88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To with guest LeVar Burton

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee
With music from Dianne reeves, PWR BTTM, Xiu Xiu, Jidenna, and Dude York

5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening to is a collection of our newest favorite songs. And Every week we ask an artist that we love to tell us about the music they love.

Listen to the whole thing in the player below.

LeVar Burton

1. LeVar Burton picks “Testify” by Dianne Reeves

This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To and every week we ask one person that we love to tell us about one song that they can’t stop listening to. This week we have a super special guest. I grew up watching Reading Rainbow. You might know him from his many acting roles, maybe in Star Trek, or Roots, or maybe everything, our guest is LeVar Burton.

This conversation came out of a larger conversation that Tarik Moody had with Burton last year about Black History Month.

 

Levar Burton: My number one Black History Month song by a black artist is “Testify” by Dianne Reeves. I’m a huge jazz fan and one of my favorite songs of all time is Dianne Reeves, “Testify.” This song has become an anthem for me over time.

 

  • “Testify” was released in 1999 on Reeves album, “Bridges.”
  • Listen if you like: jazz, spoken word, The Last Poets

2. PWR BTTM – “Big Beautiful Day”

PWR BTTM is a Brooklyn based power-pop band made up of Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins. Respectively on guitar and drums. In 2015 they released an album, “Ugly Cherries” that ended up on my top 5 albums of the year, with the song “I Wanna Boi” that is honestly one of my favorite songs of the past 10 years.

Big Beautiful Day is the kind of song that you discover, maybe from here, and then you keep it to yourself. You listen to it in headphones on the way to work. You memorize all the lines of the verses and silently yell along with the chorus and even though you only have it on in your headphones you pretend like the whole world is listening to it with you and you are all part of one big music video, screaming, crying, laughing, and singing together about feeling different.

 

  • PWR BTTM’s new album, “Pageant” will be out on May 12th via Polyvinyl.
  • Listen if you like: Weezer, anthems, some of the most original songwriting in music right now

3. Xiu Xiu – “Wondering”

After leaving a nightclub in San Jose alone on Christmas night in 2002, Jamie Stewart started the band Xiu Xiu.

He says that, “Xiu Xiu came from feeling stupid and lonely and then wanting to dance it away, but having the club and its music only magnify that stupid and lonely feeling.”

And that is the exact feeling that he captures in this song. His voice, lonely and calling out, is so buried in the dance beat that you have to hold your breath and dive down into the waves to find it. There you will find Stewart, alone on the dance floor. Take his hand, and dance with him.

 

  • Xiu Xiu’s new album, “Forget” is out now via Polyvinyl
  • Listen if you like: Sunset Rubdown, CocoRosie, feeling lonely on the dancefloor

4. Jidenna – “Bambi”

Justin Barney: Tarik, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?

Tarik Moody: Right now it’s an artist by the name of Jidenna, who is signed to Janelle Monae’s Wonderland Recordings. And the song is “Bambi.”

Justin Barney: Okay, so tell me about it.

Tarik: Well, Jidenna, I recently found out, was born in Wisconsin. And he dropped a new album called, “The Chief” which I am in love with. There is one song I can’t stop listening to and it’s called “Bambi.”

It’s this kind of lullaby-ish track with a trap beat under it. It’s a beautiful tune that puts you in a good mood. If you’re in a bad mood I recommend playing this and you’ll be smiling.

It’s just a good track to smile to.

 

  • Jidenna’s debut album, “The Chief” is out now.
  • Listen if you like: Harry Belafonte, a lullaby with a trap beat, pseudo-calypso

5. Dude York – “Black Jack”

This song closes with the line, “As far as I can tell, nobody does it by themselves.” And if there is one thing that I have learned working at a community run radio station it is that nobody does it by themselves. And that if you need help, there is someone out there, there is likely some organization in our community full of people who are there for you, and there are people around you going through the same thing, no matter how isolating it can feel. So I am picking this song for this line alone, the line, “As far as I can tell nobody does it by themselves” because I can’t hear that enough.

 

  • Dude York’s new album, “Sincerely” is out now on Hardly Art.
  • Listen if you like: Tacocat, Japandroids, PWR BTTM