Tenille Townes' sepia-toned heartbreaker, 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

On her latest single, 'The Last Time,' Tenille Townes reminds listeners to live in the moment.
On her latest single, 'The Last Time,' Tenille Townes reminds listeners to live in the moment. (Tenille Townes/Facebook; design by CBC Music)

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:

  • David Strickland and Wolf Castle.
  • Tenille Townes.
  • Aqyila.
  • Curtis Waters.

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.

To hear more about these standout songs, tune in to CBC Music Mornings every Thursday and Toronto's Here and Now every Wednesday afternoon, both available via CBC Listen.

'Payback,' David Strickland and Wolf Castle

David Strickland dropped Spirit of Hip Hop: Elements in late August, following up the renowned Mi'kmaw producer's 2020 solo debut album, Spirit of Hip Hop, and its 2021 companion, Spirit of Hip Hop (Remixes), with another collection of songs that celebrates the strong connections between the Indigenous and hip-hop communities. And while plenty of names stand out on the tracklist — Joey Stylez, Choclair, Saukrates, Divine Brown, and JRDN, to name just a few — it's Strickland's collaboration with Wolf Castle that we're a bit obsessed with. The rapper from Pabineau First Nation spits out verses about resilience and dreams over a creeping bass and laidback trap beat, even sliding in a reference to his 2021 album, Da Vinci's Inquest: "Came a long way from my small house/ shoestring as my belt, ooh/ looking after my wealth/ in a world that's 'Get Lit' or die crying." The solo track came out of a pre-pandemic collaboration between Strickland and Wolf Castle, and you can also find him on a second track: the powerful "Stand Up," which features Crystal Shawanda, Hellnback, Jace Martin, Kalem Moses and Stun. — Holly Gordon

'The Last Time,' Tenille Townes

Tenille Townes's music thrives on sentimental details. The Grande Prairie, Alta., country artist often paints powerful images in her songs, ones that evoke deep emotions of empathy, love and heartbreak. On her latest single, "The Last Time," Townes draws on the poignancy of nostalgia. Everyone remembers the first time something happens, Townes argues in a statement, but "the last time often doesn't get the same frame because we don't know that it's happened until it's already a part of our past." Over a gentle stomping beat and acoustic guitar, Townes uses each verse to describe last times: the last time a mother drops her son off at school, and Townes' own last moments with her grandfather. "The Last Time" reminds its listeners to live in the moment because you never know when something will be the last time; another emotional gut punch added to Townes' growing discography of moving anthems. — Melody Lau 

'Pressure,' Aqyila

Toronto singer Aqyila's new single, "Pressure," has intense replay value. She toes the line between sultry R&B and upbeat pop, with honeyed harmonies and confidence-boosting lyrics that make you walk with a little more oomph in your step. Aqyila is of Jamaican descent, and the island's influence is all over this new track, from the lilting drums to her boastful delivery. "Pressure" is the perfect song to blast while getting ready for a night out with your besties and its playfulness spills over into the video, with Aqyila and her backup dancers bopping around with electric energy. I dare you not to feel like the hottest person alive when she sings, "Body on 10 and the skin is gleaming," during the chorus. The singer's first single, "Vibe for me (Bob for me)," was nominated for the Juno for contemporary R&B recording of the year after it blew up on TikTok. For a lot of artists who get their big break on that app, the virality comes from a catchy hook or chorus, not necessarily the full song. That's not the case for Aqyila — she's delivering fully fleshed-out and undeniable hits that last far beyond a viral moment. — Kelsey Adams 

'Star Killer,' Curtis Waters

In 2020, Nepali–Canadian artist Curtis Waters became a TikTok sensation with his grooving pop-rap smash, "Stunnin'." Since then, Waters has released an album (2020's Pity Party) and opened up to more collaborations with ElyOtto, Brevin Kim and more. Waters has also experimented with his sound, with his latest single, "Star Killer," finding him in recently revived pop-punk territory. The track immediately pulls you in with an infectious, buzzy guitar riff before Waters himself jumps in with megawatts of energy, chanting the song's main refrain: "I'm moving past the feeling/ I'm free." Navigating his life as a rising star and a first generation immigrant from Nepal, "Star Killer" takes aim at capitalism and how it exploits everyone. But even with such a crucial and important message, the track maintains a sense of high-powered fun, almost daring listeners to leap into a mosh pit. Waters may still be on a path of discovering what he wants to sound like, but so far he's nailed everything he's tried his hand at. — ML