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Bloc Party, Jordan Klassen, You Say Party, 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.

You Say Party, ‘Friend’

This week, B.C. band You Say Party will be rolling out music videos for each track off of their recent self-titled return. Today, we’re premiering the album’s third track, “Friend,” perhaps the song that most directly addresses the passing of their drummer Devon Clifford in 2010. The bellowing track’s main refrain, “I can see my friend,” is haunting and eerie as it guides us through a dark nighttime video that’s coloured by swaths of blue skies and waves. Occasionally, two flickering beams of light appear onscreen, as if a message is being transmitted from afar; from a friend you can still envision but can no longer reach.

— Melody Lau (@melodylamb)

Pins, ‘Trouble’

Manchester quintet Pins conjure an atmospheric anthem in this Record Store Day release. Over prowling post-punk, singer/guitarist Faith Holgate reroutes the track’s "feels good to be bad" attitude with pristine polemics ("Don’t call me sweetheart"), producing an earworm that has infected my brain ever since I caught the group one dark, stormy night at SXSW.

The accompanying monochrome video conveys Pins’ bad intentions. As the band explains in a press release, “We channelled our darkest thoughts and started rolling.”

— Jon Dekel (@jondekel)

Tim Moxam, 'Meant to Be'

Tim Moxam has a voice that's instantly familiar — and not just from the Subaru commercial that you may have seen a few times if you still have cable. Despite the amped-up nature of that commercial, Moxam's vocals can be at once fragile, comforting and warm with a delicate croon that instantly invites the listener to sing along.

We'll be streaming Moxam's debut LP, Soft Summer, later this week, and it's well worth a listen. For now, enjoy this track from the album, "Meant to Be."

— Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)

Bestie, ‘Bae’

Vancouver band Bestie is back just in time to bring you a summer jam. "Bae," for those who don't know, is an affectionate term referring to one’s partner. But I want more of a commitment from this song — is it too soon to talk about marriage? Dance-y pop with lots of tropical swagger, "Bae" has everything you should be looking for now that the summer temperatures have finally starting showing themselves. Although nothing has been confirmed yet, expect this as a sign that more music is on its way soon. Until then, throw this song in your picnic basket and take it to the beach.

— Matt Fisher (@MattRFisher)

River Tiber, ‘Gravity’

Tommy Paxton-Beesley's River Tiber project is set to unveil an upcoming album in the next few months, and tracks like "Gravity" are only heightening the anticipation around the Toronto musician. While he is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and producer — having contributed to BadBadNotGood and Ghostface Killah's Sour Soul as well as being sampled by Drake on If You're Reading This It's Too Late — this new track's emotive vocal performance and delicate arrangements (with a production assist from Montreal's Kaytranada) confirms River Tiber's assured move to centre stage is pretty much complete.

— Del Cowie (@vibesandstuff)


Jordan Klassen, 'No Salesman'

I was trying to name the feelings evoked by the bird-like flutter of Klassen's falsetto during this wonderful song. On first listen, "frail" and "vulnerable" came to mind, but every time I pressed play, the video's powerful artistry challenged me to push past those descriptions, which are gendered and sexist when conflated with falsetto. It forced me to confront a latent, internalized misogyny I didn't know I had. Music is magic, and Klassen's newest effort is stunning, both in its quiet restraint and its ability to inspire important inner dialogue and critical engagement.

— Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)

Mitski, ‘Your Best American Girl’

It's rare to hear a song and wish I were a teenager again, but that's what Mitski's "Your Best American Girl" has done to me. Three minutes and 33 seconds of wistful words that evolve into a defiant sense of assuredness, even pride. The video that accompanies the song accentuates the underlying frustration of not fitting in, of an idealized teenage love that is simply out of reach if you don't fit the very limited criteria of desirability. In it, we see Mitski have her heart broken by a flirtatious boy, who chooses instead to go for a stereotypically carefree girl.

Hard not to think of PJ Harvey when she plays her white Gibson LPJ — and wouldn't you rather be PJ, instead of making out on top of an American flag with a boy who doesn't value you? Yeah, I wish this song had been around to keep me company 15 years ago, but I'm still going to play it on repeat today.

— Julia Caron (@cbcjulia)

Jhené Aiko, 'B's + H's' 

It's been nearly two years since we last heard from Jhené Aiko with her previous album Souled Out. But she's recently released a new single called "B's + H's," and I think she's set for a comeback. The track is infused with a mix of elements including psychedelic neo-soul, R&B and hip-hop, all laced with her soft, dreamy vocals. Though her song addresses an anonymous guy for being promiscuous, her performance is smooth and confident. The song's video, directed by Topshelf Junior, captures the mood of the song perfectly with dark and pale blues and infrared visuals — an accurate representation of the tune’s message.

— Kiah Welsh (@simplykiah)

Editor's note: strong language warning.

Bloc Party, ‘Virtue’

"Virtue" is dark, introspective, and a pumping indie jam, gifted to us by Britpop vets Bloc Party. After a short hiatus, Bloc Party is back with its new album, Hymns, but unlike the comfort you find in a traditional hymn, Bloc Party is pushing the boundary — and might unsettle you slightly with some beautiful electro-inspired songs. If you're a fan of the band's bigger hits like "Banquet" and "Helicopter," you'll pick up right where you left off with the resurrection of boogie-worthy rhythms, '80s-inspired synth riffs and the haunting tone of singer Kele Okereke's vocals. For me, this song hints on tunes like Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" and Joy Division's "Transmission." In other words, I love everything about Bloc Party's new jam "Virtue," and I think you will, too.

— Kerry Martin (@OhHiKerry)

Zedd feat. Kesha, ‘True Colors’ 

In Kesha’s first big performance since she filed suit against Dr. Luke and her label, Sony, she got onstage with Zedd and brought down the house with a powerful performance of “True Colors” (which features the lyrics “I won’t apologize for the fire in my eyes/ let me show you my, my true colours”). The song, which was released on Zedd’s 2015 album, was originally performed by Tim James. Kesha’s performance showcased impeccable vocals, which have often been obscured by heavy production in previous releases.  

— Nicolle Weeks (@nikkerized)