Swae Lee and Drake, Jenn Grant, Safia Nolin, more: songs you need to hear this week
Looking for new tunes? Here are 6 fresh tracks from Canadian artists
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 Swae Lee featuring Drake, Jenn Grant, Sorrey, Safia Nolin featuring La Force, Little Scream and Maddee. 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.
'Sweet Grass,' Jenn Grant
This song starts out spare and sparse, but about a quarter of the way in, Jenn Grant counts us in and kicks it up a notch. It's bracing and electric as the full band swoops in, and there's something super compelling about the pretty pounding of keys as the main driving force under Grant's always-sweet soprano. It's another presentation of fierceness, of resilience, and it reminds the listener that sometimes our understanding of strength is all wrong. Choosing to hold onto beauty, to retain some softness when the world is very hard, is its own power.
— Andrea Warner
'Lesbian Break-Up Song,' Safia Nolin feat. La Force
"These bodies are not here to be judged or desired. These bodies are here to simply exist," Safia Nolin says of the new music video for her duet with La Force, "Lesbian Break-Up Song," in which she and a group of women exist, naked, in front of the camera in myriad ways that are never sexual. Nolin teamed up with Bien à vous studio and the Womanhood Project for the video, which was entirely made by and starring a female-identifying crew.
Often on the receiving end of online trolling and body-shaming, Nolin explains how she didn't like her body, and how the process of filming this video made her confront her fears. "All of the womxn on set really emboldened me to be myself," she details. The video is a vulnerable celebration of all body types, so beautifully raw that you feel exposed merely watching it. The words Nolin wrote to go with her art are just as poignant: read them all via Bonsound.com.
— Holly Gordon
'Still Life,' Little Scream
Little Scream's upcoming album, Speed Queen, confronts class, poverty and politics, but when Laurel Sprengelmeyer needs to escape the heaviness of those topics, she looks to painting. "I guess painting is my 'happy place,'" she said in a statement. "Still Life" is one of the few points of levity that can be found on Speed Queen, with a sparkling low-key groove inspired by an Édouard Manet's painting.
"I had just been discussing that Manet painting Un bar aux Folies Bergère, and I finished writing the song with the unrequited longing that painting has always inspired in me," she continued in the statement. The song spins a "sophisticated daydream" where Sprengelmeyer tells her subject, "I see you so clear but nothing moves," as her falsetto climbs higher and higher on its chorus. In these chaotic times, Sprengelmeyer has found a way to slow things down and zero in on a specific subject and feeling that brings her some peace and clarity — hopefully this track will have a similar effect on you.
— Melody Lau
It's a tricky thing, balancing the weight that signs should have on your life. Do you heed them? Are they nonsense? How much do horoscopes really matter? As with everything, you take from them what you will, and with Sorrey's latest track, the P.E.I. band is fully leaning into those life coincidences. "For me, it's the story of meeting someone who fills in all the gaps," says Emilee Sorrey, the band's namesake. "Where I fall short they're in abundance, and vice versa."
Over sharply punctuated synths, Sorrey dreamily leads us through the ways in which meeting this someone has balanced the scales — though there's still some tension in the navigation. In the new (and mesmerizing) video for "Signs," Sorrey and bandmates Colin Buchanan, Andrew Murray, Bruce Rooney and Luke Pound playfully face off with human-sized (Donnie Darko-esque?) rabbits, effectively brandishing flowers as weapons. A band after my own heart. — HG
'Won't Be Late,' Swae Lee feat. Drake
American rapper Swae Lee has worked with many giants in the music industry as a vocalist and songwriter, including Madonna, Beyoncé and more. Now, he's teamed up with Canadian superstar Drake to bring us the danceable single "Won't Be Late." Produced and co-written by Nigerian Afrobeats artist Tekno, the song blends a steady, thumping beat with sparse keyboard. Throughout the track, Swae Lee and Drake ruminate on the value of taking it slow in a relationship, with Drake crooning that he's "saving my time for you" and "closed off my line for you." It's the perfect pace for the end of summer.
— Natasha Ramoutar
R&B, gospel and jazz have infused the music of some of Toronto's most exciting artists over the past few years, most notably Daniel Caesar and Charlotte Day Wilson. Another name to add to that list is Maddee, a 21-year-old up-and-comer we've highlighted in the past, whose soulful voice is wise beyond her years. On her latest, "Clouds," Maddee finds her way to the other side of an unhealthy relationship. "I've been running around for so long/ keeping my head above ground/ trying not to drown in this cloud," she sings with both a weariness and a strength gained from this experience. By the second verse, she sighs with relief: "Now I have some time to relax." "Clouds" unfurls at Maddee's own pace, building over spacious instrumentation that truly feels like the clouds are finally parting for the singer. Her forthcoming EP, Red Mind, will undoubtedly be her time to shine. — ML