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Lydia Képinski, Laye, Kirouac and more: Quebec songs you need to hear

Editorial Staff

We're celebrating Saint-Jean Baptiste Day, which is coming up on Sunday, June 24, with an all-Quebec edition of our weekly "Songs you need to hear" feature.

This week, we're highlighting hot new tracks from Quebec artists Mind Bath, Laye, Kirouac, Lydia Képinski and King Melrose. Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them.

What Quebec bands are you currently obsessed with? Let us know on Twitter @CBCMusic.

‘Back,’ Kirouac

Wesh (which roughly translates from the Arabic ouesh to “What’s up?”) marks the first collaborative EP between Montreal rapper Kirouac and producer Kodakludo, but hopefully not the last. On opener “Back,” Kirouac cruises over Kodakludo’s bouncing bass beat, accented by soaring flute notes. It’s a sound that’s similar to that of another local beatmaker: Kaytranada, a formula that often strikes all the right chords. And here, it’s no different. Kirouac cuts through effortlessly as he raps mostly in French, with the occasional English phrase peppered in. With its laidback, sunny vibes, “Back” can easily be a contender for this year’s song of the summer.

— Melody Lau

‘Goldfinger,’ Laye

Upon hearing Montreal newcomer Laye’s latest single “Goldfinger,” you’d never guess the 22-year-old pop singer/multi-instrumentalist hadn’t actually been churning out hits for years. Co-crafted by Lauren Christie (G-Eazy, Dua Lipa) and Federico Vindver (Jennifer Lopez, Lauryn Hill, Pitbull), Laye’s dark pop track confidently gives the “goldfinger” to the "f--kboy” who led her on, via mellow, minimalist production and her effortlessly cool vocals.

— Jess Huddleston

Editor's note: strong language warning.

‘Siempre,’ Mind Bath

Mind Bath is the apt moniker of Montreal’s Michael Brook, whose experimental pop captured our attention on 2016’s I Was Young EP. He’s back with “Siempre,” a slow jam that’s so steamy we find ourselves adding a “drip, drop” sound effect in our mind’s ear. That’s not to say the production is lacking — on the contrary, the song has an immersive, cinematic quality that fills your senses with soulful guitar and the shiver-inducing proximity of Brook’s falsetto.

— Robert Rowat

‘Maïa,’ Lydia Képinski

Last year, CBC Music listed Lydia Képinski as an emerging act to watch from Montreal. This year, she continues her rise with a recent Polaris Music Prize long-list nomination for her album Premier juin. “Maïa” is a standout from that collection of songs, a punchy number that ruminates on the end of a friendship, while musically drawing from Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” according to Képinski. The accompanying video is just as colourful as the song itself, showing Képinski’s frustration as she shouts into a phone and crushes eggs, like ripping the Band-aid off and confronting an uncomfortable situation. Ultimately, though, it’s a cathartic experience. — ML

‘Lulu,’ King Melrose

You can never have too many syrupy, strum-happy songs at the onset of beach season — and Quebec pop artist King Melrose (real name Sébastien Côté) has given us one more to toe-tap along to with his new song “Lulu.” While “Lulu” is part of the singer-songwriter’s third album, which King Melrose is readying in time for a fall release, it’s a fittingly sunny addition to the pop charts this summer, with its layers of whistling, finger snaps and sweet vocals. — JH

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