5 songs you need to hear this week

From Tanya Tagaq and Shad to Lower Dens, our producers pick the songs you need to hear this week.
Lower Dens has one of our songs you need to hear this week. (Frank Hamilton)

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.

Lower Dens, 'Real Thing'

This is a heartbreaker of a story-song, so clear and desperate and beautifully yearning. "I'm married to a terrific guy/ I'll never need until I die," Jana Hunter sings, her voice slinking in the shadows of a spare, restrained, pulsing, '80s-style arrangement. "I want to be young/ I want to dance with an abandon/ and I don't care about the real thing." In a press release, Hunter said the lyrics were inspired by an old advice column in Out magazine about "a woman torn between her love for her husband and her desire to f--k around." SSION's Cody Critcheloe, who directs this music video, translates the conflict beautifully, with Hunter framed alone under soft, Vaseline lights for most of the four minutes, save for small cutaways to blurry bodies moving on the dance floor. "I love you, but it's not enough," Hunter sings to her reflection at one point. "But why?" asks a chorus of deeper voices. After a pause she answers them: "Maybe I just know there's so much more."

— Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)

Tanya Tagaq feat. Shad, 'Centre'

Tanya Tagaq performs 'Centre' for CBC Music's First Play Live. 4:06

There's something about this vocal confluence that creates a whole new universe of sound. "Centre" — note the Canadian spelling — is the push of Shad's rapping over the pull of Tagaq's guttural calls and hushed lyrics. With starts and stops throughout, "Centre" is a hypnotic, gut-twisting song, hooking you on Shad's every word while swaying to the orchestra that is Tagaq's vocals. Tagaq's new album, Retribution, is out Oct. 21, and this song will have you on the edge of your seat waiting for it.

— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)

Eternia, 'Keep U'

Taking stock of the music she has released over the years, Eternia certainly has a case to be ranked as one of Canada's most consistent hip-hop lyricists. Critically acclaimed, she's snagged two Juno noms and a Polaris long list selection for At Last, her collaboration with producer Moss in 2011. It's been a while since she's released anything new, but "Keep U" impressively breaks the silence on her hiatus. It finds Eternia revisiting the sepia-tinged memories of a teenage relationship — "the best time of my life," she says — while asserting her prerogative to not rekindle it. Eternia's inimitable talent for delivering descriptive and vulnerable lyrics is on full display, recalling the tentative awkwardness of first meetings and watching '90s sitcom Martin at the hairdresser. Produced by underground stalwart Apathy, the track is indebted to an undeniably soulful Curtis Mayfield refrain and unapologetic '90s boom bap throwback, matching the emotive and retrospective nature of the track.

— Del F. Cowie (@vibesandstuff)

John Southworth, 'Second Childhood'

John Southworth is a beautiful, shining hidden gem. A prolific and gifted songwriter currently based in Toronto, you never quite know project to project what sounds Southworth will evoke. You'll hear delicate, romantic guitar ballads played with care ("The Pillowmaker," "Human Cry"), or idiosyncratic, pulsing, pop-driven songs ("Mama Tevatron"). Every record has a fully realized sound and concept, like 2014's double release, Niagara, which had one CD dedicated to the American side of the falls, and the other to the Canadian side. For his upcoming album, Small Town Water Tower, Southworth has published the first part of a story featuring a dancer captured by a murmuration of birds and a not-so-super superhero rescue. You should read it. Judging from the new song "Second Childhood," this album is leaning darker, with perhaps an '80s aesthetic. I look forward to hearing more from one of my favourite musicians.

— Jeanette Cabral (@JeanetteCabral)

Kings of Leon, 'Waste a Moment'

Kings of Leon have been teasing us for several weeks with little audio snippets of new music, but finally, late last week, we got a whole track. "Waste a Moment" signals new music from the band since its 2013 album, Mechanical Bull, and news of Kings of Leon's seventh studio album coming soon. The track brings us directly where we left off, with powerful drums and catchy hooks alongside lead singer Caleb Followill's recognizable vocals. The band, to me, has always been a summer-hits band, so you can expect a few tracks to last until the warm weather returns. Walls is out Oct. 14 on RCA/Sony.

— Matt Fisher (@MattRFisher)


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