Fresh Sounds Canada: KILLY & FourFive, Aysanabee and More
Our roundup of must-hear songs of the week also includes Heather Russell, David Vertesi and Totalement Sublime.
In Fresh Sounds Canada, Billboard Canada listens to the must-hear songs of the week by artists on the rise and about to break. Here's what's out this week.
KILLY & FourFive, “POP 2”
After making a big buzz online in 2017, KILLY has been through the major label machine and is now back to doing things on his own terms. The Canadian rapper is reconnecting with the underground on his upcoming album, his first full-length in nearly five years, and that includes this collaboration with FourFive. Together, the artists fit sing-songy melody around an edgy vibrating energy. "I really believe in his movement," KILLY says of FourFive. "A real life situation led to a surge of raw emotion that flowed right into this track. I took those emotions and went in there to let it all out." – Richard Trapunski
Aysanabee feat. Raye Zaragoza, “Come Out”
Securing a 2023 Polaris Prize shortlist spot and becoming the first Indigenous artist to reach No. 1 on Canadian Alternative Rock Radio confirmed Indigenous singer/songwriter Aysanabee as a bright rising star, and new track “Come Out,” featuring fellow Indigenous singer-songwriter Raye Zaragoza and out on Ishkōdé Records, fuels the buzz. Aysanabee’s rich and robust voice grabs your attention at the start, then Zaragoza chimes in with an equally engaging lead vocal turn, before the pair harmonize sweetly. The lush production gradually builds, then fades away, adding a dynamic arc to a song with a clear radio-friendly feel. Aysanabee begins a Canadian tour with Allison Russell later this month. – Kerry Doole
Heather Russell, "Playground"
She may be in her early 20s, but Toronto’s Heather Russell already has a lifetime of music industry experience. She signed her first major label deal when she was just nine years old, and 14 years later she sounds like knows what she wants to do and, maybe most importantly, she’s having fun doing it. On “Playground,” Russell’s breezy vocalizing calls to mind Ariana Grande, and she’s backed by busy pop production that keeps the song’s recess metaphor from getting boring. Russell might be singing about schoolyards and playgrounds, but she sounds ready for the big leagues. – Rosie Long Decter
David Vertesi feat. Jill Barber, “Mind Reader”
Since gaining prominence in B.C. indie rock band Hey Ocean! 20 years ago, singer/songwriter/producer David Vertesi has played with and/or produced some notable Canadian names including Shad, Dear Rouge, Said The Whale, Haley Blais and Ashleigh Ball. A fourth solo album, Fictionalized, comes out on Feb. 27, preceded by this single featuring jazz/folk star Jill Barber, who co-wrote the tune. After a gently strummed guitar intro, Vertesi’s distinctive baritone voice grabs your attention prior to Barber adding harmonies. The song then swells and broadens in scope, before gently fading out. The pandemic-inspired track is a poignant portrait of a relationship in trouble, executed with real skill. –Kerry Doole
EDITOR’S PICK: Totalement Sublime, Albédo
What a pleasant surprise. Not only is Totalement Sublime returning with a double album – the second part, Parhélie, will be available on April 19 – but the Montreal-based group also offers a dozen excellently addictive tracks with Albédo. While the now-trio (Marc-Antoine Barbier, Élie Raymond and Thomas Bruneau Faubert) is known locally for its ambient sounds, Albédo promises a more pop-infused journey without compromising the experimental essence of Totalement Sublime. The album originated from a series of public improvisation concerts, one of which was presented at MUTEK in 2022. The group will be performing at the SAT dome on April 19 and participating in several festivals, including Phoque OFF in Quebec on February 14 and SXSW in Austin in March. –Amélie Revert