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NPR, RTÉ, CBC, triple j and BBC choose the songs you need to hear right now

Holly Gordon

Each week at CBC Music, our staff members pick a list of songs you need to hear, writing passionate words with the hopes that you’ll add said artist to your playlist. Once a month, though, we do something different.

This time around, public broadcasters from across the globe weigh in on those must-hear songs. NPR MusicBBC Radio 1Ireland’s RTÉ,Australia's triple j and CBC Music hosts give an international voice toSongs You Need to Hear, choosing a song from an artist you shouldn’t miss.

In this tenth instalment, NPR affiliate KEXP's Kevin Cole, BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, RTÉ's Dan Hegarty, triple j's Zan Rowe and CBC's own Grant Lawrence make a case for five artists you should have on your radar.

To hear some of these voices make the case on-air, tune in to Radio 2 Drive at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Host: Grant Lawrence, CBC Music
Song you need to hear: “I Can Swing a Hammer,” the Wet Secrets

If you haven't already met the Wet Secrets from Edmonton, Alta., please allow me to introduce you to this extremely colourful, energized six-piece rock 'n' roll gang who mine the best of '50s rock 'n' roll and '70s punk through a 21st-century filter. And picture this: the Wet Secrets dress themselves smartly in bright red-and-white vintage marching band uniforms, complete with towering hats and shiny brass buttons. They happily pound out fuzzy, warm tunes with a positive punk-rock spirit, complete with their own horn section. We need Wet Secrets songs like this in our day. Songs we can crank up, not think too much about and just have fun with. That is exactly what the Wet Secrets deliver on this new single "I Can Swing a Hammer." Turn up the volume and just let this one nail you.

Host: Zan Rowe, triple j, Mornings
Song you need to hear: "Blue Boss," Sampa the Great

Everyone is talking about Sampa the Great in Australia right now. A Sydney singer with Zambian heritage, she released a mixtape late in 2015 that got a lot of people excited. There’s a scatty jazz feel to a lot of what she does, her flow is exceptional and she’s popping up as a guest vocalist on many people’s songs. As for her own music? 2016 is just going to get bigger and better for Sampa. "Blue Boss" is the latest winner she’s given us.


Host: Kevin Cole, NPR Member station KEXP
Song you need to hear: "Secrets," Deep Sea Diver

Jessica Dobson is a bona fide badass. She's played guitar in Beck's band and with the Shins, taken on the bass and keyboards with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and recorded with Spoon. Now, Dobson is turning her attention back to her own project, Deep Sea Diver. "Secrets," the title track of DSD's new album, is sublime, with so much to devour sonically. The guitar's interplay with the bass, drums and voice is spectacular as the song ebbs and flows, building to a powerful crescendo that ought to expose this well-kept secret for the world to enjoy.

Host: Dan Hegarty, RTE 2fm/2XM, The Alternative
Song you need to hear right now: “Feel It,” Otherkin

We all know those people who say ridiculous things like "rock is dead." They were the same people that were saying "dance is dead" around 10 years ago. Anyone who is guilty of saying the former should be made to listen to the latest single from Dublin band Otherkin. "Feel It" is the kind of adrenaline-infused guitar rock that makes you want to ditch what you’re doing and go for a pint! The track has picked up a good amount of airplay on Irish radio, and the band is focusing on making an international impact in 2016.


Host: Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1
Song you need to hear: “Paracetamol,” Declan Mckenna

This time round we’ve got a wonderful artist from Hertfordshire, England. His name is Declan Mckenna and he was first supported by his local BBC Introducing show in Beds, Herts and Bucks. He’s only 16 years old and is already stirring up quite a buzz over here. So, let me introduce you to "Paracetamol" by Declan Mckenna.

Listen to Grant Lawrence, Kevin Cole and Huw Stephens on Radio 2Drive for the radio version of Songs You Need to Hear at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16. 

What is your favourite discovery from our international edition of Songs You Need to Hear? 

Find me on Twitter: @hollygowritely