lives. The Charlottetown rapper appears to be carefully timing his burgeoning rap career and inevitable launch out of the East Coast scene, spending the last two years dropping breadcrumb singles and EPs that all highlight his advanced wordplay, brooding production chops and undeniable ability to spar with the best of them. — Jess Huddleston
'Suffer and Swallow,' Alice Glass
The actions Alice Glass threatens on her latest single, "Suffer and Swallow," are ripped right out of a slasher flick. "I'll cut your tongue out of your mouth/ and wear your fingers," she sings calmly but with intention off the top of the song, which soon unveils a jagged electronic soundscape. Later, she assures, "I want to take my time to break you down." On the chorus, Glass alternates between that plainspoken whisper tone and a more sinister howl, a vocal style that she became known for in her previous band, Crystal Castles. (Glass left that group in 2014, and she later revealed that she had endured "almost a decade of abuse" from bandmate Ethan Kath.) With her debut album coming out later this year, Glass continues to parse through pain and trauma while also seeking beauty and healing. Through all its grim imagery, "Suffer and Swallow" tries to find and strike that balance. — ML
'Nothing Like,' Kennedy Rd.
There's no time like the start of a new year for refreshing your playlists — purging songs that have outlived their welcome and adding new ones to keep things current. Your slow jams playlist will benefit from many of the tracks on Still Luv, the new EP from Kennedy Rd. Slowest and sexiest of them all is "Nothing Like," a rapturous ode to love's transformative powers. "When you put your hands on me/ I'm in the clouds, I'm in the ocean deeps, simultaneously," she sings, her pliable, soft-grained voice enumerating the ways there's "nothing like" being in love. The production, credited to Oris Beats and Adam Josh, establishes a steamy atmosphere, wrapping the vocals with a throbbing bass, finger snaps and positively molten electric piano chords. — RR
'Cascades (Dirt Road Version),' Metric
As the pandemic continues to keep borders closed between the U.S. and Canada, the members of Metric remain separated with the rhythmic half of the band (bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key) saddled south of the border. In the meantime, Metric has been steadily releasing "Dirt Road" versions (i.e. acoustic renditions) of old tracks over the past few months, including a selection of tracks from the band's 2005 album, Live it Out, which turned 15 last year.
Metric's latest release is an extremely stripped-down take on its 2015 single "Cascades." As part of the band's full synth turn on Pagans in Vegas, the original version of the song is cloaked in blips and effects — especially over singer Emily Haines' vocals, transforming her into a metallic vox force. On the Dirt Road take, everything is grounded in acoustics, from Haines' textured voice to guitarist Jimmy Shaw's almost Western-sounding guitar part (Shaw also sings a nice complementing harmony). Until the band can reunite and complete new music, the Dirt Road sessions have been a comforting addition to our Metric playlists. — ML