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5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with guest Sylvan Esso

5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening to is a collection of our newest favorite songs. And Every week we ask an artist that we love to tell us about the music they love.

Listen to the whole thing in the player below.

5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with guest Sylvan Esso

1. Sylvan Esso picks “Conceptual Romance” by Jenny Hval

We always kick off the countdown by asking one artist that we love to pick a song. Sylvan Esso is a band that met right here in Milwaukee WI, at the Cactus Club. They released their self-titled debut a couple years ago, and their new album, “What Now?” is out now.

I’ve talked to them a couple times and every time I talk to them it’s just so apparent how legitimately in-love they are and how well they know each other. So when we were at Eaux Claires recently I asked each of them what song the other one couldn’t stop listening to.


Justin Barney: What is one song that Nick can’t stop listening to?

Amelia Meath: “Conceptual Romance” you’ve been listening to a lot.

Nick Sanborn: Yes.

Justin Barney: By who?

Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn: Jenny Hval

Justin Barney: What do you like about it?

Nick Sanborn: It’s just…Have you listened to that album? Blood Bitch?

Justin Barney: Yeah!

Nick Sanborn: I think that record as a whole is one of the greatest pieces of conceptual album art that I have ever listened to.

Justin Barney: What’s the concept?

Nick Sanborn: She’s discussing contemporary womanhood…through the lens of vampires.

I mean, it’s a very out, beautiful about her being a woman.

There is a number of times where the whole pastiche collects together in these moments of genuinely focused pop, and this is one of them. The minute it starts it’s like you have just been waiting for it to congeal this entire time and it’s just absolutely gorgeous.


  • “Conceptual Romance” was released in 2016 on Jenny Hval’s album, “Blood Bitch.”
  • Listen if you like: Concept albums about contemporary womanhood, Jesse Lanza, Sylvan Esso

2. Sylvan Esso picks “Green Light” by Lorde

Justin Barney: What is a song that Amelia can’t stop listening to?

Nick Sanborn: That’s a good question…um…what song can’t you stop listening to?

Amelia Meath: There is one that you don’t know about yet.

Nick Sanborn: Really?? You think I don’t know about it…well, I would have guessed something by Kendrick Lamar, but now I’m curious. I feel like it was “DNA” for a while there.

Amelia Meath: It was “DNA” for a while there, but now it’s Lorde’s “Green Light.”

Nick Sanborn: That makes total sense to me!

Justin Barney: Why “Green Light?”

Amelia Meath: You know…

Justin Barney: Because it’s a banger?

Amelia Meath: Yeah because it does that thing where it feels like you’re melting and also solid at the same time when you’re hearing it.

Nick Sanborn: That is one that didn’t speak to me at first and has grown on me so gradually and so steadfastly and now I like love it.

Amelia Meath: She like actually sounds like that girl in Willy Wonka that’s like, “I waaaaant it”

I do too, Lorde.


  • “Green Light” is on Lorde’s new album, “Melodrama” which is out now.
  • Listen if you like: Sia, pop bangers, Sylvan Esso

3. Midnight Sister – “Blue Cigar”

This song is like something out of a David Lynch film. The smoking a blue cigar. The completely deadpan delivery. The whisper.

It is odd, and yet completely normal. It slinks.

There is something in the air of this song that is just cool.

It’s music to make a cocktail to. It’s Midnight Sister. It’s “Blue Cigar.”


  • “Blue Cigar” will be available on September 8th on Midnight Sister’s album, “Saturn Over Sunset.”
  • Listen if you like: David Lynch, slinky cocktail music, Foxygen

4. Zoë Keating – “Sun Will Set”

Justin Barney: This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To and with me is our DJ, Sarah Fierek. Hi Sarah.

Sarah Fierek: Hi Justin.

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

Sarah Fierek: So you caught me in a week where we just kind of got done with a lot of busy events and our ten year block party.

Justin Barney: Launching the 414 channel, 10 year block party…

Sarah Fierek: …Family Reunion, Summerfest starting, all of that. So, you know, sometimes I just try to go back to like… being able to reflect and to just relax for a moment

Justin Barney: And calm down a little bit, yeah

Sarah Fierek: Because I feel like I don’t often times take the time that I need to now
Justin Barney: Yes.

Sarah Fierek: I grew up in the country so like having some time to take a walk, throw on some earbuds, listen to some good music, and for me, sometimes listening to something that doesn’t have words helps me get into that more meditative state of mind

Justin Barney: Absolutely.

Sarah Fierek: So the song I couldn’t stop listening to this week was Zoë Keating. The song is called “Sun Will Set.” Something about it just kind of took me back to a meditative state and a point of reflection and being able to really be grateful for the great week that we had last week.

Justin Barney: Yeah.

Sarah Fierek: After I was listening to the song, I kind of reminded myself that I at one point wrote this quote that was, “take time or time will take you” and this song kind of really allows you to be free and its seven minutes long so we won’t play the full version today but for those that may enjoy the teaser, I would definitely suggest buying the album and checking it out.

Justin Barney: Totally. What’s the name of the song?

Sarah Fierek: “Sun Will Set” by Zoë Keating

Justin Barney: Let’s do it


  • “Sun Will Set” was released in 2005 on her album, “One Cello x 16:Natoma.”
  • Listen if you like: Classical music, something calming, relaxation

5. Slaughter Beach, Dog – “Building the Ark”

I love having bands that are like, my band. You know what I’m saying?

You feel like no one else in the world knows about this band but you and maybe a small group of loners and weirdos that are like you.

Slaughter Beach, Dog is one of those bands for me. Their music is specific and has feeling, but their lead singer delivers it so plain and monotone.

Others might hear it and say it’s too slow or boring, or that he can’t sing. And that’s fine with me because I love it.

This song won’t be everyone’s favorite song, but it’s mine. And maybe it will be yours too.


  • “Building the Ark” will be released on Slaughter Beach, Dog’s new EP, “Motorcycle.Jpg”
  • Listen if you like: Modern Baseball, low key deliveries, great songwriting

5. St. Vincent – “New York”

Writing a piano ballot about New York as a rite of passage.

Writing a song about New York is a bit of a rite of passage as a musician. Look at Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, The Sex Pistols, Simon & Garfunkel, Lou Reed, U2, LCD Soundsystem, DJ Khaled,

One time Mac Demarco told me that Billie Joel was a con man because he wrote all these songs about New York that, of course, they would play on the radio all the time in New York, and then you’d grow to love them and, in turn, him.

Well, St. Vincent makes the rite of passage in her new song, “New York.”


It’s not as angular and futuristic as her last album, St. Vincent, it’s a plowing piano ballad that grits it’s teeth through it’s own beauty with the chorus featuring a two part word that I am forbidden by the FCC from saying out loud on the radio.

And also driving it is it’s feeling.  About being in the biggest city in the country and having one person that understands you.


  • “New York” will presumably be on St. Vincent’s new album, although nothing has been confirmed yet.
  • Listen if you like: songs about New York, piano driven songs, songs that build

5. Girlpool – “123”

Girlpool’s music is like an inner voice externalized. Part lullaby and part anthem, “123” bass line humms you off into a dream as its guitar twinkles over your head and the drums, a new addition for Girlpool, crash in and throughout giving a heartbeat to a song that already has so much heart already.

Girlpool reaches perfection in “123”


  • Girlpool’s new album, “Powerplant” will be out on May 12th.
  • Listen if you like: Frankie Cosmos, Alvvays, the song “Only In Dreams” by Weezer

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