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5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with Brett Dennen

5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with Brett Dennen


1. Brett Dennen picks “Talk Me Down” by Willy Mason

Every week we ask one artist that we love to be our guest and talk about one song that they love. Here we sit down with Brett Dennen.

Justin: Brett Dennen, what is one song that you can’t stop listening to?

Brett Dennen: The one song I can’t stop listening to as of late is called “Talk me Down” my Willy Mason. And I don’t really know a lot about him, other than he’s British.

A friend of mine told me to listen to him, and I started listening to him, and when that song “Talk me Down” came on, I was like, oh, I’ve heard this before somewhere. It has that familiarity, that thing that good music has, where it’s already kind of been living in our blood and bones for a while that it just reminds you, that oh yea, I know this. It’s got such a mellow, rootsy, gloomy, cool finger-style guitar playing. It’s really mellow, and he sings in falsetto a lot, and it’s kind of effortless. The words kind of just fall out of his voice. It’s a beautiful track.

Justin: That’s perfect. Do you know what this song is about?

Brett: It’s some sort of a ballad. The gist I get from it is that whatever it is that you do, unravels me. If you tell me to go somewhere, I go there.


  • “Talk Me Down” was released on Willy Mason’s 2013 EP, “Don’t Stop Now”
  • Listen if you like: Brett Dennen, Walter Martin, Andrew Bird

2. Run the Jewels – “Talk To Me”

There is that scene in “Office Space” where all the kind of square office dudes in ties listen to Geto Boys and destroy the printer. That’s how I feel every time I list to RTJ.

Listening to Run the Jewels gives you power. El-P’s beats and Killer Mike’s delivery and lyrics are so layered with in-your-face-confidence that it’s hard for it not to rub off on you.

They SOUND big.

They ARE Big.

And no matter how small you are or feel, listen to this and it will give you power.


  • “Talk To Me” was released as part of the Adult Swim Singles program and will be the first song off their forthcoming album, “Run The Jewels 3”
  • Listen if you like: powerful music, turn up tracks, music to get you pumped up

3. Slothrust – “Like a Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone”

One of my friends majored in piano recital and we were sitting in his living room one time listening to Weezer’s “Pinkerton,” and I was telling him how much I love Pat Wilson on the drums. He’s always building up or slowing down he’s never just holding a beat.

And my friend told me that when he was doing piano recital he had a teacher that told him the key to making good music is to make sure that it’s always going somewhere.

Slothrust gets that. You will feel the transitions in this song before you realize why you love it. It starts very soft and delicate, and then boom, comes in hard, backs off a bit, builds it back up, comes to a climax, and goes full circle back to being soft and delicate.

So listen, and let this song take you somewhere.


  • Slothrust’s new album, “Everyone Else” is out now via Dangerbird Records.
  • Listen if you like: Alvvays, great song structure, Cracker?

4. Lou Donaldson – ”Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On)”

Justin: I’m here with Peter Adams. Peter, what’s your title at 88Nine?

Peter: My title here is the Marketing Manager.

Justin: And what do you do?

Peter: I do a lot of business partnerships and sponsorships. Try to get the word out about the station through different media entities and different organizations in the community.

Justin: What is one song you can’t stop listening to?

Peter: One song I can’t stop listening to is Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky. And that’s by the one and only Lou Donaldson.

Justin: I know you do love the funk.

Peter: I do. And I love the soul jazz. A band we’ve all kind of been talking about at the station is Vulfpeck.

Justin: Everybody is obsessed with this band.

Peter: And for all the right reasons. They’re a super funky soulful group of new cats that have been playing in the tradition of the old school soul jazz.

Justin: And so this got you back into old soul jazz?

Peter: It’s gotten me to dig into my collection of records and rediscover some of the jams I used to listen to on the regular. Lou Donaldson being one the key players.

Justin: What do you like about Lou Donaldson?

