Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, Chilly Gonzales and more: songs you need to hear this week

5 new Canadian tracks to add to your playlist.

5 new Canadian tracks to add to your playlist

Canadian pianist and songwriter Chilly Gonzales performs during the 51st Montreux Jazz Festival on July 2, 2017 in Montreux. (AFP/Getty Images)

Here at CBC Music, we're always on high alert for new songs by Canadian artists.

This week, we're listening to tracks from Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, Chilly Gonzales, Said the Whale, Leif Vollebekk and Killy. 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.

'Señorita,' Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello

Back in 2015, a fresh-faced Shawn Mendes teamed up with Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello on the guitar duet "I Know What You Did Last Summer." The song was a power-pop moment for the young stars, singing about the end of a relationship (while fuelling rumours at the time of a budding romance that never publicly came to fruition). Now, four years later, Mendes and Cabello are back with a steamier affair called "Señorita." Whereas their first collaboration sonically fit better into Mendes' discography, "Señorita" decidedly takes more cues from the Cuban flair of Cabello's breakout solo album, Camila. Both the track and its accompanying music video aren't afraid to delve into a sexier side of Mendes and Cabello that fans are only starting to see more of now. And while the two maintain that they're still just friends — even though the song's lyrics literally say, "You say we're just friends/ but friends don't know the way you taste" — "Señorita" is a sensual summer fantasy that will keep Mendes/Cabello shippers satisfied for a while. 

Melody Lau 

'Prelude in C Sharp Major (Victor le Masne remake),' Chilly Gonzales  

Inevitably, things get fairly meta when an artist remixes, re-imagines or remakes a song by Chilly Gonzales, since Gonzales himself is a re-imaginer of distinction. Frenchman Victor le Masne (a longtime Gonzales collaborator) takes this wistful track composed in homage to J.S. Bach, taken from Gonzales's 2018 album, Solo Piano III, and transforms it into a vintage sci-fi soundtrack, combining acoustic harp with a variety of synthesizer effects. It's what you might get if you crossed Bach with Klaus Nomi and the new-age worldbeat band Enigma, and as crazy as that sounds, it provides further proof that Bach (from whom we've admittedly strayed pretty far at this point) is indestructible and an endless source of inspiration.

— Robert Rowat

'Record Shop,' Said the Whale 

The first 10 seconds of Said the Whale's music video for "Record Shop," a track off their latest album, Cascadia, gives us a glimpse into what must've been countless hours of meticulous work. Green screens, printing, cutting and shooting numerous takes of a single record player all went into what would otherwise look like a simple music video. But, as the clip states: "This video was created with 129 spinning records and no visual effects." (The description underneath the video on YouTube gives a thorough explanation of the entire process.) The resulting visual for this catchy indie-rock number is truly captivating to watch as it pulls off a zeotropic effect that animates the band's performance. "Record Shop" is yet another collaboration between Said the Whale and director Johnny Jansen, who helmed the equally elaborate "UnAmerican" video, and we simply can't wait to see what else they come up with next. — ML

'Hot Tears,' Leif Vollebekk

Montreal's Leif Vollebekk can be as cheeky as he is confidently deft onstage, seamlessly delivering self-deprecating jokes while pulling off covers of Kendrick Lamar's "Untitled 8 (Blue Faces)" and Jeff Buckley's "Morning Theft" in the same show. But what he excels at most are heartwrenching, captivating performances of his own material — and Vollebekk's new single is exactly that. Recorded live, "Hot Tears" is raw but not rough, instead pulling you in with its nuance and breaking you open with lingering lyrics like, "Well I know/ yeah I know/ you get so low/ before you get high." There is a lot to take in on repeat listening — the crack in Vollebekk's voice when he repeats "goodbye;" that sneaky bass guitar; the sounds of Vollebekk physically moving into the song as he finger-snaps the opening — and if you can weather the emotions that surface, we absolutely recommend putting this in high rotation.

Holly Gordon

'Evil Eye,' Killy

Like a solemn prayer in an echoey church or a child's earnest wish on a shooting star, "Evil Eye" is a moving invocation. Killy's music is typically sinister and cryptic, but this track takes a different approach: pensive, direct and honest. Between heartfelt, wistful lyrics to synths that swell like a choir, Killy softens his edges. He candidly mulls over his fame and the surveillance that comes with it, asking, "It would be a lie if I said I'm fine/ how come a peace of mind is so hard to find?" The rapper pointed to this newfound vulnerability in an interview with HotNewHipHop, saying that the song was "a new side of me that I knew was there but never tapped into." "Evil Eye" introduces us to a different Killy: one that wants to control his own narrative, and who isn't afraid to ask for help to do it.

— Natasha Ramoutar 


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