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.
1. Amy Shark picks “Go Flex” by Post Malone
The end of every year and the beginning of every year are pretty slow in the music industry, releases slow to a trickle. So, instead of talking about new music, this week we are asking some of our favorite artists to talk about their favorite songs.
Amy Shark is from Queensland, Australia. Last year she released a four song EP called, “Night Thinker.” We played two songs from that EP in heavy rotation. We love her. This is our conversation with Amy Shark.
Justin Barney: Amy, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Amy Shark: The song I’m going to every day over and over again is, “Go Flex” by Post Malone.
Justin Barney: Yes! And why Post Malone?
Amy Shark: I think I just love the acoustic guitar and how it’s mixed in so perfectly. And his voice is amazing. And, its just a great song anyway.
Justin Barney: Yeah, that pick surprises me a little bit.
Amy Shark: What were you expecting?
Justin Barney: I don’t know, I kind of always love when someone picks a song that is #1 on the Billboard chart right now.
Amy Shark: Is it number one?
Justin Barney: Last time I looked it was either that song or another Post Malone song.
Amy Shark: Yeah, alright, cool. I didn’t even know that. You always have to back the winner.
Justin Barney: laughs Yeah! How did you hear the song?
Amy Shark: I was wonking on my album and I had a song that I was trying to explain to the producer how it sounded in my head. And he said, “Listen to this song.” And it was “Go Flex” and another couple songs where he used acoustic guitar and I was like, ‘That’s it! That’s what I want to do. I want to try and blend it like that.”
- “Go Flex” was released in 2016 on Post Malone’s album, “Stoney.”
- Listen if you like: Amy Shark, pop with acoustic guitars
2. Ani DiFranco picks – “Thru You Too” by Princess Shaw and Kutiman
Ani DiFranco is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, poet, songwriter, feminist icon, and businesswoman. She has released over 20 albums throughout her career. Her latest is “Binary,” from which we are playing the song, “Binary.” I’m here with Ani DiFranco.
Justin Barney: Ani, what is one song right now that you can’t stop listening to?
Ani DiFranco: “Thru You Too” by Princess Shaw and Kutiman.
Justin Barney: Hmmmmm, I am vaguely familiar.
Ani DiFranco: Well let me tell you a little background on this track. There is a movie out there called “Presenting Princess Shaw” which I saw recently.
Justin Barney: Yeeeees.
Ani DiFranco: And it totally blew my mind!
There is this woman in New Orleans who is a vlogger and has a Youtube channel. She sings and composes these acapella melodies and puts them out into the world.
And then there is Kutiman, this guy on the other side of the world in Tel Aviv, Israel. He made and built these tracks behind her acapella videos. And they are amazing tracks. He takes tracks that people have on the internet. People doing little demos on their instruments and that’s how he makes the tracks. Then he releases them back into the world through the internet. No traditional record company or means of dissemination. It’s all very modern. And beautiful.
Kuttiman has this friend in Israel that’s a documentary filmmaker and he came here, simply telling Princess Shaw that he was doing a documentary about people who vlog. So he’s capturing real-life footage and you watch her…
Justin Barney: So she didn’t know…
Ani DiFranco: She didn’t know! So you watch the moment when she first hears this track that Kutiman built behind her song. And then it goes viral in front of your eyes and hers. It’s so emotional.
It’s like a modern Cinderella story.
Justin Barney: That’s incredible.
Ani DiFranco: I feel like they reinvented art for the 21st century.
- “Thru You Too” was uploaded to Youtube in 2014 by Kutiman.
- Listen if you like: Ani DiFranco, loop pedals, inspiring stories
3. Craig Finn picks, “Letter in Icelandic from the Ninette San” by John K. Sampson
Craig Finn is lead singer of the band, The Hold Steady, the greatest bar band in the history of bar bands. He is also a solo musician in his own right, all of which has been fantastic. His most recent album is called, “We All Want The Same Things.” He promoted it here, playing at The Cactus Club which is where I saw him. We recorded this the next day.
Justin Barney: I went to the show yesterday. And I walked in like two or three songs into your openers set. When I walked in I heard people singing and I thought that there was an effects pedal that he must have been using to create that but then I realized that like half the crowed was singing every word to every song. That gave me real feelings. That’s what I love about music. Getting 100 people into a room singing every word to every song. So, um, how did you find this guy? Who is he?
Craig Finn: He’s John K. Sampson. He was or is the singer in the band The Weakerthans who I first heard in the late 90’s. I am a huge fan. He is one of my favorite singers and songwriters.