Peter: One of the things I like about Lou Donaldson and jazz is that you can listen to a Lou Donaldson album and the organ player is Lonnie Smith. So then you can go down the wormhole of Lonnie Smith and start digging into the stuff that he’s doing, and by listening to Lonnie Smith you might like a trumpet player and then you can discover Lee Morgan, you know, it’s a cool connection with the jazz musicians. They’re all side men but they’re all leaders at the same time.

Justin: I love that about jazz. It’s a real treasure to read liner notes on jazz albums, because you’re like, oh, I know this guy and this guy and this guy.

Peter: And this is a classic. This album got Melvin Sparks on guitar, Blue Mitchell on trumpet, all blue note guys who have been on all super cool blue note album throughout the years.

Justin: What do you like about this song?

Peter: This song, it’s just, the title says it all. It’s just funk from the beginning to the end.

Justin: Let’s get funky.


  • “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On)” was released in 1970 on Lou Donaldson’s album, “Everything I Play is Funky.”
  • Listen if you like: Vulfpeck, soul-jazz, funk

5. Foxygen – “America”

For their first song since their, “Farewell Tour” the duo of Sam France and Jonathan Rado invited 34 musicians into a studio to create an orchestra in a pop song.

It’s a masterpiece of composition more than anything. Vocals are used discreetly over nearly five and a half minutes as the song gives way to a pastiche of musical styles from classical, to swing, piano balladeering and Brahms, it never stays in one direction, but pivots, jukes, and jumps from one style to another.

There really is nothing quite like this.


  • A new Foxygen album has not officially been announced. Yet.
  • Listen if you like: Scott Walker, The Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds”, a 34 piece orchestra

5. Jeff Rosenstock – “Festival Song”

Jeff Rosenstock used to be the front man of a band called Bomb The Music Industry! Bomb the Music Industry! Was a mix of Ska, power pop, and punk. The band’s style spoke to so many people because of it’s mixture of wordy lyricism and high energy music.

The whole scene that surrounded that style of music kind of started to dissolve after the late 2000’s, but the sentiment stayed there. And I think that Jeff Rosenstock has done a great job of keeping the energy alive. The chorus in this song is not something that you sing, it’s something that you yell. And you feel. And I’m glad that Jeff Rosenstock is keeping the spirit of that time alive.


  • Jeff Rosenstock’s new album, “WORRY.” Is out now.
  • Listen if you like: Bomb the Music Inductry!, honesty, earnest lyrics with high intensity music

5. Jonwayne – “Wonka”

Justin Barney: I’m here with our intern Eddie, AKA Fast Eddie. Eddie you have been haranguing me about playing one artist and a song in particular. Could you tell me what is the song and artist you can’t stop listening to?

Eddie: First of all the artist is Jonwayne. And the song that I really want to listen to is “Wonka”

Justin Barney: Why Wonka?

Eddie: So basically the little history is that Jonwayne was allegedly retired. He put out an album saying that Jonwayne is retired so he hadn’t talked to anyone in like two years, and then all of a sudden he comes out of nowhere at the beginning of the summer with “Wonka” which is the single. And “Wonka” is basically an ode to the new Jonwayne, and kind of a scathing review of everyone who doubted him. It’s like a diss-track but in like a really powerful way.

Justin Barney: Like an affirmative diss-track?

Eddie: It’s an affirmative diss-track, but in his own manner. He did an interview right before he dipped out on the public and he was like, “I hate rap. I hate hip-hop. I’m not rap. I’m not hip-hop. I’m my own person. I’m a musician and I don’t care about what you want to say about me. I’m here doing this self-gratifying level of music, and if you’re gonna disrespect me for being a hip-hop artist I don’t care because I’m not a hip-hop artist. I’m a musician.”

And I love that.


  • Jonwayne’s single “Wonka” is out now.
  • Listen if you like: MF DOOM, dogma rap, affirmative diss-tracks