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Kaytranada, Dixie Chicks, Braids, Hannah Georgas, 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.

Kaytranada, ‘Bus Ride’

Montreal's Kaytranada is no stranger to this Songs You Need to Hear series, having appeared as a featured artist on past selections by River Tiber and Katy B. This week, Kaytranada will finally deliver his debut album, 99.9%, on XL Recordings and "Bus Ride," in some ways, comes off like the calm before the storm, emulating the contemplative state a solitary public transit ride can elicit. A loose instrumental track, it features the crack, airtight drumming of Detroit native Karriem Riggins (who has worked with the Roots, Diana Krall and Paul McCartney) keeping time while Toronto's River Tiber polishes up Kaytranada's low-end foundation with gradually enveloping horns and strings. At only two minutes long it's a soulful, head-nodding appetizer to an album that definitively places itself at the forefront of progressive, beat-oriented music.

— Del F. Cowie (@vibesandstuff)


Tacocat, ‘Talk’

The personal physical cost of our obsession with technology — thumb strain, kinked necks, hunchbacks in the making — is always at odds with all the wonderful things made possible by smartphones, tablets and laptops: communication, togetherness, music, entertainment. Tacocat's new guitar/drum/handclap-driven dance-punk party is social commentary, satire and celebration. "Together together alone/ stay true to your phone," Emily Nokes sings, "'Cause I wanna dance/ unwind the universe./ 'Cause I wanna talk/ talk until my throat hurts."

— Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)

Konono N°1, ‘Nlele Kalusimbiko’

The Congolese band Konono N°1 is back, and they're collaborating with the equally amazing Portuguese/Angolan DJ Batida. Konono N°1 are known for their distorted, electrified likembe (traditional thumb piano) jams. They modify and create many of their own instruments, mics and amps from material salvaged from old car parts and other junk. Although this is their first album in five years, you probably heard their trance-like collaboration with Mbongowana Star last year. Mind-blowing. Konono N°1 are bottling the magic again with this release, and spicing the brew with the infectious beats and production of Batida. Start your dance party with the first single, "Nlele Kalusimbiko."

— Reuben Maan

Dixie Chicks, ‘Daddy Issues’

Unless you live under a (very large) rock, you’ve probably heard at least some of Beyoncé’s Lemonade. The refreshing thing about Beyoncé’s beverage-titled album is that it doesn’t conform to any genre — it draws from indie rock to R&B to country. If there’s one unifying theme, it’s Beyoncé’s Southern roots. But the song “Daddy Issues” stands out from the rest of the album — it’s a bluegrass-inspired, full-on country song. So who better to cover it than Bey’s fellow Texans, Dixie Chicks? Interpreted by some as a move todefend Beyoncé from some country haters, the Dixie Chicks cover reinforces that “Daddy Issues” is, pretty clearly, a country song, in case anyone had their doubts.

— Nicolle Weeks (@nikkerized)

Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna, ‘This is What You Came For’

Between her guest appearance on Drake’s Views (on the standout track “Too Good”) and this new collaboration with producer Calvin Harris, Rihanna has had a stellar week. She’s struck success with both artists in the past, so it should come as no surprise that she’d continue working with them. What is surprising, though, is how she continues to evolve within these collaborative spaces, experimenting with slight shifts in sounds and vocal performances as opposed to recycling past takes. “This is What You Came For” is by no means a replica of her 2011 smash hit with Harris, “We Found Love.” The track still has that build, leading up to a big EDM-pop chorus, but it’s decidedly less bombastic, perhaps because of its thematic change from toxic to sincere love (many have surmised that this song is about Harris’s girlfriend, Taylor Swift). Regardless, Rihanna delivers, proving her prowess as one of pop’s most fascinating and versatile voices. Listen to the full track on Spotify, and a sample below.

— Melody Lau (@melodylamb)

Braids, ‘Companion’

The vulnerability expressed in this just-released track from Montreal's Braids is equal parts unnerving and captivating. The trio announced a new EP of songs that were left unfinished during the recording of 2015's Deep in the Iris, and it's hard to believe this one was left on the cutting-room floor. I'm only glad we're given the chance to hear it now. Braids’ frequent visual collaborator, Kevan Funk (“Miniskirt,” “Taste”), crafted a gorgeous music video filmed in an empty, mid-century modernist home in Palm Desert, Calif. Singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston holds your gaze, and as we listen we're left wondering: is she singing to herself? A friend? A sibling? I'm loving how much more space her vocals are taking up in this recording, and how it echoes what we’re hearing in the lyrics. “Companion” shows there is strength in both survival and sadness — and that it can be beautiful.

— Julia Caron (@cbcjulia)

Juicebox, ‘Brian Wilson’

Up-and-coming rapper Juicebox of Ossining, N.Y., showcases his lyrical mastery and flow in this collaboration with producer Wes Wax. “Brian Wilson” is a lot like a guided meditation tape delivered over beautifully produced beats and tastefully mixed Beach Boys samples. This psychedelic, feel-good track is an obvious choice for your spring and summer jams (and is available for a free download onSoundCloud).

—Amer Alkhatib (@ameralkhatib)


Hannah Georgas, ‘Don't Go’

It's been four long years since the Vancouver (now Toronto-based) artist Hannah Georgas has given us any music, but the wait is finally over. “Don't Go” recently dropped and, with it, the announcement of a new LP, For Evelyn. In this emotionally heavy track, Georgas feels the weight of living so far from home, and it's gut-wrenching when she sings, “Don't know what I'd do, if I lost you.” She's going even deeper and darker with her musical boundaries, and it makes for an incredible listening experience. For Evelyn comes out this summer on Dine Alone records.

— Matt Fisher (@MattRFisher)


Blink-182, ‘Bored to Death’

When I first heard this new track from Blink-182, it gave me the same feeling as when I found an old pair of my DC skateboarding shoes in my dad's basement recently: an excitement that transported me back to the years when this specific thing gave me so much joy. For most of us, “Bored to Death” is the first time we get to hear music from the band with Matt Skiba taking the place of founding member Tom Delonge after a bit of a band meltdown last year. I'm looking forward to hearing the new album, California, when it comes out in July, but in the meantime, this is a great reason to reminisce. As Mark Hoppus alludes to several times in this song, "It's a long way back from 17."

— Kerry Martin (@OhHiKerry)

Ladyhawke, ‘Dangerous’

Is there anything you need to get done today? Errands, a 10-kilometre run, some parkouring? New Zealand's Ladyhawke dropped her new track, "Dangerous," last week, and its sharp electro-pop rhythm will propel you through anything — even if all you need is a dance break. "Why waste another lifetime believing hype?/ You're always running and running and running/ even though you're running blind." Why, indeed. Ladyhawke's third album, Wild Things, is due out June 3 via Polyvinyl Records.

— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)

Chloe and Halle Bailey, ‘Fall’

Sister duo Chloe and Halle Bailey will give you chills with their song "Fall." Their voices are angelic, creating intricate harmonies that will hit all your emotions. Though their song is composed of simple piano chords, it’s the Baileys’ voices that shine. The pair recently released their EP Sugar Symphony with five tracks that each holds its own delivery and personality. These Beyoncé protégés are ones to look out for.

— Kiah Welsh (@simplykiah)