We all know and we all love and we all adore Middle Kid. It’s braintrust is none other than the fabulous Zack Willis. And it just so happens that the fabulous Zack Willis will bring his fabulous friends to Sky Stage Saturday night to perform along with the bands Milton J & The Leftovers, Joint Operation and Medium. To help spread the word about such an occasion, we caught up with Zack and asked him if he’d be up for curating a Celebrity Playlist for us to post for you – yes, you! He said yes. History was made. There’s some great stuff in here, friends, and you’ll definitely want to check out what he has to say about said great stuff. The fun begins at 7 p.m. Do it to it.
Great Grandpa: “Teen Challenge”
I saw Great Grandpa recently, opening for Rozwell Kid, and they quickly became one of my faves. It’s hard not to sing along to this song and I love the way Alex Menne does vocal melodies throughout the whole album. Plus, the solo in the middle is super quick and unexpected and it just rips.
Kevin Devine: “Noose Dressed Like a Necklace”
The hardest part of this whole list for me was picking just one Kevin Devine song that I loved. I would say that maybe this isn’t my favorite KD song of all time, but it’s up there. Kevin Devine is probably my favorite songwriter of all time and one that I admire greatly. The lyrics focus on these random observations that “have nothing to do with the other,” and yet he manages to weave these mundanities into this overall theme of hopelessness in a work environment. He’s an incredible poet, storyteller, everything.
Albert Bagman: “Till Death”
I had the incredible privilege of having this band play at my birthday party. Albert Bagman invite you into their world with this music and create this incredible haunting ambience in a way I haven’t seen before. This song is spooky, earnest and just generally lovely.
Mr. Husband: “Cookie Pie”
I think it’s safe to say I hear this song on a daily basis. I picked this song in particular because I think it best exemplifies what Mr. Husband does best – catchy, beach-y music full of affection. You know when you hear this song that Mr. Husband loves his wife, and that’s just adorable.
Rozwell Kid: “Michael Keaton”
This song is based around an idea for a screenplay Jordan had in his mind about a group of kids that had a love of Michael Keaton’s Batman in common and went on a trip to tell Keaton how great he is. I would say that the actual song fits even better in a “last semester of high school” movie probably with someone like Justin Long as the down-on-his-luck-but-optimistic main character. How old is he now? 40? Dude can still play high schoolers.
Alex G: “Proud”
Alex G is another artist that is really captivating lyrically. He has a way of doing character study lyrics that I find particularly impressive. I’ve always wanted to try to capture the experience of someone outside of myself but have always been generally unsuccessful. I try to learn from songs like this. On top of that, this song is really fun to bop around to.
Ratboys’ album “GN” was one of my surprise favorites of 2017. I hadn’t listened to them prior, but these slow burn, catchy songs really hooked me in. Julia Steiner’s high-pitched voice against the lower, slowly played notes of the guitar create an incredible lush sound.
The Smiths: “The Headmaster Ritual”
I think you can learn a lot about someone by their favorite Smiths song (or can you?). “The Headmaster Ritual” is really quintessential Smiths to me, and on top of that, you get these super bummer lyrics about Morrissey just having the worst time at school, and he writes it in a way that makes you feel like you’re the one getting knocked around and bullied.
Cloakroom: “Starchild Skull”
Cloakroom is one of my current favorite bands, and they just released a new record called “Time Well” that I have to sit down and listen to. This song does the best job of mixing their gazey, fuzzy sound with something a little more accessible. It gives you time to headbang, but also gives you time to cross your arms and nod in approval.
Foo Fighters: “Exhausted”
If you know anything about me, you know that my favorite album of all time is the Foo Fighters’ self-titled first record. It’s the fuzziest, catchiest record and, according to Dave Grohl, half of the lyrics make no sense. I’ve always been obsessed with the songs bands pick to end their records on, and this song feels like it was made with that purpose in mind. It’s a slow, static burn full of squealing feedback against the softer verse vocals, and brings the whole thing to a headbanging close.