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. 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. Kyle Craft picks – “Distant Fingers” by Patti Smith
This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To. We always kick of the week by talking to one artist that we love about a song that they love. This guy put out one of my favorite albums of last year, the Dolls of Highland. He is a showman and a fantastic songwriter from the swamps of Louisiana, I am here with Kyle Craft.
Justin Barney: Kyle, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Kyle Craft: Distant Fingers by the beautiful and talented Patti Smith.
Justin Barney: Tell me about it.
Kyle Craft: Well, this-it’s kind of like my New Years song, you know? Yeah, there’s was kind of this attitude that Patti had, I was kind of just watching-I was just going through all of these interviews and I’ve read her book, not M Train, but Just Kids a couple years ago and I guess for some reason it took a minute for her charisma to really stab me, you know? In the heart. And for some reason it just felt right to embrace that sort of “screw it” mentality, you know?
Justin Barney: Yeah. Right. So, what is the song?
Kyle Craft: It’s called Distant Fingers. It’s kind of a romantic-lyrically it’s very Rocket Man and Space Oddity, but yeah it’s super catchy. I love the melody.
- “Distant Fingers” was released in 1983 on the album “Radio Ethiopia.”
- Listen if you like: Kyle Craft, the charisma of Patti Smith, really interesting guitar work
3. Peanut Butter Wolf picks “My Brother Woody” by The Free Design
Every week we ask a gust to talk about one song that they love. This week our guest is the founder of Stones Throw Records. Peanut Butter Wolf is an artist in his own right, and has signed artists such as Madlib, J Dilla, Aloe Blacc, and NxWorries.
Justin Barney: Peanut Butter Wolf, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Peanut Butter Wolf: I’m going to say “My Brother Woody” by Free Design because its in my head right now because I played it at (Rhythm Lab Microfest) sound check.
It’s a song that I discovered in the early 90’s from 1960’s bubblegum pop, psychedelic whatever.
Justin Barney: What do you like about that song?
Peanut Butter Wolf: Well, I like that whole album actually. At that time I was really into a lot of Larg Professorr and Pete Rock and 90’s Golden-Era, digging in the crates kind of hip-hop. And I noticed they were using a lot of what I would consider “hippy music.” When I discovered that album I was just kind of blown away. I found it at the thrift store for like a dollar or two and it became this collectors record, I guess, years later.
Yeah, that was the first thing that came to mind, because it literally was in my head right now.
- “My Brother Woody” was released in 1967 on The Free Design’s album, “Kites Are Fun.”
- Listen if you like: hippy music, airy harmonies, golden era samples
4. Strand of Oaks picks “Higher Than the Sun” by Primal Scream
Every week we ask one artist that we love to talk about one song that they love. This guy is from Philadelphia, PA by way of Indiana. He has long black hair, tons of tattoos, he looks like he could beat you up, but he would never hurt a fly. We love the music he makes as Strand of Oaks, we are here with Timothy Showalter, of Strand of Oaks.
Justin Barney: Tim! What is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Timothy Showalter: The one song I can’t stop listening to and for the past three years haven’t been able to stop listening to is “Higher Than the Sun” by Primal Scream.
Justin Barney: Really? I don’t know that song.
Timothy Showalter: Well the whole album you have to listen to. “Screamadelica” is like the Sgt. Peppers of the late 80’s rave culture, birth of brit-pop, all that.
But the song “Higher than the Sun” they called it a hymn to hedonism.
*laughs* It’s so awesome. It’s so dreamy. And perfect.
Justin Barney: Do you remember the first time you heard it?
Timothy Showalter: I probably heard it too young because I didn’t get what they were singing about.
Justin Barney: What are they singing about?
Timothy Showalter: Drugs. Just Drugs.
*laughs* Not just that, but that thousand yard stare that you get.
Justin Barney: That headspace.
Timothy Showalter: Yeah. But I heard it really young because there were these cool older kids that loved like Primal Scream, Stone Roses, early Butthole Surfers, and Flaming Lips. And they would wear triple XL Flaming Lips t-shirts and I would think, “These are the cool kids.”
Justin Barney: So how did you come back to it?
Timothy Showalter: Well I never stopped listening to it. It’s always been on of my favorite albums. And little known fact, Daft Punk have been quoted as saying that without this album, “Screamadelica”Daft Punk wouldn’t exist.
Justin Barney: “Whoa!”
- “Higher Than the Sun” was originally released in 1991 on the album “Screamadelica”
- Listen if you like: Stone Roses, Flaming Lips, Daft Punk
5. Gabriel Garzón-Montano picks “♥ Or $” by Prince
Every week we ask one artist that we love to talk about a song that they love. This week we catch up with Gabriel Garzón-Montano.
Justin Barney: Gabriel, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Gabriel Garzón-Montano: “Love or Money” by Prince.
Justin Barney: Why that song?
Gabriel Garzón-Montano: Well I love how he establishes the key in it. I love the keyboard part that is doing the funk. And he does a verispeed on his vocals, where he records on a slowed down tape and then speeds it back up, giving his vocal that chipmunk effect. And it’s particularly delicious on this track.
It’s like a sour, pungent, playful funk.
Justin Barney: That is perfect. So it’s Prince’s voice, or his vocal effect that really does it for you?
Gabriel Garzón-Montano: It’s also the content of what he’s singing.
Justin Barney: What is the context of what he is singing about?
Gabriel Garzón-Montano: He’s basically saying, “Tell me what you want. Is it love or is it money?”
When you are a successful entertainer with lots of money, or somebody with lots of money, it’s a fair question to ask. It’s a fair question to ask anyone.
Are you coming to me, or are you coming for a good time?
Justin Barney: Yeah, absolutely.
Gabriel Garzón-Montano: It’s like a fun musing on something that’s pretty deep. Considering that love is the most important thing in this experience as far as humans are concerned.
- “♥ Or $” was released as the b-side of “Kiss,” the first single from Prince’s eighth album, “Parade.”
- Listen if you like: Gabriel Garzón-Montano, funk, rare Prince tracks