Each week, CBC Music producers come together to highlight Canada's best new tracks.
This week, we have songs from William Prince, Lou Phelps with Jazz Cartier, Maddee and more. Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them.
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Last year, CBC Music highlighted 10 emerging acts from Hamilton to watch, and one of them was a band called the Medicine Hat. Described as “one of the most exciting young bands to come out of Hamilton since Arkells,” the band has made some big strides — including a name change. Now called Ellevator, the band has signed to Arts & Crafts and will soon release a self-titled EP, which will include its latest single, “Hounds,” a dream-state pop anthem inspired by singer Nabi Sue Bersche’s recurring overnight visions of being chased by wolves and dogs. The track is anchored by a searing guitar riff that picks up speed when drums come rushing in — but all that, of course, gives way to Bersche’s transfixing vocals. Whether you’ve been following the band for a while now, or this is your introduction to the Hamilton act, Ellevator is sure to make a big impression in 2018.
— Melody Lau
‘Come Inside,’ Lou Phelps feat. Jazz Cartier
Toronto rappers Lou Phelps and Jazz Cartier try their hands at breezy disco on the new single “Come Inside,” which has Lou’s older brother Kaytranada to thank for its infectious and flashy production. While the Celestin bros are no strangers to music that feels like the inside of a kaleidoscope, Jazz steps out of his moodier comfort zone on the collab, which almost immediately brings to mind Chance the Rapper’s 2016 smash hit, “All Night.” While all three artists are, or have been, Juno-nominated, this accessible banger might be the introduction many needed to a few of Canadian rap’s most buzzworthy new stars.
— Jess Huddleston
This soulful synth track from Toronto's Maddee was first released in 2016, but now there's an entrancing video to go with it. Co-produced by Maddee and Max Martin, the video's scenes float by, mixing nostalgically filtered shots of treetops and fields with scenes of Maddee on a mission to face off with herself. The track, produced by Shagabond, is a hypnotic spiral into the depths of Maddee's psyche as she sings, "If you wanna know/ then you gotta go." This new video is a good reason to put "Weight" back on your playlist (if it ever left).
— Holly Gordon
‘You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover,’ William Prince
William Prince’s crushed velvet voice radiates wisdom and resistance in this cover of rock pioneer Bo Diddley’s brilliant 1962 classic. Written by the great Willie Dixon, the song — and its release in the middle of the civil rights movement — was a powerful and purposeful combination. As racialized and marginalized people continue to be denied their civil rights, particularly Indigenous people in Canada, Prince’s cover is gorgeous, timely and vitally important.
— Andrea Warner
A gorgeous cover of rock pioneer Bo Diddley's brilliant 1962 classic.
‘90 BPM,’ Sean Leon
Toronto rapper Sean Leon catches an R&B wave on “90 BPM,” the latest single off his forthcoming album King and Sufferin. Produced by Harrison, the track feels deliciously Neptunes in its layering of glittery effects and Leon’s raspy falsetto. The IXXI Initiative founder and Daniel Caesar comrade trades his quick rhymes for laidback sung lines here, creating a new groove that, while already underrated, stands far apart from Toronto’s overflowing neo-soul vibes. — JH
‘Stone Woman,’ Charlotte Day Wilson
Toronto R&B artist Charlotte Day Wilson says the phrase “stone woman” provided her a sense of identity while recording her latest EP of the same name. In an interview with Now Magazine, she says it “gave me a sense of understanding for a while. I found a home in it.”
That comfort is deeply felt on the EP’s title track, a stoic dreamscape that highlights what Wilson does best: deliver soulful melodies with an unwavering confidence while simultaneously exhibiting a warmth and vulnerability that only strengthens her musical vision. Over the course of a few years, Wilson has quickly risen up the ranks of the local music scene, hot on the heels of Grammy-nominated singer (and Wilson collaborator) Daniel Caesar. With yet another incredible EP under her belt, the demand for a full-length album will soon hit a fever pitch. — ML
‘The Fear,’ Rich Aucoin
Halifax's Rich Aucoin has been steadily sending out new music leading up to the release of his Hold EP in March, and "The Fear" is the latest in that string of releases. With a trademark anthemic quality and a bass line that just won't quit, "The Fear" is a soundtrack to get you over your next hurdle — which is what Aucoin meant it to be.
"The song’s single lyric is a mantra for the importance of overcoming our fears, fostering the evolution and improvement of our lives," he told Paste. "Fear is important but, left unchecked, can dominate our behaviour and hold us back from experiences just outside our reach. If our fears are of failure or rejection, the fears are moot as those are some of the most important tools we have to learn from. What would we be without our mistakes?" — HG
‘B.I.D.,’ Tory Lanez
To Canadians, it can feel borderline tragic when what sounds like a "summer song" is released, well, many months before summer. But, in Toronto singer Tory Lanez’s case, he’s obviously done enough jetsetting to find summer, somewhere — and let it shine on via his tropical-touched new single “B.I.D.” On the mid-tempo party jam, Lanez lets his auto-tuned vocals float in and out of falsetto, landing somewhere between Future and Jeremih’s sing-rap stylings, while the bright synth drives the warm vibes home. By the time summer finally does roll around, we won't have forgotten this one. — JH