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5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with guests Stephen Malkmus and Sunflower Bean

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

Listen to the whole segment and all the songs below.

5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To with guests Stephen Malkmus and Sunflower Bean


1. Stephen Malkmus picks “You Know You Know” by Pusha T

Author Chuck Klosterman has called Stephen Malkmus’ band, Pavement, “the greatest, indiest band of all time.” He has also been in the band Silver Jews, and has been with his band, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, for quite a while now. Their newest album is called “Sparkle Hard.” We have been playing the song “Middle America” on 88Nine.

Justin Barney:  What’s one song right now that you can’t stop listening to, or have been listening to a bunch recently?

Stephen Malkmus: In general? We were on the road, I like that Pusha T song “You Know You Know.” It’s produced by Kanye West. Played that a few times.

Justin Barney: I don’t know if you would strike me as a Pusha T fan.

Stephen Malkmus: I’m an everything fan. I’m just thinking of songs that entertain me that I’ve liked recently.

Justin Barney:  Let’s key in on that. What entertains you about that Pusha T song?

Stephen Malkmus: Well, first of all, it’s really catchy and I like the beats. And I don’t know, it’s a fun song. What can I say. You know you know.

Justin Barney:  If you know, you know.

Stephen Malkmus: I know. Like so many suburban white rap fans, I know too, you know. I really relate to what he’s saying about being a drug dealer, you know? It speaks to me.

  • “If You Know You Know” was released in May on Pusha T’s album, “DAYTONA.”
  • Listen if you like: Kanye production, Future, new hip-hop

2. “Nobody” by Mitski

My favorite part of this song is where the different ways she says “nobody.” So... just... let me get on the phone here

*phone rings*

Mitski: Hello

Justin Barney: Hi Mitski, this is Justin. My favorite part about “Nobody” is the annunciation of “nobody” and the iterations of the number of times that you say “nobody.” What is the thought process there? You say it in so many different ways.

Mitski: Well, I am glad you noticed that. I don’t think many people would have. I did do that on purpose, which makes me happy that you noticed it.

It’s one of those things where you gotta keep it interesting, especially if you’re repeating one word over and over. And in today’s world, you know, so many vocal recordings are kind of cut-and-paste. Choruses in pop songs are just the same vocal recording repeated three times or twice or whatever.

And for this album, I want to keep it live, sort of. I want people to hear my breath. I want people to hear, maybe, the sounds in the room. I want people to hear that it was recorded live and differently for each chorus. So that was kind of the thought process behind that.

And also, I get bored. I get really bored and I need it to be different each time.

  • Mitski’s new album, “Be the Cowboy” comes out August 17.
  • Listen if you like: everything that is great in the world, Mitski doing a disco track, one of the best songs of the year


3. Sunflower Bean picks “Ghost Town” by Kanye West

Our guest today is Sunflower Bean. Sunflower Bean is a band from Brooklyn, NY. We have been playing their music since their first EP. Their newest album is “Twentytwo in Blue” of which we are playing the song. “I Was A Fool.” They are also going to be playing in Milwaukee onSeptember 22 at The Back Room at Colectivo. My guest today is Nicholas Kivlen of Sunflower Bean.

Justin Barney: Nicholas, what’s one song you can’t stop listening to?

Nicholas Kivlen: The one song that we’ve been playing over and over on this tour in the van is -- I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but it’s a great song -- it’s “Ghost Town” by Kanye West. Off his newest record.

Justin Barney: Don’t be embarrassed. There is no embarrassment.

Nicholas Kivlen:It’s just everybody is probably saying the same thing. It’s an amazing song. It’s super anthemic. It’s my favorite one off that album. Probably my favorite Kanye song in general.

Justin Barney: What makes it stand out of all the Kanye tracks?

Nicholas Kivlen: It’s just a great sample. I love Kanye’s singing voice, and then the feature at the end, so far, is like my “musical moment” of the year. I think it’s by 070 Shake (if that’s how you pronounce her name) and I had never heard of her until she did that feature.

And it just feels the most like something from his classic work that we all really like.

  • Kanye’s new album, “ye” is out now.
  • Listen if you like: the old Kanye, anthems, 070 Shake

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. “WIN” by Jay Rock

Justin Barney: I am here with DJ Kenny Perez

Kenny Perez: What’s up.

Justin Barney: What’re you listening to, Kenny?

Kenny Perez: Right now I’m listening to Jay Rock called “Win.”

Justin Barney: So tell me about Jay Rock. I’ve been hearing about Jay Rock, like, bits and pieces of it all over the place. Give me the story.

Kenny Perez: Well what I know about Jay Rock -- he’s on his third album -- he’s off of TDE, Top Dawg Entertainment, of course. And we all know that Kendrick is on there. And he is the --no, not just Kendrick, he’s Pulitzer-winning Kendrick.

Justin Barney: Pulitzer prize-winning Kendrick Lamar, yes.

Kenny Perez: So he’s doing his thing, he’s on his third album and he’s waited patiently to come up. This third album is his time. And it’s dope. And I’m calling it now, it might be Grammy-worthy.

Justin Barney: Alright, so, what is -- what’s your song?

Kenny Perez: The song is called “Win”.

Justin Barney: What do you like about the song?

Kenny Perez: What I like about the song is, right in the beginning is a really cool sample from an old John Wayne film called “True Grit.”

Justin Barney: Have you seen it?

Kenny Perez: No, I’ve never seen it.

Justin Barney: Oh my -- Alright.

Kenny Perez: I know of it.

Justin Barney: OK, fair.

Kenny Perez: But definitely that sample and it just goes into, you know, he’s just talking about winning and he’s talking about, like -- it’s basically about winning and not letting get anyone get in your way, or bring you down. It reminded me of kind of, like, the Luda song -- “move, b, get out the way” that kind of thing. And it makes me -- it makes you jump, man. Put your windows down in your car and just point at people, and right now, you’re going to get out of my way and I’m going to do this -- let’s go.


  • Jay Rock’s new album, “Redemption” is out now.
  • Listen if you like: Ludacris’s “Move Bitch,” Kendrick Lamar, TDE

5. “I Went on a Solo Australian Tour” by Walter Martin

So, Walter Martin used to be in the band “The Walkmen.” And a couple years ago The Walkmen broke up and the individual members started making solo albums. Hamilton Leithauser has made a few, and so has Walter Martin. Now, The Walkmen’s sound was kind of dark and brooding, but Walter Martin’s music couldn’t be farther from that. They are wholesome, light, conversational, and funny.

I am in love with every album he puts out. And it always feels like he doesn’t get the press that he deserves, so I feel that it is my fan duty to talk about him.

So he just released this album called “Reminisce Bar and Grill.” This is the song that stuck out to me the most.

In this song he just tells you about his life. He’s got this great device in there where there is a chorus and he talks to, essentially, himself. You know he is writing both of these parts, but it feels like a normal conversation. I really really love this guy and this song.

  • “Reminisce Bar and Grill,” is out now.
  • Listen if you like: Randy Newman, Paul McCartney, funny songs