Announcement: Starting June 1st, 5 Songs will be going ON-AIR!!!! Things online aren’t changing. This column will still go up every Friday at noon, as it has been. In addition we will be producing a segment that will air every day in which I will give an introduction and play a song. There will be one song each day, five days a week, ending in this 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To column. We are so excited about this!! We hope that you get into it too.
Herzog- Mad Men
Herzog’s song “Mad Men” sounds like it was written in a bedroom, worked out in a garage, and played in a bar. I’m guessing these boys, like me, spent a lot of time in bedrooms of rustbelt suburbia feeling lonely and frustrated and used music to work those feelings out. The verses are personal, they invite you into the heart of the song and speak right to you. They explode into a chorus that begs you to join in with the band on your air guitar and stomp along with them on your kick drum. Herzog asks, “What’s the point of writing songs if nobody ever wants to sing along?” I’m with ya man. I’m singing.
Herzog’s album Boys is out now.
Listen if you like: Weezer, Cloud Nothings, The Rentals, FIDLAR, Thee Oh Sees, Japandroids
Yann Tiersen- A Mid Summer Evening
Imagine your day cut down to a montage scene in a movie. Two seconds of a shower scene. Cut to two seconds of a coffee cup filling. Cut to four seconds of driving with the windows down. One second of you laughing with a friend. A pan cooking dinner. A light being switched off. Now put this song in the background of the montage. Yann Tiersen is known for making this kind of music, with Tiersen’s most notable accomplishment the scoring of the film Amelie. His new album, Infinity, retains a texture and a sense movement that many film scores contain yet is separate from a visual companion. Create your own.
YAnn Tiersen’s new album, Infinity, is out now.
Listen if you like: the movie Amelie, Moby’s most recent album Innocents, orchestra
Mac Miller- 17 Colors and Shapes
I’ll admit, it’d be hard for any artist to shake the reputation of being hip-hop’s lowest common denominator, but Mac Miller is gradually proving to us that it can be done. In fact, a name that used to make me shudder has been putting out some of the best projects of the year and this track, “17 Colors and Shapes” is the largest testament to how he’s progressed as a musician. With a mystifying atmosphere and some instrumentation provided by the one and only Thundercat, it’s awesome to see how Miller went from having friends like Wiz Khalifa to dope West Coast artists like Earl Sweatshirt, Flying Lotus, & Ab-Soul. His songwriting is on point, and “17 Colors and Shapes” gives us a great metaphor about a captain and a ship, as well as Miller’s own mental collapse.
Blu- The Return
Los Angeles’s best kept secret just released an album being called his best piece of work to date. Blu is a simple name, and just as the sky is reflected in the ocean, so is Blu’s collected experiences and his perceptions of the world in his music. Just as his classic, Below The Heavens, was a reflection of his struggles at that time in his life, Good To Be Home is a reflection of the LA culture in which he grew up. The Return has a rich, high-pitched soul sample with Blu taking on an aggressive flow with a rhyme scheme building with each bar being spit. This track is a memoir of something Blu is a product of, a homage, in a way. Check it out below.
Riff Raff- How To Be The Man
Is Riff Raff a joke? This has always been a central question. His character is on 24 hours a day. He is a caricature of every trope of “bling era” hip-hop. Riff Raff takes the chains, cornrows, tattoos and money worship one step further. Instead of Jesus and car logo chains, Riff Raff has a diamond embossed Icee Cup and a Cheshire cat that says “Mad Decent.” He shaves his chin strap into weird shapes. He weaves yarn into his cornrows. He is outlandish. He makes baseline hip hop and raps off beat, but it’s still unclear whether he is totally unaware of his character or if he is putting us all on. Is he a moron, or is he a genius? We’ll let you to decide.
We chose this song on the heels of the announcement that Riff Raff will be releasing his debut album, NEON iCON, on June 24th. NEON iCON will feature the Dirty Projectors, Diplo, Mac Miller, Childish Gambino, among others. To top it off, the video for “How to Be the Man” is produced by Milwaukee’s own Xavier Ruffin.
Listen if you like: Lil' B the based god, Das Racist, Paul Wall, bling era hip-hip, Andy Kaufman, Franz Zappa, the internet,