In fact I was such a big Weakerthans fan that when I first went to Los Angeles, that there were street signs and stuff that I knew from the band X. I felt like I had already been there. And when I drove to Winnipeg for the first time I felt the same way. I said, “Oh, there’s Portage Ave., that’s The Underground. All these little details from his songs.
He’s sort of the Poet Laureate of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
And then we played a show up there and I told the audience that. After the show he appeared and said hello. We’ve been friends since. He’s someone whose lyricism continues to amaze and inspire me.
Justin Barney: Yeah. I feel like when I went to Minneapolis for the first time I felt the same way after listening to your music.
Craig Finn: People have said that to me before and I take it as a huge compliment because those are the details that I love.
Justin Barney: Can we focus in on one song from him?
Craig Finn: Yeah, John’s song from his album, “Provincial,” “Letter in Icelandic to Nenette San.” A San is an abbreviation for “sanatorium.” I talked to him about it and he said it was about fascinated by it. It’s in Manitoba. He did research on it.
There is a line in the song where he says “Bev Monroe and his Pembina Valley Boys play at the party.” And apparently that was a real band. They would go around to these different events in Manitoba in the early to mid part of the century.
It’s that notion of detail that makes the song so special.
And sad. But I think that, when I think of a sad song I think when you play a sad song and you get in a room like last night and people are singing along, you’re singing all these sad things together. There is an acknowledgement that we are all suffer and we all get sad and maybe somehow it feels better to be around people singing these sad songs together and I think that’s some of the beauty in John’s music.
- “Letter in Icelandic to Nenette San,” was released in 2012 on John K. Sampson’s album, “Provincial.”
- Listen if you like: The Hold Steady, very specific song writing, Bev Monroe and the Pembina Valley Boys
4. Lo Moon picks “Pain” by The War On Drugs
Lo Moon is a band that is kind of from all over the place. They’re a trio from New York, England, and Colorado while being based in LA. As a band, they’ve only released three songs. It’s a slow roll out for Lo Moon. But we have played two of them in heavy rotation. Hopefully this year they will released a full length. This is my conversation with Matt Lowell, who is lead singer and instrumentalist for Lo Moon.
Justin Barney: Matt, what is one song you can’t stop listening to?
Matt Lowell: “Pain” by The War On Drugs. I just love the new record.
Justin Barney: Of all the songs on the record, why “Pain?”
Matt Lowell: I just think Adam sounds really honest.
There is an honesty about that song that I really love.
The lyrics are really beautiful, and the guitar riff in it is amazing.
Justin Barney: People love The War On Drugs…
Matt Lowell: We are one of those bands.
Justin Barney: What is the appeal?
Matt Lowell: One is, they are an amazing band as a unit. And the other is that Adam takes such care in his recordings. There is so much that goes into what finally comes out that, as a musician, you really strive for. And as a band, they are just so likeable. You wanna root for them. You just want them to win.
Justin Barney: Yeah, they got this Springsteen quality. You said that there was an honesty in this song. How does honesty translate?
Matt Lowell: Yeah, it can come in a couple ways. You can tell when something just doesn’t feel right. With Adam and The War On Drugs, I think that song, and my favorite songs ever have that quality. Where it’s just like, that’s them being them. No one else can do that the way they do that.
That’s my beacon for songs. That’s my goal.
- “Pain” was released in 2017 on The War On Drugs album, “A Deeper Understanding.”
- Listen if you like: Lo Moon, Bruce Springsteen, Kurt Vile
5. Jamila Woods picks “Peace of Mind” by Little Dragon feat. Faith Evans
Jamila Woods is a singer from Chicago, Ill. Last year she released her debut album, “HEAVN.” She collaborated with Chance the Rapper on the song, “LSD” that you can hear on 88Nine, and he’s been part of NPR’s Slingshot. This is our conversation with Jamila Woods.
Justin Barney: Jamila, what is one song that you can’t stop listening to right now?
Jamila Woods: hmmm, I just heard the Little Dragon song with Faith Evans called “Peace of Mind.” It poped pup on Youtube and just when I saw their names together I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is gonna be awesome.” And it really is. I want to listen to it more but I just have the hook stuck in my head.
Justin Barney: Can you sing it?
Jamila Woods: ~sings peace of mind~ That’s all I got.
Justin Barney: Perfect!
Jamila Woods: I like how you can’t ever expect what Little Dragon is gonna do. Or who they are gonna collaborate with. So I’m excited to get more into their latest album.
“Peace of Mind” was released as a single in September.
Listen if you like: Jamila Woods, Faith Evans, Rhythm Lab