Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
May the Fourth ... bring you to State of Sound! Get tickets now.

5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with Ziggy Marley

5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with Ziggy Marley


1. Ziggy Marley picks “Zombie” by Fela Kuti

Every week we have once artist that we love to tell us about one song that they love. This week we ask the legendary Ziggy Marley.

Justin Barney: Ziggy Marley, what is one song that you can’t stop listening to? Or one song you love, it can be anything really.

Ziggy Marley: One song that I really love is a Fela Kuti song. Fela Kuti is an African musician. Lived in Nigeria. Made Afrobeat.

Justin Barney: Invented Afrobeat.

Ziggy Marley: Yeah mon, he had a song called “Zombie” ya know?

Justin Barney: Yeah. What do you like about Fela’s music?

Ziggy Marley: Well I like the energy and I like the attitude. And then Fela’s style of singing. He’s very unique, it’s a very unique style of singing. He is one-of-a-kind.

Justin Barney: Yes, he was a leader. He had a following, and the way he carried that band, he was larger than life. What do you like about the song “Zombie” in particular?

Ziggy Marley: What I like about it is the message. I guess it was particularly about the Nigerian military at that time, but it goes for everybody.

It goes for the politicians and the politics, to the religion and the religious. We have people who just believe one thing and just do what that thing says no matter what the truth is and how much more we can learn, we just stick with the zombie attitude.

If it says, “Go left.” Zombie go left. If it says, “Go right.” Zombie go right. The zombie does whatever the master tells them to do.

So I like that idea. It’s a cry for freedom really. I’m finding that many people, even in the world today are like zombies. Because they follow a certain pattern or a certain ideology, without having an open enough mind to expand beyond that zombie state.

It’s similar to some ideas that I would have, so I’m drawn to that song.

Justin Barney: That’s great. And a reminder not to be a zombie.

Ziggy Marley: Yeah! Be alive! Be willing to learn something new, be willing to question authority, be willing to be free! Don’t be a zombie.


  • “Zombie” was released on Fela Kuti’s 1976 album, “Zombie.”
  • Listen if you like: Afrobeat, songs of freedom, Sound Travels

2. Car Seat Headrest – “Fill In the Blank”

Now this album has been out for a minute, but I didn’t really get to listen to the full album. Matador, the record label, pressed 10,000 of them, and as they were ready to ship and sell they were threatened with a lawsuit over an unlicensed Ric Ocasek sample somewhere in the album, and the label had to physically burn the entire stockpile and put orders in for new ones.

So if you are a hunched back mouth breather like myself, checking into your local shellac seller every couple days, studying the new releases  on the wall, “Teens of Denial” didn’t show up until last week, at which point I promptly purchased it and it’s been glued to my turn table since.

I’m obsessed with this record. Will Toledo is Leonard Cohen plugged in, dryly lobbing a lifetime worth of wisdom as if an old sage somehow found himself in a 24 year old’s body. Toledo’s got a lot to say and it seems as if he needs to say it all in every song, many of them between the 5 and 10 minute mark. Like a good book it’s hard to put down and in need of careful attention to detail and frequent re-reading, “Teens of Denial” is a piece of art in a sea of content.


  • Car Seat Headrest’s album, “Teens of Denial” is out now, and finally in physical form via Matador Records.
  • Listen if you like: Smart commentary, classic rock song structure, Pavement

3. Modern Baseball – “Everyday”

I’m into the fan culture of the band Modern Baseball. Modern Baseball is the kind of band that people live for. I guarantee there is some sixteen-year-old kid out there who had his friend prison tat lyrics to a Modern Baseball song on a calf half drunkenly in a basement somewhere. Go to a show and the kids in the front row will know every lyric of the set before they even leave the lead singer’s mouth, and they’ll sing them with more passion too. Modern Baseball has more cult status than Father Yod. This band is an identity. Their fan’s sub-culture rivals that of any group that goes beyond listening to music, and starts living it.


  • Modern Baseball’s new album, Holy Ghost” is out now via Run For Cover Records.
  • Listen if you like: The Front Bottoms, Pup, Pity Sex

4. Jennifer Hall – “Beverly Drive”

Justin Barney: I’m here with our very own Ken Sumka.

Ken Sumka: Hey Justin.

Justin Barney: Hey Ken. What’s one song you can’t stop listening to?

Ken Sumka: You know, this gal Jennifer Hall. She’s from Chicago, I’ve known her a number of years, she does the National Anthem at Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park a couple times a year, so she’s got the pipes. She’s also become a road warrior. She’s on the road all of the time. She was part of our Emerging Artist Series at Summerfest. And she just has this powerhouse voice.

Justin Barney: So what’s the song?

Ken Sumka: The song is called “Beverly Road.”

Justin Barney: As someone who has never heard “Beverly Road” what does it sound like?

Ken Sumka: You know it’s got these swells and this orchestration in it, and it doesn’t really fit into the wheelhouse of stuff I usually listen to, but when she sent me this record I just couldn’t stop listening to it. And I’m not saying that because I’m on this segment! *laughs* I just kept listening to it over, and over, and over, it’s just so powerful. Live, while I was watching her on the stage at Summerfest people were coming up to me, knowing that I knew her, and were like, “This woman has an amazing voice.” And I was like, “I know!”

I just want the world to know about it. So hopefully we will do our little part to raise awareness for Jennifer Hall. Shout it from the rooftops!


  • Jennifer Hall’s new album, “Jennifer Hall EP” is available now on bandcamp.
  • Listen if you like: Sharon Van Etten, My Brightest Diamond, a powerhouse voice

5. Clams Casino feat. Samuel T. Herring– “Ghost in a kiss”

I love the band Future Islands. But I’ve always thought that the real star of that show is lead singer, Samuel Herring. His voice, charisma, and his whole kind of “thing” is the star and the music accompanying it is just a vehicle for Samuel Herring’s voice.

I’ve preferred his voice being backed by BADBADNOTGOOD, or soddled up next to Milwaukee’s Milo, or riding a Madlib beat.

But it’s here that it has truly found its place. The power of Sam Herring’s voice is the power itself. You can almost see the brimstone burning in those lungs. It’s that of Virgil, guiding Dante down through the nine circles of hell into center of hell itself for council with Lucifer. It’s dark, it’s haunting and cinematic. Sam Herring has found his place.


  • Clam’s Casino’s new album, “32 Levels” is out now on Columbia Records.
  • Listen if you like: music from hell, BADBADNOTGOOD, Future Islands