This is a special week for 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To. It’s an ARTIST TAKEOVER this week. We have had many great musicians come in and talk passionately about their favorite musicians and songs. This week, we step aside and let Future Islands, The Hold Steady, Sylvan Esso, Phox, and Nick Waterhouse play the songs that they can’t stop listening to.
Future Islands pick: Karen Dalton- “Reason to Believe”
I met Future Island’s front man in our parking lot. He stopped me at the 50 yard line of our 100 foot parking lot, looked me directly in the eye, shook my hand with a firmness that my father would respect, and with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth he bellowed in a voice that seemed almost sub-audible, “Hi, my name is Samuel.” It was almost cartoonishly masculine, but it didn’t come off as if he was putting it on, it felt warm and honest. In our conversation I felt like I was talking to an old friend. It was no surprise to me that the song that he picked is one of my all-time favorites as well. You can listen to his beautiful bellow in the SoundCloud link above.
Karen Dalton’s album 1966 was released for the first time in 2012.
Listen if you like: Townes Van Zandt, The Anthology of American Folk Music, Missippi John Hurt.
The Hold Steady’s Pick: The Replacements- “I Will Dare”
The Hold Steady has been one of my favorite bands since I discovered Separation Sunday my sophomore year of high school. When I went on-air for the very first time in my life at WSUM in Madison 4 years ago, the very first song I ever played was “Your Little Hoodrat Friend,” by The Hold Steady. This was a big moment for me. Initially I wasn’t going to say anything to Craig Finn. I could hear my dad’s voice, “Never meet your heros.” But, when the show ended, Craig Finn walked off stage and it was just me and him standing there. I mentioned David Foster Wallace, because I knew we had a mutual interest in the author, he looked directly into my eyes, he smiled and we talked like old friends about Infinite Jest, anxiety, isolation, and the redemptive qualities of reading David Foster Wallace. Eventually I got to ask him if there was a song he couldn’t stop listening to. He thought for about thirty seconds and launched into a perfectly articulate monologue about The Replacements song, “I Will Dare.” You can listen to it in the SoundCloud link above.
The Replacements’ album, Let It Be, was released in 1984.
Listen if you like: The Hold Steady, Minneapolis and St. Paul, punks committing to love.
Sylvan Esso’s pick: Jessy Lanza- “Keep Moving”
Sylvan Esso stopped in our studio before destroying the PBR Block Party in Bay View. Beatmaker/producer/vocalist/half the duo/Milwaukee native Nick Sanborn sat down in the booth with me and we talked about our favorite artists right now. He was such a nice, genuine, honest, and funny guy. Check out what he says about Jessy Lanza’s song in the soundcloud link above.
Jessy Lanza’s album, Pull My Hair Back, is available now.
Listen if you like: Sylvan Esso, late night dance music, How To Dress Well.
Phox’s Pick: Shakey Graves- “Dearly Departed”
Monica Martin doesn’t love giving interviews. She gets anxious and frazzled. It only makes her even more likeable. Half way though our interview we stopped, sat in the corner, listened to a song sung by J.E. Sunde that she had recorded with the Voice Memmo app on her phone in a bowling alley, and she sang harmonies to it. I wish I had kept rolling.
Listen to Monica talk about the Shakey Graves in the SoundCloud link above.
Listen if you like: Johnny Cash and June Carter, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Home,” duets.
Nick Waterhouse’s pick: Dean & Jean- “I Cry”
Oftentimes, before bands play in our studio, they will eat lunch in our greenroom, and I chat with them between bites. My conversation with Nick Waterhouse revolved around Raymond Chandler novels and pulp fiction of that era and left me eager to talk with him afterwards. When it came time to talk I was not let down. Nick showed a general apathy towards the music industry, shared his struggle with being a musician in the modern context, and gave me a song that fit just about every aesthetic that I think of when I hear or see Nick Waterhouse.
Listen if you like: Nick Waterhouse, mid 60’s cocktail party tunes, screaming sax.