Magi Merlin’s scorching rap turn and 4 more songs you need to hear this week
Each week, CBC Music producers come together to spotlight the best new Canadian tracks.
This week we got addicted to new songs from:
- Mages Merlin.
- Anomaly feat. Masego.
- Joan Inc.
- Castle of the Wolf.
- Zach Zoya feat. Soran.
Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them too.
What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.
Tune into CBC Music Mornings every Thursday to hear CBC Music’s Jess Huddleston and Saroja Coehlo reveal which of these tracks is the most notable new Canadian song.
‘Free Grillz’, Magi Merlin
Montreal singer Magi Merlin is unashamed and shameless on her new single, “Free Grillz.” It’s her first time writing a rap song – and it works for her. The cold delivery of scorching lines like “Sweet female dogs always got me pulling rank, yo” and “Licking boots still won’t make you famous” is contrasted by a sultry hook that shows off the range of her voice. Against a sparse mix of techno snares, plundering basses and fiery drums, Merlin’s message hits hard: she’s not one to get dirty. There’s an effortless freshness to the video, as she hurtles down underground streets on the back of a motorbike or stands in the middle of the road spitting her damn bars. In the second half of the video, she has a boring date that prompts her to find a way to entertain herself – naturally, she starts a tumultuous mosh pit. — Kelsey Adams
‘Memory Leaves’, Anomaly feat. Masego
Montrealer Anomalie (jazz musician and producer Nicolas Dupuis) has been building up to the April 29 release of his new feature film, Gallery, with a series of fascinating singles, including a breathtaking cover of “Come Running to Me” by Herbie Hancock. For the latest of these, Anomaly collaborates with R&B heavyweight Masego, a like-minded musician who raps two verses. “I found an amazing creative partner,” Anomaly said in a Press release. “I’m still very inspired by that session and the way the track came together.” The song is a magnificent meditation on the nomadic lifestyle of touring musicians, with endlessly inventive percussion, delightful piano compositions and added electronics. Fans of Robert Glasper Experiment and Ezra Collective: don’t sleep on Anomalie. — Robert Rowat
“Contortionists”, Jane Inc.
“At first I thought I was making a record about time,” Carlyn Bezic of Jane Inc. recently said in a press release, “but I was actually making a record about how, in times of anxiety intense, you live in the past, present and future at the same time. A million moments existing at once, real and imagined.” Bezic talks extensively about his upcoming second album as Jane Inc., titled Faster than I can take (out April 22 via Telephone Explosion), but the quote pretty much applies to the album’s first single, “Contortionists.” “The laws of time have changed / Months pass minutes, hours feel like days,” Bezic sings over a metronomic synth beat. The song, too, morphs over time, accelerating into a double-time beat in its second half as Dorothea Paas’ backing vocals remind listeners to inhale and exhale. “Contortionists” unfolds in a disco-inspired dance-pop meditation, never providing a solution so much as it focuses on grounding through breath and connection, as Bezic repeats the song’s main chorus: ” Baby, it’s me and you / Tell me you feel it too.” If meditation apps aren’t for you, Jane Inc.’s music offers a hypnotic alternative. — Melody Lau
‘Light Up’, Wolf Castle
Last week was a big one for Wolf Castle: First Nation MC Pabineau landed two East Coast Music Award nominations (for Indigenous Artist of the Year and Rap/Hip-Hop Recording of the Year) , and released a classy new video for the opening track of his 2021 album, Leonardo da Vinci’s investigation. “Get Lit,” which we’ve included in our list of the most underrated songs of 2021, is a cinematic song that gets corresponding treatment from director Jeff Miller, as Wolf Castle raps about reversing the script about who takes the throne – while playing a modest castle. (He’s also wearing a gorgeous ensemble from the Halifax designer Maggie Jaynesimilar to the one worn by Klô Pelgag in her Juno Performance 2021.) With this video for “Get Lit”, Wolf Castle more than figuratively claims his place as one of this country’s most promising young rappers. —Holly Gordon
“Strangers in the house”, feat Zach Zoya. soran
“Soran and I have been making music every other day since the pandemic began, and his house has become something of a musical sanctuary,” Montreal rapper/singer-songwriter Zach Zoya says via press release, describing the symbiosis which gave birth to their new single “Strangers at home”. The mid-tempo pop/R&B song not only works because of their contrasting vocal styles – Zoya’s delivery has bite as he sings the chorus, while Soran uses a velvet tone for his sung rap – but also the restrained production, consisting mostly of bass and drums, which maintains the emphasis on the song’s intimate, confessional tone. “We wanted the listener to feel like they were on the couch, living the moment with us,” Zoya explains. From March 16, Zoya joins Charlotte Cardin for eight Quebec dates during his North American tour. Soran begins a cross-country tour May 26. — RR