Each week, CBC Music producers come together to highlight Canada's best new tracks.
This week, we have songs from BellA Forté, Shawn Mendes, La Force, Colin Stetson and more. Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them.
What are the Canadian tunes you're currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.
‘Go,’ BellA Forté
BellA Forté released her debut studio EP, Hear me Out, on Monday, June 11, and these four songs signal the arrival of a new soul powerhouse. The Montreal-based singer kicks things off with the blistering and buoyant “Go,” an empowered anthem/kiss-off to a lover who’s been jerking the narrator along for way too long. “I did my best to understand you/ gave you too much to be under you,” Forté sings as the band takes a brief step back from the wild flourishes of brass and drums, making space in the arrangement to emphasize the importance of this declaration. Some break-ups are such a long time coming that they actually feel like a victory, and “Go “ is one of the best ways to say goodbye.
— Andrea Warner
‘Ripple Effect (Famba remix),’ Scott Helman
Thankfully, there’s currently no shortage of young gun Canadian singer-songwriters ready to break hearts with the strum of a guitar. One who continues to rise is 22-year-old balladeer Scott Helman, whose debut album, Hôtel de Ville, was released this time last year, but keeps finding new life thanks to remix treatments of its wholesome love songs. Most recently, Helman’s “Ripple Effect,” about rewriting the mistakes of your parents, has received an electronic revamp, courtesy of budding Halifax producer Famba. Ditching the song’s acoustic flow for Zedd-like clap beats and keyboard, the song is bigger than before, but still sweet as pie.
— Jess Huddleston
‘Lucky One,’ La Force
La Force is Ariel Engle, newest member of Broken Social Scene and former member of AroarA, and "Lucky One" is the Arts & Crafts artist's second song under this moniker — a gentle, wistful track about "having it all and knowing you can lose it at any time," as Engle says in a press release.
"Lucky One" has a heart-tugging rhythm reminiscent of Patrick Watson's "Love Songs for Robots," and there are actually Montreal imprints all over the track: it's performed with Plants & Animals' Warren Spicer, Suuns' Liam O'Neill and Patrick Watson's Mishka Stein, as well as Broken Social Scene's David French. But Engle's voice is crystal clear, her lyrics pointed and her music distinct. With this second track, we're looking forward to whatever else she’ll be creating.
— Holly Gordon
‘Tokyo,’ RYAN Playground feat. Lontalius
If you’re looking for new music, Ryan Hemsworth’s Secret Songs roster of up-and-comers is constantly churning out tracks. Fuelled by a sense of fun and experimentation, Hemsworth has fostered a community of artists quickly shaping their sounds and bound to break out soon. Of that crew, Montreal producer/songwriter Ryan Martel (a.k.a. RYAN Playground) has arguably garnered the most attention.
On her latest single, “Tokyo,” featuring California artist Lontalius, a small guitar riff pinpoints that lonely, jittery moment when one’s insecurity peaks through and you’re left with the refrain “I don’t care for myself” repeating in your head, swelling more and more each time, until it takes up every corner of your mind. In that moment, Martel offers a far-away destination as a point of focus, a way of drifting off and ditching your sorrows. “Tokyo” makes you feel weightless, a temporary escape that’s akin to daydreaming.
— Melody Lau
‘Nervous,’ Shawn Mendes
We’re told the hands caressing, pawing and, at one point, playfully slapping Shawn Mendes in his new video for “Nervous” belong to one Lilliya Scarlett, a.k.a. the world’s most envied person this week. You may have seen the vertical black-and-white video that accompanied the release of Mendes' new self-titled album on May 25, but this widescreen version uses full colour to throw the singer's alluring new song into vivid relief. Also, it’s got all the groove of Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s huge 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” (including the same key), without any of the previous song's controversy.
— Robert Rowat
‘Party, Crash,’ Colin Stetson
A sense of dread and suspense fills every scene of Ari Aster’s debut feature film, Hereditary. This is mostly thanks to musician Colin Stetson’s truly terrifying score, one that recalls all the chills-inducing elements of a classic horror soundtrack but accomplishes it in a different way. As he told CBC Music, Stetson wanted to avoid horror tropes in his work (high strings, synths), instead drawing on a stable of acoustic instruments and processed vocals to build tension. This leads to heart-pounding moments like “Party, Crash,” which soundtracks one of the film’s biggest and most shocking moments. Bellowing notes are dragged out like a slow march toward disaster, which, later on, is sped up by racing rhythms. Stetson’s music in this film is a complete thrill ride, but definitely not for the faint-hearted. — ML
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