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essential tracks


Ill Mind of Hopsin 5

Hopsin, digital release; streaming here.

"You been brainwashed by a fake life," the L.A. rapper with the freaky white eyes rants about the misspent youth of kids who take the rap lifestyle way too seriously. Yet they lap it up: This amusing diatribe had more than one-million views in its first day online.


Let's Fall in Love

Mother Mother, from the forthcoming The Sticks (Last Gang Records); streaming here.

Let's do it – let's write a song that shadows the lyrics of a Cole Porter classic, but that sounds totally different. Grainy big guitars pound out the valentine chorus of this infectious single, which shows the Vancouver quintet inching towards a heavier sound.



Metz, from the forthcoming Metz (SubPop); streaming here.

The hardest thing is to make the simplest thing sound new. Toronto rockers Metz get down to basics and then some, in a textured abrasive head-banger that pounds a few fresh dents in the battered old chassis of punk.


Hector (Hoxton Hall Session)

Cold Specks, from I Predict a Graceful Expulsion (Arts & Crafts); streaming here.

The gospel-channelling singer from Etobicoke, who last week made the short list for the Polaris Prize, gives a strong, live-off-the-floor performance backed by a couple of big horns and a rhythm section. No pitch-correction shenanigans here, just a truth-telling song in the raw.


New Lands

Justice, from Audio, Video, Disco (Ed Banger Records); streaming here.

It took a French electronic music duo and a Catalan video producer (the confusingly named Canada) to re-envision America's national game as a bloody amalgam of football, baseball, lacrosse, roller derby and motocross. Like the music, the video is really about the present reanimating the past's view of the future.