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.
1. Violent Femmes pick “A Distant Land To Roam” by Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard
This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To and for the first song of the week, we always ask an artist that we love to tell us about one song that they love.
Violent Femmes are Milwaukee’s most famous band and arguably the greatest. Their 1983 self-titled album didn’t go gold until four years after it was released and then went platinum four years after that without ever having been on the Billboard Top 200. We all know their songs: “Blister in the Sun”, “Gone Daddy Gone”, “Add It Up”…we could go on forever here. They are Milwaukee’s seminal band. I’m here with Gordon Gano, lead singer of Violent Femmes.
Justin Barney: What’s one song you’ve been listening to recently?
Gordon Gano: Well recently I’ve listened a number of times to “A Distant Land To Roam.” So many of bluegrass and older country people have done this song. Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard – particularly I was listening quite a bit to that version.
It is one of those songs that just flows and just seems right but then if you try to play it, you go, “Wait a minute…how long do I hold that chord before I say this other thing!?” It has its own rhythm and it absolutely makes sense but it’s such where maybe even the more trained you as a musician, the more apt you are to fall into changing the chord where actually it doesn’t change there.
I just love the plaintiveness of this song and I’m just stopping myself from playing it right here, right now.
Justin Barney: Do it!
Gordon Gano: No…because I’ve got to do something real soon (laughing).
Justin Barney: Alright.
Gordon Gano: Wait! Well it starts… (singing) “I remember very well on one dark and dreary day. Just as I was leaving home for a distant land to roam.” And that’s not even going into the chorus.
- “A Distant Land To Roam” was originally written and performed by The Carter Family and has turned into a classic American folk song done by dozens of performers throughout the years.
- Listen if you like: classic American folk music, harmonies, the Anthology of American Folk Music
2. Mister Heavenly – “Beat Down”
Now, I’m not a tough love kind of guy. Tell me you love me, be tender. But for some people, tough love is the answer. A kick in the pants can get you motivated.
In this song, Mister Heavenly, doesn’t just want a kick in the pants, they are requesting a full on Beat Down.
Mister Heavenly is a, and I hate this term, Supergroup. Actually, let’s scrap that term. It’s so square. But they are a band that have played in other bands.
You have members of Modest Mouse, The Unicorns, Islands, and Man Man. And their touring bassist is Michael Cera.
And together they bring a bit of the best traits of all those bands. You have the The Unicorn’s clever lyrics, Man Man’s trademark weirdness, Island’s and Modest Mouse’s perfect song structure.
If you’re looking for motivation. If you’re trying to shake stuff up in your life, if something’s gotta break, let this be your anthem.
- Mister Heavenly’s new album, “Boxing the Moonlight” will be out on October 6th via Polyvinyl Records.
- Listen if you like: Man Man, The Unicorns, Islands
3. Ron Funches picks “Fantasy (Remix) by Mariah Carey feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Ron Funches is a comedian, he is an actor, and a writer. He has done voices in the movie Trolls, the show Bobs Burgers and Adventure Time. He’s been an actor in the show Curb Your Enthusiasm. And he also does his own stand-up comedy where he is lovable, open, and hilarious. He is going to be playing in Milwaukee on August 10th at Turner Hall Ballroom.
Justin: Alright, Ron Funches, what’s one song that you can’t stop listening to?
Ron Funches: One song that I can’t stop listening to is a Fantasy remix by Mariah Carey and Ol’ Dirty Bastard because I love it very much, it’s like one of the best songs ever.
It’s got one of the best beats that was stole from an old song, and then it’s got everything you want in a song: it’s got Mariah Carey hittin’ the notes, and then it’s got Ol’ Dirty comin’ through with some gutter rhymes.
It’s good to listen to with ladies. It’s good if you want to listen to it with your lady, and you play the Mariah Carey part and she does the Old Dirty part. Either or! It’s an amazing song, and I love it.
Justin: Dude, I have never heard of that song, I didn’t even know that it existed. Mariah Carey and O.D.B.?
Ron Funches: Yeah!
Justin: That is, that’s like-
Ron Funches: I got you on speaker and every lady in this house is just looking like “What? You’ve never heard of this song?
Justin: What’s O.D.B.’s part? What’s he rapping about?
Ron Funches: Well, basically about how him and Mariah go back like babies in pacifiers, and how he’s old dirt dog and he’s no liar, and that he’ll keep your fantasy hot like fire. And then a lot of other stuff about jumping and shaking your rump.
Justin: That sounds perfect.
- “Fantasy feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard” was released in 2003 on Mariah Carey’s album, “The Remixes.”
- Listen if you like: Wu-Tang Clan, classic early 2000’s pop/r&b, shakin’ yer rump
- Tickets for his August 10th show in Milwaukee
4. Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes
Justin Barney: From the Music Desk at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, I’m Justin Barney. This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To and I’m here with Makenzie Boettcher.
Makenzie Boettcher: Hi Justin.
Justin Barney: Hi Mak. What is one song that you can’t stop listening to?
Makenzie Boettcher: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes. For starters, I think that anyone that’s ever worked with me here at this workplace knows that I don’t like 80s music. I don’t know if it’s this song in particular or just my music taste in general that’s starting to shift a little bit, but I heard this song the other day and I was just like, “I really dig this.”
Justin Barney: What do you like about it?
Makenzie Boettcher: This song in general is just really simple. The lyrics are really simple, the melody is simple, it’s catchy…it is what it is. It’s good song writing, a good melody and it just carries its own really well. This song, just over and over again, is just like, “She’s a pretty girl. She knows what she’s doing. She’s got good eyes.” That’s it.
Justin Barney: So what’s the song?
Makenzie Boettcher: The song is “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes.
Justin Barney: Let’s do it.
- “Bette Davis Eyes” was originally released in 1981 on the album, “Mistaken Identity.”
- Listen if you like: early 80’s synths, old movie references, raspy deliveries
5. Midnight Sister – “Daddy Long Legs”
Midnight Sister is turning out to be on of my favorite new bands of 2017. They are a new signing to trusted label Jaggaguwar. They’ve never released an album, but their debut is due out early next month.
Earlier this year they released the song “Blue Cigar,” which I thought sounded straight out of a David Lynch film and promptly featured on this segment.
Now they’ve released this song. “Daddy Long Legs.” I swear, there is something cinematic about their music. Bouncing piano against the lilting of their lead singers voice gives the song an air of barroom vaudeville in a plume of baroque smoke.
- Midnight Sister’s debut album, “Saturn Over Sunset” will be out on September 8th, via Jagjaguwar.
- Listen if you like: Lilting lead singers, bouncing piano, cinema