In season 13, episode 24 of the TV show “King of the Hill,” Hank Hill’s neighbor, Kahn, is going through a depressive state. At the peak of the depressive state he groans while clutching an LP in his arms and says, “You know what I just realized? I’ll never hear another Huey Lewis and the News song for the first time again.” And he slumps onto the couch.
I’ve had this feeling with Tom Waits before. He’s 65, reclusive, and after 18 studio albums he doesn’t have any pressure to make any more music. But last week on Letterman, we got to hear another Tom Waits song for the first time again. And now we can listen to it over and over and over.
There is new music from Jaill, too. They are from Milwaukee and have consistently released top notch album after top notch album. Indie rock’s goofball, Mac Demarco releases Another One, Mutual Benefit’s music swells with honesty and optimism, and My Morning Jacket plays guest DJ and talks about a song that they love. This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To.
Listen to all 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To here:
00:00 – Mac Demarco – “The Way You’d Love Her”
3:30 – My Morning Jacket talks about Jackson Browne – “For A Dancer”
9:25 – Mutual Benefit – “For A Dancer”
13:35 – Jaill – “Got an F”
18:10 – Tom Waits – “Take One Last Look”
1. Mac Demarco — “The Way You’d Love Her”
There are few artists who seem to be totally original. Ironically singing about being original, or doing your own thing, or whatever it is, is not that original. I think that is because it’s a little on the nose. It’s trying a little too hard. And that is the one thing that Mac Demarco does not do. It doesn’t seem like he is trying much at all. Mac Demarco just does Mac Demarco. He wears clothes that don’t really fit. He does funny covers of “Takin’ Care of Business” and “Enter Sandman” at shows. He’ll get naked in public once in a while, but he’s got a very loving relationship with his mother. I think it comes across as being honest. And that’s a one-of-a-kind thing.
- Mac Demarco’s new EP, Another One, will be available August 7.
- Listen if you like: Carefree everything, warbly guitar, drifty vocals
2. My Morning Jacket picks “For A Dancer” by Jackson Browne
Carl Broemel: “I think the last song that kinda blew my mind was a song I’ve listened to a thousand times. You know how you listen to a song a bunch and you don’t really listen to the third verse? You know, it’s just kinda floating past you? But I was listening to ‘For a Dancer’ by Jackson Browne the other day and third verse came by and I just started to get a little misty. You know what I’m talking about?”
Jim James: “Yes.”
Broemel: “When he’s like, ‘Say a prayer for the human race/ go sew some seeds of your own/ you might not even know what your life meaning is/ but maybe there is one.’ It was so awesome. And I was like, ‘Man I’ve heard this album a thousand times.’ And I’m always listening to the lap steel parts and then I listened to the vocals and I was like, ‘Oooooouuufffff.”
Jim James: “It’s amazing how many different things there are to listen to at any given time.”
Broemel: “Yeah, exactly.”
- Jackson Browne’s album, Late For The Sky, was released in 1974.
- My Morning Jacket will be in Milwaukee on June 20th, and 21st at The Riverside Theater. The first show is SOLD OUT, but, you can nab some tickets for the second show right here
- Listen if you like: My Morning Jacket, lap steel, sneaky beautiful lyrics
3. Mutual Benefit – “Not for Nothing”
I am an optimist. But really, I’m a reformed pessimist. My outlook used to be bleak. I was down on the world and just kind of thought, ‘Screw everything. It all sucks.’ I thought that was cool. But at some point I turned around. I think I realized that it’s so easy to say ‘screw everything.’ It seemed brave, but really I think it takes more courage to see the world for what it is and try to make it better. It’s not for nothing.
Mutual Benefit’s Jordan Lee sees the world in a similar light. Under the shade of a tree at Pitchfork Music Festival last summer, he told my friend that he lived in St. Louis for six moths. He closed his eyes and came to the conclusion that life wasn’t supposed to be good. That there is poverty and systematic violence. Awful things happen. But then he stared those things head on. He acknowledged both sides, and walked out with optimism.
- “Not For Nothing” was done on a single for the Shaking Through series on Weathervane Music
- Listen if you like: string sections, acoustic orchestration, optimism
4. Jaill – “Got an F”
Jail is a Milwaukee band that has made it. They were signed to Sub-Pop, with labelmates like Father John Misty, Beachhouse, and The Postal Service. Now they are with my personal favorite record label, Burger Records, and have got an album coming out at the end of June.
They’ve got a new song too, called “I got an F” — and I love it. It’s about failing in a social situation. So many times you are out with someone and you’re thinking, ‘This is a test. If I get all the answers right, if I do all the right things, I’ll pass and everything will be good. We’ll all be happy.’ But a lot of times it just feels like you were studying the wrong textbook and you just guessed for every answer, and inevitably, you got an F.
This song is for those kids in social summer school.
- Jaill’s new album, Brain Cream, will be available June 30 on Burger Records.
- Listen if you like: lo-fi garage rock, failure, Milwaukee
5. Tom Waits – “Take One Last Look”
This is Tom Waits’ sendoff to David Letterman.
Letterman was really the only interviewer who could ever handle Tom Waits. He didn’t try to control the conversation or dissect the identity, he just enjoyed his company and laughed at his jokes. I think that’s all Tom Waits ever wanted in an interview. The two admired each other.
In this song, Waits captures such a staggering career in the way only he could. It’s plaintive and a little sad, but it’s also proud and it’s beautiful.
- Sadly, this song is not part of a new project by Tom Waits, but we hope he is working on something
- Listen if you like: Retrospective songs, goodbyes, old friendships