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5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening to with The Blind Boys of Alabama and Aero Flynn

Aero Flynn
Cameron Wittig

Hear all 5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To:

1. Blind Boys of Alabama pick “Amazing Grace”

Every week an artist comes on 5 Songs to tell us about one song that they can’t stop listening to. At Eaux Claires Festival we caught up with Jimmy “Jimster” Carter, who was a founding member of The Blind Boys of Alabama in 1944.

Jimster: What jumps out is "Amazing Grace." The reason why I say that is because when I sing "Amazing Grace" I think of…see, we are Christian people, so I have to talk about God, you know, so when I realize, when I realize that it was God’s grace that brought me this far, God’s grace is the reason we are here now. So his amazing grace is nothing that I earned. I mean, I didn’t earn this, he gave it to me. And so, "Amazing Grace" that’s why I love that song.

  • The Blind Boys of Alabama’s album “Higher Ground” was released in 2002.
  • Listen if you like: “House of the Rising Son,” gospel, hymns


2. Benjamin Clementine – “Cornerstone”

Recently, I watched the Netflix documentary about Nina Simone, titled, “What Happened Miss Simone?” (if you haven’t watched it, you really should, it’s amazing.) She had that beautiful voice, and she was such a gifted classical piano player. Her music lives in genre-less grey area.  Which proved to be very difficult when I was hunting for her records at four different record stores last weekend. Was she Pop/Rock? Maybe, maybe not. Soul? She certainly had it, but I couldn’t find her there. Blues? Her voice is unequivocally blue. But the arrangements weren’t always. After just about giving up I tried jazz. There she was. Jazz, the category where the leading prerequisite is that you don’t fit anywhere else. An island of misfits.

I imagine there will similar difficulties with the music of Benjamin Clementine. His music is something else. Part gothic cathedral vicar, part British folklorist, part concert pianist, it’s just something else. Maybe it will be called pop/rock, maybe blues, probably jazz. But no matter what the category, it’s beautiful beautiful music.

  • Benjamin Clemintine’s debut album “At Least For Now” is now available on Behind Under
  • Listen if you like: Nina Simone, Nick Cave, Willis Earl Beal


3. Bombon – “Dance Just Like Annette”

The Shangri-Las, The Chantels, The Ronettes, other girl groups from the early 60’s, these are groups that I love.

Those groups were honest. Their lyrics were clear. “Be My Baby” “He’s Gone” “It’s Easier to Cry.” For some reason after that time period, it became unfashionable to be so plainspoken. Lyricists felt they needed to hide all their song’s meaning under layers of mystery, abstraction and general murkiness that is supposed to make their lyrics sound more complex, but I think just clouds their meaning. You don’t need complex lyrics to show complex emotions.

That is why I like straightforward lyrics, like in this song,  “I want to dance just like Annette right next to you, and only you, to be with you”

It’s super simple, but there are still complex emotions like, jealousy, longing, insecurity, courage, and lust. So just keep it simple.

  • Bombon’s cassette debut “A Date with Bombon” is available now on Burger Records.
  • Listen if you like: The movie Grease, girl groups from the 1960s, Shannon & the Clams


4. Titus Andronicus – “Lonely Boy”

Titus Andronicus just released a 29 song, hour-and-a-half, triple LP, in 2015. Yes, in 2015, when our attention spans are as long as a selfie-stick and I won’t watch a youtube video that is longer than like 5 minutes, WHAT DO THEY THINK I HAVE, ALL DAY HERE?

In the modern day fight to make everything smaller and more digestible, Titus Andronicus’ “The Most Lamentable Tragedy” is thoughtfully contrarian and wholly ambitious. It’s a story one man told in five acts, told through the 29 songs of this album. You need to follow the narrative and pick up on the details to really get it.

When punk started in the psychedelic 1970’s doing something short was subversive. In 2015, I think a 29 song, detailed rock opera, is about as punk as it gets.

  • Titus Andronicus’s album “The Most Lamentable Tragedy” is out now on Merge Records.
  • Listen if you like: The Rolling Stones, The Hold Steady, bar bands


5. Aero Flynn picks Daniel Lanois - “Sioux Lookout”

Adam Hulburt: The latest song that I can’t stop listening to is called "Sioux Lookout" by Daniel Lanois. I’m a huge fan of all his production. He’s done a lot of U2 records. My favorite Bob Dylan record is "Oh Mercy" and Daniel Lanois produced that. He put out this record called ‘Flesh and Machine’ last year, and the whole record kind of encapsulates all of his production styles. The record itself goes from many different genres, but it’s always definitely Daniel Lanois. A lot of delays, a lot of reverb, but it has this distinct style that is only his and I love that. He’s one of my favorite dudes of all time and, yeah, I can’t stop listening to it.

  • Daniel Lanois’ “Flesh and Machine” was released in 2014.
  • Listen if you like: Avant-garde electronic music, Aphex Twin, the guy who produced Bob Dylan’s “Oh Mercy”