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Music

Fresh Sounds Canada: TOBi & Mick Jenkins, Joel Plaskett and More

This week's roundup of can't-miss new Canadian songs also includes roots musician Julian Taylor, Quebec alt-pop artist Peter Peter and up-and-comer Flower Face.

TOBi

TOBi

Patrick Duong

In Fresh Sounds Canada, Billboard Canada puts you on to the must-hear songs of the week by artists on the rise and those about to break. Here's what's out this week.

TOBi & Mick Jenkins, “Forgot We Were Seeds”


Fresh off sweeping the two rap categories at the Junos, Canadian rapper TOBi has linked up with kindred American artist Mick Jenkins for "Forgot We Were Seeds." The track finds TOBi in harder-hitting lyrical mode than his other more soulful register, but he brings his usual thoughtfulness. "They hate the world woke because they love when you sleep," he raps. A song about perseverance through adversity, it fits both rappers perfectly. For more of the PB&J pairing, check out TOBi and Mick Jenkin's free tour documentary Home & Home.

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Julian Taylor, “Weighing Down”

“Brick and mortar, solid as the ground / but you carry too much, and slowly breaking down,” sings roots musician and Juno nominee Julian Taylor with calm intention on his new single, “Weighing Down.” The song, coming ahead of an album set for this fall, is a warm, candid suggestion to go easier on ourselves and take a load off. Musically, “Weighing Down” has a gentle touch that mirrors its sentiment, with a straightforward guitar strum and fluid pedal steel swells. Taylor’s measured vocal, meanwhile, gives the single its weight, emphasizing the gravity of handling ourselves with care. “It’s time to let things soften now,” he instructs. It’s the kind of song you could put on after a long day of work, as you stretch your arms and take a breath. - Rosie Long Decter

Peter Peter, Ether

Singer-songwriter Peter Peter continues to seduce with his fifth album, Éther. After living for some time in France, he is back in Quebec. His European experience can be heard and experienced in the incandescent alt-pop of the album, with synths bursting like a Eurodance hit from the 1990s and 2000s. Peter Peter, who has already participated in prestigious festivals on both sides of the Atlantic (SXSW, FEQ, Pop Montréal, Les Francos, Osheaga, Printemps de Bourges, Rock en Seine, etc.), is expected this summer on local and international stages. - Amélie Revert

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Joel Plaskett, “The New Joys”

Over the past three decades, East Coast indie rock stalwart Joel Plaskett has established himself as one of Canada's most prolific and critically-acclaimed singer/songwriters. Ever eager to embrace a new challenge, he has just released his debut spoken word piece, and it’s a new treat. Recorded live at The Carleton in Halifax in 2023, it features improvised Wurlitzer accompaniment by Bill Stevenson, credited as co-writer, and sparse guitar work by Plaskett. He narrates his philosophical reflections (Sample: “it’s hard to learn the ropes if you’re not up against them”) clearly and in a relaxed fashion. The overall vibe is a mite akin to the jazzy spoken word recordings of Jack Kerouac. Would be nice to hear more in this style. - Kerry Doole

EDITOR’s PICK: Flower Face, “Cat’s Cradle”

Montreal-based artist Flower Face’s newest release is a hauntingly bittersweet ballad. A song that reminisces on someone that once was that’ll make you miss a person you never even met. With a slow-strum guitar beat that grows in complexity as the song goes on, “Cat’s Cradle” makes for an engaging listening experience. The songwriter has hit 106 mllion streams on Spotify and has a growing young audience, so be on the lookout for more exciting music on the way. - Pablo Gonzalez Legendre

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Gordon Lightfoot
Country Music Association of Ontario

Gordon Lightfoot

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