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Wintersleep, Rae Spoon, Kanye West, more: songs you need to hear this week

Editorial Staff

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.

Wintersleep, 'Amerika'

Wintersleep fans: rejoice! The long, four-year wait is over and the Yarmouth-born band is back with a brand new LP, The Great Detachment, dropping March 4. The first single feels like a grand announcement, heralding some momentous work to come: "Amerika" buoys Paul Murphy's much-missed voice with a chorus of singers, thumping drums, and thick guitar. The band recorded the full album live, to boot, at Mount Zoomer — the same studios that once housed Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade. An indication of another touchstone album, perhaps?

— Emma Godmere (@godmere)


Chairlift, 'Crying in Public'

Back in October, I picked Chairlift’s “Ch-Ching” as my song of the week for its bombastic edginess, which made the New York duo’s upcoming album, Moth, one of my most anticipated of 2016. Since then, Chairlift has released a few more singles, each one revealing another dimension of the band’s multifarious sound. “Crying in Public” is, in some ways, the polar opposite of “Ch-Ching,” a sensual and nuanced ballad about a love-stricken person crying on the subway — something many of us have probably done before. (Or is it just me and singer Caroline Polachek?) Either way, the track swings alongside its impassioned protagonist with an ease and emotional crescendo that makes total sense when you realize it’s gorgeously co-produced by Rhye’s Robin Hannibal. With its release just a week away, I can’t wait to see what more sonic surprises await on Moth.

— Melody Lau (@melodylamb)

Kanye West feat. Kendrick Lamar, 'No More Parties in L.A.'

Kanye West continues the ramp-up to the release of his long-anticipated album, Swish, by releasing new music every Friday. The second instalment of his G.O.O.D. Friday campaign was a couple of days late, but well worth the wait. The track features two of the biggest rappers on the same track for the first time, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, with a beat from Madlib so good it inspired West to write 90 bars for it. The beat goes all the way back to the 2010 sessions for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and as expected, it's classic Kanye. Stop what you're doing, turn up your headphones and listen.

— Jesse Kinos-Goodin (@JesseKG)


Anderson .Paak feat. the Game and Sonyae Elise, 'Room In Here'

Any number of tracks from Anderson .Paak's excellent, just-released sophomore album, Malibu, could be picked to highlight the eclectic talent of this Oxnard, California-raised artist whose profile was significantly raised by appearing on a slew of the best tracks from Dr. Dre's Compton album. Anchored by a languid jazzy piano sample. Paak's vocally seamless blend of R&B and hip-hop lays out an honest, yearning plea for intimacy, marking him as one of the artists we should definitely be paying attention to in 2016.

— Del Cowie (@vibesandstuff)


Brave Shores, 'Surfs Up'

Toronto locals Brave Shores released a video for their track "Surfs Up" earlier this month, and it's not to be missed. Taken from their self-titled debut record from 2014, the video cranks the nostalgia knob to full with fun retro animated clips, reminiscent of the 1964 classic Mary Poppins. What could possibly make for a better music video in 2016 than live-action with animation all mixed into one? The track itself has the perfect vibe that's going to help you get you through your work week, or start your weekend off right. If Brave Shores are new to you, be sure to go back and discover one of the most underrated artists currently making great music in Canada.

— Matt Fisher (@MattRFisher)

Grant-Lee Phillips, 'Cry Cry'

You may recognize Grant-Lee Phillips as the town troubadour on the beloved television show Gilmore Girls, but you may not know that Phillips is an accomplished artist who has been making music for more than 20 years. He fronted the 1990's alternative band Grant Lee Buffalo, and in the 2000s he started releasing solo albums, highlighted by the 2004 record Virginia Creeper, a gorgeous collection of songs rooted in Americana and folk sounds. Judging from the first single from his upcoming release, The Narrows, Phillips is continuing to explore the connection between people, land and space, using this record to focus on the Trail of Tears. As he describes it, this collection of songs "seems to pivot between the personal and the historical — like a lens, focusing in and out. The Creek and the Cherokee, of which I'm descendent, called this land home before the removal. I'm captivated by the stories and the energy here."

— Jeanette Cabral (@JeanetteCabral)

Quiet Parade, 'City of the Dead'

With Halifax at the forefront, Quiet Parade has released a beautiful new video for the song "City of the Dead." From the Common to the Halifax Harbour, take a trip through some beautiful scenes of the Maritime city in this video. "City of the Dead" gives you lyrics that are driven by naked honesty and emotionally charged music, haunted by love and heartbreak from one beat to the next. "City of the Dead" is the kind of track you can rely on when you need it most.

— Kerry Martin (@OhHiKerry)

Casey Mecija, 'Palms Lose'

Before you press play, brace yourself for some ethereal beauty. Casey Mecija, best known for her work with Ohbijou, has just released her first solo record and dreamy is the word for it. "Palms Lose" speaks of loss, sung by a reverberating chorus of Mecija's voice. "I'll side with what soothes," she sings, and right now, this song is pretty comforting.

— Julia Caron (@cbcjulia)


Craig David, 'Love Yourself' (Justin Bieber cover)

You may remember Craig David from his 2000 hit "7 Days." In his native England, David was a substantial artist, releasing five albums to moderate success. His B-list celeb status was solidified in the U.K. comedy series Bo Selecta, in which he was mercilessly mocked for years to the point where he says it was "hurtful beyond belief."

Well, David emerged on YouTube last week on BBC Radio 1Xtra's channel covering Justin Bieber's “Love Yourself.” And he aced it. I'll even go out on a limb and say that this cover is better than the original. Have a listen.

— Nicolle Weeks (@nikkerized)

Lights, 'Hotline Bling'

There have been a ton of people covering Drake's super popular song "Hotline Bling," but now it's Lights's turn to shine. This acoustic rendition for Paste Magazine will have you crooning along to all the lyrics. She strips the song of all the beats and is accompanied by just two guitars, slowing it way down. I love how her voice is wave-like: soft in some places, higher in others. There's even a part where Lights laughs while she sings, showing that she's having fun and doing her fellow Canadian artist proud.

— Vanessa Francone (@VanessaFrancone)

Rae Spoon, 'Armour'

"On our bodies we wear armour,
We can’t tell where which one ends.
Throw it off and we’d go farther,
There’s no place we can begin."

Calgary singer-songwriter Rae Spoon has just released the title track for their upcoming album, Armour, and it’s a raw account of unearthing yourself — and finding hope, from the sounds of it. Spoon says they're experimenting with analog synths and electronic music alongside their trademark vocals and guitar for this eighth album, and so far it sounds just right. The new record comes out Feb. 19, and I’m looking forward to peeling back the layers.

— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)