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Allie X, Lizzo, James Blake and Bon Iver, 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.

The Staves, 'Sleeping in a Car'

The sister trio returns with an EP ahead of announcing its North American tour, which includes dates in Montreal, Toronto (sold out) and at the Winnipeg Folk Fest. As the Staves' last album, If I Was, was my favourite record of 2015, it's really exciting to have new music from them already. Their new single, "Sleeping in a Car," is an emotionally charged track poised with incredible harmonies, similar to what first grabbed my attention from the band. The slow build and ultimate peak at the 2:10 mark when everything comes together is the kind of moment I cannot wait to see live. Their Sleeping in a Car EP is out now on Warner Music.

— Matt Fisher (@MattRFisher)

Lizzo, ‘Good as Hell’

"If he don't love you anymore/ walk your fine ass out the door." Everything about this line — the piano and the brass, the beat, the pause for emphasis and then the triumphant swell of that banging chorus — damn, it's all so great and so empowering. And watch what unfolds in this video: a room full of African-American women celebrating themselves in all their glory, a full-on rejection of all of the white beauty standards and norms that still dominate our culture. The hair, the bodies; this is what radical self-love looks like and it's particularly thrilling and satisfying when paired with a song that really is good as hell. Queen Lizzo forever.

— Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)

Blake Carrington, ‘Yesterday’

Blake Carrington may be familiar to you as the name of the pivotal character of '80s soap opera Dynasty, but Toronto's Blake Carringtonhas taken on the moniker in the present-day, representing an MC you should keep eyes on in the future. Carrington has been striving in Toronto's hip-hop scene for many years, putting out notable tracks like the Rich Kidd-scored "Fresh(er Than The Rest)" and garnering props from Snoop Dogg to Toronto Mayor John Tory. Carrington's recent album release, F.A.I.L.U.R.E., is the culmination of a long-gestating project that also features a short film and art book. "Yesterday," produced by Grammy-nominated Toronto beatmaker Lord Quest, is one of the best tracks on the album. Beginning with Carrington's declaration, "We all want the glory/ but we're afraid to share our story," the MC unfurls a narrative detailing a hard-fought battle for respect.

— Del F. Cowie (@vibesandstuff)


Jon Bellion feat. Travis Mendes, ‘Guillotine,’ 

“Guillotine” is sure to be one of the crowd-pleasers on Jon Bellion’s upcoming concert tour in support of his new album, The Human Condition, which drops June 10. (His sole Canadian date is July 26 at the Hoxton in Toronto.) It’s a subtle pop song, mixing elements of R&B and dance, and the soulful guest vocals by Travis Mendes, a frequent collaborator, contrast nicely with Bellion’s sweeter singing style. At first the recurring sample of a child’s voice seems incongruous, but then it becomes indispensable to the song’s groove. The chorus, which drives home the meaning of the title, is super catchy. “I know that you love me even when I lose my head. Guillotine!”

— Robert Rowat (@rkhr)

Chance the Rapper feat. Knox Fortune, ‘All Night’

While Chance the Rapper has finally made the gospel record we all hoped Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo would be, Coloring Book is made up of a wide spectrum of sounds from heavenly hymns to full-on dance numbers. “All Night” fits into the latter category, a Kaytranada-produced track that finds Chance confronting the flip-side of his blessed fame. People trying to take advantage of his stardom have made Chance paranoid, as he raps, “I don’t trust no one faking like a fan, asking for a pic.” But whereas Drake’s looming trust issues cast a gloomy cloud over his latest release, Views, Chance is able to move on and continue dancing and drinking the night away, even if it means he’ll be skipping the valet service at the club.

— Melody Lau (@melodylamb)

Allie X, ‘Too Much to Dream’

Canadian entertainment industry pro Allie Hughes started out appearing in Canadian TV shows (Being Erica and Instant Star, to name a few). She even appeared as a contestant on How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? In 2008, she scrapped the “Hughes” in favour of an X and launched her electro-pop career to some decent success. She’s now based in L.A. and is a bit of hipster favourite. "Too Much to Dream" is the first track from Allie X’s cryptically titled new album, #CLXIIɄ and it was debuted on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 last week. Listen to Allie X’s sweet pop serenade now so you can say you heard it first.

— Nicolle Weeks (@nikkerized)


James Blake feat. Bon Iver, ‘I Need a Forest Fire’

If you add Bon Iver to James Blake, do you get the sad-sack song to end all sad-sack songs? Turns out that two frowns don't make an ugly cry, but instead a beautiful, vaguely hopeful track holding a wish to burn it all down with a forest fire and start anew. (It is relatively hopeful, OK?) "I Need a Forest Fire" is off Blake's new album, The Colour in Anything, which was released last week. Be warned, though: if you're blissfully sitting in the sunshine right now, maybe press play on this later; you can dampen your mood with Blake's hypnotic loops and Iver's soothing lullaby when the sun goes down.

— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)