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6 songs you need to hear this week

Holly Gordon

Each week, staff from CBC Music, Radio 2, Radio 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 via @CBCMusic what catches your ear, or if you have a new song you just can't stop playing.

Grandaddy, 'Way We Won't'

Ending a decade of silence, analog-obsessed California group Grandaddy picks up exactly where it left off. “Why We Won’t” lays the foundation for the upcoming Last Place, which singer Jason Lytle recently described to NPR as a concept album about a couple who live atop a strip mall. Keeping with previous singles, the wry lyrics ponder the group’s constant fears: consumerism and yearning for home, laid out over its other bedrock: Lytle’s diminutive lilt over crunchy power pop.

— Jonathan Dekel (@jondekel)

Daniel Caesar feat. Kali Uchis, 'Get You'

Daniel Caesar continues to deliver on his early promise with his latest song, "Got You," a collaboration with singer Kali Uchis, building on the momentum of his Polaris Music Prize-longlisted 2015 EP, Pilgrim’s Paradise. Anchored by sumptuously fluid bass tectonics, the song finds the Toronto singer helplessly in love, giving him ample opportunities to convey his vulnerabilities via his increasingly distinctive falsetto. It's as if you can see Caesar incredulously shaking his head as he sings, "Who would've thought I'd get you?" Colombian-American vocalist Uchis, who has also worked with Caesar's Toronto pals BadBadNotGood on her 2015 album Por Vida, provides the answer to Caesar's question. Underlining the reciprocal feelings at play and reassuring him of his worthiness, she sings, "Boy, you lead me to paradise."

— Del Cowie (@vibesandstuff)


Hiss Golden Messenger, 'Tell Her I’m Just Dancing'

The alt-country shufflings of M.C. Taylor and company build into full stride on this track from Hiss Golden Messenger's new album, Heart Like a Levee. Here, Taylor's workman croon — which makes lines like "Yes, I built a wall, I cannot get over" sound easy — is buoyed by a steady thump, staccato guitars, and smooth horns. The song is a three-minute melodic burst with all the DNA of a sweaty barn jam session. This one demands repeated listens, and maybe even some space to dance.

— Brad Frenette (@BradFrenette)

Agnes Obel, 'Stone'

The hypnotic plucks of Agnes Obel's song "Stone" set a haunting tone for her oft-repeated question: "Could I be/ of stone?" Citizen of Glass, released Oct. 21, is the Denmark-born, Berlin-based singer's third album, following up her first two albums that went platinum in Europe. Obel considers this release to be her first concept record, meant to feel and sound like glass — "strong as well as fragile, harsh but easy to break" — and on it she has layered 250 tracks, producing and mixing the project herself. On "Stone," despite the title's opposing material, Obel sounds like a ghost gliding across that glass, her lyrics hushed, floating in and out of the fragile space. It's a rhythm you'll have a hard time exorcising.

— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)

Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul and Anne-Marie, ‘Rockabye’

First, the bad news: Neil Amin-Smith is leaving the U.K. band Clean Bandit, and that has us wondering what to expect from the much-anticipated follow-up to 2014’s New Eyes. But the good news is, the band just dropped the second single from the aforementioned upcoming album and it’s a richly produced, reggae-infused track featuring Anne-Marie and Sean Paul that burst onto the BBC’s U.K. Top 40 Singles Chart at No. 7. Now, before you go saying, “Hey, that’s totally a rip-off of Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills,’” know that “Rockabye” is far from derivative: “Come Over” from New Eyes was a masterful entry in the reggae-pop catalogue and this new song emphatically extends that success. At once a lullaby and an anthem for single moms, "Rockabye" is a mighty track to rival the band’s biggest hits, “Real Love” and “Rather Be.”

— Robert Rowat (@rkhr)

Maggie Rogers, 'Alaska'

Earlier this year, Maggie Rogers became a viral sensation for making Pharrell cry (okay, tear up). During the superstar producer’s Masterclass at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, Rogers played a rough cut of her song “Alaska” for him, hoping for feedback — but she got nothing back. Instead, Pharrell praised her, calling her talent “singular.”

Fast forward five months and that song has developed a life of its own, getting thousands of views and plays online and even attracting the attention of NPR and Pitchfork. Now fully mixed and mastered, with a brand new music video, “Alaska” still stuns with the freshness that blew Pharrell away the first time. A hand-snapping, sparkling pop number, Rogers’ dance beats hit you square in the chest while her melodies are magnificently airy and weightless; a hopeful tune that will surely knock off any negativity weighing you down.

— Melody Lau (@melodylamb