Music

Tanya Tagaq's triumphant return, and 3 more songs you need to hear this week

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now.

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now

Tongues will be Tanya Tagaq's first album since 2016's Retribution. (Tanya Tagaq/Facebook)

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:

  • Tanya Tagaq.
  • Jhyve.
  • Ada Lea.
  • Amaal.

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.

Hit play on our Songs You Need to Hear stream, filled with songs that CBC Music's producers have chosen for their playlists, and tune into CBC Music Mornings every Thursday to hear CBC Music's Jess Huddleston and Saroja Coelho reveal which of these tracks is the standout new Canadian song.


'Tongues,' Tanya Tagaq

You can't have my tongue 
Inuuvunga (I am an Inuk).

Tanya Tagaq is a singular artist, her groundbreaking improvisational work felt as much as heard, her voice one of resistance, of softness, of change. Tongues, the Inuk singer's just announced fifth album, promises Tagaq at her most direct, the album inspired by chapters from her debut novel, 2018's award-winning Split Tooth. The lead single opens with feel-it-in-your-bones strings, Tagaq's throat singing rising up over the landscape in a 3D animated video where a face, buried upside down to its chin, unleashes its tongue to deliver its dissent. That titular tongue — an organ that can both give voice and be silenced — minces no words, Tagaq sing-speaking, "I don't want your god/ put him down" as speared crosses close ranks, creating a circle around the submerged face in the tundra. Tongues will be Tagaq's first full-length album in six years, following up 2016's Retribution, and as we head into this country's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it feels much more than anticipated; it feels essential. Tongues was produced by Saul Williams, and will be out March 11, 2022. — Holly Gordon


'Signs,' Jhyve

In June, R&B artist Jhyve won the grand prize in CBC Music's Toyota Searchlight contest on the strength of his song "Down." On his first single since then, the Toronto musician bursts in with Silk Sonic-style energy, playfully calling out an ex who's moved on to someone else but keeps returning to get some. "That man that you keep, he don't heal what be ailing you," Jhyve points out with requisite swagger when she "comes back for a lil' vibe." The chorus's melody has a catchy octave leap that lets Jhyve show off his falsetto while subtle horns tie the song to the soulful '70s. — Robert Rowat


'violence,' Ada Lea 

Montreal singer-songwriter Ada Lea's music can be fairly quiet at times, but its emotions are always loud. Her soft guitar-led melodies beg you to lean in closer, only to sucker punch you with a wallop of feelings. You may think a song called "violence" would be brash, but in true Lea fashion, it's a gentle roar. "You can have your anger/ your rage, you can keep that too," she whispers at the top of the track. As she details her escape from what appeared to be a toxic relationship, Lea's voice stays steady, almost disconnected from the traumas she lists. But two-thirds in, a drum beat builds, like a person being resuscitated — a flame being relit. "If there's one thing I've learned/ there's a term called resilience," she concludes in its final verse, which Lea said she finished in one take at 3:30 a.m. one night. "And I hope to recognize it next time/ in the face of violence."  — Melody Lau 


'Heaven,' Amaal

Toronto artist Amaal has been poised for greatness for a while now. She started releasing music at 16, and in the years since has created quite an undeniable collection of R&B bops. There's a raw sensuality present in much of her music, but her latest singles dive deeper into that realm. "Heaven" and the single before it, "Honey," are both from her upcoming EP, Milly, due sometime this fall. Milly is the Somali-Canadian singer's alter ego, one that wholly embraces female sexual autonomy. On her latest single, Amaal's not hesitating, and she's not afraid to ask for exactly what she needs. It's fitting that the song is called "Heaven," partly because she's singing about sex as a holy experience, and partly because she has one of the most angelic voices in R&B today. Producer Nicky Davey added a cheeky nod to jersey club (the genre created by Black DJs in Newark, N.J.) during the chorus. The quintessential sampling of creaking bed springs at the heart of most jersey club songs is mellowed out at a lower BPM as Amaal sings, "Baby, this can get more interesting if you dare ... oh my God, I'm like your new obsession/ if you're going to love me, love me desperate." — Kelsey Adams

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