8 songs you need to hear this week

From De La Soul to Bon Iver, our producers pick the songs you need to hear this week.
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver performs on stage at the Sydney Opera House on March 11, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. (Mark Metcalfe)

Each week, staff from CBC Music 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.

De La Soul feat. Little Dragon, 'Drawn'

We've heard two songs from the upcoming De La album, and the Anonymous Nobody. "Pain", a collaboration with Snoop Dogg, and "Royalty Capes". This third track, "Drawn", features Sweden's Little Dragon. This slow jam bounces along perfect percussion and bass lines and it's not until the final moments that you realize how wickedly seamless hip-hop and electronic music can be.

— Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)

Mac Miller feat. Anderson .Paak, 'Dang!'

Despite its woe-is-me scenario — "Dang! I can't keep on losing you" — this happy-sounding collaboration from Mac Miller's upcoming The Divine Feminine is essentially a breezy, lyrical hip-hop break-up/make-up song. The relaxed funk groove is super danceable with Miller's hemiola-heavy rap dovetailing seamlessly into .Paak's serene choruses. And whoever had the bright idea of bringing in a horn section from the Juilliard School deserves a medal: they make the song pop!

— Robert Rowat (@rkhr)

Editor's note: Strong language warning.

Ascendia, 'Remember Me'

People in denim vests everywhere, rejoice — Ascendia's "Remember Me" is as earnest and tight a traditional metal track as you'll find in North America these days. There are shades of progressive metal like Dream Theatre, and more traditional power/speed metal like Kamelot. This track is a must-listen for anyone who loves double kick and operatic vocals.

— Adam Carter (@AdamCarterCBC)

Rae Sremmurd, 'Black Beatles'

Mississippi rap duo Rae Sremmurd made their mark last year with their debut album, SremmLife, a collection of unabashed bangers that had their finger on the pulse of the internet ("No Flex Zone", "This Could be Us"). Last week, Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi returned with SremmLife 2, a more experimental album that still holds true to the rappers' fun and youthful spirit. "Black Beatles" is a SremmLife 2 highlight, a darker number that rides the wave of an '80s synth part as Swae Lee leads yet another night of going out, quick releasing cash in the air and taking down haters. Yes, Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi throw in a few shout-outs to original Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney (Jxmmi hilariously caps his verse with: "Black Beatle, bitch, me and Paul McCartney related"), but bold claim aside, the track is a glowing example of Rae Sremmurd's confidence and their true belief, in some ways, in being invincible.

— Melody Lau (@melodylamb)

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, 'A 1000 Times'

The Walkmen's lead singer and Vampire Weekend's former keyboard player have combined their creative flow, and will release their debut album this September. The first single features Leithauser's soaring vocals, wrenching out lines like "I had a dream that you were mine / I had that dream 1000 times" over building instrumentals and a sleepy shuffle. As welcome as a cool breeze, here's your new summer jam (if you're spending the summer pining for your unrequited love).

— Brad Frenette (@bradfrenette)

Lion Babe, 'Endless Summer'

As we head into the end of August, we are either preparing for the inevitable onset of fall or in denial that summer is coming to an end. If you fall into the latter camp, "Endless Summer" by New York electronic/R&B duo Lion Babe might be the ideal companion for your seasonal denial. Comprised of producer Lucas Goodman and singer Jillian Hervey (the daughter of actress and singer Vanessa Williams) the duo released their debut album Begin at the top end of 2016 while we were still in the frigid throes of winter.

This track, however, is taken from the duo's recently dropped Sun Joint mixtape, and begins with the sounds of seagulls and waves crashing onto a beach. Those summer sounds give way to frenetic and intricately woven handclap rhythms, Spanish guitars and Hervey's Badu-esque jazzy vocals. Lyrically, she rejects depending on summer as an external seasonal meteorological reality and instead makes a compelling case for the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. Lion Babe play Toronto's Rivoli on Aug. 21.

— Del F. Cowie (@vibesandstuff)

Bon Iver, '22 (OVER S∞∞N)' + '10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄'

After what seems like a quick five-year gap (thanks to side projects like Volcano Choir), Justin Vernon returns with the announcement of a new album, 22, A Million. He debuted two new tracks at the Eaux Claires music festival that he co-created alongside Aaron Dresser of the National. With the first track, "22 (OVER S∞∞N)", Vernon and his band arrive at a new level (that we were hoping they were getting to.) His last record, Bon Iver, Bon Iver, was definitely the basis of this current direction — less guitar and more fun synthy stuff. Yet, with the second track, "10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄", we're introduced to a much heavier, bass-heavy track with a pretty compelling snare drum bringing us through most of the song. It will definitely be interesting to see how the rest of the songs flow together on this record between those two opposing songs.

— Matt Fisher (@MattRFisher)

Kokophonix, 'The Edge'

A throwback to '90s pop and a nod to disco, this dancy jam from Toronto's Kokophonix comes in advance of the producer's debut album, which is expected this October. Despite a moody and modestly paced start, the track picks up with help from cleverly produced beats, rap verses by veteran Phatt Al, and backing vocals by Dana Jean Phoenix. What is in Toronto's water that's making its hip-hop and R&B scene so damn good?

Listen to Kokophonix's "The Edge" here.

— Amer Alkhatib (@ameralkhatib)


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