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5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with guest Charles Bradley

5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with guest Charles Bradley


1. Charles Bradley picks “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)” by James Brown 

Every week we ask one of our favorite artists to tell us about one of their favorite songs. This week we talked to Charles Bradley.

Justin Barney: Charles Bradley, if I could ask what is your favorite James Brown Song.

Charles Bradley: Uh, it’s a lot of them. But I can pick one out because I just know 58 songs of James Brown. Uh, one of them is “I Can’t Stand it When You Touch Me.”

Justin: Why that one?

Charles: It’s just got so much feeling to it.

Justin: Oh yeah?

Charles: And when you get into it, you gotta get into it nasty. You gotta feel it. You got to feel it and when you feel it and the music is kicking you deep, you gonna get nasty with it.

Justin: What’s it like performing that song?

Charles: Oh. It feel good. You know, when I do music if I can feel it, then imma get into it. And when it’s the band is just beating my tail, I wanna beat their tail back and show them it’s gonna be a real show.

Justin: Did you do that song last night?

Charles: No I didn’t do it.

Justin: Do you ever do James Brown anymore?

Charles: Oh yes. I still do James Brown because they’re not gonna let me stop. Because theres nobody out there-and I’m not saying because I’m trying to put myself on a pedestal, no-I don’t think nobody can beat me doing James Brown.

Justin: I don’t think so either.

Charles: Because I’ve been doing it ever since I was about 14/16 years old and I got his peculiarity, I’ve got 58 sums and change Brown behind my belt. You just put me up on stage and start playing it, and I hear it. It just come right to my ear.

Justin: Why James Brown?

Charles: James Brown is a legend. You know you look back in the days when blues was blues, James Brown was the one who put rhythm with blues. And all these other people copy off him. You know, even like Motown. Motown had this status, but they would try to get James Brown to come with them and James Brown found his own soul. And that’s why I like this guy so much, because he’s a legend. And he’s a person that really started Michael Jackson to find his own theory. Prince, James Brown is the one who just had it all and everybody copied off of him. They look at him and say, how did he found that? Because they told James Brown, you can’t take no blues and add rhythm to it. And James Brown said, I do a sound. They say, it sound good, but you can’t do it. James Brown said, if it sound good, then it’s correct. And that’s what all music is, is learning the (deep culture of your soul?). When you find your depths in music, what feels good inside you and you know you’re doing it, that’s from the creator. And that’s when it gets nasty because you can play with it, you can just get mean with it, get nasty, get lovin’ with it.


  • “I Can’t Stand Myself (When You Touch Me) was released as a 45 on King Records in 1967.
  • Listen if you like: Charles Bradley, Lee Fields, getting’ nasty with it

2. Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis and Friends – “Sugaree” (Grateful Dead cover)

I got to be honest with you, I’ve never listened to an entire Grateful Dead album.  They’ve always been this musical blind spot for me.

You see The Grateful Dead is like Game of Thrones. If you are into it you are into it. And if you haven’t watched it you kind of get the idea of what it’s about and why everybody is into it. But there is no casually watching Game of Thrones. You’re not starting on episode 1 season 6. Like there is no casually listening to the Grateful Dead. It’s commitment.

And there has never really been a convincing argument for me to so, until last week. The guys from the band The National put together the Day of the Dead compilation album and its got Courtney Barnett, Jim James, Perfume Genius, ANOHNI, Charles Bradley and tons of other bands that I love all covering the songs of The Grateful Dead.

So who knows, maybe this week I’ll buy a Grateful Dead album, and finally start Game of Thrones.


  • “Sugaree” was released on The Day of the Dead compilation from 4AD and it is available now.
  • Listen if you like: The Grateful Dead, American roots music, The Day of the Dead compilation
  • Why should you care about the Grateful Dead compilation? We answered that.


3. The Avalanches feat. Danny Brown and MF DOOM – “Frankie Sinatra”

This is a song of distinction. Every element of this song is distinct. You’ve got the two most distinct voices in hip-hop on this track. The high nasal delivery of Detroit’s Danny Brown. And the fearless darkness of MF DOOM. They’ve got character and distinction.

Then the samples. Calypso music Klezmer sounds. They drop a tuba next to laser beams, a man laughing, just people yelling. Every single sound is distinct and interesting. . All mixed together until they got something that is distinct in itself.


  • The Avalanches new album, “Wildflower” will be available July 8th.
  • Listen if you like: great use of samples, distinct hip-hop, a banger

4. Tegan and Sara – “Boyfriend”

Dori Zori: Before I share my song with you…

Justin Barney: How did you know what I was going to ask?

Dori: This ain’t my first rodeo on 5 Songs.

So, I was thinking, a lot of the songs I’ve grown to love I did not like when I first heard them. And that’s kind of how I feel about the song I’m choosing today.

Justin: Alright. So started off not loving it. Grew into loving it.

Dori: Yes. It’s Tegan and Sarah. Their new album, ‘Love You To Death’ is out now and they’re coming to town. When I first heard the song ‘Boyfriend’ I did not love it because I’ve been a fan of Tegan and Sarah forever, and they made really good indie pop songs, and now they make really polished pop songs.

So in an indie pop song you can take the whole song to tell a story and it can stretch out. For a pop song it kind of has to be in little catchy packages with a catchy chorus.

And that’s what this song, ‘Boyfriend; does. Sonically and lyrically it’s very clever.

So that’s how I feel about the new Tegan and Sarah. The first time I heard it I was nervous because it’s not my Tegan and Sarah that I’ve loved forever. But the more I listen to it the more it has that perfect Tegan and Sarah writing structure, it’s catchy as hell and it’s a really fun song.

Justin: It’s okay to change.

Dori: It’s okay to change.


  • Tegan and Sara’s new album, “Love You To Death” is available now on Warner Bros. Records.
  • Listen if you like: REYNA, Dori Zori, punchy pop songs

5. Angel Olsen – “Intern”

Despondent and half-hearted Angel Olsen sings “wake up and be someone.” It’s not an uplifting, tape-a-smile-on-your-face inspirational quote you read before you try to be someone.

It’s a beat down mantra of someone in the slog of day in and day out, waking up and being someone. It’s not just the reality of being a musician. It’s the reality of being a person day after day after day and not giving up.


  • Angel Olsen’s new album, My Woman, will be out on September 2nd  on Jagjaguwar.
  • Listen if you like: Torres, St. Vincent, brutal reality.
  • Olsen is playing at the Pabst next Thursday for ten bucks. Info here.

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