5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To is our playlist to you. These are the songs that we love and we need to talk about them and share them with you. Hopefully you feel the same way about them. This week you will laugh with Major Lazer, cry with The New Pornographers, feel nostalgic with Blind Blake, try to keep up with Parkay Quarts, and be sung a lullaby by Christopher Owens. We hope you love it.
Major Lazer –“Vegan Vampire” feat. Ezra Koenig
Next year Major Lazer will have its own cartoon show. From what I can tell, it's about the super-powered Rasta Major Lazer, who fights against Vampire eating Vampires with a super team of comic wierdos. Something like Thundercats meets G.I. Joe.
It makes sense because Major Lazer is already the cartoonish fictional persona of real life DJ Diplo. The whole spirit of Major Lazer’s music, videos, and live shows are to be weird and have a lot of fun. So a cartoon series where they have complete creative control and license to be as weird as they want is very exciting. Maybe for the cameos alone. In the past Major Lazer has collaborated with Eric Wareheim of The Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job! musicians, Santigold, Bruno Mars, Shaggy, Pharell, and Sean Paul, and in this song Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend.
This song/skit is about a misunderstood and socially conscious Vampire. And, if this is any indication of what the cartoon series might be like, I can’t wait for it to start.
- Major Lazer’s new album will coincide with the release of the TV show on FFX in 2015.
- Listen if you like: funny skits, Vampire Weekend, Diplo.
Blind Blake- “Diddie Wa Diddie”
Milwaukee, and our surrounding cities have one of the greatest musical legacies of any city in United States. Between 1928-1932 Paramount Records in Grafton Wisconsin recorded hundreds of jazz and blues artists from all around the country and captured the true sound of America. The Mississippi Delta Blues may have started in the south, but it was recorded in Wisconsin.
Musicians came from all across the country to record at Paramount. Son House, Jelly Roll Morton, and Louie Armstrong all rode on trains up from the south to record at Paramount’s studio on the Milwaukee River. And some of the musicians even stayed in Milwaukee after recording. This artist, Blind Blake lived the rest of his life right over on 10th and Brown in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Imagine walking down 3rd street in the 1930’s and seeing a bluesmen like Blind Blake singing songs like this our street corners and bars. Milwaukee has a great musical legacy and I’m proud of it and I hope that you are too.
- Today, Jack White’s record label, Third Man Records is honoring the musical legacy of Wisconsin’s Paramount Records by releasing The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Volume 2. “Diddy Wa Diddie” was originally released in 1928.
- Listen if you like: Old blues, Mississippi John Hurt, Milwaukee’s musical heritage.
Parkay Quarts- “Content Nausea”
On my eleventh listen to this song, I heard the lead singer say, “And am I under some spell? And do my thoughts belong to me? Or just some slogan I ingested to save time?”
And I thought, “How do I know that my thoughts belong to me? Maybe by reading and listening, and watching so many things that I’m becoming more them than me. And Maybe the less information I take in, the more I will be really me.
And then I totally rejected that idea.
In order to be more myself I have to take more in. Take everything in. Digest every slogan, every song, every written sentence, every piece of poetry, every work of art. Because the more I take in, the more complex my understanding will be, the more nuanced my arguments will be, and the less I will sound like a slogan I ingested to save time.
- Parkay Quarts new album, Content Nausea, is out now.
- Listen if you like: Parquet Courts, lyrical density, Bob Dylan.
The New Pornographers pick The New Pornographers- “The Bleeding Heart Show”
Each week I ask an artist to pick a song for 5 Songs. Carl Newman, the lead singer of The New Pornographers picked a song by The New Pornographers. But it was not narcissistic, it was actually very thoughtful. This introduction came at the end of a 13 minute conversation that we had together that you can listen to here. Newman says that this song defines him, and even though the lyrics are shrouded in metaphor it is really personal for him. Listen to his full explanation, and the song in the SoundCloud link below.
- The New Pornographers album, Twin Cinema, came out in 2005.
- Listen if you like: AC Newman, Nico Case, indie.
Christopher Owens- “America”
I remember seeing Iron & Wine last month at the Pabst theater and thinking, “Why isn’t anyone making music like this like this?” And Longing for languidly lipped language lobbed to my lobes. Something not screamed or synthesized, songs sung soothing and sanguine. An autobiographical annunciation announcing an emigration to America while admitting an abandonment to an abject admonishment and offering absolution as an adult. Something pretty and prim, its strings plucked thin, and whispered from the lips of his mouth.
- Christopher Owen’s last album, New Testament, was released this year.
- Listen if you like: Iron & Wine, delicate singing, sweet guitar plucks.