Tei Shi, Roy Woods, Kehlani feat. Tory Lanez and more: songs you need to hear this week
6 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, especially during this time of social isolation, when music continues to provide entertainment, comfort and distraction.
This week, we're listening to new tracks from Roy Woods, Tei Shi, Angie McMahon featuring Leif Vollebekk, Rhye, and Kehlani featuring Tory Lanez. We're also very into the star-studded remix of Tobi's track "24," featuring collaborators Haviah Mighty, Shad, Jazz Cartier and Ejji Smith. 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.
'I Feel It,' Roy Woods
One thing that's becoming increasingly clear is that Roy Woods is really interested in feelings, not just his own but also yours. (He regularly posts his phone number on social media, inviting followers to "holla when you ain't right.") His latest song is a passionate outpouring — "What we go through/ it ain't just you/ girl, I feel it too" — during which Woods seems barely able to contain himself, the deliberate beat filling his verses with urgency. Expect a tsunami of feelings when his new album, Dem Times, drops May 15. — Robert Rowat
'24 (Toronto Remix),' TOBi feat. Haviah Mighty, Shad, Jazz Cartier, Ejji Smith
When TOBi decided to remix his 2019 track "24" for Still+, the deluxe one-year anniversary album celebrating the release of his debut, Still, he had a mission: "I wanted to create a moment," he told CBC Music recently. And what a moment it is: featuring new verses from high-profile acts Haviah Mighty, Shad and Jazz Cartier, "24 (Toronto Remix)" is a thunderbolt, built on a track that TOBi says was originally written to "counter negative stereotypes and tropes that have been put on Black men" and focusing on the power that he and his collaborators (a star-studded list of fellow Ontarians) bring to the table. The addition of Ejji Smith's guitar work — and a fresh, fiery verse from TOBi — adds new bite, giving us an update on an ever relevant track that was always a banger. — Holly Gordon
'Die 4 Ur Love,' Tei Shi
When Colombian-Canadian artist Tei Shi penned "Die 4 Ur Love" at the beginning of 2020, she had no idea just how apocalyptic the world was going to feel, making that one moment in the chorus where the word "apocalypse" stands on its own feel all the more poignant. In a statement, Shi says the song is about "losing someone or something you never knew you could lose, and then all of a sudden, your reality shifts," noting the surrealness of it all as the song finally came out last week. While the track's icy synths and steady drums paint a lonely, dystopian soundscape, Shi's warm vocals give it a beating heart as she reminds us: "You know I'd die for your love." — Melody Lau
'Can I,' Kehlani feat. Tory Lanez
Tory Lanez is one of the hottest free agents on the market right now, having recently fulfilled his label contract with Interscope and become the king of quarantine with his record-breaking social media live streams. One of his first moves was to link up with Kehlani, who just released It was Good Until It Wasn't, one of the most anticipated R&B albums of the year. Lanez and Kehlani have toured together before, and Lanez has sampled Kehlani, but it's nice to hear the two over a sultry beat by Jake One and Andrew "Pop" Wansel, who also produced Lanez's hit song "Say It." Given how effortless they sound together trading some truly nasty verses, we're surprised it took this long. — Jesse Kinos-Goodin
'If You Call,' Angie McMahon feat. Leif Vollebekk
"I'm putting down the habit/ the habit of looking back on all of it/ and wishing I had done better." Melbourne singer Angie McMahon aims straight for heartbreak with her three opening lines, sung in soft harmony with Montreal's Leif Vollebekk (who also plays piano on the track). "If You Call" is an intimate, live version of the original song that McMahon released on her debut album, Salt, and according to NME Australia it will also be featured on an upcoming EP, Piano Salt, that McMahon's set to release this year. A song about being generous both with yourself and in love, "If You Call" is a beautiful, sparse recording made between two incredibly talented musicians and friends — and it features McMahon's soul-stirring whistle, which carries more emotion than I ever thought possible. — Holly Gordon
On the first single since his 2019 album, Spirit, Toronto-born, L.A.-based musician Rhye invites us to battle the doldrums of self-isolation by appreciating the beautiful things in our lives. "Beauty is something we truly need to be open to in this moment," he writes of the song, in a press release. "Find it in music, art, your loved ones, or yourself." While it can be hard to stop and enjoy the everyday moments right now, a song like "Beautiful" — with its gorgeous strings, an understated, funky rhythm and Rhye's trademark smooth falsetto — makes it a little easier. — JKG