Each week, staff from CBC Music, Radio 2, 3, Sonica and CBC regions across the country collect songs they just can't get out of their heads, and make a case for why you should listen, too. Press play below and discover new songs for your listening list.
Let us know in the comments or via @CBCMusic what catches your ear, or if you have a new song you just can't stop playing.
Everybody's gotta have a fight song: something that pumps you up as you strut down the street and prepare to take on the world. Repartee's got you covered with "Dukes," the sparkling new single from the St. John's synth-pop group; the band packs it full of hooks and snappy, catchy beats reminiscent of early Sleigh Bells and Sleepless Records labelmate Allie X. But it's lead singer Meg Warren's lyrics that really grab you: if you happen to be a young woman, you'll marvel at how she's tapped into those semi-critical, mantra-like thoughts you regret keeping on repeat inside your own head. Lyrics like, "keep it quiet/ no flying off the handle," "I'm nervous/ just keep it on the surface/ don't wanna stir the pot" and my personal favourite, "They tell us when we're little/ it's better to be quiet and to not cause trouble/ sit pretty, keep everybody happy/ and don't speak up, you don't wanna be bossy." Reading these lyrics on your screen hardly does them justice — Warren's voice leaves no room for surrender, shattering each of these preconceived notions as she sings them. Give it one listen, and you'll be fired up enough to put your dukes up, too.
— Emma Godmere (@godmere)
Rykka, 'Last of Our Kind'
Céline Dion won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1988 representing Switzerland, and now Vancouver indie artist Rykka is looking to repeat history with this uplifting synth-pop anthem that couches its hidden, subversive heart. "It's time to rise," Rykka sings, "not afraid to be brave though, we're the last of our kind."
— Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)
Julien Baker, 'Ballad of Big Nothing' (Elliott Smith cover)
Julien Baker wasn't even into double digits when Elliott Smith took his own life in 2003, yet the 20-year-old perfectly captures the melancholy lyrical tone in this cover of the brittle songwriter’s 1997 album track. Stripped of the original’s Lennon-esque combo of backing vocals, peppy drums and acoustic guitar strumming, Baker’s stark interpretation — part of the upcoming tribute album, Say Yes — slows down the beats per minute, adding spectral piano to further enhance the ambiance of isolation. It’s at once more self-assured and timeless than the original; warm in the glow of its loneliness, best served with a glass of Johnnie Walker Red.
— Jonathan Dekel (@jondekel)
Jason Derulo, 'If it Ain't Love'
Jason Derulo, a.k.a. God's gift to those of us with two left feet, released his latest single on April 1, just two days before hosting the iHeartRadio Music Awards, where he also performed the song. It may not have the indelible hook of 2015's "Want to Want Me," but "If it Ain't Love" is basically a Dancing for Dummies manual. And if the song's lyrics are to be believed, the dance floor is not the only place your stamina will be improved: "Before round three, I've got a question for you baby/ if it ain't love, why does it feel so good?"
— Robert Rowat (@rkhr)
Charlotte Cardin feat. Husser, 'Like it Doesn't Hurt'
French-Canadian singer Charlotte Cardin has released her track "Like it Doesn't Hurt," along with all of the feels. The 22-year-old musician got her first big break as the runner-up on Season 1 of the popular Quebec TV series La Voix (French spinoff of NBC's The Voice). The track, which features Montreal rapper Husser (The Posterz), may be minimalist but Cardin's sultry vocals will definitely get you grooving along. She's playing the CBC Music Festival in Toronto on May 28, and I can't wait to see her live before she becomes a "remember that time I got to see" artist. Expect her EP to be released in May. Purchase tickets to the CBC Music Festival here.
— Matthew Fisher (@MattRFisher)
Editor’s note: strong language warning.
Parquet Courts, 'Dust'
The trance-inducing repetition and rhythm on “Dust” will make you want to do a Peanuts dance in the dark. The distortion sets the perfect tone, and Andrew Savage’s vocals will lead you to believe that the band is from late-'70s New York. Everything slinks along nicely and pays off with a crescendo of experimental guitar noise that Parquet Courts do oh so well. “Dust” will leave you wanting more from the band's fifth release, Human Performance, out April 8 on Rough Trade.
— Heather Collett (@HeatherCollett3)
John Congleton and the Nighty Nite, 'Animal Rites'
John Congleton is known for producing St. Vincent and engineering Explosions in the Sky. Now he's released his first solo album, and it is as sonically insane as you'd expect. What wasn't a given was how distinctive the songwriting would be.
Until the Horror Goes is made up of nightmarish parodies of anthems that might sound OK on an Arcade Fire album, if not for the barrage of horror movie sound effects and nihilistic lyrics that come with them. On the album opener, "Animal Rites," Congleton grapples with the question of whether or not a human is more than just a body. It's funny and disquieting at the same time. When the song is taken over by washes of atonal synth, right when you're starting to expect a guitar solo, it feels like a dark punchline.
— Matthew Parsons (@MJRParsons)
Andrew Bird, 'Capsized'
A couple of months ago we premiered a lyric video for Andrew Bird's then upcoming album, Are You Serious. The album has since been released and now has a proper video to go with it. In that time the song, like all good songs do, has grown on me and I like it even more than I did when I first put my ears to it. The warmth got warmer, the breaks got sharper and not a note is wasted on this song that Bird has been honing in his live repertoire for years. He got it right.
— Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)
Weezer, 'California Kids'
Weezer just released its newest album last week and the first track, “California Kids,” couldn't be more nearly perfect. It has that California rock/surf sound and the music/lyrical composition is almost reminiscent of the band’s early 2000s material — but is done in a tastefully refreshing manner. “California Kids” makes for the perfect summer road trip song.
— Jessica Maxwell (@jstephmax)
PartyNextDoor feat. Drake, 'Come and See Me'
"Come and See Me" is the first track to drop off PartyNextDoor's next album, featuring Drake and produced by Noah “40” Shebib — and the vibe is fire. "Come and See Me" takes on a traditional R&B sound, in comparison to PartyNextDoor's usual trap and Auto-Tune territory. There's no doubt this is a hit.
— Kiah Welsh (@simplykiah)
Mick Jenkins, 'The Artful Dodger'
This week, listen to 24-year-old Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins' new THEMpeople and Kaytranda-produced track “The Artful Dodger.” You'll have it on repeat — Jenkins' wordplay is masterful, and the flow is a bit of a throwback to the sound of a decade ago without sounding dated. Listen for the BadBadNotGood sample, too. Commence head nodding.
— Nicolle Weeks (@nikkerized)
Editor’s note: strong language warning.
Florence and the Machine, 'Stand by Me' (Ben E. King cover)
Florence Welch’s voice could carry any song, but hearing her take on the late Ben E. King’s hit “Stand by Me” will fill you with the promise of eternal spring love (romantic or otherwise). Florence and the Machine covered the track for Final Fantasy XV, and while we think Welch deserves her own character in said video game, we’ll settle for her voice and a bed of strings to accompany the adventure.
— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)