5 Songs is a little secret that we tell you. These are the songs that we are passing to each other off-air, between shifts, under desks, in bars. These are the songs that we rip to our phones and play at the gym. These are the songs that we are going to play at the party this weekend. These are the albums that we are going to drop the needle on this Sunday morning, when the party is over.
This is 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To, which airs Monday-Friday at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Bliss & Alice picks Frank Ocean – "Thinkin’ Bout You"
Bliss & Alice is a hip-hop artist in Milwaukee. His lyrics are intelligent and thoughtful. He picked Frank Ocean, another artist who is equally as thoughtful. Listen to Bliss & Alice’s music here, and listen to his talk about the song in the Mixcloud link above
Bliss & Alice on "Thinkin' Bout You" by Frank Ocean:
"I’ve had this conversation with people before. Like, you have a soundtrack in your head every day. You wake up and there is something playing in the back of your head to cover the silence, and it’s probably one of your favorite songs. I would say that without question this is one that has stuck with me the closest. Absolutely. The opening line of this song is just beautiful to me, ‘A tornado flew around my room before you came/ excuse the mess it made.’ I probably have every song that he has either released, but is somewhere out there in the world. Just watching him speak on his own music is eloquent at the very least. Even the way he crafts his albums, reading a little bit about the spaces he uses and the live instrumentation, how he’ll take a huge space and get a specific artist to come in and play an entire room, same piece, over and over again. Just to fill that space, his process is incredible, and deserves to be looked at."
The Delta Routine picks The Band – "Ophelia"
Milwaukee’s own The Delta Routine plays with heart. You can hear the grit and soul in lead singer, Nick Amadeus’s voice. Here he picked The Band and talks about the therapeutic quality of singing with your buddies. Listen to The Delta Routine here, and listen to his talk about the song in the Mixcloud link at the top of the page.
Nick Amadeus on "Ophelia" by The Band:
"When we first started the group and started recording, whenever we would take a break we would go down to the basement and spin records, and that song in particular, we would put it on, crank it up and we would belt out the lyrics that we knew, all of us, and do the harmonies. There was something about that, I miss it. We haven’t done that in a long time. There is something about singing with your buddies while having a few drinks, taking a break from the studio, and harmonizing with the record that is just a beautiful thing.
This one line always sticks out for me, it’s, "Ashes of laughter/ the coast is clear/ why do the best things always disappear like Ophelia." There is something about that, I’m not really sure what it is, but I’m like, ‘Oh my god, it’s perfect.’"
Klassik picks Kanye West – "All Day"
Klassik is one of Milwaukee’s premier artists. I wouldn’t call him hiphop, I wouldn’t say R&B, I would just say that he is an artist. Listen to his music here, and listen to his talk about Kanye in the Mixcloud link above.
Klassik on Kanye West:
"I think that he challenges himself as an artist. One of his biggest credits and my biggest inspirations is just not being afraid to create and try new things and expound an idea and not afraid to have like twenty writers on one song. Where it’s typical to think, ‘Oh it’s just rap. You just get in there and do it." He’s not afraid to share that process of sitting in a room of people and we are bouncing ideas back.
Great records oftentimes don’t come from just one person. There is a whole bunch of stories where basically it was just a room full of people where like 19 people are credited as writers of the song. And the stories I’ve read say that he just had a line and he’ll spit it to a random stranger or someone else in the room and say, ‘What do you think of this? Would you Do something differently there?’ It’s weird to hear that about Kanye cause you just think he goes for it, but to see that other side, like, no, he is also very well aware of what his limitations are, but he also knows how to do it on that."
Volcano Choir picks The Art Ensemble of Chicago – "The Key"
Volcano Choir is mostly a Milwaukee band. Sure, it’s fronted by Justin Vernon, who hangs his head in Eau Claire, but involved are important musicians from Milwaukee. Daniel Spack is one of those musicians. His dad played jazz and Spack goes to that place when he looks to answer his musical questions, or just to laugh at it all. Listen to Volcano Choir here, and listen to us talk and laugh in the Mixcloud link at the top of the page.
Daniel Spack on "The Key":
"It’s just infinitely talented people goofing off, and making sure you understand just how silly it all is, you know? Music is so important. It’s massive. Anytime someone needs to explain something to more than one person, it’s a really important thing. So, not to take away the sincerity of any of it, but when you get lost or stuck you should be able to chuckle and realize how wonderfully tiny you are and you can laugh about it.
I get confused a lot and very questiony about decisions I make musically. And when I sense that I’m getting too far down that hole I play it. Then I sit and I laugh a little, and then I can do it. And it’s like, I remember that I’m not doing something that I’m not doing something I shouldn’t be, I’m doing something I should be."
Jaill picks Harry Nilsson – "Moonshine Bandit"
Jaill’s music is surfy, lofi, and carefree. Harry Nilsson was also pretty care free by 1976, when this song was released. Listen to Jaill lead singer, Vinnie Kircher, talk about Nilsson in the Mixcloud link at the top of the page.
Vinnie Kircher on "Moonshine Bandit" by Harry Nilsson:
"I don’t think that "Moonshine Bandit" is his best song ever, but for some reason I’m really attracted to it. In ’76 after the big rise of his career is over, he’s drinking pretty heavily at this point. I mean, just by that album cover where his sitting and reading Penthouse with a bag of chips, I just think he is being really honest at this point. He’s putting on weight and drinking. His voice can be so bombastic and encapsulating, but on this song he is almost singing lightly and under his breath almost like he has a drink in his hand. He doesn’t even almost need to care anymore. And it’s perfect.
The content of it starts off with sort of a Robin Hood sort of story where The Moonshine Bandit is taking the spirits from the rich and giving them to the poor. I thought that was neat. And I can appreciate a good buzz, so some moonshine would be nice. It doesn’t have to be an artist’s best song to be the one that gets you the most."
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Born and raised in Milwaukee, Justin went to UW-Madison where he earned degrees in History, Political Science and Integrated Liberal Studies.
"At 15 my grandma introduced me to 'This American Life,' and I have been hooked on radio ever since," he says.
In Madison he hosted six radio shows, his favorite being a show called "Tom Waits and Tom Waits play Tom Waits," in which he and his friend did mediocre impressions of Tom Waits and talked to each other and played music. No one listened, but it was a lot of fun.
Upon graduation in 2012, Barney took an unpaid internship at 88Nine.
"I refused to leave," he says, "and after months of hustling, I got my dream job."