5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with guest Devendra Banhart
1. Devendra Banhart picks “Singing Joy To The World” by Fruit Bats
Every week we ask an artist that we love to come on and talk about one song that they love. Today we catch up with one of our favorites, Devendra Banhart.
Justin Barney: Devendra Banhart, what is one song that you can’t stop listening to?
Devendra Banhart: “Okay for my song I’m going to be very honest. I was actually in San Francisco yesterday and I had a song stuck in my head the whole time and it was “Singing Joy to the World” it’s a Fruit Bats song.
It’s this beautiful love story about these two people that met at a Three Dog Night concert. And she’s not really into him and she’s way too young for him actually, but he would definitely be with her. And he’s excited to be with her, but he knows that she’s not that into him, but he is going to just forget that and enjoy the moment of how lucky he is to even be with her.
You know, he really gets into the story with so few words. And I think that is the sign of a really successful song writer. Or a piece. Just how much can you say with less and less time and less words. And how much you can distill into a few words, I guess is what I mean.
I’m not doing it well, but he did it well.
- “Signing Joy to the World” was released on Fruit Bats’ 2009 album, “The Ruminant Band.”
- Listen if you like: Devendra Banhart, Mountain Goats, great story telling in a song
2. Forth Wanderers – “Slop”
“I know I’m weird. I’ve been told.” Forth Wanderer’s lead singer Ava Trilling acknowledges in a moment of sad self-realization in this song. It’s one of many times in this song where she knows exactly who she is, and knows that there is nothing that she can do about that. It’s a ballad of resignation. She can’t help the way she feels.
She’s feeling that she’s different, and then being told that she is different. That really bothers me. I feel like that’s how feelings of alienation are reinforced. And this is where I think there is real strength in music like this. Because by us listening we are saying “I know what you are feeling, and I feel that too. We’re all a little weird. And that’s okay.” And then we can simultaneously wallow in our own self pity, and also feel a little better about ourselves.
- Forth Wanderers’ EP, “Slop” will be released this Friday (November 11th) via Father/Daughter Records.
- Listen if you like: Frankie Cosmos, bedroom rock, sad stuff
3. Slaughter Beach, Dog – “Monsters”
“Monsters” picks you up and puts you in the middle of a world that is already happening. It’s like you opened a book to a random page and just started reading. That book takes place in Slaughter Beach, Delaware. Jake Ewald, lead singer, is not Jake Ewald, but a 22 year old girl, still living in her parent’s house. You know that her brother has passed away and you get hints that her father is absent for some reason, you know grandma is pissed off about the font on the family tomb. And Monsters, unclear whether they are real, metaphorical, or a little bit of both.
It’s an album and a song that rewards multiple listens because the more you listen the more you can piece the whole thing together.
- Slaughter Beach, Dog’s album, “Welcome” is out now on Lame-O Records.
- Listen if you like: Modern Baseball, Front Bottoms, cool concept albums
4. The Faint – “Skylab 1979”
Justin Barney: This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To and I’m here with morning host, and friend, Dori Zori.
Dori Zori: Hey pal, I think you’re going to be really excited about my pick today.
Justin Barney: Okay, what is it?
Dori Zori: Well, it is a song from the Omaha, Nebraska band, The Faint.
Justin Barney: Yeah!
Dori Zori: They are like dancy, punk, electronic…
Justin Barney: All rolled into one. They are kind of their own thing.
Dori Zori: Yeah, and that’s how the music sounds. But then their lyrics are always about social issues, which is really fun because it gets you dancing and then all of a sudden you realize that you are singing about something that is way more important than the dance party that you’ve created. *laughs*
But this new song. Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut with a dance part up in space?
Justin Barney: *laughs* I don’t know if I’ve ever specifically thought of that dream, but yeah!
Dori Zori: I feel like they’ve created the perfect soundtrack to that with their new song “Skylab 1979.”
- The Faint’s new collective retrospective, “CAPSULE: 1999-2016” is out now on Saddle Creek.
- Listen if you like: Kraftwerk, Devo, funky space dance parties
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. Helado Negro – “It’s My Brown Skin”
This year there has been a rise of songs about what it is like physically and visibly to be brown. Solange recently released the song “Don’t Touch My Hair” Lizzo released “My Skin.” It’s part of an experience that I, as a white person, don’t and can’t understand. But songs like this give insight to me, and solidarity to others.
Even with that aside, it’s nice to hear a song about the importance of loving yourself. There are a lot of songs about love, but frighteningly few about loving yourself.
- Helado Negro’s new album, “Private Energy” is out now on Asthmatic Kitty Records.
- Listen if you like: Solange, Devendra Banhart, Timber Timbre
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