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Tegan and Sara, M.I.A., Aqua Alta, 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.

Aqua Alta, 'Epic Sweep'

Aqua Alta's gorgeous new music video arrives ahead of the band's big week: they're nominated at the East Coast Music Awards for electronic album of the year for Dreamsphere, while their lead singer, Jenn Grant, also has multiple nominations for her album Compostela. "Epic Sweep" is a beautiful slip of a song, the simplicity of its arrangement hiding its actual epic sweep: a wide-open heart and daring, high-wire vulnerability. The video, premiering right here, captures this beautifully in glorious wide expanses of colour, nature, urban sprawl and CGI.

— Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)

Chaim Tannenbaum, 'London Longing for Home'

Chaim Tannenbaum is an unsung hero of folk music. After collaborating with many folk musicians over five decades — most notably the Wainwright/McGarrigle family from Loudon to Rufus and Martha — finally, at age 68, he's releasing his own self-titled album. We're hoping to hear more from the album in the coming weeks. For the time being, enjoy this delicate and tender lead single, "London Longing for Home."

— Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)


Coyote, 'Nights'

If you find yourself in Charlottetown on a weekend night, craving a hefty dose of "East Coast music," it's getting less likely that you'll find yourself in a sea of fiddles, and more likely that you'll be drenched in synth-heavy, electro indie dance music. P.E.I.'s Coyote is part of a driving force of indie rock that's beginning to grab the ears of music lovers everywhere. In this brand new track from the five-piece, Coyote lays down an anthem for the new age, and it sounds so good. Before investing in sun screen, shorts or beach towels, be sure to get this track, I guarantee it's going to be an essential part of your summer.

— Kerry Martin (@OhHiKerry)


Tegan and Sara, 'Boyfriend'

Over the course of two decades, Tegan and Sara have tried a number of vessels for their catchy hooks: folk-rock, guitar-driven pop-rock, punk-influenced rock, even forays into EDM-inspired dance anthems. But nothing has felt as successful as their 2013 turn on Heartthrob, an unabashed collection of synth-pop songs that drew from Robyn’s model of emotionally fuelled club stompers on Body Talk and went on to pave the way for artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Taylor Swift to experiment with glossy '80s elements. Their first single off their upcoming album, Love You to Death, “Boyfriend” doubles down on the definitive sound of Heartthrob, continuing to craft infectious melodies around bright, boisterous productions. Here, Sara pens a stunningly heartfelt pop song about a real-life love triangle — one that conveys universally relatable feelings. That’s what some of the best pop songs can do, after all: vividly illustrate personal experiences while simultaneously making them relatable to everyone — oh, and make you want to put it on repeat and dance all night long.

— Melody Lau (@melodylamb)

Carly Rae Jepsen, 'Boy Problems'

Carly Rae Jepsen's candy-flavoured voice is perfect for this girl-centric video featuring fantastic teen journalist Tavi Gevinson and model Diana Veras, among others. Jepsen channels Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" look in this fun, glittery video for a song (co-written by Sia) that's essentially about ranking female friendship over boy issues. "Boy Problems" is a refreshing spin on an otherwise traditional pop track and another nod toward Jepsen's understated cred.

— Nicolle Weeks (@nikkerized)

Kaytranada feat. Anderson .Paak, 'Glowed Up'

It's currently snowing out my window, and it feels as though spring — let alone summer — will never arrive. To lift my spirits, I'm listening to music that fosters daydreams of road trips, windows down and sun on my skin. This new track from Kaytranada featuring Anderson .Paak is the top contender as the soundtrack to summer 2016's lazy days. These two brilliant artists have been making great music, largely unnoticed by the mainstream, and with catchy collaborations like this one, it looks like that will soon change. The eerie, spacey vibes are the perfect backdrop for .Paak's flow. And when those drums kick in at 3:05? Damn.

— Julia Caron (@cbcjulia)

M.I.A., 'Rewear It'

Remember when Homer and Bart Simpson sang, "You don't win friends with salad" and we all laughed? That was 21 years ago. And now we all laugh for a completely different reason. It's 2016, and being environmentally conscious is cool. M.I.A. has long been a voice for social progress, and somehow she managed to get H&M — the retailer with some of the quickest-to-degrade and hardest-to-rewear clothing in the world — to produce a song about rewearing clothing rather than buying new. It's all in the name of World Recycle Week, which runs April 18 to 24.

Will it make M.I.A.'s upcoming album, Matahdatah? Who knows. But new M.I.A. and some talk about social progress is always a good thing.

— Alex Redekop (@alexredekop)

Wild Belle, 'Dreamland'

This sibling duo (Elliot and Natalie Bergman) has returned with several new tracks in recent weeks in anticipation of their new album. As summer approaches (although that may be further away than hoped in parts of Canada), the search for the ultimate summer jam begins. Wild Belle's title, "Dreamland," may just be that. With the smooth, vintage vocals of Natalie, along with a little sax thrown in by Elliot, this should be the perfect song to play while cruising on your bicycle in the park, or down Main Street with the car windows down. Whatever the case may be, this song screams summer, and I'm sure it will end up on a lot of people's playlists. Dreamland drops April 15 on Columbia/Sony.

— Matt Fisher (@MattRFisher)

Trevor Guthrie, 'Let it Go' (acoustic)

Over the past few years, Trevor Guthrie has become the featured vocalist with the Midas touch for EDM artists like Armin van Buuren ("This is What it Feels Like"), R3hab ("Soundwave") and, most recently, Laidback Luke, whose "Let it Go" was released last fall and still sits comfortably in the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. What makes golden boy Guthrie's vocals so compelling? His wide range (aided by an easy falsetto), precise diction and distinctive timbre count for a lot, but so does good old life experience. (Guthrie is 43 and has been making music for three decades.) He recently released an acoustic version of "Let it Go" along with this fun and nostalgic video that includes a car racing set! Listen to the song here

— Robert Rowat (@rkhr)

dvsn, 'One in a Million' (remix)

If you’re not familiar with dvsn, yet another mysterious R&B act with ties to Drake via his OVO Sound label, go directly to its majestic single “Too Deep,” originally released at the tail end of 2015 to get a taste of the group's futuristic twist on '90s R&B.

Having just released a debut album at the end of March, dvsn tossed out this non-album remix of Aaliyah’s “One in a Million,” a few days later. Far from being cutting-room floor material, the track gives you a sonic shortcut and some insight to dvsn's formula, given the shrouded identity of the group (reputedly made up of “Hotline Bling” producer Nineteen85 and Toronto R&B vocalist Daniel Daley). By expertly meshing Prince’s “Purple Rain” with a signature Aaliyah track and layering Daley’s (maybe?) vocals on top, dvsn simultaneously traces and stakes out its sonic identity in one seamlessly sensual swoop.

— Del F. Cowie (@vibesandstuff)


Oh Pep, 'Doctor Doctor'

We're already talking about summer jam hopefuls, and you can add Melbourne-based duo Oh Pep!'s new single to the list. "Doctor Doctor" builds on an immediately catchy opening verse and crashes into a chorus where the repeated line "I know what I want, and it's not what I need" hits you right in the chest. We've said before how much we love Oh Pep!'s dark hearts buried in breezy melodies, and "Doctor Doctor" is no different. The duo's first full-length, Stadium Cake, will be out June 24 via Dine Alone/Dualtone.

— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)