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5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with guest Alvvays

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 Alvvays

1. Alvvays picks “The Underside of Power” by Algiers

For the first song every week, we always ask one artist we love to tell us about a song they love. Our guest this week is Alvvays.

Alvvays is a band from Toronto, Canada. We’ve loved everything they have done. Their newest album is “Antisocialites”, of which you’ve heard several songs. Right now we’re playing “Plimsoll Punks”.

They’re going to be playing in Milwaukee at the Pabst Theater on March 24th.

Justin Barney:  My guest today is Molly Rankin, lead singer of Alvvays. What’s one song you can’t stop listening to right now?

Molly Rankin: Do you know that band Algiers? That song, “The Underside of Power”. Have you heard that? It’s so good. I haven’t heard anything like that before. It’s such a collection of different things. A combination of different sounds and genres.

It’s a nice feeling to have when you can’t quite put a finger on what you’re listening to.

Justin Barney: That was my initial reaction with that band as well. I listened to it and just heard history.

Molly Rankin: Yeah, it’s an exciting feeling.

Justin Barney:  I think that guy has a PhD or something.

Molly Rankin: That’s useful in song writing. Maybe I should get myself one. You can just go get those, right?

Justin Barney: Well I think you’re doing just fine.

We should listen to the song, this is “The Underside of Power” by Algiers.


  • “The Underside of Power” was released in 2017 on Matador.
  • Listen if you like: a survey of American music, Nick Cave, a dark edge
  • Listen to our full interview

2. Frankie Cosmos – “Being Alive”

Despite what I thought for a long time, the name of the lead singer is not Frankie Cosmos that’s their stage name. Her real name is Greta Kline.

In 2014 she released this album on bandcamp called, “Zentropy” that had all these song that were under a minute long, they all sounded like they were recorded in her bedroom,  they were super personal, very earnest, sweet, and just really wonderful.

That’s kind of the core of Frankie Cosmos. It’s a wonderful, innocent sweetness.

In 2018 she is moving on and movie up. She has signed with Sub Pop records and is slated to release her new album, “Vessel.” “Being Alive” is the second song we have off that record. The song has all those qualities we love about Frankie Cosmos, it’s sweet, clever and cute. It also includes a lot of her bandmates in it, which we have not seen before.


  • “Vessel” will be out on March 30th, via Sub Pop.
  • Listen if you like: (Sandy) Alex G, Porches, The Epoch

3. Vundabar – “Tonight I’m Wearing Silk”

This song had me at the jump. When the lead singer hits, “That’s when I reach for my dissolver,” a reference to Mission of Burma’s 1981 song, “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver.” It’s clever because it keys you into something that you already know. So there is familiarity there.

I also love when music is referential. So when they refer to Mission of Burma, also a Boston band. You get a location. You get a history. You get background information. All from just one line.

They also put a little twist on the original song, changing the punch line from “revolver” to “dissolver.” Something to numb you to the world instead of taking you out of it. A sign of the times.

And also, the rest of the song just rocks. It twists and turns, surprising you at every measure. It comes around to that great hook too. All-in-all it’s a great song.


  • Vundabar’s new album, “Smell Smoke” is out now via Gawk Records.
  • Listen if you like: Mission of Burma, songs that reference other songs, Parquet Courts

Cody Gaisser  - “Wish There Was A Way”

Every year, we have this event called Sound Bites at the Iron Horse Hotel. Restaurants all around town are paired up with DJs from here at 88.9. They pair a dish with a song. There is also an auction, which Bridget Flynn won and is our guest today for our 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To segment.

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

Bridget Flynn: I had to find something that, 1, I didn’t think you would know, 2 would…

Justin Barney: Not a prerequisite, but okay.

Bridget Flynn: I wanted it to be sort of a sad song, so my pick is Cody Gaisser, “Wish There Was A Way.”

Justin Barney: Okay, so I don’t know it. Good. We’re on the right track. Tell me more about it.

Bridget Flynn: So I met Cody probably 15 years ago, and he’s a singer/songwriter out of Florence, Alabama. It’s fun, but it’s a little sad.

Justin Barney: Do you remember hearing it for the first time?

Bridget Flynn: I do. He used to come in and do open-mic nights at the place I worked. The first time I met him, he was just this little 16 year-old guy. He pulled out a guitar and no one really thought anything of it, and he opened his mouth and I was like “Oh my God! My life is changed.” He’s got this crazy voice that I just love.

  • “Wish There Was A Way” was released in 2002 on Gaisser’s “Good As Velvet” EP.
  • Listen if you like: Kyle Craft, Van Morrison, gritty vocals and guitar
  • Get tickets to Sound Bites here.

4. Luke Marzec - “When We First Met”

Justin Barney: I’m here with Tarik AKA The Architect. Tarik what are you listening to?

Tarik: Right now I’m listening to this artist Luke Marzec. I think he’s out of London. He’s a producer and multi-instrumentalist. He put out this song, “When We First Met” earlier this year.

I’m not a fan of romantic songs, per say, but this one hit a nerve with me. It feels like it could fit a Wes Anderson film. The lyrics are quirky, and, like me, awkward.

It has a lounge-y vibe without feeling Las Vegas lounge-y. It’s got this subtle hip-hop current going on. And it brings out the romantic side of me, which is rare.


  • “When We First Met” was released as a single in November 2017.
  • Listen if you like: lounge-y vibes, British producers, Rhythm Lab

5. Sex Park – “Dignity”

Despite the bands unfortunate band name, Sex Park makes some pretty good music. The genre, surely up for debate, I’m gonna say is post-punk. Punctuated by dark synthesizers, a pedal heavy guitar that never really stops, and a vocal that sounds like it was recorded from the other side of the room that fits just under everything in the mix. Post-punk, kind of started by bands like Wire and perfected by Joy Division, continues here in 2018 with multitudes of subgenres that each give the genre something different.

“Dignity’s” synths are thick, and the drums are propulsive. Like the best in it’s genre, it gets your head to turn off everything that’s around you and live in the song.


  • Sex Park’s new album, “Atrium” is available now on bandcamp.
  • Listen if you like: Joy Division, shoegaze, post-punk

5. Maxo Kream – “5200”

Sometimes, you just have to run the trap, and running the trap is what we’re doing into this weekend. “5200” comes from Houston rapper, Maxo Kream. If you want to know what Maxo Kream’s childhood and living situation is like, he’s this great song, “Grannies”. He talks about being raised in public housing, his family, and what it was like to live in Houston in a really messed up situation. It’s an excellent autobiographical song, and a great look into the perspective and storytelling that Maxo Kream does in his music.

This one also has a great amount of storytelling. It’s about pushing and hustling 5200 different ways. It’s also got a great beat. I love how he changes flows in this song. He starts with one distinct flow, and in the middle goes into another one. It’s seamless and it feels good. Maxo Kream is an artist I just discovered this year. Love this song.


  • Maxo Kream’s new album, “Punken” is out now om TSO Music Group
  • Listen if you like: trap, story telling, Houston hip-hop

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